Alma Matters. Her Storytelling Too.
Delhi-based Alma Dhingra of Storytime can make any occasion, be it a festival or your kids birthday or if you choose to camp with her, a magical experience with her storytelling sessions.
If stories are memory aids, instruction manuals, and moral compasses, then a storyteller, by all means, is a powerful person because he or she can do a lot more just by narrating stories believes Delhi-based Alma Dhingra. Dhingra, who is passionate about children and stories in equal measure, has combined these two and took to storytelling like a duck takes to water.
“Reading books was my escape tunnel from the beginning. In my twenties, I used to read books that a 50-year-old might want to read, all non-fiction. While the world was dipping in the Twilight series, I chose to spend my time poring over The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy,” she quips, explaining her literary taste which is diverse and varied. It is enriching and empowering for her in more than one way for the vocation that she has chosen.
How her story begins…
A Political Science graduate from Delhi’s Daulat Ram College, she went on to pursue a management course at ICFAI University, and from there joined an HR firm. “I worked for nine hours every day, with no or little creativity left in me at the end of the day. I realised that I wasn’t cut out for the corporate sector. I was always fascinated by the idea of getting married and having children. So I left behind everything else, got married and had a baby. The moment I conceived, I was so concerned about the well-being of my child that I started reading (being my first love) for the baby’s better growth.”
The penchant for reading has stood her in good stead always. “As soon as my baby was six months old, I got her registered for Mother- Toddler program by Julia Gabriel, owner of a well-known Singapore-based institute for early education,” she says.
Elaborating further she mentions, “From there on, I started getting into the habit of bedtime reading to my little one. People called me crazy when I bought a kit for her when she was barely four months old. All of the work did wonders on my child, turning her into an active and smart individual. That was when I knew that reading is the best thing you can do with your child. It is then that I realized that I loved storytelling and wanted to get into it more deeply. However, just reading isn’t enough if it isn’t able to ignite the right emotions and feelings in you.”
Changing her life’s narrative
On the personal front, things started taking a turn for the worse for Dhingra. “I had many, many stories buried deep inside me because I had a tough childhood and even marriage was not all rosy. I was married into a rich house, but the richness in my marriage was missing. By the time my kids turned 7 and 3 respectively, I slowly realized that I had discovered the answers to all my questions,” she explains.
She walked out of her marriage and began her search for inner peace and happiness. She realised nothing made her heart beat faster than the idea of telling stories to children. Kids make for lovely audiences anyway. She fell back upon storytelling to reclaim her life and in the process helped many others reclaim theirs.
She went on to do a year-long training in storytelling and became a certified storyteller, and launched her own brand, Storytime, in November 2017.
“I started taking storytelling sessions soon after completing this course. I explored and practised different ways to learn about stories and even joined a famous theatre group to improve my skills. I have grown so much. Now, I take regular classes at Shri Ram Global School, Ashok Vihar and Civil Lines, and other centres nearby,” says a beaming Dhingra.
Dhingra’s life story has been an arduous journey for her, but because she did it with all her heart, everything has worked out well for her so far. “I have had problems with numbers as I sometimes have less number of children than expected in my session. My favourite mentor used to say, “Make business your is-ness.” It means don’t think about how many lives you are changing, start with one. And that thought makes all the difference,”’ she says.
Look how far she has travelled
The perks of storytelling are many. It has directed her to the inner self, giving her the treasures that being in the moment provides and listening to the universal message.
“After children and storytelling my third love is travel, so I have been looking for ways to incorporate travelling with kids and making it the best learning experience for them,” she says, adding how she “loves organising trips for mommies and kids, sharing stories with them and creating memories.”
She has a lot to offer. She something for every age group, and for every occasion.
- Mother-Child Program (2-3 years)
- Storytelling for Curious Learner’s (3-5 years)
- Stories & Activities for Birthdays (2-8 years)
- Festival Workshops (2-8 years)
- Growth Mindset Sessions for Kids (5-10 years)
- Adventure Learning Camps for Mother & Children.
Storytime and, in turn, Dhingra tries to do everything worthwhile to make this camping experience unforgettable for your child with range of activities from open-air storytelling, movie, bonfire, obstacle course, scavenger hunt and so much more.
Most importantly, she also provides training to adults who want to become storytellers like her. She conducts a Training for Storytelling (Adults) programme for this.
“My vision is to make stories a way of life, a way of connecting and communicating with your own child and others. Stories are about feelings, emotions and giving you the right direction by setting the right examples in front of you,” says Dhingra, who also promises to make birthdays and festivals engaging and constructive with her storytelling packages.
When not taking sessions, workshops or travelling and camping with kids and their mommies, she’s busy planning on how to make Storytime a global brand. This, in order to share real stories and inspire people and improve their lives. “We all have the power to do this. Let’s do it, one story at a time,” she says on a parting note.
Moral of her life story:
- First, discover your passion and then start working on it. Consistency is the key.
- My passion gave me true confidence to be myself.
- Accepting faults and moving ahead with only learning, not mistakes.
- Trying out new things and listening to my intuition is always beneficial.