I am trying to write something funny for this next Wild Cards story. Funny is VERY HARD. I’m aiming for a particular style with this, and I’m not sure if it’s working yet, but at least I have some words on the page, which wasn’t true an hour ago, so that’s something. I think I’m probably going to be a day late even with the extension, because I’m supposed to turn in 25,000 words of a novella, and that seems unlikely to be done by tomorrow midnight. But we’ll see — this went very fast, once I actually got going. Now I have to figure out some more plot, though.
“I don’t really think I can be blamed for all this fol-do-rol, no matter what Reggie says. It all started back home in Mumbai, and if pressed, I must point the finger at Aunty Anu for landing us in this mess. I was going along quite nicely, dividing my time between studies at university and a rather entertaining sampling of all Mumbai’s nightlife has to offer for a young lady of means – which is quite a bit more than her parents or aunties might suspect. Trying to keep my love affairs untangled and out of the gossip rags was honestly so time-consuming that I hardly had time to keep up with my studies, which I’m afraid was my fatal error. My failing grades attracted the attention of my otherwise fairly absent father, and when it became known that I was in danger of flunking out of university altogether, there was much righteous thundering in our uptown flat.
Matters devolved from there. My dearest mother was normally the most indulgent and kind-hearted of creatures, who could deny nothing to her only child. Well, she became convinced that without a solid degree, I would never find a mate on the feverish Mumbai marriage market. There was much weeping and wailing, enough to set a daughter’s teeth on edge and make her contemplate packing a suitcase and fleeing to the States, hoping a kindly cousin might take her in. Still, I’m confident that with a little time, I could have recovered the situation. My mother has always been susceptible to my various persuasions, and as for my father, he’d forgotten the entire affair by the time his lunchtime biryani was served.
Unfortunately, that’s when Aunty Anu stepped in. She has always had far too much influence on my mother, her youngest sister – the youngest of nine, so as you can see, I have a plethora of aunts overly involved in my daily business – and she said, and I quote, that “Your daughter Sripathi is on the path to ruin! If you don’t find her a husband a.s.a.p., the girl is undoubtedly bound for a life of degradation and despair!”
They started parading the most appalling lot of ineligible bachelors in front of me that you can imagine, and in order not to break my poor mother’s heart, I was forced to swathe myself in yards of sari, bedeck myself with the contents of her jewelry box, and bite my tongue, so as to give the appearance of a properly-brought up young lady. You can imagine how long that was likely to last! I made it three weeks, which I have to say is a testament to my character and strength of will, the legacy of the Chelliahs for generations untold. Finally, though, I broke, and when faced with the last in a string of unimpressive young men, I made my excuses and fled to my friend Rupa, who has always been able to somehow drag me out of my worst scrapes.”