A Short Story
By Jyothika. R. Persadh
“I loved this story! Well done! Keep on writing – It will bring the world to you.” – ZP Dala
“I can’t stop now… not ever.” – JP
And, I thanked her for the encouragement without looking back.
Just like the anthem in high school, “Onward and upward”. Her words overwhelmed me; at the same time soothing over the anxiety of whether my exterior was made for this kind of interior exposure.
My mother had a habit of collecting books; not just reading them. They ranged from Mills & Boons to James Hadley Chase mysteries, not forgetting a Disney collection my eyes repeatedly bulged upon as I grew up. My sister and I would find them in ‘decade-old’ suitcases, inside dusty boxes and certainly hidden in between the clothes from her bedside cupboards as she’d reach for them at bedtime, only to find her senseless in slumber with one of her treasured books sprawled across her warm chest.
Being an incessant participant in life, certain experiences allowed me to contribute graciously to my community. The responsibility to be a role model to youngsters enabled me to reach across racial and religious backgrounds, without any boundaries of language or social stereotypes. Having my own perspectives and interests made me seek out more.
I would read non-fiction and autobiographies about strong women and activists of colour or find comfort in choosing my favourite political leader as a kid. I could write about things I wondered about back then, or experienced up to this very moment. I learnt to dance graciously to music that ‘moved’ me. I found myself travelling to new places (near and far) to enjoy the unexpected events that made me ‘grow’. I taught adult learners; aspiring photographers and film-makers to capture scenes that would inspire them to feel more than an audience would appreciate. Eventually, I began to spend time with children to remind me of my spirit –childlike!
Stuck in a mature mind set, it all made me imagine a world in words.
For me, words are the source of every step I take. With a heavy background in lecturing, I am almost always writing down my thoughts, scribbling the most profound phrase I’ve heard in passing or daydreaming through my imagination of how life would be under any other circumstance. As writers, we get to paint the picture we want.
When my mother read my first short story before I knew it would get published, she told me she didn’t want it to end.
I was once told by a university professor-journalist that I should share my wisdom with others as it does nothing being locked away in my mind’s own sanctuary.
Of course, I still have so much more to learn; but all that I’ve embraced with life’s changes there’s certainly a lesson enclosed in one of my pieces to share with those willing to read.
The first story that was ever published with my name on it was commented on by someone I saw as unapproachable, so different from my mother’s warmth. But she didn’t know me like a mother to know my art. My truth was her truth… ‘Words’; and she recognized my potential. I was elated, my eyes puffy with tears, feeling like I could in fact do this, and do it right.
As an emerging writer, I see myself writing more – no matter how deep the comments dig in to my interior. Not all will be as blissful as the first. I just want others to remember my life’s journey, hoping the audience will gain something from it… take from me what I’d been keeping to myself.
Bio of Jyothika. R. Persadh (Nom de plume: Jamie Pearl)
A former content editor for the South African Film Institute and youth activist for the social responsibility quadrant of her recent “Women-lead” Tech-start up: DARJYO. At the peak of entering her thirties, Jyothika (Jamie Pearl); a vibrant individual, is pursuing life through captured moments – in images and in words on scented pages of experience from the adventures she embarks on.