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Winning Entries Announced: Fable Writing Competition – Fictional Saga

Updated: Feb 16





Architectural Fable Writing Competition Series floated by Architectural Journalism & Criticism Organisation announces the Winning Entries.

Theme described for the Competition was : 'Fictional Saga'

Let me tell you a story.

This very line attracts everyone. Reality is constant, but fictions are dramatic. It’s a world where animals speak, humans squeak, and where the history lives. What if our stories and dreams come alive? Fictions are where incredible things happen to leave us astounding. It gets us out of the box with unparalleled thoughts. This helps us broaden the horizon and alter the facts.

Use of the following characters to twine the story into a fable was asked in the competition brief.

Bowen – A giraffe with high temper

Ronald – A lion who is sassy and cool

Mike – A cunning fox

Arthur – A nerdy rabbit

Edith – An ant who is an architect

Jodie – A lazy panda

The 'Citation Award' goes to Ar. Shilpi Anand, Sahyog Design Way, Ahmedabad.

‘The Time Architect’

“Yo guys! I can’t believe we are actually doing this! It’s gonna be great! Five years! Yeah!” Ronald the sassy Lion roared in delight, as he sat in his chair staring ahead as the purple tunnel of light whizzed past all of them.

“It’s unthinkable that you took such horrible decisions sir! I mean it was irresponsible, unleaderly and short-sighted! Not to mention selfish.” Bowen the Giraffe angrily shouted at Ronald, the king of the jungle. Or maybe he was angry because he didn’t like travelling... especially in light tunnels. So he continued, “Of all the animals you could have listened to, you fell for Mike’s advice?” He shouted pointing to Mike, the cunning fox.

Mike was sitting in a corner, silent and guilty but determined for redemption. He was the one who had advised Ronald to allow the jungle to be overrun by city expansion, just so that he could hunt easily in the smaller one which would remain. But he was remorseful when he realised that there would be no jungle remaining once the city took over. So he kept saying to himself, “I will not repeat my mistake again!”

Arthur kept his tiny rabbit paw on Mike’s shoulder and said, “Listen buddy. We got the science figured out. We need to reroute the river, build dam structures using our beavers’ network, and encourage the expansion of trees. We WILL get our forest back, but we need to convince Ronald...and you know how he was five years ago. So don’t fret. It’s bad for the brain. And sit straight. Your lower lumbar needs a better angle.”

Jodie, the lazy Panda snored heavily in her chair. She hadn’t always been like this. She was once the quickest at everything. But ever since the jungle had shrunk, she had holed up in a dark cave eating rubbish from the landfill near the forest’s edge...it made her sluggish. And the purple light made her sleepy.

Edith the architect, sat in the front chair, serious and in deep thought. In her studies she had understood that every building design would someday either become a testament of time, represent a period of time, or even make someone lose sense of time. But she had never expected to build something like this.

Her brief was not easy. The team needed to convince Ronald that the jungle needed to be saved. Not today’s Ronald, but from five years ago. She was to design a building - a portal into time. They would all go back five years to convince him.

They were prepared. Bowen the giraffe would be the voice of reason. Arthur the nerd rabbit would give the science. Ronald would just have to see what had become of Jodie the lazy panda. And Mike the cunning fox would have to out-convince his former self.

And so they zoomed through the purple tunnel of light because they all knew that the key to a good future lay in learning from the past.

'Special Mention_1 Award' goes to Meher Vadehra, Masters 2nd Year Student, National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi.

‘Saving Schultz Den’

Bowen closed his drawer tightly, and assessed Ronald's reaction to Arthur's request…a 135-year-old hotel on Elm Street, restored to the hostel of New Ville's public arts college, was being demolished by an architect - Edith Washington of Nash Petroleum. A new tower, fifty stories higher than the Schultz Den’s fifteen levels was next. Bowen's nostrils quaked, his spots red with rage.

Bowen had filed the lawsuit against Washington. What made this Edith - whatzhername think she could eradicate such a precious legacy for corporate hive owners? So Bowen had sued Edith. He knew Ronald could save the Schultz.

At lunch they saw Bowen, Arthur and their friend, Jodie at Café Samsara (Bowen's neck was wrapped around the table to avoid a low ceiling).

Arthur whispered -

"- Ronald said it wouldn’t be cool if he took the case!"

“Not cool?… He doesn't have the heart of a lion! But a heart of stone! ”

“That cronut was unsatisfactory. Does anyone want more? "

"Jodie, this is not the time." Bowen was furious.

“…but I can imagine myself starving. Brb! ”

They watched as Jodie bumped across the tables.

“He’s not any thinner, is he?” Arthur commented.

“No. Physically, librarians don’t do much."

“Neither does Ronald. So we’ll be rescuing the Schultz ourselves!! ”

-

Meanwhile, Edith, a sour-faced ant balancing a gargantuan chignon looked at construction plans with her trusted confidante, Mike.

“Everything is ready. One crazy giraffe tried to give me a lesson in having compassion for cultural history yesterday, but I create culture.

And you know what happens when someone tries to stop me from doing something… ”

“You snort Smarties?"

“Yes…and I do it anyway.”

-

"They're stopping!"

An anxious stork shook the site manager awake. Cranshaw looked sleepily around.

"Whatzit Hemingway?"

“The demolition workers are refusing to work!"

“Oh trash“. Cranshaw staggered to his feet, heading for some coyotes.

“Done with your break, gentlemen?"

"We're actually done here."

The staff took off their Nash hats and left.

“Did they just…?”

"They're spooked boss." Said Hemingway.

“Spooked? Why? ”

"Pan's Hoof."

“Pan’s what?"

“Pan! ... god of nature? They found his hoof during basement assessment.

“… What was the hoof doing there?”

“They think that Pan wants the demolition to stop! That the building is sacred! ”

"Show me this…hoof.”

“Of course boss. You may want to be polite, it could take something amiss. ”

-

Bowen wrapped up the Daily Owl with joy.

“The demolition team is gone! No one wants to get involved with the Schultz! ”

"I never thought they would believe ..." said Arthur, his rabbit mind rather fried after their night's journey.

“It's superstition, not belief. Everyone wants to be on the right side of the unknown.”

“What about you?” said Ronald who had reached Bowen's table.

“We drank a lot at Cindy’s Corner last night. We are very sorry, and hungover. "

"You were not involved in the Schultz business?"

They both tried to look innocent.

“So,” said Ronald with a smile, “you have secured the building. Drinks again tonight? ”

“Whatever you say boss!” they smiled. It was a wonderful day.

'Special Mention_2 Award' goes to Ashwitha Sunkara, CSIIT affiliated to JNAFAU.

‘A millennium was enough’

“What a farce”, Mike grimaces at Arthur, lounging on a sparse carpet of green and glancing at his colleague with dubious contempt and curiosity. He couldn’t believe the motivations of the extinct race of humans to destroy themselves, as they were relayed to him so succinctly. He always likened them to Ronald, (the punk thought he was better than everyone, yet so blind of his own incompetence) but not to the extent that he was just made aware of.

“It’s true”, reiterated the rabbit, “they spoke yet couldn’t understand each other, they created miracles and disasters simultaneously, and systematically destroyed most of the biosphere through their existence. They were also the catalyst for our kind to evolve”

“Fools; conceited yet couldn’t sustain despite their greed” the fox pondered aloud; still seated in a lax form, but his eyes now glimmered with disdain and intrigue. He could draw parallels between this extinct race and the lions, prompting a flicker of humour on his lips.

“They perished because of their greed.” corrected Arthur, seemingly enthusiastic to elucidate on the subject, but lunch time was over and Mike wasn’t in the mood to humour any more drivel.

“Whatever, when’s boss coming back? We are done scouting the site, and Bowen is on her way so we need to get going soon”, the fox said, while he examined the site with a scrutinizing gaze to make sure all the parameters were measured in accordance to the protocol arranged by Edith

The bright white sun in the sky bleached the sky into a washed out green, the famished trees with decolourised canopies cast short shadows onto the other sparse shrubbery on site, protecting some but exposed the majority of it to the sunlight, scorching and lethal, while the trickle of the river was followed with a spatter of moss and tar along its banks.

Yet there was life.

Struggling and budding against all odds, beautiful in their perseverance; the weeds ascended along the barren banks, the shrubs coloured and poisoned yet accumulating around every possibility of life; the water peeking through tar and grime, promising life and the dwellers coming out of hiding underground to experience the improvements since the war.

‘The sun determines our existence, the trees define our opportunities, the waters will take care of us but we will set our limitations, we live with this land not on it and if we cannot; we have simply failed our provider.’ Mike remembered these words spoken with such conviction by Edith, the architect who built their brand of colonies for all the dwellers and for that moment in time; he could find the courage to toil for a future for all,

Her words bred in him the courage to face impossibility and recognise the niche of possibility within it.

To not scavenge in between the fringes of evolution and dystopic isolation amongst pockets of safety in methane riddled waste lands; but pave a bumpy path towards triumph, however meagre.

Certificate of Appreciation_1: Andrew Liles, Principal, A M Liles Architects.

‘Let me tell you a story’

It is going to sound like those tales from the Deep South of those motley monster melanges like the Rougarou [half wolf, half human] or the Honey Island Swamp Monster [half chimp, half alligator], but the difference here is, this one’s true. It’s late Autumn, here in the deep prairie, and biting cold. The days are darker, snacks are scarce, and folks are starting to palpitate.

Now we all have a good side and a bad side, an angel and a devil, roosting on each shoulder. These kin living in the prairie bottoms, however, are genuine halfsies. Meet Ronald Bowen - part giraffe, part lion: part angry ruminant, part cheeky carnivore. The hot-tempered and hungry half of Ronald Bowen gets to looking at that long, laid back and meaty neck of his and starts to chase hisself into exhaustion, never able to catch his own neck, wherebouts he would wring it.

The next prairie over from Ronald Bowen toils Mike Arthur. Mike Arthur’s nether regions are sneaky fox, but his northern parts are logical and well-reasoned rabbit. Now Mike Arthur, unlike Ronald Bowen, is cunning enough to know he cain’t catch his own brainy bunny half, so he turns his regard to the other rabbits in the prairie, shadowing them, belly down in the cold brush. Just when he thinks he can snatch some cottontail, hare-half Mike Arthur cogitates out loud to hisself, ‘Actually, the top velocity of that wild hare, lepus silvilagus, is greater than that of the red fox, vulpes vulpes, such as yourself. Even if we average the velocities of our hare and fox halves, we are unfortunately still less than that of said hare.’ By the time Mike Arthur has finished pulpiteering, his mark has scampered off, leaving Mike Arthur in the same pickle as poor Ronald Bowen, deep down hungry.

Now meet Jodie Edith, or as folks around the prairie-forest border call her, Jo Dedith. Jo Dedith is the most perplexing pair of all, part rigorous master-building ant and part torpid panda. It’s hard to get panda Jo Dedith to do much of anything but laze about the bamboo canopies, but problem-solving Jo Dedith is famished. Jo D realizes her greatest panda asset is sittin’ still on her generous fleecy bottom, a sure foundation. Moored Jo gathers the dead and dying shoots within her lazy reach, wherewith Dedith’s mandibles assemble them into a funnel-trough pointing headlong at her own parked face. As pleased Jo Dedith squints into the low autumn sun, falling wintry leaves and shoots trickle down her trough, settling at her snout, waiting ever so patiently to be eaten.

Know the strengths of your halves and work ‘em together.

Certificate of Appreciation_2: Vaishali Lahkar, Master's student at KU Leuven, Ghent.

‘Let me tell you a story’

It is a new world created by Bowen (a giraffe with a high temper), Ronald (the sassy and cool lion), Mike (a cunning fox), Arthur (a nerdy rabbit), Edith (an architect), and Jodie (a lazy panda). They are living their dream now. They can live comfortably-they found their purpose in life. Now, they are the rulers of their world.

It all started when humans would come and destroy them and their beloved worlds. Countless complaints were filed. A lot of them died. Not a morsel of food, nor water... They had no clue about how they would survive. They consulted the bacteria colonies and the virus clubs because they were powerful – they knew how to outdo the destructive humans. A plan was made. They would launch an attack at various levels against humans. Arthur would study the variations of attack. Ronald was with his wife and one kid. He lost the other one and his brother to poachers. Bowen was furious as he knew that one day they were going to get wiped out. Jodie just said yes to everything, rolling on the ground and relaxing. Edith sat and spent hours with Arthur planning the modes of attack.

On a fine Sunday morning, they start their plan, with the virus attacking humans. Little by little, they started wiping out hordes of people. They managed to affect millions in a very short period of time. Once the humans were out of their sight, Mike and Ronald rejoiced. Bowen was still mad because even now, he could see a few humans far away. This could become a world phenomenon. With every race of theirs throughout the world joining forces, they would do it because they belong to the environment. Nature favors everyone, not just humans. All the animal communities finally get to threaten the destructive human population - and that’s how the human race headed for extinction. The surviving people started analyzing - these creatures seem so innocent. Why spoil their habitat? Why wait till they feel threatened to live like in times of coronavirus? It was high time to come to a balance. Realizing this, a bunch reached out to the animal group and said, “This is enough. We want to live together, let’s not bother each other for petty stuff”. Henceforth, both sides joined hands and started creating a more comfortable world to live in. Bowen became a politician, Ronald a celebrity - educating masses about the sustainable future, Mike, a police officer - ensuring that everyone followed rules, Arthur - provided more research services for the same, Edith worked with human architects to build fancy eco-habitats and spaces, and Jodie enjoyed every bit of it- And this is how they lived happily after. – What a relief. The humans learned from the animal kingdom. The animal community coordinated to build their kind of sustainable future.


Jury Panel for the Competition was comprised of

Dr. Preeti Puri, Asstt Professor, Humanities, NIT Jalandhar

Prof. Kanika Bansal, Professor & Architect, Chitkara University, Chandigarh

Dr. Priya Sasidharan, Professor, Architect & Planner, Chennai

Ar. Riddhima Sharma, Design Researcher & Writer, New York

Ar. Pappal Suneja, Design Researcher & Writer, Germany


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Head Image © Vaishali Lahkar

> via Architectural Journalism & Criticism Organisation

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