Team KidEngage is full of people who love to read and write. So, an idea to host a writing competition for children in the summer of 2017 was a runaway hit! While we were confident of a good response, we didn’t expect an overwhelming one! We received more than 400 entries from India as well as abroad. Our judges did have a tough time deciding the winners in each category. They went through each entry in detail, and provided constructive review comments. But most of all, they admitted having a fun time reading the entries – they were surprised and overjoyed at the creativity the entries were bubbling with. They had one word of advice for all the participants, though – Read!
Team KidEngage decided to publish the writing competition winning entries as a series, so that you can see for yourself how deserving each one of those were of the prizes. Every week, you will be presented with one award winning entry. Please feel free to read, share and comment – to encourage the budding writers.
The entry this week has won a Special Prize in the Short fiction category in the 12 – 16 years age group of the KidEngage Writing Competition. “The Best Summer Holidays Ever!” was written by Krithika Sai Devatha, a student of Grade VIII in DDMS P Obul Reddy Public School.
The best summer holidays ever!
‘Spending summer holidays in an island, what could be cooler? ’ said Anushka grinning from ear to ear.
‘Yeah, I know.’ said her twin sister Riya with a smile. ‘but I do wish I knew what mother is up to – don’t you?’
Their mother was an undercover police officer, and they were actually on this island because of her “work”. Her children, who always enjoyed reading detective stories with exciting adventures, were dying to know what she was doing, although she never told them.
‘Yes,’ said Anushka in high spirits. ‘But we are having so much fun! Imagine what our friends will think When they hear about this, about all the fun we are going to have!’
Their mother was talking to someone on the phone and was looking rather annoyed.
‘Anushka, Riya, there is a slight change in plans,’ said their mother speaking fast while at the same time dialing someone on her phone, ‘New evidence, new-’ She stopped abruptly as though she had only just realized that the twins were in the room.
‘New what?’ demanded both the girls eagerly, ‘Never mind you two’ said their mother shaking her head impatiently. ‘The point is that due to a slight problem, I mean, well, this is not the place we are supposed to be in,’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Which place are you talking about?’
‘Be quiet you two! Yes I cannot tell you about it really,’ said their mother shrugging. ‘you know about my work. I am not allowed to tell you anything, okay anyway, I will be leaving tomorrow and of course cannot and should not come with me, so I will have to arrange for someone to look after you while I am gone so-’
‘What?’ both of them groaned loudly, ‘we cannot have a babysitter!’
‘Off to bed now’ said their mother. ‘Just wait till tomorrow. You will like her very much!’
Still grumbling, the girls went off to sleep, the following morning their mother woke them up early.
‘Her name is Nimra, and you must be polite to her, okay? She will be here in a few minutes,’ she glanced at her watch. She was in a hurry.
Soon their “babysitter” arrived in a little car and apologized to their mother about being late.
‘It is alright,’ replied their mother although she had hardly heard her, ‘Okay now, bye Anu, bye Riya! Behave yourselves while I am not there!’
‘Hello girls! I am Nimra,’ she said in a sweet voice. ‘I am sure we will be very good friends!’
‘Hello,’ said Anushka and Riya in unison, rather taken aback at being addressed as though they were five year olds.
The girls were planning to take the big basket of snacks their mother had given them to have a little picnic. However Nimra was rather mean and would not even allow the kids to go out. She expected them to read all day.
‘I am bored of this,’ said Riya after three days had passed. ‘I feel we should get out of here!’
‘Fat chance of that.’ said Anushka glumly ‘We will not be able to do that without Nimra noticing it.’
‘I know!’ said Riya suddenly her eyes shining ‘We could secretly sneak away at midnight!’
‘What fun!’ exclaimed Anushka gleefully and eagerly waited for night to come. Finally it did come, when Riya heard Nimra snoring gently, she signaled Anushka. The girls got out the bags and packed all their possessions which the three had brought with them to the island (a pile of clothes and a little camera).
‘Where exactly are we going?’ asked Anushka once they were safely outside, her voice shivering with excitement.
‘No idea!’ said Riya looking guilty .Suddenly she smiled ‘I know! There is an old deserted little hut nearby, we can spend nights there and during daytime we will obviously spend time outside…’
‘Yes, that is a good idea,’ said Anushka with an approving smile on her face. ‘And our bags will be safe inside too as no one bothers to go there’ she added.
The twins were happy and enjoyed very much having fun picnics near the beach and soon they made a friend called Nitya. She was fun to be with and loved adventures, games and fun as much as they did.
‘Let us do something really exciting today!’ said Nitya ‘What do you have in mind?’ demanded Anushka curiously. Nitya always had bright ideas.
‘Well’ said Nitya rather hesitantly. ‘there is a forest nearby. People say there are no animals there, we could have fun exploring it, we shall not go deep inside and we could always leave a trail behind us.’
The twins hesitated a little, but agreed, so they went, talking cheerfully. They had not gone far too in, when they heard voices and stopped talking. Hiding behind the trees carefully, not making any noise, they saw that the voices belonged to a group of men sitting around a fire, armed with guns. They kept talking about some treasure and the girls listened eagerly.
‘What could it be?’ muttered Riya to herself rather loudly and the other two glared at her, plainly telling – What do you think you are doing? You could get us caught!
Riya immediately became quiet and as soon as the men left the girls came out of their hiding places and talked freely. Nitya spotted something that looked like a piece of paper and the girls hurried forward eagerly to look at what was written.
‘It is a treasure map, I think.’
‘Really? A treasure map?’
‘Here, let me have a look,’
‘Shhhh! I think I hear them coming back!’ whispered Nitya looking scared. ‘Hide, quick!’
With lightning movements Anushka managed to get out her camera and took a picture of the map. They were nearly caught, and Riya managed to pull back Anushka just in time.
‘Here you stupid fool!’ shouted a man to another. The man who had been shouted at looked guilty and grabbed the map and then after a little while when everyone had gone the girls felt safe again. Only after they had gone to Nitya’s home and shut the door behind them, they began to talk.
‘Do you really think it is treasure?’
‘Of course! We heard them say it! If only we could tell mother about it!’
Finally the girls decided to try and find the treasure themselves, and were feeling very excited and grown-up. They made plans and bought all necessary things.
‘Ready?’ asked Nitya whose voice was shaking with excitement. Everyone said they were, so they started with their exciting adventure.
‘I just don’t get it. ’ said Anushka staring at her camera and shaking her head. ‘The map says that there is an underground passage exactly beneath our feet and I don’t see any entrance, of course it would be very well hidden but don’t have any idea where to start looking!’ So far they had followed all the directions exactly as the map mentioned, it had been easier than what they had thought. However, now, they just didn’t know what to do.
‘Well,’ Nitya shrugged ‘Doing something is definitely better than nothing…’ and she walked, thinking about where the entrance could be and because she was thinking with such concentration, she didn’t see where she was going and suddenly she tripped and fell down and vanished suddenly!
‘Oh my god,’ said Anushka softly. ‘I do believe we finally found it!’
They realized that the entrance was very well hidden as it was covered with mud and grass and they could not have found it if Nitya had not accidentally stumbled on it. Soon the twins safely got down and luckily Nitya was not hurt, but she got a small bruise on her knee that made her limp. Now they didn’t even need to look at the picture of the map, there was only one obvious path and the girls walked slowly and were really thankful that they had brought torches along with them.
‘Wait for a bit, won’t you?’ whispered Nitya as her leg started to pain very much but the girls didn’t hear her. They didn’t even realize that they had left Nitya behind! They found themselves in a dusty room and they found a few old boxes and opened them and found them full of gold!
‘Whoa!’ Riya kept saying. ‘I don’t know what you are thinking but this is easier than what I thought! I never imagined we’d find the treasure so easily!’
‘Hurray!’ shouted Anushka ‘We have found the treasure!’
‘Thank you.’ came a cold voice behind her. Shocked, she turned around only to see the entire gang of thieves.
For a moment or two, the girls couldn’t speak, finally Anushka said-‘My mother’s a police officer and she knows everything and-’
Her words were cut short which a cruel laugh which made them frightened.
‘Well, we are tying you naughty girls up here,’ said one of the men with a chuckle ‘A nice lesson it will give you, for poking your nose into our business!’
He tied them so tightly that it was really painful but the girls were determined not to show it and not to act as if they were frightened. Now they had realized that Nitya wasn’t there with them. It was a good thing; Nitya had escaped and could warn someone! So there was still hope for them- but of course no one else knew this.
Meanwhile Nitya had heard everything and she decided to run home and tell her parents everything that had happened, at least they would know what to do. Her leg was hurting so much that she couldn’t walk properly and finally, after many hours (that was what she felt anyway) she reached her home, ran in and told her parents the entire story. She was speaking so fast that her parents had to calm her down and finally they understood everything.
Meanwhile things weren’t going too well even in the room where the twins were. The ropes were just really tight and it really hurt them painfully.
‘What do you think will happen now?’Anushka asked her sister worriedly.
‘We’ll just have to wait,’ said Riya, sounding extremely tired. And just imagine their surprise when a huge group of police officers arrived followed by their mother, the girls wanted to stay back and watch the fun but their mother wouldn’t allow it.
‘Believe me, you shouldn’t be there come on now scoot!’ she said. ‘I know all about Nimra too, it was really silly of you girls to behave the way you did, she is a nice person, really, now hurry along!’
So the twins ran off excitedly. Who knew that their summer holidays would turn out to be so exciting? And Nimra was there at home and surprisingly, she was very warm and friendly. Soon, their mother too came. They decided to have a little party and they called Nitya’s family too, and what fun they had! The twins got to know about the other facts they missed, apparently as soon as Nitya had gone home and told her parents about it, they had called the police, and of course, they knew the remaining part of the story. And the good news was that the gang of thieves wasn’t too difficult to find as they hadn’t gone far.
The surprising fact was that their mother had come to this island actually for the thieves, but surprisingly her children were the ones who helped to find them! She was extremely proud of them and was sure that their father would be, too, when he came back home from Netherlands, (where he was working) and got to know the entire story.
‘These are the best summer holidays I ever had!’ declared Anushka ‘Our friends will never be able to believe our great adventure!’
‘Ok now, it is really time to go to bed,’ said their mother in a commanding tone ‘We will have lot of fun tomorrow too, hurry up now!’
Both the girls were really happy. These were the best summer holidays for them, and they had made a really good friend too! Even though they would go back home after the holidays they would remember Nitya and of course, their great adventure. But don’t worry. The three friends would meet again and have many more amazing and super exciting adventures…..