Sunday, July 17, 2011

Entry #51

Won't You Come?
by Choco


The sound of laughter
And light chitchat
She looked out of the window

Red and white
White saris with red borders
White powdered faces with bright red lips and red alta colored feet
The sign of the married woman
Both young and old

Pujo, they smiled
Won’t you come?

Why red? she asked
Why so much of red?

An auspicious color
It is a mark of respect, they clarified
Vermilion signifies the respect a husband has for his life partner
Red signifies health, love and positive energy

Won’t you come? they asked
Take the blessing of the goddess?

She looked down at her feet
And then she looked up at her radiant friend standing outside her window
She smiled at her

She did not need to
Red was already the color of her life
She did not need the alta for that
She did not need special occasions

It is a mark of respect they had said
Vermilion
Signifies the respect a husband has for his life partner
Red
Signifies health, love and positive energy

Red
Signified anger
Red
Signified blood
Her hands, her feet, her body
Was always colored
A bloody red

Won’t you come? they asked


No I can’t, she said

21 comments:

Aniket said...

I like the concept here, though I feel as if many who are unaware of indian customs would get the gravity of your words. I also, believe that if you'd stick to a structure (counting syllables, really helps me out) it'll give the piece a much easier flow and add more depth to the concept.

I still liked it muchly though. Its unlike in the contest so far. Thanks for sharing.

j a zobair said...

Georgeous and dripping with sadness/fury.

It reminds me of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's short story, "Clothes," which tells the story of a (brief) Indian marriage through the wife's sarees--pink at the bride viewing, blue for her journey to America, etc.

Lovely.

Aimee Laine said...

Ooooh that is absolutely haunting. Wow. Great job!

Rohan said...

Well done, Choco!

As Aniket said.

But a great take nonetheless.

Word verification : Darun
Means 'Awesome' in Bengali...whoa!

fairyhedgehog said...

I liked the different symbolism of the colour red for the different people in the story. I can't help wishing the main character could escape.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

I like the "feel" of this piece, I've read it several times now...trying to understand the culturization.

Dottie :)

bluesugarpoet said...

I am a sucker for poetry - and I love this! Fractured and infused with emotion. The structure echos her heart - I wouldn't change a thing. Beautiful work! ~Jana

Peter Dudley said...

I agree with both bluesugarpoet and Fairy Hedgehog. One thing I really like about this is the way you use repetition in a very deliberate way. That's not easy to pull off in a way that is both authentic and poetic. Well done.

Choco said...

@Aniket:
I knew that this post has heavy references to the Bengali culture. But when I saw the picture for the contest, I just wanted to submit this piece. I had not wanted to follow structure when I wrote it and then I did not want to change it. Thanks a lot for your feedback. Much appreciated :)

Choco said...

@j a zobair @ Aimee Laine
Thank you :-)

@Rohan
Darun? Really? :D Thanks :)

Choco said...

@fairyhedgehog:
Thanks. Don’t worry about her. The piece is fictional. I wrote it in the frame of mind of an outsider, viewing a culture that is foreign to her and wanting to join in… but not being able to…. Whatever the reason… Not necessarily an abusive husband… But that is where the story led me :-)


@Dottie
Thank you.
Let me try to explain a little.
Married women in Bengal traditionally used to wear white cotton saris with red border while stepping out and for special occasions. Also the mark of the married Hindu woman is that she wears vermillion in the parting of her hair. Vermillion is bright red in color. Alta is a red liquid that women wear on their feet in Bengal. Pujo means worship. And in this case I was thinking September/October when the Goddess is worshipped in that part of the world. :)


@Bluesugarpoet @Peter
Thank you :-)

Damyanti said...

I'm imagining this written in Bengali...maybe you should do a translated version? Darooon is right :)

Aidan Fritz said...

I like how well this poem captures the story of why she can't come. The single idea of color ties this piece together and captures the idea of cultural differences.

Mikki said...

Beautiful imagery. Thank you for sharing!

Jade L Blackwater said...

I like your word choice and flow, and the subtle range of emotions you draw from the color red.

Richard Levangie said...

I really enjoyed the quietness of emotion. Thank you.

Apple Ardent Scott said...

I agree with Aimee Lane - haunting. This piece provokes so many emotions and thoughts. Well done.

Choco said...

@All
Thank you

JaneyV said...

Choco - I thought this was very beautiful and I loved that the *red* had conflicting meaning. Well written.

jason evans said...

A fascinating structure. Something between poetry and prose. I think it worked. Well done!

Congrats on Forties Club!

Choco said...

@Janey: Thanks :-)

@Jason: Honored! Thank you.