Two to Tango by Manoshi & Moushumi

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 runners-up in the adults’ category were Manoshi Bose & Moushumi Ray (Team 35). Enjoy their story!


Point of View #1  – Bili’s POV

By Moushumi Ray

“Shhh! He is here,” spoke one. “Are you sure, it’s him?” another eagerly questioned.

“Shut up you two!” the leader hissed. The others kept quiet. They knew the consequences of arguing with their leader!

Oblivious to this malicious exchange, in walked Bili … straight into the ambush! The first blow was on his left parietal. It was unexpected. Quite naturally, Bili stumbled wondering if a tree bough was the cause. But no… it wasn’t…he realised as the sticks came down, one by one, on his face, head and legs. His mind tried to connect a thousand dots in figuring out what was happening.

Someone wielded a knife and made way straight into his neck. An injured Bili shielded the blows weakly, barely managing to protect himself.

He swerved to his right and the knife descended speedily, gashing through his left shoulder.

“Try again!” the leader growled, “Get his vocal cords! His magic voice must be snuffed out before it gets us!”

 “So this is what it was! They intend to injure my cords so that the world doesn’t hear me again!”  In a flash, Bili knew who they were! 

An old bus was heard rumbling its way through the mud road of the steppe. The attackers vanished leaving their work unfinished. 

The arid breeze swept the grasslands as it did every day, but today it fanned Bili’s resolve to turn adversity into opportunity. Grappling his way towards the oncoming bus, he positioned himself to be spotted.

The swaying tall grass revealed his position causing a furore among the passengers. Many got out to help while enquiring about the attack. The driver looked at him intently. 

Someone recognised him.

“It is Bili! Our Bili who has made our village famous!”

There was a new blood rush amongst the passengers! All kinds of expletives were shot against the unknown assailants, and a rapid interrogation started urging him to try and recognise the faces so that it becomes easy for the police to nab them. The bus moved to the nearest hospital, as people around him expressed both indignation and worry. 

Bili soaked in their love as the warm sun filtered into his eyes. 

“Not easy, but I sing for the joy of music… the thrill of reaching out and connecting to foreign cultures! Why do outsiders pour love while my own spite me? How can music be intolerant to some?” he pondered.

Point of View #2 – Barmasai’s POV

By Manoshi Bose

“Shhh! He is here,” whispered Leboo. “Are you sure, it’s him?”, questioned Mingati. 

“Shut up, you two!” snarled Barmasai.  “Shut up and wait till he gets closer.”

The three had been crouching patiently in the tall grass; staying as still as possible. 

Flies and mosquitoes swarmed over them. It wasn’t easy, but they were not new to the art of laying an ambush. It was the way they had survived this hard terrain – hunting, gathering, and herding. It was the way of life for the Maasai.

They waited on undeterred… for the ancient poison of envy is stealthy and seeps in slowly through one’s mind to one’s actions.

Barmasai and Bili were childhood pals. Oh! What a day of celebration it was when the two of them with others their age had been initiated into warrior-hood! There was music, there was dancing, and there was Adamu! 

Barmasai was built taller and stronger, proving himself to be the best at ‘Adamu’ or jumping. 

How everyone had loved Barmasai then!  He was going to be a fine keeper of their traditions. But Bili seemed to have forgotten all of that. He was on a path forsaking his own traditions for some foreign mumbo jumbo! They certainly weren’t going to survive as Africa’s last warrior tribe if everyone started following Bili and his antics.

‘Following’- this word had taken on a new dimension that Barmasai found unfathomable. Apparently, Bili had more ‘followers’ than there are stars in the sky! Barmasai had not seen these followers for they were foreign, but he certainly had seen what Bili did to get those followers! He sang and danced to songs from foreign countries! 

Some of the elders of the village seemed to support Bili saying he brought fame and money to their village. The only money Barmasai had seen was in Bili’s new leather pouch.

“Now?” Leboo nudged Barmasai asking if time was ripe for the assault.  Barmasai sighed and nodded.  The three of them jumped up from hiding as though they were bullets spring-loaded to fire together.  They rained down blows with sticks and knives striking at his vocal cords, but the rumbling of an oncoming bus forced them to abandon their attack. “Bili’s luck or magic?” wondered Barmasai!

The next day, Barmasai woke up to another viral video – what powerful magic was this that a million followers were now out to get Bili’s attackers!

Authors’ Note: This is a work of fiction borrowing loosely from real-life incidents, and is not written with the intent to malign any person or culture. It merely attempts at showcasing two contradicting viewpoints of the same fictional incident.

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