Monday, July 22, 2013

The broken bridge - A story with two endings.

We were given a picture prompt for the Semifinals of IBL (Indian Bloggers League). I wrote a bedtime story to begin with, but my captains Priyanka and Prashanth thought it was too soft for the semi finals. Hence, I changed the end of the story to make it dark. They thought it was too dark. Sigh! So, well, my stories did not make it.

Finally our team sent out this story written by Ghazala for the semi finals. It is a very nice story. Do read it.

And here, I decided to post both the stories on my blog.


The photo prompt:

The story:

Munna stared at the bridge in despair. The bridge had broken and one end of it had collapsed. The bridge was the only way he could go home.

That morning when he had crossed the bridge to get to school, it had been fine. And now... It would soon get dark and the forest were not a safe place to be when dark, he knew. He had heard scary stories about the forest from the villagers. Weird voices could be heard from the forest when he slept at night.

Munna lived with his ma in a tiny village on the outskirts of the forest. It was very small village and Munna had to travel to the next village at the other end of the forest to reach school.

It was a long walk through the forest but he enjoyed it. It would take over an hour for Munna to get to school. Evenings, he would take the same route back and reach his village before it got dark.

It was nice, green and bright. The trees were welcoming. The birds chirped; he would hear foxes and elephants at a distance. But the animals never really disturbed him.

There was a tiny stream that flowed in the middle of the forest. The stream was not very deep but it had a strong current and he had been advised by the villagers not to ever try getting into the stream.

The bridge was what connected the two banks of this stream. It was an old wooden wobbly bridge.


Munna was scared and hungry. Darkness was slowly taking over and the otherwise friendly forest now seemed rather frightening. There were noises he had never heard before. There were movements, but he couldn’t notice anything. There were tiny lights glowing around. He was not sure what they were.

He sat down under a tree and gave one last sorrowful glance towards the broken bridge. He then shut his eyes tight; burrowed his face in his hands and started weeping.

“Why are you crying?”

It was a small low voice; almost like a whisper in his ears. Munna looked up startled.

A person. Well, not a person, an apparition.

Yes, an apparition of a man, short and stooped. He had long white hair and a long white beard that hid his mouth. He had had a thin sharp nose and his face was wrinkled like raisins. And his eyes, his eyes were cold as ice.

Who…who are you? Munna mumbled.

“Bhuto. Bhuto is my name,” said the ghoul. “I am the jungle ghost,” he added.

“Gh…gh…ghost.”  Munna stammered with fear.

“Oh, don’t be scared. I am not the bad sort,” said Bhuto. “You look hungry. Would you want to eat something?”

Munna nodded his head in affirmation.

Bhuto then snapped his fingers and lo behold, there appeared a huge plate full of the most delicious food Munna had ever dreamt of. Magical lights appeared on the trees near him to help his see clearly.

There was tandoori chicken and various kebabs; biryani and parathas; mutton kosha and fish curry; rabri and jalebi; gulab jamuns and ice-cream.  

Sceptical and scared as he was, the sight of the scrumptious food couple with his hunger was too much for him. Munna couldn’t help himself but gorge.

Food, they say, breaks all barriers. When Munna couldn’t eat anymore he looked up from his plate and smiled at Bhuto. Bhuto smiled back.

“Now tell me, what is your name and why are you crying?” asked Bhuto.

“My name is Munna. You see that bridge over there? That bridge is the only way I can get home from school. Today, when I was returning from school I saw that it had collapsed at the other end. Now there is no way I can get back home,” Munna ranted in tears again.

“Oh, that broke today when the rabbit started chasing the elephant. The elephant was petrified. Confused, he ran over the bridge. Silly fellow. He knew the bridge wouldn’t take his weight. But he was terrified. The rabbits are quite a menace to the elephants here,” said Bhuto

Munna looked at Bhuto in disbelief and then burst out laughing. “You mixed that up, didn’t you?” Munna asked. “You meant the elephant was chasing the rabbit.”

“No no. The rabbit was chasing the elephant. The rabbits always chase the elephants. They kill them for food. Didn’t you know that?” questioned Bhuto.

Munna shook his head.

“It’s very simple. The rabbits have very strong teeth, right? And they are fast. So all that they do is jump on an elephant and start gnawing on the elephant’s neck. Ten minutes of gnawing, that’s it. The elephant is dead,” said Bhuto.

Munna gaped at him. “That cannot be true,” he whispered.

Bhuto shook his head and said. “But it is true. The fact is that most of you humans do not know the truth of the life around you. For centuries you have all got it wrong.”

“What do you mean we have got it all wrong?” queried Munna doubtfully.

“Okay, tell me, which is the most ferocious animal in this forest?” asked Bhuto.

“The tiger, of course,” replied Munna.

“See, there you’ve got it all wrong. The tiger is the meekest of all animals here. It is the hippopotamus that rules; that maintains harmony in the forest,” said Bhuto.

“What! I do not believe you,” exclaimed Munna.

“Well, you have to. Ghosts. Do. Not. Lie.” said Bhuto sternly.

“But how can a hippopotamus be the most dreaded one. I mean, how is that possible?” Munna asked meekly.

“You will know, with time,” said Bhuto in a cold voice.

Suddenly there was an enormous amount of shuffling around the forest.

“Wha…What’s happening?” Munna cried out.

“The trees, the trees are walking,” replied Bhuto.

Munna turned towards Bhuto, his eyes wide open.

Bhuto smirked. “It’s just another thing that you humans are not aware of.  Oh, just how many things you mortals are blissfully ignorant of. The trees walk around at night. They all do. They have a life, don’t they? They get bored too. So they stroll around and change positions at night. Why else do you think people lose their way in a forest?”


Ending One: The bedtime story.

Munna looked around him awestruck as the trees uprooted themselves and moved around. He now believed every word that Bhuto said. He had to.

“I like you Munna,” said Bhuto. “Will you come meet me here sometimes? I get quite lonely here.”

“Sure” said Munna. “I like you too Bhuto.”

“Come let me show you some thing,” saying Bhuto held his hand out to Munna.

As Munna and Bhuto walked around the forest, Munna was amazed to see things he had never ever dreamt of. The animals were prancing about having a glorious time. Melodious music filled the air. As they went ahead deeper into the forest a huge tiger walked up to Munna, rubbed itself against him and purred.

Suddenly they came to a clearing and a loud bellow startled Munna. He was standing face to face with a huge winged hippopotamus. The hippopotamus was whiter than white. It was emitting a soft glow.

“This is Dadhikrakra,” said Bhuto, “the most divine creature of this forest. No humans know of its existence. It protects the forest from all evil and maintains harmony here.”

Bhuto then walked close to Dadhikrakra; placed his palm on its head and whispered something in its ears.

The trees stopped moving. There was a faint glow in the skies. The dawn.

Munna suddenly remembered, “Bhuto, How will I go back home?”

“Dadhikrakra will fly you across the stream,” said Bhuto with a wink.

“Fly!” Munna said gleefully.

Bhuto laughed. “The bridge is not going to be repaired for a while. Till then you can fly to and fro everyday on your way to school and back,” said Bhuto.

“Everyday when you reach the stream; call out my name thrice and whistle this tune – tuuu ruuuu, turu turu tuuuu ruuuuu, turu turu tuuuu ruuuu, turuturu. Dadhikrakra will come to your aid.” Bhuto grinned.

Munna then walked up to Dadhikrakra and mounted him with Bhutos help. “Hold on tightly to his neck,” shouted Bhuto as Dadhikrakra took flight.
Munna laughed with delight as he soared up in the skies.

After that, daily Munna would fly on Dadhikrakra back in the forest. He would meet up with Bhuto everyday and chatter with him about everything under the stars. He loved the forest even more now.

Back in the village if anyone ever asked Munna how he managed to reach school while the bridge was broken, he would just smile back and walk off humming - tuuu ruuuu, turu turu tuuuu ruuuuu, turu turu tuuuu ruuuu, turuturu.


Ending Two: The dark story.

Munna nodded and looked around him awestruck as the trees uprooted themselves and moved around. He now believed every word that Bhuto said. He had to. Munna did not like all this. It was all too sinister.

“Bhuto, can you help me get back home?” asked Munna in almost a whisper.

“Home. Hahahahaha!” laughed Bhuto, “What is the hurry, let me take you around the forest a little.” 

Munna noticed that Bhuto said that in a menacing voice. Munna was terrified, yet he followed Bhuto as he took him deeper into the forest..

The forest seemed ominous as the trees moved around. There was a constant whisper in the air that sounded like run run run run.  The trees seem to be closing on to him. It was creepy, very creepy.

“I want to go home, Bhuto,” whimpered Munna.

Bhuto stopped and turned towards Munna; his eyes blood shot. “You cannot go home now. You cannot go home ever,” Bhuto bellowed. “You need to sacrifice yourself for the good of this forest. Come here, come closer.” Bhuto stretched his arm towards Munna as he started backing off.

Munna, terrified, began to run. He had to get to the other side of the bridge. Even if that meant he had to jump into the stream, he would. He would take the chance. He was sure he would manage to swim across. He just had to. That was the only way he could escape from this nightmare.

He started running with all his might. Behind him he could hear Bhuto’s evil laughter. He ran between the trees as they moved, where ever he found a clearing. The trees tried to hold him back; his shirt tore off; he was bleeding wherever the trees had scratched him. Yet, he felt that the trees had not trying really hard to stop him.

Dripping in blood and sweat he approached the stream. He was relieved to see it. It did occur to him that finding the way to the stream had been easy. Probably, the trees are trying to guide me, he thought gratefully. Ignoring the broken bridge, he jumped straight into the stream.

No sooner had he jumped did he realise that he was caught in the jaws of a hippopotamus that was lying inside the water. Within seconds, Munna had been gobbled up by the hippopotamus.

Bhuto was standing at the bank of the stream, He winked at the Hippopotamus and said, “I know it, master, I know you love it when I treat you to young boys. And I know you like them better when they have just been well fed.”

The trees swayed away with contentment.
Let me know which ending did you like better.


  1. Dear Dips,
    So this was your story. I had read the dark ending. However, I prefer the other one. As it sits well with the mood of the story. You have a great future in writing for the kids. You are a natural. Do consider it seriously :)

    Thanks for the mention, coming from you it is a real compliment. Do edit my name spelling, it is Ghazala Hossian. Hugs ~

    1. Yeah. Prashanth decided to send in the dark one for voting. :)

      And yours was a good story.

      Edited your name. :)

  2. The second. Mostly because I'm dark (I'm ignoring the tall and handsome bits).

    1. We need better pictures of yours. Dark is quite understandable. But tall (Since I have met you in person, I somewhat agree) and handsome in uncomprehending from you single eye. Your FB pics, either show your back of enhance your darkness in the shade.....

    2. Abhishek, I was guessing you would like the second one.

  3. I agree with Ghazala completely. I have always been telling you that go ahead with whatever comes naturally to you. The dark ending seems so forcefully done. The first one just blends in so well. It is pleasantly bright and has that just right shade of fantasy.

    1. Yes, the first one is a pleasant one. That was the one I had originally written. I just reworked the ending in the dark one, which is probably why it seems a little out of place.

  4. The first half was brilliant till you came to the point where Bhuto describes how elephants get eaten up by rabbits. But a proper description, not a second had narration would have helped here. Walking trees, hNa? What are you up to? I would definitely say the second ending was better. But it was hurried. Bhuto changes too soon into a demon.

    1. Shubhayan, I had guessed you would like the second one. (Wow! I know my readers well. :D )

      There was a 1500 word limit hence making it more descriptive was a little difficult.

      And I agree the second one was hurried.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Rajrupa. And thanks for visiting my blog. :)

  6. The second ending definitely but with a Diptea twist. This looks a bit rough cut.Brilliant style,brilliant creation.But only children's story? Nah,I don't agree.

    1. Thank you. Yes, childern's story. Can be enjoyed by non-children too. :)

  7. The first ending is definitely a better one.. It is an expected assumption that a story of a small child will have a happy ending...

    I would have deleted the last two paragraphs of the first ending and end it with "And then Munna woke up realizing he was dreaming." Could be a cliched one but I believe for children, it is good to show the line of difference between the fantasy world that they build up in mind and the reality. Just a thought.

    1. Thanks, JIT.

      Well, actually I believe in letting children live in the world of fantasy till reality hits them. You believe in magic and magic happens. So I will let that be. Thanks anyway. :)

  8. Diptee I guess d love for dark shaded stories just brings out a lot of emotion hence loving d second one.. :-)

    1. Thanks, Teena. Yes i am fond of dark stories too.

      Thanks for visiting. :)


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