Here’s another short excerpt from my writing. This is told by the point of view of my protagonist, Nina, who is a college student. Again, it’s only the rough draft and probably needs editing. Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, and critique away.
I disappointed my parents for switching from Engineering to English during the last term of freshman year. I heard several lectures of, “Think carefully about it. What are you going to do with that?”
I still continued to major in English. Afterwards, I heard my mother comment over the phone on marriage proposals. “My child talks well, shines in most social functions, and she’s model material. Such a nice figure and pretty smile. Who wouldn’t want to marry her?” Ma then giggled in a way that I guessed she must be talking to Premila aunty, one of her best friends. I pretended not to hear and as though I wasn’t present. “She is still so young. Only a freshman…yeah but we believe in long engagements. She should know the boy long enough before they are married⎯ even years. It takes about 3 or 4 years…”
Ma’s logic was that is how long it takes to become best friends with someone. Her reasoning is that a husband and wife should be able to relate to each other like best friends before marriage. She told me she’s keeping my eyes wide open for the right son-in-law, but it’s up to my me. She can’t make her like someone I don’t. So, why not start looking now during sophomore and become friends, and then be ready to marry on graduation day. Sounds like another one of Ma’s half-baked ideas. Waiting for three or four years? She seems to be imagining me as a marionette operating according to her schemes.
Then, there was Charlotte and Kevin’s wedding at the vineyard near Napa Valley. Dolled up in a silky magenta bridesmaid dress and spiral waves, I watched Kevin read a poem he composed as a vow. Charlotte’s face glowed radiantly with joy. Meditating on her soft expressive eyes about to shed a tear, I was intrigued. Returning to campus, I told my dorm mates all the details about the weekend from the bride’s beautiful off-the shoulder gown to the ending of the ceremony. “A wedding in a vineyard. That’s so romantic,” my roommate chimed. Then, Ma casually remarked in her annoyingly sweet voice, “Oh Nina beta, you can’t keep going on like this. One day you must settle down.” She then continued to compare and contrast traditional Indian weddings with American weddings.
Ma assumed that someday I could settle down with Arun, a son of a family friend. For complicated reasons we split. Ma needed to understand that it’d been better now than after marriage and children. Right afterwards, an aunt introduced me to a “good boy” ⎯ another son of a family friend. Aunty expected that her match will be the ideal Bollywood scene of us falling in love at first sight. That stupid sentimentality called love at first sight! I could care less about settling down. Fears held me back. Was there an elixir that could sedate the pain inflicted on me by some unknown goddess’s wrath?
* Pembrooke – I’m trying to find a name of a prestigious college. This was the name I conjured up so far. It may change.