Ishwaran the Storyteller
By R. K. Laxman
· The story ‘Ishwaran the Storyteller’ is written by R. K. Laxman, the greatest cartoonist of India who has entertained entire country with his witty and sarcastic cartoon strips for five decades. He was also a great illustrator and humourist writing many humorous stories and books.
· ‘Ishwaran the Storyteller’ is an interesting and humorous story about a cook named Ishwaran who was a gifted storyteller. He entertained Mahendra telling thrilling stories, but at end he made Mahendra leave his job and run away by scaring him through his imaginative and scary tales.
· The story highlights that the storytelling is an art and not everyone can master it. Iswaran, a master of this art used to tell his master, Mahendra the gripping stories in such a graphic and dramatic manner that his listeners listened to him in complete attention and bewilderment.
· The story involves lot of surprise, interest, twist, wit and humour which are integral elements of a good story.
· Finally, being over enthusiastic about his stories he scared Mahendra out of his wits and made him run away from the construction site. This makes the storytellers introspect and learn that they must keep a check on the progression and the impact of their stories over the listeners.
Summary / Synopsis
· This is a story about Mahendra, a junior supervisor who used to keep moving from one construction site to another wherever his firm sent him. His cook, Ishwaran was an asset to him and went with him all the places without any complaints. Ishwaran cooked his meals, washed his clothes and told him stories at night. He had an amazing capacity to produce vegetables within an hour after reaching a completely new and desolate site and cook meal. Thereby he was a great asset.
· His descriptions and story telling were greatly influenced by the Tamil authors he used to read. This influenced his way of telling and creating his own thrillers. He used to elaborate even a simple scene of a fallen tree with lot of excitement and enactment. Mahendra used to hear the stories patiently without questioning about authenticity and credibility of the stories.
· Once Iswaran narrated an anecdote about a wild elephant. He told the story about how he paralysed a mad elephant that created a lot of mess in the town and Ishwaran’s school where all the children and the teachers hid themselves out of fear. But, Iswaran being only a student of junior school took a rod and hit at the elephant’s third toe nail and his nervous system got paralyded. He could do that as he had read about the Japanese art of ju-jitsu or Karate.
· One day after making and enjoying delicacies on an auspicious day dedicated to the dead ancestors he started talking about spirits. Iswaran told that the site where they were staying had been once a burial ground. He had come across skulls and bones many times, but he was not scared of them. He also told Mahendra about a female ghost with a foetus in her arms, and that she was seen only on a full moon night. This made Mahendra so uneasy that he shouted at Ishwaran telling that ghosts don't exist and went to bed. But, the thought of female ghost haunted him so much that he was scared of looking out of his window. One night he heard a low moan outside his window on a full moon night. He peered out of his window and a cloudy form was visible, which he concluded to be the female ghost. Next morning Iswaran told Mahendra that he also had seen the ghost as Ishwaran could hear the moaning from his room. Mahendra took that sad cry to be that of the ghost and finally decided to quit his job and leave that haunted place.
· It was quite possible that Mahendra was often thinking of that woman ghost and that he had a horrible dream of female ghost that night. And that moaning was his own cry which was heard by Ishwaran coming from Mahendra’s room.
· The chapter clearly highlights that the stories told in a dramatic manner cast immense impact on the listeners leaving them in sheer amazement and involvement.
· The story teaches us not to be superstitious. We should not be influenced or scared by superstitions like ghosts or spirits. Fear forces us to imagine things and take wrong decisions. One should be bold enough to take logical decisions in all situations.
The theme of the story is that the storytelling is an art and not everyone can master this art. Iswaran, a master of this art used to tell gripping stories in such a graphic and dramatic manner that his listeners listened to him in complete attention and amazement.