The setting sun tints the sky orange, pink, purple. Wisps of clouds, tinged golden, drift serenely as the blazing orange orb slowly disappears between the trees’ bare branches. It is unusually warm; a slight breeze could suddenly nip at the tip of your nose but in its absence, the thin, fragile shawl of early autumn’s warmth could settle on your shoulders. If you raise your head a little and close your eyes, you can feel its delicate weight on your skin. In the background, the muted din of motors running. A horn here, some music there. The distant sound of chatter from passers-by. The faint fragrance of dinner being prepared close by.
The change is subtle and before you realise it, the sun has almost sunk between the branches. The breeze is a little icier. People walking along the streets pull their jackets a little tighter about themselves, tug their hats lower over their ears. In their homes, people turn the lights on and chimneys smoke as dinner is prepared. Sparkling specks of glitter appear in the sky, scattered across its vast expanse, as dusk settles.
© Sohini Kumar
Sunlight is streaming through the stained glass windows of the dining chamber when the princess arrives. The large double doors close behind her. The king is not here yet; she sighs an inward sigh of relief, making her way towards one end of the mahogany dining table. The legs of the heavy gilded chair scrape across the carpet as she pulls the chair back and takes her place. Her legs dangle from the edges. Leaning her arms on the table, she looks up at the stained glass windows, admiring the way the sunlight makes them glitter. Her gaze moves to the high ceiling, painted with elaborate but fading designs. She closes her eyes, revelling in the warmth and serenity of the moment.
Bang. The princess is jerked out of her reverie as the dining room doors fly open. In marches the king. His crown glints in the sunlight as he strides across the room. The princess hastily stands up. An attendant pulls the king’s chair back and he takes a seat at the opposite end of the table. The princess bows in a low curtsey, clutching her dress in clammy hands. Adjusting his taupe robes, the king acknowledges her presence with a curt nod. She returns to her seat as the doors open once again.
“You’r eyes light up my day.”
I saw this sentence today and felt like a new level of grammatical/spelling error has been reached by whoever wrote this. I have often seen people confuse “your” and “you’re”, but for someone to almost invent a new word to communicate something makes me feel a little frustrated. To me, it seems like we are losing a certain part of communication through language, something that made it fluid and graceful. Grammar and spelling rules may not be for everyone, and I’m not criticising anyone for their grammatical or spelling errors, but I get the impression that many people are a lot more careless with these aspects of language than they used to be. Because of this, I feel like the power words used to possess – the power to paint a picture, to take someone to an altogether different world – is being diminished.
I view language somewhat like a ballet dancer, and admire its elegance. As much as words can be used to harm, they can equally be used to convey ideas, evoke thoughts and to heal. To me, basic grammar and spelling are essential in using language to its full potential, just like pointe shoes are needed for a ballet dancer to dance on the tip of her toes. Well fitting pointe shoes support and protect her, and when this is combined with her skill, a beautiful dance results.
Language can be beautiful too, and I feel that part of that beauty is attributed to correct use of grammar and spelling. I recently read an article that raised an interesting idea: teenagers are following their own rules of spelling and grammar when communicating with each other. This may be true, but I feel that ‘your’ has a lot more beauty (and seems to show a lot more care) than ‘ur’.