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When Ajji Tells Stories...

by Nuggehalli Pankaja
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)

There was a time when ajji was very popular with the grandchildren as a good story-teller.They would sit around her, listening avidly, anxious not to miss even a word. They would never be bored if the same story was repeated many times, a credit to the interesting way of the narration. And ajji knew so many stories of puranas,bringing to life all the gods,goddesses, Rakshasas , etc. And the children would believe the miracles, accept the strange twists, without any questions whatsoever. With the demolition of such a legendary figure like the lovable Santa Claus,the mental attitude of even a small child over here has taken somersaults. Wide exposure through many a varied channel has made them over smart, often landing the poor innocent ajji into an awakward position..

Recently, when all the ajjis of the building(including me ) found themselves stranded in the lift due to powerfailure, I had the pleasure of hearing them exchange notes.-
“Ajji,why didn’t Seetha divorce Rama on grounds of cruelty?” The little girl of about six or seven, demanded soon after hearing Ramayana- “Making the poor girl jump into the fire, and on top of it, sending her away,alone,to the forest!”One ajji recounted, shocked.

“My granddaughter’s opinion is even more drastic!”- Another ajji interposed- “Far from getting shocked or perplexed by Draupadi marrying all the five pandavas, she shouted- “Hurray! I will marry fifty husbands-What fun seeing them quarrel with each other!” And can you believe it--All the little friends around endorsed! What could I say?”

Ajji's gang in the lift had a good laugh.

“The precocious girls love swayamvara of old, but not the stakes that went along with it”.Another ajji had this to say – “They loved Swayamvara,!‘Swayamvara is a thrilling experience! Why can’t we have it? When we come to marriageable age, we ourselves will advertise it !’- They decide there and then, while their parents blame us for giving them them silly ideas. .That’s why I have now stopped telling stories to the chits”- Another concluded.

Listening, I felt it safer to stick to the usual prince-giant stories.

Anyday they are far more interesting, and there will be nothing there for them to work upon. So next time the children pestered me for a good story, “Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess”- I began, and proceeded confidently as the group edged closer with rapt attention; I told them about the bad giant who carried her away,about the prince who rushed on a white speed to kill him, but the giant’s life was not there-it was in.....”

Before I could say the usual-“ seven seas away, seven hills above, on a tree high, within the big bird on the topmost branch. . . . . . . . . . . . .”

The group had choroused-

“The giant’s life was in his computer ajji,"


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Feb 05, 2014
by: NuggehalliPankaja

Dear Vimala and Kiran, thanks for your finely
expressed comments. this skit was born out of my experience,while telling stories to my grandchildren. "Pati,why didn't Sita divorce Rama?"-My little g.daughter of five or six (come from America for a holiday-wise about the happenings in that country) queried innocently. I was taken aback,for such ideas had never struck us
when our amma was narrating Ramayana etc. We
glorified Sita! And ofcourse Rama,for,was he not God? And pitied Draupadi!

Feb 05, 2014
Logical Innocence
by: Kiran Jhamb

Can innocence be logical? Child is the father of man - trite but true! Actually we are being childish in questioning their 21ist century child like innocence.We must readjust our notions.Very enjoyable.

Feb 05, 2014
ajji stories
by: vimala ramu

Though I never heard stories from my grandmother, I myself was a popular storyteller for my little nieces and grandchildren. Both sides enjoyed it.

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