Winner – Anshika Kodukula
Story Title : The New Neighbour
“Alpha…. Alpha alert! Alien control! A shooting star destroyed a part of our spaceship. It now needs an emergency landing! And, it takes a couple of weeks for repair.”
There was an announcement from my alien leader in the spaceship. Like a scary peeper, I peered through my glass window and made sure that there was no one outside. “Shall I get down or….?” I was flummoxed. Everything seemed eccentric to me. Petrified, I slowly got down in Deodar rainforests of the planet Earth. My cloudy eyes happened to experience a stupendous creature; bony body with feathers all over. An outré warble from it sounded mellifluous to my ears. “Where is this coming from?” I mumbled. I noticed a birdie pulling a twig with its beak, landing on the branch of a tree to build a nest. Flabbergasted to see the bird, I thought, “Looks like I’ve a new neighbour!”
1st Runner Up – Akshita Sundeep Singh
Story Title: A cold(-drink’s) war
Pepsi sighed, “This is booooring!”, Sprite mumbled, “Yea! I hate rainy days too.” The room fell silent once again, except for the occasional pitter-patter. Coke’s sudden entry disturbed them. They glared at the prankster.
They wondered what Coke was up to, not noticing the rope he hid behind his back.
“HAAA! Gotcha!” yelled Coke as he raced away. Sprite and Pepsi looked up in confusion, and tried to run after Coke, but Sprite was stuck! She squirmed frantically. Realisation hit her, as she saw the rope knotted around her torso. She screamed, “COKE!!!! I WILL GET YOU BACK!!”
Pepsi scurried over, “OMG!”
They sat in silence, lost in thoughts. Unexpectedly, Pepsi giggled. “Can you not? I was trying to sleep…” Sprite grumbled. By now, Pepsi was rolling on the floor, laughing, “You mean… Can you ‘knot’?”, she chortled, “Get it? I can – you can knot!”
And she continued laughing.
2nd Runner Up – Naitik Bansal
Story Title: The Eighth Wonder
Maybe, the Eighth Wonder of the world is situated in lagoon Odisha. Yes, I am river Chilika. I am one of the most beautiful places in Odisha. But I wasn’t the same 10 years ago. I was an unclean gutter. All the migratory birds dwelling on my sea beds were poached in front of my eyes. Only few birds were left . You know whom I still remember? Nandkishore ! A poacher who has now become my protector. He visited the neighboring villages and talked to the dirty, yes the dirty dozen poachers group, who poached and made me a degraded site.
Nandkishore transformed them. They pledged not to poach in the future and the most awaited day of my life arrived finally. Poaching was banned, and I was converted to a tourist spot. All migratory birds started visiting me again. Thus I consider myself the eighth wonder as I was lucky enough to be out of the red zone.
Special Mention – Harshita Sundeep Singh
Story Title: Is change always good?
Water poured from the skies, gushing down the road. Again.
I sank below the empty, yet overflowing road. No one was there. Just me. It had been long since it’s been like this. Usually, the skies would be clear with the sun shining on us. But things have changed. No one is around anymore and it rains non-stop. Never stopping, not even for a second.
I peered high and low, wondering will no one ever come rescue me? Back when it was sunny, at least somebody would pick me up, hold to me like treasure or pass me on to someone else, but now, I can’t move. I lay deep in the dark.
I knew it. I couldn’t be saved. Change may be good but it makes others feel worthless sometimes. Just like me – a one paise coin – left to rust on a road that’s turned into a river.
Special Mention – Prisha Ambi
Story Title: Be content with what you have
Once an interesting conversation took place between an old oak tree and newly grown-up pine tree.
“I wish I were like you, uncle Oak!”, said pine. “Haha!! Tell me what do you like about me?” asked the old oak tree. “Well, you help everyone by giving shade and also your giant leaves are used to produce paper”, replied pine.
“People take what I give them, the same thing is with you. You give them daily life needed stuff like home, shelter and warmth. Be happy with whatever you have. You are very special.”, oak advised the pine.
After listening to oak’s advice and doing its duty, the pine turned out to be a magnificent tree after 2 to 3 years!
Winner – Manju Dwivedi
Story Title: Conscience
I see a shimmer of hope piercing through the blanket of gloom, approaching me with unsteady steps. As the ray of light plays hide and seek with the darkness, I wait with bated breath. Freedom at last? Or doomed to despair forever? As if in answer to my questions, the door bangs shut sealing the void and my fate forever. Covered in dust of apathy, I crouch with cold and fear. Struggling to breathe, I seek death as a blessing. I am sinking, with only memories of the by-gone days to keep me afloat. Memories of carefree days when I was free from the shackles of camouflage and deception, tasting happiness from the cup of freedom. Till my presence seemed to become a nuisance, a hindrance to progress. So, I was banished and confined to the distant shores, my mouth gagged, my voice choked. My shadow lives on, while I wait. I wait for emancipation. I wait in hope. I am your conscience.
1st Runner Up – Rohini J
Story Title: Accept the differences
‘What’s that musty smell?”, said Mr. Kindle looking all around.
“Oh! Is that you old fella? What have you been doing here? Is everything ok?”, questioned Mr. Kindle.
‘Things have changed a lot. I don’t feel my presence anymore. I feel lonely and left out’, answered Mr. Paperbook in a low voice.
‘What made you think like that all of a sudden? You have a nice place to live with your family. I just survive in a dark corner like this’, said Mr. Kindle.
‘Aah! That’s all over. Look at yourself. You are so sophisticated and handy. Look at me. I am so shabby and outdated. I would be thrown out any moment”, cried Mr. Paperbook.
“Stop comparing friends. Both of you are unique in your own way and carry the fragrance of creativity and emotions of mine that every avid reader appreciates and loves. Now accept the differences and move on happily”, said Mr. Words popping its head out.
2nd Runner Up – Chandra Sundeep
Story Title: Another Mother
The pups trembled as thunderous clouds shook the ground. It had been pouring non-stop, the skies rumbling with fury were scaring the little ones. Cuddling close to their mother, the babies suckled to their heart’s content. The nursing mother licked them profusely, showering them with her love.
She stirred on hearing a painful high-pitched cry. The sight tugged at her heart; for it was a drenched scrawny kitten mewling pathetically. Mama dog shuddered at the thought of any of her babies being lost in the wicked downpour.
Raising her paw, she called the kitten. She welcomed the lost baby with generous licks, warming her till she stopped shivering. Mama dog sighed with relief as the child took to satisfying her hunger with the generous love of another mother. She mumbled a silent prayer – Don’t worry sister! Your child is safe with me. Hope you find your way here soon.
Special Mention – Apeksha Solanki
Story Title: The battle of the greens
“Oh! Why has your face all dried up? Not getting much attention these days, honey?”.
“Huh! I always get attention. They practically survive because of me. But, does anyone bother to even give you a second chance?”
“Ah! Don’t be silly sweetie! Pandemic has rendered them all tired and bored. They now prefer me to you!”
“They would never! You are not as fresh as I am. You cannot provide them with benefits the way I do. You are just stale old glamour who loves to live in their super cold world!”
“Hmph!I make their life easier. I am their go-to person when they are exhausted and need something scrummy to satiate them.”
“Huh! You could never replace me.”
“ Today is the third day in a row, I did just that”, screamed the frozen food packet to fresh veggies, just as it was being taken to the kitchen.
Special Mention – Amruta Wadekar
Story Title: Little Wave
Born on a starry night with thousands of emerald water drops, she was a beautiful wave.
Dancing and prancing with her friends in the crest each day.
But, one day, it all changed. An enormous wave raced and carried away the little wave.
“What is happening?” She cried.
The shark said, “Far, you will go. And all will be blue.”
“But I’m scared. And what is blue?” The little wave asked.
The wise turtle replied, “Blue is the ocean, little one. Being scared means you are about to do something brave.”
“What happens when I crash?” she asked the big wave.
The big wave gently answered, “You will find your destination.”
Terrified, she closed her eyes and slid down, surrendering.
But when the little wave landed, she wasn’t destroyed!
Ecstatic at the sight of the blue, the little wave saw her reflection. She was a part of the big ocean.
// Every month, we conduct a writing challenge with a difference to fuel the creativity in our writers. These are the winning entries from the October Writing Challenge which was to pen a story without any human entity. The winners have been chosen by our juror Sonia Chatterjee. //