Story telling is at once a mixture of pain, joy, and revelation! I have been sincerely ‘story-telling’ for almost the last 6 yrs to my 6.5 yr old. And I’m the one feeling challenged at the end of it!
From small-time stories, the lill fellow has graduated to more serious stories of epic proportions- yeah you guessed it.. The Ramayana, Mahabharata et all.. Having buried all these in the remote recesses of memory which is atleast a couple of decades old, I find this exercise of going-over the stories which my grandma passed on to me and my sis, very refreshing and satisfying. There are a couple of notable differences though! One, my grandma never read from a book, and two, I never questioned the authenticity or intent of the characters or rather the supersonic characters that abound in our mythology.
So, when my grandma said that Dhritharashtra had 100 sons and a daughter, it was a fact. When i read the same to my son, pat comes the chain of questions- “Ma, were there really a hundred sons? what are all their names? did they all sleep in the same room? so lot of food will be cooked?” Yes, tough situation really!!It should have operated like a star hotel! The fact that Gandhari- the mother of the Kaurava princes- blind-folded herself because of her love and duty (or whatever)towards Dhritharashtra, came across to him as ‘plain stupid’. When asked why, he as a matter of fact said that she could have helped her husband better with her eyes open instead! And, “How come Parashurama features in both, Ramayana and the Mahabharata? Are the people from the same time period then?”. Now I have to find this out, and its my weekend homework. (A serious doubt indeed because Krishna, Rama, and Parasurama, the 3 avatars of Vishnu must have co-existed… Well, will try and post my find. Or you guys help with answers if you know..)
And darling son, the next time i decide to read something from our mythology, i’ll make sure to read the significance of the actions too and then try. Or better still, I’ll leave it to you to figure it out yourselves as you grow up and ‘enlighten’ me too! For now, i just wanted you to get acquainted with the various super-human characters in our mythology so that they all sound familiar to you when your grand-ma and grand-pa are performing their daily pooja, when all other people around you are making casual references to the 10 avatars of Vishnu, to the Mahabharatha battle, or to Rama and Ravana… Now, you may treat that as a disclaimer.. I as a child, simply enjoyed them as stories and do not expect anything more from you either:-)) You have but little choice dear… You have to put up with your well-meaning mom!!