The time has come for the results of Contest 15.
We wrote about unlikely romances, and as expected, the usual suspects were there: romance with an animal, romance with food, and romance across time and space. Of course, it doesn’t need to be said that we’re interpreting the word ‘romance’ in its broadest possible meaning, to mean ‘love’ or ‘affection’, not necessarily with a sexual element present. There were a few entries that wrote about familial bonds too.
All in all, it was good fun. Thanks to everyone who participated! If you haven’t already, feel free to read all the entries that have come in, and leave feedback and reactions wherever you feel they’re appropriate. And yes, do be nice.
1. This time, Dharini B is the person who got the ball rolling with her story called ‘Frozen’. It takes quite an interesting approach to the phrase ‘everlasting love’, and depicts the affection a non-living thing feels for a living being. So for getting things started, the Ball Roller Award goes to Dharini.
2. Vinisha has managed to hold on to the Committed Contestant prize because she has once again managed to use her ‘three entry’ right to the fullest. This time, we also got two entries from Sania Heba and Geeta Nair, who will both get an honourable mention for this category.
3. The Rebel Award, which we give away to the longest entry in the contest, this time goes to Kalpak, who blogs as Obviously Oblivious. In fact, though I’ve not counted, I think we can safely give him the Rebel of Rebels award too, because I don’t think anyone has written a longer entry in our contests so far.
1. Wings of Harmony, this time, evoked some contrasting themes by writing the love story of a moth and a flame.
2. Sania Heba’s second entry, which spoke about killing a demon, had a quirky, edgy feel to it that I quite liked.
3. Bhavesh Jeewani’s piece of Kumbhakarna was good for its idea alone: the idea of him romancing sleep as his mistress.
The first winner tonight is Dharini, for her story about a photograph that is in love with a human being. While I did say that there were too many adjectives in the story, it flows well, builds up nicely, and does an innovative job of flipping the human-object love story and focusing it on the object instead of the human.
Her entry here in full:
The soft daylight streams in through the sheer beige curtain and pours into his heavy porcelain mug. The faint but unmistakable scent of coffee lingers in the air long after he has left. I eye the vintage radio on the tabletop that sports round water marks left by his lack of coasters. The sterile wall clock claims to be ten o’clock, and I’m suppressing my urge to correct the time. I sit with his forgotten bunch of keys, waiting for him to come back. The driveway curves away from our house, but I cannot see it from here.
Meanwhile, I gaze around the room and find a sky blue shirt on the coat hanger. It stands by his large plasma screen that stares back at me in all its vapid blackness. If I squint really hard, I can see a long strand of light brown streak down the back of his shirt. A tinge of jealousy stirs in my stomach, and I try to objectively focus on the color of the hair. Is it actually light brown? Does she color her hair? Or, is it just the sunlight that’s playing tricks on my eyes? Maybe she has dark brown hair like mine. I imagine his veteran hands sail down her burnished locks, tugging and stroking in moderation.
A gentle breeze rustles the synthetic leaves of the tropical plant beside me. He has had no time for the living, breathing flowers. He has no time to catch the wilting petals. No time to clean up the mess they make.
The clinking reveille of the door chime reaches my awaiting ears, and I straighten up, tucking those loose strands of hair behind my ears. I can already feel the air stir in his wake as if the cool metallic interior of the house itself is holding its breath to accommodate its master upon his arrival. I can hear his steady footsteps, and I smile that dimpled smile of mine, which I know he finds very irresistible.
The polished black shoes approach me, and my heart skips a beat as a rogue strand of hair decides to fall over my right eye. But my smile hasn’t faltered. I just keep still and look up at him, while he returns none of my smile. His wrinkled but sturdy hand grabs the keys, and I smile at him just like I always do. All day. Every day. He pauses in his tracks to spare a look at me. At last! A subtle shade of melancholy washes over his handsome age-hardened features as he picks me up by my sleek photo frame and looks into my frozen youthful eyes.
I see the corners of his stoic lips twitch as he looks away into the bright light gushing out of the window frame. But I can’t hold him. I can’t make him better. I can do nothing about the void that separates our two worlds.
He puts me down and walks away, and I keep smiling at him.
The second winner of this contest is Arjun Shetty, for a brilliant love story between an analog mouse and its mouse pad. It has humour, creativity and pathos in equal measure. It also has the one thing that most love stories need: a happy ending.
It was Christmas night and not a mouse stirred. Except for me. I knew from the moment that I first touched her that there was static electricity between us. I am a mechanical, roller ball mouse and she is my mouse pad. I called her Minnie.
It took a few weeks for things to break into a smooth roll between me and Minnie. She tended to be a little uneven and unpredictable at places. But there was really nothing that I couldn’t iron out in a few days. We enjoyed each other’s company. Whether it was the hard workout we got when Charlie played a first person shooter game or whether it was the endless hours of nestling on her bosom when Charlie played his racing games. We seemed to be made for each other. The best part was the understanding we seemed to share between each other that is so essential for any mouse and mouse-pad relationship to work. We shared the burden equally. There were times where I would pull in a little to ease out the bumpy ride and there were times when she would stop being so edgy and present a softer side to me.
Things really moved to the next level the day we went for our first outing. It was a counter-strike tournament. Everyone, including Charlie, expected us to get creamed. But by that time, me and Minnie were like this well-oiled machine that could out-slick any move that a teenager can come up with. We grinded against each other like never before and man, did the sparks fly. We moved like one entity as Charlie managed to knock the rest of the competition out of the park. He won a trophy and we both got a shiny sticker each. We took it as a sign of our formal marital commitment to each other.
It has been five years since that day and we have remained ever faithful to each other. The shine may have worn off the sticker but my circuits still clock up only for my Minnie. She was no less loyal to me. Charlie tried to replace me with other fancy optical mice. But Minnie would have none of it. She would not let anyone but me caress her. No other mouse would be allowed to read the fine wrinkles that had now begun to form on my darling mouse pad. Charlie kept trying to replace me but Minnie was stubborn. Things finally took a decisive turn when Minnie almost managed to open Charlie’s minimized webpage when his mom stepped on his room. I think Charlie finally got the message.
He relegated us both to his upper shelf were we both spend our retirement days in peace and tranquility. We both look down proudly as the future generation carries on the mantle with our Charlie as I rest myself peacefully on my eternal companion Minnie, my first and only mouse pad.
What happens now?
Contest 16 will come out sometime in the second half of May, most likely around the 15th. Before that, there will be a giveaway which will most likely involve some interesting books, so please do check in once that post gets out. Of course, I will do all I can to get your attention, but just in case my voice doesn’t reach you, don’t feel bad. Just come over and participate.