Two to Tango by Gowri & Gayathri

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. 40+ teams participated in Season 3 of this one-of-its-kind contest and the winners were chosen by prolific author Kanchana Banerjee. 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 book reveals a secret. Feel free to creatively interpret the prompt in any genre of your choice. 

Gowri Bhargav & Gayathri Achar (Team 44) received a Jury Special Mention in the adults’ category. Enjoy their story!


Point of View #1 – Granddaughter

By Gayathri Achar

Present Day 

“Hmmm,” I wondered as I looked at the book before me. 

I was cleaning out the old boxes in the attic when I found the book.

It was a thick, brown, intricately carved leather-bound book. I found it intriguing.

After using a cloth to remove a layer of dust, I tried to open it but saw that it was secured by a small lock.

I took the lock in my hand and gasped when I saw the initials carved on it- S.K.

S.K. were the initials of my grandmother, Sylvia Karsten. One day, when Mother was hardly two months, she left. I don’t understand how she had the heart to just abandon her. After that, nobody knew her whereabouts. My grandfather was a powerful, ruthless Nazi leader. My grandmother must have been an equally ruthless woman to have fallen in love with him, which was another reason why I didn’t like her, despite never having met her before.

I searched for the keyhole and could make out a small swastika-shaped hole. 

Just as I was wondering what key could have such a shape, my gaze fell upon my bracelet.

It was the only gift my grandmother left behind for Mother. She always wore it, and last year when she passed away, I started wearing it.

It was a thick silver bracelet with a rose creeper around it. It was only now that I noticed a swastika symbol embedded in it. 

As soon as I fitted the symbol in the keyhole, I heard a click sound. 

I removed the lock and opened the book. 

The pages were yellowed with time and its musty smell made me cough. 

I flipped through the pages and realized that it was a journal. Sadly the ink was faded on most pages. 

I turned to the page which had the last entry, which was partially visible. 

March 1943

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone…if I’d ever meet Rebecca again.

…not a Nazi…family’s Polish, but married a Nazi to plot against them…

I hope Rebecca finds this book and learns the truth.

This was what I could make out from that entry, but it was enough to tell me that my grandmother was not a Nazi at all and had revolted against them. Tears welled up in my eyes. If only Mother were here to read this…

Point of View #2 – Sylvia Karsten

By Gowri Bhargav

October 1939

The last of the Polish troops surrendered. The atrocities committed against the civilian population have increased. Most are being forced into labor or sent to concentration camps. The Germans have no mercy upon any of us and treat us brutally. Father was humiliated and brutally murdered. I have to safeguard my mother and sister.

January 1940

Most women are being ill-treated and raped. A few have resorted to prostitution for the sake of financial as well as personal gain. Sadly I’d be pushed to do it too, someday. Meanwhile, I  have joined the Jewish resistance group. My duty is to deliver news of Nazi atrocities to ghettos across Poland by donning disguises.

March 1940

Money has dwindled. A corporal seems interested in me. He is my best bet to save myself and my family. I have to seduce him enough and marry him too so that I will have access to a lot of classified information and weapons.

July 1940

Karl is head over heels in love with me. During one of our meetings, I made him promise that he would have my mother and sister sent to the bakery where the conditions are not so harsh. Meanwhile, I have become a leading member of the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto.

August 1940

Karl seems to think I’m madly in love with him. I finally mustered the courage and asked him that I be included in the Deutsche Volksliste. He agreed and managed to get me the Identification card somehow.

December 1941

Karl and I married last month and moved to Germany. I promised my mother and sister that I would return once I’d fulfilled my tasks.

March 1942

I gathered all the required information. I also smuggled weapons and dispatched them in a timely manner. Karl is oblivious to everything.

May 1942

To my dismay, I discover I’m pregnant. But I will not let that distract me.

March 1943

Resistance fighters in Warsaw have launched the largest ghetto revolt of the war. My mother and sister are also among them. Being the leader, I have to go, though it pains me to abandon my two-month-old daughter, Rebecca.

 I don’t know how long I’ll be gone…if I’d ever meet Rebecca again.

…not a Nazi…family’s Polish, but married a Nazi to plot against them…

I hope Rebecca finds this book someday and learns the truth.


Author’s Note:

This story is purely a work of fiction, based on historical facts.

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