NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Chapter 3 - Iswaran The Storyteller
Chapter - Iswaran The Storyteller Exercise 18
A story is ‘a narrative account of real or imaginative event or events’.
Yes Iswaran is a fascinating story teller. He was an avid reader of Tamil thrillers. He loved these stories because of their imaginative descriptions and narrative flourishes and his own descriptions were greatly influenced by the authors he read. His stories were packed with adventure and horror and he always added suspense and a surprise ending to his story. He would be so caught up in the excitement of his own story that he would get up from the floor and jump about, stamping his feet with excitement.
Story telling has been one of the oldest activities known to man and through history stories have been narrated in many forms-dance, drama ,art and music.
Some of the qualities of a good story teller are:
- Always keep in mind the purpose of a story: entertainment, educational, informational, and moralistic.
- It should be simple.
- Children’s stories should be entertaining and appeal to their imagination.
- Don’t be monotonous, dull and boring.
- ‘Describe’ something happening rather than just inform them that something has occurred.
- Keep changing the tone of your voice with the characters and maintain eye contact throughout.
- Keep your listeners alert and attentive and interact with them.
- Be creative especially with the young.
- You could use sound effects.
- Include motivation, encouragement etc all as part of the story.
- The ending should be strong and make sure you leave your audience with something to think about.
- Although stories with a moral are fun don’t be too moralistic-then the story loses its charm!
Iswaran is Mahendra’s cook and is quite attached to him and follows him uncomplainingly wherever he is posted. He cooks for Mahendra, washes his clothes, tidies up his place and chats with his master at night. He could weave out endless stories and anecdotes on various subjects. He has an amazing capacity to produce vegetables and cooking ingredients out of no where and can conjure up the most delicious dishes within an hour of arriving at a new site.
Iswaran describes the uprooted tree on the highway with eyebrows suitably arched and hands held out in a dramatic way. He would begin by saying that the road was deserted and he was all alone. Suddenly he spotted something that looked like an enormous bushy beast lying sprawled across the road. He was half inclined to turn and go back. But as he came closer he saw that it was a fallen tree, with its dry branches spread out.
The effect he wants to create is suspense and a surprise ending to every small incident that he narrates to his readers.
Iswaran begins narrating the elaborate anecdote about the elephant by saying that one day a tusker escaped from the timber yard and began to roam about, stamping on bushes, tearing up wild creepers and breaking branches behaving as if it had gone mad. At this stage of the story Iswaran gets so caught up in the excitement of his own narration that he gets up from the floor and jumps about, stamping his feet in emulation of the mad elephant. He continues by saying that when the elephant reached the outskirts of the town; breaking the fences down like matchsticks, it went into the main road and smashed all the stalls selling fruits, mud pots and clothes and then entered a school ground where children were playing, by breaking through the brick wall. The boys ran into the classrooms and shut the doors tight and the teachers climbed up to the terrace of the school building; from there they helplessly watched the depredations of the elephant.. The beast grunted and wandered about, pulling out the football goal-post, tearing down the volleyball net, kicking and flattening the drum kept for water, and uprooting the shrubs.
Everyone disappeared from the the ground and the streets too were empty. At this stage he, Iswaran who was watching from the rooftop grabbed a cane and ran down the stairs into the open. The elephant grunted, swung a branch of a tree which it held in its trunk, stamped its feet and kicked up a lot of mud and dust. Although it looked frightening he moved slowly towards it.
The elephant looked at him, ready to rush towards him, then lifted its trunk and trumpeted loudly. Iswaran moved forward and, whacked its third toenail on the quick. The beast was stunned for a moment; then it shivered from head to foot — and collapsed.
Although controlling an elephant, especially a mad one is a Herculean task yet the story does not appear plausible as it was not possible for someone who was one moment watching from high up on the roof top to suddenly decide to be brave enough and come fight the elephant in spite of no one being around to help. Besides it is not possible to stun and collapse a large elephant by just giving it a whack on its toenail.
The author says that Iswaran seemed to more than make up for the absence of a TV in Mahendra’s living quarters because not a day passed without Iswaran recounting some story packed with adventure, horror and suspense. Whether the story was credible or not, Mahendra enjoyed listening to it because of the inimitable way in which it was told.
Mahendra calls ghosts or spirits a figment of the imagination because Iswaran informed him that they were living on a burial site and kept narrating to him stories of various ghosts he himself had encountered.
On one full moon night, Mahendra was woken up from his sleep by a low moan close to his window. At first he thought that it was a cat prowling around for mice. But the sound was too deep and guttural for a cat. He resisted looking outside as he did not want to witness a sight that might stop his heart beat. But the crying became louder and less subtle. He could not resist the temptation any more. Lowering himself to the level of the windowsill he looked out at the white sheet of moonlight outside. There, not too far away, was a dark cloudy form clutching a bundle. He broke into a cold sweat and fell back on the pillow, panting.
At first, a chill went down Mahendra’s spine when he heard Iswaran recall the story of the ghost, the next morning. However as he hurried to his office he kept thinking about the events of the night and he realised that although he was extremely scared and frightened he had definitely not moaned out aloud. So the only way Iswaran could have known that he saw the ghost was if he was the ghost himself. On reaching home that evening he called Iswaran, and after a lot of questioning got him to confess that he himself was the ghost. He warned him never to play pranks like that on anyone anymore.
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