The Fourteenth Edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest
Wednesday, October 25th to Sunday, October 29th 2023

THE POWER OF WORDS

Online : 25 - 26 Oct
On ground : 27 - 29 Oct

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Literature Live! 360@Campus at Kaleidoscope

28th October 2022

To provide greater opportunities to students Literature Live! 360@ Campus collaborated with Kaleidoscope, an intercollegiate festival hosted by Sophia College for Women for two literary arts events – Paint-a-Tale and Tale O’ Clock.

Read the winning entries below:

 

PAINT -A -TALE

Prompts were given to the writers to use it to create a story. This story will then be delivered to the painters who paint the story based on their partner’s writing.

Read the winning entries below  in ranking order

 

 

1.    Tullika Thampi 

 

DRAGON BREATH

 

“What are you doing, Maira?” I turned around and smiled at the cheerful young girl that came

bouncing up the path to meet me. She was 17, but she was quite petite and her manners childish,

causing one to think that she was much younger.

 

“I’m talking to Redwing.” I reached out my hand and the griffin standing behind me bowed down its head, touching its beak to my palm.

 

“Oh, what’s he saying?” she asked curiously.

 

“Actually, it’s a she. She was saying that she could see a red bull rolling down the path.” I grinned. “I think she meant you.”

 

“I thought she was saying that your hand was looking tasty to her.” She grinned back, “I don’t know, Maira, how you can understand what those creatures say. It only sounds to me like she’s clicking her beak

again and again.”

 

“Nobody knows how I do what I do, Naya.” I said grimly. “I am always an odd one out. I’ve got no powers other than talking to creatures, and it’s very evident that I’m not a fae like you all are. I don’t have pointed ears for one, and my skin is much paler than your tanned, ronze ones. And my hair stands out too much-A bright, flaming red unlike most of your blond, golden hair,”

 

“My hair’s red too.” she said, pulling out some strands for me to see.

 

“Yes, but it’s a much darker red, and straight too. Mine’s so curly it feels like I have a bird’s nest

on my head.” I replied curtly.

 

“But it looks so pretty!” she said, pouting. “I have always been jealous of it.”

 

“You think differently, Naya. You always have.”

 

“Well the others are blind because they can’t see how unique you are.”

 

“They do see how unique I am, that is the problem.”

 

“No, the problem is that they don’t admire you for it.”

 

“No, it’s because I’m not worth admiring.” I said sharply.

 

“Look at this land. So green, mysterious, with so many adventures waiting to be discovered. And

its full of fae as well as all the ancient creatures that you can think of-”

 

“Except dragons.” said Naya bitterly.

Except dragons, who died off during the third great battle. Perhaps it’s a good thing they aren’t

around, for I heard they are rather fierce.”

 

The griffin nudged me. I smiled and gave her a treat, rubbing her beak as I did so. “I prefer griffins to dragons. They are quite beautiful, with their eagle wings and talons, and their lion-like-hind paws and tail. Oh, and not to mention their eagle like head, which has their cute puppy-dog eyes.” Redwing blinked at me with said eyes and I laughed, giving her another treat.

“I thought you told me unicorns where your favourite.” Naya said doubtfully.

 

“ Pegasuses.” I corrected.

 

“And last week you told me phoenixes where your favourite.” said Naya indignantly.

 

“Well, the one I met on the grounds had been pretty cute, what with having flames instead of feathers and a sweet cooing sound…”

 

“And the week before that, you told me…”

 

“All right, all right, I keep changing my favourites all the time. What can I do? They are all so charming, and sometimes so fierce-looking too.”

 

“And yet, you don’t like dragons?”

 

“No. I don’t.”

 

“Hmph. Whatever. I’m sure that if you met one, you like it as well. It will probably become your next favourite.”

 

“As if I’ll ever see one. They have all gone since the third great battle.”

 

Naya suddenly became serious. “Speaking of which, I just remembered something… I had actually come to tell you of the news.”

 

“What news?” I asked.

 

“The humans are going to invade us by tomorrow morning.”

 

“What?? Who told you” I asked, shocked.

 

“The general was speaking to the commander. I overheard them.”

 

“A likely story, that you conveniently ‘overheard’ them.” I said, a small smile coming to my lips before dropping away.

 

“Yeah, right.” She rolled her eyes. “The point is, they have got past the borders and are making their way to the capital, where we are right now.”

 

“Well, surely our warriors can stop them. They are quite capable in their magic.” I said convincingly.

 

“I heard that the humans have invented new weapons, things they called guns and bombs… They are fast and causes large scale damage.” She paused, then said, “It seems that the humans have used their time since the last war in a progressive manner.”

 

“But the last war was centuries ago!”

 

“Exactly! They don’t like us presiding over forests and lakes… They are too greedy and have always harmed our environments. During the last war, our magic was barely enough to push them back. The dragons were the ones who had helped, pushing back the army until they were trapped. They were always very intelligent, the dragons, and they treasured our lands. They were the ones who had turned the tide in our favour. Even then, there had been so little dragons left. Now they’re completely gone.”

 

I fell silent, contemplating Naya’s words, while she breathed heavily in anger.

 

“Well,” I said, “there’s nothing we can do about this, except hope that our warriors will be enough to stop them.”

 

“Yes. Nothing.” Naya was upset and I shared her feelings. Then Redwing screeched, drawing my attention back to her.

 

“I better put her back in her home before I go to bed. I didn’t realise it was so dark already.”

 

I gazed up at the night sky. Here, in the fae realm, we always had two moons, one bright and round, shining in splendour, while the other was always in a crescent shape and shone with less brilliance than the other, with a grey-ish spot in the center of its shape. I always thought it looked like a dragon. There were so many stars clustered around it, and all of them shone brightly. It was said that here, in the fae realm, there were more stars and they appeared much closer than they did on the human realm. We stood and stared at the sky for sometime, the gryffin included, as a gentle breeze ruffled our vintage style dresses, hair and, in Redwing’s case, feathers. Then, we said goodnight and parted, I leading Redwing off to her shelter.

 

As I was leading her back to her home, the gryffin stables, I had something like a shot. I stopped and listened, but didn’t hear anything. I walked forward, and as soon as I lead Redwing into the stables, the other gryffins spoke, welcoming her back. I smiled at the greeting, but frowned as I heard another shot. I had certainly not imagined it. I went outside and saw, to my horror, fae running here and there, trying to escape from a small group of people I assumed were humans. I wondered why they were scared of so few people. There were only about twelve or so humans, as far as I could see, but then I saw the enormous machines that followed them. They had strange shapes, but when each of them made a sharp firing sound, I realised that they were canons. Each of the men also carried a thick stick, which was also making the firing sound, so I realised that they must be smaller, portable canons.

 

As I watched, they came over to the animal stables, and started tearing them apart. Unicorns, Pegasuses, gryffins, griffons (part eagle and part horse), phoenixes, and so many of the creatures came running from them, and were running everywhere. I started, realising that these people were going to hurt them. I rushed forward, waving my hands.

 

“Stop! Do not hurt them!”

 

They ignored me, pushing past and running after them. One of them fixed a shot, and I heard a

pained cry from one of the gryffins.

 

I stilled. My anger rose at the men’s cruelty, at the fleeing fae, at my own helplessness. I curled my fingers and hissed through my teeth. My anger rose up as if it were a living thing, and my skin started to burn. I felt something like wings come out from my shoulders and I dropped down to my knees and palms watching as they became scales and claws. I had turned into a dragon! I didn’t care how or why then. I ambled towards the men, snarling. They looked started and fired at me but all the bullets clinking off my scales. I roared, and breathed out fire at them. It was blue in colour, and hot as hellfire.

 

The men screamed as their machines burned down to soup, and ran for their lives. I didn’t bother

going after them, I went to the injured gryffin. Redwing. Tears burned in my dilated yellow eyes, and I had no eyelids to blink them away properly. I breathed out softly onto the gryffin, trying to comfort her, I watched in amazement as my breath swirled around her wound as then into it. And then, her wound started healing within seconds, it was completely healed. The gryffin was surprised and let out a thankful squawk. Naya came running to me and hugged me. Or at least, as much as she could hug of my front leg.

 

“You are awesome!” She gushed out excitedly. “Now no one can tell you otherwise! You are a

dragon shapeshifter all time and oh, you look so beautiful!” She admired my red scales. Then she

looked at me.

 

“Can you give me a ride? Pretty please?”

 

I smiled, showing my sharp pointy yellow teeth, and said, “of course.” I lowered my shoulder, and she climbed on. Then, I jumped into the air and flew off into the night sky, like a dark shadow against the bigger moon.

“So,” called out Naya from my back, “who’s your favorite creature now?”

 

I smiled, “What’s the doubt? Dragons, of course!”

 

 

2.    Neelakshi Singh 

 

REVISITING  NEVERLAND

A searing pain grew between Jamie’s legs. For the fifth time now, he had ended up getting thrown onto this wooden horse roundabout. This was getting mundane now. Exhausting, even. Who has ever built a round using wood?

It was now close to 2 hours since he’d been stuck in this place, a beloved game from his childhood that now seemed like his personal version of hell comes to life or rather, to artificial stimulation. Neverland Chronicles was a slickly designed fantasy game-life from the pre-aughts period, a one-of-its-its band stimulation that transported you to the land of dreams, mystery and adventure.

You could clearly see if now – the outdated state of the place. The revolutionary in the Jos, but no child of the game had been 21st century would frolic  around in this genuine yet ostentatious and kitsch simulation. Still, Jamie had picked up the dusty plastic bag in which the game was wrapped and had decided to dive back into this, into his childhood.

He could not have regretted that sentiment any more than he did right now. This nostalgia had led him to places before, but this was definitely surpassing all of them to be the worst one yet.

He had been stuck on the Be Thy Own Monster stage for a while now and due to a glitch, loving the stage master dinge hoods returned him back to the starting point. It was a rather iconic situations, as 8-year-old Jamie used to master this stage ever since  his small feet set foot in Neverland Chronicles This part of the game had been time

Introduced in an update, the creator company thought the game’s amusement park theme with purples and whites dotting the rides were too girly. To make the game more attractive for boys, they introduced a game that gave them a chance at being men. Incorporated into the virtual theme park, ‘Be Thy Own monster’ presented an opportunity for the gamer to fight a mythical creature based on their personality. The monsters’ were creatures hailing from various mythologies and folk tales. Some were modern-day’ ferocious roberts. Each forach my creature I was made selected by the by the designers to make the game a win-win situation. Girls would talk to the long-necked ‘Rokurokubi ank or try to stress style their hair like Medusa. The boys would get their testosterone quota fulfilled by fighting with Cerberus or the giant Kappa.

Jamie had loved every second f Has a child. As an adult, not so much. Jamie was an actual man now and not a boy in his teens, the monster associated with his personality had changed. He wasn’t the clever sphinx or the mighty mammoth now. No, what stood in front of him as his monster equivalent was much more cynical, much more gut wrenching.

Rak, the monster that had emerged out of the lake for a battle, possessed no defined shape or form, devoid of intelligible figure alone except for a black mass. Apice day gages Devastating amounts of had washed over him once he laid his sadness” eyes on the dark vapor – his monster self,” his own reflective enemy. Taking the form of the gamer’s worst fear, this mythical creature was only heard of as a legendary good in the game.

Now, it stood in front of him as an adult -self. A few The defection of bland wif him. Isolation, hamelius. Minutes later, as the vap his legs searing pain grew between starred on, a Restart. Rewind. Replay.

Jamie’s resolve was strong as steel for his fifth fight with his black cloaked monster of despondence. They had what is called a pals plan.

Thankfully, his phone network was alive and well within the avidual walls of the Neverland Chronicles. He had decided he’d wise a reverse strategy. The game required boys to be men, then he’d be a little boy and call mom. He had to for his mom, he’d always been her little baby. The boy who became a man and went wayward in life. This mother’s love would be the weapon against his own self.

 

With the phone in his hand like a sword, he stared down the vapor with a triumphant smirk. “Come at me!” They exclaimed. It was a smile made for Victory. And a victor he emerged, with the Vapor condensed into zilch.

The Neverland was his to conquer

 

3. Manismrita Tiwari

The Truth About Legends

There was a legend whispered among the folk of Pangea, of a mighty creature none had seen but all had heard of. The thing about legends is that no one can discern the exact degree of truth and lies they are made of, at least no man alive can. So Peter decided to venture to the land of the dead. The cemetery of Pangea was a place few dared to cross hot first for the fear of the spirits of the dead, but for  the presence of something, no , someone that did not belong to any category of or definitions humans had come up with . The six wrinkled and bent-with-age men stood in semi-circle. They were men in the loosest sense, made of flesh and bone but alive not because of food, water and air but by consuming the grief and sorrow of human beings. The folk called them the Elders.

Fear crawled down Peter’s spine, but he took one step toward the Elders and bowed.

” I’ve come before you to enquire about the one legends speak of, I’ve come to enquire about FIREBIRD”

One hooded figure lifted its head to meet Peter’s eyes but where its eyes should’ve been there were only pools of darkness.

“State the true purpose of your journey child and we shall do what you seek.”

When it spoke, though only his mouth moved , it echoed as though all six of them were speaking together.

Peter tried to conceal the tremor in his voice and spoke again,”The north waged a war against Pangea, and we are severely underprepared. I come to you in search of a chance at survival. I have heard of the FIREBIRD and the power it holds, and the role it played in the victory of Pangea in the first war. They say one flap of its mighty wings leaves an entire battlefield in ruin. I must confess that I don’t know how much of this is true and that is why I’ve come before you.”

All six hooded figures looked up but only one in the center spoke,”You seek from your heart child, but we are bound to this cemetery for eternity so we cannot guide you to firebird’s nest , but we can confirm its existence and through the mind’s eye we can show you what to do to summon it but we demand a price.”

“Anything!” Answered Peter

The hooded Elders who had spoken scoffed, “Humans and their art of survival. Very well then, hear the price and accept it and we shall offer what we promised. The Firebird will come when summoned the right way; it only stays in bird form till dusk, at night it shall find a human host to reside in, if you are willing and capable of being a host we shall show you how.”

“Peter only hesitated for a second before saying,”I, Peter of Pangea, accept with my entire being to be human host to the mighty Firebird.”

“Very well then, Peter of Pangea, enclose your eyes and let us show you the FIREBIRD of might and beauty.” Peter’s eyes fell shut and the world went dark around him.

Peter opened his eyes one blink at a time, the world was suddenly brighter and it took him a moment to take in the sight. He was no longer in the cemetery, the Elder’s were gene and he stood atop a hill.

The sky had just turned to the shades of a flame. Bitter, orange and red blending into deep blue. The edge of the day bleeding into the night. The entire expanse of Pangea was visible in the valley, people willing about to the streets looking ants the clock tower standing proud and tall in the middle, the clock showing five thirty p.m. An entire city full of life reduced in size by distance Peter thought must have fallen asleep and this must be a dream, when a familiar echo filled his mind as one of the Elder’s spoke to him, mind to mind.

“Keep your eyes on the horizon child and witness the Firebird!”

Peter dragged his attention back to the sky, faintest outline of the moon’s early arrival now visible. He stood there, drinking in the site and was about to give up hope when the clock struck six. Bells started sounding, flowing over the city in waves, then a sound louder and closer filled Peter’s ears and the FIREBIRD entered his vision. A gasp escaped him.

The creature dulled the sky in its vibrancy. Feathers of the deepest red adored its mighty wings and each flap sent a boom across the air. The eyes were the glassiest hazel. Moving over the city as if observing an old residence with fierce protection as lacing Its each keen sweep. The feathers of its body and tail both transformed from the deepest red to the deepest black . A contrast to the ranging shades. The entire city below seemed to be awestruck, as if they felt the legend flying the skies in their very bones. Its beak was sharp and curved at the edge, the one it had used to blind the opponent’s beast in the first war. Nails extended from its huge claws, huge enough to grab multiple humans at the same time.

Peter did not meet the Elders to speak in his mind to know that this creature was real. The bird whose tears can heal the deepest of wounds and on whose back Hercules once rode. Peter fell to his knees as the Firebird came to the hill he was standing on.

“You seek my help against the tyrant of the North, but are you strong enough to be my host?” Its voice was like a sword wrapped in velvet.

Peter realized with a start “it” wasn’t an it but a “She”

“I shall offer you every thread of my being, to have your support.” Palms upraised Peter looked into her eyes. Cunning and full of power.

“Then open your mind and let me in”

As the sky turned to a cobalt blue, the Firebird turned to sunset coloured mist. That filled his lungs with his next breath and when his eyes opened again in the cemetery they were no longer brown but hazel and as one the Elders bowed before the FIREBIRD.

Now the legends were whispered anew, of the boy with hazel eyes, that housed a mythical creature in his heart but this time the legends were true.

 

 

 

TALE O’ CLOCK

 

Participants were  assigned a character or a public figure, a specific topic or a dialogue and an emotion on the spot and had fifteen minutes to pen down a tale and narrate it toa live audience

Winner entries appear in ranking order

 

1.    Sneha John

 

Character – Dracula

Emotion – Sadness

Situation – talking to my therapist about the trauma I experienced due to digging my nose to deep

 

I’ve finally woken from my dark nights slumber. Oh the sun, the awful wretched sun it burns my skin till it becomes the colour of my soul, black. Ahh these humans and their fads these days all they eat is junk i can’t even get quality blood to drink anymore. I’m now forced to spend eternity sulking, depressed left alone to drink blood substitutes.

But nothing Genuinely nothing shall make my existence any worse than the dreaded incident that happened today.

I have a daughter Mavis, ahh my pride and joy. She’s still a young 113 and not allowed to date boys might I add. She’s for some god awful reason picked up the habit of picking her nose. Ah doc i tell you the horror i experienced. We vampires are a race of graceful, powerful daunting creatures and to see my daughter pick this habit from humans. Ugh the pure disgust i felt i mean what are you looking up there for!?

Now i swear I’ve never done this before in my life l, but curiosity got the best of me. My daughter swore to me that if you’d go deep enough you’d find gold!

I’ve been around for centuries and frankly I’m quite broke now doc, I NEED THIS GOLD. this deeply inflicted trauma is something no one will understand l. I swear on my lifeless eternal body that I’ve never done this before.

But one day i thought what would be the harm, so i dug doc. but oh god i dug too deep and i did not in fact strike any gold. Now i lay before you bleeding from my nose on your chair doc a sad depressed entity. Look what the Great Dracula has been reduced to.

 

 

2.    Varad Gokhale

 

Character – Susan Pevensie                                         

Emotion – Angry

Situation – Being stuck in a public washroom stall

 

Narration – Susan Pevensie is a fictional character in C.S. Lewis’s , “The chronicles of Narnia” series. She was a warrior and the 2nd eldest Pevensie child. She has appeared in 3 books of 7 as the elder sister. She was excellent in archery and wars. She is called as Queen Susan The gentle. The only Pevensie that survived the train crash after the last war with her siblings. Her siblings , Edmund , Peter , Lucy and others.

 

Story

 

After the war you may don’t know but , I- HAD- TO- PEE- , what do you think?? WE DON’T PEE? THERE WAS NO WAY I CAN GO!!!!! I REALLY WANTED TO PEE!! AFTER THAT WAR!! MY SIBLLINGS DIED BUT I REALLY HAD TO PEE!!!!

I was searching for some public washroom , from that dense forest I finally found a way out to the main road , and finally after walking for like 3 miles , I finally got down a public washroom. There was a lady sitting just in front of the washroom , I thought I’ll have to pay to avail the washroom services , I asked her about the charges. There are no charges , its free to use , she replied. I dropped my weapons outside and rushed into the stall , I slammed the door because I WAS IN A HURRYYY! I HAD TO PEE!!!

OMG – it feels relieved , argh – THE DOOR!!!! WHY ISN’T IT OPENINGG!!!! HEYY LADYYYYY ARE YOU THERE!!!!??? WHY ISN’T THE DOOR OPENING!

AYE , ITS JUST THE SLIDE!! YOU DON’T NEED TO PUSH IT! FORGOT HOW YOU GOT IN? IT WAS THE SLIDE!!

After of about 2-3 minutes of this quarrel I finally got out and was completely relieved.

 

3.    Satwick Gurram

 

Character – Captain Hook

Emotion – Sadness

Situation – Beauty influencer shopping at colaba causeway

 

(Sailing across the Pacific Ocean and throwing out people who denied his beauty, Captain Hook

reached the docks of Mumbai.)

Hello, I am Captain Hook. As you can see, I have a rolling moustache and a hook on the other

hand. I am beautiful. If you want to deny that then let me know, I’ll throw you off into the sea. High five, there as well. (Some cool things Mumbaikars do!) Do you know how I got this hook. One day, I was waiting for a taxi in Mumbai and then this happened – (the taxi drove off without stopping cutting my hand into two – aahhh!)

 

I am sad, I am sad. My girlfriend Emma left me recently. According to her she doesn’t deserve this relationship. Anyways I feel like crying but I may not. I have some errands to run in. Before that, I’ll get my shopping done at Colaba.

 

(Calling out for a taxi but no one responding, he turns around and shouts bhaya and the taxi stops to let him swoop in.) Alas! I have reached here. I have to do some shopping. The bottles of perfume, clothes on one side and the vintage jewellery on the other. Am I in Goa? No, I’m not. (As he walks ahead he likes some accessory to buy for his first client) How much is this for?

 

(The seller exhales in a monotonous tone )

Seller – Dedh Sau rupaaya! But I can only give you 150 rupees.

 

(Both didn’t know each other’s language and kept on repeating the same thing until Captain asked someone for help.)

 

Howdy, can you help me with the language he is speaking. I feel all gibberish talking to him.

 

(Satwick in scene speaks) – Sure, I’ll get it done for you.

(This led to a small brief discussion between Satwick and the Colaba vendor with Captain hook itching his head. As they took the accessories, Captain persuades Satwick to help him and asks him to assist him company at such a crowded place to get his work done. Satwick accepts it without any grudge or grin.)

 

Captain – This place is really crowded Satwick. Do you know, I’m a pirate.

 

Satwick – I could make out with your outfit captain.

Captain – Indeed, you can. Anyways wherever pirates go they try to rob or snitch some treasure as it comes understand their ethics.

 

Satwick – I don’t indulge in any such things. I know the Mumbai Police and don’t want to be in any conflict with them. You do whatever you want to, I’ll grab something to eat but then.

 

Captain – Let me show you how it’s done.

 

(With pink panther music playing in the background he slides outside a temple and wears some new branded shoes pf a devotee and runs like a maniac.)

 

Captain – See this is where I feel happy after a long time. I just broke up with my girlfriend Emma. Let’s have a drink before you leave. Booze helps you mitigate the misery.

 

Satwick – Sure, but what are these accessories for?

 

Captain – Well these are for my first client as you must have followed me on Instagram. In that I’m a beautiful influencer.

 

Satwick – No I don’t follow you, but I’ll think about it. Well who is your first client?

(Captain takes a deep sigh)

 

Captain – My ex-girlfriend Emma.

 

 

 

Our sincere gratitudes to our judges : Gauri Sinh, Mrinalini Harchandrai, Saumya Balsari, Shabnam Minwalla and  Shireen Mistry

 

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