Well I was never told bed time stories. Not because my parents didn’t narrate any story to me but rather they never did and I never asked.
The same reason we read stories to our children, hides behind this reality as well.
I am going to start by telling you, why I engage in story telling at all. I am mother to a four year old and every day, usually multiple times a day I am on a spree of insightful narration. I keep my casual stories limited to short spans mostly with open ended questions where he refuses to listen to the same ending.
He will listen intently to all the information I give out, particularly those with sci fi capabilities and twists of the main character, who but obviously, cares, more than anything else, about people.
My son’s first few significant words were directly ripped out of these playtime stories.
Tantalizing as they are, the distinguishable thing was the near assurance through all pain that significant happiness and peace shall prevail in the end. On the very days I used to test him by ending it with a vicious bear grinning through his draconian teeth, my son would have an upheaval of sorts and refuse to such an unwordly and illogical ending to a tale.
I could create memes out of our bizarre arguments in bed.
But I think his best bedtime moments were the ones where I exaggerated my voice and went into fantasy rumps when the mood sets in.
I would use ample animation and he would laugh and giggle asking again and again. At times now he repeats them after me in a soft voice.
In those brief theatrical moments we realize how precious we are to one another.
On many occasions, every once in a while, these stories are random occurrences, but true events from my childhood. I spin them together with some magic.
These could be anything from my time with my grandparents during my summer vacation in the tiny hometown in Kerala, of how I used to believe all the ghost stories cousins told me about, playing hop scotch with my friends after school, of how my parents raised me to be a strong woman through all challenges they braved, how they shared their excitement when they saw me scribbling little notes in my diary and of course the punishment I had to face for showing reckless behaviour through a well fitted uniform of excellent manners.
My son receives the best of me, even if it were to mean me wrapping a red bath towel around my neck pretending to be super man or one of the troll hunters.
I discovered something else too, during the last couple of years. Storytelling to my child bought me back an abundance of my own loving childhood memories. I stumbled upon all those experiences between my many sunrises and sunsets. I saw how my life too, is a story, just like the one I weave for my little one.
No matter how tough the beginning or middle may appear, towards the end, there is always an open sky, with countless stars through millions of galaxies waiting to be admired each night, after every sunset.
We all enjoy a good story, whether it’s a novel, a movie, or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us. But why do we feel so much more engaged when we hear a narrative about events?
Like in my storytelling to my young one, I learnt how important it is to face life with enthusiasm and overpower these minor inconveniences with patience and splendid deflection of negative life motives.
Of like in all storytelling, how important gatherings of good friends and well meaning family are, in real life too, of playing fun games to bring good cheer to health, of having a profound heart and wide smiles.
Of placing a bet on things like who flutters their eyelids the most as their eyes gleam with joy and who consoles with the kindest words when those eyes are streaming with tears.
Every day in storytelling for me, has been one lucky day. Like with a gaming console in my hands, I have crossed multiple levels and I am dying to meet the next.
Once upon a time….