Sunday 1 August 2021

Drabble 2021 Winners & Featured Writers

Scroll down to read the stories.

Short Fiction
Prose 500
Short Story

First Prize
Second Prize
Third Prize
Neha Khatri George Swaim Palvi Ghonkrokta

Featured Writer

Theresa Fernandes Swatilekha Roy Sangeetha Kamath

Natasha Sharma Divya Garg Sudha Viswanathan

Geetanjali Maria Divvisha Bharti Chandra Sundeep

Devika Dhond Bindu Saxena

First Prize

Ghoul by Neha Khatri

Babylon, 3000 BC
Ghoulish is a word coined by Shakespeare. It comes from the Arabic word "Goule". 

Nis was hungry since ten days. He was not going to steal again. He didn't know he was stealing, he had just taken the meat because he found it. He had been "exiled". What he didn't know was all around the world, human conscious was being reshaped. 

In barren desserts, neither an animal could be hunted or hardly a plant lived. Then at night, some people came and dug up the ground and placed a dead man in. It was unbearable. As soon as they left he put his mouth to the man's guts and filled up. His new name was 'Goule'.

Second Prize

Those Two by George Swaim

It was about those two. One so full of positivity and the other so full of negativity. They could never be together. But they kept going round and round as if around a ball of lightness. There was one more who couldn't be bothered. So here they were, a family, a unit. Here they were, strong, in an almost impossible to break bond they called an Atom.

Third Prize

Tomatoes by Palvi Ghonkrokta
"Avoid Basheer's shop, his limp son, the mukhbir, will know," whispered Abu, "And come straight back". My nine year old hands trembled beneath my pheran like they had when the Afghan held his cold, sinful knife to my face.
"I want tomatoes" he'd thundered, flinging the haaq bowl.
Of the three, the Afghan was most violent, the Paki quiet and always cleaning his gun and the Koshur jovial and up for chess anytime. 
In the distance I heard a gun shot, then a few more and three days later the paper carried a photo of the tomato-loving Afghan. 
Mukhbir = informer/spy
Pheran = Kashmiri woollen garment worn by both men and women 
Haaq = a type of saag (greens)
Koshur = Kashmiri

Featured Writers

The Usurper by Theresa Fernandes

As the virus teemed and the numbers around us rose, she went over and over her almanacs, hoping to see her answers in the stars. When it all had begun I had laughed off her old ways. Now that I saw more mishaps around me, reliable and time-tested medicines working worse than water, I stood hopeless, for some of her miracle to work. But it seemed neither her faith nor the cure was working. Neither belief nor logic could fight this battle. Typical to a war zone, it was only a ruthless enemy that was making the rules and breaking it at their convenience. And just like a war zone, more of the ground was covered with dead bodies. This virus was an enemy unforeseen, and it was claiming ground.

Out of Place by Swatilekha Roy

Dad loved metaphors, be it the sickle in his deathbed or the yellow tile in the kitchen. An odd nagging presence, this tile kept reminding us of its improperness amidst its blue brothers. When I complained, Dad would say, "That’s the beacon for my home-bound ship". Hence, it stayed.

Today, when my orderly stepfather finally uprooted it, I felt little relief. "But that was Dad’s metaphor!" I argued. Caressing Mom’s smock firmly, he pointed out, "And it doesn’t belong in this home".

What A Soup by Sangeetha Kamath 

She's engrossed in a cartoon show on television. How angelic she looks in pink on her special day today. I'm preparing her favourite, Cream of Mushroom Soup! 

She beams when she sees the special lunch and claps her hands in delight with every spoonful I feed her. She relishes every drop of it.

"I'm full, Amma, I'm sleepy now..."

I dab her mouth and lips with a baby wipe.

When she's asleep, I whisper a "Happy Mother's Day to you, Amma..."

Dementia! Wicked and wild...

Today our roles are reversible--

In a heartache, I'm the mother and Amma, you're my child...

A Double Date by Natasha Sharma

The fire spread in her belly. The touch was electric yet so- illicit. Nadia was on a double date with Aditya and another couple, Sharan and Richa. The sexual tension between them was palpable. She averted her gaze.

She couldn’t concentrate on the conversation, her heart throbbing. Her reaction, a betrayal, out of control. She sneaked a look and when their eyes met, time stood still.

She excused herself, seeking solace. Exiting the bathroom, Nadia bumped into someone.
“Do you feel it too?”
She gulped as she met Richa’s eyes, exchanging currents, lust.

The fire spread in her belly.

Somewhere in The Future by Divya Garg
27th March 2024

She was sweating profusely seeing him bleeding like this. Somehow managed to take him to the nearby hospital - hurriedly filled out all the forms and completed the formalities. They were rushing him into the ICU, time was running faster and slower at the same time. She was impatiently looking in their direction - unsure of everything that had happened a few seconds before. And then just right there, before beginning the procedure, the doctor asked someone to check with her as she had missed filling one field: Religion; where she had mentioned: Human. 
Will I Be Yours? by Sudha Viswanathan

'How mellifluously do her songs flow!!! Her voice is so very enchanting. Will I be able to join her in a duet anytime in life??? I want to be by her side forever and forever.'

He mutely appreciated her songs.

'How sharp does his brain work??? The answers to every mathematical problem are at the edge of his tongue, ever ready to spill. Will he accept a duffer like me forever and forever?'

She, too, yearned for him.

'Love is blind,' they say, and so were the two; students of Vidya Niketan for the visually handicapped.

So, God gave them both the boxes.

Murder by Geetanjali Maria 

The light green leaf swayed gently in the breeze. A water droplet held fast onto the leaf lest it fall and break in the motion. Reshma watched the plant and the water droplet enjoying their morning dance, paired beautifully. She felt something rise up in her chest. She wanted to touch the droplet, feel its coolness, break it. The plant was hers. Its leaves were hers. How dare the droplet? In one sudden movement, she jabbed her index finger into the heart of the water droplet. It was no longer a water droplet. Blood flowed down her index finger. 
Destined Travel by Divvisha Bharti

She sat at the window waiting for the fellow passengers' on-boarding. Someone tapped on her shoulder. This is my seat, can  you please move. She did so unwillingly.

In that one hour and thirty minutes flight from Bengaluru to Mumbai, she sat disappointed. But little did she know that everything was going to change. She got selected for the role in the web series she was going to audition. All this while, she was in her character, dressed like one. The person whose seat she sat on was none other than the director of the production house, producing the series.

Happy Times, Finally! By Chandra Sundeep

My painful cries went unheard in the din. A wedding procession passed by, but the revelers ignored me. A puppy licked my open wounds. The dried blood - my prize; a reminder of my horrendous escape from the brothel. Soon, another procession passed by. But this time, sorrowful wails accompanied it. Unseen beings greeted me with a welcoming smile.   

I drifted along, embraced by calm and peace.  

A broken girl and an abandoned puppy bid me farewell. 

Scarred remains left behind. Amidst the clouds, I smiled for the first time in forever. 

I never knew I could be happy too!

Where Is He? By Devika Dhond

It marked the end of yet another run-of-the-mill day. Two pairs of gummy eyes that toddled behind the third petite-swift pair, had zoned into a blur of imagination, forecast zzzz…

Circling around the haze of midnight’s sleep, she tried to pat his back to reassure his position, subconsciously. His bantam structure went missing. Stirred out of the haze she yelled. Where is he? He didn’t fall, he would cry, but he cannot get off the bed yet.

Within thirty seconds of a frantic search they found the innocent brat relinquishing his arms to a snooze near their feet.

My Nothing by Bindu Saxena

The book I authored lay before me. I looked at it with nothingness. Suddenly, Nothing knocked on my five doors. It engaged me in something with Nothing in it. It is nothing new, but it is everything to me.

As I embed my thoughts, in nothingness, there emerged something - described in manuals, poems, and songs. In that something, I found the silhouette of my Nothing. I see it every second of my day engulfing me in its fold. My mind refuses to keep it off. It is there – everywhere, in every pore. What did you fathom, O Nothing sunshine-summer?!  

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