9 Jun 2010

Telling a story

Just finished a review of an interesting book.

The core of the story is a dacoit waiting to be hanged telling the story of his life. It set me thinking - when we tell a story how much of it is truth, lies or a minor exaggeration?

Being in the film making business telling stories, creating them or making them out of thin air where nothing actually took place is something you take for granted. Additionally I have been blessed with a succession of friends who are very good storytellers and are much better at embellishing a small experience into something wonderful, exotic or funny.

I find that difficult to do. Actually telling a story. Describing it. Talking about it.

Let me give you an example. In 2006 I got caught in the deluge in Bombay, I ended up walking 8 hours from Worli to Andheri reaching my friend's place at three in the night. All I could say when he opened the door was - Its raining hard outside.

Understatement. of. the. year.

Over the next few months I did recollect many interesting events that happened along the way on that day. But in the immediate days that followed you could not get a single story out of me.

This struck me a couple of days later when we were sitting around for hours since the city was still shut down. And the funny thing was that most people in the group who had not even ventured down the road on the day it rained, had interesting stories to tell. About themselves. Or so they thought. Like going to pick 50 bottles of water. Or drinking coffee watching the rain. Or staying in the theatre watching one show after the other waiting for the rain to subside.

At other times I have sat for hours and days on end listening to It-was-love-at-sight stories or how-we-broke-up-stories. Somewhere I convinced myself that maybe I was a good listener. That was my job. Every story requires a good listener, right?

And once in a while you would hear the same incident from two different sources and then the contradictions would emerge. He said this, she did that etc. This set me thinking. What actually happened here? Who is telling the truth? Is there something like the truth in such cases?

So what is more important? How you tell the story? Or whether you tell actually what happened?

Here is a fun take on this.

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