Site icon Arnav Sibal

The Length of a Tale

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I’m not sure if it is a symptom of approaching one’s mid-twenties, but I’ve been meditating on mortality lately, specifically in the context of stories and family lore. We all have them. When we are young, if we are lucky, we play the part of the audience to our inherited history. We find our seats in the backyard grass, the front door stoop, or at the foot of a grandparent’s bed. And as we listen, we grow a metaphysical connection with the prologue to our existence. In textbooks, the likes of Partition and the Cold War are concepts and events. They only become real once we hear from people – through personal anecdotes, movies, books, and letters.

It is a mesmeric idea that each one of us is the product of an infinite collection of stories and characters. Few we will learn, far more will slip into the blind side of the human condition. It is equally sad that the majority of narratives will one day succumb to time, discretion, and the absence of someone to transfer them. Perhaps that is why we storytellers and poets exist. We are the stubborn champions of immortality.

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