Right guys, so Contest 2 has come and gone. A friend of mine who entered the first contest said that this one won’t get as many responses because it is a ‘touchy issue’. (Yes, all my friends are pessimists. Birds of a feather.) He was right. We didn’t get as many entries as we did last time. But we didn’t do too badly either.
This time we got twenty eight entries. Once again the diversity of opinion and style was good to see. We had poems, essays, narrative pieces and short stories. Some argued for, some argued against, some explained it using Darwinian evolutionary theory. Ultimately, everyone had their say, which is the important thing.
A few prizes
Before I announce the winner, a few prizes that I forgot to mention last time.
- The Early Bird Award, which honours the first entry of the contest. For being brave enough to throw his hat first into the ring and set the ball rolling, we give this to Aayan Banerjee, good friend and former Write Club member, who blogs at and as Gyan Ban.
- The Eager Beaver Award, which recognizes those entrants who make use of the contest’s multiple entry criteria and post more than one comment in response to the post. This time there was only one that ticked this box (shame on the others!), and that is Nitthilan, who blogs at Yearly Log. Congratulations, Nitthilan! Looks like your blog is just beginning. We wish you all the best with it.
- The Rebel Award, which pays homage to the one contestant who writes the longest post of the contest, breaking the word count rule to smithereens in the process. Sidharth Singh, thank you for your post.
There were five entries that were strong contenders for the prize.
- Gowri (who wrote as gowrink) wrote a nice short narrative piece about a boy selling national flags at the traffic signal on Independence Day.
- Pirithivi Raj wrote a poem depicting an Army Officer having a drink on the last day of service.
- Aparna H S entered with a poem on Pumpy Dare who went in search of juicier apples and always promised to return (but never did).
- J. Antony’s entry was a restrained mood piece on a Swedish citizen who feels patriotic towards India because of a cultural link.
- Ashish wrote a poignant piece on a terrorist who begins with revenge in his heart but ends with love.
For its raw passion, vivid images, and hauntingly unsettling prose, I’ve decided, after much deliberation, to give the prize away to Prithivi Raj.
I’m posting the comment here in full so that you can read it.
Patriotism is everywhere,
That’s the problem isn’t it?
It has pervaded our Id, ego and super-ego,
And whatever is left of our collective psyche,
Like goddamn ink in water!
The flag on the ground is infamy!
Individualism is blasphemy!
Patriotism is just a way to condition you and
To make you sway any which way.
But you buy it,
Like an obligatory purchase
Of cheap cotton candy in a town fair;
Some bullshit about pride and glory,
In exchange for complete submission.
Just because a line falls between you and
A man who was your comrade a few decades ago, Mind you,
He is now your enemy.
I believed that idea
And spat out all thoughts of brotherhood,
Of basic humanity,
And shot him in the face,
Him and a few others,
Who ate, shat, laughed and bled,
Just like you and me,
Because a fucking line fell between us
And because our leaders decided which side of the line
Our allegiances lie.
Wow! You have a flag-pinned on you!
Carry it with pride, boy!
Pour me another shot…
This flag of our motherland,
Is what we soldiers fight for,
And lose our shrapnel-riddled limbs for.
This flag is what pays my bills,
Buys my drink,
And changes my adult diaper when it’s soiled,
This flag is what rolls my wheelchair down the park,
As I drool down the sides of my mouth.
Glory, Oh Glory to the flag!
In a cold nation, you just raided,
Would you pull down your flag and cover a shivering little girl,
Or would you cry “Hail Motherland” and stamp on her neck,
And exult over your victory?
Will you socially conditioned rats start thinking?
Tomorrow, I am the same as your little flag pin,
Useless and unworthy of any notice,
I would be discharged.
Heck, I won’t even get free booze.
Let me down some more while it’s still Independence Day.
Another shot for the patriot, you fucking pansy!
What happens now?
The show must go on, as they say. I will give the prize to Pirithivi, and then tomorrow, details for Contest 3 will be up. See you all there!