Ramblings on a word – Mythology

unhappy queen Unhappy Queen / Illustration by Lekha Murali

Mythology – A study of myths
Myth – figment of collective imagination

It was a time when sun was the only clock. It was long before the era of verified and meticulous documentation, long before the ancient languages had rudimentary scripts developed by primitive linguists.

It was a time when people began exercising vocal chords to express themselves, when the evolving species was still figuring out which of the weeds agreed with humans and that carrion could be detrimental to one’s health.

The tribes would huddle around the communal fire and try to dine with whatever food, that was the result of the latest experiment. That’s when they talked about the things they could never fathom.

Without awareness, their imagination took wings and built extraordinary worlds where magical people lived – people who did not have to struggle for a single morsel, people who flew with wings, who could take away their pain by the wave of a hand.  They took their misery, their hardship and constant fearfulness to create monstrous netherworlds and populated it with suffering and horrors.

They built these stories little by little, while they progressed as a tribe, as they conquered and vanquished one another, as they taught themselves to farm the lands and build better dwellings. They handed down the stories orally, one generation to another, each generation adding and altering these stories according to the interpretation of their world and experiences.

They built these fantastic stories at a point in evolution when imagination and reality were indistinguishable from one another; when gods and demons walked among humans.

The villages grew into towns and cities. Ancient linguists developed scripts for languages, using rudimentary stylus. The first story-teller who mastered these scripts wrote on a primitive stationery, “In the beginning there was the word…”

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