Interview: Soha Ali Khan on her new weekly podcast for kids
What prompted you to take on this project?
This project is meant to bring back the magic of oral storytelling. That is special and irreplaceable. A podcast like this can offer a similar experience. It’s personally special to me because I’m a mom, and I know how important and difficult it is to find good content for your kids.
Were you involved in the selection of the stories?
The eight stories we have shortlisted are short, entertaining and deeply rooted in the Indian context. We wanted the stories to be relatable and gripping. For this, we have collaborated with seven of the country’s best publishers, who gave us a bunch of exciting stories to choose from. This podcast was spearheaded by Chiki Sarkar, founder of Juggernaut. One of our stories is published by Juggernaut.
Which story is a personal favourite. Why?
The Rumour. It’s the last story. I can’t give out too much. But let me just say that it has an important life lesson. Also, it’s poetic and I really enjoyed that.
Read more: All ears for audiobooks
Which titles do you like to read to your child?
Inaaya is young so the books I read to her have shorter stories than the ones I am reading for the podcast. To ensure she doesn’t lose attention, the stories I tell her need to be five to 10 minutes or so at the most, and yes, like the stories in the podcast they are dramatic and full of vivid imagery to excite the imagination. Some of our favourites that we read together include titles from the Dr Seuss series, especially Hop on Pop and Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! Also, Julia Donaldson’s The Room with the Broom, Giles Andreae’s Giraffes Can’t Dance, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Now I have brought back Uma vs Upma by Meera Ganpathi from the show, which she loves. The Singing Mermaid by Julia Donaldson again is a favourite. We also like The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.
How did you prepare for this? And was it difficult?
We did check out some international readings of children’s books. What really took prep was the selection of stories. It was a challenge to shortlist these eight from the pool of wonderfully written, entertaining stories out there. We wanted to choose stories that are short enough to retain, and equally gripping. So, yes, that was difficult.