The Storyman

It was the first time that Sachin and Samarth were out in the real world. They called it a vacation, although what they really wanted was an adventure.

They hadn’t found any. After two days of hiking, and travelling to remote places of India, still they found nothing.

So when they saw the makeshift highway pub, neither of them could wait to be inside, and get comfortable with a cold beer.

“We don’t really need adventures, do we Sachin?”

“Nope. We need beer.”

“Cold beer!” said Samarth, and they were inside the dingy pub, catering to its highway people, and emanating the highway smells.

“And anyway, this was an adventure of sorts for us too, wasn’t it? I mean, think about it. We did something new, and in a way, that’s an adventure as well. Who said anything about an adventure being thrilling and chilling?” said Sachin, with a fake-cheery voice that he knew was cheering him up more than Samarth.

“Two beers”, ordered Samarth, as they sat down on the bar stools and waited for the beer to come to them. They didn’t know what else was coming along with those two innocent beers though.

The barman handed them two chilled bottles of beer, and bent down to speak to them.

“I heard you guys. You’re looking for adventure? At this young age? You guys must be mad!” said he, with the most serious eyes that any man could possess.

“Why’s that?” the boys asked.

“Look behind you boy, you see that man there? You know which man I’m talking about. The one with that great big scar running down his face? Legend has it…”

“I’m sorry, did you say, ‘legend’ has it?” interrupted Sachin.

“Yes, boy! Listen closely, and don’t interrupt me when I’m talking!” said the barman, and then continued in the same manner, “Legend has it that he has seen adventure. Not just once, but many times over in his life. They call him the Storyman, and I can’t tell you the stories that I’ve heard from him.”

“Why not?” asked Sachin, acting his usual curious self that he always was.

“Because it chills me, down to the very bones! Now, if you want an adventure, he’s the man you should talk to,” said the barman, and left to attend to business.

“You think we should go talk to him, Sam?”

Samarth couldn’t make up his mind. He thought it over for a moment. Thoughts such as ‘this might be dangerous’ and ‘never trust strangers’ kept chasing each other inside his head. Finally, he came to the decision.

“We’re out here, looking for adventure. We can’t really turn back, now that we’ve almost found it. We’ll just go and talk to him, that’s all.”

And so they went. The man’s face was half hidden in the shadows of the dim light of the bar, and as they neared, they could see his face in better relief. The candle on the wall cast deep shadows on his face, and they could clearly see the two eyes gleaming at them, and the scar that the barman had told them about. It looked eerie, and now that they stood near this man, they knew that the barman wasn’t lying when he had told them that ‘legend has it.’

The man didn’t speak, but gestured for them to sit in the two empty seats that seemed to have been waiting specially for them. They sat, down, and the man in front of them spoke.

“Good evening boys. As you’ve been told, I am the Storyman.” said the Storyman.

The boys couldn’t speak. They could almost reach out and touch the adventure that seemed to tease them at just an arm’s distance away, but at the same time, they didn’t want to reach out to the adventure. For the first time, the two brothers were scared.

The Storyman continued, “I can see that you boys want a taste of adventure. I’ll tell you a story. It’s a very special story too, for it is about my first adventure. There were two of us, just as there are two of you right now. It was a long time ago, and the two of us were carefree, and just like you, wanted to be out in the real world, having one adventure after another. We were young and restless, and so we left the safety of our village and ventured away.

“I don’t know yet how we managed it, but we found our way into the docks of Bombay. There was a ship leaving port at the time. We thought to ourselves, what greater adventure can there be, apart from an adventure out on the sea? So, the two of us made our way stealthily into the ship, and soon we were off to unknown lands beyond the shores of our village.

“But we weren’t lucky. Soon after we set sail, the ship was caught in a violent sea storm. Oh the sea storm! Boys, you should see it once, the majestic power it holds, the ease and grace with which it tosses an iron vessel around on the sea – the power of it was undeniable. The storm showed no mercy. The ten foot waves caught the curious fools that we were, and almost launched us away into the ocean. My friend held on to my hand, and he told me that he wouldn’t let go, come what may. He said he would pull me back into the safety of the ship, and all I had to do was to hold on to his hand. He was a brave one, with a mighty heart.

“A second wave crashed down on me, and I was pulled away from the ship, and into the sea. I don’t know about my friend, but I lost consciousness in mid air, and I don’t remember hitting the ocean.

“When I came to, I found myself on a barren island, with no trees or birds or animals of any kind. There was only salt water behind me, a sheet of sand under me, and harsh black rocks ahead of me. As i raised my head, I could see that there was nothing but the harsh black rocks all around me. I was hurt, and I was hungry. I felt as though I hadn’t had anything to eat for two days and two nights, and I knew if I didn’t get something to eat soon, I would surely die.

“That’s when I saw a figure nearby. It was my friend, lying on the beach, under the evening sun. He was hurt, and he was bleeding profusely from his arms. There was nothing I could do to save him; the sea would claim him.

“But, I was hungry. I knew that it was either the sea that would claim him – or it would be me.”

“Are you saying that you killed your own friend?” asked Sachin.

An odd smile spread on the Storyman’s face. “Yes, I killed him. Like I said, I needed food that day.”

He seemed to want to go on, but Samarth and Sachin didn’t let him. With cries of “monster” and “murderer”, they launched themselves at him. Hearing the commotion, the barman rushed over and pulled them away from the Storyman.

“Oi! What on earth do you boys think you’re doing?”

“This man is a monster! He killed his own friend! How do we know that he won’t harm us?” asked Sachin, looking at the barman.

Sam was looking at the gleeful face of the Storyman, and he knew he had missed something. At that moment, the barman spoke up.

“Yeah, yeah, I know all about his story. The one where he kills his friend. Well, I am that friend! Sure, we met the terrible storm that night, but we never fell into the sea. We reached the shores of Madagascar, spent a great few weeks there, and came back to Bombay on the same ship.”

“What? But then, why would the Storyman tell us that story?” asked a bewildered Sachin.

“Because, that’s his job. That is why we call him the Storyman! Now, boys, if you don’t mind, I’ll be going back behind the counter. Anymore fistfights you want, you take them outside the pub, you hear?” and still muttering darkly about the boys scaring good customers away, the barman walked back to the bar.

The Storyman was still smirking. Sachin somehow couldn’t digest the fact that he was actually so gullible, while Samarth kept looking at the Storyman.

“Let me ask you something. If that story was made up, then how come the bad guy won? How come the good friend, who had saved the bad guy’s life on a previous occasion, be killed by the very man he had saved?”

The eyes were still twinkling, as the Storyman said, “Because, boys, I’m a Storyman, not a Saint!”


Image Courtesy mikebaird

61 comments :: The Storyman

  1. lol..this ones funny..and when i reached mid-way i kinda thought it would have a funny ending...
    Different from your other posts..and good different..:)

  2. @ Niti... Thank you :) I hope that phase of Dark Stories is over now... I didn't really like that so much!

    Thanks a lot :) Nice to know that you think it's "good different." I was wondering what the response of the regular readers would be like when they read this one... well, it's started on a positive note! :D


  3. brilliant!! U r our storyman :D
    this one is completely awesome!!

  4. lol...

  5. @ Richa... Thanks a ton :)
    And I hope you remember... I ain't a saint either!! :P hehehe


  6. @ Sumit... Thanks a lot dude... Cheers man...

  7. Super AWESOME.. Really.. It was funny towards the end, but more than laughing I was smirking.
    Thanks for writing this. Puts me in a great mood :)

  8. nice one. "smirky" like the storyman. It reminded me of a story called "the face on the wall" .. the art of story telling is always fascinating and a story within a story.. well need I say something? :)

  9. @ Netika... Thanks a lot :) What was wrong with your mood eh, that you needed a story like this to put it right??

    Hope that good mood lasts... Cheers, and best of luck for the exams... as far as I remember, they're on right now, right..?

  10. @ riddhi... Welcome to Technicolor Collage :) Glad to know you liked it. Haven't read that story, who's it by...?

    Thanks a lot for the comment... cheers...

  11. Ooooohhhhh!!! I loved the whole story within a story thing!!!

    And boy o seem to be gettin better and better with each story!!

    LOVED it!! Btw you ARE a saintly storyman. :P


  12. Just generally, life doesn't offer pleasant experiences very frequenty. And gives even less time to enjoy the one's it gives.

    Zada ho gaya na..I know

  13. @ bondgal... Another story that's been running around in my head for a while... :D

    And I dunno about the saintly bit.. am I really??

    Cheers, and thanks a lot :P

  14. @ Netika... Yeah, I know how that feels, but then things do always turn out well somehow... and when they don't, you come across stories like this :P

    Ab zyaada ho gya.. hehe :D

  15. Oww this is perfect! Twist at the end.. everything just perfect! enjoyed and enjoyed it!

  16. hey Arnab, it was a very nice story.......first time i knew confidently that the story is over:)))
    Enjoyed reading it!

  17. the story is by E.V.Lucas
    i found it online.. folow the link :)

    and thank u for the warm welcom :)

  18. Hmmmm....thank god someone changed the track...:P

    good man.......

    Yeah yeah i know u r not saint...:D

    But tell you what..that dark side of you was also great....dont just blame it as bad....:)

    keep going.....:)

    BTW why i havent seen you around my blog these days..?
    Bcuz i am writing that biggggggggggggg love story...? :(

    Keep writing..:)


  19. I like the narrative more than the story itself...but then i like the story, so that means i really like the narrative! :P

    Im just messing around..well written :)

    lotta catching upto do in this blog..:)


  20. can i just drop in to say HI every time you write a story?

    because i find it boring to comment 'aa i like it' 'i love it' 'beautiful' 'nice'

    im at a loss for words.. because all your works makes me more in awe of you...

  21. Dude... this rocks man... totally :)

    awesome stuff.. simple plot... lovely play with narration... loved it :)

    take care bro... cheers...

  22. @ Winnie the poohi... Thanks a lot :) Good to know that you enjoyed it so much... hehe


  23. @ Aruna.. Hmm... but really, is a confirmed ending really so important...? Although, I really enjoyed writing this one, and had fun knowing that it ended a little different from the others.

    Thanks a lot, cheers...

  24. @ riddhi... Thanks a lot for that link, I'm going over that story right now.

    Hope you have fun reading the other stories out here too... cheers...

  25. @ Mahesh... I'm gathering that you liked the change of track. Well, me too.

    Thanks a lot for dropping by. I'm waiting for that story to get over, it's just that I don't have the patience to wait for something that comes in little packages like this... and I know that when the next chapter comes out, I'd have forgotten all about the previous ones, and then I'd have to go over the older posts all over again... so that's the thing.

    Keep writing man, cheers...

  26. @ mon espace... I can see where you were messing around there... nice!! Thanks a lot...

    See ya around, and do go through the older stories. Cheers...

  27. @ Phoenix... That would not be a problem at all... just that fact that you drop by here to read the things that I write, and that too, so religiously... that itself means a lot to me. Thanks for all the support, and bearing with me during the bad stories :P


  28. @ Arv... Thanks a lot man :) Cheers...

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.
  30. Arnav...

    Story ended at last..:)
    See your blog roll once... :P

    I understand now, why i missed u all of a sudden..:)

  31. Did you finish face on the wall?? Loved that piece of work. Came across it as part of the CBSE curriculum.

    @riddhi: thanks for reminding me of this wonderful story :)

  32. @ Mahesh... Sure thing man, I'm on it in a little while. Will tell you what I thought about it once I finish it up too... cheers...

  33. @ Sumit... Yup, I finished reading it. Even I loved the way it was written, very crisp. Don't remember that being a part of the curriculum though, or maybe the course structure got changed when I gave the exams...

  34. Hey! Storyman... :)

    This one was completely different from the ones we have read before... with a funny undertone it made a wonderful read.

    Keep writing!

  35. Arnab
    hi... u knw ths was somethng differnt from ur end.. which i hv never expected..
    i like it bcz i think ths is first time u hv written somethng new with funnyb ending..
    n on ths note i wud like to say tht u r such a wonderful writer tht u knw hw to play wid the charcters..
    BTW.. wen ur book is going to publish..
    dnt forget i ll be the one ..jisko woh book sabse pehle milegi as oer ur promise..
    Great going... n keep writing..
    n haan
    thanks for the warms words.. on blog..
    actually i m little dnt knw wht to write n all..

    anyways thanks a bunch
    keep writing :P

  36. Hey!
    So glad you liked my post. Your comment makes me :) HAPPY !!
    Don't be jealous. You're a great writer. I should be burning red :D
    Also, see my new post!

  37. B R I L L I A N T!!!

  38. @ Pallav... Nice to know that you liked the change here. I tried playing with the characters a bit, but not much... didn't wana b cruel u see.. hehe

    The book... well, lemme get outta college first man! :D

    Thanks for dropping by man... keep blogging, and hope you feel better soon. Cya, cheers...

  39. @ Cursed... Hmm, maybe the reason for the jealousy is that we always crave for the things we don't have... human psyche after all :D

    I liked that post too... keep writing.


  40. @ ki... Thanks a lot :)

  41. @ Harshita... Thanks a lot :)

    Cheers... keep blogging...

  42. hey frnd.....gr8 goin...miss ur blog a lot....but i gotta b away frm blog a few mor days....nyways cya soon....

  43. @ blue eyed soul... My blog's gonna be here, and you can read all the stories that I might put up while you're gone when you come back... cheers, and cya soon...

  44. LOL!! two dory guys set out to find adventure and freak out at a friggin story. hilarious :D

  45. hullo! story after story. spinning yarns all the time I say. :-)

  46. @ Little Girl Lost... Good to know you liked it. Been a while since I've written something, which is why haven't had the chance to update this blog as well. Hope something comes to mind soon, and I get the time to write it too. It'll be better if it's along the lines of this one as well :)


  47. @ Utopia... Well, I try. You see, my mind wanders a lot :P

    Thanks for reading, and the comments. Keep blogging, and hope that I can do the same thing. Cheers...

  48. Haha.....Hillarious..!!
    Great story...!!!
    Loved your blog..!! :)

  49. nice twist in the end.. funny way to end it.. sipper up.. cheers

  50. wowwwwwwwww :)

  51. @ Pavitra... Thanks a lot :) Welcome here, hope you enjoy reading the other stories out here too.


  52. @ Chriz... Thanks a lot for dropping by, and the comment. Glad you enjoyed it, there might be more coming by... you never know ;)


  53. @ Preetilata... Thank you :)

  54. wow!!! that was so so sooooooooo... WOW!!!

    one of the best stories ive ever read... really!!! its all so unpredictable!! so wonderfuL!!

  55. @ Harini... Thanks so much :) I hope I can keep writing now. Seems like I'm gonna end up becoming a weekend blogger or something... hehe

    Cheers, keep blogging...

  56. Awesome. How do you do it!

  57. @ Serendipity... Thanks a lot. The idea just floated into my head somehow, and it came out like this. Nice to know that you enjoyed it... cheers, keep blogging...

  58. oh! That was some twist ;)
    He he, simply great. "I am a story man, not a saint", wonderful essence and message :P
    You rock fiction, and you are indeed a story man ;) , cheers :)

  59. @ Diya... Thanks so much :) Keep blogging... cheers...

  60. we had it in the 8th standard I suppose, so there is a possibility it was a different for you guys. or was it 9th??

  61. @ Sumit... I dunno, I don't remember that story somehow. I was in 8th and 9th in 1998 and '99 respectively, so probably they had the story before or after that... nonetheless, I truly enjoyed reading it :D