I always believed in fairy tales, from my childhood they fascinated me, those mystical lands of Prince and Princess, Kings, and Queens, Demons, and Devils, Witches, and Wizards, of Palaces and Caves, of Unicorns and Centaurs, of Spells and Potions, of Curses and Charms and I was lost in them for as long as my father could manage to stretch the stories, and then I would whine and sulk that it wasn’t long enough, and he would kiss me as he made me sit in his lap and promise me an even better story tomorrow and I would go to sleep with that promise hanging in the air, already eager for the next night. The next evening as he would come home from the office I eagerly would wait for him at the door, reminding him that he needs to recite the longest story tonight and he would smile and nod hugging me despite his tiredness and weariness. I could hardly contain my excitement as he washed and changed, finished dinner, spent some time with grandparents all the while holding my palm in his hand like a constant reassurance that said “soon”, and then he would pick me up in his arms and retire to our room(me, my mother and him had one room to ourselves as we lived in joint family), there he would help me get settled for the night, lovingly containing my excitement with his words, making me realise that we should finish all our nightly routine so no one disturbs us during story time and my eyes would grow a little wider with that pre-event buzz. He would tuck me in my cot and lie next to me on his side of the bed as my mother finished the remaining chores in kitchen and finally, he would ask ” so what kinda story shall I tell my doll today ?”, I would turn to him with enthusiasm only to find him drowsy, about to fall asleep, then tickle him, till I see him shake off the sleep, wanting his complete focus and unwavering attention. He would pretend that he was just acting to fall asleep and I would start giving preferences “Papa I want one where there are animals and a princess and a ghost”, and look at his face eagerly for him to begin, and then he would say “my hand I can tell you one magnificent tale of a lion, a princess like you and a poor carpenter”, cleverly deterring me from the demand of a ghost story as he knew that I wouldn’t sleep out of fear then. I would nod vigorously just wanting it to begin, and he would always start with “once upon a time”, and trust me, it became my favourite quote.
He would meticulously weave his story through all the elements and characters, spinning a thrilling tale for me on the spot, he would decorate it with sound effects of animals, horse hooves, arrows flying and drums beating, he would change his voice and tone for each character, turning it animated for animal characters, making me jump and squeal and laugh with each twist and turn. Somewhere during the story, I would leave my cot and scoot on his side clinging to him as I wrapped my small arms around his belly, thinking I have secured the most unique seat and he would tap my back in that rhythmic pace. I would hide my face in his chest when he told how the lion attacked the princess and would kiss him in between when he said how the carpenter came to her rescue and my breathing would get shallow when the King decides to execute the carpenter for touching the princess, I would change postures in elation as the adventure progressed losing myself in his voice as he traveled with me through that magical world and would stop breathing when the princess marries the carpenter to save him from King and clap like the most attentive and satisfied audience when he ended it with “and they lived happily ever after”, never once he ended them sadly, making his girl happy, keeping her safe from the harsh realities. My mother would settle with us by then, and she would look at my father with the hope of exchanging a few words with him, but he would be softly snoring by then, and I would place a finger on my lips ” Sssshhhh, Papa has fallen asleep, I helped him tell a very nice story”, my mother would give me a warm and sad little smile and place a finger on her own lips in agreement, and we all would switch off lights and close our eyes. The only thing I could think of was how nice a tale, what wise princess, what courageous Carpenter, what a fierce lion, while my mother would be gazing silently at my father’s sleeping form with contentment. The thought that the story was told to make me sleep, so that my father could have a few words of affection with my mother never crossed my mind, I was gleeful that I am still up while he slept, it never occurred to me that my mother was a very vital part of my father’s life, that she yearned for a little time with him, for me he was all mine, my property.
As I grew up my love for stories kept growing, and I graduated from papa’s fairytale to short stories, books, novels, epics, and then came a day when my storyteller left this world forever! And now, I want to write a story, I want to be a tale spinner, you know why? Because I know that my love for stories was not because I loved to read, but because he loved to tell them, now I know that I was his only audience, and he charmed me each night, just for love I showered on him. The magic was in the man and not the tales, in his unconditional love, and I often crave for one more story. Now it’s my turn to be showered with love. Today I wanna be a storyteller, today I want to return some of what I got, today I want to honour my father’s memory, today I have decided I will spin some tales of my own as I was nurtured with the fables of a Tale Spinner!
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The Story Teller! (Another heartwarming story)