Sheena and the Writing Competition – Part II

Mrs Sood began explaining the rules. But Sheena couldn’’t hear anything.
The butterflies were angry butterflies now. She looked at the paper
in front of her and then at the topic: “An essay on writing”.

Sheena sat still. She recalled her father’’s advice but didn’’t know how to picture “”writing””. She closed her eyes. “”I love to write. I write many things. I
want to write more and more,”” she thought. But three sentences wouldn’’t fill the page.

The world, including the classroom, stopped to exist. Suddenly, her mind was full of pictures. There were pictures of books. Pictures of people writing. There were even pictures of pages being made into books. Sheena began to write.

““I love to write. I write lots of things. I especially love to write short stories. I love to write so much that I want to be a writer when I grow up. My writing will be in a book. People all over the world will read it. My father will be very happy. He has always told me to write. He is the person who has taught me how to write. If I can picture something in my head, I can write about it. My father keeps all my writing in a big file at home. When my uncles
and aunts come over, he shows it to them. I hope to become a writer so he can show them my books!”

“”Time up!”” Mrs Sood started collecting all the papers. She smiled at Sheena from behind her thick glasses. Sheena smiled back. The butterflies were gone.

When Sheena reached home, Father called. “”Did you win,”” he asked. “”They will tell us tomorrow,”” she replied. “Don’’t worry. The judges will
love your essay,”” he assured her.

Sheena spent the evening buried in her thoughts. I hope I win, she prayed. But with so many people…

Her mother sat down with her for dinner. “”How many students were there,”” she asked. Sheena changed the topic. ““Mom, these paranthas are delicious!” ”Mother understood that she was worried and didn’’t ask again. But she did say something. ““Sheena, please don’’t only think about winning. Even if you don’’t win sometimes, it doesn’’t mean your writing is
bad.”” Sheena did not reply.

The next morning, Sheena and Ruchi walked to school together. “”I hope you win,”” Ruchi said. “”I hope so too!”” Sheena replied. The butterflies were
back.

When they arrived, they found the students from the other schools present as well. Mrs Sood stood on the podium with a small piece of paper. “”Children, the competition was tough. Choosing a winner was
difficult too…,”” she began. Sheena did not hear anything else until Mrs Sood said the words “and “the winner is……”” Sheena waited. Then she heard a name that she had never heard before. Palash Ganguly.

Sheena heard clapping but didn’’t wait to see Palash accept the prize from the principal. She ran away, crying. The rickshawwallahs tried to stop
her. She didn’’t stop. She bumped into people but reached home fine. Her father greeted her at the door. He was holding a large package. He hugged Sheena who was still sobbing. “”See what I got for you.”” Sheena sniffed. She opened the package with her father’’s help. Inside was a book with blank pages! “You can write in this and have your own book,” he said smiling. He pointed at something on the cover that she had missed. The words “”By Sheena Ray”” were engraved on it!

Sheena was thrilled. She forgot about the writing competition and started writing her book. “”What should I write about today?”” she asked her father.
“”Butterflies,”” he answered.

First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)

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