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The world can never get enough storytellers

Books, as variegated as they come, make for the best sort of companions in the different phases of our life.

People take on a variety of roles and responsibilities in their lifetime. Some become academicians, some businessmen, others consultants, teachers, and technocrats. But it is storytellers who have intrigued me the most. Storytellers constitute a special breed of people. What begins as just an idea in their head, is poured on to endless pages of paper to form a vivid picture, a piece of the author’s heart — a story. Every single time that story is read and re-read, a new facet comes alive.

I was introduced to the world of stories by my mother. With each bite of aaloo parantha, she also fed me a staple diet of the Book of Classic Fairy Tales. Bedtime would be incomplete without tales from the Panchatantra. Such short tales, and such precious lessons. Good grades in school made me eligible to a month’s supply of Archie comics.

Friends, gained and lost

As I moved from primary school to the secondary wing, so did my love for the titles of the St. Clare’s series to those of the Malory Towers series. I gained and lost many friends during the tumultuous teens, but Enid Blyton remained my constant companion.

In my 20s, I read Maximum City and saw Mumbai through Suketu Mehta’s eyes and decided it was my favourite city in the world. Dongri to Dubai by Hussain Zaidi kept me up all night. I met ‘the man of my dreams’ with Mills and Boon, long before Fawad Khan became a sensation! Shobha De’s Starry Nights gave me a sneak peek into the dark, captivating world of the Indian film industry. Forty Rules of Love by Elif Safak became my in-house counsellor. A piece of my heart still lies with the abused and tormented ‘Hasan’ of Khalid Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. And, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things taught me a simple yet profound lesson about what carelessly uttered words can do: “They make people love you a little less.”

Since then, I’ve ‘known’ many a writer. Reading someone’s work is almost like knowing them at a personal level. A reader establishes a strange, yet wonderful, connection with the author. With every word, one hears a voice. With every sound, one paints a picture. How powerful is a storyteller! He engages, binds, and transports one to a different world.

Jonathan Gottschall put it beautifully: “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Storytelling is a little bit of magic. Only instead of waving a magic wand, you weave a story — an inspiring, gripping, enchanting story, woven with words straight from the heart.

seeratsandhu25@yahoo.com

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 4:21:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/The-world-can-never-get-enough-storytellers/article14545968.ece

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