A couple of days back, I was at a friend’s place and he was trying hard to teach a lesson to his younger brother. Lesson, as in, a literal one. (There was no domestic violence on the younger slave-like brother). He was trying to explain him a lesson from the younger one’s literature book.
The chapter was “Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory” by the maestro, Satyajit Ray. My friend tried hard and he was able to complete the story in just the right time with the perfect pronunciations. The younger one couldn’t understand much about the little twist in the story. “You lack imagination”, my friend lashed out on the younger one. True, right! Now, literature is not like your regular Physics or Chemistry. You need to imagine, evolve, retrospect, question. You need to get into the shoes of a character to really get the story, to really “get the point”.
This is where, in my honest opinion, most of us fail. We judge people too fast. We judge cinemas too quick. We diss a story instantaneously. We judge and judge. Had my friend not adjudged the story as one with an easy-to-understand twist, he would not have gotten angry that soon. There would have been no lambasting on the poor child. But, that’s a talk for some other time.
Today, let’s focus on the lost art of storytelling.
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it
There were times when we used to get intrigued by the Rakshas and the Princess. The damsel was in distress and the hero would protect her eventually. The ending was clichéd. We knew the outcome of every story even before it started. Yet, we were glued to our grandmothers’ lap and gazing at the stars. This star-gazing of sorts gave rise to an imagination beyond imagination. Today, we are living a fantasy with gadgets in our pockets. We are all heroes in our own life. So much so that we have forgotten the charm of these classic old stories.
There were folklores, legends, mythological beings, and what not at our disposal. All that one needed to get into the land of fantasy was the lap. The clear night sky was just a catalyst to believing these myths. The happy ending was evident, but the road to it was tough. We have vouched for the hero, pitied the princess, got angry at the monster. We have all been there, all due to the art of storytelling our favourite sexagenarians possessed. Now we are not even close to a mere percent of that art.
Today, I wish if I could get back to the old woman’s lap, switch off my smartphones and get lost in the world of magic, belief, and most importantly hope. These wishes can’t come true anymore due to several reasons, but we can do a bit for the art that is getting lost. All of us, the generation which has experienced it all, should vow to try and tell a story to our younger ones. Younger brothers, sons, daughters, even to ourselves. We all need these stories to come back. The art of storytelling is going down; let’s bring it back to its glory. Let’s put hands together and revive the best form of education, the best form of conversation and imagination.
There is no right way of educating about the right things. But, stories in their truest form can bring characters to life. Let’s enact. Be a character. Get kids and adults to imagine. Let the fairies and angels be true. Let’s take the first step by telling a story to a young kid from our family, from our neighbourhood. Let the hope come back in our lives.
It is the time we tell Bepin Babu’s story and not read it. For once, let’s keep our pronunciations aside and tell stories.
Rudyard Kipling Quote Image Source: Pinterest
Featured Image Source: The Loft