Why India should 'say it with a story' this Diwali

Authored by Aditya Jaishankar, Founder of MaPa Story.

This Diwali will be a little unusual While the news on the Covid pandemic might be a little positive, the fear of living life to the fullest is still a distance away .. What will be missed will be the presence of friends, relatives, grandchildren cousins nephews, nieces etc. While many will throw caution to the wind and celebrate as they have always celebrated a huge audience will hold themselves back. The positive of meeting their dear ones will be outweighed by the fear of inviting Covid into their lives.

The festivals of Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami, Ganesh Mahotsav, and Onam, which came amid the strict lockdown conditions across the country, were a very muted affair.

Even though lockdown restrictions have been lifted, a Durga Puja which is the mother of all festivals in West Bengal and the East region are seeing cautious celebrations

It would be safe to assume that this cautiousness will take over Diwali as well

This will create a strange sort of an emotional vacuum during Diwali and across the festive season . Is there a way to bridge that vacuum this Diwali? Since Zoom calls and google, meets have become the new normal let's think a little deeper

Over the past few months, there has been a trend that probably could be a blessing this Diwali and perhaps the entire festive season till the end of the year. There have been a significant number of storytellers who have been telling wonderful stories online and giving kids and their parents a gateway to escape the dampening of spirits during the pandemic. Could storytelling be a strong substitute for everyone especially the younger ones to bridge the emotional gap that physical absence will cause this Diwali? The pandemic has nearly snatched away a year from the lives of our little ones by curbing their natural instinct towards play and bonding.

There are of course multiple benefits of storytelling. Even the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi spent time in extolling the virtues of storytelling recently in a speech a few weeks ago .

So what are the virtues of storytelling that can change the face of Diwali this year?

A story can create a sense of presence even in the absence

Well to start with a wonderful story connects you to at a deeper level to the storyteller. It is like the shortest distance between 2 people. When a child narrates a story to a grandma or vice versa from anywhere in the world. a smile can partly compensate for the lack of physical presence.

A story enables you to travel and experience within the comfort of your home

If Diwali is about meeting and greeting and getting out of one's mundane life stories can probably provide an experience of newness and excitement especially for our younger ones.

Bonding through stories

A story can provide the much-needed reassurance and warmth needed during the festive season. A few wonderful stories can create an unusual bond that encompasses memories and experience. A story has the whip up the nostalgia of innocent good times instantaneously.

As marketing and advertising folks, how can we leverage the multiple benefits of wonderful stories this festive season?

The question is will brands make an attempt to enable audiences to connect with their near and dear ones to bridge the emotional gap this Diwali. Rather than just narrating brand stories, can brands go deeper and encourage the tradition of storytelling during times when we need it the most?

The team at  MaPa Story, a globa interactive storytelling app recently launched a campaign to try and connect children all over the globe with their near and dear ones. We encouraged children as well as their grandparents, cousins aunts and uncles to "Say it with a story"  

We realised that a number of kids have not visited their grandparents and extended families for months on end due to the pandemic. Sadly this situation will continue for a lot us during Diwali.

MaPa with it’s unique record and share feature can enable children to record stories in their own voice  and share them with their dear ones anytime across the globe 

Can brands, storytelling platforms and even individual storytellers within every family rise to the occasion to spread cheer across the lackadaisical festive season

Storytelling is indeed the need of the hour and it will be great if millions of Indians narrate stories to their  dear ones  to create unforgettable  memories that spread cheer during this festive season  


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