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Dream Quest One Third Writing Prize Winner -

Summer 2017


Param Singh Gujral

of Kolkata, West Bengal - INDIA





By Param Singh Gujral


The mist was so thick in that forest that Robert couldn’t see far ahead. But, while spooky and sinister, it was strangely magical and attractive. It had exerted its charm on him.

Walking along what seemed to be a path, Robert got a strong feeling that he was not the first. On either side he saw human beings in their strangest form. They looked like normal people except they didn’t have a body. Those “people” seemed to be made of thousands of tiny particles of dust. They floated aimlessly and casually. Robert looked at them in wonder, and asked an elderly gentleman when he overcame his speechless wonder and initial fear,”Sir, who are you?”

That gentleman wore a pair of thin round rimless spectacles and an amiable smile. Bending his head for he was much taller, he looked Robert in the eyes and asked casually, “Who do you think I am?” in a deep voice.

He was paying close attention to the fifteen-year-old’s facial expressions. They told him more  than anything else about what was going on in Robert’s head.

Taken by surprise by that pointed question, Robert answered unconfidently, “I, I think think you bring to my mind all those ghosts in the short stories I read as a kid.”

“I see, then, we have originated from those short stories you have read.”


Page 2

“What? What are you saying? What do you mean? Aren’t you’ll real?”, asked Robert in disbelief.

“We aren’t. I am not real; I am a figment of your imagination.” The man spoke calmly despite the emotion in Robert’s voice.

Without thinking Robert retorted, “I don’t believe you.” He ignored the voice in his head which said otherwise.

In almost complete indifference to Robert’s exasperation, the old man added, “There is a voice in your head telling you that this is not real.”

 There was something about the steady and deep voice. It reminded him of someone. He just couldn’t remember who.  Slowly his defiance was melting away, and a part of him was coming to agree with the old man.

In a low voice Robert remarked, “But it all seems so lifelike.”

“You created it, so hats off to you. You have idolized some writers, haven’t you?. You wish to produce something like them someday. ”

“How do you know about that?”, Robert interrupted in disbelief.

“Because I am in your head. You made us. All of it. All that you see. Unknown to you, your mind has been creating this space over some months. It is this I want to impress upon you. There is this thought at the back of your mind that you will never create anything of quality, and your life’s work will be mediocre.”

Robert stared with his eyes almost popping out and mouth wide open.

 “Don’t worry. You are putting in the effort. Look how far you have come. Earlier, you couldn’t have created an inch of this place. Now I want to show you something.“

He told Robert to look as far as he could through the mist.

“It becomes blurred after a while, don’t you agree? Don’t let this blur discourage you. The only way this blur will transform itself into a clear and vivid picture is by hard work. I think this blur is telling you to work on something you have always neglected. “

Robert had stopped gaping. Every molecule in his being had become active in the last few minutes as he listened intently.

“You must neither worry nor panic. And do not pretend this did not happen.”

 Page 3

We often subconsciously pretend that we actually know something when we really don’t. This is a bad habit as it brings about no improvement. On the other hand, we can embrace the fact that there are certain ideas we haven’t yet grasped. This is the much required first step in the path that will definitely lead to the nurturing of our intellect.

This is a story of a teenager who learns that his creation ( his forest ) is incomplete and he must work with patience and without fret towards its completion. Robert is told by the wise old man to abstain from giving into the proclivity that his creation is flawless. 

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~The End~



About the author:

I am Param Singh Gujral currently in eleventh standard, and I am a science student in Kolkata, India.

I am an avid reader; I like reading the works of authors like Ruskin bond, Jhumpa Lahiri, Roald Dahl, PG Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, among many others. I spend a lot of time exploring the various themes in the books.

I watch films and tv serials of all genres from crime thrillers to period dramas. I enjoy watching the films by the Wachowskis, the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorscese, and Christopher Nolan. My favourite serials are: Downton Abbey, sense8, and Mozhart In the Jungle.

Additionally I love swimming, jogging and have been playing snooker for the past several years.

I have an international chess rating of 1256 (standard chess). Recently my club won the inter club championship in which I was a  regular participant.

I have a degree in Tabla, a classical Indian instrument.

I won the IRIS National Science Fair two years in a row with projects to diagnose Alzheimers and ALS and identify chemical compounds with only a microscope.

In Classs X board exam results of  May 2017 I stood second in my school with 97.8 % marks.

In August 2017, I represented my school in inter-school competition held in Martiniere, Lucknow in the Science Fair and won the prize in Robotics.

~Param Singh Gujral