Born into a simple working-class – thoughtfully liberal family in Dehradun, Shalini Bansal grew up fighting with but equally caring for her younger siblings: brother and sister. As both the parents were in 9-to-5 jobs (mother served at ONGC – father served an ordnance factory) —and, being an elder one, Shalini always had a motherly instinct towards her brother and sister— she always felt responsible for them. Shalini completed her graduation in the year 1999, and started her first job at NIIT as a faculty of Computer Sciences, and her next five-years progressed serving in Information Technology sector. In the year 2003 Shalini got married to Vinay Bansal, and in 2007 gave birth to her first child — her motherhood took precedence and she took a sabbatical (here while caring for her daughter, she remembered all those golden-days of listening to magical stories narrated by her Nani (maternal grandmother) and Dadi (paternal grandmother)— she read out such lovely stories to her daughter). Soon, with her family Shalini moved to the United States of America. In U.S. she explored the Public Library, where she took her daughter along to the various programs conducted for children. During one such program, there was a story telling session -the librarian asked the present parents to volunteer and read out a story for the gathered children — Shalini volunteered and passionately and animatedly read the story — Shalini’s story telling prowess impressed everyone, including the librarian —and, immediately Shalini got an offer by the librarian to be her assistant at work. Initially, Shalini assisted at the library as a part-time assistant and after the completion of the ‘Early Childhood Development’ course, she started working in the same library full time.
In the year 2010 Shalini gave birth to her second child — and in the year 2012, she moved back to India at Noida, UP. She wanted to pursue her most loved activity of ‘story-telling’, and she started working as a free-lancer at Pre-Schools and educational institutions for kids. Now, for the past eight-and-a-half years, Shalini has been a working as a consultant, and a professional ‘story-teller’. In the year 2013, Shalini founded ‘The Magic Tree’ -a Parent and Child Centre, which caters to children in the age group of nine months to seven year old children. At, ‘The Magic Tree’, children have an interactive reading space, and regular story sessions conducted in association with international storytellers, authors, and book publishers, so children can interact with these renowned authors and storytellers. ‘The Magic Tree’, also facilitates a holistic approach to stimulate bonding between parent and child.
Today, Shalini’s work in the field of early education has been recognised by various universities and she has also been felicitated at various educational institutions for her commendable duties. Shalini mentions that the kids she nurtures with her story-telling are her inspiration -she says, “It has been a joy watching their excitement — the spark in their eyes when they see any picture book,”. Shalini believes her honesty is her strength, it helps her to establish a natural connect with children around her. Shalini credits her husband and kids for their unconditional tremendous support, and for encouraging her to pursue her dreams. Narrating her further moves, Shalini says, “I want to create an awareness among parents to let their children be kids, they are never going to be this age ever again -so enjoy their childhood with them — do not expect too much from them — let them grow — make learning fun for kids — I want to tell parents that: it is fine if kids are making a mess —they are just in the phase of exploring new things all around them. Children are cognitive learners — as parents they need to be patient and have a sense of understanding for kids.” Shalini’s further advice to young parents is: “Each and every parent should read to their child everyday — story reading or telling is a great bonding activity between the parent and child — children will cherish these reading or story telling sessions throughout their whole lives. So do these wholeheartedly, and make memories with your kids,”
And, finally in her message to today’s women, Shalini says, “Once you are passionate about something and you believe that it is worth trying —then, ‘Just-Do-It’, — there is no right-time or wrong-time, ‘now is the only best-time’: say this, and go ahead — ‘Just – Do – It,”