Story and Poetry Writing Contests were held at Hinduja College in South Mumbai and St Andrew’s College in North Mumbai  and were open to students from all over the city.

Participants were given prompts which they had to use creatively in their story/poem

6 winners  were selected from each category

Winning entries below are in alphabetical order (no rankings)

Story Writing

The Problem by Warren D’Silva

Looking  forward to meeting his father. Unresolved family tiff, which had finally drifted away.

I was finally in a serious relationship. Are you sure they like me? Relax just be yourself. He tried calming me down as he crept around my waist for an embrace.

“All passengers from Mumbai to Delhi please report to the check in counter.” This was my last chance to escape. Would I ruin my life or his?

“Babe, chillax, I should be the one who is nervous, besides they don’t have a choice it’s one way or another. Either way we both get each other.

The estate was much bigger than I had pictured, the Uber driver too was star struck as we pulled up into the driveway. “Madam, she is here.” “You didn’t tell me you had a doorkeeper,” I joked as my man squeezed my hand. We got out to their stairs. His Dad was taken aback. “We kicked them out of our country and you are bringing one back in here, into our home!” His mother shrieked, I could barely understand what she lamented.

My blond hair covered in a scarf, my hands laden with henna, I had tried to fit in, but I stuck out like a sore thumb. I had prepared myself for this.

But we love each other my man tried to reason but they just looked on in disgrace. Then finally his dad said, “You love each other, that’s exactly the problem.”

 

 

 

A Bouquet of Flowers by Khushi Jain

“Anaya has cancer, its worse than we thought,” said the doctor. That one sentence was followed by a minute of utter silence and that one minute seemed never-ending. Who could have thought that this sentence would change the lives of everyone. The past five days have seen the longest and most dramatic series of events. I can’t believe that Anaya di, who was covered in haldi and leaves just a week ago, is now covered with tubes. “It makes no sense at all,” said Fufaji. But somewhere Anaya di had a hunch, no wonder she eloped after saying- “The bouquet of flowers, Dheera, the bouquet of flowers.”

“Dheera, I am sorry but I can’t get married. I am eloping, I will miss you,” said Ananya di after waking me up in the middle of night “What?” I squeaked.“ Don’t wake up anyone, please I will contact you once I am far away from City Hall.”

“But, why? What happened? You seemed so happy. You love him, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do but something doesn’t feel right. The bouquet of flowers, Dheera. The bouquet of flowers.”

She kissed me and she disappeared. I was too shocked to think straight. I saw the bouquet all crushed, something must have fallen on it. I woke up my mom and explained everything. Everyone was angry and confused. Finally, my Dad had an angry outburst.

The place was all in chaos until Dhruv came and said, “Anaya is in the hospital, hurry.”

 

It Had All Been Said Before by Mark Fernandes

It had all been said before. The same things time and again. “Don’t cut your dolls into pieces, don’t microwave your guinea pig, don’t push the other kids off ledges …” and boy was I sick of it. I had more than enough and left the house at eight years. Honestly? These ten years I spent on the cold dark streets? The best years of my life. I was taught the best alley ways to assault someone and much, much more by a like-minded individual and as soon as I felt he had nothing more to teach me, I snapped his neck open and drank of it, the same thing I did to my brothers just before I left. It tasted…powerful and changed my life forever.

The worse a person, the more powerful their blood tasted and I started actively hunting down the worst people, I could find. Rapists, con men, drug peddlers, pedophiles, murderers, and people like myself. In my mind, they were monsters, and I was the hunter. I played this game over and over again. This went on for a couple of years, until it started becoming really tough to find monsters. I honestly have no idea why. Maybe two hundred in a day was too much?

Regardless, I kept hunting them down relentlessly and then feasting on their blood!

One day, it was over. Try as I might, I found no monsters. I drank the blood of some random people but felt nothing.

Right about then, I had an epiphany.

I bit into my arm! I am a monster, afterall.

 

 

 

Rites of passage by Gaurav Mangtani

It is the white chocolate that I like. The dark chocolate is good for your skin, for your hair, beyond this what is it?

Meena and Kamal have been with each other for a lot of years now. Their marriage has had 5 years of friendship, longing and anecdotes. Kamal, was a writer and has produced some of the greatest scripts failed to write his own, captured by ‘some things are’ narrative. One fine day his whimsical mind became the reason for Meena to leave, days later in this childish scuffle, in what some would describe it as rites of passage. Meena had to cohabit with another man so that she could go back to Kamal. Relationship if go by rules, then they must be fair, but sadly in this case it didn’t. You pass it to me, I pass it to you, you take the charge. I make the run, you be me, I be you. Let’s reverse the roles, let me save you, I am here to track back, I am here to defend, we are a team. Sadly and unfortunately only happens in a football field.

I never asked you how do you feel? I feel like a hypocrite. I realize it. In this world in my regime if writings talk then Meena you would speak. Kamal leaves the note on his writing table with the title “I lie.”

 

 

 

Living Away from Home by Siddiqa Murghay  

Country music fills the air, yet my heart yearns for Pop.

“There’s a great world out there for you to see,” they say to me as we soak ourselves in violent rains, yet the mind floods itself with thoughts of home. There are days when I almost turn around, almost step back and give up but the heat of the past breathes steam, down my neck, and I can’t help but feel my regret of the past may be larger than my fear of the future. I lived a long time believing my heart was fragile; that even a newborn’s soft nails could burst it like a balloon. The sweet realization of the falsehood of that thought did not come by easy. One step into the bustling city and I was.

Pulled and stretched around unfamiliar walls, my blood and sweat blotted every paper. I wrote on and thousands of eyes glared at me from the dusk to dawn. Yet, how I possess a happiness- a hard earned place at the table of adulthood-that my younger self could only dream of. Country music fills the air, and while I still prefer Pop, I have learned to tap my feet along to the rhythm.

She is Calling Me by Ayushraj Pandey

“She is calling me,” Ansh started up from his sleep. One would think that he was dreaming of angels but to Ansh the whole concept of angels was devilish.

Being a poet he liked to be alone and was not always open to the idea of dating, as charming as he was. He rejected many women but that one person, that one fairy was like no one else. Like a musician’s muse she came to brighten up his world.

On a fateful sunny day as Ansh was watering his plants before leaving for work he heard his phone ring. Instinctively he turned around, unconscious of where his hand took the pipe. He bent to close the tap and noticed a pair of sandals across the gate.

He stood up to find the most beautiful set of eyes he would ever see. Ever since, Sonny, as he would call his girlfriend Soniya sweetly, they would always be together. It felt like she got her transcending allureness from the shoeflowers that grew in his lawn. One day, the plant died and on that particular day, Sonny didn’t call him in the morning as she usually did, she had disappeared. Forever.

Ever since, Ansh hears her calls every morning, his life was rattling like the dead plants outside. After months he decided to start anew and clean up. That is when all his feelings related to Soniya wiped out like the dust.

As realization bit him he was regretting and scared. He had never loved a flower so much, the haunt went away and he said, “My fault was that, I took great pleasure in my own company.

 

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Poetry

Silver Lining by Zainab Changi

Why is it always a dark cloud,

Parading as the symbol of sadness?

I show up, to give you the relief of rain

While you use me, as a metaphor for your pain

Has it ever mattered, how alone I can be,

That only emptiness cried, out of hollows of the sea.

I’m more than just a big dark cloud

I don’t want your silver lining.

I just hope that when you have a bright day

You’ll remember me when I’m gone away.

 

 

Bedtime Tea by Rahil Doshi

Have you ever made some tea at two-thirty in the night,

When your thoughts are free and the only support is dim light.

You start filling your steel vessel and your mind,

One with water and the other with thoughts of all kind.

You take tea leaves in a cup just to put it inside,

And a box of tissues for the feelings you cannot hide.

Now, you turn on the flame your heart and your stove,

And think about who never gave you love.

You pour some milk and to check your phone you move away.

With 250 likes on Insta you hope tomorrow to be a better day.

Missing Bliss by Warren D’Silva

It had all been said before

For some days a word could start a war.

Keep it to yourself they said

For we offer you a roof over your head.

I was the prisoner in my own bliss

I loathed that touch that kiss.

I wasn’t even a human or so it seemed

An unfit soul I had been deemed.

This was prolonged, over a year

I couldn’t live with this fear.

For this behavior I did detest

I had the nerve to stand and protest.

by Karan Dulwani

On a grey day like the fourth of July, my arms hurt;

we pulled it off.

Your defiance and my traction knocked on the windowpane of the café,

where people wax lyrical about how happily Koko hugged Robin Williams.

Your anxiety considered me to be a discount coupon that

you could trade for freshly ground coffee beans.

I was rather a dark syrup, like the blunt Cigarettes After Jex lyrics that put a halt on your depression.

I’ll be there for you, not procrastinating over another Anthony

Bourdain news, but were you ever mine…to be protected?

Thwaft by Harshita Rathod

Like some old fashioned miracle, my soul shakes when

the thwaft of a stranger makes me feel like home,

the home that I invested my everything in.

But slowly when it started to rot

the thwaft then started to suffocate me

The copious spring rain of my heart

knew no boundaries then.

And just like some old fashioned miracle

My soul shakes when

I look inside of me and say

I am the captain of my soul.

One Cup Darkness and a Pinch of Epiphany by Luluah Mustufa Sitabkhan

 

You can see without watching

You can feel without seeing

Your precious light blinds you

The absence of it empowers you.

You rejoice in the gift of your eyesight

I revel in my lack thereof

The worlds I travel, the realities I feel

Beyond this dreary world, my mind’s eye can see

Behind these eyelids, the universe is free

For without darkness, the stars cannot be seen.

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