Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Quarter Final # 4 : Siddhant Shekhar vs. Daud Zaidi

 *) - Leaving the Nest

(Siddhant Shekhar)

I know everyone expected me to submit a story, but college started and I still don't have a place to live yet or my laptop (not angling for grace sympathy numbers, I shappath! ) :) and I ended up writing this song instead. I know you must be thinking "Is this guy serious? He expects to win the round by sending in 20 rhyming lines against one of the best authors in the competition?", well, I don't expect to win. But I had my reasons to write this too.

 I walked out of the safety net my parents provided, from a small town into pretty much the biggest city I have ever been in. All alone. This song is about the fears and insecurities a person faces walking out into the real world. And I will consider myself a winner if this song strikes a chord (wink wink, see what I did there?) with anyone who remembers being where I am right now.

I'm just a little guy all alone in a big city, 
The buildings are so tall and the girls are so pretty, 
And it takes me five minutes just to cross one god-damned road.

I'm scared of losing myself to just a face in the crowd, 
I'm scared of being lost and then never being found, 
And I'm not ashamed to admit that I miss my Dad.

I'm all alone, Not a place to call home, 
But something tells me, I'll survive. 
Can't say I've been worse, Dunno a blessing or a curse, 
But a voice inside my head, tells me in the night.
That I'll survive.

Had never spent a night outside of my home, 
Now no one gives a fuck if I turn up or I don't. 
If I make it or I break it, all of it is now call my fault.

Hopes, dreams, secrets stay buried in my heart, 
With eyes closed you can't see no light in the dark, 
And you always need to think twice to know, if its a friend or a foe.

I'm all alone, Not a place to call home, 
But something tells me, I'll survive. 
Can't say I've been worse, Dunno a blessing or a curse, 
But a voice inside my head, tells me in the night.
That I'll survive. "

Yehi hai meri entry Bhaiya... I know its not much, but this song really means a lot to me.. :)

Rating - 35/100

Judge's Comments

1. No connect without reference - If you want us to connect with you, tell us the name of places, tell us things of family you miss. or things close to your college. name things, name people, don't name the city, but talk about things which anyone might connect to. kuch to bolo? ya sirf english mein eternal pain ki coolness maarni hai?

2. don't explain your work - never ever explain your work. If every film director did that before his film you would have 5 hour long films. Just make your product and give that to people, and let us do whatever we want - love it or shred it to pieces.

*) - Nazi

(Daud Zaidi)

October 18, 1939

“Come on line up, man in the left, children in the middle and women in the right one”, commanded the officer. He was wearing an army uniform with hat on his head on which the emblem of Nazi was carved.

“Fast, you douche bags”, command a second officer who was wearing same uniform as the previous one.

Families were separated from each other. There was a lot of noise of children and mothers crying as they were separated from each other. The bags, baggage, clothes utensils were lying all around. Many dead bodies were lying around. There was gloominess in the atmosphere as if the sky was dry with terror. The still coldness of the wind made it even more sizzling. The road was occupied by plenty of people where clear distinction could be made between Nazis and the Jews. The former were very nicely dressed and wore the specially designed uniforms while the latter were looking like goats which were being taken for sacrifice. The worry and stillness on their face could be clearly seen.
Isak could not let go his mother’s hand as she was being forced to join the line. 

“Please, let my family go”, begged Isak’s father standing on his knees and folding his hands.
“Get, in line you, bastard”, replied the officer, kicking him.
“Please let them go, I beg you”, he begged, touching the shoes which have just kicked him.
“No, No No”, yelled his wife as she was being snatched from her son and forced to stand in line.
“Mommy! Mommy”, screamed Isak as he was being pushed into the line with other hundred of kids.

“So, you want a bullet”, screamed the officer kicking Isak’s father once again. He pulled out a gun which was tucked toward right on his waist, aimed it just above Isak’s father head and pulled the trigger. With a large sound, the blood sputtered from his head with a little bit of flesh and his body dropped down to death. The officer next to him fire another shot to his head to ensure he was dead. The body went still.

“Noooooooooooo… ”, screamed Isak and ran toward his father but was caught by two officers, who slapped him on his head and made him to stand his line again. Isak quickly looked toward the line right to his, searching for his mother. But he could not find her. The line was constantly moving as the women were being taken away.

“Move fast and don’t talk!”, commanded officer in charge of their line.
Isak started moving in the line weeping, with other boys.

Finally they reached the chambers where the inspection was to be taken pace. First of all they were given the shower which was accompanied by the massive announcement which said that they were given slabs to sleep that night and it was mandatory for at least 4 persons to sleep on one slab making it the most of worse which could happen. Just like animals they were forced to sleep in a very congested area, mostly one over another which made it impossible to sleep. Every second of that night was turning out to be hours of utmost difficulty. Isak, on his slab laid down with is dark red eyes wide opened just like most of the members. His heart was still shouting mom, mom and his brain was still lounging for his dad whom he lost in front of his eyes before some time. Unlike other mates who slept , he was still awake in the hope of next day which could bring back her mother and father maybe; could bring back old days probably; could return his childhood. A bundle of questions such as how and why, flashed in his mind and he himself tried to search the answers. Seeking answers to such questions gave him a toll to pass the night which was till now not less than hell. Soon after couple of hours passed while he was again busy in his own question –answer session that he heard a noise.

“Wake up you buffoons”, a heavy voice interrupted his thought.
Isak hurried and ran towards the official who was having a 9mm pistol.
“Are you all deaf”, he repeated kicking the kids at lower bench.
Soon all the kids were lined up in a ground.

“Are we gonna die?”, asked Curtis, a 12 year old boy who was just behind him in the line.
“No, everything will be fine”, replied Isak moving slowly with the line.
“Who is he? Some kind of a doctor?” asked Curtis, again pointing his finger in the direction of man sitting on a chair with desk in front of it. There were files lying on his desk and an officer was standing behind him. It looked as if he was interviewing the kids.

“Keep your mouth shut,” commanded the officer standing nearby them.
“Stop! Stop right there”, commanded officer Straili who was incharge of the whole asylum.
Everyone’s eyes went into the direction to observe the cause of voice. Isak could see an 11 yr old kid running from the scene as fast he could. His face was white with fear, and was breathing heavily. He was wearing tattered clothes and his feet were naked. His feet were bleeding but he did not care. Officer Straili took his rifle hold it in the position to take a shot. With one eye closed, he could watch the kid running fast. But he was a better hunter. He pulled the trigger and boy dropped dead on the ground. 

“What is your name?”, asked the doctor as Isak reached to the doctor.
“Isak, Grovel”, he replied.
“What is your age?”
“14 and a half”, he replied politely thinking maybe being polite would set him free. It is human tendency to be polite in hard times thinking that it would pay better somehow.
Doctor wrote it in the register.
“Open your mouth”, ordered doctor. He opened his mouth thinking what possibly doctor could found in such a small time.
“Ok, close it”
“Jump!”, demanded doctor. Isak jumped
“Show me your hands, now turn to your, now to your right”, commanded doctor. He did it as it was asked.
“Now go to that line and stand there”, said the doctor pointing to a line.
Isak moved to the line and stood there watching the fear on other kids. He couldn’t help notice the other line which comprised of pale, weak and disabled children. He could guess their fate.

Soon, the selection process was over and they were sent to clean the field. They were given a dumpster can and have to collect the garbage and throw it the dumps.
“So, what will happen to us?”, asked Curtis picking up the garbage and throwing into the dumpster can.
“I, don’t know. I have to find my mom”, replied Isak doing the same.
“Where are you going to find her?”, asked the former again.
“I don’t know”, replied the latter picking up the garbage which seems to be now full and started moving to dump it constituents.

The night was not less worse than the previous one. His mind was heavy with the memories of past. What he could remember clearly as the day of his birthday. He was wearing a birthday cap smiling and standing in front of the table, where his birthday cake was lying with a candle in the shape of 14. His father and mother were standing beside him and a whole group of his friends were gathered for his birthday celebration. He blew up the candle and voice of birthday song went in air.

 Happy birthday to you;
Happy birthday to you;
Happy birthday dear Isak;
Happy birthday to you;

And there was a loud sound of clatters. He cut a piece of cake and takes a bite out of it. The celebration started and everybody was busy in the party.
“Oh, dad what the heck have you given me?”, asked Isak in frustration after he opened the gift given from his father.
“It’s a toy car”, replied his father.
“I am not a kid anymore, dad. I don’t want this”, yelled Isak tossing the car out of his bed.

“But I thought you would like it”
“You never thought about what I like, you only thought about himself. You are selfish dad. I hate you. I hate you”
That was the last time Isak was having conversation with his dad. Ever since he had wanted him to say sorry but was not able to say to him and now he couldn’t. 

He was just memorizing his dreams when he was disturbed by the loud noise of some sort of gun. The night as usual was clumsy and massive killings expanded much more than two days before.

November 6, 1939

In the next few days, Isak and his roommates were employed to clear up the streets. They went picking up the dead bodies of their relatives to clean the street. Those lacking in their commitment to work were instantly shot.
“Hey you boy, you come here”, ordered an officer standing nearby.
Isak hurried to hear what the officer was saying. 

“Take this parcel to General Straili, he must be at his house there”, said officer pointing toward the house near the field. It was a well built house surrounded by the fence from all sides. Guards were standing around it.

“Sure, sir”, replied Isak and hurriedly took the parcel and run towards the house to deliver it. He knew that if he would not hurry up, he will be lying in realm of bodies which he was sweeping.

“What do you want?”, asked the guard standing on the door.
“I have been assigned to deliver this parcel to General Straili, sir”, replied Isak looking toward the ground avoiding eye contact.

“Where is your card?”
“Here, Sire”, replied Isak taking out the card given to him by the doctor.
“Go”, ordered commander.

Isak climbed three stairs and entered the door which took him in the drawing room. It was a nice big room with an air of richness in it. There he saw a fine carpet which was laid in on almost all the part of the room. Opposite to him was a well build pair of sofa and a shining table made of glass. The air inside the room was warm and the curtains that blew here and there made it more pleasing and worth living. The General was sitting on the sofa and drinking scotch from a typical orthodox glass with cigar in his other hand.

“Stop there, you!”, pointing cigar towards the boy “You will ruin the carpet with your dirty feet”, he added.

Isak stilled immediately.
“This was to deliver to you Sire”, replied Isak avoiding eye contact.
“Mary! Mary!”, yelled General.
“Mary”, he roared again.
A woman hurried and stands by his side bowing down to him.
“Yes, sire”, she asked.
“Take the parcel from this idiot, fast”, ordered General.
Woman hurried toward the boy. Isak lifted his head to see only his mother standing in front of her. Tears rolls from his eyes.
“Mama…”, he said very slowly delivering the package and before he could say more, Mary signaled him to stop saying anything.
Mary delivered the package to General and bowed once again and left.
“What are you standing here for now? Get your dirty ass off here”, said Straili to Isak who could not help looking at her mother.
Isak left there with a heavy heart, promising to get his mother out of this hell.
Days past and a new stock of Jews arrived stuffed in a truck like clothes stuffed in a bag.
“Line them up”, ordered commander.
Twenty three men were lined in a row and General Straili and two other officers were holding there gun in their hand.
“Who from you are writers, engineer or educated?”, asked General.
Seven men raised up their hands in the air.

“So, what do you do?”, asked General pointing towards a man whose hands was up in the air.
“Sir, I am a perusing my p.h.d in economics and want to become a great vision…..”
Before he could utter anything else, he was shot him in his head and the two commanders took care of other six people.
“How many of you are workers, potters??”, asked General again loudly.
This time nobody raise their hands after the massacre they just saw.
“So, nobody of you knows how to work?”, asked commander moving two and fro along the row. Everybody was too scared to say anything.
“We want workers, not statues!”, he roared, shooting everybody in the line. Bodies were dropping one by one.
“Line up the next shift”, command General.

16 Decem1941

Soon Isak was promoted to work on extermination camps. It was a scene worse than hell. Hundreds of naked bodies were lying their taking to be incarnated. On one side there was a bundle of clothes and on other side there was bundle of shoes lying.

“Move these bodies for incarnation”, ordered an officer to the children.
They have to drag the body to a large pit where fire was burning and drop it in there.
“Work fast”, ordered again.
Soon a train arrives full of peoples.
“Come on, you all will be examined by doctor”
Isak saw doctors examining them one by one. Only some of them were considered fit and let them joining a line.
“Put off your clothes! Fast!”, shouted the doctor.
“What?”, questioned a pale slim man standing in front.

“And your wearings too! Throw them fast.” “Your bath is ready. So you all can have our bath inside the chambers and before going collect your towels and soaps from here” he added pointing towards a direction.
“We, we are thirsty; we had a long journey”, requested another pale man.
“Ha ha ,sure we have arranged coffee for you all. It’s cold outside”, chuckled the officer.

Soon they were walking towards the chamber and could clearly read the sign saying “bath”. The chamber was a huge one and was filled with hundreds of people. Once there was no space for extra one in the chamber its door was shut and locked. There was complete silence in the chamber. Soon, the solid petals of Zyklon-B were dropped from the ventilators releasing the deadly Hydrogen Cyanide gas into air making it toxic. Those who were close to the petals immediately went dead while the others suffered about twenty minutes more of their miserable life.

Noises of shouting and screaming could be heard even out of the chamber clearly suggesting that those inside were fighting for their lives. Their skin began turning pink and green, blood coming out of their mouths and ears and soon they were dead.

The chamber was opened and gas was removed. Isak and his friends were put to work as Sonderkommando, which was the unit of Jewish workers. Their work was to clean the gas chamber  and to shave the heads of bodies and then dispose them.

December 12 1939
“I have seen him working as Sonderkommando ”, whispered Martinus, a well built man who looked to be in his early forties.
“Really, they all would be treating my son as an animal” , cried Mary with utter focus.

“Yeah! I know because I too am a Sonderkommando, and he told me to tell you that he is fine after he knew I also do work for General Straili
“Please guide me! I need to save my son.”
“How can I help?”
“Please, I need to visit my son!”

 “ok ok don’t take your decision in such a hurry. It can even cost your life.”
“There is no need of my living if my son dies, I am living here because of him only.”
“Somebody is coming, I should leave now”

2 days later…
 “I talked to your mother”, said Martinus, shaving the hair of corpses.
“How is she?”, replied Isak doing the same.
“Yeah! She only wants you to be safe”
“I am gonna let her out from that hell, I have been working here only in a hope to see her”

“Hey you two!, Do your work with your hands and not with your mouth”, roared an officer.
“What you think are we doing here?”, yelled Isak unable to control his frustration for his mother.
“You talk to me like that, you filthy dirt”, roared the officer even louder.
He pulled out his gun smashed on Isak head twice. Blood started sprouting out off his head and the soil beneath his feet too became reddish. Isak laid unconscious there.
“He is no more of our use take him to Dr Mijeli. I think he is of better use to him than us.”
Soon he was taken to the hospital of Dr Mijeli where an air of weirdness was spread. It was really a big hospital with plenty of doors and corridors. The entry was a glass door with was led through an incline plane accompanied by two small stairs. The color red was painted all over and and probably symbolized danger.

“Yummy! I badly needed another child. I need to do some sort of experiment.” he uttered.
“That’s why we bought to you sir cause you are a great experiment geek!”, replied the persons who bought the child.
“Well done! you really did a commendable job. I will write a letter of recommendation to Chancellor”
“Thanks sir!”
“Anything thing else you want from me ?”
“no.. no sir”
“they probably you may leave”
“Sure sir!”,and left the venue.
“Hey child can you hear me? ”, he shouted towards Isak.
“m……m……”replied the lonely child and could say no more.
Soon he was taken to the chair and strapped so that he could not move. The sub conscious child could do nothing and could only wait for the proceedings to start. The proceedings were really queer as it was a head injury experiment. Above him was placed a mechanized hammer which came down after every few seconds and wet back. This continued for couple of minutes and the child was left after few minutes for observation.

December 27, 1939
A woman ran quietly in the street of Germany among the vast crowd of other women. Her face resembled that of Isak, thereby indicting she was Isak’s mother. She came towards the camp where she was told he was compelled to work. Her eyes were constantly in search of his son and never relaxed even for a minute. The desire to meet his son grew more and more and so was her heart. But still the boy was not visible to his eyes. The fear of being killed by the officers was nearly killing her and that was what made her more desperate to meet his son. She was excited by seeing a cluster of children and here she decided to ask about her son for the first time.

“Hey you little angle, you know a boy named Isak”, she enquired.
“Perhaps, I know him”, a voice came back.
“Where?? Where?? Please could you tell?” she excitedly replied again.
“My name is Curtis and I wonder you are his mother if I am not wrong.”
“Yeah my child but where is he?”
“He would be at the backyard working on the dead bodies you can go their but be patient I have not heard of him from many days.”
“I don’t get you my son”

“See! We became friends in our early days of evil and then he being fit was made a Sonderkommando while I was ordered to clean the dump
“Thanks child! God will pay reward to you for this.” she said and was lost in the milling crowd among the woman.
“I think you are best suited to serve as a guide, aren’t you”, chuckled the officer pointing the gun towards Curtis.
“What? I... I didn’t get you”
“But I got you”, he screamed and shot on his forehead Curtis dropped dead and then ordered “get that silly woman!”.
Mary on the other hand soon reached the spot and found her son.
“Isak”, she shouted.

“Over here listen” she again uttered.
“Who are you”, replied the confused boy.
“I…I am your mother son! Your mama”
“My head is bursting with pain…. I don’t know you”
“Listen! You don’t remember me, your mother. Look at my face
! Yes these eyes.”
“Please! I am full in pain, who am I ? .. Let me concentrate”.
Isak had gone insane because of the brutal shocks he received in the hospital. Soon he and his mother were captured by the goons of officer and were mentioned in the list of the persons who were to be taken in the gas chamber. Isak’s mother walked slowly towards the gas chamber looking at her child holding his hand.


Somewhere in unknown location :

“That’s how it ends”, said a figure wearing red robes closing the book from which he was reading. The title of the book written on the cover was “Holocaust”.
Two more figures were also present on that venue which was completely white. One of them was standing in front of him who was wearing the white robes the other was wearing green robes sitting on chair higher than the other two.

“It’s your turn”, pointing towards the one with the white robes.
The figure turns to the table and took a book lying on it. The title of the book read “The Denial Of Holocaust”…... 

Rating - 17/100

Entry Eligible for Multiple Genres Bonus (in Given Theme Options for Quarter-Finals) - Plus 5

Final Rating - 22/100

Judge's Comments

1. English - Your english is really like physics textbook, most of us speak like this - using phrases like former, although, now, So. - Your english doesn't need to be heavy with big words, but needs to be less physics textbook. Whichever language you use, use it nicely. Use English, Hindi, or even Hinglish, doesn't matter. 

 2. Choice of topic - World is a complex place, there are so many stories which have never been told. Holocaust has been done to death - something similar could be the mass killings in Mizoram in 60's. You could write about that. 

3. Pace, engross - You could find a new leaf in the holocaust story. but your pace was too slow and got too boring. the story was not able to contain my interest.

4. Grey - Everything, every character, movement is black or white. There's no grey in your story. Grey is real life - grey is interesting.

5. Too many DVD rip films and too little real life - I feel this story was an effect of too much torrent downloading and film viewing. Real life around you has far more stories. Move around. Look around.

Result - Mr. Siddhant Shekhar wins the match and qualifies for Semi Finals. Mr. Daud Zaidi (and Subst. Mr. Eesh Khan) are eliminated from Freelance Talents Championship. However, they are eligible for combined play-off match deciding 5 to 8 ranks. 

Judge - Mr. Sumit Kumar (Author-Artist : Famous for Aaapki Poojita, Kashmir ki Kahani, Uud Bilaw Manus,  Widhwa Ma Andhi Behen, The Itch You Can't Scratch. Cartoonist at Newslaundry, earlier at Pop Culture Publishing & Comic Con India).

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