Book Two of my historical food fiction, 'Not For You', begins with this haunting scene.
Written in 2010, around the same time I also wrote Chapter Eleven, 'Thieves In The Blue House', the story began to take shape nearly eight years ago. Readers will not believe if I share that I had a vision of this scene one early morning - it was so haunting that I had to paint it once I woke up, and also wrote a note to pair with the vision. There were no names then, just shapes and colors, and a deep lingering feeling that a story was churning, that it needed to be spoken, told, shared. This scene was the birth of 'Not For You'.
If you have not read the book yet, this is your invitation. If you have, this is your reward.
The Scarlet Coat
(Scarlet Coat, watercolor, 12" X 18", c. 2010)
The sun had just set and as the shadows began to form, the silhouette of an early Victorian home played hide and seek with the elusive silvery white fog of early spring. The peony beds were moist from the dusk dew, waiting for the warmth of May to burst into leaf and color. But just not today. The gardens were asleep still.
She was eighty. In a grey gown, she paced amongst the peony beds in her front garden. The hem of her gown was dragging slowly on the wet soil, her footprints making mild squelching sounds on the muddy paths, yet Ana did not lose sight of the gate. Her hair wisped, twirled, and tangled in her dark grey pearl earrings, as the wind swept up her skirt. It bellowed and arched, filling up with the cold air of a late April dusk. It was speaking of her, her insides, as she kept her exterior calm.
Ana looked out onto a tall gate and a grey gravel path beyond. The wrought iron filigree on the gate mocked its purpose while its bold dark metal shone and glistened with beads of dew. But this was her home, and its garden and this gate held her in. Her scarlet plaid housecoat kept her warm. It was old and worn but comfortable, the only spot of color on this muddy evening, it stopped just short of her ankles. Ana glanced once more at the gate, at the object of her attention.
Waving and twirling in the wind just like Ana’s coat and gown was a matching housecoat, washed, ironed and hung neatly on a coat hanger. It too was bellowing and arching, rising and falling, both waiting, in bated breath, for his return.
The Waiting Game
I stare into the everywhere
I watch, the everything
I listen to it all
No words are enough
no words exist
no language describes
the longing that persists.
This void - a profile
Of what was once known,
the familiar, the friendly,
is now forlorn.
Some things stifle,
some – flee.
That which I want to hold
slips away, or cannot be.
As the twilight melts into a quiet disturbing darkness,
shadows emerge from the light.
Shapeless forms distorted and disjointed.
Some are free, some ache and fight.
These shadows tell stories,
slow and long or a quiet tale.
They whisper but don’t talk.
They mumble in chorus, and prevail.
These shadows reflect
the dark and the quiet,
the still and the silent,
the hurt and the longing.
Why do I hear these whispers?
Why must I listen to them banter?
I can only add to the noise,
I am but a pawn of the Great Enchanter.
Anamika Bandu Vaidya, 2051
A silhouette of Ana's life brings you close to her, but it is just that - a shape, a shadow, her character remains unclear.
Who is Anamika?
Is she the 'nameless one' or is she someone else?
Whose voices is she hearing, and what do they speak of?
Why the gate and why the wait?
And, who is she waiting for?
Prologue of 'Not For You: Family Narratives of Denial & Comfort Foods', Book Two,
(c) Nandita Godbole, 2018
Limited print copies of NFY 1 & 2 are available directly through this website or via BookMiser (Roswell location).
Digital copies may be purchased directly at source (Amazon, iBooks etc).
Two book readings scheduled for May 2018
May 6: BookMiser, Roswell location
(see website for details)
May 16: East Main Cafe, Canton
via Novel Idea
7 to 9 pm at East Main Cafe (inside Audio Intersection),
210 E. Main St. in downtown Canton