Fiction: A Returned Indian

August 11, 2008
Kiran Dhanwada

It was a beautiful evening. The sun was setting behind dark clouds, streaks of orange light glistened across a glorious bluish-orange sky and the wind blowing from the sea into Rakesh’s and Priya’s face. Birds were getting back to their nests in their typical V-formations and people were getting back from work in a hurry.

Rakesh and Priya were sitting at one feet distance from each other on the sea shore, distantly gazing into the beautiful sky, the sound of waves making up for the silence between them.

Rakesh had returned from the US after three years. He had completed his Engineering successfully at one of the premier colleges in Mumbai, and proceeded to do what most of the Indians did - study M.S at one of the universities in the US. After working for a year after his M.S, he decided to return to India for a holiday.

Priya had waited three years for this day.

Rakesh landed at Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai on August 16th, 2008. Priya eagerly awaited his arrival at the airport with bated breath. They both went a long way back in the past. They had played together in the same lawn, shared most of the toys and as they grew older, spent a lot of time at the beach discussing life. When Rakesh left to the US, Priya felt that she had lost an important limb from her body. Rakesh never left Priya alone - he called almost once in three days, if not daily.

She was obviously very excited by his arrival.

They both drove back in Priya’s car to their favorite spot - the Worli beach. Both of them liked this beach since childhood - the rugged rocks, the sharp terrain against which strong waves hit with panache - it gave them a sense of power and calm at the same time.

As they sat in silence for a long time, Priya realised it was getting darker by the minute and decided to do what she had planned all along. She looked at Rakesh, with tears in her eyes, with an overwhelming sense of having her life-support back. She opened her purse, and said

‘Happy Rakshabandhan Rakesh bhaiyya‘ and tied the rakhi to his hand.

They both hugged each other and proceed to their home in Worli.

A business consultant by profession and a blogger by passion. Other interests include Handwriting analysis and Quizzing. I blog on a variey of different topics - Humor, Finance, Technology, Politics, Views, Gyaan etc. Do drop a line at http://www.sarvamekam.wordpress.com.
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August 11, 2008
08:44 AM

Kiran... I think this story has potential, but I think it needs polishing. you're doing a lot of telling, and I think it needs more showing. in many places you've used far too many words to say what you could have said in less, which makes it a bit clunky "one feet distance" (the distance is implied) "went back a long way in the past" (in the past is also implied).

try revising this a bit, and make it a bit longer. you have some nice turns of phrase.. like "the sound of the waves making up for the silence between them." more like that!!!

also, a small point of contention. in the US you don't study M.S., you earn an M.S. in a field.

August 11, 2008
02:54 PM

Excellent comments, ss. To me this seemed more like an outline for a story, not the story itself. Didn't work for me. Sorry! There is something there...but it didn't emerge at all.

August 13, 2008
01:50 AM

smallsqirel is absolutely right,
try to show whats going on not tell.

like you wrote, she waited for 3 years for this day.
you could write. her thist in her eyes to see him, explained how all these three years she had spent without him,
somewhat like this,..
rest , you content was fine but just gotta be technically sound.
good job though.

Chaitanya S
August 13, 2008
08:55 AM

Kiran, I feel writers should stick to a style of narration which they are most comfortable with. Feedback from readers should be encouraged and appreciated. However changing ones style based on "suggestions" could prove suicidal since you are invariably compromising a part of yourself. And readers likes/dislikes vary from one individual to another so they shouldn't be taken too seriously. At the end of the day being satisfied with your own work is the most important thing.

August 13, 2008
09:59 AM

chai... the whole purpose of posting original fiction here is to get feedback, no? writers are constantly striving to improve... since there are authors here like Jawahara who are published, one should take that advice seriously.

if one is only writing for one's self, then one would not publish it here, I would guess....

I also disagree that a writer should stick to a style with which they are comfortable. this impedes growth horribly.

I think we went pretty easy on Kiran. None of us were ugly about the feedback. I do not understand telling a writer who has ostensibly come to this forum for feedback to ignore the feedback of other writers and editors. Sorry, but as an editor in the outside world people PAY me to give them advice like I gave Kiran here for free. I would think that s/he would want to at least noodle it over. Also, if you notice, my feedback was not about preference or likes/dislikes... it was about improving the quality of the text.

August 13, 2008
11:28 AM

kiran, if you feel my point as apt, you can consider this. i know it is tagged under 'fiction', so my comment may sound a bit too techincal.

you start with a lovely evening, create a sunset backdrop and finally end the story with a brother sister togetherness..the binding factor being 'rakhi'. but don't you (telling from the way i have seen it), feel all these, rituals, etc get over by say lunch time. to be frank when you mentioned sunset in the first few lines and then slowly navigated to a desi ritual/practice towards the end, i found the backdrop and the crux of the plot breaking somewhere..

but still enjoyed it..keep writing...jawahara, if i remember correctly had written and published a book sometime back and one of the DC members, sujatha had reviewed that, so know for sure these people make constructive suggestions..even i am learning..

August 13, 2008
01:29 PM

@SS: Thanks for the excellent feedback! Duly taken. I always have this confusion of how short should a short story be, atleast for a blog post. The storyline could indeed have been developed (and I did have a plot for that), but I feared then that the ending that I had in mind (like the rakhi one) would become an ending just for the sake of a twisted ending. Guess, loongg wayy to go to understand the subtleties.
On the changing styles point, totally agree - till you dabble with atleast some styles, you wouldn't know what suits you best.

@Jawahara - Same comments as I wrote to SS. Hopefully, next time!

@Naveen - Thanks! Telling and Showing - always a fine balance in short stories, ain't it?

@Chaitanya - Appreciate your feedback, however I do think writers as a rule must be allowed to dabble with various styles before they narrow down on the styles that suit them best.

@Tanay - Thanks! A ritual is a ritual - morning or evening; I think it was more for the essence than the rigid ritual as such.

August 13, 2008
01:37 PM

kiran... that's the spirit of a good writer! keep going... and best of luck! :)

August 14, 2008
05:38 AM

The mark of a developing writer with promise is to take constructive criticism well...so, I am really impressed with your handling of our critiques Kiran. Well done!

Of course, it is crucial to experiment with style and narrative choices, language, etc. Do keep doing that...but what is indispensable is the ability to craft a story (even, or especially a simple story like this one was) while allowing readers into the story, by making them relate somehow.

What I've found useful in the past is a writing exercise, where you take the same essential plot and play with it. Write it from the brother's perspective, then the sisters, then from some peripheral character (perhaps an urchin on the street, whatever :-). This helps develop distinct character voices and perspectives and helps your style as well. Or you can take the same situation and make it darker or comedic or more dramatic. This is not only useful but also fun :-)

Good luck with your writing.

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