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Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines

Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines

The last hours of 2013, I’m writing a story for charity, based on the music: Hymn of Faith by Jochem Weierink  from the album  Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines, which has been created on a theme of Hope.

The stories will be compiled into a companion e-book anthology for the album, with all proceeds going to Gawad Kalinga.

Over 30 gifted composers hailing from 16 countries collaborated on an inspirational album, initiated by Peter Ebbinghaus to raise funds for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda. All profits from the album, and companion ebook, will go to Gawad Kalinga (“give care”), supporting the efforts in distributing food and rebuilding the devastated lives and damaged cities across the Philippines. More information on the album can be found at the Soundtracks and Trailer Music site”

Here’s my story of Hope based on Hymn of Faith – Jochem Weierink :

Darkness slow and deep, I lie quiet, quiet, still, unmoving, unbreathing in a dark, sugary sleep: no pain, no joy, no sight, no sound, no taste, I remain floating, distant. It is too much, I shall not wake up, I shall stay in this cotton wool world, its soft-sleepy music lifting me up through the roof, through the banisters, the rooms up above, through the entire weight of the building, its steeple, I shall keep rising like a frothy bit of cloud.

I shall not face it, hell, I have no face to face it with. Yesterday, they told me I have to be prepared, there is not much of a face left under the bandages. I was alive, that was the main thing. He’ll come and finish me, no use these tubes and covers and kindly voices, but I don’t tell them that.

I wanted to see my face, my not-face, my face he had snatched from me. I wanted to know how much damage a cup of liquid could cause, a Venti-sized, green-and-white plastic Starbucks cup of acid slung into me, all that burning afterwards, oh the burning, the hot needles of burning in each pore of my cheek, my forehead, my throat, my breasts, my stomach. I thrashed and snatched at the bandages, so they tied my hands, for my own good, they said, and put me upon this cloud. I will stay here in this cotton-wool cloud, see them when I can open my eyes better, when my left eyelid is unglued. The important thing is, they said, you still have eyes, we can save your eyes. Now, sleep.

Two months since I lost my face. It is doing well, they said, you’ll go home next week. And don’t worry about him, he’s in jail, and he’s not coming out any time soon.

I have seen it. I’ve seen the black mask. I’ve seen one eye glued shut, and the other, unblinking pupil. I have seen my teeth, no lips, two gaping holes instead of my nose. I have seen my head, peeling strips of skin. All my blonde hair, gone. Nothing a wig and some make-up can’t fix, they said, you’ll see. I threw things at them. I threw words. Bad words. I wanted to throw the bed at them, the room.

Shush my darling, they said, hush, we’ll bring you back your face. Promise. They patted my face with creams and oils, with words and smiles, with soft looks, with the love of my parents. They brought me my dog, who recognized me. Licked my face. Tickled me. Made me laugh. Laugh. Laughter.

Look! How beautiful you look, Frieda, darling, they say, holding a mirror. I look into it, and I see their hands on my face, their laughter, their love, their tears, their sleepless nights, their hands holding mine, their starched white uniforms, their lab coats, the stethoscopes, the bedpans, the tubes, the jars of ointment. Two years.

I look.

I have eyes, I have a nose, I have lips, I have cheek, chin, throat. I have hair. Not my hair, but still, hair. The main thing is, I have a face.

I will not hide. I will face the world. I have a face to face it with, after all.

I smile. And they smile with me.

I’m beautiful, and so are they.


Please support the cause by purchasing the beautiful album Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines available NOW on ITunes , Amazon CDBaby and Spotify.

Signing off 2013 on a note of Hope. Hope that 2014 would be a better year. That we will all find those who give us hope, and that we’ll bring hope into other lives.

Wishing you all a Joyous 2014, full of Peace, Happiness, and Hope. Do you see Hope in 2014?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • pvariel says:

    Hi Damyanti,
    Well narrated one.
    Indeed you said it all.
    Such things are really horrifying
    but I am sure there is still hope.
    That is what you ended it.

    “I have a face.
    I will not hide.
    I will face the world.
    I have a face to face it with, after all.
    I smile. And they smile with me.
    I’m beautiful, and so are they.”
    Yes, That is the real HOPE!
    Yes, there is still hope!
    Thanks for that positive end.
    Keep up the good work.
    Thanks for stopping by
    at my place and for all
    the + + + + +s LOL
    Wish you and yours
    A Blessed & Purposeful
    New Year 2014

  • Elise Fallson says:

    I love your writing, such an emotional ride…the pacing, imagery, message…it was perfect.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thank you Elise. I found the music perfect. Of my writing, I’m not so sure, but it is the best I could come up with at the time.

  • danagriffin says:

    Awesome writing. I loved the story which had me captivated from the beginning. Good luck with the fund raising project.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks Dana. I hope we’re able to raise some funds that would make a real difference. Please help spread the word, and having bought the album myself, I assure you it has great tracks to write with 🙂

  • jjspina says:

    I awarded you the Super Sweet Blogger Award because you have a beautiful blog. Congrats! Go to my blog for more info.

  • Because your blog is awesome, I decided to nominate you for a Liebster award! Check out my blog for all the details:

  • Thank you for stopping by my blog yesterday. I hope to be able to write a little bit every day, and looking over & through your blog, it gives me incentive. I’m sure I can learn a thing or two from you! Happy New Year!

    • Damyanti says:

      I do write everyday, though not on my blog. I’m not sure I have anything to teach– I have a long way to myself. Happy New Year, and wish you the best on your blogging journe!

  • Such a reality in these parts, Damyanti. Just the other day another acid attack victim succumbed. Loved the way you dealt with this and the hope at the end.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks Corine, I’m forever reading them in the papers. I feel angry, scared, and try to feel the hope in despair. This is one such attempt, inspired by the music. Thanks for stopping by, and the kind comment.

  • Don says:

    Beautiful, tragic, but filled with hope – thank you.

  • jtsuruoka says:

    This is fantastic. You write with such feeling & intensity and nailed the theme of hope.

  • Adi says:

    Beautiful. Love the hope!

  • cleemckenzie says:

    Absolutely wrenching and beautiful all at the same time. You caught my attention and my heart with your story.

  • I fell in love with the tone of narration – absolutely hypnotic, perfect for such a powerful theme. Thank you for this beautiful, touching story.

    Hope you have a wonderful year ahead 🙂

  • bobleckridge says:

    SO good to start 2014 with Hope – I completely agree. I don’t know how people go on without hope, and I see it as an important part of my daily work as a doctor – to give people hope by seeing that change is an ever present reality, and that we can be an active part of that change.
    More power to you and your writing in 2014! Good to see we’re still blogging all these years on, huh? Thanks for your recent visit and comment

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Bob, and yes, both you as a doctor, and me as a writer, need to dwell on hope.

      It is truly good to be still blogging, and to have my first blog commenter visit me again :). Wish you an amazing 2014 ahead.

  • Reblogged this on curlyadventurer and commented:
    Please read this.

  • Fayaz Pasha says:

    Good read and yes there’s always hope not just in 2014 but in all the years to come. Wish you too a very happy and successful new year.

  • MikeW says:

    Hoping everyone who shares the non-fiction experience of your fictional character finds some healing and a pathway to peace beyond the trauma.

  • This was beautiful. I loved your style and words. I couldn’t help but come read your story when you said yours was about a face too. I’m glad I did.

  • Beautifully written… Loved it…

  • ninoalmendra says:

    Thanks alot for your support to my Kababayans who are affected by supertyphoon Yolanda.
    Happy New Year 🙂

    • Damyanti says:

      I’m thankful for the opportunity to help. I hope all those affected by supertyphoon Yolanda have a good 2014 ahead.

  • M.L. Swift says:

    Damn, Damyanti. Nice. I love your way with words, and this followed the theme of the music so well. One of my faves is: “my face, my not-face” and “venti size cup of acid…Starbucks…etc.” (I’m too lazy to scroll up and copy/paste the quote). But I know I chuckled at that part. Nice style.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thank you. I just wrote what came to me without edits, and think now that the style is perhaps too florid? Glad you like it, tho.

      • M.L. Swift says:

        On the contrary, I think that’s what appealed to me. Instead of flowery, I found it poetic in nature. But I know how you feel…I did mine the same—wrote what came to me, and it feels a little choppy and stilted. But I wanted to show a bit of confusion. Hmmff. Still, good job you’ve done.

        • Damyanti says:

          I did this on a deadline— the last day for subs was Dec 31st, I was exhausted after my time away. So I let the music guide me, and let the voice of the protag of my novel WIP come through.

          I know some months later when I look at it, I shall flinch, and either edit or delete, but for now, it helps me participate in a cause I believe in.

          The poetic effect you see is because of the repeated musical rhythms I was listening to, and I hope it is a good thing 🙂

          • M.L. Swift says:

            Well, good job. Ha…same story here. Expected to have more time, but then the holidays got away from me and there was an unexpected trip right at the end. I listened to the music and did the same on the 30th…

            And yes, I’ll flinch, too. Check it out. It is definitely for a good cause.

            M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

            • Damyanti says:

              I just did. You shall have very little reason to flinch, methinks.

              • M.L. Swift says:

                Thanks. It was fiction (of sorts) based on some recent realities. It’s been great talking to you and getting to know you! I’ve seen you around and visited here and there. Had to pass on A-Z this past year—got pneumonia. Hope to do it this year. 🙂

                • Damyanti says:

                  Likewise– great to get to know you. Sorry your recent realities were so full of sadness, may 2014 be a better year.

                  I’m sorry you had to pass on AZ 2013. I’m helping host again this year (I’m crazy, I know!). Hope to see you AZing in April, and hope your theme is fiction! 🙂

                • M.L. Swift says:

                  😀 I believe you’ll be seeing more of me…especially in April (I know, I’m crazy, too!). I’ll consider your suggestion.

  • pfdorado says:

    Beautifully told story. I only wish it was fictional, but sadly enough we have all read it too many times on the news. Not with such energy/delicacy in their words, though. Thanks for the hope and happy 2014.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for the kind words on the story. The character is the protagonist of my WIP, and yes, sadly she’s based on all the real women I read about in the papers.

      A Happy 2014 to you, too.

  • Achin KumarC says:

    Happy New Year Damyanti….. Its all about thinking good and positivity 🙂 Hope allz well in your life all year through. Stay Happy

  • LifeIsABeach says:

    Wonderful story of hope. Thank you for sharing. I also pray that 2014 will bring us more joy.

  • Great writing, great story – it really resonated with me.

  • Like… love the idea of Hope for a better Now. Hope drives us much. Well done story. From darkness to the Hope.

  • Damyanti, you have a special way with words… 🙂
    This is beautiful and heart-wrenching prose, which captures the essence of the music…
    I wish you a peaceful and prosperous New Year!
    Writer In Transit

  • Hi this is very beautiful . I wish you a very happy new year.

  • lausannedc says:

    Hi, Thanks for following my new blog! I’m so glad you found me. I lived in Indonesia for 4 years so I am excited to read all about your adventures! I will definitely be following you 🙂

  • Both your words and the music stir up huge heart-wrenching emotion, so beautifully put together to inspire hope!

  • Damyanti!
    A beautiful collaboration. You achieved all the emotions of this horrific act and its aftermath – but most of all you captured the hope! Well done, And thank you for being such a generous cheerleader for this wonderful cause!

    • Damyanti says:

      I’ll cheer this cause the best I can– rarely do we writers get such an opportunity to be of help with our stories.

  • Beautifully haunting, revealing and hopeful piece! Thanks for writing it.

    Thanks also for following fvbf (Faith View by Faye).


  • Nick Johns says:

    A really powerful, emotional piece. A strong addition to the collaboration!

  • Love can get people through an awful lot. But what a terrifying thing to go through.

  • Vidya Sury says:

    That made me cry, Damyanti. Thank you for a fantastic read. Love it. There’s always hope. Always.

    • Damyanti says:

      Vidya, mine is entirely fictional, and a not a patch on yours. It took courage to write what you did, and it is with your kind of courage that we can still find hope for humanity.

      Yes, there is hope, always. My question about 2014 is rhetorical.

  • WriterlySam says:

    I knew you’d weave a powerful tale for this particularly inspiring piece of music. An honorable dedication to those who need hope in the face of tragedy. Thank you for joining this global act of compassion:) Happy New Year!

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Sam, for your kind words, and for considering me to write for Composers for Relief. It is always a joy to write for a cause, and I only hope I could do justice both to the music, and the spirit behind this project. Happy New Year to you, to everyone in this project, and to each one this project hopes to help.

  • Cimmorene says:

    In answer to your question, as long as there is still life, in my opinion, there’s always hope. I can’t think of a better answer than that.

  • Damyanti! I love this bit of writing. Empathy swells in me because of your words. Thank you for following. I look forward to reading more. ~~~&~~~

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for your comment. The world could do with more empathy– it would be a happier, more peaceful world.

  • This is haunting, Damyanti. You’ve communicated it so well. It makes me think of the Wounded Warriors commercial, with that brave hero without a face.


    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Jacqui. I wrote this in a few hours, listening to the music on loop. I credit the music and the project concept. the story basically wrote itself– I only made tweaks of grammar.

  • Very touching…

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Carol. The suffering of acid attack victims would move anyone’s heart– in this new year, I wish them all kinds of happiness and hope.

  • Jeuron says:

    That is some super descriptive writing. I loved the Starbucks analogy and felt that your first paragraph did a great job of setting the tone for the story. And to answer your question, yes I do see hope for this year.

    Great writing.

    • Damyanti says:

      Jeuron, the music set the tone for this story– and the descriptions dictated themselves to me. I take no credit whatsoever for this story. Thank you for stopping by, and your kind comment.

  • goodcapo says:

    Reblogged this on goodcapo and commented:
    Start the year off right.

  • goodcapo says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am inspired by your work here, and am going to try and do more deeds like this in the year 2014… Let’s all make this a year of positive change and increased communal support!

    • Damyanti says:

      Thank you for reblogging this post. The music and the concept behind this project inspired me. I agree with you– let’s all make this a year of positive change and increased communal support!

  • ghostposts says:

    Reblogged this on Ghostposts's Weblog.

  • Rajiv says:

    This is a very nice story indeed

  • That is beautiful. Similar incidents of acid thrown on women are common where I come from as well, so this hit close to home. I admire the courage of your protagonist, and hope women who have to suffer this pain in real life have this kind of support as well. Happy New Year to you!

    • Damyanti says:

      Happy New Year to you too. Hope is unique to humans– and I admire my protagonist too. Am dedicating an entire book to her.

  • sonsothunder says:

    Wow.. I can’t even imagine the pain… and then the elation… Great story of hope.. and yet… what kind of people do things like that? What has the world become? I know of course, it was written for us to see coming… 2000 years ago. Not all believe that, but, all will one day…when the one true, and only hope returns for His Bride…
    that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR
    God Bless you

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