Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entry #210

Untitled Life
by Sharanya

As the vapours of the incense sticks quietly burning in the room next to mine waft through the rusty iron bars of my open window, I pull my old woollen quilt about me, lean against the wall and close my eyes. Dawn is breaking outside, and Delhi is reborn in the mist, mud and masala mutton sizzles of a frozen January morning. Did you ever notice how when the world around you is rising from leftover frowns and patchy starlight to a new day -- all over again -- the world within you collapses so effortlessly, so artfully, you are led to think that it happens so that some sort of cosmic order is maintained?

I think of the expensive wedding silk awaiting me in the other room. And I think of him; he who is probably the only stranger to me in this household bursting with excited people from five generations of five families. Ironies used to be my favourite thing in the world.

I open my eyes and see a young bird fighting its way through a bunch of tangled clothes lines. The flutters become more agitated as I watch.

Do I really have a choice? Will I ever know? Is it too late? Can I just go?

I watch the bird give up, and settle tiredly on the ground.

Will I be a pawn? Can something be said? Will I be wandering between unfamiliar tangled lives, like these birds? Or become his silhouette?


Laurel said...

Powerful. The image of the trapped bird, the familiar smells and the cold images, everything works together to evoke the fear of this marriage to someone she doesn't even know.


Bernita said...

Well and vividly done.
"when the world around you is rising from leftover frowns" is a wonderful line.

Jean Ann Williams said...

This evoked the feelings you probably expected. Frightened and stuck.

Good job!

Jean Ann

adrienne trafford said...

" Ironies used to be my favourite thing in the world" - that is a wonderful line - good story

laughingwolf said...

excellent, sharanya...

Aniket said...

You just wrote down my worst nightmare!

If I don't find THE ONE in the the next 4 yrs , I'm doomed. :(

On a serious note: Excellent writing to have brought out all her emotions to life. Good work.

Sharanya said...

Ok, wow! I'm...quite thrilled -- not to mention supremely humbled --that people actually went through my entry! Thank you all, so much! This was seriously worth the participation :)

Aerin said...

Okay, first of all, Aniket, you are still WAY too young to worry about being married. Marriage is highly overrated. Sorry, Sharanya. Didn't mean to steal focus from you. Moving on!


Something I Would Keep

Amazing, amazing language and description - "Delhi is reborn in the mist, mud, and masala mutton sizzles" - OMG, I just want to...I don't know, bathe in your phrasings, they're so lovely.

Something I Might Tweak

All of the questions except the last two. They're extraneous, and conveyed much more eloquently in the rest of the piece.

Preeti said...


i know EXACTLY what you mean when you refer to mist, mud, and a frozen January morning in Delhi.

the first paragraph is breathtakingly beautiful. I can see her. very clearly.


James R. Tomlinson said...

Very engaging voice; however, too many questions go unanswered. What I mean by that is some internal dialogue working through the conflict might help the reader to better understand. As for imagery, you've done a fine job there.

Patsy said...

I like the way you start with the scents to draw us into the story. You also describe her wedding nerves very well and the use of the bird image is great.

I wasn't keen on the single line with four questions though (and the rhyme seemed a bit twee) I think this would be stronger if you cut the last two of those and also the pawn/something said questions.

Kurt Hendricks said...

Love this! I can only echo Adrienne.

truevoid said...

nicely done. liked it.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Good job. Enjoyed the evocaiton of the senses with this piece.

Aimee Laine said...

Very powerful. I can imagine her thoughts more in depth. Well done!

Sharanya said...

@ Aniket:

I think I'd agree with Aerin there, don't worry so much about finding the "One" :)

@ Aerin:

Yes, I think you're right. I guess I did that in a desperate attempt to complete the ryhme-verse bit in my head, and throw in that bit about the silhouette, but it will sound so much better without it -- the bird imagery is enough, right? That said, thank you SO much for caring to comment; feedback is probably something a writer needs the most!!

@ James:

Point taken :) I did try and use dialogue, but it was a very feeble attempt, which is why I hurriedly resorted to the questions at the end, as I told Aerin. I'll certainly keep this mind the next time. Thank you so very much for your feedback, James!

@ Patsy:

Yes, I realized later that the questions might have been a sort of hurried shortcut, as I mentioned to Aerin and James. I'm going to try and rewrite this keeping all your suggestions in mind because I think they're pretty relevant. Thank you SO very much, Patsy, for your opinions, they're pretty valued!

@ Preeti, Kurt, truvoid, Sarah and Aimee:

Thank you so very much for your comments! I'm glad the imagery works so well :)

JaneyV said...

Sharanya - I thought that you wrote a really strong piece here. I know people who have made very happy arranged marriages, some who were miserable and a dear friend who refused, married her love but in doing so, lost her family. I fully understand the longing for freedom and also fearing all that that would entail.

Your description of the Delhi sunrise in the mist is gorgeous. I find myself longing to know the colours of her wedding sari mindful that she's not interested enough to tell us. The image of the small bird tangled in the clothes line is potent as is the fact that it survives by giving in.

It's interesting to me that she's not worried about what kind of a man she's marrying. Her fear is in losing her own identity.

I too would ditch the questions but that's just a tiny gripe in an otherwise fine piece.

Very skillfully written.

Craig said...

You've provided some of the best lines in the whole competition. Great effort.

pjd said...

Ironies used to be my favourite thing in the world.

I love that line. And several others. But that one's my favorite.

Unlike some of the others, I was not bothered by the early questions. Personally, I wanted the story to end at the bird settling tiredly on the ground. I found the last paragraph to be a bit tiresome, like the guest who tells you the same story after the fourth glass of wine that she told while drinking the first one. You had already shown me the metaphor, and that last paragraph only exists to tell me about the metaphor you just showed me.

Otherwise, I loved this piece. Very nicely written.

james r tomlinson said...

Sharanya, dialogue definitely isn't easy; I've always had trouble with it. Our host, Jason, he seems to have it down.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Well done!

Aniket said...

@Aerin: I know! I know! That's what they all say... :(

catvibe said...

First a note to Aerin, (that is so INFP what you said to Aniket :-)

Like Pete said (I am feeling like a parrot sometimes in these comments, but they did nail it, those who came before...) The last paragraph was superfluous, it should end with the bird. The metaphor of the bird in the clotheslines is outstanding.

Kartik said...

I loved the imagery Sharanya! The alliterative line(mist,mud and masala mutton) is sheer poetry(!).

It sucks how little is thought beyond the "expensive wedding silk" and the gaudy jewellery!

And I can surely sympathise with Aniket!
*Also waiting for the "one"* :)