I’m listening to a song right now and my heart is warming and melting with nostalgia, love, truth and light. But, more than that, couple of lines in the middle of the song struck a chord with me instantly. Of all things, it focused on the truth about “stories”. What! Isn’t this what I’ve been pondering on since yesterday evening? Synchronicity, ha! I’ll share those lines (in Hindi/Urdu) with you and then share the meaning in English too. You’ll then know what I’m talking about…
Ek baar waqt se lamha gira kahin,
Wahan daastaan mili, lamha kahin nahin.
Once, a ‘moment’ fell somewhere from the lap of time,
There, stories were found, the moment – nowhere in sight.
(waqt = time , lamha = moment, daastaan = story)
Since morning, my thoughts have been revolving around this word, “stories”, in more ways than one. And once my mind made a note of it, the whole day I kept bumping (not intentional) into things – an article (by Peter Gray that says how stories make us relate to life), a song (that says stories remain, moments fade), some pictures (from my Delhi collection) – that kept reinforcing my original thought about “stories”.
So, I was thinking about the significance of stories in our lives. Stories, that we share using words. Words that can weave magic and create pictures and scenes in the minds of the readers. The stories crafted using the apt words, tones and expressions can leave a lasting imprint on its listeners.
Pictures are powerful, all right. They say, a picture is worth a thousand words. But, can we ever over-estimate the power of stories created using words, without a single picture to support? Surely, words are more than just words. Aren’t they?
It started with the place we went to see yesterday. It’s an old Portueguese house – 450 years old in the Chandor village. It’s massive. This mansion, called the Menezes Braganza house, has been turned into a museum now. No wonder. It’s architecture, the artefacts that it houses, the paintings, the furniture, the books – I may be falling short of words to describe the magnificence, beauty, art and craftsmanship of each and every piece that we got to see. (read about it on Pari’s blog).
But, I felt the one thing that was lacking in that plethora of beautiful objects – the massive chandeliers, the furniture inlaid with mother of pearl, the italian marble floor, the exquisite ballroom – was the warmth and life of “stories”. Stories of those that lived there – the hush-hush conversations of the couple that sat on the conversation bench (also called lovers seat), the anxiety of the officer (to the Portueguese office) that carried out the orders, the predicament of the guest that used the indoor toilet (over a wooden chair with a basin underneath), the curiosity of the women folk who sat in the porch watching the scenes across the street.
These stories were not uncovered.
They’ve been buried in history. No one cared to narrate. Not at all in the West wing of the mansion – which has more spendour than the East wing. And yet, it was the East Wing that caught our attention and interest more because the owner there – a 70-something years old lady – cared to share some tid bits about the many objects, artworks and furniture. There was scope for a lot more. But, whatever fragments of stories she shared was better than nothing in the East Wing.
So much about the pictures, eh?
It’s the stories that we’re all interested in.
A mundane picture can be most amazing if there’s a story to it that speaks to the viewer. The story is the soul. Or else, just beautiful pictures – without any soul – will be seen and forgotten.
It is my bhabi’s (sis-in-law) birthday today. She lives in Delhi where we spent many memorable moments together. I was missing her and hence started browsing through the pictures of those times with her. And, it wasn’t the most beautiful picture that touched me. The ones that strung at my heart was often badly-composed, even blurry – but they had some beautiful stories attached in my heart that reminded me of her love, care, warmth, fun, voice.
(she brought these flower jewelry for me that day – it was my birthday and Sufiana’s baby shower. I was nearly nine months pregnant and was going to leave from Delhi to Goa (for Sufi’s birth) within days. Her love and thoughtfulness reflected in those flower jewelry. She cared to remember me once telling her how much I want to wear such things rather than precious stones, gold and diamond.)
This makes me realize…
….the house that we live in as a family – it’s not the beautiful furniture, the sparkling corners, the gorgeous paintings on the walls that will be remembered by us and my children (and me) with fondness and a lump in our throats years down the line. It’ll be the beautiful stories, the moments lived together, the laughter, the songs, the play, the jokes, the hugs, the cuddles, the kisses – that we’ll all remember on a similar late evening at 10:23 PM – in Goa or elsewhere in the world.
On this note, sharing a few more meaningful lines from the same song (listen here) I shared at the beginning.
Aane wala pal, jaane wala hai
Ho sake to isme zindagi bita do,
Pal jo ye jaane wala hai
The moment that’s waiting to arrive
Is going to part soon,
Consider spending a lifetime in it
In this moment that’ll be gone before you know.
Well, the folks at that gorgeous Portuguese mansion did not share many stories, but we created some of our own memories in that house upon that visit. Wink!
Here’s one around Sufiana, my mom, myself and this antique, stained mirror.