Our winning co-author from the compilation Out of My Box born out of the winning entries of the FemmeFluenza contest for women writers, Prakhar Patidar is a 22-year-old post-grad from Christ University trying to make it into the professional world of stories and wrap her head around the fact that groceries are expensive.
Her tantrums as a kid were more often than not met with stories her mom cooked up to deal with them. That’s where she feels it all began. When she asked for a candy every night before bed, she got jaggery instead with a story of this mouse that bought it every night. One could only have a small piece, or else the mouse would run away. When she demanded to be told five stories every night before bed, her mom complied and made up stories, at least, till she hit writer’s-block. Then a tantrum for five new stories meant widened eyes and “You listen to one story and go to bed, or you sleep outside the house.”
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This fascination with and love for stories has shaped all her major academic and professional choices. She is currently exploring different genres and forms with her creative writing by using “call for submissions” on various platforms as a prompt. Rubatosis, her contribution to the book FemmeFluenza is a happy result of this creative exploration. Similar to the anthology she has recently compiled: Shahar. It brings together the myriad of ways people have experienced different cities: one poetic or prosaic piece at a time. She looks forward to a professional career in academia or creative writing, whichever way life takes her.
You can find more of her work at I Did This With Words
Here’s an excerpt from Prakhar’s winning story ‘Rubatosis‘ published in Out of My Box
They sat on the ledge with their legs hanging in the open. It was a small town. One could tell by the sea of small houses all around; roof after roof, gapped by narrow streets running in between, intersecting oddly like a shoddy map. There wasn’t a single tall building in sight. Just one or two-storied houses and an occasional four-storied structure. A sea of low-level yellow and white lights. This house stood next to where Bitti lived: built on the ground floor with an open roof and a single room on top. And though not that high, sitting on that ledge made her heart race a bit. And despite the erratic beating of her heart, she sat there frequently with Simmi. Simmi, the more adventurous of the two, always had stories of hearts racing for far better reasons than sitting on a ledge barely 15ft above the ground.
Today, Simmi had done something ballsy. Very brave for the small town. Bitti knew she had gone out with that boy from class, but for details, she’d have to pester Simmi. She had known Simmi for enough years to know her antiques. They had been neighbors for all 16 years of their lives.
She tugged on her kurta to initiate the pestering. Simmi slyly sat there enjoying every bit of it. She acted as if there was nothing to tell. It was simple: she had just gone to the cinema hall. There was nothing special about it; it was just one of the few spaces where holding hands, and more with a date was possible. Bitti began to get annoyed.