Life is fiction if that is what I want to believe in. Or real fiction. These are my choices because I am there in all my stories. I mean we all are there in our stories even when we weave one with other characters. So yes, like the one who created us, we are all story-tellers.
I have yet to meet someone who isn’t interested in stories… they read them or watch them on the screen or dream about them. Stories, I guess, are all about the way we look at them. I remember seeing a movie and noticing only the way the hero enters a club gyrating. The story was neither about clubs nor about dancing. Thus in some way I had created a story that I wanted to see. We’re all doing this all the time – creating stories!
We tell stories in our own way… look at the way a teacher tells a story when he isn’t sure about the lesson he wants to teach, or the salesman when he hasn’t been able to convert a customer, or a boy when he approaches the girl he is infatuated with. There are stories being enacted all the time, everywhere. We are seeing them happen, noticing, and wondering sometimes what to do with them.
‘Write about the stories you see,’ an editor once told me.
My photographer friend said, ‘Don’t miss such subjects. They turn out to be the best photo-stories.’
And I’m sure a film-maker will want me to create short films as well.
I have watched my cousin transform into a ghost of his former self after a part of his cheek had to be removed because it was cancerous. I know that my maid’s husband died because of drug abuse and I have seen a happy woman turn into a silent but stronger person. I watch cars go on footpaths and motorcycles cross the road on foot-overbridges and wonder if there can be anything more ridiculous than all this. Depression, road safety, cancer, smoking, and even eye donation for that matter aren’t just words without stories. They all come with their own brand of stories and in some way I am also there in all the stories.
Stories aren’t always about love and hate as they can have words like ‘intolerant’ built into them but stories, I believe, never intend to direct you in the wrong direction. Stories don’t like to watch a reader or a viewer or a listener take a misstep and fall into the dustbin of eternity… stories love us as much as we love them.
What is true is that we are all inside a story. We may hop in and out of different stories all the time or prefer to stay put in the same one for a long long time, but there is hardly any escape from being a part of a story. We can be making a fool of ourselves there and enjoying every moment, or preaching, or creating a scene in a unique way to explain something. We can be long-winded or be simply like a haiku. Ah! This reminds me that we can actually be inside a story with many chapters or be something that the world calls a flash fiction. We can be an essay too as stories can be like them with a lot of statistics and facts popping up all the time.
What is true is that we are all inside a story.
This story can be full of written words or can be like a soundless film that existed ages ago. Stories are magical experiences and powerful too. They can come disguised as prancing toons that have been animated… or maybe as static slides that use fanciful transitions to create a movement. We can be in a story as told by Prezi or as told by Microsoft Sway. We can be a story with lots of mega-pixels or even less. These things are all paths on which we make our stories travel… but the truth is that these stories happen and that we’re all inside them.
It is also true that there are times we know that we are simply a character in a story and yet we cry… or dance in impossible ways that may not be possible in our real life… or run a race that we’re incapable of running… or invent things that have not yet been invented… or say things that we wish to believe in. Our stories are all about the way we are shaping ourselves… and so we need to be careful of them. I mean, why create a story in your mind where you rise to torment others? You can do this if it is important to your story… but remember that the stories you create never remain with you all the time.
You mean that our stories are not our always with only us? Well, stories have this strange desire to travel from one person to another and they do it whether you want it or not. A story written on a page too sometimes flutters away to unknown destinations… and in a world where the internet is ready to carry them, it is all a tad bit easier. Even to stories that are created as short films or animations. Well, you do have platforms like YouTube…
…and you have Manipal Hospitals waiting to watch and share your stories… all for a noble cause with a ready audience and accolades aplenty. So get the camera rolling to make short films for categories like ‘no smoking’, ‘depression’, ‘eye donation’, ‘road safety’, ‘cancer’, and ‘drug abuse’. It is time to #SeizeTheStory that is all around you and enter the Short Film Competition. All rules about the format, the duration, age limit, subjects are there on the link that I have just shared. The driving force of this initiative is Manipal Hospitals, a ‘world-class network of healthcare establishments in India.’ SEIZE THE STORY – the short film contest – is ‘an initiative from Manipal Hospitals to connect not only with patients, but also with the larger society. This initiative leverages an innovative approach of using thought provoking stories to promote awareness about healthy living.’
But let me come back to stories and the fact that we’re all inside a story. And being characters in a story, the urge to tell the world and share it with friends and strangers is powerful. We need to stop resisting this urge and express it all. After all, being inside a story makes us want to read other stories… and I’m sure your story too will be read and shared by others.
Here is my video on ‘road safety’:
25 November 2015