Prompt for the Week: 1st June – 6th June 2015
Every therapist knows that families have “rules,” some unconscious, and some known and openly enforced. Are doors in the house always closed, or open? Does the toilet paper always come out from the bottom or the top of the roll? Do all the girls start wearing lipstick at age 10? Is the boys’ going out for sports teams essential? Is attendance required at holiday dinners?
Such rules usually keep families moving smoothly. They are to families what habits are to individuals–they save time and the effort of constantly making decisions. But when a rule is broken, sometimes serious trouble follows. And when people marry, bringing two sets of family rules to the union, conflict often ensues.
In your sub, let your reader know, either by implication or through dialog, what rule is in force. Show a character breaking it, or let us know that it’s been broken by showing us the reactions of other family members.
In 500 words or less, write a scene in which a character breaks a “family rule” and suggest what the consequences of this action will be.
What rules were broken and how did the act impact the characters? Did the author show the impact of the rules on individual characters? Comment on other general writing as well
Rebel in the family
Meera walked to the front porch and saw her husband reading the news paper. She snatched the paper from her husband’s hands. He looked up and said, “What?!”
She stood lips pursed, rubbing her hands vigorously. What’s going on? Why is she so agitated? Ram questioned in his head.
She bent down and whispered into his ear, “Amul…”
He sprung-up from his chair and roared, “What? She is only nine. They’re growing up too fast. It must be all the chemicals and chloro-floro carbons in the food that are doing this to the kids. Where is she?”
Ram stood and stared towards Amul’s bedroom but Meera held his hand and drew him back. “Shh… Shhh… Lower your voice. Your mother will be out of the puja-room in a few minutes. Will you please stop with all your unimportant babble and listen? We have bigger issues.”
“Bigger than environmental-pollution? Like what?… And stop being a teacher for once,” he said, flicking his hand out of her grip.
“Okay. Sorry. Go see Amul first. I’ll bring you coffee in the bedroom. See you in five,” she said exiting quickly towards the kitchen.
Ram stood at Amul’s bedroom door and took in the scene. All the furniture was shifted to a corner to accommodate Amul’s needs. Amul was seated on the ‘traditional space’ allocated for the next five days – A spread mat-topped with folded blankets-topped-with-coconut, mango and neem leaves-topped with another blanket. That would be her living-eating-sleeping-entertainment-space. He was satisfied all the essentials – water, freshly open pack of sanitary pads, towels, change of clothes, and her writing pad there. He let out a deep sigh noting Amul play with her laptop with ear-plugs-in. Why not? She loves attention and unlimited sweets to eat and no school. He chuckled and walked towards his bedroom. He wondered how Amul would survive without touching anyone for five days. What will Mom’s reaction to the news be?
Meera handed a coffee cup to Ram and said, “We need to plan the function on the fifth day.”
“What function?” he asked sipping his coffee.
“Are you out of your mind Meera? Haven’t you read history? That’s what prostitutes used to do. Have a function to let their potential clients know that the next crop is ready for harvest. You don’t believe I’ll host a function, do you?”
“Then my darling hubby, you better be the one to give mom the news of no-celebration. And don’t pull a stunt with all your know-how.”
“I will, if you promise to not switch sides and support my mother.”
“She is my mother-in-law, I can’t help it,” Meera teased.
After a minute of silence she said, “I always thought it was a celebration of woman’s fertility with her family…”