roli’s dilemma

they say imitation is the best form of flattery and the daily prompt suggested imitating one of your favourite author’s styles. how about i try to imitate his imagination and how free it is? confession: it is an old story, and didn’t win the contest i sent it for, but i still am fond of it. hope you enjoy it too!


Roli’s Dilemma

She stood before her mum calm, or so she thought, but she always managed to show her feelings. She was the living embodiment of that expression “wears her heart on her sleeve.” It was definitely a birth defect, or maybe just genetic. The much-touted ‘Emotions Management Workshop’ that her friend’s mother conducted was being held the next weekend. Roli decided she had to attend it, now all she had to do was convince her mother.

“Ma,” she said, “Do you know Sonia? Her mum conducts a class on managing and controlling emotions. She says it really helps—makes you content with your life, not so reactive. I’m always so revved up…”

“Ok,” her mum said in her low voice. “So…?”

“I want to go for it. It isn’t that expensive, I’m getting a discount…”

“WHAT?” her mum had thundered.

Roli got scared and of course it showed instantaneously. Better use it, she thought.

“See Ma, just look at me now. I’m scared, and it shows. Can you even imagine how problematic that is? At school, when the teacher asks a question if I don’t know the answer, it shows! When a boy approaches me—don’t look so angry, boys have started coming up now—I show my shyness. I mean, this is not the generation to blush—that’s so archaic and uncool! The other day, a girl—she is a horrible person—called me ‘an ugly crow’. The worst insult ever, and that too loudly, in front of everyone! I got so angry, but no one needed to even imagine how I felt. I hate being so transparent, so on display! Even more so because it’s not like I have the guts to do anything. It’s not like I whacked her, I just ran away… slunk away is more likely. What’s the point! I hate myself…”

“Roli, you need to embrace yourself. You are a chameleon, you will show your emotions easily. You cannot wish to be someone else. You are putting yourself up for life-long mental trauma if you continue like this. You need to stand up for who you are! You’re now a big girl, behave like one…”

“Ma, philosophy isn’t practical, it isn’t life! Life is in the living. And yes, exactly because I’m old enough I can take my own calls! I am going for this class. No arguments!”

Roli had wanted to be firm… end on a high note! She thought she’d nailed it, but mums are made of sterner stuff and Ma had weapons—silence and distance. If she approached Ma, she would look away or walk away, she didn’t say a word to Roli! It’d been two weeks now, and Roli was worried. She’d skipped Sonia’s mum’s class, but Ma refused to thaw. The weather was changing; the sun had crept up and the world seemed happier, warmer and more comfortable. But not Ma, she lived in another continent, or so it seemed!

Sigh! Roli still needed her mum, though everyone said she was grown up, but she also needed to stop hating who she was. But how? 

Roli almost jumped. Short-hair-woman was talking to her! She stared at her, read the line again and stared. Maybe sensing Roli’s eyes, the woman turned. She jolted back in her chair, then her eyes lit up and her lips eased into a wrinkly smile that spread across her face. She looked into Roli’s eyes and Roli held that gaze, wishing she could smile too. But she noticed from the dark brown of the window pane, her skin was now a light beige. The woman smiled even more. Roli then understood the wisdom of her mother’s words. She was a chameleon, yes, she wore her heart on her sleeves, yes. But so what! It was who she was. She wasn’t going to bottle herself away because the world made fun of her… that was a stupid reason to hate yourself, she decided. She would be just the way she was—always free with her emotion, always adaptive and always colourful! She turned away from the wrinkly-smile-woman with a nod and walked away. This time, her tail curled up, her head a little higher and there was definitely swagger in her walk. She would conquer the world, just as she was!

daily prompt: the sincerest form of flattery


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