12 comments

Aug 28, 2020

Creative Nonfiction

If I have a choice, I will continue my life doing everything which reminds me of my presence in this world. I am willing to defy the notions and commotions that everyday life tries to thwart my way–the irrelevant creatures that humans have made of themselves. 


While writing this, it's already raining, not the deadly rain which removes the shelter from the shelterless, nor the one which forces the street hawkers to shut down their shops in anxiety. No, I am talking of the rain which cleanses one's soul, which makes the trees lustrous, which stops conversations and makes people look above and smile foolishly. 


Would you mind if I choose not to tell you the conversation verbatim I had on one such fine rainy day? Because if I did, I'm afraid you will look for one universal, meaningful thing and then be disappointed. As there isn't one.

Well, I was having a bad day; I panicked, my senses decided to shut itself completely and at the exact moment I was asked a question by my professor which I could not thereby answer. I then was accused of not having read the text, though I had read the entire text multiple times. But you know how adults are, they only see the outer covering and if it isn't smooth and shiny they discard it as irrelevant. They place themselves as the busiest of species on earth as if they are saving mankind or something. By the way, if you all get a chance, read The Catcher in the Rye, and the author at one point in the text says that he loves digressions. And I cannot agree more, digressions are perfect. I would anytime pick a book which jumps from one thing to another without making much sense until you spend some time with it and make sense of it. Just like life.


Yes, this takes me to the topic of children. Well after being accused I went to the park as I didn't feel like going home and answering my mum when she asked how was your day?

Adults are always asking questions.

So it was around 3 pm. I went there because no one would be present at that time. I mean who will send their child to burn out in the heat. I sat there for five minutes to be precise, and then my solitude was disturbed by someone. I have heard people stating that they love being disturbed by someone they love. Well in my case it's the disturbance which caused love. It was an exhilarating, beautiful kind of disturbance.


She skipped her way through the park and did not stop when she saw me. In fact, she smiled; you know the kind of smile which lights up the entire room. In this case the empty park. I mean I know children are innocent and all and they just don't stop doing things because they feel they are being watched by someone. But still, they do get shy and all; at least I was when I was a kid. But, she just started skipping even faster when she saw that she was being watched, she was unabashedly herself and I am sure will remain so during the entirety of her lifetime. She will be amongst the few who can live their lives not trying to be someone else and in that process losing the very self. I mean that would be pathetic.

She then asked me what business I had in the park and gave me a strange look. As if I were an out of place image of a painting. But it did not make me uncomfortable, the look was of the kind which tried to understand the unnatural and allowed a space for them. 


I told her I was bored so I thought of killing time there in the park. To which she smiled broadly, and said that she too loves killing time. And when I asked her how did she do it. She replied in a matter of fact tone that she watches the stars, plays with her friends, reads with her brother, dances with her father and kisses her mother good night. And that these are the best moments of her life.


I mean these activities entail the entire day. So doesn't that mean she just loves every single second of her day? 

I then told her about how I was treated unjustly, though I did not expect her to understand. I mean she is a kid, maybe six or seven. But to my surprise, she looked very interested and then suddenly touched my hair. No, almost patted my head. And I started laughing, the genuine happiness took all over and the last rays of sunlight died with it. There were dark clouds assembling in the azure sky. 

I asked her why she patted me on my head. She said that her brother used to do it when she cried. She was killing me with her innocence. 


It started raining!


You know I had started adorning my life with this false sense of one universal truth and stating and seeing things as this intrinsic concept which cannot be deciphered.


But she reminded me of days when I used to ignore people, not because I avoided conversations but because the smell of someone's cinnamon coated hair left me numb. She reminded me of days when I did not laugh at people's mundane jokes because I was busy admiring how good the air smells when they are around.

You know I had become used to feeling the absence so profound that it had started hurting. But then when I see her, just doing what she wants to do. It finally feels good and at moments like these, I feel that there are more to come.


She then asked me if I needed a hug. I looked at her, by now I had become used to her unfiltered way of saying things. I bent down, she calmly wrapped her hands around my neck and said: "There, There!" Yes, she said that and it felt like it was the best thing one could ever say to me. Then she turned away smilingly and jauntily ran away.


I stood there stepping over some dead leaves. How pretty are the dead things. They can be dark; they can be bright too. But make sure you know.

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12 comments

Syeda Fatima
07:52 Sep 05, 2020

OMG, the title is so catchy! and so is the story now...

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Gopika Ashokan
03:50 Sep 09, 2020

Thanks!

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Charles Stucker
09:18 Sep 02, 2020

"Well, I was having a bad day" delete teh word Well. Just write, "I was having a bad day" This is the Hemingway voice, the direct, bang, here's what's happening. It's powerful and gets things moving, but has no room for dead words like "well." "I then was accused of not having read the text, though I had read the entire text multiple times" Make it, "He accused me of not finishing the assigned reading, but I read the entire text multiple times." "But you know how adults are" delete But and start with You. "By the way, if you all ge...

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Gopika Ashokan
03:49 Sep 09, 2020

Hey! Thank you so much for your feedback! I incorporated words/phrases such as "well", "you know", "that" and "but" to bring a casual atmosphere and it also helped me to digress. But I think it is not working, right? I do love to write a piece which is digressive in nature, I think I'll have to figure out a way to do it right. Aah, and yes you are right I did rush this one. Again, thank you so much for your feedback!

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Charles Stucker
04:28 Sep 09, 2020

You could keep those phrases, but it can get tricky. I had someone call me on using "Quite" as a pithy catchphrase- I had overused it without realizing. Which demonstrates why a second set of eyes is so important. However, since it is first person, you have to include the same casualness in his speech. Then you need to make sure you don't do that (speech pattern) for anyone else in the story. This will let the observant reader know your intent and admire the technique.

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Gopika Ashokan
08:40 Sep 10, 2020

Wow, I think that will work. Yes, keeping the casualness in only one character. Thank you so much for the advice!

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Yolanda Wu
08:16 Aug 31, 2020

Wow, this story was just brilliant. Right from the beginning, you describe the premise really well. Also that reference to The Catcher in the Rye, we had a whole lesson talking about how Holden digresses and what it means, I studied that book for a full semester. I love the last line, it's just so powerful and really packs a punch. Amazing work!

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Gopika Ashokan
09:18 Sep 09, 2020

Thank you so much, I absolutely love The Catcher in The Rye. Wow, you had this text as a reading? That is so cool!

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Yolanda Wu
10:01 Sep 09, 2020

Well I personally enjoyed studying it, but it wasn't very popular among my classmates, everyone always complained about it, so my opinion was rather unpopular.

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D. Jaymz
17:33 Sep 13, 2020

A great story 👏 A tale that explores a time when life jades and then begins to fade until a simple pinprick of light knocks us back into the sensual sense of living a full life, noticing the adventure, the gift. I liked the imagery you created with your title. Well done 😊

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Helen Jett
17:39 Sep 12, 2020

Wow, wow, wow. This was so good in so many ways. You brought me in right from the title and the slight melancholy that seemed to be between the lines. It was heartfelt and meaningful from start to finish. Amazing job!

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Kristin Neubauer
19:43 Aug 31, 2020

I echo Yolanda - a brilliant story, Gopika. It is so simple, but so impactful. I love the contrast of the innocent child with the older-and-becoming-more-cynical student. Yet again, you pack so much into a few words. And the title! I absolutely love the title!

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