Week – 12
Prompt for the Week: 23rd March – 28th March 2015
You could show us a surgeon removing an appendix, a 16-year-old getting ready for the prom, an aging beauty putting on her makeup, or someone changing a tire by the roadside. We could be in the navigator’s seat watching a pilot bring a plane in for a landing in a storm. You might show us how to bake a pie, throw a pot, plant a tree or change a diaper. Give us the details and see if you can show us how this person feels about what she
is doing. Is the task frightening, distasteful, or challenging? Does the character derive a sense of satisfaction by trying to do something? You might want to write about someone doing something that they don’t usually do: Daddy changing a diaper, a little old lady changing a tire or a passenger landing the plane. Do they succeed or fail?
In 750 words or less, describe in detail someone doing a task and show us how they feel about it. This can be simply a vignette, a moment in time or a complete story. It’s up to you.
In your critique consider the author’s use of detail. If the piece demands technical information, does it seem that the author knows what she is talking about? Has she done some research or does she have personal experience that informs the description. Also look at whether we can see how the character feels about what he is doing. Is he doing it lovingly or does it frustrate him. Does the author’s choice of vocabulary make what we’re seeing seem real? If so, how?
Every mother and grandmother in India will know a few home remedies. Mom used to treat my ear aches with garlic juice and my tooth aches with clove-oil. Grandma Veni however, was a league of her own. She was considered a guide on ‘how to,’and had a nickname: WGD – Walking Guide for Dummies. My aunts and Mom could always rely on her to find a solution.
Last summer Laxmi atta along with her son Vikky, came to visit us. One night I overheard Atta and Grandma talking.
“What are you doing? Do you see how overweight Vikky has become?” Grandma roared.
“What do I do Ma? He’s got such a sweet-tooth just like his grandfather. I can’t stop him from gorging on everything that tastes sweet.”
“Did you even try?”
“Yes, Ma-a. Don’t you think I’d want my son to be healthy? I tried everything.”
“From locking the fridge to installing a new set of shelves with lock and key to store sugar and honey. What else do you want me to do? Starve him to death? I am scared too. He may already be a borderline type-2 diabetic. If he’s not already, he soon will be,” said Atta sobbing, wiping her tears with her pallu of her saree.
“Stop crying. I hate women that cry. Like crying is a solution to your problems.”
“Ma-a do something. You are my last hope.”
“When was a last time you took your son to the park for a walk or a run? Ma-a you are my last hope.” She repeated the words mocking Laxmi Atta’s accent.
Ignoring the sly remark, Laxmi Atta said, “He doesn’t even spare the sugar in the can these days. I don’t know what to do.”
“Let me think.”
That night, the elders in the family gathered to discuss the plan of action, before we went to bed.
Vikky left the game in between and came running into the living room, threw his cricket bat in the corner and went straight to the kitchen. He drank a glass of water. He then looked around and walked to the kitchen counter, grabbed the sugar cannister and opened it making sure no one was around. He dug into the tin and picked a handful and gulped it. He immediately spat it. “Yak-thoo… This is salt. I thought this is sugar,” said the eight year old, wiping the salt from his mouth.
This mix-up of sugar in salt canister and salt in sugar canister continued for more than a week. Everyone worked under the able guidance of Grandma.
Every time Vikky took a mouthful of the ‘white stuff,’ Grandma made sure it was salt. Also everyone convinced him that he had so much sugar thus far that his taste buds lost the taste of sweet.
After that Vikky stopped eating anything that looked and tasted like sugar.
“My mom did the same to me,” said Grandma with a sly smile, winking at me.