Very many years ago, when I had just started my Liberal Arts education, I was bad at everything. I could manage just enough derivation, integration, knew enough about IC engines & reproductive organs, ventricles to save me in a Maharashtra board sort of emergency. But I was mightily unprepared for anything that could not be studied right off a book with questions and answers at the back.
In that era, I took a class called ‘reading the classics’. It sounded fairly fitting to my skill-set, reading, I knew I could do.
For our final exam, I was to make a presentation about what stuck with me over the course of the 4-5 months.
I had read books like Wuthering Heights, Mahabharat, Daddy Long Legs, Tess of the d’urbervilles, Le Miserables in that class. I had read about the lives of their authors and pondered about the situations that made them write. I could make a presentation about that or their writing styles, the political situations & how it influences narrative. I remember worrying, and not much has changed in how I deal with uncertainty. A night before the exam I realized what i wanted to talk about.
I made a presentation about the women in these books Judy, Draupadi, Gandhari, Cathy, Fantine. I did not know I was a feminist then. I talked about their emotions, their immense strength & accomplishment of what they wanted, no matter through loss & suffering; how only they could have done it.
That was my first good presentation. I started with stutters & broken thoughts but eventually passionately spoke about these women who bent cultures for me to inherit, who were at some point my alter egos & at some of my friends. It was the start of an era. Now I am older and smarter. I have read my Morrisons, Zadie Smiths, Chimmimandas & lived as their characters. If I had to make a final presentation of my life, I would title it “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
& nothing would have changed about the presentation, it would still only have quotes.
She was by nature a sunny soul-She opened her heart to those who could use it- beyond personal luck, there is geographic and historic luck-She burned too bright for this world- Please be thinking about me. I want to be thought about.

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