Stories form a major part of anyone’s childhood. You always want more and more of it.
Vacation times multiply this hunger many a times. Ever wondered why are stories so important? I feel they quietly let you slip into an alternate world. Based on your preference, of reading or being narrated to, you see the story happening in front of your eyes.
Story telling is an art. Not a lot of people posses it. Some people totally rock at this and some suck big time. As a kid, I loved listening to stories than reading them myself. My granny (mom’s mom) had only three stories in her kit. Whenever she visited us or we landed up in Bangalore for our summer vacations, she would narrate us those stories every single day. Surprisingly, I never got bored of them ever. My mom is not that much of a story-teller, so that job was my dad’s responsibility.
My dad was a super busy soul when we (me and my sister) were in our ‘impressionable’ age. Whenever he got time he narrated a story or two from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Stories of kings and wars always fascinated me. Through his stories I learnt about Ravana’s treachery in abducting Sita. I also learnt how Jatayu fought valiantly against the demon king just because he could not stand something that was not right.
My dad told me about how Dashratha had to suffer “putra-viyoga” for having put Shravan’s parents through a lot of ordeal. He also narrated the story of Abhimanyu’s bravery and how he almost defeated the big shots of the Kaurava army single-handedly before being killed treacherously.
He would end a story telling session, let our young minds ponder over it and bring up a question or a reaction to it. On the other occasions, he would ask questions which compelled us to think against what we were thinking till then. For e.g, he asked me once, ‘whether Ravana abducting Sita was justified or not’?
When I answered in the negative, he questioned me asking, ‘whether whatever Lakshmana did to Shurpanakha was justified of a prince and the younger brother of God himself?’ ‘Could he not have simply rejected her advances by telling her that he is married?’ And then all my logic would go down the drain.
Stories weren’t necessarily from the epics. He told us the story of Mother Teresa and her struggles and also of how Pele cried when he read a letter from one of his blind fans.
When I look back now, I realise the value of having heard stories from him. Stories not only entertain but also build and inculcate moral values. These values if inculcated at an early age go a long way in defining or shaping characters. But trust me, kids learn a lot and take to thinking bigger and better at an early age. Their imaginations get new wings.
So when you are reading your kids a story from a book take that extra effort and make it livelier to them. Make them a part of the stories and then see the glow on their faces.
Ashok Chandrashekar works in the IT industry in India. Loves travelling, photography and blogging when he is not sleeping. Happily married for almost a year now. He is here to observe and learn from other parents. This knowledge will surely be helpful for the future. 🙂