Project 52: Write Every Week For A Year – Week 13

Week 13

27th Oct – 1st Nov.

Prompt: Experts say that the majority of communication is non-verbal, such as body language and tone of voice. For example, how often have we known something was wrong with a friend or loved one, even though that person hadn’t said so? If she crosses her arms and taps her foot, you know something is amiss.

The purpose of this exercise is to make us think about how we detect so much about the people around us. What are the physical signs that someone is angry, happy, tired, skeptical?

Exercise: In 500 words or less, describe one or two characters using physical cues only (no dialogue this time) so we know what each character is thinking or feeling. Don’t tell us what that feeling is: let us figure it out on our own.

Looking forward to your take on the prompt. 🙂

Here is mine.. Do read and give me a mouthful. 😛

An Experience

Loud noises on the street woke six year old Amul. She walked to the window and slid the curtain aside. She watched workers noisily unload logs, erect a Shamiana-tent on the road and stack plastic chairs. Men crowded into small groups chatting, greeting each other.

She heard a sudden burst of chanting of verses from Bhagavat Gita from the stereo downstairs. Its volume drowned everything including Bruno’s barking. Someone reduced it to sync into other hum creating a symphony of life.

Amul was startled by a chorus of keening voices, ran out of the room and down the stairs. She stood still and stared at all the people seated on the floor, around her grandfather. He lay on a mat in the center of the room with his eyes closed, nostrils stuffed with cotton, a garland of roses around his neck, his toes tied together with a strip of coconut leaf. A saucer-shaped earthen lamp burned at his head. Incense sticks inserted into a yellow-banana emitting ribbons of smoke danced across the room diffusing their sandalwood-scent.

Amul’s left-hand gripped the fabric of her night-dress as she sucked her right thumb. Her eyes welled-up as she searched for her mother. Meera was holding a tray mechanically serving the guests coffee as a chore. Amul ran to her, hugged her tight, and nuzzled her button-nose into the pleats of her sari crying.

Meera startled placed the tray on the kitchen-counter, bent down, wiped the tears off Amul’s round cheeks, cupped her face and planted kisses on her forehead. She picked her up. Amul rested her head on her mother’s shoulder sucking her thumb. Meera noticed it but didn’t attempt to stop.

Meera ran concentric circles of comfort with her palm on Amul’s back until her sobs mellowed.

Amul noticed the room go silent. She lifted her head to see what was going on. Her grandmother led by other elderly women was being taken to the back of the house. She was dressed in bright red silk saree. Her face and arms were smeared with turmeric paste; a big round red bindi adorned her forehead; reams of red-and-white flowers dangled from her hair; her jewelry was all on. She walked behind the women in a trance staring straight, un-blinking. Amul’s face burrowed into her mother’s neck with eyes shut tight.

In a short while her grandma was brought in head-shaved, clad in white from top to bottom, stripped of all color from her life.

(416 words)

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