Aap Ki Kahaani: Get Ready to Write Your Own Story - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Aap Ki Kahaani: Get Ready to Write Your Own Story

Aug 13, 2014

Aap Ki Kahaani: Get Ready to Write Your Own Story 

Since the past few days I've been thinking about the importance of stories. A particular incident that set it off was the recent Natwar Singh-Sonia Gandhi controversy. Natwar Singh wrote his autobiography called One Life is Not Enough and included several people from his life in it; one being Sonia Gandhi. Then came Sonia Gandhi's supposed answer to the media that she would soon reveal the "true" story in a book of her own.

It's not the drama and the back and forth that amused or amazed me. Or the many excerpts from the book that filled the newspapers in the days after. What stood out was the fact that everyone has a story to tell. And everyone is bursting to come out with their own version of the story.

But what holds them back? Do they doubt the fact that they are really heroes in their own right? That their lives, in fact, can be of immense significance to the people around them?

I truly believe that we all have in us a story of universal interest. All we need is a little nudge in that direction. Or some quiet time to reflect and write it down. And sometimes, maybe just an angry old man telling his own tales!

Any which way you look at it, your story is important. Even if it is not converted into a book, it does matter. It matters how you see life and how it plays out for you. And it matters that your life is meaningful to you first, before it inspires others.

So how do you begin to tell your story? What are the factors to keep in mind while living and writing your own grand story?

Helen McKay and Berice Dudley in an article, What Is a Story? say: Stories are a nourishment for our hungry souls... Stories are magic, taking us everywhere: backwards, forwards or happening right in the present time, transporting us to many places and situations we might never go.

Going by these lines, it's clear that stories should do something to us. They should make us feel good, elevate our spirits, give us hope. They should take us to places we've never been.

But more importantly they should help us change the story of our lives. Tales of triumphs and tribulations act as fuel. They get us ready to charge ahead and chart our own paths.

As individuals and as entrepreneurs, we are constantly telling stories. Using them to connect with people, to start conversations, to get funding, to build careers and to engage with society at large.

It's our way of finding a small place in the universe. And very often it works. Because a story creates a bond between the storyteller and the listener. In that moment in time, all that matters is the story and its fantastical elements.

The elements of a story listed below could very well be the elements of life itself... incorporated to further it in the direction that works best for us. And if they stir something in you, use them to tell your own story...

Start with a premise: In film school I was taught that every script starts on a basic premise or a theme. For example, a hero wants to free India of corruption and accomplishes his mission in one day. Thus, came into being Nayak: The Real Hero starring Anil Kapoor et al.

Similarly every mission and purpose in your life can be stated in one line. The idea is to come to a point of clarity in your life when you can clearly understand and define that purpose. This process can take time, but once done life becomes a smooth sail and the attainment of goals becomes easier.

Understand the setting: The setting puts your story into context. We often start conversations, saying who we are, where we've come from or what we do. We locate our stories in a place and time. Like the protagonist Saleem Sinai of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, who was born on the midnight hour of India's Independence. From thereon, every incident of his life was a metaphor for the struggles of a new nation.

Your environment becomes a background for the life you're currently leading. For the situations you face, for the way you deal with them. We make do with what we have or don't have. But overcome the environment we must. Because eventually the background of your story stays exactly there, in the background.

Work with your characters: Every story comes with its set of characters. There will be supporting actors, side-kicks, villains, even comedians. Like the Fool in Shakespeare's plays... no tragedy was complete without him. Characters take the story forward. They add their own idiosyncrasies, give the story extra masala.

In life as in work, identify your support systems. Many will take your journey further, still others may hold you back. But they all add value, they all bring their own wisdom and they will all play some role in the larger story of life.

Get ready for action: Like any story, life too is full of action. Full of plots and twists in the plots. But our readiness to deal with these twists and turns comes from our nimbleness to think and act.

We have to be geared to respond to life's various possibilities. Sometimes this comes through equipping yourself with various skills. Sometimes by keeping an open mind and a willingness to learn. And at still others, just the ability to stay positive and keep at it day after day.

Resolve conflicts: In movies and books, conflicts actually add to the drama, they keep the audience on edge, they make the reader turn one more page. And they make the protagonist unravel one more hidden strength from his armour.

But in life conflicts can be a drain, they can waste a lot of time that could have otherwise been put to good use. Be it a conflict with yourself or with the world, the sooner it's resolved, the faster you will move toward your goals. So draw upon peace and sincerity, bring forth the skills you have to offer and watch the true you unfold.

From now on take charge of writing your own life script. Design a plot that is completely yours. And take your story to its happy ending.

Do write to us with your own life stories. Of conquering fears, of overcoming hardships, of staying true to yourself.

Image Source: Carlos Amarillo / Shutterstock.co.in


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3 Responses to "Aap Ki Kahaani: Get Ready to Write Your Own Story"


04 Jul, 2015

Very good article.iamaware of my life story.iamaseniorcitizen of 80yrs.feel like writing.many request me to write abt my life .now iam thinking seriously I will share with you.thank you. Kamal patani

dev golchha

15 Aug, 2014

Good piece to read! For person like me who have spent 10 years of my teenage in "wandering and finding out what to do", the story would make the crowd feel lost.From 18 to 30 almost, mind was occupied with ego,overconfidence, talks but minus action.I dont have a friend nor a support system. The story have started to take a turn from 2013 when i have turned 31.I will have friends,support system, success,fame,money,peace & all what I want in next few years. Thats my belief and now I know no constraints.

rupa murali

13 Aug, 2014

Creativity is there in everybody but very few feel it. Making innovative dishes daily too is an art and can be retold as a story. Putting your creativity in words is nothing but a story. The daily complains and happenings narrated by your kid about what all happened in school or while they were playing is also a form of narration and so a story. Wow really true to your words rittika we can see stories everywhere.

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