Your Stories, My Stories and Our Stories – Stories on Storytelling
Storytelling has different forms and showcases different facets of life as we travel to different parts of the world – it is the culture, it is the traditions, it is the customs, these nuanced ingredients blends up beautifully to provide the perfect recipe. The special flavour and subtle aroma makes a world of difference to many such similar stories as it comes from different corners of the world – people and places; their interpretation and their perspectives, though the countries, India to Italy and continents, Australia to Africa keep us apart but these imaginative stories have common threads and we are collectively connected.
Puppets to masks to music to dance to poetry to plays coincidentally play their profound part in performing those stories in front of riveting audiences absorbing the very act of storytelling.
It was happening in the open under a TREE TALK where people gathered and the narrator shared the story…storytelling hasn’t changed but the surrounding has changed – and now it is happening in an enclosure under the banner TED TALK where people gather and the narrator shares the story.
Dastangoi, once a popular form of storytelling in Central Asian countries, it is a blend of two Persian word “Dastan” meaning story and “Goi” meaning telling. This form of storytelling tells tales on magic to adventure to warfare. Agta, a group of hunter gathers from Philippines, as they move around places, they keep gathering new stories and keep sharing. Storytelling is a universal human trait, and it has been portrayed as important human adaptation. As humans have evolved, the art of storytelling concurrently has contributed to the betterment of the human life and the art of living through listening to some of the most fascinating stories.
The very act of storytelling is a process of building social bondage and fostering better human relationships. The heart of human existence is in the art of making beautiful human relationships.
Rag to rich stories, lost love to best lover story, getting haunted by a ghost to hunting the ghost out of life – there are these legends, the myths, the fables, the parables to the stories from mythologies. Once upon a time those great stories but stories are unfolding right now, right here…there are poignant stories scattered across the battered towns and cities trapped in civil wars, as we peep into the eyes of those innocent children suffering the battle of ethnic, religious and political supremacy in Syria to Yemen, the battle for provisions in the sub-Sahara Africa to peace in sub-Terrain Afghanistan. When you look at these children spattered with bloods in their face being lifted out of that concrete debris, the question that hits us hard what wrong have they made and why are these naïve children being heedlessly targeted. Doesn’t their agonizing story matter to us?
Is there something called humanity in existence?
Are these group of people behind the gun are devoid of heart?
Are they blindfolded?
Is their mind clouded with vengeance beyond redemption and is that they just cannot see anything else?
Stories of children, walk into the rehabilitation camps where these children are unmindful of the imminent disaster that have struck them where they had lost their parents and now they are thrown into an uncertain future and here they are with strangers and trying to stage a new community. They have just left a past of danger and now they have a doubtful future, present appears as an oasis in the desert of deserted life. They cannot think, they cannot question, they have no options, they are helpless and they are merely going through the motion of life devoid of all emotions. The heart-wrenching stories of these innocents children…
Every story counts. We all have so many stories to tell – some are fascinating and others are aren’t; just that we hesitate to express. We negate our own thought. We undermine our own stories. We reject our own hypothesis. People are waiting there to hear our side of the story…
We are inspired by hearing to powerful stories told by people around us. We are moved by listening to other’s others, but what about our own stories. Where are we as protagonist, why should we always think ourselves to be the antagonist? We have also gone through the struggle, the agony and the fight to finish, may not always be on the podium but definitely the finish line and everybody are not able to do that and we are done a better job.
Rakugo, the traditional Japanese art of storytelling, started as a form of entertainment for common citizens during the Edo Period (1603–1868). Entertainers would perform the generally humorous monologues, but gradually specialists emerged. Performances are generally based on farcical comedy or compassionate human drama. These are now known as rakugoka. It is the job of the rakugoka to inspire the imagination of the audience through the dexterity employed in portraying the world of the story. There are still storytellers today who specialize in the classic rakugo anecdotes first told in the Edo period, which has been passed down from master to disciple through the years.
Life is relative but stories are absolute. We have to put our stories in the screen and signal to others to come and see our stories and let them get moved and inspired by us. It needs the ignition. It needs the determination. It needs the fuel to galvanize the stagnated vehicle within us.
Stories doesn’t have any specific colour nor that it works well on any particular canvas, it is all in the hands of the painter who moves the brush and the strokes follows and there is apparently no pattern and then suddenly the painter as the storyteller tells a beautiful story all decked up in myriad colors.
For ages fascinating stories have emanated from the Land of Arabs, and we have been hooked to the Arabian Tales…source of legends and fables. The bold adventures of kings to the passion of romancing their beautiful queens, the myths about warriors and the religious mythology of the world gone by…there are thousands of stories of the bygone eras. Hakawati, is a storyteller. One of the most engrossing age old storytelling traditions, motif rich storytelling technique now dotted with drama, satire and spectacle make the audience enthralled. The word has its origin from terms hekaye and haki, in Arab the former means story and the later means talk. Anybody who talked about stories is lavishly branded as hakawati. There were no other means of entertainment and audiences gathered in front of such hakawati in rapt attention to listen to tales of valor to tragedy of vanquish and there were joy, love, hope and happiness at the end to fleeting lift them from the pool of sorrow and misery.
In the standard structure of a story – it has to have a beginning, the middle and the end…there is a setting, there is a struggle, there is a solution and there is a summary that we all can carry back home. Master Storytellers break the rules and set the agenda, the art of storytelling gets crafted through their masterly ingenuity. In life it all happens and we are mere actors as characters, life is a drama, and we are perennial artist, and we don’t need a script and it is impromptu and it is instinct and it is the action that makes us a true hero or a tyranny of a villain. Once the event is over we have all the ammunition in our hands to fire in translating that life experience into a fictional screenplay. We do all that is needed to decorate the fact as it is suppose to be a fictional take on the factual occurrence.
Many of us when we write a story we prick the imagination and pick the hazy images stored in our memory bank over the years of observations and experiences.
As a writer we merge it seamlessly and we stitch together the fabrics of fact and fiction in a way that as reader we don’t witness the fractured part of the layers so subtly dovetailed into the composition of the story, the art of storytelling lies in the craft of weaving the words into our thoughts.
Kaavadiya is an old rustic art form, more than (400-500) years. The Kaavadiyas are the storytellers. In the sand dunes of Rajasthan, Kawaad Bachana is a fascinating blend of picture painting, musical assortment and mythological tales. There is a belief that listening to stories while watching to painting purifies our souls and cleanses our impure thoughts. Initially this form of story telling interpreting pictures were on fabric but fabric unable to withstand the inclement weather, the artists moved onto the wooden shrines. Kawaads are nomadic and they move from village to village and stay put in each place for short duration and showcase their performance and then they move on to another place. The vintage shrine is painted with myriad colors and mythological characters. The temple structured shrine has a layers doors fastened. Unfastening of each door, Kawaad is opened and the stories are told as per the scenes on the doors. The stories go from door to door and the teammates rally as narrator the opening of new doors to tale new chapter in the story. The stories are inspired from mythology and there is lavish mention of the characters from the epics of Ramayana to Mahabharata. Being considered scared shrines, certain rituals are mandatory and donations keep coming for sustaining livelihood of the narrator.
Stories have been the bedrock of humanity and humanness, the connection and the collaboration out of the saga of storytelling leading to the core formation of communities, educating us, entertaining us, healing us, touching us and making our life meaningfully engaged in times of struggle and strife, it works in its own ways to mitigate the building anger and pent-up angst…providing us with the poise and the wit, the wisdom, the joy and the bliss that follows.
Indelible impressions these stories leave on us and marking their solid marks in our fluid hearts and making us eternally inspired.
Storytelling is a venture into the wonderful world of compassion and empathy. Stories bridge the seemingly unbridgeable differences between communities, cultures and countries. The glue, the binder and the power house of knowledge, wisdom and source of tapping of latent inspirations and resources for rejuvenating our hibernate imagination.