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 is one such endeavour to encourage the participants to work along with another writer as a team and bring about a creative synergy. 60 teams participated in Season 2 of this one-of-its-kind contest and the winners were chosen by best-selling author MV Kasi. 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 viral video plays a key role. Feel free to creatively interpret this concept in any genre of your choice.
The winners in the Adults’ category were Aarthi V. Karanam & CA Pooja Kabra (Team 59). Enjoy their story!
Story Title: WHISPERS OF DEATH
Point of View #1 – Priya
By CA Pooja Kabra
Pearls of sweat glistened on her face even when the cold outside was sending shivers down the spine. Her heart was thumping against her chest. With a jolt, she got up, looking around her disoriented. She rushed to her children’s’ room. Both her boys were sleeping soundly. A sigh of relief escaped her. She came to her room but try as she might, sleep eluded her. She picked up her mobile with trembling hands. The sickening video was still there. She had deleted it many times but it was being shared continuously.
Tears filled her eyes for she knew the girl in the video so well. Her name was Pihu. She had studied with her son in grade three.
She was wrapped in a white cloth. Her mind screamed, “Oh! How I wish this was not Pihu!”
She felt a constriction in her heart as the video played on. A beautiful smile lingered on Pihu’s serene face. Pihu’s mother clasped her to her chest and held her tightly as the men tried to take her away from her.
“Stop! Please don’t take her! She will now open her eyes and call me!” The mother kept beseeching pitifully. Between the shrieks and cries, Pihu’s still body was offered to the pyre.
It had been five days since she had seen the viral video and since then Priya had not slept properly at all. Pihu’s face kept roaming in front of her eyes. Though she had deleted the video, it kept playing in loop in her mind. She kept recalling the fatal school bus accident that had devoured three kids including Pihu. The brakes had failed throwing the kids out from the window. The bus accident had made Priya extremely vulnerable. The kids were sad as the schools were closed because of this sad incident and the younger one had lost his friend. Their mother’s overconcerned behaviour was troubling them. Her husband tried to pacify her anxiety and fear but failed. Panic attacks started shackling her mind in a vicious grip. Instead of Pihu, she had started imagining her own child in Pihu’s mother’s lap. She would get up in night screaming and cry inconsolably.
Point of View #2 – Rajni
By Aarthi V. Karanam
It was another morning, just like any other.
With one hand, I shielded my eyes from the rowdy sun and with the other, checked my feed. Nothing interesting.
My phone suddenly beeped. There had just been a tragic accident involving a school bus.
My eyes lit up. I rushed to the spot. My luck was riding high today!
I expertly noted the utter devastation and as luck would have it, an unfortunate schoolgirl who had succumbed to her injuries was being loaded into the ambulance.
Setting my faithful videocam to work, I captured every single detail, including her last rites. I rushed home, did some edits and posted the final video online.
Within seconds, my video went viral.
After all, it was not for nothing that I had earned the title, ‘Viral Rajni’!
As the number of views and likes increased, as the internet exploded with my viral video, I felt the same adrenaline rush. My eyes sparkled the same way a drug-addict’s does while smelling his weed!
I sat gloating over the various messages, while studiously ignoring the trolls.
But one message disturbed me,” I am the mother of the dead girl”
And she had posted a link to her video, that to my chagrin, was becoming viral as well. The video had my viral video playing in the background, while a distraught woman was seen saying – “I am the mother of this little girl who died in the bus accident. She didn’t deserve to. Nor does she deserve this; this indignity, this callousness of her privacy being breached. It’s only a video, only likes for you all. But every time, the last moments of my girl goes viral, she dies and I die again and again….”
I dropped my phone in shock. Something broke inside me. ‘ Viral Rajni’ sounded so hollow, so empty, so demonic.
I had felt like a queen, trampling on people’s privacy, making their circumstances viral and earning fame and money. Life was much more than viral videos, and name and fame.
I immediately deleted all my videos and made a new video, apologizing to the mother and many others who were probably affected by it. Denouncing the entire concept, I urged people to display sensitivity and make only those videos viral, that contribute positively to life.
Thankfully, this video went more viral.
And this is my tribute to that little angel; rest in peace darling.
Point of View #1 – Priya
By CA Pooja Kabra
I met Richa, my psychiatrist, who has been counselling me since a month. She showed me ‘Viral Rajni’s’ apology video. I felt a strange calm. I felt Pihu was in peace now and I too would soon be…