Writing Prompt: 32 Flavours

Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely?

She borders between the new and the comfortable. Rain falls all around her. She clutches each parent’s hand in each of her little hands as they walk. They shelter her with both their umbrellas, but once in a while, a raindrop patters on the hood of her red jacket. But she is too preoccupied to notice; she has a difficult decision to make.

They reach the little ice cream shop in a few moments. The sky overhead is like a raven’s wing. The shop is nearly ready to close. Her parents usher her in first, then step inside themselves. She leans forward, her breath slightly fogging up the glass, behind which lies treasure of all colours.

Her eyes scan over the rainbow of flavours. She knows chocolate. The deep brown is familiar, comforting. She knows what to expect with chocolate. Vanilla is all right, but her seven-year-old tongue can’t really taste anything when she puts it in her mouth. Strawberry is her favourite. She almost always chooses strawberry; she likes the sweetness of the flavour. That, and the colour. Those three have been for her what primary colours are to artists. There are other colours, and she gazes at them in wonder. She feels forlorn; so many choices. 

Until her eyes land on the turquoise. A little sea on the edge of the ice cream rainbow. It seems luminous. And it’s blue. All the other colours are shades of brown, yellow, white. There’s the pink of strawberry. But this one is blue; she has never seen blue ice cream before. The colour, the unusual colour fascinates her. It’s beautiful.

Her hand points to it automatically.

“Are you sure?” Her mother asks, and she nods with confidence. The shopkeeper hands a little sphere of azure to her. As her father pays, she enthusiastically pokes it with her tongue. Sweet. Tangy. Her brows furrow. A slightly odd aftertaste. They leave the shop. She tries it again. No, it still tastes the same. She looks up. Her mother has chosen strawberry. Her father holds chocolate. She licks the blue again, but makes a mental note to herself. She will pick strawberry next time.

© Sohini Kumar

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Writing Prompt: Helpless

Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it? 

As a student in the International Baccalaureate programme, I often find myself feeling helpless at the numerous approaching tasks, assessments and challenges. I try not to look too far ahead, instead concentrating on what’s coming right ahead. Usually, that’s my solution to reduce the helplessness. But a few days ago, I found another, quite surprising method to deal with it.

In my Theatre class, we are starting a new unit called ‘The Strange’, which will eventually come to focus on the practitioner Bertolt Brecht. In the first lesson, we were asked to think of a simple, strange action to do. It was supposed to be easy. Think of a strange action, anything strange, and perform it in the available space. But being who I am, the first thought in my head was I can’t do this. I’ve never been very good at improvisation or acting silly in front of people. I often feel too embarrassed to even begin to think creatively. This time, however, I decided to push aside those thoughts for a moment and to think imaginatively. To my surprise, a bunch of ideas were lurking beneath my discomfort and worry of making a fool of myself.

This may seem like something really simple or obvious, but I tend to worry a lot. This little experience has not made me worry less about other things, but a little corner of my mind is now more aware of the fact that good ideas, and maybe even eventual success, may be hiding behind a cloud of worry. You only have to push those worries aside to shine.

Writing Prompt: Quote Me

This year, I am trying The Daily Post’s 365 Days of Writing Prompts to ensure I write at least a little bit every day. I will be posting some of the results here. This is the one from today (4th January).

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

I’m an indecisive person. Whether it’s a choice of ice cream flavour, or an essay question of many, or even an example to demonstrate that I’m indecisive, I generally have a hard time choosing. So, of course I have had difficulties choosing a favourite quote, since I have a few more than one. After spending some time thinking about it, I managed to bring it down to two. Of course, I couldn’t choose between them, because they are both quotes that I find myself thinking of if someone asks for my favourite.

1. “Being fearless isn’t being 100% not fearful. It’s being terrified but you jump anyway.” – Taylor Swift

Although it may seem typical or cliché for a teenage girl to quote Taylor Swift, this quote has genuinely stuck with me since I read it. It has reminded me that being fearless isn’t always about being completely brave or totally free of any fears. Just because someone is scared doesn’t mean they can’t be fearless, if they dare to push themselves despite those fears. I think this is a more human description of being fearless and reminds me that taking a jump, even one that may seem small to everyone else but is terrifying to me, is still an achievement because I managed to push aside my fears to take a chance.

2. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”  – Albus Dumbledore / J.K. Rowling

When things go wrong, it is sometimes easy to become lost in the darkness. I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by the amount of assignments, exams and other tasks I have ahead of me, and when the stress level gets too high, I feel like an enormous wave is engulfing me, while the tide whisks me away further from the shore and sharks are circling me, asking me what electrophoresis is. Even though the workload of a twelfth grader may not seem like much to others, it constitutes the majority of my life right now, and it becomes easy for me to get lost in all the work. When things start to go downhill, this quote reminds me that all is not lost. It helps me to gain a more positive outlook, and to remember that happiness is just harder to see in the darkness, and can be found within arm’s reach by just turning on the light.

KAIRA THE BOOK GODDESS

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