English LiteratureShort Stories

First Prize

“Suraj, I like all these five photographs. If I select any one, it will be unfair to the others. You really are a very good photographer. I am so proud of you.”
Suraj was touched, and his happiness was clearly reflecting in his smile. He put an arm around his wife Sunita’s shoulder and said,
“Thank you my dear. Sadly you are not the judge and madam, we have to send only one photograph in the competition, and that too with a message. Got it?”
“Yes. Okay.”
“What okay? Choose any one from these five, the one you think is the best and write a nice message for it.”

Suraj had taken his passion one step ahead and made it his profession as well. His photographs were a class apart from the rest of his competitors. Even without work, he would click photos of wherever he went and whatever he liked. He often participated in photography competitions and had won many awards and certificates.

Sunita kept looking at the five photos for a long time, she finally took one and handed it to Suraj.

“See, will this be appropriate?”
Suraj smiled meaningfully and said,
“To be honest? Heart of heart, I knew you would pick this one.”
The picture imposed a background, where the sun was setting and beautiful colours of the evening twilight, penetrated through the sky. Moreover, in front of it, rays of the sun were sprinkling out of a closed fist. It was a very unique and appealing photograph.


* * * * * *


“The image that has been selected for the first place is clicked by the photographer, Mr. Suraj Prakash!”
The biggest smile was on Sunita’s face, and the loudest was the echo of her claps, as it resonated across the entire event hall. Suraj received a medal, a certificate and a cash prize of rupees twenty five thousand.

When Suraj took the mic in his hand to express his gratitude, his eyes fell on Sunita. Smiling, he began to speak softly,

“Hello friends. I am very grateful to the panel of judges for selecting my photograph for the first position. My wife Sunita, is not only the inspiration of my life, but the message for this image, are also her thoughts. With your permission, I’d like to quote what she wrote for this picture. She said,
“A lot will come up in life,
Focus only on the positive aspects and imbibe them within you.”
Once again, thank you all very much.”

Amidst a roar of applause, Suraj gracefully stepped down from the stage.


Shamim Merchant

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