So contest 11 is behind us now. For those of you who have not been following, the topic was Narcissism and Unrequited Love. Not surprisingly, mirrors featured prominently in many of entries, and of course, there were monologues of angst too. Overall, quite enjoyable to read.
We had twenty-five entries in all.
1. Vinisha, who blogs as britestarlite, bags the Ball Roller Award for herself this time, and she does it twice over because hers were the first two entries of the contest. Vinisha has been away from our contests for the last few weeks, so she had obviously decided to return with a bang. Welcome back, Vinisha!
2. The Committed Contestant Award for this fortnight goes to a bunch of people. Vinisha, Rohit Bhasy, Soumini (another of our contestants who took a break) and Pradeeta (Wings of Harmony) all wrote more than one comment to the post. All of you get a sincere note of thanks from me, and a replica of the award to set on your mantelpiece.
3. Before we give away the Rebel Award, I’ve begun to notice that the entries in the contest becoming longer with each contest. Long-time readers of this blog will know that the word limit is a ‘soft’ one, only to serve as a guideline. It’s nice to see that more and more people are rebelling against this rule. In a short while all of us will be rebels. Anyway, this award again has multiple claimants. After much deliberation, it goes to Rohit Bhasy, Kirti, and Sneha Nanavati.
There were quite a few good entries this time, but I’m picking the three best ones in my opinion.
1. Vinisha’s second entry to the contest raised some important questions on the thin line between love and narcissism. It told the story of two characters, both of whom think of the other as a narcissist.
2. Yusra Gulab Jamman wrote a love poem on a firefly that carried some evocative images. As far as I can remember, this is Yusra’s first entry at our contests. So welcome, Yusra, and congratulations on a great start!
3. At 11:59 PM on the final day of submissions, literally in the last minute, Dhwani (dhwanirm) entered a poem which I thought again had a few fresh and striking lines. Thank you, Dhwani.
The winner this time is Sdeep ‘Stark’ Datta, who wrote a story about a self-obsessed girl who seduces the devil. It’s a bit longer than what the ‘word limit’ permits, but it’s a gripping story. I’m sure you will all enjoy reading it. Here it is in full.
The boy I dated in college was good looking, but he was still never in my league. He was smart, talented , and made me laugh, but it was never going anywhere. I refused to give myself to him. He kept trying, though, and after a while it became annoying.
I was no pushover. When I was just eight, I was the cutest kid anybody had laid eyes on. When I was fifteen, I was the beauty queen of our state. In college, I won every fashion contest in every festival in the country, and doors opened up everywhere for me. I got offers from modelling agencies. I signed advertisement contracts. I was only a moderate student, but I landed the most coveted marketing job the industry had to offer.
People will say that looks do not matter. Do not believe them. They tell themselves these things in quiet desperation, to make their own pitiful existence easier.
I have never loved anyone, but I have been adored by hundreds. Every boy in my college has wanted to ask me out: many have, a few entertained me for a while, but none for long.
I have unwittingly ripped apart countless love stories. I have caused agonizing heartbreaks, and long, sleepless, nights. I have caused tears and I have caused death.
And yet, I feel nothing but pride.
The boy I dated in college disappeared a couple of days after I left him. The police found his clothes and his wallet, and in it a picture of me.
I told them I did not know where he was.
I slept with a boy I met on our trip to another college festival. He said he loved me, and he would leave his girlfriend to be with me.
I smiled and told him he did not deserve me.
The next day, he was gone. I found out that nobody knew who he was, and he did not exist on the college database.
By then I knew what was pursuing me. I had inadvertently attracted something sinister, something more than human. It was fitting: I was the ultimate prize, the final frontier. It was hunting me, and it would keep coming at me till I fell in love with it.
It would not happen.
When I decided to move to another city, I did not have to look for a job. Offers kept lining up for me, and I rejected each until they could not hire me without bankrupting themselves. One company did offer to match my demands, and I met with them. He was around forty years old, but he attracted me like nobody else had for years. He was strongly built, and had dark hair peppered with white, and the charm and grace of a billionaire.
I knew he was the devil himself.
After dinner, we went back to his place. I came as close to the fire as was possible, without burning myself. In his bed, I told him I knew who he was, and I told him he would never have my soul. He laughed, and admitted his identity. Then he asked me I could never love anyone.
“Only myself,” I answered.
The next morning I was back at my own place, and I did not know how I got there. The company never existed, of course, and neither did the man.
I was ecstatic. I had seduced death itself. I had conquered what nobody had ever conquered before. I was safe, I thought.
I was wrong.
I saw her in a coffee shop. She did not notice me, but I could not look away. Impossible, I thought. But there she was. She caught me staring at her, and she put down her book, smiling. She beckoned to me. I walked up to her table, legs shaking, and sat down next to her.
I could not speak. I could not move. My mouth was dry, and my mind refused to understand. She touched my hand and said, “Shall we?” I nodded numbly.
On the way back I could not help but be mystified by the perfect curve of her smile, her deep, dark, eyes, and her gentle, soft, skin.
As I shut the door behind me I could sense the coming of something terrible, something dark. I knew if I went on, there would be no return. I did not care. A madness seized me, and I took her face in my hands and I kissed her, with love.
I do not know who I am, and I do not know where I am. I do know that the morning papers announced a tragic double suicide of a pair of identical twins, cause unknown. I know that when they bury us, they will bury us together.
And that is all I want to know.
What happens now?
‘Mister Stark’ will get his prize, and I will put up the page for Contest 12 by the end of today. Thanks once again to everyone for participating, and keep those pencils sharp and ready. See you all soon!
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