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The excitement begins! This is the first e-book contest of a brand new year. Submit your entries in this thread & win super prizes!
  • Category: Reward Programs

    The Cuckoo Clock E-book contest - write a chapter, win a prize!

    With great enthusiasm here's the announcement of the first e-book of 2018! Anybody who wishes to participate is requested to first register for the contest so that a chapter number can be assigned to you. For clarifying any aspect of the contest, submit your queries here

    The title of the e-book: The Cuckoo Clock

    1. Submit the chapter in the order of registration in a response in this thread, of minimum 200 words and maximum 350 words only. No chapter title is required, but please mention your chapter number at the start of your response. If you wish, you can give one link (not more) to any related internal page of ISC (any section.).
    2. Submit your entry in English only. In the chapter which you submit, you can include mystery, humour, even romance! No slang words or inappropriate language is allowed. You are not to edit your chapter once submitted, as it will create confusion to the next participant if you suddenly change something. However, you can correct typo errors within your time limit.
    3. The time limit is 24hrs. (IST) from the time I mention which element you need to include in your chapter. So, for example, if I say "Add a purple object" at 2p.m. today, then you need to submit your chapter by 2p.m. tomorrow.
    4. Please do not take the story off-track. Write it in such a manner that it picks up nicely from the previous chapter, at the same time giving the next author a chance to work on it, too, properly. Do not create confusion by changing the name of an already existing character. However, you may include a new character if relevant to your chapter.
    5. Conversations/dialogues can be included.
    6. Those good in sketching are welcome to submit a sketch (or even a self-taken photo) as an attachment to their chapter. However, this is not mandatory.

    Note: If you fail to submit your chapter within the given 24hr-timeframe, then the next person in line will take it up.

    Do not make any comments or give any feedback on any of the chapters submitted by participants. You may do so later, in the winners' announcement thread.

    1. The authors of the two best chapters will each receive an award of Rs.200/- and the virtual gift of the certificate of creativity.
    2. Second prizes (Two) Rs.150/- + virtual gift of appreciation.
    3. Third prize (Two): Rs. 100 each + virtual gift of fresh flowers.
    4. A consolation prize may be given if the quality of entries are really good.
    4. All participants will receive enhanced points & cash credits as per the quality of the entry. Winners will get 10 points to their entry, but no cc for it as their main prizes will be credited to their profile account.

    Let's begin!
  • #621871
    Joyshree - you will be writing the first chapter, so should mention the cuckoo clock in your text.

    The element you need to add to your chapter: A Library setting.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #621894

  • #621916

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #621989

    This thread is strictly for entries for the contest. Please read instructions! There is a separate thread for queries related to the contest. Post your query there only.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #621990
    Neethu will submit Chapter 1 with a mention of the cuckoo clock in the text and the element of a library setting.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622115
    Chapter One

    Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Stop hitting me like that I know it's already 12:00 AM in the morning. Why do you always have to hit me with your arms every hour? It hurts my ear. The Cuckoo Clock asked to its arm which had a hammer that hit its ear every hour.

    This day was special; today "The Cuckoo Clock" was turning hundred.

    The arm with the hammer started laughing; it's such a fun to irritate you. Haven't you got used to my strike after all these 100 years?

    Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Whatever! You will never understand my pain.

    Suddenly there was flapping of pages around them, startled The Cuckoo Clock looked around to see books forming a semi-circle. Slowly the books arranged themselves age-wise and formed 100 semi-circles and then wished them a very Happy Birthday. The fairy tale books were the most excited ones among all the books. The Cuckoo Clock was so overwhelmed by the gesture of the books that it had tears of joy in its eyes. Soon there was a huge commotion among the books; the clock had to shush them to not awake the giant mean ladder.

    One of the Fairy Tales asked The Cuckoo Clock to share a story with them which the world has never read or known. Every book started looking at each other because they were all a part of the World's largest library. The library had every book the world had seen. So they wondered, can there be any story which the world has not read or not known? Curious enough they all started in unison, yeah we want to hear a story from you which the world has not read or heard.

    The Cuckoo Clock was a bit hesitant but then even the arm insisted on sharing that most memorable story which unfolded in front of their eyes. Finally, The Cuckoo Clock agreed on the condition that till the story finishes the arm shouldn't hit the clock. The arm reluctantly agreed to it.

    Everyone stared at The Clock eagerly, as it began the story.

    Delete Attachment

  • #622118
    For the next chapter by Natarajan - Introduce a human character & give a name to him/her.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622175
    Chapter Two

    The story was about his(clock's) own genesis. The story literally started a year before the clock came into existence with Mr. Bharath Srivathsav, a gifted engineer. While the family was preparing for his 14th wedding anniversary, he was deciding on a gift for his wife. Finally, he spoke to his wife as he couldn't make up his mind. She lovingly said I want something that would remain in our house for centuries to come so that our children remember us as time passes. A brilliant thought stuck him. 'Why not create time? A timepiece which would remain in the house for years to come'. He told his wife, wait until next year dear!

    He zestfully started his creation, initially, he drew diagrams, hand-crafted parts and even selected the best rosewood, silver, and gold he could buy. As time went by, his son, daughter, and wife found that he was so engrossed in his work that they had never seen him so happy. Slowly but surely, the clock took shape. His friend, a master engraver helped him with the delicate engraving and the intricate design of the hands. The piano expert of his town was roped in to give the clock a unique melodious tune each time an hour passed.

    Mr. Srivathsav himself gave shape to the cuckoo which was his wife's favorite bird. He painstakingly fashioned its wings, studded it with small diamonds and finally the clock was ready in time. He lovingly polished the dials and the outer rose and teak wood case to a luminous shine. On their 15th wedding anniversary, as promised, he presented the clock to his lovely wife who wound the spring and started the clock, giving life to the cuckoo clock exactly on this very day 100 years back! It was the finest moment in their lives and of the cuckoo clock too.

    By the end, the books had tears in their eyes. For, all the books in the world and the library, none spoke of such true love and bonding between a clock and a human soul.

  • #622176
    The Cuckoo Clock and his Creator

    Delete Attachment

  • #622209
    For the next chapter by Neelam - include a mystery element on the day of the 15th wedding anniversary celebrated by the couple, in such a way that the mystery can be picked up in the next chapter as well.

    (Note to participants - in case you are submitting a sketch, please attach it to the same response as your entry and not to a separate response.)

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622237
    Chapter Three

    The arm hit the clock and the loud music after that attracted everyone's attention. The cuckoo clock looked at arm annoyingly and asked him why he hit him and broke the promise of not to hit till the story finishes.
    All the books and arm also opened their ears in shock with attention knowing that story hasn't finished yet. It was the time when the arm wasn't added to me.
    1918, British Empire ruled India and there were very few engineers who were Indian. Bharat was among them a man from Zamindar family who left his family business did mechanical engineering from London. He broke many norms of society by following different paths and even a marriage with a foreigner, everybody in his family looked him as a useless person always involved in machines or with his wife.
    But his wife Sara always appreciated his passion for science and thanked him for the gift, but also tried to make him understand that he should help his father. She doesn't like it when people call him mad.
    Bharat: I don't care about people and I hate all these customs where one person exploits other in the name of power and I don't want such power. They all are wrong that is why people are murdering Zamindars there revolts are right.
    Sara: Yes revolts are right but methods are not. Ok leave this now, but come to the function family has organized in the evening. She left the room after hanging me (clock) on the wall.
    Bharat: O I hate this show off; there is no love in the family but a lot of love to show the world.
    Sara: No excuses.
    So after few hours, he came down the stairs for the function where everybody was, but Sara wasn't visible anywhere. He thought it is a surprise from her and began to check every room asked everybody about her whereabouts but she was nowhere in the home. As he sat down in despair a servant came running from outside said that a foreign lady's dead body was found near the river.

    "It is hardest thing in the world to be good thinker without being a good self examiner"

  • #622246
    For Chapter 4 by Dr.N.V. Srinivasa Rao - Introduce a family pet dog with a name.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622290
    Chapter 4

    Bharat immediately after hearing the voice of the servant got alerted. He is very much thinking about Sara. His mind was going in many ways. Is that foreigner was Sara. Before going out to see the body he wanted to confirm whether Sara was sleeping anywhere. So he searched the entire house again and could not find her.
    In Sara's bedroom, her pet dog Siva was there alone. Generally, the pet dog will be in the house only when Sara goes out. Bharat's thoughts are very gloomy and somehow his mind is full of negative thoughts. He untied Siva and hold the chain in his hand and gone out to confirm that the body was not Sara's.
    As soon as he reached the riverside, many people gathered around and one police jeep was also standing there. Somehow he made the way inside and as soon as he saw the body he recognised the body and his grief knew no bounds. Siva forcibly pulled the chain and ran towards the body and go on smelling the body. The police understood that the dog is the pet dog of the dead body. Now Bharat understood that the police will start the enquiry from his house only. Still, he is not able to understand the happening. She was alright in the afternoon and she asked Bharat to join the family function in the evening. Within this small time how she has died. Is it a murder or a suicide? The police will not leave the family. Definitely, they will start the investigation from him and his house only. This will be definite as the pet also recognised the body. Why should she commit suicide? There is no necessity. Is it that somebody killed her and thrown into the river? These doubts are doing circulation around in his mind. He is completely immersed in the thoughts and he is in a Trans. All of a sudden he heard a big voice and came into this world.

    always confident

  • #622309
    Next chapter written by Padmini should include the character of the piano expert with a name.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622368
    Chapter Five

    The whole crowd turned towards the direction of that voice. It was Sara's brother Augustine who screamed. He was in great pain after seeing his sister's dead body.
    Mr. Bharath ran towards him to console.
    Augustine- a Piano expert was in London for his studies and "how can he be here suddenly", was an immediate thought which stroked Bharath's mind. But he didn't ask anything as it was not the right time to do so.
    After formal inquiry, Bharath and Augustine came back to their place and Police took Sara's body for Postmortem which may give them some hint about her death.
    The house was having a silence as all the guests were having no clue about what is happening. They were here to enjoy a party but this sad news has changed the scene completely. One by one the guests start leaving after saying some consoling words to Bharath.
    It was Bharath and Augustine only in the house now and Augustine suddenly pulled Bharath towards one room.
    Now what all Bharath heard was the full surprise for him. Augustine showed him some letters written by Sara to him in last few months. She had mentioned about someone following her. She had also heard some Piano tunes when she was alone at home and when she ran towards it she got some code notes on paper. Augustine being a Piano expert was the only option for Sara to share all this. It was a secret note mentioning about a hidden treasure in the lawn in front of their house and Sara and Augustine had already planned a Piano game to catch that person in the party. That was the only reason Augustine was here from London.
    Bharath was surprised and was in pain that why Sara never shared all this with him and kept it secret. Now he got the reason for this party as it was Sara only who wanted this party to happen.
    Suddenly they saw a shadow on the glass door of their room.


    Living & Learning- simultaneous processes!

  • #622369
    I could not attach the image in the same response.

    Living & Learning- simultaneous processes!

    Delete Attachment

  • #622373
    Aditya will be writing the next chapter - it should include a yellow object.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622408
    Chapter six

    Augustine a man of art, was weak of heart.
    But Bharat sunk too as he heard Siva bark.
    Who could this stranger be?
    What news does he bring ?
    The sound of the hound has stopped.
    Worried Bharat ran to the rooftop.
    Shadow vanished away with the dog.
    Bharat and Augustine get into their car

    And follow the trail of blood left behind.
    Tailing the trail they reach the riverside.
    Exactly where lovely Sara had died.
    Few yards away they observe a stench.
    Siva was battered to death with a wrench

    The yellow wrench lay smiling red
    This is a trap Augustine yelled
    A robed figure emerged from bushes
    And filled Augustine with three bullets.

    His delightful wife, his faithful friend .
    Now his brother in law is lying dead.
    Bharat was shaking with grief and fear
    He was captured easily by robed figure

    He woke up with a dry throat in a warehouse.
    The robe unviels a woman of forty five.
    "Bharat! Bharat! The master smuggler".
    "Judy!" exclaimed the hopeless struggler.

    "You left the agency in England.
    You wanted a new identity so bad.
    You told you loved me but left me for Sara.
    You left with 200 kilos of gold bars of 24-carat.

    Your betrayal got the agency into debts
    And agency was sacked after you left.
    I have no place to call home now
    So I embarked to destroy my love

    Now give me back those gold bars
    I might just forgive you and let you live."

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #622451
    For chapter 7 by Jignesh - mention a crucial clue connected to the cuckoo clock.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622546
    Chapter 7

    “I don't want to live anymore. You have already killed my wife Sara and other loved ones.
    Forget about the gold now.” said Bharath.

    Angry Judy fired bullets at Bharath and he fell bloodstained on the floor.
    He yelled in pain and next moment he heard the music of Cuckoo Clock which he had just gifted his late wife Sara. How could he hear the Clock music in the warehouse? He opened his eyes wide.

    To Bharath’s surprise, he found himself on the bed at his own home with Cuckoo Clock in the front wall striking 4 AM with its lovely music. His head was heavy and wet with perspiration. As he moved his eyes he was spellbound to find his beloved wife Sara and pet dog Siva there.

    What happened, dear! Why did you shout? Did you have some awful dream? asked Sara.
    Bharath sighed with relief that they were alive. He inquired about Augustine from Sara and found that he too was fine. Bharath realized that everything was a dream but too tired to explain as he wanted to rest, so Sara left with Siva.

    Lying down Bharath started reflecting on his dream and its connection with reality. In a weeks time, it was their 16th wedding anniversary and he did not want anything untoward to happen on that day. His mind went towards gold which he had secretly buried in their lawn. Even Augustine had decoded secret piano tunes found by Sara to point towards that hidden gold. Could it be Judy with whom he broke up behind the gold and his family? He remembered that Judy had vowed to take a revenge. Sara also had been getting anonymous life threat letters since last three months. Who could be that? Did Sara have some hidden past? Just then a paper fell from behind the Cuckoo clock. It read “Beware of the Cuckoo Clock! It might prove fatal”. The message was from Augustine. Bharath was stunned. How could their priced possession be harmful to them?

    Anyways, Bharath vowed to find out and protect his family.

  • #622555
    Srimathi, for chapter 8, introduce the character of a private lady detective with a name.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622647
    Chapter 8

    However Bharath was stubborn on finding out the mystery, and to safeguard his family, he has no clue from where to start. "Can I start with the last letter that fell from the clock?", he asked himself. No, it all happens for gold, so, it must begun from the one for whom it was robbed.

    With no hesitation, he rushed to see his friend Rathnam in the next city. He greeted Bharath and continued to carve the wooden statue in front of him. He asked about the wellness of the family and about the Cuckoo clock. He was very much attached to that clock and always delighted that was his masterpiece. He engraved the clock with utmost dedication as same as Bharath's involvement in bringing life to it. Bharath with loads of confusion in his head, did not answer any of his questions. He started narrating everything, that was happening in his life for past three months, till the last threat letter he found.

    Rathnam nodded his head patiently till he completes and said, "I was waiting for this day". He continued, "dear Bharath, you are a Zamindar, you never had a greed for anything in this world, Judy and the agency were using the wealth for exploiting our nation, you did only what I said, you are an innocent". Bharath impatiently asked Rathnam, "No more use in speaking the past, tell me why were you waiting for this day?".

    Rathnam, understanding his temper, started untying the mystery knot. As you think, it was not started three months ago, but 3 years ago. Stunned Bharath, looked deep into his eyes and exclaimed at his dumbness for these many years.
    "I waited Augustine to unmask himself", Rathnam stated stubbornly and continued, It was all started on the day, when you all went for a long vacation. I found Augustine digging your lawn. I suspected that, he got some clue about the gold buried in your lawn. I then appointed Mary, a private detective to uncover Augustine's interest.

    Soon they met Mary. She then started revealing her findings on Augustine.

    Sri Vetri
    Spread Positivism

  • #622662
    For Chapter 9 author, Saji Ganesh - provide some aspect which explains how Bharath was an innocent pawn involved in the gold smuggling racket through Augustine.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622683

    As Mary started narrating her findings, Bharath realized that a stark story of treachery and cheating was being unveiled in front of him. He sat with his ears open and listened to Mary.

    Mary continued, "Augustine happened to be working in the same agency, which incidentally was owned by the father of Judy, where you joined soon after graduation. You became friends and later on you became friends with Judy too. Since you were in a land away from home, you were invited to Augustine's house quite often during which you became close to Sara. Your basic opposition to the Zamindari system back home might have made you feel close to this peasant family."

    "These are things I know. Tell me about the part about which I am still in the dark", Bharath interrupted.

    "Common Bharath, please be patient. Let her get into the story step by step. Please!", said Rathnam.

    Mary could understand the anxiety of Bharath and so she carried on after giving him time to calm down. "The twist in the story starts from the time when Augustine realized that you had fallen for his sister. His master brain started working from then. He intentionally created opportunities where you and Judy would be meeting more often and made her believe that you were in love with her and would like to marry her. In the meantime he persuaded Sara, who was a bit reluctant, to propose to you. The criminal that he was, Augustine had been, from time to time, smuggling out gold bars from the agency since he was in charge of the store there. Then your marriage took place and after a few days, you planned to return to India. Now comes the saddest part Bharath. Among the baggage that was packed for the new couple to be brought home, one contained a part of the gold bars that Augustine had stolen and Sara was aware of the same but that fact was purposely hidden from you."

    Mary then excused herself and went in to make some tea.

    'It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it'. - Aristotle.

  • #622692
    Chapter 10 by pramilakapahi should include the sound emanating from a miniature cuckoo clock.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #622720
    There was a deep silence in the room, as the mystery of Augustine was unfolded. Bharath did not know how to keep up his emotions. He couldn't believe what had happened, I wish it was another dream.,he thought. No it wasn't. He was in a shock to know that Sara who was so loving and caring could be so secretive.
    "How could you do this to me Sara... No, you can't he almost sobbed.
    His married life with Sara was a beautiful and all the good times he spent with her flashed down in his mind like a movie. Bharath was distressed and saddened. How did she manage to keep such a secret of gold... !A baggage full of gold bars!
    He thanked Mary and returned home very sad. He did not speak to Sara. There was a strange feeling between the two. Bharath was tired and he told "Sara Don't disturb me tonight, I am very tired, I need a good sleep. "
    He went to the room where the clock was. He kept looking at it and fell asleep.
    As the clock struck Twelve he heard a strange sound from the clock.... Coo...cooo, coo....cooo, coo...cooo.. It did not stop.,and continued,as if mocking at Bharat. It seemed to be saying "Bharath you have been cheated"
    "Bharath you have been cheated ". "Go don't sleep!,catch hold of those scoundrels and hand them to the police, They have harmed you enough, don't let them free!

  • #622787
    Chapter 11 by Tahi should include a prison scenario due to Bharath's decision to surrender himself to the police.
    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #623010
    Chapter 11

    Bharath was awakened from his sleep by the sudden noise of the cuckoo clock. It was 12 AM in the midnight. He could hear the sounds of the heavy boot as if someone was running. Bharath got up from his bed and went towards the drawer. He opened the drawer and took out his licensed revolver. Inserted three bullets into the revolver and ran outside the door.

    He could see someone trying to escape in the dark. He also had a bag on his back. It did not take much time for Bharath to guess that he is none other than Augustine, who is trying to escape with the bag full of gold. He yelled at Augustine to stop otherwise he will be forced to shoot at him.

    But, Augustine didn't pay any heed to Bharath. He kept on running and then Bharath ran after him. He reached near the gate and was trying to jump from the wall. Bharath took out his revolver and shot three bullets, one after the other on Augustine's body. He fell to the ground at once with his bag pack.

    Bharath checked his bag and found the gold bars. He then decided to surrender to the police. He called the police and narrated the whole story over the phone. The police reached Bharath's house and found Augustine lying on the ground soaked in a pool of blood and Bharath sitting behind him with the backpack.

    The police sent Augustine's dead body for post-mortem. They checked the bag which contained the gold bars and took Bharath with them. Bharath was sent behind the bars for killing Augustine. Sara came to know about all these happenings the following day. She at once went to the police station to meet Bharath.

    Sara came to the police station and burst into tears as she saw Bharath behind the bars. She asked "Why did you kill my brother, Augustine? What made you commit this heinous crime?" Bharath looked down to the floor and didn't utter a word.

  • #623012
    Paresh Gujarati will write Chapter 12, the final chapter, wrapping up the flashback and coming back to the present with the setting of a prison library.

  • #623263
    As Paresh Gujarati didn't turn up, the concluding chapter would be written by the author of this thread i.e., the organiser of the contest.

  • #623377
    Chapter 12

    Bharath quietly told Sara to leave, saying that she would know all the details through his lawyer. He also requested to forget him, to get on with her life. Sara left, heart-broken, but vowed to visit him regularly in jail. The case came up in court but was repeatedly adjourned as Bharath's lawyer constantly came up with something or the other to create a hole in the prosecution's case. Sara tried to give as much support as she could, paying the lawyer's fees and, having realized her brother's heinous ways, giving the lawyer info about Augustine. After all, though, it was a murder. Bharath got life, which is what he had known from first. He simply accepted it as his fate. Sara did initially come & visit him, but, over the years, with Bharath not really talking much & merely remaining silent most of the time, her visits stopped. He was glad, as he had not wanted her to spend the rest of her life worrying about him. He silently hoped she had found a new life.

    Over time, for his good behaviour, Bharath was shifted from hard labour to lighter work. He was permitted to sit in the prison library, thrice a week. The books became his best friends. In his later years, when he was old & wizened, he got the job of library assistant. One day, due to ill health, he could not do any work at the library for nearly three months.

    Finally, the day came when he could resume his work at the library and reported to the head librarian's office at 10a.m. The sound of a cuckoo startled him. He pushed open the doors of the library room, looked around and was astonished to see a cuckoo clock in the corner, something which had not been there earlier. He rushed to it and was amazed to see a dozen books strewn around in a sort of circle at the base of the clock…..

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

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