They say time flies when you’re having fun. Contest 10 has come and gone, with twenty-six valid entries. The thing I love most about doing these contests is reading the variety in ideas and concepts that can come out from different people based on the same prompt. In this contest, I noticed the following themes:
- The use of a mirror in two contrasting ways: as an object of vanity and a means of introspection.
- The notion that a mirror only shows us what we wish to see.
- The thought that a mirror holds our deepest secrets.
1. Arpit Khandelwal has made the Ball Roller Award his own for the last couple of contests. Having been a chronic conversation-joiner, I have tremendous request for people who can start conversations in a crowded room. Since posting the first entry of a contest in public view on a blog is the online equivalent of that, this award is given to honour such brave souls. Keep it up, Arpit!
2. The Committed Contestant Award, which we give away to those contestants who enter more than once, this time goes to Lakshmi Priya. I know Lakshmi in the real world as well, and she has been giving me various hints that I should give her the prize in one of these contests. She did come quite close to winning a couple of times, but on both occasions there were pieces of rare quality that pipped her. But you cannot fault her for commitment, as you can see.
3. For the Rebel Award, which goes to that person with the most amount of disdain for the word-limit rule, the winner this time is Chinmay Sahu, who wrote a rather long story about a girl, which introduces some nice themes about self-respect and vanity.
On some thought, I’m thinking of adding some more token prizes because we’ve been getting a lot of entries lately. Let me not count chickens yet, though. Let me see if the participation levels stay the same or if they drop in coming weeks, and then decide. It would be shameful if I give away more awards than there are contestants!
1. Ashwin’s piece about a wicked twin that emerges in reflections on glass surfaces and mirrors was noteworthy because of the dark edginess he brings to the narration.
2. In his entry, Anand Kumar gave us our first non-English piece ever on the blog. Though my Hindi reading is not as good as my English, I thought his piece was unique in that he used the mirror as a character and brought out some rather poignant points. Those of you whose English is better than mine, do read it and give him some feedback.
3. Swati’s short scene depicting a woman who had just lost a lover had some striking visual elements.
The winner this time is Rohit Bhasy, for writing a short story about a rockstar aspirant who uses his mirror as stage. What I loved most about this was how Rohit picked up a common premise and made it his own by giving us very specific details about the character and his setting. I will leave the entry here in full for you to read.
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’
Yes mom! I’m up!
What happens now?
The usual. Rohit will get his prize, and very soon I will put up the notice for Contest 11. Do check back in a day or two and you will see it right here. Please do keep participating. The more people we have writing together, the more we can feed off one another and get better collectively. At the very least, we will have fun.
See you all soon!
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