For a long time, story times have been exciting for both you and me. I always had a sense of pride in telling my own stories. It allowed me to convey what I wanted to tell more elegantly. However when creating stories became harder, I ended up taking the standard stories with little or no modifications at all. Now I have even exhausted them all. Or possibly now I have lost the pride and enthusiasm in creating the new ones. In my work, we often discourage people re-inventing the same thing. That is just waste of time, effort, mis-placed pride and often dis-respect to the hard work done by others. There are many times where I also thought the same about my stories. When people have already spent substantial time in creating good stories, why invent my own? So I wasn't that interested in telling a new story today, but I couldn't find anything readily available in my mind as well. Some times remembering stories is more difficult than creating one! So I started telling the story of Anirudh's imaginary appa.
Once upon a time there was an Appa with two kids. They always used to pester him about a new story before going to bed. Appa told them a new story everyday without failing. However in few years Appa's brain couldn't produce any more new stories. Appa told them 'maga, I have no more stories left to tell you. From today onwards you will have to learn to sleep without any stories'. But the kids weren't ready to accept that. They insisted to hear the story before sleeping. Appa got very sad about himself and told them. 'Ok, I have lost all my stories now, I will have to go and search where I have lost all those stories' and went out in search of the stories. The kids weren't expecting that. They were shocked to see their Appa going out in search of stories. They started crying 'No Appa, we will sleep without the story, please come back, please come back'. But Appa couldn't hear their cries. He kept on going faster and faster.
He crossed the village. There was a big river, he crossed that river and went to another village and crossed that too. Like that he crossed several villages and rivers, but still couldn't find any stories. Then he found a big forest. He went inside the forest in search of stories. It was very very dark inside the forest. He was too scared of staying there alone for long. However he wasn't ready to go back without the stories. He kept on moving in the forest. After some time he came near a cave. Inside the cave he heard somebody telling a story. It was an intelligent fox with three cubs. Appa had never heard that story before and he was surprised to hear that from a fox. It was very interesting and entertaining. As the story finished, Appa couldn't control his sleep and fell asleep near the cave.
Next day morning Appa got up and thought of going back. But he had only heard one new story. It would have made his kids happy only for a day. He wanted more stories. So he stayed near the cave for more stories. The next day he heard another new story, more interesting than the first one. Like that he stayed near the cave for many more days, learning many new stories. He even lost count of how many new stories he had heard. Finally, he was happy and headed back to his home.
When he reached his home it was dark. His kids were almost ready to sleep. As soon as they saw their Appa, they started running towards him. They were so happy to see him back, after so many days. They weren't the same kids that he saw when he left the house, they looked bigger. Appa didn't even remember how many days he was away from the home. But they were all happy to see each other. Appa told them, 'come to bed quickly, I have so many new stories to tell you, but I will be telling only one new story a day, like I used to tell before'. But the kids told, 'Sorry Appa, we made you leave our home for stories. So we decided not to pester you any more for the stories. Instead we learned to tell our own stories. Every day before sleeping, one of us would tell one story each day for you so that you can come and join us. Now you don't have to tell us any more new story. But we will tell you one story each day'. Appa became very sad after realizing what he has done. He said 'I am very sorry boys, I will never do this again' and started listening to their stories....
I finished my story and asked Anirudh, as always, 'Did you like my story?'. He looked very sad and said 'No'. Then I asked Arjun 'Did you like my story'. He was very happy and said 'yes'. I asked further.
'Why did you like the story, Arjun?'
'Because of the fox didn't eat Appa'
'Foxes don't eat people'
'What do they eat then'
'They eat rats, rabbits and chickens, if they can find'.
Before he could ask any more question, I asked Anirudh, 'Why didn't you like the story Anirudh'.
'I didn't like the story because the Appa left'
'But he left to get more stories'
'Still I didn't like him leaving'
'Ok, would you tell a story instead of asking Appa to tell story everyday'
'I will, I will', both shouted at the same time.