“All great literature is one of two stories;
a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”
― Leo Tolstoy

When  my wife and I conclude our morning walk around 6.30 or so in our housing complex, we invariably stay back to listen to some enchanting stories from one of our senior-most members, Mrs. Bhadekar (we fondly call her Bhadekar aunty). She is a great story-teller… and her stories come from anything and everything that happens around her. Sometimes it involves our own members, maids, security, house-keeping staff or gardeners… sometimes it involves someone from outside… Government, politicians, religious matters, education, sports, fusion, TV, films, drama, her childhood days… a bit of gossip, a bit of philosophy a bit of anxiety, a bit of fun and mischief… there is no permanent enemy, there is no black and white…  a lot of grey shades in between…

Those 15 to 20 minutes are glorious. Bhadekar aunty is a story-teller… and, she tells her stories without rehearsing or making any fuss about… “Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki,” She casually mentioned this during our session this morning. The context was very interesting and when she dropped the name of this 1978 Raj Kholsa film (Which had won the Best Film Filmfare award) we all instantly laughed our hearts out…

“Gerry got his story for today’s’ blog,” my wife said knowing how her hubby’s mind worked.

“Yes, I did,” I agreed.

I was in my degree college, back home in Mangalore, when this movie was released. That was four decades ago… and, I hadn’t watched the film. After coming to my office, I googled to find out more about this film… Here is what Wikipedia said:

Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki is a 1978 Indian film directed by Raj Khosla and Sudesh Issar. It is based on a Marathi novel titled Ashi Tujhi Preet by Chandrakant Kakodkar

Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki is about an aristocrat, Thakur Rajnath Singh Chouhan (Vijay Anand), who is in love with his mistress Tulsi (Asha Parekh) but forced to marry a strong aristocratic woman named Sanjukta (Nutan). Tulsi sacrifices her life, some time after giving birth to Rajnath's son Ajay, because she wants Sanjukta to have her husband all to herself. Rajnath and Sanjukta send Ajay to boarding school to prevent him from bearing the stigma of being an illegitimate child. Sanjukta and Rajnath have a son, Pratap. Rajnath dies in a horse-riding accident. Sanjukta makes regular visits to the boarding school to see Ajay and, when he grows up, she brings him home. Sanjukta makes Ajay (Vinod Khanna) into not only a very important man but also shields him every time and finally confesses before the public that Ajay is her husband's first son and therefore, is entitled to respect. However, her own son Pratap (Deb Mukherjee) feels slighted and becomes wayward. Some people around them also try to further damage the relations between the two brothers. However, for every sin of the younger brother, Ajay protects him and takes the blame. Sanjukta, not knowing the actual situation, gets disturbed. At one stage, she blames Ajay for every wrong thing which actually has been done by her own son. Ajay leaves the house. But soon thereafter, the situation changes and the men standing in support of Pratap feel deceived as he lets them down. In the climax, these men try to kill Pratap, but Ajay, who comes to know of this plan, rescues his brother. Then, Pratap realizes his half-brother's kindness. He surrenders to Ajay and accepts him as the elder brother. The family reunites.

Last afternoon, I was talking to Kavita, one of my dear old students. Presently her son, Vignesh, who is in S.Y. B.Com, is studying under him. She is involved with her younger son’s (who is in fourth standard) school activates. “Sir, there is a story-writing competition coming up in the school,” Kavita said, “Can we expect you to guide us?”

Why don’t we write our stories ‘just like that’? Yes, this was the thought playing on my head as I was talking to Kavita, “Why don’t we let our children just tell their tales just how Bhadekar aunty does?”

If the organizers invite me to be a judge for this story-writing’ event, I will gracefully tell them, “I am a wrong person for the job.”

For, when stories come from our childhood space – that clean, curious and innocent space – our every story is a masterpiece… And, we all are master story-tellers.

Pluck a tusli leaf from your aangan today and smell it… You will sense how fresh your story can be!


Pic.: Satnam Singh Khalsa


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