The other day, someone asked me that coming from a business family, how did I end up pursuing writing. I often wonder about this. How did I climb the writing bandwagon? What prompted me to start this amazing journey called writing?
I told the man that it was my grandmother (my dad’s mother). Yes, one of the earliest influences on my writing was my grandmother. Every night, while making me eat my dinner, when I was around 4 to 5 years, old she would tell me stories. These were all folktales or stories that revolved around Hindu Gods and Goddesses and the great Saints. Granny’s tales of the various Gods’ childhood pranks brought each God to life.
The voracious reader that I am now has its roots in my childhood. I was a voracious listener then, never tiring of granny’s stories, craving them long after the dinner plates had been washed. Long after she gave up the practice of making me eat my dinner, I continued to badger her for stories. Granny, I am sure exhausted her well of stories, but not one to admit defeat she made up stories just for me.
For an entire week she told me the same story giving it different endings. I asked her why she was telling me the same story with different endings, she laughed and said,“I am running out of stories, child.”
Each ending changed the entire story. From humorous it turned into suspense, and then moved to the battle of good over evil. Each story was embedded with a moral, to make us (her grandchildren imbibe good qualities and emulate the noble characters who peopled her story). I was fascinated by Granny’s quick thinking. My love for stories: listening, reading and writing started then. One of my first few published articles was the story she had narrated to me during my childhood.
Yes, my grandmother was a truly gifted storyteller. To make several fidgety grandchildren sit through a repeat story with only the lure of how she would finish it this time was no small task. And she accomplished this beautifully. Though the stories were repeated she never bored us, as she embellished the story with each narration. Sometimes adding few characters, at times dropping few.
This habit of hers has inculcated in me the practical experience of finding out how the same story can end in many different ways. Yes, at times I toy with different endings and finally zero in on the one I think works the best for my stories and books.
What has been your earliest writing influence? Did someone prompt you to start your creative journey? Who or what was it? We would love to know.