Tuesday, February 03, 2009
The first story teller in me was called deeveepee.
Small books of the size of less than 1/4 th of an A4 sheet, rated anywhere between Rs 1.50 to Rs. 2.75, used to prevail the book markets in early eighties.
Those books came with interesting titles (One such title : 'A ghost in the house, a devil in the forest')
Since buying books was a luxury, we used rent them from a local library usually at 10 paise per day.
I used to read them like there was no tomorrow.
In just about an year, I developed a large audience in my school who would drop their nickers to listen to my stories. It was also not uncommon for the school teachers to ask me to tell a story to keep the class quiet.
As I progressed, it almost became a practice for the teachers to ask me to tell a story.
In less than a month after I started this storytelling, I started using my imagination and created my own monsters and my own thrill rides.
Looking back, I dont think I cared for characterization or a proper beginning or an ending. I gave them a thrill ride of monster after monster.
I grew up in a small town called Tadepalligudem. We had about eight movie theatres. Nobody in my school had a TV at home. (Now, think about it for sometime. A childhood with no TV :-))
So, telling the story of the movie you saw was a big deal. The kid who saw that Chiranjeevi's movie the next the day in the school was as good as Chiranjeevi himself. He had to tell everything to his friends. The comedy, fights, villains, chases.
Out of these kids, I was lucky because one theatre (called Relangi, owned by the legendary comedian Relangi Narasimha Rao) signed up a contract with a distributor in Vijayawada to show 100 English movies. One per week. I was lucky because my dad decided that we should watch these movies.
It was at Relangi that I saw every known genre (Bond, Western, Horror, Action, Chinese etc).
Very few others watched those English movies. This gave me a blanket bragging rights and a blanket creative rights.
Just imagine this. You are the only kid who saw 'A man with a golden gun' on the weekend and the rest dont even have a TV at home. Thats like sending Sehwag to a play against a local town team.
As it can happen, I started introduced flying cars, jumping ships, galloping horses and an occasional 'English Kiss'.
With the luxury of hindsight, now I can say that, I soon lost my girl audience and developed a hard core 'insiders' who would listen to any extent of outrage.
Enter the dragon, a new dude called Sasi. He was a brahmin kid with a surrogate mother and a pampered brother. Studied well. Dressed well. Looked good. Was kind to girls and had a brilliant sense of story telling.
He narrated them with sound effects, emotions, ghosts, daily life incidents and proper logical endings. He created stories at the drop of a hat. (Or a tie). He was just too much of a dude.
In less than a month he had the class with him. The girlDom especially. Girls pretty much dedicated lunch hours for him. I never really bothered with this development, because we were too busy playing cricket and Kabaddi in lunch hours.
In about an year Sasi totally dominated the storytelling scene. Except for few close friends, the class soon forgot me as story teller. (But I still remained a celebrity with my drawings and paintings. Thats a different story :-))
Later many a times I wondered the whereabouts of that great storyteller, Sasi.
Later many a times I wondered about the choice of my subjects during those storytelling house as we grew together in that school. I wondered if I could have captured those girls imagination the way Sasi did.
After my 7th class, I left that town (that School and Radha and a bunch of childhood friends) to a small city called Vijayawada. Vijayawada was extremely rude, lewd, caste based and polarized (Balakrishna and Chiranjeevi). I never ever bothered to tell any one that I can tell stories. I always loved my middle name, so I never ever bothered to reveal my past name deeveepee.
Thus, deeveepee, the storyteller was buried.
..to be continued
Friday, January 30, 2009
Or, this is a story of an untold story of a storyteller.
Well, there is no end to it. We can play with words and be amused for a while.
A long time ago, I read a strange book titled 'Songlines' (According to the author (Bruce Chatwin), this world is a song). The book was about Aborigines remembering the landscape as a 'song'. Songs were their assets. Songs were their currency. Songs were their inheritance.
It sounded strange to me. Took sometime to digest for me.
But in the end, it made sense to me. "You walk ten miles to the north, cross the stream and turn east, at the big rock turn west, two miles down you will find bushes and lazy Kangaroos. While coming back dont stay at the big rock for the night, it is watched by Orories, they will kill you by the morning". Now, thats precious information. Losing it or misunderstanding it can be the difference between life and death. Better remember it well. Whats a better way to remember than in a song? For them, this world is a song.
I kind of agree with those aboriginal dudes. With a dent.
I think this world is a story.
I think, Philosophy, Art, Religion and Science are all stories that we have told to ourselves.
I think we humans are hardwired to comprehend. We comprehend ourselves, our surroundings, our behaviours, our emotions, our habits, our environments, our fellow beings, our universe in the form of stories.
Sometimes we call these stories 'laws'. Sometimes we call these stories 'Truth'.
E = MC ^2 is a story that Einstein told us.
Nirvana is a story that Buddha told us.
Monalisa is a story that Leonardo told us.
"Everything is a story", itself is a story, that I am telling myself and I will tell many others.
There is something very primordial about this storytelling.
Looks like we never get tired of it.
There is little guy/girl called a storyteller in all of us.
..to be continued
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Marriage has too many definitions.
But I think a successful one is "a sum average of everything about two people".
The first thing you do when you get up in the bed is, scratch your balls.
The first thing she does is, scratch her head.
In about a month you will forget about your balls and up end scratching your beard in the morning.
(Probably in a super successful marriage she ends up scratching your balls.
But we are not Obamas. We are smileys.)
I eat cereals in the morning. She eats butter on a toasted bread. We ended up with dosas.
The list is endless.
I use soft pillows. She uses her childhood soft doll as a pillow. We ended up with a small hard pillow.
But when it comes to using our toilets, we ended up using different ones. I like reading newspaper on my pot, use lot of water and in general make a mess out of the thing. She is very particular about lot of stuff when it comes to toilets.
At our home we use different ones.
At her house (her parents home) we ended up using different ones.
For two reasons. Her toilet ceiling is 5 feet 8 inches high.
Actually we discovered this in a surprising way.
One the third night of stay at her parents house (a big one with lot of rooms, toilets, a roof garden and a penthouse), she complained about my new deo.
I told her I am not using any deo. She said, if thats the case, I am smelling a little different, to put it politely.
Then she asked, "Are you taking your bath properly ?".
To answer her honestly, I rewinded my brain to the scene of my bath.
I realized that, I was taking my baths with my head slightly bent and in general was not raising my hands.
After this realization, she shifted me to the bathroom thats attached to the penhouse, upstairs.
This particular journey is an interesting one because it invloves unlocking three diffents doors with three different ancient keys. Penthouse also is their book store. I mean serious book store. Her dad has hundreds of books collecting dust there.
Needless to say, I started liking my private time with so many books and a toilet thats got a ceiling thats 6 feet 6 inches high.
But I ended up having an unexpected company to my penthouse toilet visits.
I am not new to dogs. I know them well enough. But I understand them only in a Master-Slave relation. I dont understand them as my peers.
This particular one grew up as a peer.
First time, I encouraged this curious guide to show me around the penthouse. But the minute he claimed his ownership on my underwear and my towel, I started thinking otherwise.
For another strange reason, which probably only a dog (or another dog) can understand, he thought those ancient keys belonged to him.
As you can see, soon we developed a conflict of interest (or ownership).
Yesterday, he somehow sneaked into the penthouse and barked at me. Which I took very seriously as it is a direct challenge to my authority. I looked directly into his eyes and told him to get out. He didnt budge. Instead he 'grrrrr'ed again.
So, I slowly took my towel, like Rajani would wind his hanky before a big fight, tighthened it and released it straight in front of his face with a snap. It made big 'Phat' sound.
It startled him. Then I beat the chair with the towel to make a huge 'thud'.
I think he weighed his options. Then he simply ran out of the room.
Smart dog. I said out loud.
This morning when he heard me open the first door, he came running to join me. Surprisingly after I opened the third door, he calmly left.
So a marriage is not the sum average of simply the two, but also of the near and dear.