Windmill Magazine is a literary journal out of Hofstra University and run as a joint project by their MFA in Creative Writing and BA in English/Publishing Studies programs.
I am thrilled they accepted this short story for their Spring 2017 issue. It’s a beautifully-put together edition with a terrific interview with Rebecca Solnit — one of my writing heroes.
With this story, I wanted to show an Indian woman who walks away from an abusive marriage, despite the shame and blame, and finds her own place. Heena leaves her techie husband and troubled life in Silicon Valley to return to India and start again. She has to come to terms with her family abandoning her and the neighbors questioning her morality. She has to take her own power back from the world, making no excuses for who she is or wants to be. The narrative focuses on her life after the marriage because such an existence is hard to even imagine for those in abusive situations — for good reason, of course. I confess it would have been more challenging if I had included kids or legal aspects, which are inescapable realities for many and my story covers only the start of such a difficult solo journey.
Though it does sound like a serious, weighty story, I did have some fun through Heena’s Indo-western fusion cookie-baking adventures, something I have enjoyed in one of my own baking phases.
Memories are strangely blended things, made up of many details, and, as with baking, they rise in expected or unexpected ways.
With Yogesh, I recalled the same few ones, mostly. They churned up unbidden and random, leaving behind traces of sweet, sour, or bitter emotions for days. The shock on his face after his hands had savaged my body, as if they acted without his permission or knowledge. The resounding footsteps, even on carpeted flooring, as he strode away when he did not care to hear me out. There had also been, however, the sweet patience and care to help me research baking classes and workshops after the analyst job had not worked out. He had always come gallantly to my defense when I had been unsure of what to say or do around his friends, looping an arm softly around my shoulders and saying, “She’s still adjusting to American life.”
~ “Life Spring.” Hofstra’s Windmill Magazine, May 2017 (click on the magazine covr to open the issue)
In addition to the above fictional story, I was asked to write an essay about domestic abuse within the South Asian community. You can find that here.
They also interviewed me on reading, writing, and more here.
Thank you for reading. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And, please do share this on social media if you liked it. Every bit helps.