Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #42

En-lightening
by Ranee Kaur Banerjee


“Bye Mom.”
And in a while again
“See ya, Mom.”
And a while later, a mumbled “Hmmmph”

Then she was alone.
That’s when she caught her first breath.

The rest of her day was tethered to a tight 740 square foot radius that held the kitchen, bucket, clothesline, iron and television soaps until the demands came back in the evening and stayed the night.

One everyday, she left the door unlocked and walked into the city she had lived in for 12 years but never come to know. With every step away, she felt the demands pull her back like gravity and was forced to drop a load from herself so she could keep walking.

She kicked off one slipper; then stumbled as she shed the other before it tripped her.

A few more steps and her hands felt so heavy they wouldn’t move so the four gold bangles went jangling as they careened merrily on the tar.

Almost an entire street went by before her mangalsutra tightened around her neck, almost choking her until she tugged it loose and it went down languidly, lazy even in its fall.

And so, as the streets ran on, they took the ear-rings and the nose stud and the sari. They took it all until there was just her, soaring through liquid branches, unfurled and light as the breeze that lifted her hair, finally floating free and untied and unending like the ribbon streets so far beneath her flying feet.

34 comments:

Aerin said...

Oh. Wow. Yes, yes, I understand this. And I don't even have the cultural bonds this protag had. Nicely conceived.

Bernita said...

I like the image of her shedding her bonds.
Nicely done.

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

Now that's funny. I was entry # 42 in the Clarity of Night contest too. Does that mean anything, Jason? I don't know.

Ranee

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a splendid glimpse of freedom.

Lena said...

Very well done. Love how you conveyed the meaning of freedom here.

Preeti said...

:-)

Nice one. Hard hitting. But in a subtle manner. Very nicely written.

Four Dinners said...

Losing her shackles and flying to freedom.

Great writing old bean!

Meghan said...

"soaring through liquid branches"

I love this line especially. Great job.

Kate said...

Wow can I relate to this one!

pjd said...

Shedding the burdens makes for great pacing in this piece. Nice.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I think this is sometimes every person's dream - to shed the bonds that shackle us to where we don't want to be. Very well done.

Aniket said...

A very well written portrayal of breaking all the shackles. As much as we might deny it, the burden still remains in this part of the world.

LOLed On you comment to Jason though:
This IS the Clarity of Night contest. :D
I'm sure you meant In-Vino Veritas though. Lucky you for getting 42 twice.
After all, its the answer to Life, the universe and everything...

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...

I kind of felt sorry for her children actually. Though like others I liked the symbolic shedding of the bonds that tied her.

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

@Craig: Point well made. I guess she doesn’t care much about anything right now. To her, they’re all just “demands” and she really needs to get away!

@Aniket: Oops! Yes, I did mean the In Vino Veritas contest. And double Oops! I was actually #142 and not #42 in the last contest. Still, it was a nice for a while to think of the Universe conspiring to assign me a special number in consecutive contests…

@Sarah: Thanks. I think I'm going through a phase where I seem to be writing about lines of flight even when I don't really want to.

@PJD: Thanks for noticing the pacing. Glad it worked for you.

@ Kate and Aerin: I can relate to her too, at a certain level, though I don’t think I’d ever be able to be that brave or ever want to completely denude myself and be “just me.” Cultural baggage is actually quite cosmetic. I think there’s a collective consciousness of historical correlations that make women everywhere able to relate to each other at a visceral, instinctive level.

@Meghan: Jason’s picture should take the credit for that line. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the prompt.

@ Four Dinners: Thanks Old Bean! I enjoy your sensibility too.

@ Preeti: Hard-hitting yet subtle—I’ll take it!

@ Lena: I guess there are no fixed formulae for individual truths and freedoms. What’s an escape route to her is, as Craig points out, terrible for her kids

@Leatherdykeuk: Thank you kindly. It means a lot to get any appreciation from a fellow word-crafter.

@Bernita: Yes, that’s exactly what I was going for. She’s de-constructing and de-connecting herself. Thanks for the praise.

Ranee

JaneyV said...

Ranee - every woman I know has felt those weights on some level or another. You wrote her escape from the ties that bind with such a light touch I was deeply moved. My heart aches for her. WHen she is found naked they'll think she's mad - but the madness was with her prison.

Wonderful and thought-provoking piece.

Aimee Laine said...

The need to unburden oneself is so strong. I love how she did it.

Kartik said...

I hope her decision to run away is vindicated.

laughingwolf said...

freedom at any cost, ranee?

Chris Eldin said...

I felt very sad for her. There is much aloneness in this piece. Very well done... leaves me with so many questions...

austere said...

I was fine with this, even praising, till the saree... then I wondered about her sanity.

Also, I don't see the reason why-- just mundane chores brought her to this?


Its probably me.

kashers said...

Odd freedom tale. The 'One everyday' intro to para 4 confused me. However, the rest works well. I loved the careening jangles.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

"The Demands" Such a telling phrase--such a succinct way to express her captivity in that kitchen-centric house. Strong words!

catvibe said...

Oh I really do get this piece, yes I do, both metaphorically and literally. I knew a woman, a tea worker, in India who can be found naked and wandering in the tea plants in the early spring. This piece reminded me of that in a way. But also, just isn't it the desire? I mean so often, I just wanted to walk away...strip down to nothing and walk away...

Laurel said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I feel like you got into my head. And I roam more than 700 some odd square feet. This sense, though, of the relentless weight of responsibility that is bigger than your own needs, I know that feeling.

In another time in my life, and another country, I remember being on the bus on the way to work and thinking, "If I just stay on the bus all day no one will find me. I can be alone, anonymous, with nothing to do but ride and think. Just me."

Never stripped naked, though. Now THAT is some serious soul crushing sense of responsibility.

anks said...

Loved the story... specially the One Everyday

Terri said...

I think there are many, many women from all walks of life who can relate to this. Well told.

Rohan said...

this is awesome...

Ranee, i loved your entry in the 'in vino veritas' contest and this one has made me admire you even more...

allthatmatters said...
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amsko said...

Yours is the first story i chose to read coz i loved ur entry last time as well. Its so very well written i can almost feel the freedom she feels.... Love it!!

amsko said...

Yours is the first story i chose to read coz i loved ur entry last time as well. Its so very well written i can almost feel the freedom she feels.... Love it!!

Deb Smythe said...

PJD hit it on the head re pacing! That was nicely done.

McKoala said...

Beautiful! Perfect pacing.

james r tomlinson said...

Again, I'm reminded of Kate Chopin's "The Awakening." This time though, the main character is soaring through the air instead of swimming under water.