Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Storytime 3: The Story Within, The Shakti Within

A special post for Navratri



Photo by Manoop Chandran
I am going through a strange -- but strange in a good sense -- phase where I don't really feel the need to write. And yet there is this new post, after almost-a-month, you may ask? Well, read on and you will see that it is not really a post with too many of my words.

No, it is not about writer's block. One could always think of thousand different things to write about, if one must write. But I choose not to. There are recent travels to write about, there is plenty of fun and interesting socio-political tidbit to comment upon, but I would rather not. And then there is always some mundane life woes to complain about, etc etc. But rant is not what I do on this space.

I am actually feeling quite content not writing. I am happy not having to mentalise (for written expression) some of my recent observations and experiences that rest somewhere deep within, happily in their silence.

And I am happy today simply listening to a story, being retold. I invite you all to listen to the story, with me. Come.


A Story and a Song
(From: A Flowering Tree and Other Oral Tales from India, by A. K. Ramanujan)

A housewife knew a story. She also knew a song. But she kept them to herself, never told anyone the story or sang the song.
Imprisoned within her, the story and the song were feeling choked. They wanted release, wanted to run away. One day, when she was sleeping with her mouth open, the story escaped, fell out of her, took the shape of a pair of shoes and sat outside the house. The song also escaped, took the shape of something like a man's coat, and hung on a peg.
The woman's husband came home, looked at the coat and shoes, and asked her, “Who is visiting?”
“No one,” she said.
“But whose coat and shoes are these?”
“I don't know,” she replied.
He wasn't satisfied with her answer. He was suspicious. Their conversation was unpleasant. The unpleasantness led to a quarrel. The husband flew into a rage, picked up his blanket, and went to the Monkey God's temple to sleep.
The woman didn't understand what was happening. She lay down alone that night. She asked the same question over and over: “Whose coat and shoes are these?” Baffled and unhappy, she put out the lamp and went to sleep.
All the lamp flames of the town, once they were put out, used to come to the Monkey God's temple and spend the night there, gossiping. On this night, all the lamps of all the houses were represented there—all except one, which came late.
The others asked the latecomer, “Why are you so late tonight?”
“At our house, the couple quarreled late into the night,” said the flame.
“Why did they quarrel?”
“When the husband wasn't home, a pair of shoes came onto the verandah, and a man's coat somehow got onto a peg. The husband asked her whose they were. The wife said she didn't know. So they quarreled.”
“Where did the coat and shoes come from?”
“The lady of our house knows a story and a song. She never tells the story, and has never sung the song to anyone. The story and the song got suffocated inside; so they got out and have turned into a coat and a pair of shoes. They took revenge. The woman doesn't even know.”
The husband, lying under his blanket in the temple, heard the lamp's explanation. His suspicions were cleared. When he went home, it was dawn. He asked his wife about her story and her song. But she had forgotten both of them. “What story, what song?” she said.

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To read last year's Navratri special story, click here

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To read other Storytime posts on the blog, click here and here.