Introducing Nautanki Mom: Storytelling in Singapore

One of our objectives on Masala Chai is to support fresh, spontaneous, informal and independent projects the field of family life and children’s care as well as children’s activities. In this category, we have featured authors of children’s books, features about children through photo stories, mothers who have initiated online ventures, as well as creative sessions by children. This Friday we feature a young mother who has built on her childhood memories to create stories for her children and for all of us to enjoy. Her recordings stand apart from many that you will find online in their gentle and comforting tone adopted for the narration. The interest of children is maintained not by loudness, but by the engagement of slowness, and in this sense, I feel Nautanki Mom is quite unique. If you like the videos, please subscribe to the channel.

The Hindi word Nautanki approximately translates to ‘gimmicky’ in this situation, but the more detailed meaning of the word is: “A form of Indian popular theatre, incorporating both dialogue and song, and taking themes from Indian myth and from contemporary social issues”. We thank Divya for sending us her work as well as the pictures. Links to the YouTube videos are provided as hyperlinks in the text. Happy viewing!

This is what Nautanki Mom has to say about herself:

Quick Intro – I am a desi Insta-Mom Blogger and Youtuber living in Singapore. I love making unique content on themes like laid back old school parenting, astronomy, humor, theatre, and a lot of randomness. Nautanki Mom happened very organically on the insistence of my best friend to do something creative and utilizing my time at home due to corona. In the process, I realized I am unknowingly following my passion for photography, video editing, and writing. I gave birth to my second kid a few months back during the peak of the COVID situation in April 2020. I completed my Bachelor’s in Home Science with a specialization in Child Development. The faculty of Human Development and Childhood Studies at Lady Irwin college had a grave influence on my thinking growing up during college days. I found it like my true calling; getting into the mind of kids and understanding their growth and perspective. I use to adore my open debates and conversation with the senior lecturers at the Department. There was this sudden sense of freedom and I found it liberating to think about the world according to children. It was crazy when I couldn’t clear the examination to pursue a Master’s in HDCS, as I strongly felt it was my true calling. But I guess destiny had other plans and I landed up at Jamia Milia Islamia for my post-graduation in Development Communication where I discovered and developed a passion for photography and video editing. The camera has not left me since then! At one point I wanted to be a documentary filmmaker, but somehow that never took off but I am glad whatever came the way I did it with full passion.

Pregnancy, Delivery: The Journey

“Antara is named after our love for music and Antriksh is driven from our passion for astronomy”

When we were expecting, I was looking for an experiential video about having a baby in Singapore but couldn’t find anything that would satisfy my curiosity from a mother’s perspective. Something friendly and easy to relate to. Since we moved to Singapore in 2018, we’re relatively new to the country. I decided to fill the gap myself and ended up making videos about my journey during pregnancy to help others like ourselves. My videos are extremely candid and raw and it struck a chord with the local Indian Expat community who recently featured this in their journal (Singapore NRI Buzz). The idea was to simply help expecting couples with personal information from my experience and to convey details like options and expenses to assist with budgeting.  

My most popular video is – Cost of baby delivery in Singapore

“Girls just wanna have fun! And boys watch”

Nostalgia Nights

Like any other Indian kid, I have some beautiful memories of growing up during the 90s. I belonged to a middle-class family with strong emotional bonds. We were a family of five – papa, mummy, my two sisters, and myself. I had a happy and healthy childhood. My father had a grave influence on us. He was like our best friend, so after his demise in 2010, I always felt a vacuum and rush of mixed emotions. Over the years I realized nostalgia worked as a therapy for me. Reminiscing childhood stories with my daughter made me feel a a deep sense of closeness with my memories and brought back the joy about the time we spent in those years. We started having weekend Nostalgia Nights, me and my 6 year old daughter. In a foreign land, these stories just helped us stay rooted and became our way of destressing. My daughter always gets excited about my childhood stories and this gave birth to idea of filming Nostalgia Nights. Nostalgia and child development is a great combination, it ignites so many images and emotions in a child. They feel more emotionally connected with the narrator, here the parent. She also showed a preference for storytelling sessions with me, sometimes even above screen time. This is something very close to my heart. Usually no script is involved and when I film I tend to get carried away by the narrative. Nostalgia Nights has struck a chord with many young parents and when I uploaded these on YouTube and Instagram, I receive many message urging me to persist with the task. I guess parents are happy to share stories about growing up, about our times, our childhood, our moments, our learnings and lessons of life.

My most popular video is – Nostalgia Nights with Nautanki Mom – Papa Ka Scooter and also Ghar ghar

My other video categories are :

Memes – Memes on Instagram (Moms and Social Media)

Funny Videos – Comedy

Life in Singapore

Story Telling & Book Review

Behind the Scenes – Since I am a new mom and mother of two, it is tricky to balance, but I am pushing the envelope and will continue doing so! Most of my work is not scripted, I usually don’t get a chance to reshoot, so I make it work it with the footage I have. I mostly shoot when my elder one is at school (yes schools are open here in Singapore, thankfully!). I edit videos late into the night when all around me are asleep and I can work in peace while on my breastfeeding duty. It’s crazy, I never planned all this but now with the kind of feedback, I am getting I want to be fully committed and work harder! My mother is one of my biggest motivator and so much so she is learning Youtube and Instagram to extend her full support towards Nautanki Mom.

Here are some pictures from the Family Album that Nautanki Mom has generously shared with us.

“Goofing around is our favourite pastime”
“Hope this one looks like me…..DNA questionable? :P”
Dress-up days!
“My pup’s first Rakshabandhan. Super Special!”
“Late night quiet time with the pups……. waiting for them to sleep to get on with my video editing”

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