So I attended a small writing workshop long ago where they gave us a situation and we had to write a scene based on the specified requirements. Time limit was twenty minutes initially, which extended to half an hour since none of us had finished. I know. Never on time.
A middle-age woman is waiting at a bus stop. She has just learned that her son has died violently. Describe the setting from the woman’s point of view WITHOUT telling your reader what has happened.
How will the street look to this woman?
What are the sounds, odours and colours that this woman will notice?
What will her body and clothes feel like?
Write a 250 word piece.
MY WRITE UP:
Rimi’s gaze is fixated on a small boy serving a cup of tea at a local tea stall across the street. She watches him balance three cups in his tiny hands. He hands them over to his customers—three young men in their early 30’s indulged in some grave discussion—oblivious to the boy who waves his torn napkin and calls out to people to stop by his stall.
The bus honks and it breaks her reverie with a start. People waiting at the bus stop scuttle to form a disorganized line. They push and shove one another, hurling curses and cutting queues even before the bus rolls in.
A woman strides past Rimi and shoots a disgusted look at her, her nose wrinkled. She covers her mouth with the hem of her dupatta and whispers to her friend.
“That woman stinks!” They giggle and hurry away.
Rimi is unfazed by the comment, much as she is unfazed by occasional stares and whispers around her. She hasn’t touched water for a fortnight. Her old ragged saree hasn’t been washed for two days. But she doesn’t care.
She hurls herself into the bus and the sight of her son sitting on a bench freezes her in place. Then, her shoulders relax as she realizes it’s not him.
It can’t be him.
Workshop by: Half Baked Beans in collaboration with Of heroes and villains
Instructor: Deepali Junjappa, author of The twisted twenties