The Official Writing Challenge
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Date
02/19/09
Great descriptions.

FYI, Basma is an Arabic name. If the MC is Hindu, she would not have a "Muslim" name.

I'm glad you wrote about this topic. Hopefully some women will think twice before paying for hair extensions.
02/19/09
I thought the descriptions were lush and vivid. At first I thought she was meeting her arranged husband,so the twist was a nice (albeit disturbing) surprise. Solid writing. Excellent!
02/19/09
A fascinating story, but so sad. Such deception in the name of religion. Well done.
02/19/09
Your story was gripping, very mysterious until the sad end. I wonder what Basma's prayer was...very well written.
Excellent writing - this is a masterpiece! It is sad that so many woman are making a sacrifice to appease a god that doesn't exist, while others get rich on their sacrifice...
02/20/09
Wow - I knew nothing about this! Awful to hear about - and you made it so realistic. Nicely done!
Very sad. So few religions are about selflessness and giving. It wouldn't bring any difference to the supplicants, but the temples could at least donate the hair to organizations that make wigs for cancer patients or chilldren with alopecia.
At first I thought she was preparing for her wedding, then to offer herself as prostitute at the temple. The hair was definitely a disturbing surprise. So sad. Well written.
Powerful telling of a pointless custom. If only we were that devoted to the Living God! Excellently done.
The factual nature of the story makes it a sad one indeed. The ending effectivelly leads a believer in Christ yearning to share the good news of the gospel to people blind in such dead religious customs.
02/23/09
Your writing is amazing as usual. The story, while factual, seems so incredulous. Why? What is the point of sacrificing so much to a god who offers absolutely nothing......not even existence. Loved the info and the incredible way you shared it.
02/23/09
A terribly heartbreaking story, told in such an incredibly vivid way that I felt I was walking with Basma on her journey. I definitely learned about Indian culture that I'd never known before. Exceptional writing!
Your beautifully written story had me wondering with anticipation what would happen next. Then you showed so poignantly how sad it is to worship with useless sacrifice a god that can bring no peace or happiness.
02/25/09
I'm wondering if this would be better in first person. As usual, you have great details and emotion, but the first part seems impersonal, like we are watching a silent movie.

I also thought she was preparing for an arranged marriage...so sad that this their only hope for favor with their god.
02/25/09
Wow...I read it twice just so I could soak in all the details! I felt like I was seated next to her at the table as she ate, and within sight as she let down her hair. The twist at the end was painful, no "Gift of the Magi" moment--the self-sacrifice is always one-sided when one serves an non-hearing, uncaring, god. So sad. This is definitely a favorite for me this week! Well done!
02/25/09
I have oftened admired the beautiful black hair of Indian women. This story is very compelling, haunting in fact. Of course, beautifully told/written. Not overdone.
Mona
02/25/09
This is so sad. Great writing, though.
02/25/09
I was saddened to realize this really happens. We forget how much bondage the world is in to their other gods. The imagery and the pace of the story had me spell bound.
Jan--I absolutely LOVE this. Your writing is amazing! I had no idea this practice was in existence; how little we know of others in the world. Thank you for writing this.
02/25/09
Gripping. It started so lovingly and soft, the descriptions lush (loved the syncopated waves...sigh). Then it became filled with such a sense of despair and almost shame. I was held captive by this MC's plight. Excellent piece.
02/25/09
So many things have been brought out this week about the Indian Culture. This story had such hope mingled in, yet in the end...where is her hope?
Amazing and sad story. very powerfully told. Well done.
Norms
02/26/09
Jan, your writing always inspires, teaches and even excels the master level. I was unaware that this is where some of our hair pieces may come from. So sad for the MC that her hope is put into a meaningless god. At first I, too, thought she was preparing to meet her husband to be.
03/12/09
Wonderful story, picturing the life of an Indian girl. My sister spent her life as a missionary in India, but I have never heard this aspect of a young girl's sacrifice to a god who can't help her. Oh how devoted would this little girl be to the true God. Great story-telling....Helen
This story took an interesting turn. I figured she was a part of an arranged marriage, but then I learned about this hair ritual that I didn't know existed. Very interesting and told in an engaging manner.