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Encoding Happiness through Storytelling

Fida Ancy, IIK Young Contributor
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Encoding Happiness through Storytelling

I was sitting in front of the computer (like I always do) and searching gods know what, when my Dad came into my room and gestured frantically to the phone that he held in his hand. ‘Sir,’ he said and that was enough to send millions of thoughts racing through my mind.

I jumped up from the chair and grabbed the phone. A few minutes later, I was telling the news to my parents; I was to be one of the lucky 11 from my school to attend the international webinar, ‘Encoding Happiness through Storytelling.’

Mere words are not enough to explain the excitement I felt then. Pretty soon, my teachers sent me all the details of the webinar and I was exhilarated to know that Mahendra Jakhar, an author and a scriptwriter was going to be conducting the webinar.

Over the next few days, I foraged the Internet for information about story writing and storytelling. So, by the time Friday rolled around, I was all ready.

Due to my impatience, I logged into Google Meets 10 minutes early. Well, unknowingly, that was beneficial for me, because later, the Meeting reached its maximum limit and I was one of the first hundred students who were able to attend the webinar.

Anyway, I learnt a lot about storytelling that day. Mahendra Jakhar talked about the 5 Acts, A.K.A Freytag’s Pyramid. Any good story should have an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouncement. He also illustrated the importance of the protagonist, A.K.A the hero. (Fun fact. The word hero derives from Greek mythology.)

As we all know, in each and every story, the hero has some challenge ahead of him and he sets out to solve it. The solution is near at hand and then, somehow everything goes wrong. The hero rises from the ashes with the help of something or someone and defeats the antagonist or the villain.

No matter what kind of story we are reading, they all follow the same basic plot. But, unless we have an idea, none of this is possible.

In reality, ideas are there all around us. The only thing we need to do is pay attention. Ideas can come to us in the most unlikely places. J.K. Rowling herself, the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series, got the idea for her book on a local train.

Mahendra Jakhar also had a lot to say on the topic of success. He told us that in this world everyone is good, no doubt. But, you have to be outstanding and stand out.

At the end, we had a Q&A too. I was fortunate enough to ask 2 questions to the author.

I asked Mr. Jakhar about his own experience writing his first book, the Butcher of Benares.

He gave us many interesting insights into the book. He told us that Hawa Singh, the protagonist, is actually named after his father and is a Haryani because of his own heritage. He also visited the actual city of Benares for research. The book took 6 months to complete and was published by Westland Books, one of the top publishers in India.

I also asked the author about the way to weave together 3 dimensional characters.

He told us that a character is very much like a real person. If we put him in a social environment and create family and friends for him, and put together character traits, then the character will automatically become a 3 dimensional person.

All of this was very engrossing. I did learn a few new things about storytelling.

At the end, it was a very unique opportunity to talk with an author and screenwriter who has worked in Bollywood, written 3 books and has a lot of expertise in the field.

‘Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.’

-Robert McKee

Disclaimer:Statements and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and written by them; the author is solely responsible for the content in this article. does not hold any responsibility for them.
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