Me! by: natasha gavara

Village in Delhi

I have to confess, I am a murderer.

When I was 11 years old, my family took its in annual trip to India. When we were in my mom’s village in Delhi, I encountered something I thought I would never encounter: death. The village was called Kaithala, and compared to New York, it was quite different. The dirt roads were just wide enough to drag your carry on through. On either sides, there would be a small stream of drainage water from the hundred houses in the village. Might I add there was no sewage system. Most houses had a little buffalo farm where two or three buffalos would reside. Where there weren’t buffalos or houses, there were fields. The sun baked the stench of of the sewage drainage and the buffalos, tripling the impact.

The night before we were sat in the family room, eating crappy pizza. I looked to the family dog, “Jimmy come here,” I said. As the old white dog limped 10 feet over to the plastic chair I was seated in. I reached my hand out and fed her a french fry. She licked her snout. I smiled and kept feeding her french fries. “Natasha if you keep feeding that dog potatoes, it’s going to become obese and die.” My cousin said. At the time, I didn’t know what obese meant so I just smiled and continued to feed her fries. Within the next hour Jimmy had eaten around 15 fries. She looked fine, she limped toward her rug in near the front door.

It was around eleven pm so I decided to sleep. I waddled upstairs into our room and went to sleep. Around one or two am, I sleepily walked down the stairs to get a sip of water, I saw Jimmy shaking and she was surrounded by her own feces. I didn’t know what was exactly happening, I thought it was normal. I ignored her strange behavior and walked back to bed.

The morning around six am, my mom woke me up. “Natasha, Jimmy died we have to go bury her,” she whispered. I groggily walked downstairs in my pajamas, not really registering what was going on. As I saw all my cousins, uncles and aunties running around the house gathering materials, it really became clear. Jimmy was dead. My grandfather told my sister, cousins, and I, could put something in the grave that we were going to dig for her. With the nearest store almost a mile away, and no time to shop, I coincidentally picked up a potato, remembering the night before. We carried Jimmy’s white furred limp body out to the brick bordered field outside our house. As we laid her body in the grave, we layered different cloths on her. Finally, we were told one by one to place our items inside the grave, I gently placed the potato in the grave, followed by my sister and the rest of my cousins. We stood around for a few minutes and watched my uncles fill the hole. When we went back inside, my sister asked my grandpa what happened. He said when he went to take Jimmy on her daily morning walk at 5:45, she wouldn’t get up, he concluded she died from old age. On this trip I learned about watching my surroundings. From that day on, I was determined to become a doctor to prevent people from suffering and dying.

Mia and I at Cinderella's Castle

5 Days Spent With Mickey, Minnie, and Mia

“Let’s go!” I yelled to my best friend Mia.

We were just about to leave for our last theme park, before heading back home to New York.

“Ok, i’m coming, geez,” she retorted.

We dragged our voluminous suitcases and backpacks out of our Disney Pop Century hotel room.. We attempted to reach the lobby without stepping in puddles the rain left from the night before. Of course, I had failed; I rolled my suitcase through the biggest puddle, leaving the back of my leggings soaking wet.

“Oh my god Mia.” I blatantly said.

She looked at me realizing what had just happened. A small cheeky smile began to rise from the right side of her face. Within minutes giggles erupted from her mouth. I joined her in a fit of giggles and we both began to walk towards the lobby. When we reached the dining hall, we dashed toward our favourite: Mickey Mouse waffles. We paid for our ridiculously overpriced kids meals and sat down.

After we ate, we boarded the bus from our hotel to Hollywood Studios. As usual, there was only one available seat; so we, once again did what we’d been doing for the last three days: Mia sat in the hard plastic blue seat, and I sat on Mia. The twenty minute bus ride was spent quietly judging and laughing at everyone on the bus. This is our favourite thing to do together. Even though we are opposites, this is one thing we can always see eye to eye on. She’s very quiet and lacks sense of logic, but when she judges, her walls start to come down and her personality shines. When reached the theme park, we quickly went to the Toy Story ride knowing the wait would be relentless. To our surprise, we were on the ride within twenty minutes.

Soon after we headed to Star Wars, The Great Movie Ride, Frozen singalong, Tower of terror and finally, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster--Mia’s first upside down ride.

“Tash, this is so scary. Oh my god I can’t. TAAAAASH!!!” Mia began to torment me with complaints and worries.

“Shut up you’ll be fine. If someone died would’ve closed down the ride,” I reassured her nothing would happen. We took of!

“TAAASH, AHHHHH TAASH!!!” Mia screamed the entire duration of the ride. When we got off the ride my ears hurt from all her screams. Finally we headed back to the hotel for lunch. Once again, I sat on Mia’s lap and paid way too much for lunch.

We took a hour long bus ride to the airport, on which we managed to find two seats. Just to our luck, our flight was delayed three hours and our estimated arrival was 11:00pm at LGA. To make things even worse, we had homework due and school the next day. We went through security, and reached our terminal after miles and miles of walking. We sat near an outlet, plugged our phones in, and began reading horoscopes.

“Mia, how the signs will kill you: with kindness: you, and me: with weapons,” I read to her.

“Accurate,” she said.

We decided to grab some dinner around 6:00pm.

“Tash let’s go I'm hungry.” Mia scolded.

“I'm not walking halfway across the airport to Starbucks so you can get a latte.” I retorted.

To compromise, I sat on my four wheeled suitcase holding wallets and phones, as my best friend pushed me halfway through Orlando International Airport to get overpriced lattes from Starbucks. We ordered lattes and sandwiches. When we got back to the terminal, we sat for three hours reading horoscopes and drinking lattes. My sandwich which had no holes, somehow erupted all over my sweater which required me to fly into New York at 11:00 at night in the middle of November with just a t-shirt on. As we boarded the plane we put our suitcases in the overhead cabin and took our seats. We spent the last two and a half hours of our trip watching dance moms and playing fruit ninja.

I will cherish the memories made from this trip forever. Everyone dreams of going to Disney World with their best friend(s), Mia and I were fortunate enough complete this dream. This will be the first of many adventures to come. Best trip ever.

Family Get Togethers:

As my extra large family packs into a small room, people are seated everywhere; chairs armrests, tables, stools, laps, and on the floor. Aunties, uncles cousins and siblings fill the room. The room is separated into 3 categories; the uncles,the aunties, and the cousins. We gather around the dinner table full of potluck dishes. As we fill our plates and our glasses, the night smoothly rolls into the early hours of the morning. One by one, the seats began to empty and the room suddenly doesn’t seem so small.

I’m Not At Home:

A common excuse used when people ask for homework. Usually followed by “Sorry I was in the shower,” when a second text for homework is received.

Sorry I Have To Clean My Room:

Often said to people I don’t like who ask me out or ask to hangout. This phrase has been used more than once on a single individual, never failed.

Sister:

Someone who is bigger in size and age although still can’t differentiate “there” and “their.” The complete opposite from me, tall and chubby, antisocial and prefers jeans over leggings.

Long Hair:

A burden that takes 2 hours to wash, 30 minutes to brush, 45 minutes to blow dry, and 1 ½ hours to straighten.

Mia Samson:

A bestfriend that pushes you on your four-wheeled suitcase across Orlando International Airport to buy overpriced lattes from starbucks.She is also the person who you coincidentally sat next to in every class in seventh grade, and hated for the first week of school.

Mom:

The person who claims to run the household, but can barely remember how to text a picture. This is the also the person that seems to know the entire syllabus regardless of the class.

Sleep:

Too much of something is never good-- inaccurate.

Phone:

Something I can live without, but choose not to. This tiny little rectangle contains documentations of the last 4 years of my life.

Marriage:

According to Hindu culture, the most important day in a women’s life. This is also the day you meet your bride/groom, thanks to the cultural belief that parents should choose their child’s spouse.

This is 14

Fourteen is a battlefield spread across your own skin. The choices you make now, will affect you forever. The urge to defy takes over your body like the goosebumps that spread across your body when cold air sweeps against your face. You find yourself questioning your decisions on everything.

Fourteen is a thick line of stress. This line of stress gives you acres of acne across your forehead. Coats of makeup are applied across the forest of acne planted over your forehead. And because you’re so worried about your forest of acne, you forget you have essay due first period. The thick line of stress grows into an unbreakable wall of stress.

Fourteen is never leaving the house without your phone. You find yourself absentmindedly scrolling through your Instagram feed making sure your not missing out. You begin adding words like OMG and LOL to your vocabulary. You start texting more than talking, and soon you can’t stop texting. The fear of missing out takes over your mind, causing your mind and hands to be glued to your phone.

Fourteen is the age when sleep becomes a thing of the past. It’s your first year of highschool and the pressure is just beginning. All your years of elementary school and middle school have been preparing you for the four most important years of your academic life. You tell yourself, “You’re going to do good this year.” The overbearing feeling to excel keeps you up at night perfecting each and every assignment. You start waking up every morning with 2-3 hours of sleep; your body feels refreshed getting more than usual. This lack of sleep eventually leads to a severe coffee addiction.

Fourteen is remembering the memories. Missing the days where school was just for fun and grades didn’t matter. Remembering all the playdates you shared with everyone in your kindergarten class. Every morning you could sleep in, and take off from school anytime without worrying about making up work. Most special of all, it’s the little memories of meeting your best friend, and actually getting along with your siblings before you started to hate each other.

Fourteen is realizing the only running you do, is running out of money.

Fourteen is pouncing to the false conclusion that friends are more important than family. It’s choosing going to parties with your friends over family dinners; traveling with your best friend instead of spending time with your grandparents. But it’s also having a special person in your life to do whatever and be whoever with. It’s choosing a person who you know will be there with you forever. Soon enough, they become family.

Fourteen is living in the moment. Forgetting that you have a late essay due the next day, it's embracing the jungle of acne across your face, it’s checking your phone and texting the friends that are sat beside you. It’s Skipping family events to hangout with your best friend, learning to live with sleep deprivation, and spending all your money on coffee. And it's ok because that's who you are; besides you're only fourteen once.

This is fourteen.

This is me now.

In my multi genre writing piece, my writing pieces revolve around my Hindu culture and how it adds a unique twist on my experiences. For example, my encyclopedia definitions of a mother and a sister might be totally different compared to other cultures. In addition, my narrative takes place India, which contributes to my theme. Writing isn't my strong suit, this assignment involved many writing pieces that were centered around a theme, which was especially hard for me to accomplish. I struggled the most in putting my ideas into words.

I decided to use moments in my life that were interesting and that could be easily developed into a detailed writing piece.

In my writing pieces I noticed how my culture played a role in my stories. On example of this was in my narrative piece. My narrative essay was a special moment to me. I was faced with two strong and overbearing emotions at the same time. In my family, one should know the field they want to pursue a career in by the latest age of 10. In my story, I talk about how a devastating moment was matched with the feeling of joy, when I knew what I wanted to do in life. Another example is my encyclopedia definitions as mentioned before. Each word differs in meaning based on culture. In that writing piece, the reader’s see my cultural meanings. We also see this common theme of culture is my “This is 14” piece. Most stereotype teenagers to be reckless, and love to party. My piece totally contradicts to that stereotype. I talk about how I spend most of time hanging out with friends, or studying. This contributes to my theme because in Hindu culture, studies and education is a priority.

I didn’t have a overall message I wanted to convey to my readers. I hope the reader gets a sense of how culture impacts one’s life. In my variety of writing, there are small aspects and bits and pieces of my cultures influencing my stories. I learned from writing these stories that no matter what situation you’re in, your culture always impacts the decisions you make in life.

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