"From Twinkle, with Love" by Sandhya Menon, Chapters 1–3

February 19, 2019
Self-described wallflower Twinkle Mehra dreams of becoming a filmmaker — and when Sahil Roy suggests teaming up to make a movie for their school's Midsummer Night celebration, she finally gets her chance. But can Twinkle stay true to herself now that she's in the spotlight?

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–3, Chapters 4–6, Chapters 7–9, Chapters 10–13, Chapters 14–19, Chapters 20–25

Here is a link to our lists for When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.
See, in Shakespearean times, these were the poor people who would have to stand in the front of the stage and got called out (unfairly, IMO) for being rowdy and smelly and having the mange or whatnot.
And then there were the snooty people in the back, who got to sit in, like, covered areas and look down at the groundlings and feel all superior in their silk feathered hats.
Maybe I’ll ask Dadi if she knows any incantations that’ll grow me a courage gland.
Her dad, James Tanaka, is a world-famous artist who regularly challenges ideas of the mundane with his mixed-media pieces and has gallery showings in the United States, Tokyo, Paris, and London (literally what it says on his website in the “about” section).
Meanwhile, I’m like, maybe I’ll waitress/travel after high school? Or go to film school at USC if I can get a scholarship? Or live in my parents’ house forever, decrying the death of the arts?
Being a human belonging to the wallflower genus, I’m kinda used to swallowing my words instead of speaking them.
He was sitting there, his legs splayed like he owned the place.
He sat at a table with his best friends, Skid (white, short, and wiry) and Aaron (the only black and openly gay person in our class; seriously, diversity, PPC. Look it up).
His mustache quivered indignantly, almost independent of his face.
I stuffed the remaining napkins back into the holder and then stood up to face mustachioed Stan, who was watching this unfold with unadulterated glee beaming off his annoying, dictatorial face.
But by the time I’d decided to rejoinder with a perfectly acceptable, “Pretty good, and you?” his back was already to me.
I’d missed what Sahil was saying—again—because I was ogling his brother.
Midsummer Night was the biggest event of the year at PPC, before we got our measly one-month-long summer break.
Mission statements were Maddie’s idea from three years ago. Hers is “To become the premier physician-scientist working in the realm of gender-based medicine and, specifically, takotsubo cardiomyopathy as it affects women.”
Despite my debilitating shyness, a spark of excitement began to fizz and pop inside me.
He laughed a little and then loped off quickly, awkwardly dodging a trash can in the hallway at the last minute.
She winked lasciviously.I wished she wouldn’t broadcast my crush on Maddie FM.
Besides, I’d never, ever made a movie with someone else before. Making art was intimate.
Brij is Indian too, so I’ve always felt a little bit of solidarity with him even though most of the time when he talks I can’t understand what he’s saying because he functions on a completely different level from my own.
He needed to spy on Maddie if he was worried about his future valedictorian status.
Okay, Brij, maybe you don’t know this, but my IQ is not higher than 1,890 and therefore, like 99.9 percent of the population, I do not speak binary.
I walked up our cracked sidewalk and in the front door to find Dadi sitting there in her white cotton sari on the couch, with her hands on Oso’s cheeks.
The rest of us mostly put up with it because, well, Dadi’s just Dadi, and so what if we have a few dozen crystals on our windowsills and we’ll probably never get the smell of sage out of the couch and we’re on a first-name basis with the county firefighters because of the number of times her “scrying” experiments have gone awry?
I stared at Dadi, easily the wisest person I knew, just thinking of how many lives I could change if my movies went mainstream.
size up
Movies have always felt like my thing. This is one area where maybe I won't be sized up against him.
Huh? you might be asking yourself. What’s she blathering on about now?
He got a few books out of his locker, slammed it shut, and sauntered over to us.
I kept darting surreptitious glances at him while also looking straight ahead, as if I had no business gazing directly at this perfect likeness of an Indo-Greek god, high school edition.
Maddie grinned in my peripheral vision.
By then I’d fit seamlessly into Maddie’s circle.
Jane, your films were about sticking it to the man, snapping back at the patriarchy by showing strong female protagonists who didn’t conform to gender roles.
Jane, your films were about sticking it to the man, snapping back at the patriarchy by showing strong female protagonists who didn’t conform to gender roles.
They’d call me Twinkle the Glass Ceiling Smasher, and the world would be engulfed in a veritable tsunami of movies and plays and stories by women.
Now his face looked all pink and sweaty, which I’m sure complemented my purple, sweaty one.
He was clearly pumped (as I’d been before I realized I was about to be exposed as a charlatan).

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