Mar 23, 2009

Telling stories, it's not easy!

Everyday before sleeping, Aryaa makes us read her picture books for her. And after switching off the lights, we have to tell her some stories.

Reading her picture books is not a big deal. They have a lot of pictures and very few words, that too in simple Japanese. After reading for so many times, I can recite almost all of those books:) But coining a good story for a child seems really difficult. I have written some stories/poems etc. (for adults) and used to think that writing for children would be easy. But it is not easy! It might be one the most difficult among all the genres.

"INUNO HANASI SITE--" (Tell me a story of dog--), she requested once. While walking towards the nearest Children Park in the morning, she was very much amused by a cute little dog with one lady. Afterward she had asked me why we didn't have any dogs. I had told her that we had one in our home in Nepal and it was very lovely, etc. So she wanted to hear about that dog.

"That dog is very lovely" I started. "His name is PHUCHCHE. It likes to play with all the family members.---"

"SOREKARA INU DOKO ITTA NO" (Where did it go after that?) She wasn't satisfied with the "description" and wanted a "real story".

"Well, it said 'bye! bye!' to all and left for the nearby mountain." I was too tired and wasn't able to imagine anything good. I was trying hard not to fall asleep myself. "The mountain was steep and very high. The dog was already very tired after climbing only the half. So he rested for some time and started again. At last, after 2 hours he was at the top." Not knowing how to go ahead, I stopped here briefly.

"There was a temple at the top" I started again. "There was a priest there, and inside there was god too." I don't know why I didn't use the word 'idol' instead of 'god'.

"What was god doing?" She suddenly asked.
"Hmmmm--- He was reading a book!" I replied and became ready for another question like 'What books does god read?'.
"And where did the dog go from there?" She was more interested in the dog's journey than god's books!
"Well, he climbed down, went back home, had dinner and slept." Fearing another dead end, I opted for a 'safe-landing'.
"CHIGAU--!!!! SOREKARA INU DOKO ITTANO!?"(No---! Where did the dog go from there!?), She was in no mood to let this dog return back and sleep! He had to keep on moving!

"Well then this dog looked at the city below from the top of the mountain. 'Ah, the city looks too crowded now!' he talked to himself and moved from there. He reached a big jungle. It was little bit dark there, he was afraid at first but the little monkey there was very friendly. They played together. Monkey kid taught him swing. Then he said 'bye' to monkey and started again. In another big jungle he listened some birds singing. You know, those small birds have so sweet voice! They were singing 'HINA MATSURI' songs. After the birds finished singing, this dog went to another mountain----"

In this way after seven mountains and eight jungles, my dog was about to reach the big sea and swim but Aryaa was already asleep.

I was wondering why didn't this dog reach sea earlier? Why did he have to cross so many jungles and mountains to reach sea? Is it because I come from a landlocked country with many mountains:)

Children seem to have very fertile imagination. You just have to give them a stream of events (they can even be random and impossible) and they create/imagine the story themselves. But even imagining events continuously is not easy, especially when the child doesn't sleep at least 45 minutes after switching the lights off. And sometimes my limited Japanese language skills give trouble too. It is the only language she understands.

It is still not easy for me but let me tell you I am getting better at it, though slowly. I have already tried some new heroes like tiger, lion, bird. I hope I will soon be able to have a human hero:)


Dilip Acharya said...

Wordsworth has somewhere written:
The child is the father of the man.

I, exactly don't know in which sense it was written, but when it comes to my own personal matter...I feel answering a child's questions honestly, is not an easy thing.

They can ask you such questions, that may make u awkward. At least I have felt it several times.
If I have to tell u frankly I've surrendered to her so many times,saying 'मलाई थाहा छैन' because I am being honest to my child and I do not want to give her any nonsense answer, when I don't know the answer of her question.

About stories..luckily I am able to crate story about anything.

Basanta Gautam said...

Thank you Dilip dai!
Yes answering all of a child's questions is very hard. It is very hard to be compelled to say "I don't know!" sometimes. It keeps me repenting for many days.

I wish I could be as good a story teller as you are.

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