Sunday, July 18, 2010

"I know someone who told stories to me"

I had copied the following words from somewhere in one of my old diaries – I used to record my favourite quotes and passages those days.

You may have tangible wealth untold,

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,

Richer than I you could never be;

I know someone who told stories to me.

Reading it now, I was intrigued about the author of these lines. I googled it and was even more intrigued. These lines were attributed to Cynthia Pearl Maus. And the same lines with a different ending were attributed to Strickland Gillilan. It ended thus: “ I had a Mother who read to me.”

I do not know who was the real author of the said lines. But I could identify with Cynthia Pearl’s verse as I know someone who told stories to me – My father. He was a good story teller. He would patiently weave stories, bring before our eyes the characters and we would be transported to strange worlds. Tom Sawyer, Gulliver’s travels, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Robin Hood, Water Babies, Mahabharat and so many other stories that he made up in a jiffy – I only have to close my eyes and I can see my father recount the stories in measured tones and the children utterly captivated by the mesmerising tales.

I never tired of listening to two stories – Merchant of Venice and A Tale of two cities. Shylock and his bitter speech would be told in glorious detail and though life at that age was seen only in black and white, he tried to describe the shades of grey. I understood the anguish of Shylock much later and could commiserate with him now. As for A Tale of two cities, apart from Sidney Carton and Miss. Manette, Evremonde is somehow etched in my mind. The story of Evremonde running his chariot over a peasant boy, and then throwing a coin to the peasant, the girl with brain fever mumbling all the time, Dr.Manette hunched over making shoes and Sydney Carton facing the guillotine are so vivid in my imagination, as if I had seen the entire novel happen.

Story telling is an art. It calls for patience, imagination, involvement and most of all love for the listener. It is entirely due to him, that I have developed a voracious appetite for books and an unending thirst for knowledge. I am sustained by what I read and learn. My father has thus given me the one most valuable gift – a treasure for which I am thankful to him. So I knew someone who told stories to me and made me richer than I could ever hope to be.


krishnakumar said...

Good one. didnt know you had a blog. Not one to advertise, eh? Can you send me a link everytime you write.

anitha said...

just saw your blog. as u have expressed, weaving stories is an art. now if feel even i could have done this to my children, but i am not good at telling stories. i wonder how ur dad managed to tell u so many stories.

Geetha said...

Thank you KK and Anitha.

wen u knw the purpose of existance, u knw, u have lived a life worth living!! said...


i love thaatha ... my fortunate few moments with him.

i will cherish for a lifetime.

i saw abi mechanically when i was reading the last para! :)

Sankar said...

You are very lucky in that way Geetha! I hope u continue your father's legacy with Abi!
Unfortunately I always spent my school days only with academic books -:(

prema -just sharing my thoughts said...

hai geetha, agreed story telling is an art whereas the same created a healthy appetite in u for reading, i guess it has made my children too lazy to read books.. rather they prefer that i read the books and narrate even today...

Geetha said...

@ Prema ....Yeah. I agree. It happens. But my father's ploy was to read a book halfway, leave it at some interesting point and make me read the rest. Though it was frustrating then, I now realise he got me to read by making me angry.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

you r right gEETHA! STORIES HAVE A great impact on us ...irrespective of age ! when i think of stories.. i think of my grandmother ! she would weave exotic stories and deliver them with such drama that I used to look forward to the summer vacaions when i could spend time with her. at the age of 75 with a 7th grade education she is still an inspiration . she is an author, has won awards in konkani she whiles away her time reading books and doing crosswords...and sudoku!
i am sure you will pass on this passion for books to Abhi

Priya said...

Legacy passed down to Abi.She is so far the best story teller that I ever met.