Reflection on Writing

by Sudha Balagopal

Read her story Pebbles here

For years, the sound of the telephone ringing after 10:00 pm made my heart sink. Logically, I understood that the fear was irrational, since bad news can arrive at any time, day or night. As an immigrant living thousands of miles away from aging parents, the telephone was the only thread connecting me to their voices, to their lives, and to their health. I was far from them when my father was told he needed heart surgery, when he spent an agonizing year in recovery. I was far from them when my mother took care of him, and my sister shouldered the responsibilities of hospital transport, doctor visits, and follow ups. And, when I did go, it sank into my head that I was now just a visitor, for I couldn’t stay for more than a month or so. My home was elsewhere.

This story grew from that distance, that fear and all the attendant feelings. Facing those emotions was not easy. Still, it was a rewarding experience to confront and write about exactly the things which haunt. Writing this story was therapeutic and made me understand that, despite the distance, I have kept the family connections strong, thanks to modern technology. When I moved to the USA, decades ago, we wrote letters, which took ten days to travel across continents. Now we have video calls which allow me to connect with family immediately and any time I need to see them. The key is to keep the communication going so they don’t feel alone, and neither do you. Ultimately, it’s all about the connections.

Sudha Balagopal is honored to have her writing in many fine journals including CRAFT, Split Lip, and Smokelong Quarterly. Her novella-in-flash, Things I Can’t Tell Amma, was published by Ad Hoc fiction in 2021. She has stories included in both Best Microfiction and Best Small Fictions, 2022.

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