There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou ~
That’s the time allotted to *draw* a story in 6 parts.
No words, just simple sketches.
We fold a piece of paper into 6 identical blocks, each of which will have one part of the story.
It’s an exercise to gauge our storytelling skills, it’s a bit of fun too.
The fun part starts – we find later – after completing the exercise when we give the paper to the person sitting next to us, to decipher *each* story from the sketches.
We begin in earnest even as the rains pound outside.
All this is happening at the seventh-floor office of Nasscom’s 10,000 StartUps, which overlooks Nalban Bheri, a vast sheet of water spread across hundreds of hectares, owned by the government’s fisheries department.
We are attending Cynthia Hellen’s workshop Storytelling for Social Impact. The view outside is pleasing to Cynthia too and she doesn’t want to shut it off.
Eleven of us gather around a center table, all ears to Cynthia’s tales of growing up in New York after her family move from Lima in Peru to the US when she was only 4.
At 17 she started her first business, a strong entrepreneurial streak taking her to newer heights.
Today, she is a globally recognized social entrepreneur, writer-producer-director, technologist & international speaker.
We remain glued to Cynthia’s entrepreneurial stories, stories that bring warmth and joy as she skilfully and subtly connects the dots that come together to prove the power of storytelling to maximize social impact.
The rain outside stops briefly. Tea and sandwich arrive, our gracious host, Nasscom’s Arihant Kothari taking good care of us.
I give my story paper to the lady on the left, she and all the others do likewise.
Now it’s our turn to narrate the stories interpreted from the sketches.
We hear remarkable stories on women’s entrepreneurship, but the one that stands out (in my opinion) is the story of how menstruation taboos are still the cause of leading menstrual health problems for many women across India.
Turns out, my story is the most difficult to decipher. My next-seat companion admits as much, and I don’t blame her.
The workshop ends with me narrating Cynthia’s story. I have it here.