Why do i blog? Why do i write? For whom? I wondered quite often till i came across this lovely Indian folktale. I had found the answer!Here’s the adaptation of the story from the poet-folklorist A K Ramanujan’s repertoire:
A woman knew a story and she also knew a song. But she kept them to herself, never told anyone the story or sang the song. Imprisoned inside her , the story and the song felt choked. they wanted to be freed, they wanted to flee . One day when she was sleeping with her mouth open, the story escaped and took the shape of a pair of shoes and sat outside the house. The song also escaped and took the shape of a man’s coat and hung on the peg.
The woman’s husband came home, looked at the coat and shoes and asked her, “Who’s visiting?”
“No one, “she said.
“But whose coat an shoes are these?”
She did not know. But he was suspicious and quarreled with her. In anger, he picked up his blanket and went to the Monkey God’s temple to sleep.
Now, all the lamp flames of the town , once they were put out, assembled in the temple to spend the night and gossip. That night, all the flames came except one who was late . The others asked the latecomer, “Why are you late tonight? “At the house , the couple quarreled late into the night, said the flame. “Why did they quarrel?” The flame told about the quarrel between the husband and the wife. ” The lady of our house knows a story and a song. She never tells the story, has never sung the song to anyone. The story and song got suffocated inside so they got out and turned into a coat and a pair of shoes. They took revenge. The woman doesn’t even know.”
The husband’s 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.
Stories cry out to be told else they suffocate, they die. Untold stories fester and take revenge. Neither stories nor flames are ever put out. Stories are magical, instrumental, they have a life of their own and insist on being told and kept alive.
So if you have a story, you owe it not only to others but to the tale itself, or else it suffocates!
Let my stories , tales and songs, too, find a generous audience!
(All images are courtesy Google)