Since childhood, I have always been amused by the rich body of Indian folklore, which is a gift of our ancient civilization, agrarian economy and multicultural diversity. Believe me when I say people from my land love to tell stories, and that a lot of importance is attached to oral narration. Not surprisingly enough, I love to tell stories (as I am doing here); but at the same time, I also enjoy listening to tales from various regions, cultures, people hitherto unknown to me. Fortunately enough, being outside my homeland has given me plenty of chances to listen to many such new stories from far and wide. I’ve been entertained by not just American folklore, but Jordanian, Georgian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Nigerian, Kazakhi, Colombian, Iraqi, Korean stories, all in the span of the last 471 days (no, I’ve not been counting).
Well, one of my favorite stories is from Guatemala and I’d like to share it with you. Last year around this time of the year, a few of us headed to Richmond to explore Carytown, where I spotted this cutesy little store AlterNatives. Stepping inside the store was like walking into a dream, as I immediately transformed into a bright-eyed little girl wandering about, admiring the beautiful handicrafts from around the world. My tryst with Guatemalan folklore began when I reached for the Worry Dolls and fell in love with them almost instantaneously. Once I came home, I did some more research into the legend of these Mayan Trouble Dolls and found a number of websites that tell the simple story of Guatemalan children who put their faith in these little dolls. I even found this awesome video on WorryDoll’s website that shows how to make these adorable Mayan figures.
I was obviously fascinated by all of it and am now a proud owner of a little set of Worry Dolls, which sit on a little Scrabble bench in my room. They not only make me smile as I think of the pure-heartedness of little children, but also remind me from time to time to hand over my problems to another entity, someone who is better equipped to deal with them than I am.
With time, I have learned that being consumed by our own worries makes us blind to the sufferings of others. We fail to see the wories of others because we cannot worry about ourselves enough. But once we hand over our troubles to these little dolls, or to the Almighty, or to the Supreme Force, whoever you may choose to believe in, we enable ourselves to help and care for others because we have now taken the blinders off, we have now expanded our pie, we have now chosen to see the bigger picture, a world beyond our own little being, alphabets beyond the ‘I’, a possiblity bigger than just me, mine and myself.
I find it amazing how much there is to learn from others, even from little Guatemalan children I have never met. Would you agree?
Tales from Guatemala | Moving beyond the self