The Art of Storytelling

Who doesn’t like a good story? We could spend hours together listening to stories from around the world, and never get bored. True stories are even better, as they add to the charm and keep us glued to our seats.
But, is each and everyone of us gifted with the art of story-telling? Can all of us manage to hold the interest of the listeners as we go about telling stories? Of course, not!
It is only when one manages to make the perfect mix of expressions, actions, gestures, emotions, and tone, will the story grab attention. And that, my friends, isn’t as easy as it looks. Narrating already written stories is surely an art, but making up stories and narrating it on the go is a challenge in itself!
This world is blessed with expert storytellers, who are also called “Grandparents.” 😃 I’m sure all of you have some memories of listening to those amazing stories from your grandparents as well. My maternal grandmother used to tell us stories about people who lived in the locality where we now live. And boy! Those were so good to listen to. Also, grandparents are the treasure trove of mythological stories like those of Lord Ganesha, Lord Krishna and so on.
And you may wonder, how did they get to know these stories? Maybe their parents and grandparents had narrated the very same stories to them. In that way, some stories have been passed on from one generation to another, like family heirlooms.

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The next best storytellers are our mothers. Mine used to tell my brother and me several stories. Most of which were her own. I still remember a few vividly. What’s the most amusing is that I remember each and every detail of the story just as I had imagined it as a child. I haven’t even tried to change the visualisation as I grew up. The impact of the stories were such that we wept, laughed, feared and frolicked with the characters. That is what makes stories so special. We live the life of the characters and it takes quite some time to get back to reality. One such story which I can recall is the story of Punyakoti, which is about a cow and a tiger. The dilemma faced by the cow moved us to tears. Of course, there were funny stories which made us laugh out loud. Such as The Monkey and the Cap Seller, and many more.
It is a common sight to witness children wait for story time, that could either be bedtime stories or while eating food. Mothers have special wands which magically deposit food into their children’s tummies, and those wands are “Stories.” All it takes to turn a picky, complaining, and stubborn child to finish his/her food are stories. Vivid descriptions of the characters, incidents, and their antics keep the audience mind-boggled, and leave them wanting for more. As funny and ridiculous as it may seem, children were bribed with stories for successfully completing their homework, and any task for that matter.
Storytelling need not always mean “telling” it, writing a good story too is an art in itself.
If you have read Tinkle, I’m sure you will remember the antics of Suppandi, Janoo and Wooly Woo, Butterfingers, Shikari Shambu, Pyarelal and many others.
Maybe you haven’t noticed it, but as you read through these stories, you must have imagined the story with action, and also pictured the voices and movements of the characters. All this subconsciously, without your knowledge.
My parents once said that they were scared to listen to the stories of Vikram-Betal which appeared in the children’s comics of those times, Chandamama. My father even confessed that he was terrified as a child, to even open the book and read those stories. 😀
I believe that storytelling is a must for the overall growth of an individual. I might not be as good as others while narrating stories. However, I do remember participating in story-telling competitions in my school days. I still cherish those memories of proudly narrating moral stories and also listening to other participants as they went about telling their stories.
Despite televisions and other media having substantially replaced person-to-person storytelling, I can vouch for it that storytelling will never die. There are sure to be children who will still love to listen to stories from their elders. In fact, my very own nephews adore listening to stories from their grandparents and parents, as much as we did in our childhoods. Listening to stories and telling more will over the time make children good readers and human beings on the whole.
Story-telling is what brings a special and inseparable bonding between people.
The importance of stories in our lives is inexplicable. Life would be drab and boring had there not been stories which we can escape to, once in a while. Maybe tastes change as we grow up. Obviously, our choices in stories will develop and change to full-fledged novels, over 200 pages. Yet what remains the same all the time is the attraction of delving deep into stories, and reach places in the world of fiction. Stories were, are and will always remain an escapade for me.
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Image via The Anonymous Writer on Instagram
That’s all about this post!
What are your memories of storytelling? I would love to know. Please do let me know in the comments 🙂
Until the next time, stay blessed!

12 thoughts on “The Art of Storytelling”

  1. Took me back to my childhood days. I used to enjoy the stories,which my father used to tell us, and we used to plead him to tell the same story repeatedly,though he was tired after day long work.
    Hope this wonderful story telling skill, will be evergreen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you chets for rewinding all the happy times in my mind. Yes storytelling is an art and storytellers are gifted. All the stories and characters you mentioned are the similar ones i was told by my grandmother and mother back in those days. I agree Vikram and Betal was one of the scariest story i was told back then 😋. But yes, those stories can never be forgotten and will always be cherished 😍. This blog is one among the best blogs i’ve read so far. It brings in that happy mood and calms our mind which is blown out in this hectic life. Thanks chets and loads of love❤️

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  3. My maternal Grandmother was a great story teller too ..I heard the entire story of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Punyakoti …etc from her. Bed time, lunch time and dinner time was story time for me whenever I was with her. She also had proverbs in Tulu and Kannada while she explained things …It’s been a little over fifteen years since she passed …but her stories are still fresh in my mind and I miss her very much …Grandmothers are the best ….

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  4. Thanks for sending me down the memory lane once again, dear Chetana. It reminds me of my brother, whom I consider the best story teller I have ever seen in my life till date. He had a knack of building stories of his own on anything but everything that he sees at the moment. All his ‘ bundle stories’ were so interesting that all our friends used to pester him saying, “Anila, please ond bumm…sto… heLo”. That was my first
    childhood confrontation with stories. As we grew up like all other kids of that time resorted to Chandamama, Amar Chitra Katha, Phantom, Indrajala comics for few to name. Anyways, you are doing a brilliant job of reminding us of he good old days. Thanks…

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  5. Chetana, Very nice presentation about the art of story telling. Eventhough story telling by grand parents, parents or some elders in the family still exists, it’s frequency definitely has come down due to the nuclear families, the impact of tremendous advancement in technology & the amount of artificial information and knowledge that the children get from electronic & social media. Listening to stories, definitely has a vital role in the intellectual development of a child. Nevertheless, the story telling, by the grand parents , has its own charm because of the love with which they narrate the stories to their grandchildren with facial expressions, actions & body movements is something unique which will keep the listeners spell bound. The stories usually have a blend of useful knowledge & wisdom, moral etiquettes, some of the dos & donts, mixed with masala so as to make it not only nteresting but at the same time driving the right message into minds of the listeners. Story telling has a powerful impact on the minds of the children. So many difficult subjects, which children otherwise don’t understand, can be made simple & understandable by presenting them in the form of stories. Story telling is one of the powerful tool for learning in children . Great Kings of history, great legends like Shivaji & Swami Vivekanand were greatly influenced by the stories told by their mothers.
    Listening to stories narrated by the grand parents is definitely a pleasant experience which each & everyone of us had experienced during our childhood. I hope this good tradition will continue in the generations to come.
    Very good thought provoking write -up. Simple thing presented in a beautiful way. Continue writing. Best wishes. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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