Written by Shirly
The lost potential of a powerful folktale bothers the reader( ie, of course, me!) here.
Just imagine what a play of words, images and awareness levels is possible in a story
where clay cows come alive in the hands of a real cowherd,where clouds swirl around the hut of the chief magician grandma,where girl-guide -apprentices ride the winds to come gathering herbs, where every chore and task is the eligibility test for a magician-aspirant and where magic is applied to protect the wounded wild from the wayward human?
Well, all the strands of a great story are here.
Only the play of the weft is awkward.
The yarn is strong; the spin clumsy.
What kind of a cowherd is Mara?
“He liked the cows.But they are not interested in him”
A cowherd marginalised even by the cows?
A very unfair estimate of the EQ of the cows!
The thought-bubbles of the graphic novel form is one way of taking the story forward and magical elements like the clay cows and. the wise talking-bird is another way of unfolding the story. To me it looks likes the two devices clash and the story is weak in it’s magic strain as well as the critical bystander voice of the third person.
Some stories get strengthened and gain colour and texture by the medium they come through. Some get weakened. The fact that Mara and the Clay Cows retains some power of its magic even in this overlapped medium, I think,is a testimony to the power of the original folktale .
And the questions it raises is:
Who has the power / the vision to tell/retell whose story?
To whom does stories belong?
How does a teller/writer find one’s place/relationship in/to the story one is medium to?