A Tribute to the Greatest Storytellers in the World

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A world without stories is like a desert as good as dead. And the humanity owes a lot to the most amazing storytellers called “mothers” for saturating our universe with lively colours.

Today was the official launch of ടി.കെ. ശങ്കരനാരായണൻ Sir’s‪#‎Pharma_Market‬. As I sat in the venue listening to great men speak about books, words, and literature, I wondered who really taught us to tell stories? Who inspired us to read and retell tales of courage, heroics, sacrifice and love?

Even when we talk at length about legends like MT, Basheer, Eco, Marquez, Kafka and Orwell, we silently forget the sweethearts who taught even those great writers to imagine evergreen stories for us.

Yes, the storytellers who instilled the spirit of fables in the hearts of great men to pen down the greatest stories of all time. Their mothers….our mothers.

It is a reality that every generation grows up listening to stories that were passed down through ages.

If we look back into our pasts, we all owe a lot to our grandmas, grandpas and moms for the incredible stories that they have told us. Our growing up is in some way molded by the stories they have told us. From making us gobble down our food to lulling us to sleep to scaring us from exploring dark corners of the house, the stories they have invented have played a pivotal role in shaping us as individuals.

I don’t know from where the heaven they got this unimaginable skill of instant storytelling. A mysterious craft that baffles even the greates thinkers and intellects. A crow, a random cat, a lizard crouching for its pray, even a wierdly shaped cloud is used as an object to build a story. They achieve impossible levels of magic realism and yet make it look so simple. What is so special about those stories is that it is told and retold to serve a single purpose called love. The food feels strangely more tasty when it is mixed with with a motherly story. The sleep is exceptionally deep when we fall into its lap with a fine little tale. Stories. Tales. Dreams. Wawoooo….what a blessed generation we are to have slept and woken and run and dived and flown and cried and drank and ate and dressed and pee to those amazing gems. Stories!!!!

I remember my mother threatening me with this strange story about the ‘Onida’ devil coming out of the TV Screen if I waste food. And this “Onida TV”karan became a part of numerous horror stories that made me a crazily obedient boy. I will never forget the numerous stories from Ramayana and Mahabharatha that made me eat, sleep and pray as a kid. Now, years later, I wonder what if all those stories were not there and if at all there, what if my mom had kept it away from me?

Gives me a nightmare 😦

Every day, at least once I thank my dear mom for all the stories she told me with utmost fervor and love. I thank her for taking me to a bookstore instead of a toy store or a textile shop or a cinema on the day she got her salary. I thank her for not putting me in front of a cartoon show to make her job of feeding me easier. A million kisses for telling me crazy, out-of-the-box stories about anything and everything 😦

We are nothing without those stories and we are nothing but those stories. Stories shape us and fashion an entire generation.

But, how many mothers are telling stories today? Do they carry stories in their hearts at least? To be more precise, how many mothers get time to patiently tell a story to their baby, pointing at the infinite stretch of white clouds or a big jackfruit hanging from a tree? How many mothers can we find today taking time off their busy schedule carrying their kid on their waist with a food bowl in their hand, walking across the lawn and telling a beautiful story about stars and good kings and beautiful princesses? How many mothers lull their little one with a sweet, nighttime story? We can hardly find any.

Life is fast. Between managing a career and a family, it is difficult to spend hours telling a story to make a child eat a few spoonful of food. Yes. Life is fast. An easy workaround is to put them in front of the TV. Play a Cartoon Channel or an animation video that will do the trick. But, the nectar of imagination and stories would never be fed that way. Our children are lost in the visual world that someone else has created while chewing their food. They are not listening to the stories that his mother tells. Our children are not so lucky to hear their grandma’s fable about the “Fox that Cheated the Pig” because grandparents are miles away, fighting a solitary battle with their own shadows. They have nobody to tell stories to. Those beautiful stories they got from their parents and the same stories they passed on to their children will be lost forever. Lost in the mist and rush of time. Lost under the annals of a fast, materialistic life.

I always wanna tell my dear friends who are parenting and bringing up their tiny tots that if you do not bring up your child amidst stories, they won’t have any stories to tell the world once they grow up. And the world without stories is, as I said in the beginning, a desert as good as dead. I find it disheartening to see parents taking their children to all kinds of public events and public places except for that relating to art and literature.

We can see parents taking children to pompous marriage receptions, senseless movies and mundane religious events, but abstain from taking their small ones to a library or a literary event or an art exhibition. Then years later those same parents complain that their child lacks imagination, skill and reading habit. How will he? You have not shown the sense to pass down even a fraction of the imagination that your own ancestors have given you. Then how will your child have the gene to imagine and love words in his DNA? Have you at least taken your child once in a while to watch the evening sea? To make him silently study the infinite ocean meeting the eternal sky at a finite point on Earth?

The golden wind of words and stories shall blow afresh. We think that knowledge is the most important thing in this world. We run behind it as if mad.But, I feel it is more important to dream.

As Albert Einstein once said… “Imagination is more important knowledge…”

Srinath Krishnamoorthy

mom

 

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