Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Aug 04, 2020

Storytelling School with The Moth: Weekly Storytelling Activity #25

by Moth EDU

Lesson #25: CONTRAST: "Priceless Mangos

Hello, it’s us, Storytelling School with The Moth! As we all try to find our new normal, we hope we can bring you a bit of joy, intrigue, and empathy. For this week’s blog, we’re taking a look at a story about reconciling our identities.

This week’s Storytelling School story is:

“Priceless Mangos” by Saya Shamdasani

You can read the transcript of Saya’s story here.

1. Talk to each other about Saya’s story. 

For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on CONTRAST. To understand the central tension of a story and get inside the perspective of a storyteller, contrast can be an excellent descriptive tool. Saya paints a textured picture of the environments and characters in this story, and she often does so through describing how they are different from each other.

  • What does Saya tell us about the difference between her experience of NYC vs. India? What are the differences in the food, the culture and the sense of community?

  • What does Saya realize about the difference between how she grew up and how her mom grew up? How does that change how she sees her mom?

  • What is the difference between what Saya is thinking and feeling vs. what she actually expresses out loud?

2. Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if… 

  • You’ve ever been fascinated with something you saw on a TV show

  • You’ve ever asked your family to act a different way around your friends

  • You’ve ever wanted to stay home with your friends rather than travel with your family 

  • You’ve ever had a memorable reunion at an airport

  • You’ve ever experienced a way of living that’s very different than your own

  • You’ve ever been looked after by someone who was not family (or looked after someone who was not family)

  • You’ve ever been the loud and boisterous people in a restaurant

  • You’ve ever had someone question your right to your own country

  • You’ve ever felt immense pride in your heritage 

  • You’ve ever thought to yourself (or said out loud): “Yeah, mom, you tell them!”

  • You’ve ever felt a sudden sense of togetherness and community 

  • You’ve ever stopped pretending to be someone you are not

Did you raise your hand? If you raised your hand even once, that’s a story you could tell! Find someone to tell it to and try out a draft!

3. Activities

  • What is your favorite snack, or your favorite from when you were growing up? Do they still sell it in stores, or can you make it yourself? Give it a try and share it with someone!

    • Delia, from The Moth’s Education team, says Puppy Chow was one of her go-to snacks for a special occasion when she was little. Read about its origins and find a recipe here from The Kitchn.
    • Melissa, from The Moth’s Education team, says her family always enjoyed a good root beer float. We went with classic vanilla ice cream, but you can get more creative, if you want!
  • Mangoes are delicious and fun to use, especially during the summer. You can make salsas, desserts, stir frys, drinks, eat them raw or dried, and so much more! Check out this list of mango recipes from mango.org.

4. Share this post with a friend!

And check back Tuesday for another story.

Be sure to check out All Together Now, Fridays with The Moth, wherever you listen to your podcasts, new every Friday!

Saya Shamdasani is a junior at Trinity School. She loves to spend her time baking, reading and listening to music. Her passions include creative writing and teaching. The Moth first met Saya in Education’s All City program in 2019.

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources. To learn more, visit themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from The Kresge Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the Kate Spade New York Foundation, and Alice Gottesman. 

Additional program support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the New York State Council on the Arts, ConEdison, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.