Sunday, November 8, 2009

Story time !

Over the years I have come to understand that while describing an observation to anyone the best thing to do is to animate it. That is not very difficult for a comic like me [with a constant flow of imagination]. But i did not realize this till I came across a group of school kids who I had accompanied on a nature trail. Like people before me [read "EXPERTS"] I began with a monotone and a serious note on how one should go about identifying birds and the like while on a walk. After some time I saw that the kids were clearly not keen on the walk anymore.
Well, the walk did end quickly and I returned home. Once back I went through and old trunk with my books searching for something to read. I found an old book called " Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling.Upon finishing the book I realized what I been doing in any of my nature walks! weave out a story !!! or at-least animate it enough to keep people engrossed ! so then on I decided to animate each of my walks whether I was alone or with people [of any age group]. Further on, I kept reading a couple of the old stories written by both Indian authors as well as the English counterparts.
The more I read I came to realize a pattern in the writing. Most of what they had written were actually true observations ! The ones that you see in your day to day life [and tend to ignore it usually]. But these authors - they probably sat out in the porch, looked around, observed many things around them, added some amount of imagination and wove a beautiful story around it.
All the stories that I had read till now all had daily observations about a particular organism written in an imaginative way !
This got me thinking.... if these guys were men of science..... just if... they would have brought out the first scientific papers on behaviour and intelligence of animals !!!
But they too knew their society very well. If observations like that had to be presented to the public without getting whacked and paraded nude in the town for wasting time looking at birds and insects rather than working, they had to weave out a story and target the right type of people for it to become well known.
I got to hand it out to the authors, for they had great marketing skills and really good imagintion too. They observed, wrote in form of a story and the best part -- target audience - childern !!!
Now with stories like that written, and children occupied reading them, no parent would object. Those guys got famous within no time !!
And what happened to their observations? They are still there, embedded in the story, waiting for people to realize that they existed in daily life and not just as a story.... waiting for people like us, the " scientifically inclined" class to decipher the observations to their true worth and yet enjoy the imagintion of the author.
Think over these few stories -
1] The thirsty crow - a common story where a crow seeks water from the bottom of a pitcher by dropping pebbles in it so that the water level rises
2] Rikki tikki tavi - a mongoose who accepts a human family as his own and defends the baby against a cobra [poor fellow gets killed because the mother of the baby "assumes" the blood on the animal's snout is that of her child]
3] The Jungle Book - one of the greatest books written by Rudyard Kipling where he shows that the jungle has a law of its own and most of the animals follow it. Those who don't will be thrown out of the jungle. The story also shows how some animals can be really compassionate towards beings of other species. It also shows that each animal has his or her own personality or charecter. It also shows that the humans have ignored seeing these traits in the jungle and its inhabitants.
There are many more of such stories which show that animals do have and individual personality, show emotions, can act silly, be brave, compassionate, and they do have their own language too. But I touch on that in the next post.
Thinking of all this, I began to take a different approach into looking at things. I began to "add spice" and life to how I was and what I was speaking.
I'd say, I'm having a much better time this way !!!