Penalty for a Birdbrain


Subha sat on the wooden recliner near the window. Her eyes reflected the tinge of the pain her heart bore. She looked at the newspaper she was holding, and gaped at that news again and again.

Her classmate Rita had won the award for the most promising writer that year. Beside the news, was the photograph of Rita, receiving the award from the acclaimed writer of the nation.The comment of the jury went like this. “Talented young authors like Rita give much hope to the world of literature; it shows that the cyber world hasn’t yet killed the interest of young minds.” Subha sighed.

The news was followed by a short interview with the winner. Subha didn’t know that she was going to read  one of the greatest white lies she had ever known.

“Q: What was your inspiration to write?

Rita : You know, writing was my passion right from my childhood. I used to write something, when I got free time, either a poem or a story, and if I don’t, I felt I would die with a heart suffocating with ideas. I always knew I had those instincts, and I had determined to become a writer. To put it simple, I would say, writing gave me life, than Oxygen.”

Subha knew Rita since her school days, she never wrote a line or two, never sang,  never drew or painted and never danced. Agonizing dull, she couldn’t even enjoy arts or literature. Rita was always absent during youth club activities and arts festival. Sadly,deep in her heart she was jealous about every gifted soul. Subha might be the only one who knew that truth.

“Q: How do you see this award? Yours’ is a rare case, with just one work you have become so famous..

Rita : Ahh, as you can imagine, I feel happy and honored to receive such a great recognition, at this early age, that too from a great writer. It inspires me to pen down my still hidden splendid ideas. My fans expect more from me, I can’t disappoint them in any way, and that gives me much responsibility. And, I would like to disclose my other plan, I am thinking of donating a part of the money I have received, to the mid day meal programme in my village school.I was taught kindness is what makes us human.”

Subha jerked with contempt.

“Yuk, your achievement? How did you get it, u crook? You had asked my story to read, some years back. Being a simpleton, I had given it to you. You then wanted to take it home, as you couldn’t finish it at school, I had agreed (I do curse that moment! ). When I asked for it, you had said “not completed”. When I pressed, you had returned it showering me with compliments and asking explanations ..but who thought that you had copied it all ,taking over the authorship of my work!

And is it you, Rita, who is going to make donation? You had never given a penny to the needy, though you were wealthy. You remember what you had told when donations were collected for the poor… You had said , “If I have, I enjoy; if others don’t have, let them suffer, that’s their fate and all should accept their fate!” How could you fake everything in front of the world? U cheat!”

The rest went like this;

“Q: Can you share something about your next work?

Rita : I don’t want to kill the suspense now. But, you can hear about it very soon”.

Subha dis-relished her inability to say ‘no’ whenever some one asked her something. Rita might have already snatched some one else’s work and may be working on it…who knows!

The world we live in, is so devious and finds pleasure in taking advantage of the clement. It was Subha’s work; her creation, her effort of many restless days and sleepless nights, her sweat, her pain and her joy ! But now,it gave her a lasting heart burn.

A tear dropped from her eye and rolled into the newsprint.

The news she read, burned to ashes, under her eye.

{Published a modified version in YSC}


Yes, I am all ears...

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