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 runners-up in the adults’ category were Preethi Warrier and Gowri Bhargav (Team 56). Enjoy their story!
Story Title: BREATHS TETHERED BY TIME
Point of View #1
By Preethi Warrier
The scorching sun came down brutally on us, as I sat beside my mother, in the makeshift ward outside the hospital. I sorrowfully watched her, eyes shut, breathing heavily. I posted a desperate message on social media; one last attempt to find her a proper bed.
A nurse tapped my shoulder, “Get these medicines, fast.”
The serpentine queue at all nearby pharmacies filled me with anticipation, mother was all alone. After an hour of searching and jostling, I managed the medicines.
As I pushed towards my mother, I felt my pockets. To my dismay, I realised, my mobile was missing.
I desperately asked amongst the sea of faces, had I left it at the pharmacy?
One look at my mother’s blue face, I screamed. My eyes frantically looking for help. It was a while before I could find a doctor.
“Her oxygen is almost over. We’re out, arrange for one immediately.” The doctor shouted over the din, as he settled to help my mother. On his face, I saw the exhaustion, of his many sleepless nights.
“You want a cylinder?” someone nudged me, “Come. You’ll need to pay more, but isn’t your mother precious?”
“Wait. I’ve lost my phone, would you please hold one cylinder for me?” I begged.
“Look, you pay upfront, and now. Or else I’m leaving.”
I looked in my empty wallet, I needed my phone, the price for my mother’s life.
I pleaded once more, he was already looking away.
After what seemed like an eternity, I found myself pushing the queue at the shop. I anxiously called out to the pharmacist about a lost phone.
He eagerly pointed at a man on a bike, I noticed my mobile’s cover from far.
“Thank you.” I beamed gratefully at the gentleman.
I screened the many missed calls, I was delighted to find messages from someone who had found a lead. The last two calls were very recent, I quickly dialed the number.
My phone slipped down my hands, I sank on the pavement.
“Everything alright?” the gentleman enquired.
“Yes. I don’t need to rush anymore.” I replied.
Point of View #2
By Gowri Bhargav
I waited with bated breath for my turn. I had come to buy the medications prescribed for my wife. She had a severe stomach infection. The pharmacy was teeming with people. A gentleman standing in front of me was speaking over the phone with someone.
“Sir, would you mind moving away from the queue if you’ve already bought the medications?” I asked him politely.
“Sorry!” he apologized and disconnected the phone. He paid the pharmacist and left the place in a hurry.
As I purchased the medications, I noticed that he had forgotten to take his phone along. I quickly ran behind him to return the phone. But I saw him getting into an auto and leaving. I asked the pharmacist if he could safeguard the phone until the gentleman came looking for it, but he said that they would be closing soon for a short lunch break. The pharmacist suggested that I go to the hospital where the gentleman was heading to. But then I didn’t want to keep my wife waiting, so I decided to go to the hospital after delivering the medications to my wife.
It took me more than the anticipated time to reach home. After handing over the medications, I quickly left home to return the phone. I decided to stop by the pharmacy before heading to the hospital to find out if the gentleman had come looking for his lost phone. Finally, when I reached the pharmacy, I saw the gentleman running towards me. After thanking me, he frantically took the phone to scan for any missed calls. Only then did I realize that the phone had been on silent mode.
He dialed a number that appeared to be the most recent one. He sank after listening to what the person on the other end of the line had to say. When I enquired if everything was fine, he told me that there was no use of rushing anymore. He narrated everything to me in between his sobs.
Tears trickled down my cheeks as I repented for not having returned the phone earlier.