At Beyond the Box, we are constantly thinking of ideas to give something unique, refreshing as well as challenging to our community of writers. Two to Tango was one such endeavour to encourage the participants to work along with another writer as a team and bring about a creative synergy. 66 teams participated in this one-of-its-kind contest and the winners were chosen by an eclectic jury panel comprising of prolific authors Ramendra Kumar, Shilpa Suraj and Apeksha Rao. Below prompt was given to the writers and they were asked to narrate the same story from two different points of view.
Prompt – Write a fictional story in which a character’s life undergoes some kind of major change due to a lost mobile. Feel free to creatively interpret this concept in any genre of your choice.
The winners in the Adults’ category were Narayani V Manapadam & Natasha Sharma (Team 3). Enjoy their story!
Story Title: REFOCUS
Point of View #1
By Natasha Sharma
The sunset was Instagram worthy. Orange and pink hues dominated the sky’s palette, the caressing breeze gently nudged the fluffy clouds. He leaned against the tree, angling his neck, adjusting the camera to get a better shot. Startled by the jungle babbler’s nasal call, he tripped over the roots of the magnificent oak tree. Flailing, he clutched at a low-hanging branch, steadying himself, and watched in mounting horror as the mobile flew from the safety of his hands into the deep ravines of Triund.
One. Two. Three. Gone!
Drat! I couldn’t post the pictures. They would have garnered a hundred… no, thousands of likes.
He debated if a detour to search for the mobile was worth a—
Wait… He inhaled a shuddering breath. I could’ve joined the phone in its final descent. It’s so deep, man!
He leaned forward, cautiously, holding onto the saviour branch. The fall was steep and fatal. He stepped back, involuntarily. Fear gnawing at his stomach, he slid down the trunk of the tree, its rough bark abrasive against his back, as he collapsed in a heap, shell-shocked.
I almost died. I would’ve surely broken my head. I’ve heard of people falling while taking selfies, but never thought of it happening to me.
He closed his eyes, opening them as the chirping of the birds heralded the arrival of the inky night. The fading light cast shadows around, and the trees around him absorbed all the residual light. A shiver slid down his spine. Coupled with the near-death experience, he wondered how he would head home without Google Maps.
I’ve been so busy viewing the trek through the lens of my camera, I forgot to observe its mesmerising beauty.
He gazed around him. There was no sign of other trekkers, but that was normal. They usually came in spurts, and he had been delayed, so caught up he was in capturing the sunset, the birds, and the trees, except the way back home.
The songbird chirped merrily on a branch above him. He looked up, and his annoyance gave way to wonder.
Nature surely heals!
Point of View #2
By Narayani V Manapadam
The sky turned a beautiful shade of orange. Cold winds whispered to me tales from faraway lands, and I reveled in their sensual caresses.
It was then I felt his presence.
The young man craned his neck. Judging by the way he fiddled with his mobile, he seemed to look for that perfect angle to photograph himself. I sighed in exasperation. I missed those days when lovers etched their names in eternity over my sturdy trunk. Yes, it used to hurt terribly, but the searing pain I experienced was nothing to the sense of neglect which enveloped me in these times.
The babbler perched on my branch echoed my sentiments. “I feel for you, mighty oak,” she chirped, with a hint of melancholy.
Suddenly, there was a commotion. The man had tripped over my root. Quickly, I offered him one of my branches, and he latched onto it. His eyes widened, as they registered the bone-chilling sight of his mobile spiraling down the deep chasm.
Why do humans value mundane matters over a precious life? Wasn’t the young man grateful that he had escaped from the jaws of death? Anyway, that was not my business to ponder over it. I continued to hold him. Shaking violently, he slid down my trunk. If only I could offer him solace!
He looked around. If he was expecting his friends to be here anytime soon, he was mistaken. I couldn’t discern a single human figure in the vicinity. He was alone. Soon, darkness would swoop down on us.
Did he know the way back to his place? What could I do to make him feel better? An idea struck me. I beckoned to a songbird, as she made her way towards her nest. She perched herself on my branch.
“What’s it you want, mighty oak?” she asked in a dulcet tone.
“Hush,” I signaled to her. My eyes were on the young man, as he looked up. I waited with bated breath, praying fervently that no harm comes to my songbird. But all I saw was a faint smile forming over his lips.