Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The March (3 word Wednesday - caustic, hunch, sacrifice, plus all other words for the month of March)

“Are you ready Lata?”

The Indian widow hunched over and nuzzled her husband’s body. How she longed for his warmth, to feel a pulse behind that thick dark beard. It had been a difficult night of mourning and Lata was weary. Poor Nanda was lost at such a young age. He had amazed her with his resilience, but the downslide was inevitable. Nanda’s strength depleted and he became ever frail with malaria’s growing hunger. Out of respect, the bald attendant avoided eye contact until Lata modified her veil. He commenced soaking Nanda’s corpse with caustic fluids. Lata bravely stared into the pyre. The flames filled her eyes with a bright brazen aura. Sati was a sacred ritual in India for an obedient widow to sacrifice herself into the flames alongside the body of her late husband. Many widows fought or fled; to Lata this was an honorable display of love’s tightest bonds.

“I am ready,” she spoke with deep conviction.

The last shards of her essence were forever united with Nanda, given to her love.

19 comments:

  1. I think you've done a wonderful job here.

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  2. It may be a sacred ritual but there is nothing romantic or honorable about the scream of burning flesh. Ok, I know you had to work all the words in, and that you did well--I'm shaky from reading it--but I'm also glad the custom was outlawed. It is hideous. There. You have my bandstand rant.

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  3. well worked and well written - nice one.

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  4. Stan, Anthony Thom - Thanks glad you enjoyed!

    Lilibeth - I am glad as well that this custom was outlawed. From my research it seemed that most of the sati ceremonies involved unwilling widows, which does turn this scene very gruesome. There were however the far less common widows that were voluntarily participating, which was what I was trying to portray in the emotions of Lata. I was not trying to glamorize a hideous custom as much as to think inside the mind of the willing widow making the ultimate sacrifice.

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  5. whew, I don't know what to say. You didn't offend me - I didn't feel like you were advocating the practice, but still, whew. I hope that willingness was VERY rare. It makes me ill to think that someone would willingly take their life in such a way...

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  6. I'm not offended. It's all about writing and I know things like that did happen. If you wrote from the perspective of a murderer I wouldn't think you were advocating murder either. It's just my gut reaction. I tend to blurt it out sometimes. Incidentally, I didn't like "Far Pavilions" either, even though my husband thought it a good book. (all that sati stuff)

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  7. Oh my goodness -- excellently written, and brilliant job working in the words.

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  8. This is well done. You certainly tried to work your way into mindset that is foreign to the West and quite probably to many in modern India as well. It's important to remember that we filter life through the values of our own time and place.

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  9. Dee - It was a most unfortunate reality for many widows in Lata's position. They were left with two options, sati by acceptance or sati by force. As Lilibeth pointed out, this is an outlawed custom, though rare occurrences have happened as recently as 2006.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5273336.stm

    Lilibeth - I am glad you are not offended. Thanks for your comments.

    Thomma - Thanks much, this is one of the shortest entries I have done. I believe the word count was 175. Placing 15 predetermined words in those confines still boggles me; I must have count them out a dozen times.

    Bunnygirl - Thanks for your comments, and well said. This was indeed a glimpse of a foreign time and place.

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  10. Very powerful piece about a sad topic.

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  11. This is just a WOW post.

    b

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  12. I suppose the "death do us" part goes with the tradition, though I would never favor those thing

    anyway good story and thanks for your visit and your helpful comment

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  13. oouch... this kinda love is a hard love to understand... denial of self all the more real.... when i first read abt this i could not understand but with experience we burn without the flames which is just as real.. we only barely breath monster moves

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  14. Angel - thank you, i agree, the topic is humbling.

    b - thank you for reading!

    lissa - traditions need to be evaluated from time to time. Or in this case, made illegal. Thanks for commenting and you're welcome.

    pieceofpie - well put - "we burn without the flames". A part of oneself dies when losing someone so close. Thanks for the read and the comment!

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  15. Excellent portrayal of customs. Very well written.

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  16. In time and place and within cultures rituals are accepted. well written. I lack any structure or schedule in my own life, but I find it facinating in the life of others. I am reading "Voices of the Winds- Native American Legends" They are wonderful storytellers.

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  17. I love my sweet husband, but not enough for that. Wow. This is a powerful story.

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