Of late I have been distracted. I find myself looking at people more closely than before, eavesdropping conversations on the Metro or in the market place. I stop to look at sign boards, taking pictures, making mental notes and scribbling in my notebook. I am always looking for people with idiosyncrasies, twitches, ticks and unusual habits. I imagine their lives, personalities and behaviour. Before I know, these people take on characters and personalities in the stories I tell. When I tell stories to children I have often based animal characters on people I have met or seen. During trainings and workshops, I have often shared anecdotes and mini-stories by portraying people I meet. For example a father telling me in a sharp Haryanvi language that his son tears all the books he brings him. I like ‘performing’ people as I remember them! Easier to drive home a point when I ‘show’ how the event happened before me.
Visuals have always captivated me. If there is anything that I miss from my yester-life as a television producer, it has to be the joy of writing to visuals. However, being a practising storyteller has more than ever made up for it!
Today I look for stories in everything around me. I seek to find stories in nooks and corners of the city, in its people and places. In moments that pass me by, in visuals that we usually look and then overlook. There is a story in everything and everyone around us. It’s all up to you…whether you spot them, seek them and then tell them.
Your maid has a story to tell, a sign board showing directions has a story to tell.
A forgotten toy has a story to tell, a torn book at the kabadiwala has a story to tell.
A full-bellied mother carrying an infant has a story to tell, a man rubbing the corner of his eyes on the Metro has a story to tell.
A street child writing with a chalk on the footpath has a story to tell, a patient waiting to see a doctor has a story to tell.
So while I am just about starting to actively seek stories from strangers. I am also trying to test my imagination. What could be a possible back story? When I see something before me does a story brew in my head? And yes, sometimes my mind is buzzing with stories!
“What’s the Story?” I ask myself…and now I ask you too!
If you like stories, then join me in a fun storytelling exercise. Every fortnight I would share a picture / video, something that I may have taken or something that I would pick up from my friends (with permission of course!). You could send me a picture too. Here is what we do:
What’s the Story?
Here is what you could do…
- The picture may have a story of its own, so go ahead and share it.
- It may remind you of something / someone / somewhere…share the memory.
- Use your imagination and create a story, be original!
- Be creative, be ridiculous, be funny…there are no restrictions!
- Be descriptive…tickle our senses.
- Be crisp…you can use only 150 words to write the story!
- When posting on social media use the hashtags #WhatstheStory #YourStoryBag
I am hoping many stories will flow in. So even though there is a very strict word-limit (please write it on word and edit it), you could go ahead and send in more than one entry.
Every entry should be accompanied by your Name, Age, City, School / Profession.
All valid entries will be published on the blog and social media. So bring out the storyteller in you!
Not much of a writer? Don’t worry…no one is judging you or your writing skills.
If you don’t care to write, then send us a video with you telling your story. We’d be happy to post it on our YouTube Channel. You never know, you may become the next YouTube Storytelling Star!
This is not a competition (as yet), and the objective of this is exercise is to tickle our imaginations and have some fun. Most importantly it is be sensitive to the stories that exist around us. However, having said that it can be a terrific writing exercise for all of us.
What’s a Story is open to children and young adults as much as it is to ‘grown ups’, anyone who has an appetite for stories and storytelling.
Not sure if you have an appetite? Take a nibble and see it for yourself. We’d be very happy to help you tell your story! Below is the What’s the Story prompt and our story for it. Hope you enjoy it.
Manglu looked to the left and then to the right. That’s a school there! Is it dispersal time already? Maybe we can stand at the corner and do a few tricks. Maybe we would find a kid licking an ice cream. I haven’t eaten an ice cream in a very long time. Aah! Orange Lolly…that is such a delight! It’s only 5 rupees but two ice-creams every day is a luxury! I tell Kishen we need to save for ourselves and our future. I want him to get married, bring home a wife and have children. What happy family we will be! Monkeying around and making a living!
But then I won’t remain a Monkey all my life will I? Tonight the spell breaks and I will be back into my human body and Kishan will become a monkey again. Will he want to raise his children doing tricks?