Thailand Trip – University of MahaSarakham.
This September was a busy and hectic month for me but very fulfilling and interesting. I had been to University of Mahasarakham, in the Northeast province in Thailand. I was there for a span of 2 weeks for a series of workshops for the students of the university on storytelling, drama and poetry. Interacting with young minds is always refreshing and interacting with them, I realised how they still stick on to their tradition and culture. They still have the Guru – Shisya relationship but equally flaunt their modern thoughts. There was a poetry night recital on CATS…. there was poetry reading from popular poems on cats by the English Department and all of them had come dressed as CATS. I got to have a slot and I shared the story about the talkative tortoise and the crowd had a part to play as well. Every time the tortoise would talk the crowd would go “gum gum than na na na yakiti yakiti yak” It was well received. There were a few other moments I think I would love to share with you.
There was a celebration honouring seventeen traditional story tellers in and around north-eastern province of Thailand. The youngest of them was 55 years of age and the oldest was 92 years old. It was a moment of honour to receive a certificate of appreciation from the president of the University for my Services in the field of storytelling and imparting the skills to the students.
I also attended a retirement felicitation of a professor in the University that hat two aspects, the religious and the academic. The entire audience were bound by sacred thread that went around. At that point it was ONE FAMILY, ONE WORLD and ONE RELIGION and ONE PEOPLE! It was fascinating to meet the teachers, teacher’s teacher and the retired teacher’s teachers and the now students.
Later I accompanied Dr. Wajuppa Tossa to a nearby province very close to Laos. It was exciting to meet the oldest person in the province who was a traditional storyteller in his late nineties. Though I didn’t comprehend a word he uttered I was spellbound and could not take my eyes off him… he was so expressive. Later I learnt that I had understood almost everything he was talking about. His sons, who are teachers brought out some archaeological treasures which included interesting pots, stone carved toys and spoons. The richness of their tradition, culture and heritage of Thailand urges me to visit them again.