Friday, January 08, 2016

What Is Your Story?

By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, January 08, 2016

Some stories are fascinating. Some stories are compelling. Some stories are heartbreaking while some are comical. Some stories are engaging while some are aloof. Some stories are stirring. Some are beautiful, and some are enlightening. Stories come in a lot of forms, they are conveyed through various mediums. They are sung, written, made into movies, but every story is powerful.

My obsession with stories and their charm began at a really tender age. I remember relishing stories right from the time I've heard the first story. During one Summer vacation, my grandmother narrated Ramayana to me, in parts every night before I went to sleep. There was no looking back after that. I would ask, plead, force my grandparents, parents, uncles, and aunts, and everyone I knew to tell me stories -- to tell me all that they heard and read. And then, I took to reading. I discovered a new world through the words of various writers. I loved Binya's world that Ruskin Bond created or how simply stupid Ramu and Shamu were!

It was an entirely new world and I wanted to devour everything I came across. But I've also harboured a nasty habit of envying characters and some stories. Often I would imagine myself as a character from my favourite stories. I desperately wanted to know how Pip felt when he left everything behind and moved to London. My love for Great Expectations is eternal yet I envied Pip, you know because he had the opportunity to live in a city that did not belong to him. I wanted to be there, witness it, just watch how he transformed from a young boy into a man who knew his priorities and values. When I was a child, I also wanted to be 'The Little Prince' and ridiculously wrote that in school essays that asked me to write about my future plans. Sure, I was too young then but it did not stop after I grew up too. When I read 'Pride and Prejudice', I wanted to know how it would be to be Elizabeth Bennet, to be loved so dearly by Darcy, or how amazing it would be if I were Watson, accompanying Sherlock Holmes in all his adventures and misadventures. What a delight would that be!

I did not stop with just that. I wanted to listen to the stories that people would tell. When my friends would tell me about something, I always wanted to know more. I would yell at them "Start from the, no, do not cut down those details," or I would ask them if there was more to the story and if they were hiding something. I would gently nudge them to let me into their world. Into their stories. Sometimes, I would envy the stories or the lives that people around me would live, have lived. I find myself rushing to do a lot of things at a time, greedy for doing more and living more only to realize that I am already living one. That when I wake up in the morning to go do a job that I love, it is a story. Or when I meet a friend after ages and talk like we talked yesterday, it still is a story. Everyone around us is entitled to them. We are all diverse individuals, bubbling with stories full of hope, love, joy. Stories where you have a tingling feeling after you kiss a boy in a certain emergency exit, or when you sit under the moonlight when your friend talks about poetry. Remember the kind of stories we all lived when we would spend a night with our friends or siblings after an examination or the one where we walk on the streets of our hometown with our cousins while eating an ice-cream. I mean, there you go! There are so many of them.

Maybe I did realize it a little late, but the best stories are often not told, read, or written. They are experienced.



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