Where is the creativity?

S forwarded me this email a few days back about a contest to write a fictional story for 500 words max which would start with the line ” On a dark and foggy night, a small figure lay huddled on the railway tracks leading to the Chennai station “ 


This is what a guy wrote for the contest……. and surprisingly, it was adjudged the best short story : ))





On a dark and foggy night, a small figure lay huddled on the railway tracks leading to the Chennai station. At once I was held back to see someone in that position during midnight with no one around. With curiosity taking the front seat, I went near the body and tried to investigate it. There was blood all over the body which was lying face down. It seemed that a ruthless blow by the last train could have caused the end of this body which seemed to be that of a guy of around my age. Amidst the gory blood flow, I could see a folded white envelope which was fluttering in the midnight wind. Carefully I took the blood stained envelope and was surprised to see the phrase “appraisal letter” on it. With curiosity rising every moment, I wasted no time in opening the envelope to see if I can find some details about the dead guy. The tag around the body’s neck and the jazzy appraisal cover gave me the hint that he might be a software engineer. I opened the envelope to find a shining paper on which the appraisal details where typed in flying colors. Thunders broke into my ears and lightening struck my heart when I saw the appraisal amount of the dead guy!!!!! My God, it was not even, as much as the cost of the letter on which the appraisal details were printed…. My heart poured out for the guy and huge calls were heard inside my mind saying “no wonder, this guy died such a miserable death”…  As a fellow worker in the same industry, I thought I should mourn for him for the sake of respect and stood there with a heavy heart thinking of the shock that he would have experienced when his manager had placed the appraisal letter in his hand. I am sure his heart would have stopped and eyes would have gone blank for few seconds looking at the near to nothing increment in his salary.  

While I mourned for him, for a second my hands froze to see the employee’s name in the appraisal letter… hey, what a strange co-incidence, this guy’s name is same as mine, including the initials. This was interesting. With some mental strength, I turned the body upside down and found myself fainted for a second. The guy not only had my name, but also looked exactly like me. Same looks, same built, same name…. it was me who was dead there!!!!!!!! While I was lost in that shock, I felt someone patting on my shoulders. My heart stopped completely, I could not breathe and sprung in fear to see who was behind……… splash!!! Went the glass of water on my laptop screen as I came out of my wild dream to see my manager standing behind my chair patting on my shoulder saying, “wake up man? Come to meeting room number two. I have your appraisal letter ready”.



When I read it initially, I liked the story... But, when I read it again, I was really surprised... And, disappointed... 


Surprised because, the writer had such a good opportunity to come up with an amazing story, and all he could come up with was appraisal and pay hike and suicide... And, disappointed because, such a short sighted viewpoint ended up winning the first award... Just imagine what would be the thought process of the judges and what would be the quality of the fellow contestants... 


So, I challenged myself to come up with a better essay with the same restrictions -- 500 words -- and here is what I came up with... 



On a dark and foggy night, a small figure lay huddled on the railway tracks leading to the Chennai station. Observing closely, I saw a small light there and inferred that it was a man searching something...
Suddenly, he stood up and leapt in joy as if he had found a treasure... As he rose, the nearby lights "enlightened" him and he realized that his clothes are very dirty... A train approaching that track ended his stay there and he climbed the platform...
As he passed by, I could make out that he was well-educated and in mid-20s... The current state of his clothes belied the expensive brand that they belonged to... My curiosity overcame my exhaustion and I followed him into the restroom and struck a conversation... He was elated and it took him some time to explain the story...
He took the metro daily from office on his way back home... He stood near the door just so that the breeze made the ride bearable... The train stopped at Chennai station for 2 minutes... The most important 2 minutes for him, every day, for the last 4 months...
While his train stopped on track 4, another train on track 5 stopped simultaneously, waiting to go in the other direction... She waited on that train, right near the door, every day, just for those 2 minutes...
She first caught his eye on a routine day; nothing special on that day... But that day made all the days since then very special... Every day, he ensured not to miss that train, and those 2 minutes... Probably, she did the same...
Soon, he dared to smile... She responded... He didnt sleep that night... The smiles grew bigger with every passing day... He then dared to wave... She just reciprocated with the smile... He persisted… she relented... Soon, weekends were a curse…  Mondays were a blessing...
But he never dared to talk to her... How much ever he tried, he could not... This had been going on for a month now... He desperately needed an opening...
And then today evening, eventually she did it... She removed her earring and dropped it near the track during those "2 minutes"... She gave him the opening he needed...
It took him some time to realize it, but the train was moving already... He could not wait until he rushed back to Chennai station... By the time he reached, it was dark already... It was not going to be easy, but it was now or never...
It took him eternity to locate it... His clothes were soiled and knees hurt... His fingers were bruised and back hurt… He searched for an hour before he could locate that diamond earring wrapped in a paper with her phone number on it... It glittered and gleamed, just like the glow on her face...
As he proudly showed that sparkling earring to me in that dimly lit restroom, I could see the same sparkle in his eyes...



So my readers, I am seriously looking forward to hearing back from you about what you think... 

5 comments:

Mithun said...

For some reason I liked the fact that she threw a diamond earring, not just any earring.Nice touch! Although, it might be easy to say that your story is filmy, I prefer yours to the one which won any day.

RS said...

deflOh Wow! How Romantic! Sounds like the Saathiya story :-p and I hope the guy's eyes were sparkling because of the phone number and not because of the 'daimond' earring. :-D

Sneha said...

Its surely more entertaining and ended on a positive note... Good one!!

Nikhil Raikar said...

@Me2 -- yeah, the diamond earring makes it all very classy... Had she dropped just the phone number on a piece of paper, it would not have been so entertaining...

@RS -- Never realized the Saathiya connection until u and S brought it up... And you guessed it right...

@S -- Yeah, with a body lying on the railway tracks, this was the happiest ending I could come up with...

Sharath said...

Do I sense a true life self experienced incident there....just read Chennai as Mumbai ;-).

Just kidding buddy. The beauty about this post is that the ending is actually not 'The End' and one's imagination can take this story in any direction one wants.

Waiting for the next 500 word continuation of this story.

Just wondering what a girl, who can afford to buy/wear and throw-away a diamond ring, was doing travelling in a local train. Hmm diamond..oh sorry! Food for thought....