The first, a first

It’s been a strange, wonderful week. Very full in many ways. My first reading couldn’t have gone better – thank you all for wishing me well. I took that with me.

And today, my short story was published in Litro. It’s one of London’s favourite literary journals, so the fact that it’s home to my first published story (and the first story I ever wrote) feels like a special thing.

The story is called ‘Well-brought-up’. Please read it when you can, and tell me what you think. Your responses are as much a record of this space as my thoughts are.

This one’s for all of you who told me I should write stories, and for all of you who come here to read what I write:

Well-brought-up

46 thoughts on “The first, a first

  1. Wow Pia. Read your short story just now. So many emotions. Such beautiful words. What a gift you have! I am envious of that.:-). Keep writing and I can't wait to read more from you.

    Siri

  2. Like I said, can you do anything with less than something approaching your customary brilliance Pia? This is a very moving story; hauntingly expressed. There were many places I had to simply pause and take in the beauty of expression, but these few lines on modern day cheating in examination halls were too good to pass up without acknowledgement.

    'In my time, the body language of a cheater had been much more unsophisticated. Loud. Like repeated trips to the toilet. Now, it could be as subtle as a hand tucking away a strand of stray hair, a pre-planned signal. Like the way adults cheat in the big world. A wiser cheating that’s tucked beneath their bed sheets. Inside pithy excuses. In their lack of generosity, their lack of time. In rationed affection. A cheating that is more devastating than any copied answer in any exam hall.'

    What an awesome start to what promises to be another amazing foray for your many talents.

  3. Well, now our internet acquaintance really has come full circle – as it was my dear friend Mike Fell who started Litro, all those years ago, and I helped to print it, promote it and find new writing to fill our first issues…it's a funny small old world, isn't it? Many congrats on finding your excellent writing is being heard, read, enjoyed, and published. All good stuff! xxx

  4. Vispy, what can I say to that? So very touched. Thank you, a few times over. I don't know where this start will lead, if anywhere – but I'm very lucky to have friends like you who read what I write.

  5. Goodness, it IS a small world! Who'd have thought, Kyra.
    But somehow, it feels really nice to know that you were there, running around, getting the first copies of Litro printed. Gives Litro a face I know, and makes it more personal for me.
    And thanks for your wishes! xxx

  6. It is so beautifully written! As someone has already commented, “There were many places I had to simply pause and take in the beauty of expression” – I feel the same way too. It's truly beautiful.

    Looking forward to reading more stories penned by you.

    -Ankita

  7. If I had your phone number, I would have called you now, as soon as I finished reading this story, and told you how it has touched my heart. The monsoon has started here in Goa and probably because of this melancholy weather and your sweet-sad story, my eyes are filling up. And I am at work…hope nobody notices!
    Good job! Keep it up!

  8. Hi Pia,
    I accidentally stumbled into your blog and am so glad I did. Your writing carries an old age charm which is so beautiful and mesmerizing at the same time. It's like taking a walk in the woods with slow, easy steps pausing every now and then to admire the beauty around… to savour every word you write.
    Brilliant!

  9. Roshni, what a wonderfully evocative note. I love the thought of taking you for a slow walk through the woods.
    Thank you. Glad to have you here.

  10. Good morning Pia,

    Whenever i feel the need to relax and enjoy a good read, you always come to mind. There is nothing like grabbing 10 mins with you, your blog and your imagination, It takes me to another place, where I can feel to be somebody different. I adore your outlook and you inspire me so much. Thank you,

    Jo

  11. Jo, thank you ever so much.
    I'm very touched and humbled by your kind note.
    To find that my words can travel and touch another life is really what makes this blog worth writing.
    P xx

  12. There is no getting out of this story. I am still there. Trapped. Beautiful and so so sad. I almost want to say you shouldn't have written something so sad. But then its beautiful and so sensational. Well done Pia. I am failing in my words to express how good you are.

  13. It was a difficult story to write, Anita. I didn't want to be in Ira's mother's head, didn't want to read her mind or write about it. I wrote the story very quickly, just so that I could be done with it. But somehow, it had to be written; wouldn't leave. The seed of the story came from a tragic incident that happened in Calcutta when I was about sixteen. It had affected me quite deeply then, and never really left me. The thought of loss and regret came from there, though the story is entirely fictional.

  14. Hi Pia,
    I have been a long long time reader though I never left a note. When I read this story, I knew I had to, it was compelling me to, but words failed me. And now when I read the note that Anita left behind, that's exactly what I felt, it's almost like she wrote my feelings. I felt so so sad and touched by your words, the story has stayed in my mind since the moment I read it. It's hauntingly beautiful. Congratulations and look forward to reading more great stuff.

  15. Tandra – thank you, first, for writing in, reaching out. For me, there's no better sense of connection than to hear from someone who reads and knows this space. That the story touched you, and stayed with you, means much to me.
    I hope you will come back to tell me what you think of the stories (if any) that I write in the future. Warmest, Pia xx

  16. I like the way your story provokes thoughts of prioritization in life and how easy it is to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget we have the power to make adjustments. This story will remind people. Looking forward to more.

  17. Siri, thanks so much. First for reading it, and reacting to it.
    For me, a story begins to mean something more when someone responds to it.

  18. What a devastating read Pia. Your writing simply sings. From the sensory descriptions to the holding-back….you know how to level your readers. Hope you publish many more stories.

  19. Pia – two words – blown away. Now I am looking forward to the book that has all the stories written by you. 🙂 Congratulations again.

  20. Pia – I so wanted to read it in leisure but I Had to read it so I read it while travelling and I am so so mesmerised by your writing – it is fluid and vivid!! I enjoyed the time. Beautiful. Congratulations! And keep treating us.

  21. Pia….The first thing I did after reaching office is read up this one….noyetoh kaaje mon dite parbo na… !!! …and glad I just did that!!! I perhaps can't articulate my feelings so well but surely girl, this is such a treat to start my day…keep up the good work…loved the emotions and detailed visual treats given the span of a short story….waiting for more…hugs n Congrats!!!

  22. Congratulations Pia! This is beautiful and moving and sad, and so evocative like all your writing always is. Keep writing. Please.

  23. What a captivating piece of writing Pia! The rush of thoughts running through my mind as I was reading was just incredible. I was hoping the text would extend even after it had finished. Great work!

  24. At a loss for words Pia !!! This is sooooo good..I still have lump in my throat and have read it at least 4 times!!

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