Storytelling by Hemant Baliwala

Society for Technical Communication Pune arranged for a learning session on Storytelling by Hemant Baliwala on August 14, 2019 . I attended the session hoping this would help me improve my blogging skills a bit.

The first session had all of us (about 37 of us) introduce ourselves with our name, favourite food, favourite place, happiest moment of our life and the saddest moment of our life. 

While I shared the above information openly, the second session took my saddest moment and tore it apart. In Hemant’s defence, he asked for my permission on whether he could take this apart publicly in class. He also said that he would also try and help me to find closure on this life event. People in the room were encouraged to see the moment through various lens (sarcastic, best case or positive scenarios, negative scenarios like imagining a dead man as a bad man etc). The idea was to openly map everything about the event in details unbiased or with little of my own bias of this experience using something akin to a mind-map.

I did not know while agreeing to this that I would be submitting myself to relive the event through such excruciating detail. While for others this was merely an event, for me it was a lived experience. They were trying to come up with all the factors that led up to the event as a story. Hemant asked us to present the story as is without judgement. He said the audience would judge and that we need not judge on behalf of the audience. I can’t say this gave me closure. It disturbed me a bit and took me a nice lunch in the company of friends to find my balance again.

Answers I gave from the first and third session of the Learning Session on Storytelling. Image: Pradeep Mohandas

The third session used device prompts. We were divided into teams of six. We were given photographs as device prompts. We were given two photographs – one of a circus and another of a toilet sign. We were asked to prepare mind maps like we had for the second session. We were then asked to outline a story based on the same. 

In the photo above, I’ve shared answers I gave on the first session and the mind map and the story outline I created for the third session. I will flesh out the story here in a future blog post.