Gayathiri Dhevi Appathurai February 2024 Third Prize

How to make a realistic Paper Rose

by Gayathiri Dhevi Appathurai

First, you can choose what colour and type of rose you want to make.

My father would disagree; after all, he didn’t want a girl, but what choice did he have with me?

Take a sheet of paper. It should be flexible but not too delicate.

My mother would disagree; a girl should be delicate, or else what would the family think of her upbringing?

Cut 3 squares of that paper, even 4. Size doesn’t matter. The bigger, the better.

My parents would disagree; girls can never have a big ego. So why give them so much learning?

Take one square and fold diagonally, repeat two more folds, making it small.

My grandma would disagree; a woman shouldn’t feel small to obey a man. Isn’t that how we preserve family values?

Draw an arc, cut the top, and a little at the bottom. You get a creased flower shape with a hole, but it isn’t complete yet.

My family would disagree; marriage completes a woman. What really does a solitary life accomplish?

Curl the edges of a flower, cut one pie shape, and glue the open edges together like a cone; one segment remains untethered.

My husband would disagree; a woman must be tethered to her man’s will. How else can marriage work?

Repeat steps 4 through 6 for other squares, cutting one segment more each time. You get smaller flower cones and more segments separated.

My family would disagree; separation is never a choice. Why would a man hit his woman unless she angered him?

Curl and make cones out of the lone segments. Assemble from largest to smallest cones and adjust until the flower looks whole.

My parents would agree. A woman must always adjust. No more questions.

Finally, this is it. You are done.

I agree.

About the Author

Gayathiri Dhevi Appathurai has an Engineering degree in Electronics & Instrumentation and works in the Information Technology Industry. Her stories have been shortlisted and published in the anthologies of Bristol Short Story Prize ‘21 , Edinburgh Flash Fiction Prize ‘22, Oxford flash fiction Prize summer ‘21 (Finalist). She is a Flash Fiction finalist in London Independent Story Prize, 2nd half ‘21. She is a trained Indian Classical Carnatic vocalist and has performed in renowned Fine arts venues in southern India. Her other creative pursuits include painting and sculpting. She lives with her husband in Mumbai, India.

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