Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Telling a tale or two or a thousand

I have always been a veritable source of stories.  People often amaze at my ability to talk continuously for hours whipping up stories after stories. I switch track from one story to another while bleary eyed first timers, who are too polite to interrupt, watch with wonder as I trace my way back to the main story just about three hours later after the first story. People who know me are the people who dread the timeless void of my story barrel and firmly put their foot down while I dolefully let go of a fantastic anecdote.

Until I was about five years old, no one would understand what I talked. I spoke at the speed of a rambling express train. People knew I was definitely on to a great story as I would animatedly gesticulate, my eyes wide with expression. It would be like watching a movie at 4x speed. They took me to a doctor who said I tried to cram in a lifetime of stories, which was about five years then, in the two minutes people allotted for listening to five year olds. I had an anxiety even when I was that small, that my stories would go unheard. Then, I slowed down to my current speed as people were forced to listen to at least five minutes, out of politeness. Even now, I catch people with their eyes glazed partly in incomprehension and partly in horror.

 I also aspired to become a psychiatrist at some point in life. My father pointed out that my story telling ability would hinder my listening ability which is what psychiatrists generally get paid for.

I tell a lot of stories because I pretty much have an almost photographic memory of incidents. For example, I can perfectly recall the day in first grade, when Manopriya was given the "Class Leader" badge and how, in a gross abuse of power, she jumped up from  desk to desk wielding the wooden scale on the terrorized villagers.

 This is how it would start and I would talk about Manopriya's family and her Malayalam roots and how she would pray in the Race Course Mariyamman temple to get cent percent in first grade Math.

See what I did there?

Anyway, I read the following in Heavy Weather (Of the Blandings Castle series) by P.G.Wodehouse and I couldn't help smiling.

The Hon. Galahad had brightened. Like all confirmed raconteurs, he took on new life when the anecdotes started to come.
...................................................................................................................................................
Once more the Hon.Galahad smote the green cloth. ' You'll smash that table,' said Ronnie.
There flashed into the Hon. Galahad's mind the story of how old Beefy Muspratt, with some
assistance, actually had smashed a billiard-table in the year ninety-eight; and such is the urge to the
raconteur's ruling passion that he almost stopped to tell it. Then he recovered himself.
...................................................................................................................................................

Sometimes it is difficult to let go. In the recent days, I have mastered the art of summarizing the anecdote and somehow fitting it in the conversation under the ruse of letting it go. Again, I read this and just burst out laughing.


 'Well, I'm dashed! Hurts like sin, that sort of thing. I haven't heard of anybody having a girl's name
tattooed on him since the year ninety-nine, when Jack  Bellamy-Johnstone ...'

Ronnie held up a restraining hand.

'Not now, uncle, if you don't mind.' 

' Most amusing story,' said the Hon. Galahad, wistfully.

'Later on, what?' 

'Well, yes, perhaps you're right,' admitted the Hon.Galahad. 'I suppose you're
not in the mood for stories. It was simply that poor old Jack fell in love with a girl named Esmeralda
Parkinson-Willoughby and had the whole thing tattooed on his wishbone, and the wounds had scarcely healed when they quarrelled and he got engaged to another girl called May Todd. So if he had only waited ...

 I am what they call a "raconteur". In the grand scheme of everything else that I could be, I guess it isn't all that bad.

All I can say is that I have a best-seller in my hands.


1 comment:

Vasishta Bommakanti said...

Waitiing to read them all. The best sellers I mean :D