Mangalam has been keeping kids and adults mesmerized with her stories. When we asked Mangalam to share her experiences with us, she got into her usual story telling mode.

Story telling has been part of my persona since childhood.

It’s a lovely journey. You meet so many people. You open your heart. They open theirs. There’s a lovely connect that only stories can give.

This is my first story (as told by my family). I was three and a half years young and it was my mama’s(uncle) wedding. At the wedding, people around me started asking my name and school and were pulling my chubby cheeks (I was a fat kid back then). I told them about this incident when our entire big family of 25 members went to Guruvayur in a tempo van from Kochi. My family forgot me behind and returned home without me. After some time when my dad and periyappa came looking for me, I was sitting at the police help desk and then went back home with them. After the wedding many people approached my parents to enquire about this. My parents just stood wide mouthed as they narrated my story. At the end of it they broke out laughing saying such an incident never happened. So, my imaginations started pretty young.

This story is from my 10th social studies History model exam. There was a strategical alliance question related to Shivaji and I had no clue. However, that was the question for which I wrote the longest answer.All that I had read about Chattrapathi Shivaji Maharaj from Amar Chitra Katha and his friend Tanaji was on my answer paper, but not a single word on his strategies for his kingdom expansion. My social studies teacher wrote ‘very Good’ beside that answer. However, she gave me just one mark for it. ☺

There have been many such instantaneous stories that were cooked up. For instance, during my college hostel days, if our warden found noodles packets or rice packets in our room, I will come up with some story on the spot that will rescue us.

Our hostel gates will be closed by 9pm, returning to hostel on time after the evening show was difficult. So, we would sneak in with stories of Rotary service.

My final year project viva also had a tinge of story telling in it. When the external asked which book we had referred to for the design of transformers, I promptly replied “Lets design transformers” by “Evan Kantten” (Evan Kantten sparked by the Tamil words evan kandaan? meaning ‘who knows’.)

This really is a laugh out loud moment Mangalam  ☺

So, where do you get inspirations for your stories?

My maternal grandfather and his CA used to tell me many life stories. Also, my mom used to tell me a lot of personal stories from her college life. My dad used to tell stories from his college days and cricketing days.

Do you have any unforgettable memories from your story telling sessions?

Sure. There are so many.
After a story session, Arjun came running behind me and said “aunty, I want to come home with you. My mom doesn’t tell stories like you do.” The teachers stopped him,but he repeated the same thing twice. The teachers asked him “what will we tell your mom when she comes to pick you?” The kid replies “I want to go with Mangala story aunty.” This incident is one of the of the best compliments I have received till date.

Another such incident was when a girl came up to me and said “Akka please take this toffee from me. Accept this as a token of my love. We all loved your story, please come and eat midday sathunavu with us.”

Wow that is really sweet.

Kids often forget my name, but they remember the characters of the stories I tell them. Iam called ‘monkey aunty’ for all the jumping and acting I do.

MBA students have said that I transport them to fairyland with my stories.
“We don’t mind coming to college on Sundays or holidays too if you are coming to do a workshop for us.” they say.

In July 2019, she was pleasantly surprised when she was invited as a Tedx speaker.
Please tell us more about it.

It was a beautiful journey for me. Right from how they contacted me to how my dress colour was all wrong for the talk to how I got up locked up in the bathroom backstage before my talk and how my mike failed when I went live. These are all small cute stories by themselves.

We are eagerly waiting for your TedX talk to go online on YouTube Mangalam.

She has her Facebook page called “Kathakuteeram” to connect with her numerous fans of all ages.

That’s a very creative name. What exactly does “Kathakuteeram” mean?

Katha means Story and Kutteeram means Cottage. A cosy setting, where you feel warm and welcome.

Your logo also looks very interesting. Does that have a meaning too?

My logo has the Sun, Mountain, Snow, Clouds, Air, Birds.
As long as these are there on earth, Stories will also be there.
Stories are all about emotions and doing a heart to heart connection. So, there are different faces with different emotions.
Stories are the keys which open doors and then the spirit travels freely.
So that’s the idea behind my logo.
I strongly believe that the stories we tell and create keeps playing inside our minds and influence us a lot.

Thank you Mangalam for sharing your experience with us.
Such an interesting personality, isn’t she?
You can contact Mangalam on her Facebook page Kathakuteeram for her storytelling sessions.