As a kid, when anyone came into our house, I used to bug them to tell me stories. I don’t quite remember the stories that my these people told me anymore. Looking back, I don’t even understand why I wanted to listen to those stories. As it was, it was not the age of deep thinking. I guess what I craved for was a a glimpse into a world that was not mine, something different, something wonderful.
I began writing for my school magazine in my third grade. The first few years were poems, and then I graduated to writing fiction. I was never good with storytelling; even today, I am not. I derive heavily from the life that I am part of, which is why, my stories are always, in some form, about me. I know for a fact, I could never spin up a world like Harry Potter’s. I think I do not have the imaginative mind to do it.
I have not written stories in a long time, even though I want to. I have always wanted to write good stories. But somehow, I always struggle with a good ending. Or if I have the right ending, I don’t know the story that led to that ending. Sometimes, I feel I am too young, I have not seen life enough to write anything meaningful.
It impacts how my relationship with this blog has also changed over time. There was a point when I wrote anything and everything here. These days, I don’t feel like writing unless I really feel like I have something to say. Even that is filtered to an extent. A lot of my writing are now personal, diary entries in a folder in my laptop. At this stage of life, that’s what feels right.
When I was younger, stories were independent things, with a life of limited duration. They began in the time that I started reading a book or someone started telling a story and ended when the story ended. The life of the story was within the duration of when it was told. But as I grew, as I watched movies and TV series, as I read more books (currently reading The Kite Runner), I realize that the stories we watch/read become a part of our everyday life. They somehow manage to creep into the fabric of our lives, and come back to us in their own time or affect the way we deal with our lives. As I grow, I realize, we all are also living some form of stories. Why do we want to be friends with different types of people? Because we want to witness a version of life that we are not living. We want to see how different life can be, when the actors are different. We take lessons from other people’s lives, we discover ourselves in the lens of other people’s lives. That’s why we write stories. That’s why we read stories.
Even businesses, at the end of the day, are stories. When you have a bunch of data and want to find some insights from it, what do you do? You try to visualize a story that the data can help you tell. That’s what analytics is all about. That’s why modern corporates stress so much on the art of storytelling. Analysis, done in silos, findings found in disparate chunks of data, do not make any sense unless they tie to the story that depicts the current state of the business, or tells it where it wants to go.
That’s why storytelling is powerful. That’s why art will always be counterpart of science.