Smt. Malti Joshi needs no introduction. A renowned story writer and narrator, Maltiji has been blessed with a memory which helps her narrate stories verbatim without reading from her book or taking any pauses. Blind New World recently had the honor of inviting her to National Association For Blind to share her stories with school kids who see and listen with their ears. I was personally sure that the children with such a strong hearing power would grasp the story faster than many of us. Since the event was organized at a short notice, we found the hall being filled by younger kids than by those from 9-12th grade. it was like doing an experiment with visually impaired kids of 1st-7th standard who as per our previous experiences would not understand the stories so well. When aayi (that’s how we address Maltiji with love) started narrating her 1st story, “Mein shakun hoon”, the room went into a pin drop silence. Everyone was listening apart from few usual ones who were whispering with their friends. While I would raise my hand to signal them to keep quiet, I realized that they wouldn’t see me! The story ended and the children clapped with all their energy to share their contentment having heard a simple story narrated in an intricate way from their very own lives. Maltiji’s stories are woven around life and to connect with them is like remembering your own being, relationships, incidents and oscillations of the mind.
The second story was “Demand Draft” and as soon as the name of the story was revealed, one of the kids cutely asked what a demand draft was. “jisko dekar bank se paisa mil jaata hai, use bank draft kehte hain”, maltiji replied promptly. The story started and as usual she narrated it vividly without any pauses. Everytime her story would paint a picture, while we wondered what was being sketched on a mind of someone who could not physically see. This time the kids were even more attentive and now we had the senior school audience too. They had just poured in, having got to know through grapevine that there was story telling happening in the conference room. The story finally ended and some of the children had questions on writing skills and some wanted to sing and recite poetry. We heard the kids patiently and thanked national association for blind for inviting Smt. Malti Joshi and all of us to this mecca for sight.