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And it ‘s a 100

I completed the story of the Mountain and the Bird for the 100th batch . I never begin the story with a title and ask the participants to name the story. “ Serendipity Longing, Unending love, On the wings of a bird, The soul bonding,” and so on were some of the titles from the 100th batch of participants who had come from far and near to attend the 100 th batch of the Beginners Certificate course in Storytelling. I also ask them to end the story giving them an open ending to complete. One of the endings was

“Hundreds of years passed and the forest around the mountain continue to grow and become denser.

Then… one fine day the mountain saw a strange four-limbed creature walking up and down it’s slopes albeit on only two of its four limbs. They called this creature ‘the man’.

He was the most feared by all animals for he possessed equipments of mass destruction.

After all his ancestors invented fire and were responsible for the first massively destructive forest fire hundreds of thousands of years ago. But the man’s greed had only grown and this time they wanted to flatten the forests and convert them to agricultural plots. They wanted to raze the mountain to the ground and exploit its many natural resources like good, copper, silver, gypsum, etc

Bit by bit they built many quarries around the mountain and depleted the forest cover around it. A hundred more years passed and the mountain that once stood tall and solitary no longer stood there. Instead the mountain that had never moved in a thousand years was not omnipresent – in the tarmac on the roads, in the cement that made walls of a home, in safe boxes of wealthy men, in the telecommunication wires that connected and helped people communicate with each other an atom of the Mountain was there.

One participant went on to say that the story still continues and never ends.

And there were a 1000 different endings to that one story. .

And through these 100 batches I have listened and wondered….. How one story has held on to me and prompted me to share itself and in every batch I have shared the different hues of that mountain its emotions and shades along with the bird adding a few elements as the years went past.

The 100th batch… was over and the participants had left. I looked at the collage in our training room which had the pictures of the years that had rolled by.

I stood bending back over the years after the last participant left..Our 100th batch was over. The tears trickled down my old face as I stood watching my old picture across the words “ Once upon a time in 1998 “. Overwhelmed by a feeling of love and fulfilment I stood motionless as the room reminded me of everything that I had held dear and the love that I saw in the 1000’s of faces of the participants who had revered me and loved me encouraging and instigating me to continue my journey. Of course I do know that without the cooperation and love of the Kathalaya members like Deiva and Smitha this would have been impossible. I also know that someone Up above the heavens so high is smiling and sending me a shower of blessings and will continue to hold us at Kathalaya’s International Academy of Storytelling –the Academy that which has been a stage to the 100 batches.

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