Thursday, August 28, 2008

On The Train (In Arabian Nights), Aug 25, 2008

A few minutes after pulling out of Salak South I finished Tahir Shah’s In Arabian Nights : A Caravan Of A Moroccan Dreams . It was an engaging reading and as engaging as The Caliph’s House that I read last year. Well, frankly it was because of The Caliph’s House that encouraged me to pick this book up at Kino a week ago. I was sure then it would be a good read as it was supposed to be a continuation of the author’s life in Casablanca, Morocco. If you were in the same age group as me you would know about The Thousand and One Night stories where characters like Aladdin and Sinbad are two of the famous ones. This book is about that Arabians Nights and more. However after reading the first few paragraphs I was transported into the world of stories and story telling within the Arab worlds. To encourage the subject even more the author went onto a personal search for ‘a story inside my hearts’ that any Barber believe to be within every one of us. The Barber, if not Arab, tradition says every one of us is born with a story. This book is a story telling within a story. I love it as I believe story is a powerful learning tool that most cultures begining to forget. We are not talking about telling stories using modern media here but instead story telling in the original form. Face to face, man to man, or in a public place where several people would sit around a story teller. Through reading this book also I learned that the author Tahir Shah is the son of the famous Idries Shah, a story teller himself, who wrote a lot of book and a brother of Saira Shah a freelance journalist. I have not read any of Idries Shah’s books but read few citations of the exploits of Mulla Nasrudin from Exploits of the Incomparable Nasrudin :Subtleties Inimitable and Plesantries of Incredible Mulla Nasrudin. Tahir Shah also wrote about his Baba, father, and his upbringing that shape his life. It is his Baba’s conviction that story and believes all stories are teaching stories that was passed on to him and to be kept alive for the next generation.

Knowledge is more important then wealth as knowledge will take care of us – Commander of the Faithful Ali

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