Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Of endings and storytellings
I have always loved listening to stories. When I was a small child, I used to have two rounds of story telling everyday. One by my muthassan and the other, by achan. Muthassan always slept early, and so the first story telling or rather, listening as it was the case with me, was always with muthassan.
My muthassan was never like other grandparents. He wasn't the stay at home person. My muthassan was always busy, travelling throughout the country, staying at home only for a couple of days at a stretch every month, and so for me, every minute with him was precious. Everyone was scared of my muthassan. He had a hot temper, and he lost it quite frequently. I confess I was scared too, but then I was a small child, and small children always manage to escape the wrath....of anyone.
Muthassan always told me tales from the puranas-The Mahabharata, Ramayana, Jataka tales, the Panchatantra...all the stories that has ever been published in the Amar Chitra Katha Series and much more. My muthassan always had the knack of actually telling stories and not just narate them. Through his stories, I saw Ravana with his 10 heads and twenty arms, I saw the sudarshana chakra of Sree Krishna, I saw visions of a little squirrel rolling on the sand, helping Lord Rama build the Rama Sethu...I would listen enchanted, as muthassan reeled off stories, day after day, one after the other. I still wonder how Ravan managed when he got a cold. Wouldnt all his 10 heads sneeze at the same time? I wish I had lived at the time of Birbal and Tansen, of Shivaji and of Hanuman, I wish I could see Lord Ganesa eat at a feast...coz muthassan always spoke of these people as real people, people you and I might have known, people who would have been interesting to talk to and meet up with.
I've told you that my muthassan wasnt always at home. So sometimes, he had to leave a story unfinished,beacuse he had to travel the next day, and wasnt there at home to complete the story...I didnt like this much. It meant I would have to wait days, probably weeks to listen to the rest of the story. In the meanwhile,I would conjure up endings on my own. I would make Rama and Ravana fight inside my head. I would end stories my way, and make new tales out of old ones. I would continue this everyday making up different endings everyday, till muthassan was back to complete his story with the real ending....
I miss having stories told to me. I miss making up endings to stories. I miss my muthassan...as i told you, he was the best muthassan ever...