Okay, DeDe. Remember that secret I was dying to tell you but couldn’t because of snoopy people that might happen to flip through you and read about it?? Well, I think it would be safe to let you in on it now, because… well, just because, I guess.
Oh, and before you get your hopes up, let me assure you that this piece of “news” doesn’t really have anything for anyone to get their excitement levels rising. Except people like me, though.
Getting back to the point, do you remember that literary competition I had entered and was short-listed for the second stage?? Well, mum got an eMail about month ago stating that I was further selected to be part of the third and final round of the whole thing; a Skype interview with… CHETAN BHAGAT AND RUSKIN BOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know, the two, AMAZINGLY popular Indian authors…
[The amount of exclamation marks I have used after their names gives you an idea on just how excited I was about the whole thing. I even began marking the days off my calender [something I usually hate doing because the pen smudges itself up and the glossy paper gets all inky]]
The interview took place yesterday. Here’s what happened from the time we set our feet out of the Skarr cottage:
HOW TAYLOR SKARR’S SEPTEMBER THIRTEENTH WENT
Mum: I’m so proud of you for reaching this far, honey!!
Me: Yeah mum.
Mum: Do you know that out of the fifty THOUSAND participants who submitted their entries only five thousand were chosed for the second phase?? And now, only five hundred children stand, competing for the grand prize.
Me: >Stomach starts wobbling< Great t know, mum.
Dad: Hon, have you though about questions that the jury [his word for the interviewers] might ask??
Me: Nope, dad, I haven’t.
[We spent the rest of the journey considering stuff I was likely to be asked, like, ‘Tell us about yourself’ and ‘Why did you submit your work to this competition??’]
-In the Reliance Center [the venue where all the round-two qualifiers were supposed to gather]-
Guy-behind-counter: Taylor Skarr?? May I have Taylor Skarr???
Me: Here. >Raises arm<
Guy-behind-counter: You are up next. Follow me.
Me: >Trails after the guy-behind-counter meekly<
-I enter a formal room with a giant screen glowing from one of the walls, a wooden desk and a cane chair rolled behind it-
Me: >Settles self on chair<
Guy-behind-counter: >Leaves the room to attend to other kids<
-I spot four adults displayed the screen, all seated on benches similar to the one I was plopped on-
Female #1 [Unrecognizable]: Good morning
Me: Good morning
Female #1: Tell us a little about yourself and your family, dear
Me: [high-fiving myself [in my mind] because dad forced me to answer this question back in the car and made me repeat I till I was perfect] Sure. My name is Taylor Skarr and I live with my parents, my sister and my dog in a Portuguese manor tucked away with patch of country. I go to school at George Bush Middle School and enjoy writing, reading, blogging, karate and playing on my keyboard among other activities.
Ruskin Bond: Very interesting… [he leafs through one of the achievement files my mum submitted] It says here that you are a national gold-medalist in karate…
Me: >blushes uncontrollably< Um…
Female #2 [Unrecognizable as well]: Karate, music, writing… How do you manage to divide your time between so many activities??
Me: If not for indulging in the few activities I enjoy, I have little else to do around the house except for the odd chore. So I have a lot of time on my hands and am also never bored. [A lie. But they’ll never know]
Chetan Bhagat: Why do you write and what made you submit your article to our organization??
Me: I write when I’m happy. I write when I’ sad. I write ALL the time. It’s a way I can express my opinions and pen down my thoughts. I decided to send in one of my articles because my mum though it would be a great was for me to see how well I really write.
Ruskin Bond: Are you okay with the stories you sent us??
Me: I definitely could have done better had I thought more. But I think I did my best under the given circumstances.
Chetan Bhagat: What if people start getting critical about your work as you grow up?? How do you think you will handle it??
Me: Frankly, I write because it makes me happy, irrelevant of what others think about it. So, I think, as long as I enjoy it, I will continue to write.
Female #2: Thank you, Taylor.
Me: >Gets up< Good Afternoon, ma’am >Scurries away<
That’s that. I wish I’d considered some of the other questions they’d asked so I could’ve prepared myself better, but, anyway. The worst that could happen is that I’ll be given a gift hamper filled to the brim with classics because, as there are only five hundred children left, everybody who has reached the third round is ensured something or the other. The chart of awards is:
1. The first place tokens [awarded to the first-forty kids in the top 500]: An eReader and their story being published by Scholastic
2. The second place gifts [presented to the next sixty children]: Their stories being bound up ad collectively published by Scholastic
3. The consolation prizes [rewarded to the last four-hundred kids]: A basket of timeless books
Mum says that reaching the third round and conversing with the judges was an achievement in itself. I wish I would agree with her. No doubt, the interview is one I’ll never forget. But… I don’t know… I just REALLY want that top prize, you know??
Looks like I’ve got to go, DeDe. Time to shower and sit down for “tea” and “light refreshments” which is actually milk/juice with cookies. Not as exotic as it sounds, eh??