Because I Know Nothing about Bhojpuri Women

It has been a while since I’ve written anything.  Oh, yes, of course I’ve put in a hundred words here and a hundred words there.  I was the principal writer for a major project at work, but the blog and the novels have gone quiet of late.  Sure, I’ve outlined (quite extensively, too) the first part of my next novel.  I grew frustrated with the outlining and, after a while, started writing a scene in which one of my secondary characters, a Bhojpuri woman who doesn’t have a name at the moment, but might go by either Desi or Naghma, stops into a shop where they’re blaring country-western, and wonders just what she has in store for herself.

I had a similar feeling about a week ago.  I attended a funeral.  I didn’t know the young woman on a personal level, but I knew that she treated my sister well.  I was there with my family in support of hers.  With (best guess) nearly 1,000 people there, I think that the show of support was a little overwhelming,  I know that there’s a proverb there somewhere that says “Judge not lest ye be judged,” but there were a few things that irked me about this service.  First, the fact that the pastor couldn’t settle on a name to call her, and that he made more plugs for the church than actual references to the young woman and her life.  Secondly, the fact that people were texting during the course of the service; I don’t profess to be the most religious guy in the room – any room – but I can’t say that seeing heads down and thumbs passing over mobile devices made me feel good about affairs.  Finally, and this probably puts me along the judgmental ilk of Drs. Frasier and Niles Crane, but there were quite a few people there who thought that summer dresses and baseball caps were perfectly natural attire for a funeral.  There, I said it; may someone now question if I stole my shoes from a hobo. 

How does this tie in to the title of my tirade?  I suppose it ties in to the rules that we set for each other, for ourselves, and (relevant to my desired vocation) for the characters that we write.  I tend to place characters that are racially diverse into my novels.  Sometimes, they are central characters, and other times they are no more significant than “a Martian guy walks onto the stage, stops, and then walks back off of the stage.”  It gives me a chance to learn a little bit about different cultures, though I still instill a lot of the same values that I would expect for a hero/villain/femme fatale/damsel in distress, or whatever function the character serves in my novel.  Desi, the Bhojpuri woman, fits a role as a foil to the main character and perhaps one of the impetuses that drives the plot forward or pushes my main character toward a revelation.

I am sure about one thing as it relates to this character; it was a lot easier writing a scene with her in it than it was trying to plot her arc through the first few chapters.  I placed her in a situation in which she is not comfortable, had her interact with characters that evoke her insecurities, and I know where these actions and interactions will ultimately factor into the plot.  However, as I read through the small segment of the scene that I have written, I realize that her race really didn’t play a factor in this scene, and may not be entirely a factor in the character as a whole.  I guess I have more research to do; either that or I am guilty of thinking that she’s my character and she will play by the rules that I create, just as I think that Joe Schmotz and his crew should have been playing by the rules that I, or somebody else created, by setting their Washington Nationals hats on their laps and powering down their iPhones.

On a final note, I am curious about the rules that you, dear reader, set for yourself that you never see fulfilled by people outside of your little sphere.  Do people tend to jaywalk where you would never dream of it?  Do 50 year old men wear things to the beach that you wouldn’t have wanted your high school boyfriend to wear? Okay, okay, I know that there are laws for some of these things, but there’s other things that make you think, on some visceral level, “there should be a law.”  What are those?

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2 Responses to “Because I Know Nothing about Bhojpuri Women”

  1. Alix Says:

    Personally, I cannot help but feel disillusioned with our goodness as a species when people don’t applaud for children. They might be singing off-key, but if they’re doing it with their whole heart…well…there oughta be a law.

    In related news, when people pull into the bike lane in front of a bike and stop, when people take more than their share at a planned event (like someone having three or four pieces of cake at a wedding) and when I see two people eating in total silence at a restaurant, because they’re texting or some such nonsense.

    That said, this was totally sent from my phone.

    • jowenenglish Says:

      I totally understand about the pulling into the bike lane and stopping. On some of the streets I frequent over here, we have people that tend to do that in the crosswalks, too… or they’ll give you less than three feet of clearance as they make a right turn through a walk sign.

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