Sunday, February 16, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Santa Came Home [Category: Senior Entry No.: 3]


It was just another frosty and foggy December night and I was all alone at home amidst my work. My work, a research project on inventory management, much like any regular college project work, required truckloads of research, a zillion references and a task of interviewing some ‘n’ number of specialists to gain some real time insights. With papers, on whom I had written tit-bits collected on the topic from numerous libraries and books strewn around me, here, there and everywhere, I sat biting my fingernails staring blankly at the computer waiting for some God –made humans some half the globe across to accept my proposal for a mini interview for my project. Ah! Projects are always so strenuous.

I had kept the window behind me open, to let the cold air in. The gentle touch of freezing air against the hot headedness my work required was always so pleasantly welcoming. The gentle rustle of leaves outside and an occasional bark of the neighbour’s dog made up for a real Ruskin Bond novel like backdrop.
Suddenly, my phone buzzed and the neighbour’s dog barked. With much anticipation, I checked my phone. It was a call from my sister, Jane, instructing me to hang her stocking near the Christmas tree for Santa. Some people decidedly never grow up, I thought!

Crossing over the living room to reach the tree, I was reminded of the good old days when I was a little kid and when innocence was surely a bliss. On the Christmas morning, I would find all of my stockings that were hanging on the washing line, filled up with toffees and cookies. When I grew up a little, I remember having found a set of sketch pens under my pillow, as a gift from Santa. On another occasion, it was a pair of pink sandals. Those used to be the carefree kidhood days when I actually thought Santa was for real. Ha!

As I settled back comfortably in the epic mess that I had so prudently and painstakingly created, nostalgia took the better of me and I started going down deeper into my memory lane and suddenly, I started feeling very cold. I turned around to check if the window was still open. It was. It was time to slam it shut. As I approached the window, I knew dad was already home. He was near the porch. I could hear his breathing in the eerie silence of a winter night. Sound of footsteps followed. I would have to run to open the front door to let him in. But why didn’t he ring the bell?
***
 I remember hearing the breathing and the footsteps. The bell did not ring. I can testify all this, just as much as the fact that when I opened the door, I found no one. Where was dad? Why was he behaving so odd?
I decided to walk till the kitchen garden to see if he were there. Yeah, I could hear some movement. What was dad doing in the kitchen garden at 11 p.m. on the coldest of winter nights? I called out to him and received no reply. Well!
***
With the lights switched on, I could see that there was no one, but a red something was poking out of the corner of the wall of the house. What was that?, I guessed. A red this bright at home, was probably just Jane’s doll’s frock, and this wasn’t that. Mom and I hate reds. With scare engulfing every body part of mine, I decided to check what the red thing was. It was a person in a red coat.
“Dad!”
“hmm… shhhh… sorry sorry. Please be silent. I won’t harm you. Please.”, he whispered in a distressed tone.
“Dad?”
“Nooo…shhhhh”
“What exactly are you doing here dressed as Santa Claus, Dad??”
“Shhhhhh….. please. Noonooo noise please. I will be discovered.”
“It is OK… Jane…. is not at home right now.” Who was this man, by the way? This person here dressed as Santa Claus wasn’t dad. No he wasn’t. Dad was the last person to do such buffoonery as to dress up like Santa and hide behind a wall when Jane wasn’t even home, carry a big sack of heaven-knows-what and then fear being discovered.
“Who are you?”, I demanded in my sternest and loudest voice. “Who are you?”, I repeated.
“I.. I am Santa Clause… The official one… The main one... From North Pole... Rudolph’s out there, but you won’t be able to see it… I’ve .. It.. It is invisible.”
“And you think I will believe you, you rascal…”
“Shhh… I.. I am the real Santa. Please don’t be so loud. I can prove that I am the real one…. You are 
Paula, 20 years old and when your sister asked what you wished Santa to give you this Christmas, you had casually mentioned you wanted a brand new door bell and a set of cookie moulds. Jane wanted a new doll and the entire Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I have brought all this for you girls… Merry Christmas”
There was a pause. A rather long and an uncomfortable one.

I had mentioned these things, and at the dead of a particular night weeks and weeks ago. “How do you know we wanted these things?” I interrogated dominatingly.
“This is the way Santa Claus works. This is the way I work. Sorry, I did not wish to be discovered. This has happened for the first time in the 34 years that I have been holding this post. None of my predecessors were discovered when they were on duty, either.”
“So it is a post you hold…” This was turning out to be interesting. Somehow I had some inkling that this man was genuine and he was Santa only. But I couldn’t lose my guard. As I stood towering upon this tiny potbellied gentleman, he took out two packages, each with our names on it and handed out to me.
“Here are your gifts. Merry Christmas.”
“Oh! Thank you Santa! Wish you a very merry Christmas!.. Do come inside. Taste our home made plum cake.”, I offered politely.
“Oh! Thanks a lot.”
***
We failed to pull in his sack of presents through the front door, though. I made him sit in the living room, and served him our plum cake, which he liked very much. He cleared my misconception of growing up that Santa was not for real, but rather a make belief by benevolent daddies and mommies.
Additionally, I asked him where from, he sourced all the presents that he was to distribute that night and how he managed the volumes. Inadvertently and by my sheer good luck, I had found a perfect interviewee for my project on inventory management.

Of course, in the project, I had to include his views as someone who “did not wish to be named” for saving myself from ridicule (no one would believe in reality of Santa, just like I never did before the encounter) and prevent his discovery from being made public. For knowing what he actually told me, you would have to go through my project report.
Merry Christmas!!

JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : What a complex Christmas story with several subplots to increase the interest level! Your story also uses lots of alliteration, metaphors, hyperbole, body language, and sensory imagery to place your reader in the story with your characters.  However, my favorite part is how you tied the research project requirement in the introductory paragraph with Santa’s inventory management in your conclusion.  I always wondered how he kept the toys and children organized! I hope Paula gets a good grade on her paper!  You can improve this story by observing the rules for dialogue punctuation.  You only need one punctuation mark before the dialogue tag. For example, “Who are you?”, I repeated should become “Who are you?” I repeated. This story will appeal to younger readers who are just beginning to question the existence of Santa!

Sandhya : An interesting story. I liked the way the stage was set for Santa to arrive – the atmosphere, the inventory project. The bit about Santa being upset over having been discovered on his job, the first time that it happened, was a nice touch. As was the part where Santa clears the writer’s misconception about Santa not being real.
The end of the story, though, did not continue at the same pace that the first two parts did. It somehow felt as if it was hurriedly composed. Maybe you could work a bit more on that?

Very well written. Keep writing and reading.

NehaThere is ample use of dialogue though less characterization. The scenario is very well built up with good descriptions of weather and the surroundings. Plot construction is good. The story line becomes very interesting what with inventory management being learnt from Santa, though how and why he gets caught by the narrator is not very clearly developed.
There are no glaring errors but an overdose of adjectives and idiomatic words and phrases.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Toys Had a New Year Party [Category: Senior Entry No. 2]


Daisy was reading her favourite book “The Toy Story” when she heard some noises. It was from her brother Paul and her Toy Room.
There were sound of engines, cars honking and music playing . She tiptoed and opened the door a wee bit. There, in Toy room was the most amazing scene she had ever seen! Thomas the Engine was speeding away on the tracks and the whistling. The Hot Wheels cars were all over the room like it was a highway! There was Paul’s guitar, drums and keyboard playing by themselves.
There was Daisy’s favourite Barbie all decked up in her Party dress in Paul’s “Lightning Mc Queen”!
Then suddenly, there was silence. Thomas, the engine went back to the station, the cars parked themselves in the garage.
Barbie stepped out of the car and then followed Woody, Minnie, Batman, Spiderman and Cinderella.
The music started playing again and all of them started dancing. It was a splendid sight indeed. They seemed to be celebrating something! There were cakes, cookies, chocolates, ice-cream and soda!
Suddenly, the music stopped. A crystal ball appeared at the ceiling and as the ball rolled down, the countdown began “ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five”, “Oh they were have a New Year Party!” , “five, four, three, two one.. ”The whole room shook and Daisy felt there was an earthquake. She opened her eyes and saw her Mom. It was time for school!

JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : I like how you transitioned your main character from reading her favorite book to living with the characters in the book during her dream.  You used lots of detail as you describe each of the toys, showing what they did and ate.  To bring this story together, introduce it with an assignment from school that would tie into your last sentence.  Maybe Daisy had to write a story about what the toys did when nobody could see them.  Maybe she had to simply write a book review about her favorite book.  Whatever you write should tie your introduction and ending together somehow. 

Sandhya : A story with a nice twist. Well written, for I did not realize until the end that it was a dream. This is an excellent format for fantasy, as anything goes, and free associations can be made.
Very well narrated. Do practice your writing regularly, and read a lot – that will hone your writing skills.

  
Neha : A simple descriptive write up. It has a promising beginning with some sparks of imagination and could have been developed more. Short, simple and sweet. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Toys Had a New Year Party [Category: Senior Entry No.: 1]


Dear diary,
Frankfurt; January 1, 2014


My entry tonight is going to be rather lengthy, basically as a compensation for not having written anything last night. But I will tell you all that happened yesterday. Don’t worry.

Yesterday, when I opened my math notebook to do some sums, a tiny paper slipped out of it. It was a note from someone and it read..
“Meet me today (31 Dec, 2013) at 11:30 p.m. near the basement of your house.
Do not tell anyone anything about this.
If you decide not to come, the loss will be all yours.
Tear the note as soon as you have read it.”

It spooked the hell out of me for I did not know who had sent me this note? Why was I, a tiny 13 year old girl, summoned near the basement at such a late hour, and that too alone..? Well! Who could possibly do it, for I did not remember anybody coming into my room, all of the past fortnight? And the note mentioned ‘today’.

I decided to don my bravest façade and resolved to go down till the basement at night to see who it was. I also took my fat teddy bear along, just in case I needed some moral support.

There, in the basement, I saw nobody. Just a couple of strange equipment that daddy used on his occasional car cleaning sprees and a toy soldier. I was surprised to see my toy soldier there, though. My family swears by my cleanliness and orderliness, there is never a toy or thing out of its place, once it is no longer in use. I have told you that numerous times. And here in front of me was my toy soldier..why?? And more importantly, how?

Even as the temperatures outside were going for a free fall, a drop of sweat trickled down my back.

In the midst of all this confusion, suddenly the lights went out and I froze just where I stood. And before I could realize anything, my teddy bear leapt out of my hand and jumped onto my shoulder. And, dear Diary, I still don’t know how I survived that moment. Just so suddenly, like a flash of thunder, the lights came back and ever so spontaneously, my teddy jumped and sat on top of my head. Yes, that sounds funny, but I was scared to the bone. I could hear my heartbeat as loud as Bob Sir’s march past drum beat at school.

And as my eyes adjusted to the bright lights, I saw all my toys swarming into the basement in what appeared to be a kind of a synchronized performance, all to the tune of ‘happy birthday to you’. But the words in the tune were, ‘happy New Year to you’. Well, what exactly was all this, I had no idea.

“Wish you a very happy New Year, Rose! Welcome to our gala celebration. All of us, your very well kept toys, decided to have party this time round too.” My toy soldier spoke up rather unexpectedly. “But this year, we decided to call you too, since we were sure you would enjoy and that you wouldn’t tell it to anyone.”
“Oh!”, said an overwhelmed I.
“This New Year, we wanted to give you a big big surprise by calling you down here and to disclose to you one of the closest kept secrets of the toy world.”

My favourite dinosaur suddenly enlarged, turned around and opened its wings. There, by the tips of the wings, were attached two ends of a big banner that read, “Welcome 2014”, and the entire basement was filled with the ringing and mildly echoing clatter of claps of all of my toys. Even the mouse was somehow trying to put his hands together. Then out of nowhere, my kitchen set came walking in. The cookers and the woks had developed tiny limbs under them. Behind them was walking my teddy bear, wearing an apron and a cook’s cap. I never realized when it had vanished from atop my head. The lids of the toy utensils jumped open and out came the yummiest aroma of freshly cooked food, I have ever witnessed in my life.  

I was watching all this as if someone had put a body and tongue bind curse on me. Ha! My dolls had to hold my hand and shake me to restore my senses, before they offered me some food. As the clocks neared 11:59 p.m., the little birds from my puzzles organized themselves into what I think of now as the best ballet performance ever.

As I recollect all that happened last night, when the toys, my toys, threw a New Year party for me, I am overwhelmed with emotion. We had so much fun. Till well past 4:00 a.m., we danced to the tunes of the my little puppet radio. It was the best New Year party I have ever attended. God bless my toys.
I really don’t remember when the dance ended and what happened later. I might have been very tired and must have slept there only. Maybe. But in the morning, I found myself carefully tucked in my own bed and all my playthings back in their own places as before.

Oh, I so love my toys. I love them even more now. The very fact they can come alive at nightfall is so so incredulous. Long live my toys, I wish I never grow up.

Love,
Rose

JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : Although this story is well-written and interesting, I thought that Rose engaged in some risky behavior by meeting an unknown person alone in the dark, taking only a teddy bear for protection.  And this is so well-written through the rest of the story, you should consider having Rose accidentally find the toy party as she searches for her lost toy soldier.  You used lots of details to explain what the toys did during their party, which adds to the appeal.  This story has much potential to be a story book where each page shows the toys engaging in a different type of party activity.

Sandhya : An interesting format of writing a story – as a diary entry. This makes the narration so much more personal, and can be written in an informal tone. This qualifies very well for both. The anonymous note was a very nice touch.
Very well written. You have a lot of potential – do keep writing regularly, and read a lot – that will hone your skill.


Neha : Very well written. Has an interesting beginning. It engages the readers’ interest right at the start and manages to keep it aroused till the end. The concept is good and so the story line is remarkable.
Dialogue and characterization as tools to make the tale interesting are very well used. Use of phrases is also effective. Imagination is evident in the dragon and birds performances as well as the invitation. Creativity and skill are very well balanced. It is good attempt.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Santa Came Home [Category: Middle Entry No.: 10]


Once there was a Christmas party organized by Riya Yadav. The theme of the party was red colour. The party started. Some of them wore casual red dress and some tried to wear dress of Santa Claus. All of them had a Santa cap. Riya wore a long and bright gown. It was looking very pretty on her. The party had lots of games and good and healthy food. All of them sang Christmas carols like ‘Rudolph the red nose reindeer’. They had a lot of fun.

At 12 p.m. Riya cut the Christmas cake. After some time, Santa came. Everyone was surprised to see Santa Clause at home. He clicked photos with everyone. They enjoyed very much with Santa. He gave lots of gifts and offered sweets. But Riya was surprised. She didn’t know who this Santa was, as he had hidden his face with a Santa mask. When the party was over and everyone went back to their homes, Riya tugged at the Santa’s sleeve and asked who he was. The Santa removed his mask and oh my God!, he was actually her father, Dr. Yadav. She hugged him very tightly. She thanked her father for being a Santa for the night and for making her party even better. This was the best Christmas party the Yadavs have ever had!

JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : This was a fun idea to have a “red” party for Christmas.  I see lots of potential for even more than the red clothing – red cake, red peppers, red decorations, etc.  When you add more details that use the color red, you will have a very coordinated story.  Also, consider adding a touch of mystery by having the guests wonder who is playing Santa.  Maybe Riya’s father disguised his voice and padded his belly so nobody would guess who it was.  This is a great story of a fun party with much potential for expansion to a longer tale about a Christmas party.

Sandhya : Clearly the narration of a real, and a happy experience, very charming.Well narrated. Maybe you could flesh out the story a bit, add dialogues – they will add more interest to the story. Do keep reading and writing.

Neha : A simple descriptive story, neatly written without any errors. You could add more dialogues and imagination to it.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Santa Came Home [Category: Middle Entry No.: 9]


Christmas is a festival where Santa Claus give gifts and visits every house. Whenever I think of Christmas, my mind trails back to the time when Santa Claus was at our doorstep. Let me share this story to you.
It was the eve of Christmas. We decorated our Christmas tree and kept the cookies and milk near it. As we baked more cookies we watched one movie. It was Harry Potter - The Philosopher's Stone. The air was filled with aroma of cookies. Suddenly somebody started banging our house door. We were scared My father looked through the door hole. He smiled and muttered "Great! Santa Claus has come at our doorstep!" He opened the door and there he saw Santa Claus . Santa Claus laughed and chuckled and giggled some more . He laughed again and said-
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas fellas!!! I am Santa Claus! May I come in?". He went towards the sofa and sat with a thump. I asked "How come you came at our doorstep and why not with your signature entrance?" Santa Claus smiled and replied" Ah! It is a very long story. I had visited all the places in the world. The only place left was your place. I was very tired. And the aroma of your cookies brought me here. I did not want to come through the chimney again. So I thought it would be better to enter your house normally with no 'chimney- entering' techniques. Can I have some cookies and milk?" We offered the milk and cookies to Santa Claus. When he was finished he told us some stories related to Christmas. Suddenly our phone rang. My father picked it up. 

The conversation went like this-
Father: Hello? Who is speaking?

Caller: Hi Vineet! How are you? Merry Christmas! This is me, Fred. The sleigh symbolizing the vehicle of Santa Claus outside your house looks pretty awesome. Where did you get this from? It must be two thousand dollars.

Father: Ummm.... Actually Fred, I got this as a gift from my old friend in USA. Meet you tomorrow in office and thanks for appreciating my decoration. Bye! Merry Christmas!
It was actually Santa Claus's sleigh.
Then Santa Claus sang a few carols and explained in detail why Christmas was celebrated in. He gave us some gifts like-a laptop, a few books and fancy pencils and toys.We thanked him for that. He gave his home address(which is a secret ) and his email id which is santa.clausgifts@yahoo.com. Then Santa Claus asked us to show him me and my sister's room. When we entered the room he saw a picture of himself drawn by me and my sister. Santa was very happy then we saw him taking a stick from his coat pocket and flicked it on the picture.The picture became alive. Santa Claus said "You can talk to me through this picture. And if you want to visit my house then call out to this picture 'May I come into your house!' and then you will see a type of well. Plunge into it and you will reach my house. He got up and
it was time for him to go. We bade him goodbye and then Santa Claus sat on his sleigh, pulled the ropes and his sleigh flew up, up and then it disappeared in the sky.

Santa Claus's visit in our house was fun and we enjoyed it. I hope he comes to your house too!!Merry Christmas!!!

JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : This was a magical view of Santa’s visit to the last house on his Christmas Eve tour.  You used lots of sensory details to place your reader directly into the story.  You can improve this story by including a stronger goal for your main character.  What does he really want from Santa?  What might he want to give him?  When you present a goal in the beginning of a story, your readers will cheer when your character meets that goal at the end.  Overall, this is well-written and interesting!

Sandhya : Very imaginative! Santa’s secret home address and email ID are very nice touches. I was also amused by Santa’s banging on the door while the children were watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – clearly a reference to Hagrid. Also the fact that he does not want to use the ‘chimney-entering technique’, and Father’s explanation of the sleigh outside the door.
Do hold on to this story and work on it a bit more later to improve the flow of the narrative. Keep reading and writing.

Neha : An excellent attempt. The story has a well thought out plot. A nice beginning and well described logical conclusion. There is characterization, dialogue, imagination and creativity.
The twist of the Santa picture becoming alive and a secret way to Santa is very interesting. The laptop and mail id idea give it a modern turn. The story is engaging till the end.
There are a few grammatical errors but can be ignored. One is the use of ‘and’ to begin a sentence and the other is the arrangement of persons in nouns; it should be ‘my sister and me’ not the other way round.



TROFEO 2.0 When Santa Came Home [Category: Middle Entry No.: 8]


When December starts we only think about the Christmas everywhere at school, home and while playing also. We are all just wait for Santa clause at every Christmas. He gives us gifts which we like the most. On the twenty - forth night of December we didn't even sleep in the wait of Santa.                                                                                                                                      My friends also came at my house. We all were astonished at the moment when suddenly santa entered my house riding the rein-deer ride with numerous number of gifts. A smile went on all the faces. He remained at our house for two to three hours. He gave us gifts beyond our expectations. He cut our cake with all of us and we all sung carols nicely with Santa. We danced on many songs with Santa that day He gave a very beautiful bat and a basketball.
He played many games with us. Then he told us all that he has to deliver gifts to other children also.                                                                                                                   
But before going he gave us a wonderful ride of rein-deer's and then he went riding in the sky on his rein-deer's. We enjoyed very much on that day. I remember that day very nicely

JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : It was fun to see Santa enjoying himself at someone’s house.  So often, we think of Santa as a jolly old soul with much work to do.  Perhaps you can make this the last stop on Santa’s Christmas Eve tour so he can enjoy himself without worrying about the other children he must visit.  And maybe he does this every year at a different house.  The conclusion of your story might be to wait and see if next year is your turn!  Overall, this is a fresh new look at the person who is Santa Claus. 

Sandhya : A charming story. Loved the bit about Santa giving a bat and basketball, and the ride in the sleigh – these specifics bring out the hidden wishes of the child, or a real experience.
Do practice writing, and read a lot. That will hone your observation and writing skills.


Neha : An average small write up, started promisingly but ended predictably.
Lots of adjectives and adverbs used to make the language pretty.
A bit of tenses mix up also. It should have been ‘that he had to deliver gifts to other children also’. Use of ‘but’ at the beginning of a sentence when not needed. Keep writing more. 



Monday, February 10, 2014

KARMA BY JEFFREY ARMSTRONG




TITLE : KARMA
AUTHOR : JEFFREY ARMSTRONG
PUBLICATION : JAICO BOOKS

Jeffrey Armstrong has been a student and scholar of Vedic Philosophy for over 35 years. He holds degrees in psychology, literature and comparative religion and is based in Vancouver, Canada.
The book if you include the glossary and the acknowledgements consists of just 91 pages, but believe me they are very heavy duty 91 pages. It took me a couple of months to read the book. There were times when I'd read a few lines and keep the book down, so that I could chew on what I had read. If you are big time interested in spirituality than by all means read the book.
The author is a student of Vedic studies and the information in this book is extracted and summarized from the Vedic sources. The author has tried to explain things in very simple way taking similes from today's life.
The book says that there are few basic rules of life and if you follow them, it is possible that in a few life cycles you may attain final liberation.
 According to the book what you do to others will ultimately come back to you and when we speak bad about others we are eating their bad karmas.
There are  some young souls and some old souls in this world. The journey from young soul to old soul is usually a gradual process. The old souls have an attitude of ' been there and done that' and are on look out for an exit from this world. Apart  from these souls there are a lot of 'atmas' in the transcendental world who have not entered this world. The atmas are eternal, joyful, conscious and individual in nature.
We are accountable for each and every action of ours. We are always reaping and sowing results of our actions. We create heaven or hell on earth for ourselves by cooperating or violating the basic rules i.e.the 'ritam'. We have come to this world to explore and learn, our karmas decide how we live our life in this world.
 The last step of an old soul is 'moksha' that is the final liberation. The book also explains about the different types of karmas. The book has been brought to an end with a round of frequently asked question and their answers.
A very good book albeit a little on the heavier side for novices like me. Though I found it a little difficult to fully comprehend the meaning of the stuff mentioned in the book, but it certainly left a positive impact on my life.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Toys Had a New Year Party [Category: Middle Entry No.: 7]


Once in the castle of Disney , princess Cinderalla with prince Chraming held a ball on occasion of the NEW YEAR’S EVE for all the toys inthe town.From the four feet tall teddy bear to the tiny peas in the pod there were toys of all sorts of sizes and shapes. From the bright yellow to the to the dull grey there were multicoloured toys all around. All the princesses and princes from the neighbouring town were there with their fairy guardians. There were a bunch of different toys like the smiley ball and their partner bats. Macqueen and Sally Carrera were the cutest couple there was an interesting menu with chocolate fountains and donut stacks. The hall was not only decorated with flowers and lights but also candies ‘n’ chocolates . There were tables of OREO and chairs of biscuit sticks. There even were couches of marsh mellows and cushions of cotton candy. Every toy danced to the tunes that Bookworm played. Bullseye and Buttercup had a lot fun dancing on the gems the dance floor. Woody, Buss, Lotso’huggin bear and Alladin loved the mocktails served in the ice creamcone . Barbie, Ken and Jessie enjoed the party a lot. Just as the clock struck twelve the lights went off every one screamed in a chorus voice and wished ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR TOYS’. When the lights came back all the toys wished each other HAPPY NEW YEAR . And that was the end of the NEW YEAR party for all the toys.
Oh !how much I wish I could be a part of such a colourful and happy party like this.


JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : This story certainly includes practically every toy a child might have in the toy box!  You effectively describe what each toy is doing during the party.  You also include lots of sensory impressions about the colors, food, decorations, and dance floor.  I liked your comparison of sizes – the big bear and the tiny peas.  You have a few spelling errors that are easily fixed, so when you do that, you will have a wonderful story that might be fun to illustrate.

Sandhya : It is very clear that this story has been written with the names of actual toys that the writer has. A very charming idea.
Do read stories written by Enid Blyton – especially Tales of Toyland and the Amelia Jane series. Work on your writing, add paragraph breaks and dialogues to improve the narrative. Good attempt.
Keep reading and writing.


Neha : You can work on your imagination more. Story line is simple and could be made more interesting by developing it more. 


Saturday, February 8, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Toys Had a New Year Party [Category:Middle Entry No.: 6]


Once upon a time on a foggy New Year eve Mrs. Amanda’s little playhouse witnessed a very beautiful and unique thing. It was 9 pm and almost two hours had passed since the playhouse had been cleaned and locked for the night.

 Suddenly the toy cop blew his whistle and all the toys became alive at once as if they had just woken up after a long day sleep. This would happen every night. The toys used to discuss what the children did in the morning. Today also they were discussing the same thing when the cuckoo bird suddenly reminded everyone that it was a New Year eve and they could really have a party on this special occasion. The year 2014 would start just in a few hours.

All the toys agreed happily but they didn’t have any party food there. The toy cook had an idea. He went and opened the kitchen set and soon was busy baking a chocolate cake. The toys became very happy. All the clocks secretly decided that they would sing a really melodious tune the moment the clock struck twelve. When the cake was ready, all the toys admired it but to their dismay the big fat teddy bear by mistake stamped hard on the cake. The cake fell down with a crash and all the cream spread on the floor. The teddy also became very dirty with cream all over him from head to toe. All the toys were scared that what would Mrs. Amanda say when she saw that the bear was all dirty. So they had a brilliant idea. The bear went to the washroom and bathed himself and then he sat in front of the dryer. Meanwhile, the other toys were busy mopping the floor.

Now Mrs. Amanda had two small daughters Lily and Lucy. Both of them heard the crash when the cake had fallen. Both of them felt very scared and tucked tightly into the warm blanket.
 There the toys decided to have a different type of party without any food. The toy clown presented an interesting and amusing show. The toy magician also did a no. of wonderful tricks and magics like taking out a live rat from the toy cook’s hat. The teddy bear started singing a song and all the dolls started dancing on the song.

Now Lily and Lucy heard the songs and were very surprised. They decided to look into the playhouse through the little keyhole. They could not believe their eyes on what they saw. The toys having a party!!!! They thought that it must be a silly dream but how could two people have a same dream. They both entered the room without making a single noise and quietly hid behind the curtain.

 Suddenly there was a loud shriek by one of the dolls that her beautiful pink and white party shoes had been nibbled. The toy policeman sat up. He saw the nibbled portion and knew at once that the shoes had been nibbled by a mouse. Now there was only one mouse there whose name was Nibbly. All the toys shouted his name but no Nibbly appeared. So they decided to go and look for him and after a long time Jimmy the dog found Nibbly under the dining table. The doll scolded Nibbly and his punishment was that he had to buy another pair of beautiful party shoes by taking money from the FBRT (Federal Reserve Bank of Toyland). Nibbly apologized and everything was normal again and at the stroke of midnight they all were taken aback by the sudden melodious tune of the clocks. They all wished each other a very Happy New Year and happily went off to sleep.

 Lily and Lucy were very amazed by the night’s happenings. They kept it a secret and finally told everyone in the form of a story. The title of their story was ‘When Toys Celebrated New Year’ and they hope you liked it. 

JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : The toys in this story had a very active, interesting New Year’s Eve!  They were so busy that the reader begins to feel that he or she is in the middle of the story with Lily and Lucy.  I like how you added so many sensory images of the teddy bear covered in cake, the cuckoo announcing the start and end of the celebration, and the description of the doll’s shoes.  At first I wondered why a rat had been pulled out of a hat, then I saw that it was actually part of your story when Nibble enters the scene.  However, you called him a rat first and then a mouse.  Those are two different creatures, so be consistent and call him a mouse when he is pulled from the hat.  Overall, this a fascinating story about toys on New Year’s Eve.

Sandhya : Yes, do tell Lily and Lucy that I liked this story very much! I liked the specifics like the toy cop blowing his whistle, the toy cook cooking with the kitchen set, and the girls wrapping themselves up even more tightly in their beds on hearing the noise.
Do work a little bit more on this story, with breaks paragraph breaks, dialogues – there is a lot of potential for that. This will add more interest to the narrative. A suggestion – try to find books written by Rumer Godden, with toy characters. You’ll get many ideas.
Well written. Keep reading and writing.

Neha : Excellent story: characterization, dialogue and premise, all have been given due importance. The beginning and the end is well written. There is a lot of imagination and creativity in the tale.
There is a well planned storyline and structured plot. The interest of the reader is maintained throughout.
No notable errors in either grammar or spelling.

Friday, February 7, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Toys Had A New Year Party [Category: Middle Entry No.: 5]

Mostly people make a simple new year party with snacks, cold drinks, Chinese, etc. But I and my family were getting bored with this new year party celebrated every year.
This is my best experience in my life when I was just seven. We went to a Toy's New Year Party. Where there was a show which just concluded of toys. All the toys were sitting on the chair to see the show. We took the permission of the toys for seeing the show and then we went inside. First there was a wonderful dance of toys, the toys did handstand, back flip and many other gymnastics in the dance. This situation arrived that we all thought that the humans are dancing. Then a type of circus dance was shown to us. Some toys took a ring and rotated around their belly and some of them caught the rope and slide in the air. Others did juggling with leather balls and were dancing very well staying on the ground. And at last they made a goodbye skit, which we enjoyed a lot.
This was the best new year party we ever had since my 6 years of life.


JUDGE’S VIEWS:
Renee : What a fun view of the toys at a New Year’s party!  I could see them enjoying themselves as they did gymnastics, danced, and juggled.  However, while this is a fun story, there are many grammatical errors which made it difficult to read.  When you clean up those problem areas, you will have the start of a story that has the potential for a wonderful picture book where each page shows a different group of toys doing different performances for the people who watch them.

Sandhya : Quite an interesting party!
You should practice writing on different topics – maybe take a random topic (you can search for random topic generators on the net), and write on it for half an hour without thinking too much about it; anything and everything that comes to mind. Slowly, you will begin to get a hang of how to write, and will see your own writing maturing. All the best! Keep reading and writing.

Neha : Very average attempt. There are some language errors and punctuation mistakes too. Practice writing more. Work on imagination and story line. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Santa Came Home [Category: Middle Entry No.: 4]

It's almost that time of year,
When everybody’s heart fills with holiday cheer.

There is one person who lives in the North Pole,
Getting ready to bring joy to every child’s soul.

His name is Santa Claus and his sack is full of toys,
To be distributed to all the little girls and boys.

Christmas Eve has finally come,
It’s the time when no child feels glum.

Santa’s all ready to come to the U.S.A.,
With his reindeer, presents, and his sleigh.

He’s checking his list to see who’s been naughty and nice,
I hope he doesn’t bring me a sack of rice!

I was waiting anxiously for Santa to stop by,
And leave presents under the tree before saying good-bye.

When Santa came home, he brought lots of gifts for me,
The sight of all those presents filled me up with glee!

December 25th is slowly passing by,
So let’s celebrate with some delicious apple pie.

I can’t wait for Christmas to come next year,
When Santa will come flying on all his reindeer.

JUDGE’S VIEWS:
Renee : This is a fun little poem that shows one child’s feelings about when Santa visits her home.  You include all the elements of the season and leave readers looking forward to next year’s celebration.  Your rhyme is well done, but your rhythm is a bit off.  Each line should have the same number of syllables and pattern of stressed vs. unstressed syllables.  When you work out the rhythm of this Christmas poem, you should have the effect that this could become a Christmas song.

Sandhya : Lovely! Delightful to read a story written in verse. I was amused by the child waiting anxiously for Santa, hoping he doesn’t bring just a sack of rice – clearly worried about the year’s ‘naughty or nice’ quotient!
Very well narrated. Read poetry by R.L. Stevenson, Kit Wright, Julia Donaldson and Kenn Nesbitt (these write great children’s poetry) – it will hone your sense of verse. Keep reading and writing.


Neha : It is a simple sweet poem. The effort at rhyming is remarkable. There are no errors
Imagination could be better and it is more descriptive in nature.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Santa Came Home [Category: Middle Entry No.: 3]

On a cold foggy Christmas eve I was sitting beside the fire warming myself and softly humming some Christmas carols when suddenly I was shocked to see something red hanging from my chimney. I froze. Could it be a burglar or a ghost??? But to my utter amazement none other than Santa himself stepped inside my house carrying a heavy bag loaded with all kinds of gifts and parcels.

 When Santa saw me he was taken aback because he had expected me to be in bed. He was quite angry for being discovered. As usual he asked me what I wanted. He expected me to demand for a no. of things like toys, gadgets, stationery etc. but I didn’t want any.

 I told him that I wanted something different, something that maybe nobody else had wanted. He was very surprised when I told him to follow me. He invited me on his sleigh and I guided Rudolf. I took Santa to a place he had never seen before. Little children starving for food, wearing torn clothes and sitting either on the roadside or in the cold tents. They didn’t even have a blanket to keep themselves warm nor did they have any warm clothes on. Santa was shocked to see all this.

 Soon I called all the children and Santa gave each of them a warm cardigan. The children became very happy and hugged Santa. Santa had tears in his eyes. Never in his life had he experienced such joy in giving.

 We played with the children for a long time. He even distributed Santa caps to all the children. The children jumped with joy on seeing such warm and cozy caps. They all wore it at once. I lit a very big bonfire and all of us including Santa danced around it. We all sang Christmas carols together. It was almost 1:00 by then and Christmas eve was over. I felt bad for Santa because he still had got to go to thousands of ever-demanding children’s houses but Santa didn’t take the slightest notice and kept on singing and dancing.

 He even took out an extremely large mince pie and cut it into several pieces. He made sure that every child had their full. Soon the party had to be stopped as it was getting too late. Everybody parted with teary eyes.
 Santa came to me and thanked me for showing him one of the biggest truths of life. As he lived in the North Pole he couldn’t even dream of such a situation and here he was seeing it in reality. He sadly bid goodbye to me and went on his way sitting on the red-nosed reindeer.

 That night when I lay in bed I felt a sudden warmth in my heart as I remembered the warm smile on the face of those small children. Even today when I sit beside the fire warming myself I feel as if something red is hanging from my chimney…..      

JUDGE’S VIEWS:
Renee : Who knew that Santa was so clueless about needy children!  This story showed the true meaning of Christmas, especially when the main character asks nothing for himself, only for the needy children.  You effectively showed the conditions in which they live, and then the transformation to a few moments of happiness as Santa gives them food, clothing, and warmth.  Your ending is especially poignant as it reminds the reader that the spirit of Christmas should live all year long.  I see much potential for this story to become a picture book someday.

Sandhya : A very heart-warming story that wonderfully captures the spirit of giving at Christmas. Hold on to this story, and work on it sometime - add anecdotes, dialogue and specific characters, maybe from among the poor children, to make it an even better story.
Very well written. Keep reading and written.

Neha : Lovely story indeed. Good plot, interesting beginning and well thought out story-line. The plot is well constructed and the premise is unusual. A good climax and a well polished conclusion that leaves a warm glow. Good use of simple words and short sentences to build up the story.
A Good attempt.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Toys Had A New Year Party [Category : Middle Entry No. : 2]


Fred and his family had gone for a holiday to New York. Fred’s toys were in is room. The special thing about these was that they got alive when no human was watching them. It was Christmas. All toys were scattered in the room. Some toys were watching TV, playing video games. Suddenly Doon, a cowboy toy who had the habit of getting agitated often, said, "ENOUGH!!! This day is such a special day but we are just playing disgusting games. As we are toys we cannot even conduct parties like humans do. Humans are given freedom to do anything like conducting parties, breaking we poor toys and doing other stuff which we cannot do." Doon wanted to show his political knowledge to everyone. He said "WE WANT JUSTICE!!! We must write a justice letter to the president of United States of America who can't hear our toy's voice. All the toys started chanting" WE WANT JUSTICE! WE WANT JUSTICE! WE WANT JUSTICE!" Annie who was Doon's sister said " Let us conduct a New Year Party at our own skill! It will be fun.

Mr. iOS Apple genius who was an ex- computer engineer and was now the king of the toy kingdom said" I agree with Annie's idea and it is much better than Doon's idea. Teddy said" Can I mastermind the party?" All the toys agreed.

After a few days Teddy started the preparations . He asked a few magicians toys to make food for the party. All the toys decorated the room. At 11:00pm their party started. All the toys sang and danced. Doon smiled and exclaimed" I did not expect for so much freedom!" All the toys were enjoying and forgetting about their worries for once. When it was time for food all the toys loved it. Some toys liked the food a lot that they jumped into their bowls. The ice cream tasted as if you were in heaven. Then there were some competitions. Then some toys showed their old written creative stories which Mr.iOS Apple Genius had posted to the Zealot Readers website. The environment was for once filled with joy and happiness. Then at 12:00 am all felt tired and went for a sleep. Then the next morning when the woke up they cleaned the room and all appreciated the leadership of Teddy who brought wonders to the party.
I wish I was in the party too!!!

Happy New Year!!!

JUDGE’S VIEWS:
Renee : What a fun image of toys having a party.  I was very glad to see that they cleaned up their mess before the people in the house woke up!  Your addition of a political reference was new and refreshing for a young audience.  I think they should have gone ahead with their letter.  Then when the Presidential permission came back to be free, the toys would have much reason to celebrate.  Overall, this is a great story with many different levels of interest.

Sandhya : Lovely! Loved the ‘Mr iOS Apple genius’ who is ‘now the king of the toy kingdom’! And ice cream indeed tastes as if you were in heaven – I agree completely with you. If I were a toy, I would have loved to come for this party. The stories written by the toys on Zealot Readers is a nice touch.
Well written. Maybe you should do a little more of editing to have a better flow to the narrative. Keep reading and writing.


Neha : Reads like a toy version of Animal Farm. The story has a good conclusion. The plot is not too well developed as in why did they want justice, for what? I liked the characterization specially the Mr.iOS Apple Genius.
The premise of a party is not well developed; from a mini revolution to a party is somewhat unbelievable downturn.
Its free of errors except usage of ‘the ’instead of they: possibly a typo.
A fair attempt


Monday, February 3, 2014

TROFEO 2.0 When Santa Came Home [Category : Middle Entry No. : 1]

He came in the dead of the night
When the blue of the sky was deep
He sailed so silently over our world
When every person was asleep

He floated through the starry sky
Past the gleaming moon
He must hurry, for he was running late
The sun would be rising soon

Ours was the last town he visited
And mine was the very last house
So he began climbing down the chimney,
Quickly, but as quietly as a mouse

After visiting so many children
And eating their cookies and cakes,
Santa was rather full, and hadn't realized
How much effort chimney climbing takes

He sucked in his belly as much as he could
And began to wriggle down
But he was stuck, well and truly jammed
Yes, that is what Santa found

But here is what Santa did not know –
Our house was enchanted
Our house was home to a number of elves
A number that cannot be counted

They found poor Santa in a soup
They told him he needn't worry
They set about their elfish work
And soon they ceased to scurry

They had dug the sides of the chimney
Till Santa Claus could go through
But where they went after that
Santa wished he knew

He climbed down; it was easy now
He soon reached the ground
He tip-toed towards my stocking
Without making a sound

He stuffed in the presents
Oh, and what presents they were
Then, he was finally done with his job
He exited through the front door

Those elves loved snow more than any else
But they could find none here
And our guests were just temporary,
For they stayed out of fear

Of the wicked, oh, so wicked
Froozotapplegadeese
Who would search for and feast on
Just such elves as these

Santa, of course, was grateful to them
He owed them a major debt
He knew that quick workers like these
Were difficult to get

So he sought out the elves and said to them,
"Come with me to the North Pole
You'll find plenty of snow there
For it is freezing, and that is mighty cold"

You will be safe and sound from the
Froozotapplegadeese
For, if he comes to look for you,
I can tell you for sure that he will freeze

I would like you to do me
Another tremendous favour
And in exchange for I will give you
Snow cream of any flavour

Could you help me with the presents –
Could you make them and then wrap them?
For I know that elfish craft
Is certainly a gem

The elves were delighted – this deal was great!
They all jumped into the sleigh
Santa was pleased, and he smiled and said,
"Up, up, and away!"

That is how Santa got his trusty elves
They make each and every toy
For Santa to give as gifts for Christmas
To every little girl and boy

I wonder what became of the
Froozotapplegadeese
Did he go looking for the elves?
Tell me, did he freeze?





JUDGE’S VIEWS:

Renee : This was a wonderful story that explains how the elves came to live with Santa at the North Pole.  The use of poetry is very effective and you maintained the rhythm and rhyme throughout, which is not always easy to do.  I liked how you called the evil elf by a fun name – it adds to the appeal of this Christmas poem.  On one line, you said they ceased to scurry – perhaps you meant that they started to scurry?  This would have made more sense.  Other than that, this is a fun way to explain how the elves came to live with Santa and why they are so grateful that they constantly work to help him with his presents. 

Neha : It’s a good poem, well organized.The coining of a new wordFroozotapplegadeese’ is commendable and so is the creativity behind the whole scenario. The story in the poem is well thought out. The personal twist about the elves legend is a stroke of genius. Shows that the writer has skill, imagination and creativity. The skill though should have been used to make the poem crisper.
I liked the ending with a question. Leaves the reader thinking
For a middle level student, the arrangement of words and correct grammar is achieved commendably

Sandhya : Delightful! Loved the story within the story about how the elves came to be at the ‘freezing’ North Pole! And the rotund Santa trying to get in through the chimney after a bellyful of cookies and cake and getting stuck a-la Winnie the Pooh – that’s certainly a cautionary tale. Also the ‘Froozotapplegadeese’ is a nice touch, very imaginative. Maybe this could be made into a longer story sometime?

Well written, with a good sense of verse. Keep reading and writing.