Tag Archives: Stories

145: We’re All About A Story

25 May

Yesterday‘s post still hasn’t gone past me completely. Today I found myself sharing Cory Richard’s story in class because it had some connection and relevance to what I’ve been teaching them the past fortnight. And needless to say, everyone sat in rapt attention, heat waves billowing through the windows and all. It reinforced my belief which took root in me the moment I held a camera for the first time – that we’re all about a story; each and every one of us. Of course I’d sound cheap if I said that I’ve always dreamed of doing what today is popularly called HONY. You’d most likely turn around and say, well why didn’t you do it, stupid? or you’d perhaps just laugh in my face and look at me funny, if you were more the blunt types. Perhaps one day when we need a break, I will have something substantial to offer. Someday. 

We’re all a bunch of experiences that make a marvellous story irrespective of how ornately we present it. For once words, fancy gadgets, apertures, camera angles, and privileges don’t matter – just who we are, what we do, and what we’re made up of that counts. It boils down to our innate need to feed our curiosities, our voyeuristic tendencies sometimes, and even just our plain love for stories. Some of us lap it up in the form of books, poems, movies, tv shows, novellas, even photographs and songs, and more. I guess it’s one thing that will always sell because we always want to know, even when we don’t want to know.

This was from one of my favourite visits, somewhere in a town steeped in history, mythology, and a stopped clock.

On our visit to commemorate my grandmother-in-law last year, we stopped by to feed a small settlement that had made its home around my mother-in-law’s generational family temple. And this, by far, was my most prized privilege – having this child speak to me with nothing more than a mouth stuffed with puris and halwa, his eyes, and his smile.

With every street in this mythical town lined with sweetmeat shops, because this is the land of Lord Krishna, the lover of all things milk and sweet, I chanced upon this vendor during a cool summer evening walk as I explored the gullies less travelled. He didn’t have much, and neither did his shop have the sheen of the religious wealth this town boasts of. But he smiled, allowed me to click him, and wished me as I went along. Again, a lot said, with not many words.

My favourite, after meeting the child, was stopping midway and running across wheat fields to this. The irony is that we come from the same land, the same lingual roots, but couldn’t communicate with language as I was so confident we would. But then, on she went, in her own striped shirt with her bundle on her head, off with a smile that just the two of us shared with each other.

I’ve come to believe that we really are a bundle of stories, each with a different fingerprint, and a legacy that is ours and ours alone. And we all do fall asleep to these stories, unaware that grandma’s tales are yours and mine and each other’s equally.

For more pictures from this trip, please visit my post here.

Wealth And Riches

8 Sep

I’m beginning to realise that the one thing that truly makes the world spin and get off its ass and work and just be nimble, is money. I don’t come from this school of thought and neither was I raised to believe that money was everything. Values, morals, hard work, respect and integrity, love…this is what I’ve grown up believing to be the way forward, and consequently imbibing. But it turns out that not everyone’s loci of motivation lies in these seemingly idealistic characteristics. Sad it is, but real it also is.

Work doesn’t get done unless there’s moolah dangled at the end of a stick; that extra bright orange carrot everyone wants a bite of and fast, and lots of, to be sure. Money makes you powerful, indispensable and supreme apparently. It’s ironic though, that something as fluid as money, rarely promises to stay – in whichever form. I remember my grandma telling me this story? about Lakshmiji, the Goddess of Wealth, back when we used to keep each other company till late at night – her with her stories and writing, me always thirsty for another story, another anecdote. It goes like this – she told me to remember that Goddess Lakshmi always visits everyone in her own way and in her own time; it’s just for us to become aware of her presence and her gifts she leaves behind. In the midst of this never ending search and thirst for wealth, she can cross your path in two ways – one on her vahan (vehicle) which is an owl, and the other when she comes with Lord Vishnu; The Protector and Preserver, The All Pervading One. Her visits with her owl (called ulloo in Hindi, also colloquially used to denote a fool), while overflowing with all the riches and more one could ever dream of, can also render one useless and bereft of everything else that makes a human being holistically rich; thus leaving her benefactor poorer than they could ever imagine. Her visits with Lord Vishnu however, indicate the provision and arrival of wealth that is hard earned, valuable, clean and perennial – one that would arrive to stay.

Deep stuff, eh?

No wonder we used to stay up nights – she because of her perpetual insomnia, and me because of the wondrous tales I’d get to hear in bargain for a quicker snooze (grandparents sleep faster while telling stories, it’s true). Such a fantastic give and take.

I just called her up to get my sketchy recollection of this story fixed, in fact. Great treasures and luxuries we’re blessed with, if you ask me.

Writing helps me. From what was turning out to be a day which promised to be irritatingly annoying and wrought with obstacles, because this world runs on money, I’m ending this post feeling richer than when I began writing it. I guess this is what it all boils down to; and this is how deep-rooted my upbringing really is. What a glowing reminder of the riches we have in our own capacities and ways, this was.

It also brings to mind those moral science books that were compulsorily enforced upon us as tiny tots. Whodathunk those big worded, large-font sentences would make their way past a pig-tailed child with a triangular-shaped hanky pinned to her, right through the pages of time to her memory?

Maybe I’ll stimulate and address this irritation another time – for right now I feel richer than I have felt in a long, long time.