Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Storytellers - Fine Initiative by Abhinay

"I am Abhinay, storyteller. I believe everyone has a story. I believe stories must be shared. The stories that we hear make the stories of today and those that we share make the stories of tomorrow. Stories make the world we live in. I urge you all to share your stories to the person next to you. We must do this.'

So began the Storytelling session, something that Abhinay had proposed as a monthly initiative, at the picturesque, accessible, airy space at Phoenix Arena, Madhapur (go up the street from Lemon Tree, and after you take the natural right it is to your left, can see HSBC ahead to your right). There were about 12 of us - I was roped in as a guest storyteller. It was a pleasure to see Shreya, Sloka, Vineeth, Amulya, Annie, Navya and others in attendance. Not many were sure of the agenda, and Abhinay had only told me that he and I would be sharing stories.

After setting the tone in that gentle, convincing manner of his, Abhinay shared stories - the first about how one person's belief in a story changed the course of an entire village (share a lousy story and you could well end up burning your village, share a happy one and the results could be different), one about identities that involved Jayalalitha, one about how a zen master tells a person seeking knowledge to fetch water and explains how water can only be contained in a container and similarly knowledge is contained in stories. I shared my favorite stories - one about keeping a shark in your life so you are fully alive (Bonsai Manager), one about the guy who made a difference to the world by throwing in one fish at a time among the millions of fish lying around (Chicken Soup for the Soul), one about the pastor who wanted to cheat two rustic brother of their antique furniture (Roald Dahl), one about the lady who dies of a heart condition, but for the wrong reason and certainly the jack story of how we mess up our lives with our own assumptions. This is a story that Abhinay loves and keeps asking me to tell - I have to refine it because I am sure he will make me tell it to many more.

Others shared stories - one a tragic romance. There was banter and discussion, good intelligent conversation. The hour flew by and it was time to break up and head for the picture. Good initiative Abhinay and good luck. May the tribe of storytellers increase and may your vision of having everyone tell stories to the person next to you grow into a global movement. It has all the makings of a simple idea that can change the world - primarily because it will change the person who tells the story and the one who listens.

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