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 Mrinalinee Patro and Veena Dhruva (Team 58). Enjoy their story!
Story Title: LOST AND FOUND CONSCIENCE
Point of View #1
By Mrinalinee Patro
“Saturday fun by the countryside… How boring and cliché’! It wouldn’t fetch even 50 likes”, Sunaina rebuked herself. “These days catchy tag lines are in-vogue and are the real scene stealers”, she contemplated. ‘A Rendezvous with nature’, her eyes gleamed with pride since she felt she had hit the bull’s eye with this one. Now there could be no stopping from her post going viral.
One of the most promising faces in Tinsel Town, her rise to fame was no less than a fairy tale. A girl next door won the local beauty pageant, and this suddenly plummeted her into Show Biz and after that there had been no looking back. She became the netizens’ heartthrob and her scintillating posts often grabbed eyeballs.
She had taken it to heart when her previous post had been brutally trolled and wanted to seal the lips of all the gossipmongers. A long drive along the countryside and lunch at a roadside Dhaba fetched her the most enticing backdrops to get herself clicked and the outcome was extraordinary. Back home, she freshened herself in a whisker so that she could indulge in her favourite activity, share her Instagram posts with her fans and then get drenched in the world of likes and comments. This time she would subtly flaunt her latest possession – a Collector’s Edition Hermès.
She smiled to herself as she trotted towards the Hermès to get her Mobile Phone. She hunted inside it for a minute but couldn’t find it. Cursing her messy attitude, she explored the purse intricately scanning through all the corners. Her heart skipped a beat as she tried to recollect where had she put her Mobile. Trying to suppress her panic, she called on her mobile from the Landline. It went on ringing, but she couldn’t hear the ringtone in her vicinity.
“Of course! I would have left it in the car”, she surmised and immediately asked the Driver to check inside the car. Within a couple of minutes, he called back with no luck. A chill ran down her spine, “Was it at the Dhaba?”
Point of View #2
By Veena Dhruva
‘Squeak, squeak’, went the sparkling dishes as Hari washed them as fast as his small hands would allow. He still had some more vessels to go. Ram Prakash’s popular Dhaba, ‘RP da Dhaba’ was clean and hygienic, with free Wi-Fi.
“Hari”, RP yelled, ” work your hands faster, boy.” “I don’t know what had come over me, why I had to take in this orphan during these times”, was RP’s favourite grumble but Hari never felt bad. Three meals and a shelter, what more could a boy of 11, orphaned due to the pandemic, ask for?
But Hari missed one thing terribly, his school and Teacher Aunty. Her lilting voice, the infectious energy in her teachings and her affectionate smile, all made his miseries bearable but now with everything closed he didn’t have the courage to ask RP Chacha for a means to continue his education. Chacha had already done far beyond his responsibilities as a neighbour. Amidst the squeaky-clean plates, Hari missed the dusty classroom, his classmates, the smell of chalk and the gentleness of Teacher Aunty.
Taking a fresh cloth, he went about cleaning the tables, when suddenly he noticed a light blinking from under one of the benches. His heartbeat accelerated. A mobile without its owner. The next moment saw Hari hiding it and surreptitiously running to his room. He couldn’t believe his luck. Now he would be able to resume his studies but suddenly, as clearly as if she was standing in front of him, Hari heard Teacher Aunty say, ” You should never take that which isn’t yours.”
Sunaina, standing just beyond the threshold, was about to step in, when she saw Hari keeping the mobile in the Lost and Found tray with a subdued face. “Chacha, Teacher Aunty has taught me to be honest always; even if it means giving up something really close to my heart.”
A spectator to the emotions being played out, this moved Sunaina beyond her limited vision of likes and comments and she took her first step towards giving Hari a better future.