Eight story-tellers kept the audience hanging on to their every word
It is remarkable how quickly time passes when someone tells a story. They were short stories, 10 minutes long to be precise. They were gripping, moving or just plain funny. That’s Y On the Go bustled with enthusiastic story tellers and listeners alike at a short story competition organised by the Coimbatore Art and Theatrical Society (CATS).
Pierce Nigli was the moderator and Pheroza Hataria, on behalf of her mother-in-law Dhinoo, started by reading an article on an imaginary conversation between Gandhi and Richard Branson. Appropriate. After all, it was Martyr’s Day.
Minoo Vania read out several stories of his own. The first story wrote itself after he read about a “terribly interesting species of spider called Argiope that has eight eyes and as many legs”. But, like his other stories on the lion and the lamb and the shepherd lad who felt like a king, it was a simple narrative on the face of it, but a philosophical commentary on the vagaries of life at a deeper level. Those who wanted to, could see that clearly. From the simple, the tone went sombre, darker and more difficult to fathom. Jayashree Murthy told of a friend’s horrible experience of being molested by a family member. It brought home how unsafe a girl could be, even at home.
English teacher Babu Kuppuswamy built up suspense as he read aloud One Last Job by Chris Rose. It had everyone leaning forward on their chairs. It ended with a bang! Literally.
Madhumita Varadaraj’s A series of half and quarter narratives was evocative and haunting and, at the same time, refreshingly matter-of-fact. So, she “turned the salmon on to the pink side” as she quoted Neruda. Quite unforgettable, and sounded more like poetry than prose. The lines were addressed to a mysterious Leila. One wished one could have heard more of Madhumita.
Guy De Muppasant was reintroduced to the audience by Rajeev Mathur who read out the master storyteller’s work that bordered on the scary. Unfortunately, it was way too long and Mathur had to stop half way. But he came back later to tell us what happened in the end.
Rohini Christopher shared a real life incident, and called it Leheri, the wave that touched my life. It was about an encounter with an orphan girl child when Rohini was just 19. Rohini’s tale was moving in its simplicity and emotion. Colonel Suresh, come lately to Coimbatore, splendidly told a story called The Judgement of Paris. And the evening drew to a close with young Shivaguru’s Wannabe’s Lovechild, a story about a man sharing his life story with a psychiatrist in the presence of his mother and his daughter. Sivaguru won the third prize for his effort, while the second prize went to Colonel Suresh for his crisp and clever story, and the first to Rohini.
The judges for the event were Mini Fowler, Srividya Sivakumar and Ranjan Ebenezer Thomas.
“We must do this more often,” was the response to the evening. Indeed, to spend a couple of hours devoid of loud music, glaring screens, fuss and fanfare, just simply sitting around and listening someone telling us a story was refreshing and pleasurable. There were many more stories waiting to be told, and K.V Siddhartha of CATS, promised they would be, in another evening such as this.