Spice of life | Stories reach where nothing else can | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Spice of life | Stories reach where nothing else can

Stories are celebrated as repositories of folk knowledge or accumulated wisdom, as relief from human condition, as entertainment enabling some cognitive processes and even as the best way to get yourself and your children to fall asleep

punjab Updated: Jun 29, 2017 21:38 IST
Ritu Kamra Kumar
Every story opens a window to experience the myriad situations offered by the world narrating epiphanies of everyday living.
Every story opens a window to experience the myriad situations offered by the world narrating epiphanies of everyday living. (Shutterstock)

Author Rudyard Kipling wrote, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

It’s true that kings and queens die but their stories remain alive. I spent much of my childhood with stories, thanks to my mother. There was something that drew me to small story books. I was hooked to them; colourful and copious, magical and memorable stories. My early memory of stories is what I first heard as a child from my mom. She would tell us the stories at night, perhaps it was during Ram Leela. It was my first memory of fear that Ravana would come and carry me off. It was here that I met Rama as a human being, Lord Krishna as a visionary and wanted to change Sita’s banishment.

My mother invented a treasure trove of tales for us in which she put whatever we liked -- a street, a depot, a school or a temple at any spot in our little world. Stepping into her shoes, I have been adept in crafting stories while making my toddler son finish his meals. Once my sister-in-law’s father sat there and he said that he too had waited eagerly for me to wrap up the unending story.

Stories reach where nothing else can. A businessman wanted his son to learn, in spite of efforts of many acharyas, the boy didn’t learn much. Finally it was through the Panchtantra stories that the boy excitedly learnt the underlying lessons.

Every story opens a window to experience the myriad situations offered by the world narrating epiphanies of everyday living. They act as maps allowing the younger generation to rediscover or reconnect with the legacy of reading. The genre of stories is small settings, small canvas, straightforward narration which feeds to non-demanding readers.

Stories are celebrated for many things, as repositories of folk knowledge or accumulated wisdom, as relief from human condition, as entertainment enabling some cognitive processes and even as the best way to get yourself and your children to fall asleep.

The basic point about stories is that they are the most common, most pervasive and probably the oldest way for humans to think. We human beings created myths, told stories and thereby developed an alternative reality in relation to a milieu within which we grew.

Yuval Hari, an Israeli historian, writes in his book ‘Sapiens: A Brief Historian of Mankind’ that “our imagination and our capacity to tell stories combined with our ability to work together, cooperate on any single theme, is the short of our long story of evolution”.

The so-called post-truth society is not primarily the result of our inability to focus on facts but it is due to our failure to read stories deeply that are wrapped up in the pages of books, to be read and told. Everyone can relate to them as they deal with human emotions and evolution .That is why schools and corporate houses are inculcating story-telling in their training process. Advertising also uses the story-telling to sell their ideas to our mind and we get trapped in an illusion of happiness.

Influence of stories can be traced to our lifestyle, habits and beliefs. Have we stopped listening and reading stories just because we have advanced technologically? We should have story-telling sessions. Inside each of us is a natural born story-teller waiting to be released. Tell your story so that the art of story-telling, which is striving hard to survive, may retain its place of pride.

The writer is a Yamunanagar-based college professor