WATERSHED – The Parable of Illa

Watershed - The Parable of Illa : Musings by Megha

Stories or rather fairytales usually begin with the phrase – Once upon a time. But, the truth of the matter is that this isn’t a fairytale and it certainly doesn’t begin with a vague reference to a moment in time. Why, you may ask me? Well, because this is my life and I can pinpoint the exact moment when it all changed.

The Times of India is an Indian newspaper that launched a nation-wide short story competition called The Write India Campaign in July 15′. Long story short: 11 celebrity authors are to act as ‘author(s) of the month’ (over a period of 11 months) and each month, the organisers would release a few lines written by said author which we, the contestants, would have to magically weave into an engrossing tale capped off to 2500 words. (Whew! long sentence!) I participated in Amish‘s contest and really worked my butt off to put out an entertaining read.

His rules set the story in 17th century Paithan (A town in coastal India) with a female lead called Illa. Whilst keeping the story away from any mythical or fantastical influence, we were expected to convey a social empowerment message (kind of like a PSA) for women.

I thought I’d done a fairly decent job and honestly felt I could’ve made the cut. However, the results have recently been declared and.. well, no.. I didn’t make it. Full Stop. (I’m so over my two minutes of emotionally-charged tantrums)

I named my story – Watershed, which means an event or a period marking a turning point in a situation. Little did I know, that along with my protagonist, it would also serve to be a watershed moment for yours truly. It was the day after I had submitted my story – feeling copiously at a loss with the post-submission-vacuum – when I started this blog with my first ever post!

Since, a lot of research, time and effort went into writing the story, I would like you, my dear dear readers, to enjoy the parable. It might not be the most mind-blowing thing you read today, but I’d rather you read it, than it being archived into some godforsaken drawer/file, never to see the light of day. So here goes –

Note: The italicised text at the beginning has been written by the celebrity author.

Watershed - The Parable of Illa : Musings by Megha

Watershed - The Parable of Illa : Musings by Megha

Sauviragram

Paithan District

December 1679

Close to the city of Paithan, in a small village called Sauviragram^, which lay along the banks of the great river Godavari, lived a woman named Ilaa. Being cotton farmers, her family was well to do, but not among the richest in their area. It was the harvest season, and cotton had to be picked from the plants. The wholesalers and traders from Paithan would be arriving in just a few weeks, carrying gold and goods for barter. They would exchange what they carried for the cotton that the farmers grew. The bales of cotton had to be ready in time! Work was at its peak!

But Ilaa was not to be found in the fields. She wasn’t working. Instead, she was sitting by the banks of the great river Godavari.

‘I am sick of this!’ she grunted loudly.

Tears of frustration welled up in her eyes as she stared down at the countless cuts on her fingers and wrists. The tiny wounds inflicted by the bristles and thorn-like claws surrounding the fibrous cotton laid testimony to her predestined varna in society; But, the accompanying burn of the lesions was nothing compared to the burn within.

‘Hey Vithobha^! Is this my destiny?’ She raised her arms and implored from the depths of her soul. All that greeted her was the paradoxical silence of nature; an orchestration of whistling lush foliage, chirping of birds, and the sound of squirrels at play. Yet, it constituted silence for Ilaa, as she had not received an answer to her plea. A fish leaped out against the flow of the current only to disappear into the watery bowels. The gushing sound of the river drowned out her surroundings and dominated her senses.

‘Even the water of the great Godavari has a mighty purpose. It nurtures the lives of an entire civilization! Whereas, I merely exist with cotton woven into every fiber of my being! Is it my fault that the man I was promised to since childhood, failed to claim me as his bride? A life of abandonment! The malicious whispers! Are they the millstone I must bear around my neck? Oh, must it be forever so?!’ With a wail, she leaned over the bank and plunged her stinging hands into the cooling depths.

Immediately the river accommodated the intrusion and the currents rushed around her. It was strangely austere in its acceptance. Needing more, she leaned forward and it enveloped her shoulders. The pallu^ of her Nauvari^, the traditional 9-yard sari, greedily soaked up the water. She closed her eyes and further bowed her head, allowing the water to creep up her face.

Finally! Thought Ilaa. She felt her worries dissolve and be carried away by the river. It was cathartic. Ma Godhavari! Bless me with patience! Help me to accept my fate and gracefully live my….

A gushing sound filled her ears as she felt herself being yanked out of the water and was suddenly airborne. Disoriented, Ilaa looked down and found herself trapped between a pair of iron-corded arms. Hairy arms, at that!

‘Whaa..?’ She managed to gasp.

‘H..How dare you! Let go of me this instant!’ Spluttering with outrage, Ilaa squirmed in the man’s grip. Her foot managed to find purchase on a muscular thigh and lifting her arms, yanked at her attacker’s hair.

She heard a muffled curse from behind and found herself abruptly free from the enforced intimacy. Turning to face her assailant, she was stunned to see a full-blown Maratha^ warrior rubbing his scalp and looking at her warily.

Before he could utter a word, Ilaa scornfully asked, ‘Is this what mighty Maratha warriors do between wars? Wander about the countryside and harass unsuspecting women?!’

‘I didn’t know that saving a woman’s life meant harassment in Sauviragram!’ Came the nonplussed answer. ‘But listening to you now, I probably should have just passed you by and saved an unsuspecting bloke, from a lifetime of shrewish companionship!’

The tall mountain of a man took in her drenched face, the water dripping from her hands and pallu. The kohl underlining her eyes ran down her cheeks in twin rivulets of black. Her skin was like wet gold, undoubtedly kissed by the sun during her daily labor. She looked like Goddess Lakshmi^ after one of her fabled gold-dust baths. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts he asked, ‘What is a young maiden like you doing all alone, so far from the fields?’ His gaze pointedly fixed at the barely-filled cotton basket.

Disconcerted with his scrutiny, Ilaa swiped at the lingering water droplets on her face and indignantly countered, ‘What an ill-mannered brute you are! Looks like you have more muscles than sense. I was merely taking a dip in the river and not trying to drown myself! I shall go and do as I please!’

Wet as a drenched cat, yet, fiery as a tigress. Thought the Maratha, with a reluctant flicker of admiration.

Ilaa knew that she couldn’t return home without finishing her share of the cotton picking. She would need to hurry and fill the basket before the evening’s count. But even the demands of work failed to douse the curiosity invoked by the warrior. She knew she shouldn’t be speaking to him, let alone allowing him to escort her back home.

Enthralled by the specimen of manhood in front of her, she grudgingly acknowledged the unleashed power of his physique. His body was faultlessly toned with every muscle displayed as if he were a showcase of anatomical perfection. He wore a simple cream-colored dhoti^ paired with a cotton vest that managed to accentuate the corded strength of his body. A saffron angavastram^ was carelessly tied around his hips. Twin straps of leather crisscrossed his chest holding up a shield to his back. He carried two long dandpattas^, sheathed in scabbards on either side of his waist. Her gaze fell upon his arms – arms that not so long ago had held her captive in their embrace. Battle scars marred the expanse of mocha colored skin. The recent ones red and angry while the older silvery-white. A handlebar mustache – the pride of Maratha warriors – and a sandalwood tilak^ finished the look.

Unable to resist she asked, ‘What do they call you?’

‘Do you promise to start walking if I tell you?’ came the pert reply.

‘Tell me and find out’, Ilaa cheekily countered.

A sudden grin split the warrior’s face and seemed to transform his gruff exterior. His long mustache almost touched his cheeks and she discovered a curious dip in the center of his chin.

‘Well played!’ he let out a bark of laughter. ‘I am Rudra Nayak; an admiral in Chatrapati Shivaji’s^ army.’

Stunned by the identity of her ‘rescuer’, Ilaa simply gaped at him while he continued with a smile. ‘Will I be bestowed with the singular honor of knowing your name?’

‘Ilaa’ the word stumbled out. Quickly gathering her wits about her, she added, ‘We have heard much about the legendary Chatrapatiji and of you as well, Mai Nayak^!’

Embarrassed by her words, Rudra replied, ‘Water Leader! So, word has spread of the title conferred to me by our benevolent Maharaj. Though, I would prefer to be called Rudra. I am just a simple man carrying out his dharma^. I do not seek adulation for it.’

‘Rudra..’ Ilaa whispered in awe. ‘The mightiest of the mighty! An ordinary man chosen to fulfill an extraordinary destiny’. She finished longingly.

Picking up on her wistfulness Rudra remarked, ‘Every person has a visceral spark of the extraordinary. It is within our power to fan this spark into a blazing inferno.’

‘If only it were that simple!’ Ilaa said with a touch of resentment. ‘You are a Nayak – a leader of men. It is within your grasp to change the course of history. I am a mere farm-girl whose life is a vicious cycle of endless seasons of cotton. What greatness can I aspire to achieve? The days are long gone when we women had a voice in society. The golden days are but a distant memory for most.’ She finished with a lamentable sigh.

Defeated she turned to pick up her basket when she heard Rudra walk up behind her.

‘Ilaa’. He stated with purpose. ‘Not everyone has forgotten. You remember. I remember, the great Chatrapatiji remembers. With him I have learnt that if you wish things to be different, you need to stop being a bystander to your destiny. Instead, you must seize it with both hands and forge fearlessly ahead. To what end, you think these wars and violence are for?’

He motioned a hand across the riverbank and the accompanying greenery. ‘It is to reclaim our land from those that have sought to conquer it – however temporarily. It is to oust the countless invaders looting much more than mere riches. The methodical desecration of our Vedic culture is what we fight against. We need to preserve and nourish this ancient knowledge. It is our sacred duty to safeguard the essence of our Dharma.’

Ilaa was stunned into silence by Rudra’s passionate outburst. For a moment he too, seemed taken aback by his uncharacteristic show of emotion.

Contritely he said, ‘Forgive me! I didn’t mean to get carried away.’

Ilaa shook her head. ‘No! No, please. The path you have chosen is noble; your cause, even more so. We are truly blessed to have such protectors!’

Rudra opened his mouth to say something when they heard a shout from beyond the cotton fields.

‘Ilaa! Ilaaa! Where are you?!’

‘My sister! I have to get back!’ Ilaa exclaimed with alarm. She hoisted the basket under her arm and hastily took a step towards the fields. Suddenly, she turned and addressed Rudra.

‘Oh Mai Nayak! You lead men into great battles and glory. Our village is a testament to the Sau Virs who laid down their lives for this ancient land of Ilavarta^. I pray for the day when one Vir stands and fights for the women of this great land as well.’ A sheen of tears glistened in her eyes as she finished her heartfelt plea.

Rudra took a step towards her. ‘Ilaa, you need to know that there are people fighting for you; fighting for women to take their rightful place in society once again.’

She could see the sincerity writ large on his face. ‘I will fight for you.Her eyes widened at his whispered words and her palm involuntarily crept to her throat.

Rudra balled his right fist and thumped it over his heart. ‘I shall be your Vir, Ilaa. This is a Maratha’s promise to you.’

A myriad of emotions flashed across her face upon hearing his pledge.

She breathed, ‘Rudra…’

‘Ilaaaa!!!’ The shout pierced the air and intruded upon the moment.

Both, Ilaa and Rudra seemed shaken by their abrupt return to reality. He stared unblinkingly into her eyes and there was an indefinable emotion reflected in the black depths. It was almost tangible – the feeling of ‘rightness’ emanating from being with him.

With a quivering smile she said, ‘I.. I have to go. Thank you! You have given me the most precious gift of all.. Hope.’

She bowed her head to him and started walking towards the fields.

‘Come spring, I shall be at Sant Eknath’s^ shrine for the Paithan Yatra^. Chatrapatiji wishes to take blessings for the upcoming expeditions from Bhavani Ma^ at Tuljapur and then Paithan. I know it is asking a lot, but please come.’

Ilaa froze. What he proposed was impossible! Surely he knew that. An unmarried girl travel to the busy trading port of Paithan?!

She swallowed her answer and willed herself to keep looking ahead. Step by hesitant step, she walked away from the most intriguing man she had ever met. Ilaa felt his stare like a physical presence until the snowy cotton engulfed her.

Watershed - The Parable of Illa : Musings by MeghaPaithan

March 1680

Her first step on Paithan soil; the DakshinaKashi^ as many called it, was a step closer to claiming her destiny.

However hard she tried, the memory of a pair of dark probing eyes continued to haunt her. Rudra’s words about dharma had taken root and the past months had been a mental, emotional and spiritual evolution for Ilaa.

She clearly remembered the screams of protest from her mother and sister when they learnt that she aspired to do more with her life than pick cotton. The screams became threats and the threats simmered into silent anger. Even her brother’s stoic silence reverberated with disapproval.

Oddly, it was in her father that Ilaa found an unexpected ally. He understood that a fundamental change had taken place within his daughter. Though, the how and why of it still remained a mystery. Nonetheless, she was the apple of his eye and he couldn’t deny her anything.

So, Ilaa found herself on a caravan with him, under the guise of a business trip to Paithan. She knew she had to reach Sant Eknath’s shrine and offer herself as a Bharud^, spreading the true faith of the Vedas through ballads and bhajans^. She wanted to gain access to the ancient texts and be the one to remove the shackles placed upon women under the guise of a misinterpreted faith.

I shall strive to unveil the true faith to all. This was Ilaa’s most ardent wish. To see the glory of the old ways reinstated; where women mirrored men in all walks of life.

She crossed the threshold of the shrine and bowed her head in obeisance. Her eyes closed and for the first time, a strange calm settled over her. It was the bone-deep realization of finally balancing one’s dharma and karma^.

Yes! She had it in her to make a difference. That visceral spark was indeed a raging inferno today. Oh Rudra! What I would give to see you but once..

A cool breeze drifted across the temple yard and she felt a piercing regard on her person. It raised the hair on the back of her neck. In a flash, Ilaa opened her eyes and looked up.

Tall and majestic, in his cream dhoti and angavastram, stood Rudra. His traditional saffron pheta^ wound regally around his head, indicating valor.

He continued to study her with a deep intensity and Ilaa met his gaze unwaveringly. Finally, a blinding smile broke over his face and she answered in kind. He cheekily gestured with his palm to join him.

Ilaa knew what it meant. She took a deep breath and walked calmly towards her destiny.

***

^ Glossary of terms:

  1. Sauviragram: A fictional village. ‘Sau=100’, ‘Vir=brave warrior’ and ‘Gram=village’; Hence, the village of a 100 warriors.
  2. Vithobha: A manifestation or avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu, also known as Lord Krishna.
  3. Pallu: The long trailing part of the saree that can be draped around and across the shoulders.
  4. Nauvari: The traditional 9-yard sari from the state of Maharastra, India.
  5. Maratha: The warriors from the Maratha empire/Confederacy. An Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818.
  6. Lakshmi: The Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity.
  7. Dhoti: A traditional men’s garment, worn in the Indian subcontinent.
  8. Angavastram: A piece of cloth/stole which is draped over the shoulders and torso. Traditionally worn by men from the Hindu community.
  9. Dandpattas: An Indian sword with a gauntlet integrated as a hand guard.
  10. Tilak: A coloured spot/mark worn by Hindus, esp on the forehead, often indicating membership of a religious sect, caste, etc, or (in the case of a woman) marital status
  11. Chatrapati Shivaji: An Indian warrior king who established the Maratha empire.
  12. Mai Nayak: Translates to water leader.
  13. Dharma: The path of righteousness and living one’s life according to the codes of conduct as described by the Hindu scriptures.
  14. Ilavarta: An undivided India of antiquity.
  15. Eknath: A prominent Marathi sant, scholar, and religious poet of Varkari sect.
  16. Paithan yatra: A yearly pilgrimage to Saint Eknath’s shrine in Paithan.
  17. Bhavani Ma: An avatar of Goddess Shakti; the tutelary deity of Shivaji, in whose veneration, he dedicated his sword, Bhavani Talwar.
  18. DakshinaKashi: Another name for Paithan which reflects its religious roots.
  19. Bharud: A form of folk art where religious texts are recited to the general public in the form of songs and poems.
  20. Bhajans: Devotional songs.
  21. Karma: Action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).
  22. Pheta: A traditional turban.

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35 thoughts on “WATERSHED – The Parable of Illa

  1. What an absolutely breathtaking story. I love the ‘word-pictures; you have painted of the characters. They come to life in the reader’s mind. And the level of research you have put in is astounding. Please do read my story at:
    http://snehahaha.blogspot.com/2015/09/write-india-submission-for-amish.html

    My money is on you as a winner of one of the following ten contests. 🙂

    If I have one tiny criticism it would be this. What is the women’s rights issue you are tackling here that is relevant then and now. While it takes on the whole cultural milieu of the time, the only thing I got is how she broke societal expectation and forged ahead. Was that it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Sneha!

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my story!
      Your faith, in me being chosen as one of the winners, gives me renewed confidence! I am *so glad* that the story sprang out of the pages for you – That’s the highest praise I could ever hope to receive!

      Also, you are right. I think I got so lost in the characters, that I overlooked the empowerment angle. As a result, that bit came out as kind of wishy washy. Ah, well – as they say ‘I will make better mistakes next time’ 😉

      Thanks for sharing your story – I shall hop over soon..
      xx, M

      Like

      • Hi Sneha! Have just had a look at your story and have posted a loooong comment which wasn’t getting posted to your comments section. I didn’t want to miss out on sending it to you, hence pasting it here. If you do manage to get it there, pls let me know and I’ll delete this comment.
        ——
        A good story Sneha!
        After reading your version I got insights into a very different kind of plot. I now see what you mean when you commented on my version – about the empowerment angle. The focus is solely on your protagonist and in my opinion, that gives a different kind of character evolution – a very strong base for the lead.

        I’m assuming you would like to hear my thoughts on all aspects of your story, so here goes. Remember, I am no author – I simply write from the heart.
        That being said, let’s talk about the places where there’s room for improvement.

        ● It’s evident from the correct usage of words that you have a good vocabulary. A good strength.
        ● the flow: was good but could be improved. It’s presently a continuation of incidents that took place in a day. Maybe you could have placed them across a longer duration – maybe/maybe not..
        ● the point where the horse riders come – i found it a abrupt. There was seemingly no corelation of the riders to the story. More like a fact that needed to be put in.
        ● the empowerment angle (trust me, I learnt a lot from my readers on this one): yes, she broke social conventions and decided not to marry. But maybe that was not strong enough as an example for upliftment. I myself found it restricting to get a social message across whilst building a story line in 2500 words. But maybe I’m just not skilled enough?!

        All in all, it was an entertaining read.. keep the good stuff coming!!!

        Like

        • Hey Megha! Thank you so much, for your insightful comments. You really put in some effort into giving feedback and I really appreciate it. 🙂

          Your comment is now published on my blog as is my reply. 🙂

          Like

            • Hello Megha!

              I just came by to read the husband chronicles for the second time. I have subscribed so I keep coming by for new posts. 🙂 Please do post more of the husband chronicles. They’re hilarious. 😀 Also, I totally appreciate the effort you put in each post, the images, the gifs, the font…. everything is pitch perfect. I am a huge fan! 🙂

              As for the winners of the first TOI contest, I have not heard of them either! I just happened to click on their names in the TOI twitter page and that’s when I saw it. But yes, as you said, I hope that these are not the factors that accounted for their winning!

              Cheers,
              Sneha

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yayy!! I’m so happy that you enjoyed reading the ‘chronicles’, Sneha!! I’ve got a great response so I’m definitely going to be writing more!

                And thanks much-much 😉 for the lovely words about the blog habitat.. I truly DO put in extra time and effort into making it the most engaging experience for my readers.. I’ve now realised, that blogging encompasses so much more than writing! and I love this aspect of it as well..

                Keep reading, chica! Know that you are VERY welcome here!
                xx, M

                Like

  2. This was so nicely written! Congrats! I liked the flow, the emotions and the imagery! You played them well, you really managed to paint your ideas well on paper.
    The story was also cute! The meeting between the two, and especially their personalities were certainly my favourites! Oh, and also the ending! Which reminds me, since I come from a different culture, what does the ending really represent? To me, it looks a bit ambiguous, and I mainly blame my lack of knowledge in the Indian culture.

    I’m sorry it didn’t get picked as a winner. Nevertheless, you should be proud of yourself because you tried and gave it your best! And the result, the story, really turned out to be stunning! 😀 Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Coralie! Hello hello! Thanks for reading and enjoying my story!! I am so VERY happy that you connected with the characters and their blossoming love story 🙂
      You’re right about the ending. I have deliberately left it open to interpretation. What was obvious to me is that Illa decides to take a step towards her future with Rudra. But ofcourse, the societal nature of that time didn’t make it that easy – love marriages and even choosing one’s spouse (for a woman) was not the norm (especially when girls were betrothed since babyhood/childhood). It was difficult to fit in so many complex issues that they would’ve realistically had to deal with – so I decided to simply focus on the characters and their emotional connect. In hindsight, was it the correct thing to do? I don’t know, because many of the comments suggest the ending to be abrupt, whilst I imagined it to be a scene that left the reader with a multitude of possibilities to finish of the story..

      In all, it was a GREAT learning experience! And I’ve got incredible feedback from wonderful readers like you!
      I think I’m going to write more short stories now!
      Tune in to the blog, if you’d like to read more from me 🙂
      xx, M

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Got redirected through your comments on the ndtv site.
    Your usage of words is just magical.
    Reading the descriptions and poetic references was like listening to soft, soothing music.

    However, as others have pointed out, it does look a little bit incomplete, a little too literary to make it a simple, readable short story.
    Can be the prologue for the next best seller, Ilaa trilogy though 😉
    I, for one would enjoy reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Divya, Thank you for your very kind and encouraging comments! *basking in the glory of your feedback*

      You are right – I felt the story had amazing potential to go on as a saga/full blown novel, that I totally begrudged the word limit.
      I love creating elaborate descriptions because I want the readers to visualize the scenes exactly as I would envision them.. Maybe, I should stay away from short stories? 😉

      Thank you for stopping by! You are most welcome to browse through my other posts – You will find a very different kind of prose to the one you read here.. Would love to hear your thoughts!
      xx, M

      Like

  4. Dear Megha,
    I too participated. One is always curious to know how others think, that got me to your blog. I have very recently taken to writing, though I have a couple of books self published already.
    Now, coming to the point. After reading your story the first thing that I told myself was this;’ if I don’t improve my writing, I should quit’.
    It was just an amazing piece of research and English writing, of course the shortcomings are there,as already suggested by KC & Ansaud.
    I haven’t as yet put my story in my blog, but will shortly. In case you are interested: https://www.caughtinanavalanche.com

    pk

    Like

    • Hi Pankaj! Thanks a ton for dropping by and reading my submission. Your kind words truly put a smile on my face *wide toothy grin*
      I would TOTALLY read your story! Pls let me know when its up! I’m not able to access your blog at the moment due to some privacy settings at my end. Will do so soon! 🙂
      Best, M

      P.S. I’m super interested to know more about your books!! Let me go through your site and we could strike up a conversation!

      Like

        • Hi Megha,
          posted my story today
          just google search for – caughtinanavalanche.com/blog and you may be lucky
          It’s almost time for the next results that is if you have participated – all the best
          bye

          Like

          • Thanks for letting me know, Pankaj.
            And surprise surprise – It finally opened!
            I shall read it soon..
            As for the contest, I had too much on my plate to be able to write this time. But, I think I rather will submit another story. I need to research the other authors and find one that matches my sensibilities.

            Do feel free to link up any other submissions. I’d enjoy reading them.
            Best, M

            Like

  5. Your vocabulary and narration are impeccable! You can construct beautiful sentences which are very poetic. It may be a personal opinion.. but I kind of felt that you overdid the metaphors. It could be a wonderful piece of literary work, but does it have the ease of readability as a story.. and what is the story, apart from the fact the she fell in love with someone and then ran away to be with him… I know about the word limit. Your descriptions consumed most of them. Do you write poetry? There are differences in style for story writing. You may want to read some storybooks again to study the technical differences. But you have some unique strengths which if leveraged properly can make you unstoppable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ansaud, I want to say THANK YOU *in CAPS* for taking the time to read my story and giving me some incredible food for thought! I have been mulling over your feedback and have to agree with most of it.
      If I may put my point forward (not being defensive at all!) – talking about the metaphors. You are correct. (It took me a while to accept that!) I do tend to lean towards the dramatic when I write. I guess it’s my inner drama-queen stubbornly making her presence felt. I shall endeavour to work on it. 😉
      Readability: I agree, many of my posts and some of the other content I write, is mostly written with the assumption that a certain kind of audience will be reading it. I find comfort in searching for the most appropriate word to use and, in hindsight, that makes me lose out on the readability front. – Agreed!
      And yes, I read a LOT. (Voracious bookasaurus on the loose!!) But, I think I lost myself in this story so much, that I failed to look at it objectively.
      Thank you, once again, for your time and words of encouragement. I simply cannot express what it means to a 1st time aspiring story writer 🙂
      Best,
      M
      P.S. I don’t write poetry! Have never tried it, as a matter of fact!

      Like

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