The Story Teller by Pramod Kumar
Some untold stories
To die is one thing, to fall in love is another…
To live is one thing, to be alive is another…
The café was full as usual. Though located in downtown, it was particularly mannered compared to its other counterparts.
It was not the aroma of the freshly baked coffee beans that pulled women to this part of the town, but the young lad who used to tell stories- stories with strange endings, which sometimes would leave the audience spellbound, sometimes in rage of anger, sometimes in tears. They would promise themselves not to come to him again, not to listen to his stories again. But the promise was too hard to keep for they had become addicted to the drug he secretly served in his stories.
The café owner walked up to the lad, held out his purse, and handed him out five shriveled dollar bills. He smiled and said, “You know I don’t need these.” But before the lad could hand it back, the owner had turned his back towards him.
“Keep them for future. Save it for the days when I fire you,” the owner said with a chuckle, waving his finger in the air. And then the owner left.
The young lad had his bunk in the store of the café, and pretty much everything he needed in this world was there.
Retiring from the day, he switched off the lamps and closed his eyes. And within no time, he was in his stories, stories for the following day, stories which waited for its audience.
The following evening, as usual, the café was full of beautiful Spanish women, ravishing to say the least. So at peace, they were listening to the stories. It was a sight to watch.
A woman’s silence is all a man longs for- when she is listening to every word you say. Because you know deep inside, she is falling in love with you, however far and different you may be.
But this was not going to be the same any longer. A young, pretty maiden walked in through the door. She looked so innocent that all other women who looked ravishingly beautiful now looked like a pack of wolves staring at an innocent lamb.
The young lad raised his eyes as the ebony smell of her body hit him. For that instant, he was stuck, and no one but the damsel and he felt the moment. That was when he realized he was smiling stupidly.
It took him a lot of such moments to come back to life. He cleared his throat and finished the story. For the first time in his life, he felt the urge to finish a story, for he wanted to speak to the girl. He knew she would come to congratulate him.
Unceasingly, his eyes searched for the girl as he shook hands with people who came to thank him, but she never came …
Going to sleep was particularly strange that night. He tossed left and right, but couldn’t find the right comfort. Yet he was smiling and found himself in a strange world. It was a long night, a dreamless night.
The following evening, he didn’t have a story to tell for the dreamless night. He didn’t remember any of his previous ones too.
So the women had coffee and chattered in disappointment, talking and gossiping through the happenings of the day.
The night repeated itself. The days and evenings did the same …
The storyteller was out of stories…
The café gradually lost its ‘customers.’ and the owner was left with no other choice but to ask the young lad to leave.
He packed his bag, his small tattered bag, the only bag he had which had all his worldly possessions. He headed to the market place to catch a bus for he wanted to leave everything behind.
As he walked uneasily through the market place, the ebony smell hit him again. Startled in excitement, as if a baby to the sound of its mother, he turned. The strange smile was back but short-lived this time, for she was holding the hand of another man who could barely walk.
He noticed the pensive expressions, the paralyzed look in her eyes. He walked up to her, dropped his bag at her feet, and said,” I hope it’s enough. I never used it, never felt the need.” He smiled, looked in her deep eyes. He could feel the flow of tears through them.
So he left, keeping himself strong. He had realized love was not about loving someone and expecting something in return. But it’s actually about the inability to see someone in tears. It’s about the power to witness two loving souls and to feel their pain, and feeling the happiness by seeing them smile together. And it only grows when you know that it was you who made them smile.
This way, it is eternal and heavenly…
Now he could sleep in peace. He could have his stories again. Only now, they were about eternal and true love. He used to tell them to people who would come to visit him under the tree.
But later, this became a pilgrimage for all the spirits in love. For them, it was a place where they found true solace. For him, it was just another day at work.
To read more of Kumar’s stories, click here: Brains and Heart
Interview with Pramod Kumar- Writing as Freeing
“It’s important to get the feelings out and not keep them inside yourself.”
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a small village in Kerala, India.
Was writing a part of your life from a very young age?
The first time I got published in a newspaper was when I was in 7th Grade. I used to write short poems back then.
You said that you wrote more when you were dealing with sadder or heavier emotions in your life. How did the process of writing about these experiences make you feel?
Writing helped me with dealing with sadness. I felt relieved after writing stories about the experiences. Sometimes, as a guy, you have very few people around you to talk to about your feelings, especially when everyone is trying to come across as macho as they can. When I wrote my feelings down in a story, I could read them and talk to myself through them. Who else knows you better than yourself, right? Now, with the stories, I could separate the guy who was sad from my self for a little while, and talk to him. Now I could share the pain and it felt better.
Wow! I love how you describe that. Talking to the sad self.
Does reading those pieces now bring up the old emotions or memories?
Reading my blog now with all of those old pieces is just like reading a diary entry. I feel good. I believe our emotions dry down as we age. These pieces I wrote back then still keep me green. I am glad I wrote what I felt. It’s important to get the feelings out and not keep them inside yourself.
“Show, don’t tell” is a very common tip given to writers. I get lured into your writing instantaneously, from the very first sentences, because of the way you describe the feelings, emotions and details of things around and within your characters.
Are you aware that you are doing this or does it just come to you naturally?
Honestly, I am not sure if I could have been able to write it in any other way. I wrote as I remembered the experiences. When we sit in the sun and are having a conversation with someone, the sun warms our skin. If you are having a difficult conversation, it might make you uncomfortable, and if you are sitting with someone you like, you would love the warmth of the sun. I just happen to write about it. To me, it’s a simple thing that everyone can relate to.
It’s interesting that in the two pieces I’ve read so far of yours, it isn’t obvious what the setting for the story is- whether it is in India or Canada or even somewhere else. Do you still write creatively like this no matter which home or setting you are actually in, or does the environment around you, especially where you are living, dictate how much or whether you will be writing?
The stories you read were written when I was 22 years young. I was in India back then- confused, with less self-direction and with a million things going wrong. Writing helped me work through this. In my opinion, it’s not the geography that dictates the flow or the settings of the story but the place in life that you are in. Happy, sad, tired- it’s all in the state of heart. Continue reading