Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Story Lady and Blanket of Stars

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi. The day we celebrate as the day of the birth of Ganesha, a friendly, benign deity about whom children learn very early. His place in our mythology as the destroyer of all obstacles means that we invoke him as 'Shree'- the beginning of everything. In the olden days, a child's education would begin with making a slate of rice grains in which the word Shree is inscribed holding the child's hand. This word is written at the beginning of any good that is undertaken.

The form that has been given to this deity is symbolic of the place he has in our society. There are many stories about this symbolism, most of which are stories told to children from a very early age. There are many variations on many of these stories, as befitting tales that have been part of our great oral tradition. There are many new spin-offs on these stories too. In the time honoured tradition of storytelling.

Here's a lovely book that has one such story about a naughty Ganesha, who was outwitted by his mother. The book has two award-winning stories, which were selected in a contest by Unisun Publications in collaboration with Reliance Timeout. The first one is a story about stories. Ages 6+

The Story Lady
Written by Shruthi Rao

Meenu is a little girl who loves stories. She is annoyed that her mother cannot think of any new story. How could she? For the Story Lady's bag of stories is empty. The bag that has the wispy stories that she blows around.

'Whenever a story touched a person, it dissolved into his mind, and he said, "Hey, I just thought of a story!"
People who looked for stories attracted more stories. So a great number of stories found their way to storytellers and writers, and of course, to people who have small children to look after, because little ones are always hungry for new stories."

I agreed completely with this statement. If I have a rupee for every time the kid asked me for a new story, I would be a rich woman.

So how does the Story Lady get her bag full again? How does Meenu help her? And does Meenu's mother 'think of a new story' at the end of it?

Blanket of Stars
Written by Rachna Chhabria

This is our story about Ganesha. Little Ganesha and his older brother Kartikeya both had lovely warm, soft blankets that were studded with gems. As any mother of more than one child will recognise, the younger one was not happy with his blanket, and thought his older brother had the one with more gemstones.

So one night, the naughty little Ganesha summoned all the stars and the moon from the sky to his blanket, and locked it up so that Kartikeya would not be able to get them.

Now this was a very fine state of affairs indeed. Night after night there was no sign of the moon and the stars, and all people and gods began to get worried. They thought that a very powerful creature had attacked heaven, and went to Lord Shiva for help.

'"This powerful creature will not listen to us,' Lord Shiva said. 'But, it will definitely listen to its mother.'"

So what happens next? How does the powerful creature's mother manage to retrieve the moon and the stars?

Two lovely stories, by writers who are worth watching.


Choxbox said...

Nice :)

Shruthi said...

Thanks for the review, Sandhya! :)

sandhya said...

Great to have you comment, Shruthi. We enjoyed both the stories.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for the lovely review, Sandhya.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Lovely review. Both books sound charming.

sandhya said...

Good to have you comment, Rachna. Thank you, Elizabeth Varadan.

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