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The Storyteller’s Story

Keshav was an expert storyteller. People in and around his village Bhoomiraag, used to wait for his story sessions. His stories would be about kings and wars, about survival of poor households, about the song of the nature and most things that a human mind could imagine. A story from Keshav was a sure-shot entertainment package of 2 hours.

Every Saturday evening at 7 p.m., eager folks would encircle the big banyan tree located at the center of the small village. One thing that was very particular about Keshav, the storyteller was his turban- without which no story could take off. He had this peculiar habit of rolling his finger into his turban while proceeding with his story.

One Friday, Keshav was shocked to find his turbans missing. It was not an ordinary loss for the imaginative story-teller. He immediately got upset and depression was written all over his body parts. One of his worries was also how he would tell a story the next day. News immediately spread all over Bhoomiraag that Keshav. The storyteller who would not tell any story without his turban had lost all his turbans. Reactions ranged from –‘He should have taken care of them’ to ‘This will be a boring weekend-sans any story for us’. Evidently, most people were unhappy about what had happened.

A lot of people also criticized Keshav for being handicapped without his turban. Gradually, as the day progressed, some also wondered what was the link between the turban and the story. All kinds of stories started floating around- while some speculated that touching the turban sparked Keshav’s imagination, some others felt that the colour of the turban decided the type of story- a white turban meant that a story on peace would come while a red turban would be a sure indicator of a love story.

People were confused but more than that, they were annoyed that no stories can be told if the turbans are lost. They sought an answer from Keshav and angrily marched towards his home.

When they knocked at Keshav’s door-they were surprised to find him smiling nonchalantly. One of the irate villager asked Keshav- What makes you smile- is that the pleasure that comes from not having to tell a story?

Are you bankrupt of ideas? Many others, while protesting asked- Does a good storyteller do this?
Aren’t you an over-rated storyteller? Keshav smiled while listening through all these ex-pressions.

Then he rose and addressing the gathering- said, “I am sure all of you are miffed at the mystery of the missing turbans-and wondering how does that affect a storyteller. The fact is – they don’t.”

What do you mean? One angry listener asked “It means, my friend that a good story comes from the heart- and from the surroundings. From nature and people, from mannerisms and habits-“Still unclear, the baffled listener sought clarity-Please explain clearly Keshav said, “It is true that I had the habit of moving my finger in the turban while saying a story. However, I do not know how the word spread that there is a link between the turban and my stories. Yes, I always wore a turban for every story-session. However, I can tell stories without them also. In fact, I have spread the news that my turbans are lost- in fact I have hidden them in my cupboard. They are very much there.”

“It is your observation that linked the turbans and the stories. I took advantage of that. I developed that rumour and thought of this idea- to end the rumour and also spread the message that all the stories are in the mind- in a fertile mind.” Keshav brought smiles to the faces of the villagers by saying that he will be ready with his next story on Saturday. However, it was this story of the mystery of the lost turban that everyone found more interesting that week.

Contributing Story Teller Saurabh Niranjan Turakhia is a 28 year young poet and has lately been dabbling in short story writing.

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