Contest 10: What do you see in the mirror?

rockwell-girl-at-the-mirror

Welcome to Contest 10! This contest is CLOSED. Closing date for comments/entries was Wednesday, the 31st of December, 2014. The winner will be announced on Saturday, the 3rd of January, 2015. If you missed out on this contest, don’t worry. The next one is just around the corner.

Readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of Norman Rockwell. Some of my posts here have featured his art. I’ve used his work as inspiration on slow writing days before, so I thought it will work well as prompts for our contest as well.

But since Mr Rockwell’s output is so huge, I picked a small selection of his images that deal with a particular theme (looking into mirrors) for the purposes of this contest.

Topic

The topic/prompt for this contest is:

What we see in mirrors

Norman-Rockwell-Triple-Self-Portrait-1960

As you know, what looks back at us when we look in the mirror depends on who we are. In literature and art, mirrors have been used to mean a variety of things, from objects of vanity to tools of introspection. How you choose to write about it is your choice.

1. You can write a piece of fiction that involves a character looking into a mirror, either literally or figuratively.

2. If you lean that way, you can capture your feelings in a poem. Or an essay or a mood piece.

3. You can interpret the act of ‘looking into a mirror’ in whatever way you wish, however loosely. As long as you pin down the general theme, that’s fine.

4. Word limit, as usual, is 300 words. But you know that we don’t impose this rule very strictly. If your piece must be longer, so be it.

5. You can use the images that are sprinkled all over this post as inspiration. Pay particular attention to the emotions that each person feels when looking at themselves in the mirror, and in one particular case, the difference between perception and reality.

Muscleman_web

How do you enter the contest?

It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.

What’s the prize?

A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 500 Indian rupees. It looks like this.

Flipkart-Voucher

No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).

How is the winner selected?

Each comment will be rated on three things:

1. Clarity: We should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.

2. Personal Touch: We’re interested in getting to know you better. So go for depth, specificity and honesty. In narrative pieces, the deeper you take us with you into the scene, the better it is.

3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.

The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.

1949-prom-dress

 

Rules/Guidelines/Suggestions

1. The closing date for comments/entries is Wednesday, the 31st of December, 2014. The winner will be announced on Saturday, the 3rd of January, 2015.

2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.

3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.

4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.

And finally…

Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. You can share it with just a click on the sharing buttons below.

See you in the comments!

Images Courtesy: 1, 2, 3, 4

Comments

  1. I am that guy,

    The guy on the other side of the mirror,
    We meet pretty often, though we don’t talk much.

    I still remember the first time we met,
    you were bald, and it was hard for me to stop smiling.
    Only two teeth in front but you look fair.
    That time you were “fair”, no prejudices.

    Those days when you started school,
    that running nose and your hanky tucked to your shirt.
    You hated it, I had to wear it for you too.
    Made you realize how hideous it was, but it was just a phase.

    The time when you got the sense of fashion.
    It was my favorite fall.
    We spent most of the time together, seldom talked too.
    By far that was the most active time of my existence.

    The time you got your girlfriend,
    you often gazed at me with pink eyes.
    Early mornings before college,
    well I noticed those blinking chat screen all night long,
    I was there to support you,
    Helped you look great in all attires you picked.

    When she dumped you and went,
    we’ve cried together.
    There I heard you saying you are lonely.
    Well, I was right there !

    I am that guy who always told you to set your collar right,
    that finest suits and silky ties and square pockets.
    They say I look like you,
    well we both looked pretty decent back then.

    Time flew by and I realized, you’ve changed a lot.
    Well I too, but that’s my job you see.
    I was supposed to show you what you had.
    But I have my concerns too.

    When young, you looked right into my eye, I looked into yours.
    We both knew, it had no lies, no fake smiles, it was fair.
    Later those eye to eye interactions lessened and now you just see what I wear.
    I know because I also do the same.

    I feel sad that our deeds have got us somewhere that it’s hard even to look in the eye.
    You too can change. They say you get the traits from people you meet.
    Why don’t you be as selfless as I am? We meet daily.
    I am even going to die the day you will.

    Think once. For my sake.

    I am that guy.

    -Arpit Khandelwal
    twt: @karpit3 || fb: /k.arpit3
    http://www.rightfromleftside.wordpress.com

    Like

    • Hi Arpit! First entry once again. You’re making this ‘ball roller award’ your own, I see 🙂 I liked this perspective, which almost looks at the mirror as a portal connecting our ‘real’ world to the ‘reflected’ world that exists beyond the mirror. That way our reflections have lives too, and bar for the times when we come to the mirror and summon them, they will live them their way, one supposes. And of course, the question always lingers: who is real, who is reflected? It was interesting to see the point of view of the reflection. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  2. “You love me just because I am good looking. But remember, one day this all will fade away.” she said in a taunting tone.

    I was trying to dodge that bullet, was getting ready for a presentation and already running late than my daily routine.

    I softly replied, “But I love you.”

    She smiled, came close to me and said, “I have heard that a lot from you, I am worried about my future.”

    I said,” I am already running late, can you please lay down the breakfast before I get ready. Please.”

    She looked at me and said, “But I want my answer. Will you love me when I’ll be old, wrinkled and weak?”

    I held her from the back and took her to the dressing table, stood in front of the mirror and she could see herself and my face leaning over her right shoulder.

    “What do you see?” I asked.

    She looked into the mirror, smiled and replied, “It’s us, I am looking beautiful as always and you are getting old Sanjay. Look at the grey.”

    I said, “Nope, that’s not the way I see. Let me show you what I see.”

    I slightly slide her bit closer to the mirror and we both were looking at each other’s image in it.
    “I want you to look deep into my eyes. You know one day everything else will matter less. And these eyes will shimmer exactly the same way if we are happy.”

    She looked deep in them, could see clearly what I meant. Things that were hard to explain in words were clearly written all over that mirror.

    And suddenly I saw her eyes started to brim. Those watery eyes even got me with them. She now softly said,” I got my answer Sanjay. But how did you know I will understand this?”

    I took a deep breath and replied, “Because I promised myself the day I decided to propose you that, I should be able to keep you happy forever. Love is not just a feeling but a responsibility to me. Since that day, every morning I get up, stand in front of the mirror and look into my eyes. The day I would not be able to see right into my eyes will be the day I will realize that I am not doing enough for you. This mirror here is the test paper I write every day to check whether the path I am choosing for us are correct and I am at least equal if not bigger the man I was the day I proposed you.”

    -Arpit Khandelwal
    twt: @karpit3 || fb: /k.arpit3
    http://www.rightfromleftside.wordpress.com

    Like

    • This is a nice start to a story, Arpit. I would like to see another scene written as a follow-up for this, with the same couple standing in front of the mirror as an old couple, and see how the dialogue happens then. It will be interesting to hear their thoughts as old people too, I think. Of course, I’m assuming that they will have a long marriage.

      Like

  3. Wings of Harmony says:

    Mirrors, they say, trap your soul if you look in too deep. Mirrors show who you really are, but amplifies what you have become. And when you decide to look into your own eyes, you know, your soul looks back at you, with what, only you can tell.

    Oh, you sweet sweet little thing!
    Done with all your baubles and bling?

    You stand before me every single day,
    Standing dainty and pretty like Fey.

    Clap Clap Clap,
    The thunderous tap,
    Don your Princess dress and wear your crystal hat,

    Lights shine upon your beautiful face,
    Suitors and Knights run in an unmatched race.

    For you to touch, for you to try,
    One look at them, you have everything to buy.

    But when darkness falls and you return to me,
    Alone and shattered like a barren tree.

    Your lipstick smudged, your eyes so bright,
    You yell at me and scream in fright.

    I watch you break and curse the fate,
    You’re so intense, your love for me you hate.

    But you know only I love you,
    Only I stay, forever true.

    I know who are you and what you become,
    Yet, I stop you from becoming numb,

    Where will you go, away from me?
    How can you think I will let you be?

    And though you await the cold embrace of Death,
    I will hold your shadows close, like your relieved breath,

    You are the Mistress of Damage and Error,
    And I will haunt you forever my love, trapped in your broken Mirror.

    Like

    • Hey WOH. I felt in this poem the rhyme was a little forced. Also there wasn’t much in the way of structure or rhythm. So after I while I just gave up trying to sing the words in my head and took to reading them as prose instead. A couple of lines I liked were the first two (baubles and bling – that had a nice ring to it) and also the ‘Only I say, forever true’. I think there is potential in this piece, because you can draw parallels between a person’s reflection and their self, and then stretch that metaphor as far as it can go. But this poem stops short of that, I think. Nevertheless, thanks for sharing 🙂

      Like

  4. Dear Stranger in the Mirror,

    Wasn’t it just yesterday, when I had been there, behind this glass shield that separates us? How can I disappear in a matter of moments, only to be replaced by you? Who are you, oh, familiar stranger?
    You have my eyes but my eyes have never been bedecked with so many beautiful layers of mascara, before. They have never glittered so much with the excitement of expectations and dreams. Never before have they mirrored the happiness I feel, like this!

    You have lips that curve exactly like mine, when I smile. Except I have never worn this shade of red gloss on them, before. They seem more confident, now, when they part, no longer hiding behind the subtle peaches and pinks of my college days.

    You have a nose that is as huge and as misshapen as mine, but, it is now adorned with a glistening nose pin carved in gold.

    Your forehead is as broad as mine was, but it sports a vermillion mark. The unkempt fringes of hair no longer disturb the perfectly placed round of my crimson bindi. The black of my hair is tied in a neat bun, to rest with dignity at the back of my head, where it belongs.

    Your arms, as long as mine, are covered till elbows, and the alternating red and white of the chooda bangles never fails to jingle when I move. We intersect, stranger, and pieces of me seem better now that you share them, too.

    I wonder where the vagabond I used to be, has gone, dear stranger!

    Perhaps it got lost too when my torn jeans and tight T shirts were lost in the meticulous folds of my Kanjeevaram; or when I had to give up my tattoos in exchange of the mehendi that swirled and coloured my hands and wrists a deep, delicious henna.

    Or maybe it never was me, in the first place. Maybe I always wanted the security, the comfort, the belonging that comes with being like you. Maybe I always wished for the stability that marriage would bring and the joy his love would provide.

    And, this reminds me how I love to sign with his surname attached to the back of my name, like a rook guarding a castled king in a game of chess.

    I think I am okay with waking up to you, in the mirror, you, familiar stranger! I think it is fitting that we blend in somehow, that my identity has become interwoven with his somehow, and that I am married now.

    Yes, I do miss who I used to be, but, I would love to make friends with you, you who are supposedly exactly who I am.

    I am happy to know you, and who knows, maybe, one fine day, I would be able to love you, too, like I love myself. I hope that sounds okay to you, dear stranger in the mirror!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Garima. I loved this! Apart from the feeling that you used the phrase ‘stranger in the mirror’ a bit too often, I have no other thing to say about it. Loved the whole concept of a woman changing into a new person almost after her wedding. In India especially, and elsewhere too in a generic sense, women tend to move (or they’re expected to move) from one role to the next seamlessly, and somehow still keep their core identities intact. That pressure, I can’t help but think, is slightly less for men. You brought that out beautifully. Thanks for writing 🙂

      Like

    • Well articulated. I loved reading this piece.

      Like

    • Its a nice portrayal of the transformation of a free flying girl to a married responsible woman.

      Like

  5. aadithya1996 says:

    Some one may touch you back
    The buzz of people occupying streets with organizers with walkies talkies running in an around the place was chaotic .The super talented models occupying the genuine leather seats with two to three stylists waving their hand over the mascara a quick touch ups for the about to start show . The fashion week in paris on its last day showcased the best super sexy models of the era . Rebbeca jerome sat in the hall gazing at the mirror on how her boat ex injected face has wrinkles breeding on either side. Sylvia who had been rebbeca’s stylist took more time than she used to . After the time came for the first model to cat wall . Rebbbeca re-accounted the day she first sensed the need to look good, she thought about the day in which she used her mothers eye dazzler and lip gloss before her first date.Days had passed by still she couldn’t forget the day she set her foot on the ramp,she actually didn’t have stylists then .Then it was her time she in her glimmering black skirt and yellow shirt with a green mismatch collar and a twisted roman hairstyle walked with sheer joy.Her mentor;s word ringed in her ears when she turned around to go back for the one last time “Be passive about your backstage or inner emotions on stage , here people just see your flesh and not a droppeth of your tear of sorrow or joy”.Having had a decent career in modelling she descended the steps which made her feature in cover pages . She came back to her place with sylvia missing she stared at the mirror,wondering how beauty is a temporary asset of the almighty she touched the mirror in front and and yes she could feel a sense of connectivity as the mirror was able to justify the beauty she possessed. First with tissues she cleaned her eye lashes and removed the temporary ones,Now she wiped he face with two tissues thereby cleaning the entire face now a quaint old face with no cosmetic appears in the mirror .She suddenly goes back 7 long years when for the first time she entered the room and was overjoyed by why the brilliance of the industry.Time went by she removed other fairness coatings and at last switched the yellow light before her .She went to the mirror ans whispered “Be extra nice to the next girl who sits here……………:;”

    Like

    • Hi Aadithya. I see that you have an eye for the specific detail, which is good. But I do think you should pay attention to grammar and style. For instance, notice that you whole entry was one big blob of text. Instead of that, consider using paragraphs so that you introduce pauses into the reader’s experience. Also, there are a lot of disjointed threads and images in your writing. You should try and gain coherence, even if it means you rewrite your first draft a few times until it feels like a structured piece. Until then, your writing is going to be hard to read and understand. If you feel like having more help, write to me on sharath40@gmail.com. Good luck, and thanks for entering your piece 🙂

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  6. Rajat Tandon says:

    Whenever I stand in front of you,
    I visualize myself in every hue
    Out of the blue,
    But why? No clue.

    You remind me of
    The vices in me,
    The niceness in me,
    The periods of crisis,
    The days of brightness,
    The priceless memories,
    The lifeless anxieties,
    And give me mixed feelings.

    You remind me of my previous face,
    My ex-identity,
    Which I lost in the horrifying accident
    Every time I look at you,
    The excruciating pain of the cosmetic surgery
    Revamps in my mind.
    The picture of my burnt face,
    Pops up around me.

    The anguish leading to languish,
    The agony and the misery,
    Clubbed together
    Make me cringe with pain.

    On the contrary,
    It also brings to my mind,
    The thought that
    Some things need to be overlooked
    In order to stay happy in life.
    Else life is pale,
    Like a jail,
    Without any bail;
    So let your ship sail.

    Like

    • Hi Rajat! Welcome to the blog, and thanks for throwing your hat into the contest. I liked this poem in bits, and I do think it has some potential if you spend some more time developing it. It has too many words, and if you can cut it down to perhaps 70% of its size, it might emerge as a better piece. The rhyming comes across as forced at certain places, especially at the very end, where jail, bail and sail come together. To take your poetry to the next level, I suggest you pay more attention to rhythm than rhyme. Rhythm also goes by the name ‘meter’. You could do a Google search for ‘Iambic Pentameter’ and see where that leads you.

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  7. Two faced – The mirror is me…

    The white tile walls of an interrogation room,
    The damp smell of sweat and b…blood,
    Or the blinding light
    That drills through your retina
    And sears your b…b…brain…

    No; none of this will rattle you.
    It’s that mirror in the wall.

    I work undercover,
    In a drug gang,
    Grassroots work.
    Life of a f…f…foot soldier.

    I’m a snitch.
    Yes, a poser.
    I look like them,
    I snort like them,
    B…B…But I am not them.

    Stammering is the f…f…first symptom,
    Then comes Dissociative Disorder –
    Some visions, Depersonalization,
    And then the B…B…Big Sleep.

    For now, I’m like that mirror,
    That two-faced f…f…faker there.
    A personal space for reflection,
    Your confidant.

    Two-faced, as I am,
    I’ll hoodwink you,
    I’ll invade your space,
    Learn your life,
    And when you’re most vulnerable
    I’ll expose you,
    Leave you stranded,
    F…F…Feeling raw.

    I’m a faithful window from one side,
    A deceptive b…b…blockade from the other.
    For the good to p…p…peer at the bad;
    For the right to stand hidden and
    To scan, judge and p…p…persecute the wrong.

    I look into the mirror,
    Closer and closer,
    All I see
    Is the mirror
    Not a drug p…p…peddler,
    Just the mirror,

    I am the mirror,
    The mirror is me…

    Like

    • Hi Pirithivi! Welcome back after a hiatus on these pages. As always, your entry has some nice images, and I liked the stammering touch as well. The stanza that begins with ‘I’m a faithful window from one side…’ is my favourite. Had to read the poem a couple of times to understand it completely, and I get the feeling that I still probably don’t get it as you meant it. Not as structured as some of your previous pieces, but still good. Thanks! 🙂

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  8. There she was, looking at her tired, swollen eyes. The mascara from the previous night didn’t seem to do it’s magic anymore. Instead it only made her eyes look more bleary and exhausted, as if to hide their true emotions. Though she didn’t remember crying or not sleeping enough, was the mirror playing tricks on her?

    Only a couple of days ago, she remembered standing at the same place making sure she had everything in place before stepping out that door. Those very eyes had shone brightly in the yellow light with the slightest of make up on. She never did need any make up, she looked happy with her lips breaking into a smile for no reason. A natural glee on her face, a little bounce in her feet and a little thank you prayer made her feel alive.

    She came back to what she saw now. How things had changed in the last two days, she knew not. The mirror looked dull, like it had not been cleaned for days. She tried to clean it, in the hope to brighten up the reflection, but nothing changed. The eyes were still dark and tired, her lips were still stiff, refusing to part and make way for a smile.

    Maybe it was not the mirror after all that had made her feel good about herself. She never did need to look into the mirror to feel good. Her mirror was not the piece of glass she had mistaken it to be. His dark glassy eyes had been her only true mirror. She looked the way she felt with him. She looks now, the way she feels without him.

    Like

    • Hey Swati! Hope you’re doing well. I liked most of this piece, especially the way you ended it. The final two sentences have a nice ring to them and go well together. If anything, I think now and then your sentences are a little looser than they need to be – e.g. ‘A natural glee on her face, a little bounce in her feet and a little thank you prayer made her feel alive’. That sentence doesn’t read very well. Consider introducing a period or a semi-colon to break it up. I would have written it like this: ‘A natural glee on her face; a little bounce in her feet; a thank you prayer on her lips. They made her feel alive.’ Things like these, just to make your writing that much tighter.

      Apart from that, I thought it was good 🙂

      Like

  9. Title: It’s your fault..

    “It is all your fault…”

    “Look at you, you look so pathetic. Who told you to open your bloody mouth? You deserve this, bitch. That black eye, how will you explain it at work tomorrow, another bump against the wall!?”

    She stood silent, listening to the rant. Staring straight into the eyes of her tormentor.

    “Say something dammit! Dumb mute! You think just because he said sorry, you will never get another black eye or broken nose. You are as stupid as you look. Retarded bitch!”

    She silently lifted her hand and wiped the blood streaming from the corner of her lips. She winced in pain, at her split lip. A tear escaped.

    “Why are you crying? You let him do this to you. Why can’t you run away? Oh, wait yes! No one will take you home, now will they? You left your job for love, tied yourself to him with a child? Hahahahah oh wait, I want to see it again. Turn left, will you?”

    She turned left and exposed the jagged scar that ran from her temple and across her cheek.

    “Hahahaha, your face is marred. You are so ugly, I feel like puking when I look at you. Didn’t I tell you that night? Shut up…shut the fuck up! But no, you had to open your big mouth and question him, question his actions. Now look at you, you scarred freak! You asked for it.”

    She picked it up, her hands shaking, her eyes clouded with tears. Everything looked blurry, she thought of her parents, her child. A loud sob escaped her.

    Her tormentor stared at her with an expression of gory curiosity. “Yes…yes do it! You know you want to.” An eerie, cackling laughter escaped the mouth of her tormentor.

    She did not need any more encouragement; she stabbed her neck again and again until she fell in a pool of blood.
    If you could see the mirror then, you would see blood form a crimson halo around the woman’s long black hair.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lakshmi. I did not feel this was particularly original because we’ve seen this motif (internal voice speaking through a mirror) so many times in movies. Even the theme and the central point of the story seemed a little too cliched (I understand domestic violence is a serious subject, but I’m referring to the treatment of it here). I read through the whole piece searching for your take on these themes that would make the piece fresh, but nothing emerged. Even the final killing did not come as a shock or a sympathetic moment. I suddenly realized I did not care much about the woman. Maybe my senses have been dulled by similar images I’d seen elsewhere very often.

      Your pieces are generally quite original, so I don’t mean this as generic feedback, but we should always look for ways to add originality and freshness to concepts and themes. After all, we cannot invent new themes, but we can always add new frills 🙂 Well written, though. The writing is good, as always. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

      • Hey Sharath…thank you and you are ruthless :-p
        Yes, both my pieces have been written on a whim and my learning from this would be to think the topic through and come up with more originality.
        P.S: We miss you at the write club.

        Like

  10. I SEE MYSELF

    I see a face that I have been looking at for 50 years. The ends of the eyes are weighed down with sorrow and worries, but there is something in the pupils…if I lean closer, without glasses, where a certain childishness still peaks through.
    I see hair that is still thick and luxurious, a product of the loving care of a mother who washed it thoroughly every week of my childhood, where oils and shampoos had to be things collected from under a tree due to poverty. A poverty that worked for it.
    I see arms that sag under the weight of prosperity now, a prosperity that these arms had a large part in bringing about.
    I see hands that started out soft, then became rough with work, and are now turning soft again. A full circle.
    I see a neck that still stands erect. A neck that still looks proud and aloof, holding its own despite many attempts to make it bend.
    I see breasts that were once an attraction, a shame and pride, now sag. They have nurtured and attracted, all at the right times. Now they are in graceful retirement, existing in quiet dignity.
    I see a waist and stomach that radiates comfort, warmth and love. The scars that it bears proudly of the life that burst forth from it. Relaxing and resting like an athlete after a marathon.
    I see legs that have increased in weight, to take over the increasing weight of the years. Sometimes collapsing under the sheer weight of those busy years, but still plodding on, one step at a time.
    I look back at my face…I see the smile spreading on that lined face…I see beauty.

    Like

    • Hi Moonlight. I think this is your first appearance on the blog. If so, welcome! I liked the concept of losing physical beauty and gaining a certain other kind of beauty as we age. This probably occurs to men as well – i.e. they get seen as less physically attractive, perhaps, but compensate for it with wisdom, experience and wealth – but for women, I think this contrast is more marked because of the physical acts of giving birth and care. They swing on a wider arc than men in this regard. Good to see all of that in your piece. I especially liked the description of the hands, from soft to hard back to soft again 🙂

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      • Thanks Sharath, really liked your comments. I agree that the contrast is more because of the sheer emphasis on being physically attractive is more and thus women tend to get an identity out of that and when that ceases, it kind of becomes a crisis. Not saying it might not be on the same scale for some men, too.

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  11. “You are so beautiful, Isobel,” she whispered, looking at herself in the mirror.
    A petite woman looked back at her. Brown almond shaped eyes with long eyelashes. Full, bee-stung ruby lips. A pert nose. High cheekbones and a wide forehead. A complexion as fair as milk and long, ebony black hair trailing down in curls onto her shoulders, framing her lovely face.
    “You are the living Madonna, Senora Martinez,” a suitor had once told her, his eyes the colour of seas, his facial expression that of a person who has just met God, his cheeks the colour of tomatoes.
    “Why did you reject him, Isobel? He was a nice enough man. Could have made a good husband for you,” the mirror spoke to her.
    “Bah! A good husband? He wasn’t even good enough to be the dust under my feet!” Isobel snorted in reply, batting her eyelashes and twirling a lock of her hair with one hand.
    “Careful, my dear Isobel. Vanity is not a trait we mirrors value in the people who seek their reflections within us,” the king-sized mirror, with ornate, gilded edges spoke. It had been in the Martinez family for generations.
    “This mirror is your heirloom, Bella. If you sit in front of a mirror, alone, they talk back to you. They are a woman’s most loyal and loving friends,” her mother had told her when Isobel was very young.
    “But what are you for, if not for vanity, O Mirror? Where else do we seek the appreciation we receive when we look into you?” Isobel asked, her eyes widening.
    “We show people the truth, Isobel. We are the only means to show them who they really are. It’s a different thing when they chose to see only what they want to see.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Percykerry. Welcome to the blog, and thanks for sharing your piece. It was written well, especially the parts where you describe the suitor. (I’ve always been struck by men who blush when complimenting a lady. And of course they get snubbed.) I liked how you spoke about how mirrors can be instruments of both vanity and introspection, with the choice of use in our hands. However, I felt that your piece ended a little too abruptly. I would have liked a bit more character, a bit more of the description in your first two paragraphs throughout your piece. Having said that, a good entry 🙂

      Like

  12. I looked into the mirror one day
    I could see nothing, in there
    The silver just glared me back
    I smiled, I frowned,
    I turned around
    The mirror agape, still blank
    I looked harder,
    finally looked away
    And right then,
    I saw my reflection –
    In the wall that day !

    Like

  13. Rohit Bhasy says:

    6am.
    Anup woke up with a start, to the alarm that sounded by the bedside table. Quickly gathering his wits, he pulled the buzzing mobile phone towards him and swiped the alarm off. It had become one of those routines for which he didn’t need his glasses.

    His hands searched the bed for his spectacles. Half asleep, his hands stumbled upon the frame. Grabbing it by the arm, Anup placed it on the bridge of his nose.

    The bedroom, which was a blur of black and blue without the glasses, had now come to life with clear sharp edges. His bedroom was small, yet large enough to accommodate his single bed, a small cupboard by the bedroom door, a wall clock and a small rack of books. On the other end of the room, by the small window, was a floor length mirror. The mirror was his favourite piece of furniture in his room. He had accessorized the mirror with pictures of A topless Hrithik Roshan, a guitar weilding Jimi Hendrix and some 10 odd paper cuttings of Deepika Padukone.

    Getting up from the bed, he made his way to the mirror. And then, the routine followed.

    Standing in front of the mirror, Anup looked at Hrithik Roshan and smiled. Hrithik looked back with the same pout and the same biceps he had yesterday and since the time he had been on the mirror. His gaze then followed the various Deepika Padukones and he felt his cheeks grow warm. He winked at a picture in which she flashed her 1000 watt smile. Anup’s eyes then, darted to Jimi Hendrix to the right. Anup’s hand folded in reverance to the guitar legend, who seemed to be too busy with the guitar in hand, not bothering to look at the boy with folded hands.

    He now looked straight at him, the Anup in the mirror. The lanky frame, the oversized banian and the loose shorts vanished. The Anup in the mirror was now topless. Six pack abs, ripped biceps a toned hairless chest, and a guitar strapped behind him. The Anup in the mirror was all that the Anup on the other side of it wanted to be.

    Anup lifted his thin right arm and flexed his non-existent biceps. The Anup in the mirror, had a huge bulge on his biceps, like the one Hrithik had. Anup took off his banian and tried flexing his chest. He had seen some actor doing that in a movie. Lanky Anup’s chest didn’t as much as twitch. But the Anup in the mirror, wore a wide, confident smile on his face and flexed his chests with ease.

    As the sunlight streamed in from the window, the stage was set for Anup’s live performance. The sunlight was the spotlight he was waiting for. Though it fell on him sideways, it fell perfectly on top of the Anup in the mirror, plain white like the moonlight.

    Anup bent to his left, picked up the broomstick and held it diagonally in front of him. The Anup in the mirror pulled the flashy guitar from behind him. The Anup on the other side could hear the crowd screaming his name, the women going crazy.

    With a flourish, the two Anups went into a tizzy of sorts. Anup with the broomstick, now a rockstar, was headbanging to a song he could hear only in his head, as he lipsynced. The Anup in the mirror had women swooning over him as he played the guitar like a professional, with ease. The screams of ANUUUUUUUP! ANUUUUUUUUP! grew louder. It was euphoric.

    Ten minutes into the gig, Anup with the broomstick, heard a familiar voice calling out his name. The voice was followed with soft taps. He was too lost in his performance to make sense of where the voice came from and to whom it belonged.

    And then the voice grew loud, overshadowing the noise of the crowd. ANUP! Hurry up! You’ll be late!!!

    Anup with the broomstick stood still. Thr Anup in the mirror was now in the same loose banian and shorts that he was wearing. His glasses hung precariously on his nose, just about to fall off. His hair was a mess, as sweat made its way down his face. The broomstick in his hands too looked ruffled.

    He sighed…and smiled…

    He pointed into the mirror and said to himself, ‘ See you tomorrow rockstar’

    ANUUUUP!

    Yes mom! I’m up!

    Like

    • Hi Rohit! I liked this a lot. Even though the overall theme and set-up is not original, you went deep enough into the scene to make it your own, with plenty of specific details. I loved the broomstick, the loose vest, the precariously hanging spectacles, the ‘rock star’ line, everything. The only thing I would say is that the word ‘Anup’ probably appears a bit too often. In a scene where there is no other character present, perhaps it did not need to appear so many times. But that’s a very minor gripe. Most of it is quite good 🙂

      Like

      • Rohit Bhasy says:

        Thank you for the feedback Sharath! Appreciate you taking the time out to respond to each entry. 🙂

        Like

  14. Anand Kumar says:

    हमारे कमरे में हमारा आईना रहता है

    मेरे कमरे में एक आईना रहता है | आदमकद है, सामने से गुजरिये तो आपको पूरा का पूरा अपने अन्दर समा लेता है | ज्यादातर वक्त मगर खाली ही रहता है | हमने आज कोने से झाँक कर देखा की अकेले करता क्या है | कुर्सी है मफलर भी है इस वक्त, खाली बैठा है, मफ़लर देख कर मन किया इसपर स्याही फेंक दे, क्या है की रोज़ झूठ भी तो बहुत बोलता है |

    कुछ दिनों से समझाने में लगा है की मैं तुम हूँ | लेकिन ये मुझे मेरे जैसा नहीं लगता है | झूठा मगर मेरे ही जितना है, हमें जरूर अपनी प्रेमी समझे बैठा है | हर रोज़ नए किस्से सुनाने बैठ जाता है, जाने कहाँ से इतने किस्से लाता है, ये तो कभी कमरे से बाहर भी नहीं जाता है | जब किसी ने कांट जैसे बड़े लोगों के बारे में कहा था की वो कभी अपने कस्बे से बाहर नहीं गए थे तो लगता था की घर बैठे बैठे इतना कैसे सोचा जा सकता है | आईना देखा तो तसल्ली हुई, पूरे समय खाली होता है सोचता ही रहता होगा | एक ही कहानी दस बार सोच के सुनने लायक भी बना देता होगा |

    पूरी बात न सुनने पर नाराज़ होता की नहीं, ये पुछा नहीं कभी | लेकिन अपना प्रेमी तो वो समझता है, हम इसे प्रेमिका थोड़ी समझे बैठे हैं की इसकी नाराज़गी का असर हो हमपे ! सुबह फिर सुन लेंगे इसके किस्से | रात भी इसकी जागते ही कटती है, शायद ठण्ड लगती होगी | शाम में इसे किसी चादर से ढक देने का इंतज़ाम करते हैं | रोज़ की इसकी बातें सुनते सुनते शायद दोस्ती हो गई है इस से, अब फ़िक्र भी करनी पड़ रही है | शायद धीरे धीरे ऐसे ही प्यार हो जाता होगा |

    शाम से ही परदे गिराते गिराते नयी नयी बातें बताना शुरू कर देता है | सामने की दिवार पर मेरी ही तस्वीर टंगी है, मेरे न होने पे भी मेरा साया यहीं लहराता रहता है | ठण्ड में शायद इसपे धुंध जमी थी, तभी शायद हमें ठीक से देख नहीं पाता होगा | अब साफ़ कर चुके फिर भी हमें कोई और ही बताता है, हम ऐसे तो थे नहीं कभी जैसा ये बताता है |
    नजर नजर का फ़र्क इसको कहते हैं शायद | सब अपनी नजर से दुनिया देखते हैं, तभी “अश्वत्थामा मर गया” कहने पे कोई हाथी की बात करता है और किसी को अपना बेटा समझ में आता है | हम भी लोगों को जैसा समझते हैं वैसे होते नहीं होंगे, कुछ अलग होते होंगे, हमें कुछ और नज़र आता है | लेकिन जैसा आईना दिखाता है वैसे न होने का अफ़सोस होता है कभी कभी, जब इसे हम किसी और जैसे दिखेंगे तो इसका दिल टूट जायेगा | लेकिन आईने का दिल भी कहाँ होता है ? जरूर दिल के बदले ये आईना खुद ही टूटेगा |

    लेकिन इसके टूटने पे बड़ी दिक्कत होगी | अपने कमरे में अकेले बैठना होगा बिना किसी के दिन भर के किस्से सुने | अकेले बड़ी बोरियत होगी | शुक्र है की हमारे कमरे में हमारा आईना रहता है |

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Anand ji. My Hindi reading is not very good, haven’t read much Hindi since high school. So I struggled through reading this. But I must say it’s beautifully written. Many themes come into this piece and make themselves heard. Also, I think this is quite different to the ‘normal’ story that one would think of when mentioning a mirror. You’ve described a mirror itself as a character, which I think is a great twist on the topic. I’m not an experienced enough Hindi reader to give you a knowledgeable critique, but some parts of it sounded quite melodious to my ear. Thank you very much for sharing! 🙂

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  15. Title: Mirror Mirror on the Wall

    Anya’s favorite thing, in her entire room, oh wait, her entire home; was the dressing table. It was an antique, that Daddy got her, knowing her love for mirrors. It was solid teak wood, classy and had three mirrors to ensure all angles were covered.

    Anya stood there checking herself out. She liked what she saw. Tall, willowy, and fair, Anya was the queen of her college. There wasn’t a single guy who did not want to date her, or a single girl who did not want to be like her.

    She wrapped the towel tightly around her moist skin and traced the contours of her slim figure. Her long wet hair, fell across her oval face creating an allure of magic.
    Anya stood there, admiring herself, for long, until her phone rang. It was Sid, her boy friend. Tonight was the 31st of December, time to party.

    “Yeah”, Anya asked in her usual, “I don’t give a shit about you” tone.

    “Babie, we are waiting, come down. It has been half an hour already.” Sid begged Anya.

    “I have to get dressed. Wait more!” Anya used her most authoritative tone. She looked back at her reflection, three of them staring back at Anya and spoke, “Sid, better start behaving if he wants to get any action, like ever!”

    She dried her hair and styled them. Spent another twenty minutes applying makeup and finally donned a shimmering white, off shoulder gown. Anya checked her reflection, all three of them, for any bump, or love handle. Nothing! She was perfect.

    Anya’s reflections stared back at her in approval, with perfectly done eyes, as her brown hair fell in cascading waves, caressing her beautiful oval face.

    Sid called again, this time Anya disconnected and stuffed her phone into a white clutch.

    She gave her reflections one last look and blew a kiss. “You look gorgeous!”

    As Anya left, three reflections stood there in the mirror and stared at each other.

    Like

    • Hi LP. This has more of the magic realism elements that your writing usually contains. What I would have loved was for one of the reflections to jump out of the mirror at the very end 🙂 The trick with pulling off magic realism is to make the ‘realism’ part of it as real as you can so that the magic bit appears as one with the world. It’s a good attempt, but generally it requires more space to do it convincingly. Good attempt, though.

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      • Hey Sharath,

        Thanks.
        If I were to extend this story, I would talk about the reflections haunting the house and using Anya as a medium.
        However, you are right, when you say that it requires more space to bring out the magical realism.

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  16. I stood in front of the mirror to comb my hair and do my face up to go to a party. But got stuck just looking at my face instead of the question ‘ How do I look okay’ the question that came out was who am I? lo and behold ! what do I see the same face but not the same place. I see myself in a countryside house with a hand mirror looking at me. oh oh whats happening who am I now? i see a young girl dressing up for a a marriage . whose marriage? of course mine!!!. My mother and my aunts dressing me up in bridal finery. aaah what kushboo jasmine flowers being braided into my hair. My eyes lined with mascara ! Now they are draping saree round me. Cream color with gold border. Yes Now am ready. one of mys cousins (back of my mind I wonder who is she) rushes in and says what beautiful design looking at the mehndi hands ‘

    My mothers stands back looks and looks with eyes brimming with tears. She says ‘ My liitle girl has grown to such a beautiful lovely lady. she thinks ‘ today is last day I will have any right over this child of mine. Today she will belong to someone else.

    Hey are u ready ? We are getting late. Look sweet heart the party is today not tomorrow. My husband walks in with an astonished look in his eyes. . Comes lets go says I. How do I look. ? What the matter?
    Dont I look good . Dont u like this gown? Shall I change it.and turned around to look myself in mirror. OMG whats happened . I was still in housecoat. with my gown laid on my bed. The comb in my hand ……. Yes that’s what I saw in my mirror . My past life as a bride getting ready. I wonder do have the same look in all our lives?

    Like

    • Hi Philomena. Nice piece, this one, and a tad scary too. I like the specific details. Cream colour. Gold Border. Hand mirror etc. Some more atmosphere would have been nice. The concept of using the mirror as a past-life portal is a good one. And the last question you ask: Do we look the same in all our lives? What do you think? 🙂

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  17. Sharing my own poem from my blog. I hope that counts as it matches the theme perfectly. Not plagiarized, its my very own poem. Link: http://soumya-hintofme.blogspot.in/2013/10/every-mirror-has-story.html

    The contest entry:

    Her bright smile hides everything
    The red dances on her lips
    Her brushed hair stands shining
    Falling with melody down her hips

    The delicate earrings shy away
    As her eye elongates its sight
    The mirror recognizes her face
    And the strange others at night

    A day of her hard work
    Means looking ready and nice
    The men who ogle at her must think
    That she is worth their price

    Every scar must be hidden
    Flowing tears should leave no trace
    Presented to hungry wolves likes a toy
    Shedding her clothes and her grace

    Her red lips get hurt and bitten
    Her tiny waist pinched and burnt
    To bear it all was the only lesson
    In this place that she had learnt

    Her day starts with the setting sun
    Being held up proudly on sale
    Her master has the art of selling
    To the prying eyes of the male

    They walk in and out of her room
    Without allowing her a second of rest
    Taking away her soul and dignity
    Praising her for being the best

    The other girls envy her
    Lucky she is, they seem to say
    Yet they know the bitter truth
    They all have the same price to pay

    Young and tender she was brought here
    In the pretext of a high paying job
    She did make a lot of money
    Which the master would neatly rob

    Slowly she walks up to the mirror
    Her lonely friend in this hell
    She tries to hide her plight
    But it has her story to tell

    Her hair is a tattered mess
    Her lips are bleeding red
    The hips can barely move
    Yet she has to walk back to the bed

    She re-does her hair and lips
    The mirror smiles at her pretty face
    It recognizes the truth inside
    Battered soul reeking of disgrace

    Like

    • Hey Soumya! Welcome back to the blog. Haven’t seen you here in a while. I thought this poem was a bit too direct for my taste, not subtle enough perhaps. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but just from a personal standpoint I like pieces that are subtle and have some layers. There are some good parts to it, though. I love the stanza towards the end, which begins with ‘Her hair is a tattered mess’, and also the second stanza: The delicate earrings shy away… Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  18. i meet my other.
    the me everyone sees.
    hair that is neither straight
    nor curly, it too has
    a will of its own.
    a fistful of fading acne
    marks like the remnants
    of an old love-affair
    i’ll probably never get over.
    blemishes remind me
    of forgotten mistakes,
    half-rueful, half-playful.
    bags of time mask
    my eyes – eyes that give
    away everything. the weight
    of judgements follows me
    around like a shadow
    as i see myself cringing
    at lost youth. years creep
    up on me faster than i’d like;
    my face hardens as i fail
    to let go of the past, its
    bashful presence my
    alter-ego.

    the roles i play every day,
    those tales untold,
    each marks its territory
    in a visage yet unknown.

    Like

    • Hi Shloka. My favourite part of this poem is the fistful of fading acne marks that are like remnants of an old love-affair. And eyes that give away everything. Somebody told me a few years back that we begin life with flawless skin and empty eyes, and as we go through life, our skin becomes more and more riddled with marks and sags, but our eyes gather more shape, more meaning, and more wisdom. That is why the eyes of elderly people are so expressive and beautiful, he said. I was young then, brushed off his words as the ramblings of an old man. But it’s true, it seems now. Thanks for sharing this. It’s nice 🙂

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  19. REFLECTIONS OF THE SOUL
    Mirror is my best friend, because when I cry it never laughs-CHARLIE CHAPLIN. So true these words are. When you look into the mirror, what do you see? Do you see the real you or what you have been conditioned as a reflex to believe is you? The two so so different. One being the consious you and the other being the optical illusion that is percieved by the law of physics. Reflections and mirror images amplify the characters’ imperfections because of the manner in which they read the significance of their own reflections.

    Life is just a mirror . What u see out , you must first see inside of you.
    But its not the fault of the mirror if you don’t like your reflection. When you smile in front of it, it will also smile and will cry when you cry at it. Everyone and everything that shows up in our life is a reflcetion of something that is happening inside us. When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes n heartaches but when I look in the mirror, I see the strength, learned lessons and pride in myself because the person I see needs me more than anyone else. If you are searching for that one person that will change your life, just take a look in the mirror, you can find the best person who can.

    Like

    • Hi Arpita! Good piece. You’re right, there’s a world of difference between the ‘outer us’, the image that we project to the outside world, and what goes on inside us, which stays hidden, known only to us. Often even we cannot make out the difference between an outer reflection of mere appearances and an inner, deeper reflection. I also like the way in which you ended your comment: after all, the person that has the most to do with our quality of life is ourselves.

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  20. ~MY WICKED TWIN~

    My brother and I, are antipodes; like the flip sides of a coin, only joined at the hip like Siamese twins. However, not literally.

    We grew up in a small town together, graduated from the same university and now work at the same firm. But let me tell you, he is an absolute charmer, an enticer of beauty, the Wordsmith, and at least five times better looking than me. People (especially girls), like him instantly; he of course has that magnetic personality and knows how to best use it. But he is also an atrocious jerk with an evil mind. I on the other hand, am docile, feeble and unsure. Perhaps someone who needs help. I struggle even at the mundane routine tasks and get ridiculed by him for my mediocrity, almost on a daily basis. He is an asshole, I tell you.

    I however keep all his dark secrets. Like this one time, both of us had gone for a trekking trip with our mutual friend. My brother secretly hated him. But I knew it, because he had told me so, he never hides anything from me. Upon a senseless heated argument, he lost his cool and stabbed our friend multiple times in his gut amidst the woods. Later he threw his dead body in the pond nearby. That day, I sat by the stagnant pond aghast, and I saw it for the first time, I saw my brother’s evil face afloat on endless ripples of water, as he probably bent over my shoulders standing behind me. He showed no signs of remorse or guilt, like a comfortable devil, proud of his actions.

    To think of it, that wasn’t the only time I loathed him for his monstrous nature. I have often distasted him for his endless rants about how he wants to kill so many people who have wronged him and destroy things, that aren’t his. Sometimes, he even wants to kill me, for he doesn’t trust me at all. I must admit, that it scares me.

    I hate the fact that whenever he comes to my room, his back is always glued to the same wall for some reason and he walks away when I am not looking. I hate it, when I walk in to public washrooms and he follows me, as if he feels an urge to empty his bladder at the same time. Private changing rooms have no meanings in my life, as I am always accompanied by him and his utterly disgusting inappropriate winks. Whenever I want to take my own picture, he is somehow always there, shoving his face in the front camera of my phone. He would also never let me drink a glass of water in peace, and invariably stand behind me for no reason. I am not sure what pleasure he gets out of it.

    Even now, as I write this down, I can see him lurking behind the dark but shiny metallic rims and edges of this laptop. In fact, I just smiled at him and he smiled back at me; my wicked twin, with his wicked grin.

    Like

    • Hey Ashwin! Having heard your pieces a lot at Write Club, I thought this was similar to many of your previous stories. I get the feeling that multiple personality disorders and such interest you a lot. This was good in the sense that it was well written, with hardly a comma out of place. I like your paragraphing as well. What I would have liked is a bit more originality in the treatment of the idea of evil twin. Unfortunately been done to death, so maybe some twist is in order? Maybe something like a ‘good twin’, where a bad guy gets troubled by a ‘good twin’ in the mirror? That one thing aside, the narrative is quite smooth. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  21. I see myself ………. looking, staring, watching me and………next…..
    I see my fan with its three wings……..”DAMN”…..It was a dream……….. so weird….
    Phew!!! .
    I just raise my left hand outside my quilt to find my mobile, which i put somewhere on my left side table, I suppose.
    It was chilly outside
    In the attempt to find the mobile, mobile struck with my hand and fell off on floor.
    Shit,…Shit…..SHIT!!!, I scold my self ,
    “Great….now i have to come outside of my quilt in this chillness.”
    I set back my self and start back to get my sleep but it was gone..,I waited for 10 min then finally decided to go to toilet at least , may be I felt sleepy after pee…I thought.
    Very slowly I let my quilt to move down …I pretended that quilt should move down itself.
    It was cold, I switch my table lamp for light.
    In a very dim light of lamp i found my mobile far away to my bathroom door in three piece
    Front, Back cover and Battry. I get down to bed, Yawn and went to the door pick my mobile
    And went in side the bathroom while assembling my mobile with batt and back cover .
    I just assemble and press power button . it get back in life and ignited the bathroom with its light as meanwhile i forget to switch on bathroom light.
    I saw the mobile , Its was 5:19 ; 1 Jan 2015, OH YEAH its a new year YUP….
    I smiled due to partying late and boozing , I find myself little tired.
    As i saw mirror , It was front of me, I shocked…………………………………………..
    I saw my self smiling in my mobile light which was coming from down and i look like a devil smiling in it.
    F*** , I switch on my mirror light.
    I saw my self, It remind me my dream.
    I realised after some time watching me that many time i wash my face, shave and combing even, I never saw my self so deeply like now.
    I saw in my own eyes, I find myself nude in my eyes as nothing is hide.
    I tried to smile but i know it is fake one which i generally use to fake with others.
    All my past start rolling in my eyes.
    “What have you done to yourself ?” I asked to me.
    I know the answer but never believe it. This is my first meeting with myself .
    I was looking me like a idiot then like a clown then a criminal…
    “I will left my f***ing job today because i am not happy and i will do what makes me happy “
    I promise myself.

    -By Intellidiot

    Like

    • Hi Vishal! Welcome to the blog, and thanks for sharing your piece. I think you should pay particular attention to your grammar and to your paragraphing. If you write in paragraphs, the reader will follow you more easily. So organize your thoughts into small chunks that flow into each other, and put each chunk into a paragraph. Write in simple sentences. Keep in mind basic tenets of grammar, and you will be on your way to writing well. Right now, your ideas are coming across as disjointed, even though they have merit. Good luck 🙂

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  22. Her Alzheimer’s disease had gone from bad to worse. Her treatment and medicines had cost me a fortune. She did not recognize me, and worse she did not even remember her name or who she was. Even the doctors had given up, though they kept suggesting that miracles do happen. The rigours of taking constant care of her and in the anxiety suffering sleepless nights had taken a toll on my health.
    It was one of those misty, dreary mornings when I had to take her for the ritualistic walk in the park, which the doctor had suggested might be good for her condition. I pulled up my car as she sat glum-faced next to me, oblivious of the world around her. Instead of stopping at the park, I drove around it and took to the highway. Silence was the only communication that existed between us. She seemed to be enjoying the drive, with little knowledge of the mental turmoil I was in. I found myself taking a diversion towards the mustard fields on the dusty countryside. As I opened the door, she excitedly jumped out of the car like a child, enjoying her walk in the new natural surroundings.
    I reached home bleary-eyed desperately needing some sleep. I splashed water on my eyes and as I looked up at the reflection in the mirror, I felt the blood drain from my face. It was that of a callous, heartless stranger. Like a man possessed, I rushed to my car and frantically drove to the same place where I had left her on her fate. My shouts made even the mustard stalks quiver, and after a hectic search, I finally found her. Though she did not seem to recognize me, she broke into a spontaneous smile to see someone familiar. I threw my arms around her, unable to control my tears.

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    • Hi Jayant! I felt that the story time was too long to fit into two paragraphs, which made the scene a little superficial. Also, the pivotal moment of the scene appears to be when the character looks at himself in the mirror, when something goes off inside him and makes him go after his wife (perhaps?). So I think it would have been a better piece if you had focused purely on the mirror staring scene, with the story before told as a flashback, and the decision marking the end. Just a different structure for you to think about. Thanks for sharing. Hope you’re doing well surrounded by books 🙂

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  23. Kinjal Macwan says:

    Standing in front of the mirror and looking through it i find the real “me”. I can easily make out whether what people have said about my personality was truth or just buttering, my inner conscience helps me out in carrying out this task.successfully. When i watch into my own eyes through the mirror my inner conscience explains to me every single mistake i have committed and makes me feel guilty. At the same time it is the same inner self which makes me feel proud on my achievements.When i need to make a very important decision i look into my self through mirror and to my shock there is something which puts me into dilemma. I can imagine two “me” standing inside one with outfits of an “angel” and other with outfits of a “devil”. Both of them try to put their respective points forward and explain me about how their way of thinking is correct and why I should follow it.It becomes difficult to find out which one of them has hidden my inner conscience which i need to follow. But at last its the constant dedication shown by a combined effort made by me and my conscience that wins and I am successful in finding it out into the Angel part of “me” and the Devil part of “me” looses..

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    • Hi Kinjal. Welcome to the blog. Thanks for your thoughts. You’re right in saying that we all have an angel and a devil inside us, making heaven and hell both possible on Earth. What I would have liked to have seen more in your piece is a further exploration of the fight between the devil part and the angel part. For this, maybe you can take one small aspect of the human character – say greed – and talk about both the angelic and devilish angles to it. More importantly, how do we inculcate ‘good greed’ and reject ‘bad greed’? Is it even possible? These questions need not be answered, but they should be thought about.

      So in summary, you made a good start, but it will be nice if you can go a little bit deeper into the concept 🙂

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  24. The Sorcerer’s Mirror

    Thousands of years ago, when the known world was limited to three civilizations across all land, there was a mellow village on the banks of a river located somewhere in present day Africa. It was not a kingdom, as they did not have a king or a queen. They, however, had Eshe.
    Eshe was the eldest and the wisest woman in the village. She took care of the village’s welfare, took major decisions, and delivered justice. The villagers revered Eshe for her knowledge and wisdom, as she was the only one who had journeyed to the world outside. Before Eshe, the position of the village elder was held by her uncle. Every village elder was customarily appointed by the previous one when they neared their death. To be a contender, the person should have travelled the known and unknown worlds.
    Eshe was known to be harsh to the point of being heartless. She never smiled. Her punishments, her laws, and her way of conducting things were too severe for the villagers. The villagers, because of this, eagerly awaited their next elder
    A few years ago, five young willing men and women had set out to explore the world outside. They had now returned to the village, wiser and more learned. As per the custom, they would each be narrating their experiences, and Eshe would then be choosing the successor from amongst them.
    One of those participants had brought along with him a stranger. He was from an unknown land. He wore a brown rug, and his eyes were always covered under a hood. No one ever saw his eyes. They could only see his smile, and it was the most pleasant smile they ever saw.
    The hooded stranger carried with him a broken piece of a mirror. The piece, he said, belonged to a huge mirror that was gifted to a king by a sorcerer. The sorcerer had claimed that the mirror was highly magical, but the king saw nothing in it and threw it away. The stranger had promised that participant that he would give him this piece of mirror if he took the stranger along to his village and gave him food.
    Next morning, the entire village gathered around the oldest tree, which was fabled to have been planted by the first elder, to hear the fascinating stories of the five participants.
    Before the ceremony began, the hooded stranger, with his pleasant smile, told the villagers the story of the king, the mirror and the sorcerer.
    “What happened of that sorcerer?” Eshe asked.
    “The king ordered to have him executed, but legend has it that he escaped with the help of his sorcery. Nothing was ever heard of him since.”
    Eshe then asked the stranger to reveal the magic of the mirror. “You may find that out for yourself,” he said with his pleasant smile, as he handed over the piece to a villager so it could be passed ahead to Eshe.
    The villager showed horror and disgust as soon as he glanced into the mirror. He cursed the stranger under his breath, and passed it ahead. From there, every villager who looked into the mirror before passing it had the same reaction; except for a child. The child smiled.
    Eshe’s curiosity had grown by the time the mirror reached her. By the look on the villagers’ faces, and the reaction of the child, Eshe thought that the stranger was playing some joke.
    One look into the mirror, and her face froze.
    She then passed the mirror to each of the participants, and asked them to share what they saw. Four of them were repelled, as they saw their worst possible reflections in the mirror. However, one woman said that she had never seen a more beautiful self of hers.
    Eshe and the village then heard their stories. Eshe hardly paid attention, as she had made her decision already. The announcement of the successor was to be made the next morning.
    At dusk, when the ceremony was over, everyone retired to their huts. Eshe then summoned the stranger to her hut.
    “I believe you have understood the magic,” the stranger said as soon as he stepped in.
    “Yes. The mirror shows you who you really are. It unmasks you. If you have malice within you, you will see a malicious reflection of your own self staring back.”
    The hooded stranger smiled.
    “And which face of yourself did you see?” he asked.
    “I saw my reflection, but the face in the mirror was smiling. She looked calmer, happier, and a better human being than what I believed myself to be.
    “All the wisdom of the world is useless, if you are not a good soul within.
    “Now that my closing is near, I have decided to spend the rest of my life unmasked,” she said. And then, with some effort evident on her lips, she smiled. The stranger somehow knew that that smile would go with her to her grave.
    “Tell me stranger,” she said, handing over the piece of mirror to him, “what face of yours do you see in this?”
    “I can’t,” he said.
    The stranger then took the hood off his face. There was a deep hollow where his eyes should have been. He was blind.
    “The king had ordered my eyes to be plucked out before hanging me.”
    Eshe had no words. Her new found smile faded right away.
    The stranger then put the hood back, and walked away towards the setting sun.
    Eshe mumbled the prayer of her village, and asked her gods to protect the stranger. She then turned with the mirror in her hand, and looked at her reflection again. Behind her in the mirror, she saw the setting sun, and the silhouette of the hooded stranger walking away. She turned back to take a final glance at him, but saw no one. She shockingly looked back into the mirror, which showed the gradually fading outline of the stranger. But outside the mirror, the sorcerer had disappeared.

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    • Hi Kalpak! Good to see you here. Thanks for sharing this story. It reads a lot like a fable out of Arabian Nights or the Panchatantra. The concept of the mirror showing you who you really are is not that original – in this contest itself we had another comment along the same lines – but I thought the character of Eshe had some potential. If you could develop her further, perhaps, and tell the story from her perspective, I think you can still spin a good yarn out of this. I do think you have all the raw material for a good story. I hope you write it. If you do, send it to me and we can talk about it further?

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  25. When she stared at the mirror, her subconscious mocked at her,
    “Why there, you look so fat and ugly… No wonder people find you cute and chubby…”
    The face of the petit girl fell…. “Maybe I am really fat; of course the mirror tells the truth. I look ugly, after all mirrors can never lie… they show you exactly the way you are, unlike people who deceive you… they show your true self.”
    Her heart ached, she pulled her cheeks, and the girl in the mirror also did so. Her friends always loved to pull her cheeks, in fact everyone did… of course, it had a lot of flesh, because she was fat… but people put it mildly as ‘chubby’.
    Her mind drifted to what her mother said, “Look at yourself in the mirror, look how fat you have become! It is about time you reduce your weight!”
    She sighed. According to the mirror, her love handles were indeed big; her thighs were very wide, she was round and yes, fat. She threw herself on the bed frustratingly and cried. Tears seemed to flow on their own accord, no matter how much she tried; she always failed to reduce her weight.
    Suddenly there was a knock on the door of her room. “Anu, Mohini aunty has come to visit, come out”, her mother called out. Ananya dried her tears, ‘Mohini aunty’… her face lifted up a little, Mohini aunty was all hip and modern, she was a fun-loving person and Anu liked her a lot. She rushed and opened her door. Her aunt stood there beaming, but her smile fell the moment she saw Anu.
    “Baby, what’s wrong?”
    There was only one person in this world who understood Anu perfectly, and so Ananya poured her heart out.
    “Ohh dear… come here.” She said and hugged her.
    “You see the mirror there?” Mohini aunty asked.
    Anu nodded.
    “Well what does it show?”
    “Me…”
    “Well go ahead”
    “It shows me… how I look…”
    “Does it show you fully?”
    “Umm, yes…”
    “No, baby, it doesn’t. It doesn’t show the person you are inside. It doesn’t show the kindness in your heart, the sharpness of your thinking, the beauty of your soul. It only shows the outside. It doesn’t show beneath the outer cover. It lies. If you see yourself as fat, it will show you fat, if you see yourself as cute, it will show you cute”.
    Ananya realized what her aunt wanted to tell her. She enveloped her into a tight hug and whispered thanks, Mohini Aunty too smiled, It was all in a point of view, how you look at the mirror, it will show you what you want to see.

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    • Hi Lakshmy! Your little story reinforces the one dominant theme that seems to have emerged from this contest: the mirror as a reflection of our self-image. A mirror will only reflect what you think of yourself. It doesn’t have the power to argue with you, to change your perception. The message of self-respect and finding internal meaning is a very powerful one. So thanks for reminding us of that again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Chinmay Sahu says:

    It’s a big hall, the college auditorium and it is jam packed today for the annual function of the college. Sitting in the front row with other students who are going to receive the prizes, I look around and see a mass of jubilant students of my kin. The boy besides me looks at me and smiles, guess he is nervous. I am a bit nervous as well, the reason, I am to get on to the stage to receive a prize and over it I am also to give a speech. As the prize distribution starts, I keep shuffling my cue cards, trying to put as much I can into my tiny brain and recall the utmost. In that full air conditioned room even, my palms feel wet due to sweat.
    Finally my turn arrives, the anchor’s words echoes across the auditorium,”now let’s call upon the best graduate of the college for this year, missss RHITIKAAAAAAA!!!!“ and a thunder of applause breaks out. I stand up, claded in a black burkha with nothing visible of me, except the eyes and my hands. I have a look at my hands, the nails on which the red nail-polish looked pretty, I think. I am actually blank with random thoughts whizzing past my conscious mind. I gather my cue cards and also the box I had brought with me. As I start to the podium, the announcement continues,” Rhitika has not only just topped in the college and the whole university but has even broken all records, she has scored the highest percentage marks ever scored in aggregate in any stream all through the history of not only this age old college but also the university. She has the highest ever individual score in two subjects; in media audiences and in ethics and media culture, she has an internationally acclaimed journal as well as many journals and abstracts credited to her name; she has got a scholarship to the Havards too, where she would be joining soon. This is only a small list of achievements of one of the brightest students that the college ever has produced, so ladies and gentleman lets welcome the very gorgeous, beauty with the brains, Rhitiiikkkaaa !!!!”. The chief guest, guests of honour, the college principal, the dean of student and the whole of the auditorium stood up as I reach up to the stage, and the claps keep on thundering as I am conferred with the medal, the certificate and a memento. I am then led to the podium to the microphones. I take a deep breath and start off, “hello every one”. The claps stop, all place themselves on their seats and a silence envelopes the population, enabling even the small tap of the foot, echo all across the auditorium.
    Thank you all for the gesture, I am really feeling as if I am on the top of the world. I give a pause, I look at my cue cards, but I could barely say a word. Tears keep on rolling and I am numb. I take a deep breath and start again.
    I thank all who had the slightest of their hand in aiding me reach where I am today, pardon me for not naming all because the list is so very long.
    To start up with, I am not like I was explained a short while ago, beauty with the brains or gorgeous, because almost none present here have seen the real me. I am enthralled about how imaginative the human brain can be, just looking at the hands and hearing the voice or at the maximum from the shape my clothes display to the eyes, I am being conferred with the adjectives like gorgeous, beauty etc.
    Yes I happen to be a pretty girl, but presently only to me, in the past I might had been to all, who saw me; may be!
    I am just a simple girl born to some awesome parents in an average middleclass family. There they sit, I say pointing to my parents in the crowd. I had my dreams, I was good in studies and did all I could to reach my dreams, I wished to get out of the pool of scarcity that an average middle class family suffers from. So I worked hard and studied as much as I could. I was blessed with the rewards, I got admission to this prestigious college, to get into which students from all across the country, muscle hard. I had barely spent some months, when I went home for some the puja my parents had arranged, in regards to the gods for granting me with my deserved results.
    Yes! I am no Muslim, do not go by the attire, I am a Hindu, who took the help of a Muslim culture to protect myself and truly speaking I am so very grateful to that almighty as well as the culture for rendering me this help.
    I know all must be so very dying to see the real me, I will fulfill this wish of you all.
    Saying this I take off the burkha, a big sigh echoes all across the auditorium.
    This is the real me, who has a real ugly, utterly mutilated face, scarred, tattered and dilapidated neck and upper arms, I am indeed no gorgeous. The person saying gorgeous to me should have cursed himself a million times by now, and I look towards the anchor, who is taken aback by my teary gaze.
    Tears keep on rolling uncontrollably from my eyes. I wonder what pains more, the physical pain that I received due to those acid burns and that of the marathon of surgeries or the sight of this ugly, mutilated, dilapidated me or is it the pity draped in the curtains of dislike that is evidently visible in the eyes of all who see me, including my parents also.
    I was not like this always, I was also a pretty girl, I too had millions of dreams that each girl amongst you have. But I was forcefully transformed into this; I was being punished to something that I was not guilty of, by a scared element of the patriarch society, who wanted to ride on a free bird like me. In our neighbours, there was a boy belonging to an affluent family who liked me since when I was in school. Many a times forced my parents with the power of his family status and money, to marry me off to him. But when he was unsuccessful in grabbing me and when I came here to study, he tried cutting off my wings, he threw acid on me. I had burns on almost all of my upper body, luckily my eyes were saved but from this left eye of mine still water comes out. To reason his heinous act, he said, if I can’t be his I can’t be anyone else’s. To me whatever punishment he received from the law of this land is immaterial, but I was inscribed with some unbearable pain, which still dwells deep inside this dilapidated skinned mortal frame of mine, inside my soul. I no longer could hold and start crying remembering the events.
    I start again, wiping my tears. For months I was treated in the different hospitals and my parents were slowly wiped off, of all their savings. For more than a year, I wondered around in search of peace and many a times I tried killing myself, unable to cope with the new changed me; I felt like a burden to not only my parents but to myself even, my body felt so heavy; friends fled away except a countable few, love simply vanished in the thin air. But I thrived all and kept living till I found peace, in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas.
    A monk gave me this and I bring out a mirror from the box. He made aware that I am pained because, I still kept on holding on to the past, of how I looked, of how I was treated, of how everything was then. It is because I am unable to accept myself, the change in me, that I am unable to reciprocate the change in the behavior of others to me. It took me time to accept the new disfigured me to see the real beautiful me that still dwelled beneath this dilapidated skin.
    Human eye is just like a mirror, you see what you intend to see. Moreover you need to have courage to accept what you see as well as the power to see the goodness in what you see.
    Every moment I look into this mirror and see a new me, who can achieve anything. And about what that boy thought, I would say he was so wrong, he said I can’t be anyone’s; but I am now someone’s, I am now of mine. The women whom I see in the mirror is the one I will see in the eyes of all someday; “THE WOMAN WITH WINGS !!!”
    Thank you
    As I walk down the stage the whole auditorium thundered with claps and amidst the teary crowd stood my proud parents.

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    • Hi Chinmay. Thank you for your entry. Once again the dominant themes are self-acceptance, courage and resilience. Knowledge that a mirror will only show you what you intend to see. I thought the piece could have been shorter and therefore tighter. I got the feeling that you wrote this on the go and kept getting pulled by the story. Ideally you should look at the first draft and see where you’re drifting from the straight and narrow, so that your main theme gets focused on throughout. Either way, it’s a nice note to finish this contest on. Thank you once again 🙂

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