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This was my first ever attempt at fiction-on-demand, or rather, something written ‘made to order’ on a theme/prompt presented by another, in this case Sankaran Nampoothiri, as part of a word festival in Yahoo 360, in 2006. For the second one, click here.

There were butterflies in my stomach.

I tried to quell them with a few deep breaths.

I had to make it tonight. The competition had been tough. But I knew I had sung well.

I glanced across the audience to where my sister sat.

She was my teacher, my mentor and more.

I was here among the finalists of the music show all because of her. She woke me up in the mornings, sat with me through my daily practice and shared my joys and tribulations always.

My parents had been skeptical about my joining the show. My sister would have none of it. She, an avid watcher of the shows on TV decided that I would compete in the music show. She wanted to see me on stage, next to Anu Malik and Sonu Nigam, with the trophy! Her faith in me was touching. She just knew I would win! I was not a bad singer and I could not break her heart.

So here I was!

There was some movement on stage. Anu Malik and Sonu Nigam were walking on to the platform with Farah Khan.

The butterflies fluttered their wings again. I took deeper breaths.

Karunya squeezed my hand. I knew he was as nervous as I.

“The second place goes to ..”

I lost the rest of it. Karunya was congratulating me. I HAD WON!

I received the trophy, posed for the photos, and accepted the handshakes and hugs.

But my eyes kept going back to my sister.

She was clapping and cheering for me, her little sister, the star!

She was happier than the happiest.

She who had never ever heard me sing.

She who could never hear me sing.

She who had never heard a sound from the time of her birth.

The butterflies had flown away.

My tears flowed instead.


Note: The challenge had been to tell a story in 300 words and including ‘there were butterflies in my stomach’ in it. The music show I speak of here is that of the ‘Indian Idol’ aired on Sony TV, where Anu Malik (music director,singer), Sonu Nigam(singer) and Farah Khan (choreographer, producer) had been the judges. Karunya is the name of the gifted singer who lost out to the mediocre talent of Sandeep through the unpredictable public votes in the final round. In my story, I get to beat the talented young Karunya. Anything can happen in dreams, right? 😉

NaBloPoMo January 2014