Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Writing Prompt # 2

Now from here

Before you read the prompt, make sure you will have 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to write and please do time yourself. Once you've written it, please leave a link here so we can come over and read it.

Do you have any one moment in your life, when you were totally, madly, utterly embarassed? Was it a situation in which you did something, said something or just happened to find yourself in? If you recall those feelings of wanting to sink through the ground, or suddenly appear invisible....use this prompt to recount them and help us feel your plight.

I am trying to remember the times I've been embarassed- those times when I felt like sinking underground a la- Sitadevi. Doubtless there were many such instances, but somehow now as I try to summon the memories they refuse to resurface; and one of the conditions to be followed in this exercise is not to read other posts in response to the prompt before doing the exercise oneself.

Then voila! I remembered. I was in college. The lecturer was handing over answer papers after the recent exams. I was not too anxious about receiving mine. The moment arrived. The lecturer waved my paper in front of my eyes, gave me a smile that I could not deconstruct and proceeded to give me a lecture on my tardiness. At the end of her tirade she did not forget to comment on my distracted countenance in class. I remember the mortification I felt as I heard her words- I remember her words too- but I still cringe in embarasment and so desist from recording the same. And finally she expressed her amazement at my having managed to score fairly decent marks in the test!

My ten minutes are up-

Revised, revamped, refined:

Her delicate face was in stark contrast to the expression she wore. A forbidding smirk adorned her face perpetually. Her long plait jostled merrily as she walked with the grace of a dancer. Her fingers were long and slender which she wielded artistically as she droned away in the dreary afternoons. Her saris were impeccably starched. She had an arresting, formidable persona.

Miss J marched into our classroom that sultry afternoon, her pout firmly in place...I shifted uneasily in my seat. The sight of the ungainly wad of answer papers in Miss J's clenched fingers did not bode well. My palms turned sweaty and I felt an uncomfortable churning in the pit of my stomach. I tried to assume a nonchalant stance and failed miserably. The lunch I had during recess seemed to swirl threateningly within me. I tried to look steadily at the unpleasant countenance of our beautiful lecturer.

She began calling out our names and distributing the answer sheets. My heart beats thudded in my ears. Then there was this uneasy pause and silence loomed in the classroom. A voice from within warned me, 'this is IT.’

Yes, there she was, staring at me with a piercing gaze. I flinched. My ears burnt. I heard her voice boom,” Aaaaaaaaardraaaaaa…

The rest of her tirade has been thankfully blanked out by my selective memory but the last whiplash of words resound with astounding clarity:

“Instead of wasting your time in appreciating my saris and admiring my nails, you would’ve fared better had you bothered to pay attention to my words. ( Amidst all the indignity being heaped on my wretched self, I distinctly remember being amazed at her perception though ). "Still, I hardly expected you to score even this much. See if you could try to pay at least half attention to the lesson being taken in future.”

I meekly looked up at her to see the most contemptous sneer on her perfectly etched face. I could hear stifled chuckles around me. Many a time had my friends and me discussed animatedly about Miss J’s saris and appearance. But for now, I was the solitary scapegoat.

The rest of the afternoon passed in a nauseating blur.


Sujatha said...

Awww. Perfectly understand why you don't want to write down the words, but I wonder sometimes if I wrote down the words they would lose their power over me.

Tharini said...

I think any memory associated with that time in our lives is very acute and intense...given that stage of our innocence and unworldliness. Could relate very well to this scene of embarassment. Has happened to me too and the power of the watching peer pressure is immense!

Ardra said...

Sujatha, Tharini, I'm hoping to resurrect my frozen thoughts and words...I want to try to reword this one too...
Thank you

Tharini said...

fantastic! Fantastic! Simply fantastic! Oh my God! What a difference adding a few sensory details made to your narration, and man how perceptive she was! Ardra...this was truly awesome!

You have brought the whole scene alive for me. I loved the little intro you gave for her...I loved how you mentioned that you were the solitary scapegoat that afternoon. It was all very visual and flowing, and a perfect example of Show, don't tell.

In the first instance that you wrote it, you told us what happened in a brief fashion.

In this second one, you showed us exactly what happened, heping us to picture the scene with colourful details...like the way your stomach churned, or the way she mouthed your name, the way you shifted uneasily...!!

One thing I have learned from my writing course is that sensory details add everything to the scene...a tip: You can also add some details about smells...for instance, the perfume she wore, or the smell of paper, or the dried ink on the paper etc. A mix of all these would lift it to another level!

Sujatha said...

Ardra, this was beautiful! I truly empathize with your pain and embarrassment. You made the scene come alive. I could feel the food swirling inside you and your ears going hot. I could perfectly imagine the expression on her face. Thank you for doing this! Hugs!

Ardra said...

Thank you Tharini, thank you Sujatha...I'm so happy that I did this...its been so long. I needed this prod. Yes, Tharini, smells- thats a good tip- I'll remember that.
And your words of encouragement- did a world of good...I realised I was missing being able to write...I had been waiting incessantly for words to simply emerge from nowhere...If not for these prompts, I'd still be waiting for Godot...Thanks a ton!