Story 7 – The Deterioration of Saris

Here’s a piece I wrote a while ago as a creative writing assignment about the novel The Great Gatsby — but as you can see, I put my own spin on it! Enjoy & let me know what you think in the comments.

The Deterioration of Saris: A Rumination of an Indian Wedding Party

Why did an event that I had planned and toiled so hard on turn into dust? Perhaps it was because I did not plan it with vivacity. Alternatively, perchance it was for an external reason. As I sit here in my comfortable blue velvet chair and scribble away (with my pen flying over the page) about the summer of 1989, the cause of the devastation will make itself apparent.

Yellows and blues faded away into the deep oranges and reds of sunset as I violently brushed my hands through my thick, black hair, anxiously studying a list in front of me.

Party To-Do List

  1. Re-count the number of guests.
  2. Make sure that the arrival of the dancers corresponds with the arrival of the sitar and tabla players at 6pm.
  3. Count the number of chairs and tables and be certain that there are enough for two hundred guests.
  4. Arrange the flowers and put the desserts on trays.
  5. Set up the henna booth.
  6. Re-read this list and make sure that you check everything off.

So far, I had not checked off anything off the list and there was only a week remaining until my cousin’s party before her wedding. I had no idea why I signed up for such a painful ordeal. Ruminating on the matter, I realized that my cousin Aisha had persuaded me to be her wedding planner, presumably because there was no one else willing to do the job.

My mother had always told me from a young age that if a person asks you to do a favor for them, you should always do it because you may receive a benefit in the future, unless there are dire circumstances impeding you from doing so. Therefore, when she requested me to bring the keys from the mantelpiece or take the trash out, I unswervingly complied. Although there was not a single occurrence when I gained from my toil throughout my childhood years, I was apathetic to the entire situation because of my unyielding love for my mother.

The matter of the wedding was different.  Aisha, although she is my cousin, is not my mother. I was a sliver away from not agreeing to be Aisha’s wedding planner. The reason of my indifference was the qualities of Aisha’s fiancée and soon-to-be husband, Vikhram. He was born into a middle-class rural family and yet developed the merit to be successful in business, and therefore earned a lot of money. However, instead of using that money wisely, he spent most of it on cars (he owned at least five automobiles, each one in a different gleaming color), food, clothing (he owned one hundred neatly pressed dress shirts), and he lived in a vast, mansion made out of white marble.

“Are you sure that you want to marry him?” I had asked Aisha one day, fingering her lavish wedding ring as we sat in our modest living room.

Aisha scoffed at me. “Of course I’m sure,” she responded immediately. “I love him.” The gleaming lights of San Francisco that were usually bright seemed dull tonight.

A thousand potential replies were rolling through my head, but none of them was satisfactory. So I simply sat on the plush green sofa, fingering her wedding ring some more and pondering until Aisha finally snatched it from my hands and placed it on her ring finger, as if to say, “See? I love him and am going to marry him.”

At the time, I was unsure if she was honest with me, and today I am completely certain that she was insincere on that day in the living room.

Nevertheless, none of that is of any importance. The day of the party had arrived and Aisha and Vikhram were already married, and no matter how much I despised their marriage, I could not depart from reality. Now, I had to show the party guests that they could rely on me to throw the finest party that would rival my grandmother’s own lavish wedding party.

The wedding guests were mingling, and in front of me were a display of expensive suits and glittering saris, probably purchased for this one occasion and they would never bear the same outfit again. The saris would simply sit in closets and fade with each sunset.

By that time, I had not checked off two things off the list. The flower arrangements had not arrived and there were a few chairs missing, which perplexed me because I know that I had ordered the right amount. However, instead of fretting about it I sat back and watched the dancers rhythmically sway to the beat of the music radiating from the sitar and tabla players, their multicolored saris swirling and their golden bangles clanging with the movement of their feet. I wished that I could be so oblivious to the rest of the world and just forget about the world through music and dance. I had a desire to join the dancers just then, and turn the world into a purple, blue, yellow and orange whirl, but a hand tapped me on my back, bringing me back to reality.

It was my mother. “Sonia honey, where are the flowers? And Mrs. Singh does not have a chair to sit on.” Her made-up face wrinkled with disquiet as she appraised me. She had fitted her green and blue sari to perfection, and the beads on it reflected the light coming from the mirrors on the walls.

I sighed. She should just appreciate the lovely music, the vivacity of the party and all of the work that it took me to organize the wedding, instead of agonizing over what is not there.

“Mother, I told the florist what time to bring the flowers, and there should be enough chairs. I have done my best, and this matter does not lie in my hands. Why don’t you call the florist and ask the hotel to send us some extra chairs?” Without waiting for what would certainly be a heated response, I sauntered over to the drinks table and selected a bubbling cup of fruit punch.

I looked at the party from my vantage point at the side of the room, and appraised my marvelous work. It was definitely not perfect, however. Over time, the guests had littered the food table with crumbs and small children were grabbing pieces of cake with their hands, but all of the party guests (except my mother) had smiles on their faces and were having a marvelous time.

For me, smiles are what counts, and that party was all right in the end after all, even though the wearers’ saris will eventually turn into dust.

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Poem 16 – Horizon

The sun glows on the back of black tresses,

This gleaming ball of firelight – the sun –

Said its last goodbyes as satin dresses

Lace, silk, puffed sleeves, rubies, merged into one.

Red, orange, yellow, across the horizon

A semi-circle radiating bright light –

The memories of a herd of bison

Fade as the picturesque bird wings take flight.

Mark my words, this day will be recalled soon

Glorious or ghastly, charming or not –

Rosy glow increasing, plummeting moon,

You will then think of what the day has brought.

Make the most of each vivid rise and set

On the horizon – if you will just let.

Note that the poem is written in the style of a sonnet, please give me your feedback in the comments.

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Essay 3 – Haste Makes Waste

Hey everyone! Here’s another one of my old essays, please give me feedback in the comments. Thanks and enjoy!

Have you ever done something poorly because you wanted to get it over and done with and looked at it and realized that it wasn’t good? I certainly have. My essays turn out the worst if I don’t focus completely on what I’m doing. (But don’t worry – I’m not doing this half-heartedly). That’s why I agree with the statement haste makes waste.

In golf, if you want to win a tournament, you have to be sharp and focused. But there’s more to it than just getting the ball into the hole. You have to think about what club to use depending on how far away the hole is, and once you’re putting the ball in you have to think about slope. All of your moves are aimed at getting the ball into the hole, and if you make one silly mistake, it can mess up your game. I’ve noticed sometimes that some players play golf half-heartedly – it’s almost like they’re thinking about something else or being too under or overconfident. I think that at the Masters tournament today, Tiger Woods was good at the beginning and catching up to everyone, (like he usually does) but then at the 16th hole it almost felt as if he had low self-esteem – which might be why he ended with a score of -8. At the 17th and 18th holes he didn’t do very well either, probably because of the low self-esteem and the pressure. Then again, you have to take into account that he recently had a knee surgery, so he’s still recovering from that. But I think that if he had believed in himself and taken a little while longer to concentrate on some of his shots, (especially the shot that went far off the green at the 17th hole) he might have been closer to winning. That’s why it’s better to slow it down and think it through, and to take it one step at a time. After all, you only have one shot at winning the Masters every year, so why not make it your best?

I can definitely relate the phrase haste makes waste to homework. Sometimes, you just really don’t feel like doing it. (Actually, I’m sure that everyone who has been through school has experienced that at one time or another). If it’s a beautiful day outside, you want to go and play sports and relax rather than doing more schoolwork – when you’ve already had a long and tiring day at school. So you sit with a pencil, your math textbook, and graph paper and hastily scribble down some answers about angle bisectors. When you check your answers at the back after you’re done, if you did it hastily while thinking about playing outside, chances are that most of them were wrong. This goes to show that even if you know about angle bisectors (or whatever it is you were doing) you were doing it half-heartedly. In my opinion, you might as well have not been doing it because it was a waste. Think about everything that you have to do as only having one chance to make it right – if you focus on it and put your all into it, then you’ve given it your best shot, and in the end, that’s what counts. So, try not to be hasty about things that you have to do, (like homework) because the more you focus on it and get it done quickly, chances are you’ll be soaking up the sun outside in no time.

In conclusion, I think that doing something well has a lot to do with focusing. No matter what you’re doing – writing an essay, playing golf or solving math problems – all of them involve concentrating. The more you go through life, the more you’ll learn that doing it well and quickly is better than doing it quickly and not doing it well. So, slow down – think it through and check for mistakes, because chances are you’ll finish it with fewer mistakes if you take your time. In a test, you only have one chance – in golf tournaments, you only have one chance – so live in the moment and turn that one chance into something spectacular.

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Poem 15 – Dog Days Are Over

Hi everyone!

Here is a poem that I dug up that continues my previous series of poems written to music. As you can probably guess, this poem was written while listening to the song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence & The Machine. Enjoy, and please feel free to leave a comment!

Lying in the corner

listening to a sweet melody

it spilled over me

in a burst of foam

and suddenly I was

running;

dashing;

under the milky white foam,

my mother, father, sisters and brothers

gazing at me from the shoreline

until they became nothing more than

tiny black dots

and the world was so fresh,

taunting me to explore,

so I gave in,

and dove under.

 

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Writing Tip 5 – 5 Pairs of Words and Their Useful Distinctions

It has been so long since I have posted here, and I truly apologize for my neglect. I’m now going to start posting as often as possible, at least a couple times a month. I thought I would resume my journey on this blog with a question that inspired writing tip number five: Do you really know the difference between these commonly mixed-up words? Improve your diction by learning the difference between the following (five, since this is writing tip number five) pairs of words below.

1. Illegible/Unreadable

These words both describe something that is difficult to read because the text has been damaged or obscured, but unreadable can also refer to the poor quality of the content.

2. Incomparable/Uncomparable

Incomparable: An intensifier to mean that what is being described is so excellent that no other thing can compare

Uncomparable: Something about what is being described prevents it from being compared to anything else

3. Inequality/Inequity 

Inequality: Quantative connotation; except in references to racial/gender discrimination when it means something similar to inequity (see below)

Inequity: An inequality borne of injustice/unfairness

4. Inexplainable/Unexplainable

Tricked you there. These words basically mean the same thing, except that inexplicable has also developed a connotation of an illogial or irrational quality.

5. Valuable/Invaluable

Valuable: Something that has value

Invaluable: Something that has value that, because of its quality or intangible importance, cannot be quantified

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Poem 14 – H2O

Water

pounds the earth,

cleansing it to its very pores.

Water

threatens to drown all we have know,

and carry our thoughts away

on a warm current of air.

Water

a necessary element of life,

a salve for a parched throat,

heat’s only savior.

Water

the force of it can shake your being

and tear every single shard you thought

was able to hold itself together

apart.

Until there is nothing left.

Only an endless

stream, current, tide, pool, river, lake, sea, ocean, world –

of water,

shrouded in the salt of mankind’s tears.

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Poem 13 – Yellow Light

Life pushes us,

crowds us into boxes and spaces

we don’t understand.

A yellow light

gleams with mirage-filled eyes

and suddenly there is clarity

in the black of night,

when all is silent.

Ink rushes out of a well-worn pen,

deep blue,

like the deep blue of the ocean.

The yellow light awaits;

its love is

unwavering.

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Poem 12 – Radioactive

Sorry for not posting in a while — life’s been busy, but that’s not really an excuse — I need to get better at this blogging thing.

I wrote this poem a couple of months ago while listening to the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons — enjoy! And please let me know what you think (constructive criticism is always valuable for me) in the comments below.

The new age

Flashes of bright light

dance

across the sky,

Shadows

flicker

across the street.

 

Deep within me,

I feel a burst,

an explosion,

that I cannot control,

just as I cannot control

the world I live in.

 

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Book Review 8 – The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan

Sorry, again, for my absence. As it is now the beginning of April, my goal is to post at least once a week on this blog, so get ready for more constant updates (fingers crossed).

During the month of February (I know, kind of a long time ago), I read The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. A friend gave me the book as a gift, otherwise I’m not sure I would have picked it up from the bookstore. I was drawn in from the very first page. The book’s premise greatly interests me: a young girl, Mehrunisa, originally of Persian descent, becomes intertwined in the aspects of 16th-century Mughal India, and especially in the affections of Prince Salim. What struck me most about the book, which was packed full of description of Mughal life and ornate and flamboyant finery, was Mehrunisa’s courage and resilience to challenge the notions of women during that period by speaking out against conventions, and daring to advise Prince Salim about what to do in court affairs. Mehrunisa’s eventual marriage to Prince Salim (who becomes Emperor Jahangir after his father’s death) confirms her ability to not only sway him with her beauty but also with her logical reasoning abilities. Sundaresan is a truly gifted writer, and I wouldn’t just recommend this book to those who love historical fiction — I think it’s a book that any woman should read, as it is a real eye-opener.

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Poem 11 – Memories

They say, who we are today

is just an amalgam of

memories

attempting to arrange themselves

into a logical order.

They say,

you make memories every day –

and yet,

some seem to last for all eternity

while others

drift

into nothingness.

Time ticks on,

doesn’t

pause,

stop,

rewind,

fast-forward.

In the last moments of today

before the birth of tomorrow,

we create something

magical,

timeless,

infinite.

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