Friday Fictioneers – City Life

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

Last week I was very busy, and I’m afraid I didn’t manage to read all the stories. If I missed yours, I’m sorry – I shall try to do better this week!

FF - City Life 180411

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

City Life

Makshirani disembarked from the train. Crowds jostled. The city was very different from home. What would her new life be like?

A young man approached.

“Namaste! I’m Dayasara. Aunt Abhilasha sent me to collect you.”

“Namaste.” Makshirani made the gesture of pranamasana.

“Come. I have a moped.”

Makshirani clung on as Dayasara zigzagged between the heavy traffic. The streets grew narrower, stinking and full of flies.

Dayasara stopped by a dilapidated colonial residence.

“You’re sharing with four girls; I’ll introduce you. Can we meet when you’ve settled in?”

Makshirani looked down modestly.

“Only if Aunt says I may,” she murmured.

72 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – City Life

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’re very perspicacious; there is a bigger story there. I hope I’ll manage to write it some day, as it’s a story that cries out for the telling. And you guessed about the moped! In the original version of the story, she wept as she rode – but I didn’t have enough words!
      Shalom
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Susan
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, so much left unsaid…sometimes I really hate that 100 word limit! I think this is a situation I must try to work up into a much larger scale piece.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading, and for your encouraging comments. I’m planning to write a longer version, which will flesh out the bare bones of the story and extend it a little – should be posted next Monday! And thank you, Dale; your support really encourages me!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Excellent portrayal of Makshirani’s first day in a big city in India. I loved how you flew from Europe to Asia in your imagination and captured the cultural intricacies so perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Moon
      Thank you for such a flattering comment. I felt rather shy about tackling a story that relied so heavily on the Indian context, so your approval means a lot. I’m intending to write a fuller version of this story, extending a little further into the future, and post it next Monday.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Sandra
      Thank you for reading and commenting. ‘Excitement mingled with dread’ is a very good summary of Makshirani’s state of mind as she faces her new life.
      Thank you for your encouragement to me to expand the piece. I’m certainly going to have a go. The trouble is, I think it’s a novel, and I’m far from certain that I’m the one who can write it! Even with the minimal research I’ve been doing over the last few months I can see that the interaction of traditional family bonds with Indian urban poverty offers an enormous field of possibilities for the writer. But it would surely be best explored by an Indian?
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  2. I think Sandra captured it well with excitement mingled with dread. I was born and raised on a farm in the country. The first time I spent the night in a city, I couldn’t sleep for all the noise. On my first solo trip to a BIG city (around age 30) I looked forward to it with both anticipation and fear. You conveyed those emotions well in only 100 words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Russell
      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully. Feedback from your personal experience of a situation resembling that in my story is very helpful.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Linda
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you asked the question about permission.
      The story is set in India. I’ve tried to assimilate a little of their culture, but there’s no way I have anything more than a superficial understanding. Here’s what’s going on.
      Makshirani is a country girl. She is going to the big city in the hope of escaping the grinding poverty of subsistence agriculture. Family is everything, so her father has arranged that her aunt will take care of her in the city. The aunt will have the same authority and responsibility towards Makshirani as her parents would. That includes making sure she remains a virgin until she is married.
      Aunt Abhilasha sends her son, Dayasara, to fetch her from the station – which is much safer than Makshirani making her own way to the house on foot (she certainly can’t afford a taxi). Dayasara has quite possibly been told ‘No monkey business’ – in any case, he will certainly understand this.
      However, things are more relaxed in the city; Dayasara finds his cousin attractive and would like to date her, so he hints at this. But the only thing on Makshirani’s mind is pleasing her aunt, because her aunt’s goodwill will determine her entire future, so she answers modestly.
      I hope this is interesting!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really appreciate your taking the time to fill in the blanks for me. Knowing very little myself about India, I do know that they are very careful to protect the virginity of a young girl. Makes sense now:)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I think Makshirani was clinging on because she was scared stiff on the moped! But perhaps I should have added a cultural note at the top of the story.
      The story is set in India. I’ve tried to assimilate a little of their culture, but there’s no way I have anything more than a superficial understanding. Here’s what’s going on.
      Makshirani is a country girl. She is going to the big city in the hope of escaping the grinding poverty of subsistence agriculture. Family is everything, so her father has arranged that her aunt will take care of her in the city. The aunt will have the same authority and responsibility towards Makshirani as her parents would. That includes making sure she remains a virgin until she is married.
      Aunt Abhilasha sends her son, Dayasara, to fetch her from the station – which is much safer than Makshirani making her own way to the house on foot (she certainly can’t afford a taxi). Dayasara has quite possibly been told ‘No monkey business’ – in any case, he will certainly understand this.
      However, things are more relaxed in the city; Dayasara finds his cousin attractive and would like to date her, so he hints at this. But the only thing on Makshirani’s mind is pleasing her aunt, because her aunt’s goodwill will determine her entire future, so she answers modestly.
      I hope this is interesting!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did indeed pick up on the cultural aspect. For that reason, I couldn’t help but think the ride on the back of his bike would have been especially exciting! This sounds like you have a novel in the making. Love how you’ve woven this tale.

        Like

  3. There’so much going on in your story. I feel trepidation, a hint of subdued excitement, obedience and possibly a bit of rebellion in the future. I not only saw things on the moped ride but felt heat due to the mention of flies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Alicia
      Thank you for reading and for your lovely comments. I’m sure you’re right – there’s heaps of potential in the set-up that the photoprompt suggested to me. I’m going to write an expanded and extended version for posting next Monday, just in case you’re interested.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s an enormous change for Makshirani. Her aunt is both controller and protector. I think Makshirani will value the protection more than chafe under her aunt’s control – at least for a short while!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Clare
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, this scenario is full of potential. I’m busy working on it, trying to see how I can best use it. I intend to post a longer short story based on this on Monday, but the material is starting to look intimidatingly like a novel!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  4. Lovely story Penny, I’ll echo the others and clamour for a longer version.

    My only quibble is with the description of namaste as “gesture of pranamasana”. Technically you are not wrong and while pranamasana or Añjali Mudrā are yogic gestures, namaste is a standard greeting in India which literally means “I bow to you”. Or put it simply it our way of saying “hello” 🙂
    “Makshirani made the gesture of pranamasana” could be “Makshirani bowed forward with her palms together”

    I hope that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto
      Thank you for reading and for your helpful comment. I had been wondering how best to describe the gesture made by Makshirani, and you’ve given me a very simple way to do it – thank you so much! I shall be posting a longer version of the story next Monday. Naturally I would be very pleased if you were to comment on any errors if you read it.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  5. Everything foreign is jumping at her as soon as she leaves that train. You perfectly describe the culture shock. Dayasara’s question could add to that strain, but somehow it gives a peaceful and hopeful ending. Despite the strangeness it gives a feeling of acceptance… if Aunt agrees and Dayasara is a good guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gabi
      Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment. You have taken from the story exactly the emotions I was hoping to convey – the strangeness, the apprehension and the hopeful ending.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Francine
    Thank you for reading, and for your kind comment. I’m glad you felt the sense of beginnings, as that was very much my starting point for the story. I plan to post a fuller version of the story next Monday.
    With best wishes
    Penny

    Like

  7. Wonderful description and we could feel, with the girl, just how different it was in the city – scary, exhilarating. Interesting that she happily went with the boy on his moped (in the belief the aunt had sent him to get her) and yet would need her aunt’s permission to see him again.Perhaps she needs a chaperone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Irene
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Makshirani’s aunt is her guardian while she is in the city. In other words, Makshirani’s whole future depends upon her aunt’s opinion and good will. That’s why she is so concerned to make sure she does what her aunt wants. As regards a chaperone, you’re right. I expect her aunt will arrange that Makshirani is always with other female members of the family.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Magarisa
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad the story piqued your curiosity. I have posted a 2000 word story showing how Makshirani came to leave her village. I hope sometime soon to give a fuller account of her train journey, and settling in to her new home. There’s so much potential in the material that I’m rather excited myself! And, like Makshirani I feel some dread mixed with the excitement, because I may find that I can’t do justice to the story.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Makshirani’s aunt will look after her conscientiously I feel sure, and has promised to fix her up with a job. Makshirani is a resourceful girl and will pull through! I posted a longer version today, which shows much more of Makshirani’s character.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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