First Prize – Swatilekha Roy
Second Prize – Shobhana Kumar
Third Prize – Sudha Viswanathan
Divya Garg Gitanjali Maria Shloka Shankar
Mauli Joshi Rianne Samuel Sohini Ghosh
First Prize – Burn
I had fished them out without conviction. Photographs of a stranger, posing with the sun in her hair, sea in her eyes, and the universe in her smile. Asha, who was scared of monsters.
“I love you, Asha”, I told the mirror with conviction.
My acid burns did what they always do: burn.
Second Prize – First class
She has survived, alright. Eight years, a hundred thousand miles and counting. Her seats hide a million memories—spilt coffee, profound conversations with fifteen-year-olds, drenched-in-sweat-evening trips from football, the anger of rejections, the blushes from crushes, long silences, one hell of a lot of swearing (alone, of course), notes to self and even some poetry.
Today, eyes well. For the first time her scars are visible. Depreciation, they call it.
Third Prize – The Proposal
Unable to withstand the stampede in the crowded bus, the fragile strap of my sandals ripped apart.
Limping my way, I reached the restaurant where I was to meet my prospective groom for the first time.
An hour with no sign of the guy, I limped my way back to the auto stand and reached home only to find my parents waiting with an anxiety writ countenance.
“The guy called up to say that we had cheated him. He says you are lame. Apparently, he had seen you limping.”
I smiled as I realized that ‘Marriages were made in Heaven.’
“Do you have trouble sustaining friendships?”
“All the time, in fact.”
“Why do you think that is?”
“Someone told me I’m emotionally maturer than my peers. That could be it.”
“Do you sometimes find yourself at a loss to describe how you feel?”
“What has that got to do with anything?”
“It’s at the heart of everything. Do you ever express yourself?”
“Only when I can’t take it anymore and the pressure starts to build.”
“Do you, really?”
waiting the wait a few hundred visualizations
“Long live the king, longer live the queen,” hailed the crowds.
“Why would you live longer than me, my dear,” asked the still naïve king.
The queen whose juvenility was the talk of the town replied, “it’s the game of chess my lord, where the king can win if the queen lives the longest.”
“Does that mean they want me to live –”
The obstinate queen interrupted, “Can the Kingdom live without its king?”
Her parlance had often dissolved the doubts of many.
“Can the queen live without her king?”
Two drops of venin in the king’s goblet was the answer.
The Swing Chair
The whistle of the kettle pulled her back to the present. She quickly picked herself up from the swing chair that was carefully placed near the window sill. Jack fixed the swing chair himself. After pouring a cup of tea for herself, she went back to the window sill. That’s where she did all her thinking. The hot cup of chamomile tea, in some way, helped with the tiredness. After all, the funeral preparations had drained her out. The house fell silent once more; the love of her life was gone. Memories now took over her consciousness again.
It was not the usual kind of hand. It was exceptionally soft with innumerable number of lines patterned intricately all over the palm. The nails had been shapely cut but there was no polish. That was unfortunate.
But what intrigued me most about the hand was the enormous ring on the forefinger. The diamond shaped ring head was covering half of the middle finger.
I stopped examining the hand and tenderly wiped the blood dripping from it before hanging it on my wall. The space in the centre was finally filled. It was now time to work on the corners.