Sunday, August 22, 2010
Encounters of the Soft Kind
It was a cool and rainy day and I was wearing, once again, a crisp cotton sari hoping it would not wilt in the damp weather. It would have wilted in the hot weather, so I consoled myself. Either ways wilt, what? Did not take along my umbrella so kind of prayed that the weather clear, which it did soon enough.
We first had a discussion on a story written by Satyajit Ray, titled, “The Promise” , which was brought to the class by one of the participants as a story he liked. It was supposed to be a practical story writing class and I made them do more in-depth exercises than before, using background, dialogue and imagery.
It was amazing the kind of stories people developed. There was an image of a young man with a young boy on his shoulders with a background of a boat on a river. The two people became many characters: friends, father and son, brother and younger brother… in one story, the boy asks the young man to come to his school as his father at the parent teacher meeting because he is ashamed of his own father, for his real father is not young and good looking and tall but is short and fat and he wants to show off the young man as his handsome father. Another story was of how a young boy wants to be explained why his sister is all dressed up and sitting next to a man on the boat and holding his hand. Another story is where the boy does not want to be lifted on the shoulders because he feels he will burden his crippled father and is surprised when his father manages to lift him up. Another wrote that the young boy was not happy for he was being separated from his real sister in an orphan home, so he could not accept a new sister in a new home with a new father, so even if his name was Joy, he could not live up to that name. Fantastic, on- the -spot tales.
It was a learning process for me too as to which parts of an image people notice and pay attention to and put focus on. In another image, someone talks of the dog, another of the single sprouting plant, another of wet walls, another of the lone bicycle rider…
Also, a story line with the second character and conflict development was constructed to be developed further in the next class. On the whole it was a very satisfying session. Some of them wanted to purchase autographed copies of my book of poems, a request which I gladly complied with. There were also requests for my book of fiction, alas, that is something I still have to put together and then get published. But the impetus is there.
No wilting here, the class blossomed in front of my eyes.