meet the winners

  • Amrita Saikia

    Amrita Saikia spent most of her childhood days in a small town called Nagaon in Assam. She attended the prestigious Cotton College in the city of Guwahati and then moved to Bangalore to pursue higher studies. She did her graduation from Mount Carmel College and post-graduation from Dayananda Sagar College, Bangalore. Currently, she is working as an editor in International Data Corporation. She likes to read books, write (mostly her blog posts), and paint during her leisure time. She is extremely passionate about food and loves experimenting with new dishes.

  • Anisha Bhaduri

    Anisha Bhaduri has spent more than a decade in journalism. She is currently the deputy news editor of The Statesman and its coordinator for Asia News Network (ANN). She is also the first Indian woman to become a Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Fellow, and is an alumnus of Banaras Hindu University, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, and Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines. A visiting faculty to the Statesman Print Journalism School, Anisha was conferred the Pradyot Bhadra Young Journalist Award for Excellence by Pracheen Kala Kendra in December, 2011. Anisha has written book chapters commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on contemporary Indian journalism and politics. In 2009, she won the first prize in a national literary contest for women writers organized by the British Council in India.

  • Aprameya Manthena

    Aprameya Manthena is a graduate of English Literature from Sri Venkateswara College, with a post graduate degree from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. Aprameya enjoys writing, is trained in Carnatic music, loves travelling, and is outdoorsy to a fault. She volunteers in her spare time and shares in the passions and interests of her friends. She also takes a keen interest in cinema, art, and theatre and dabbles in painting. Her quest for higher learning continues as she hopes to undertake research work in the near future.

  • Belinder Dhanoa

    Belinder Dhanoa is a writer and an artist, with a Masters in Fine Arts in Art Criticism from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, Baroda, and another MFA in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester, New York. She is the author of Waiting for Winter and her second novel Echoes in the Well is due to release soon. She has also written several books for children and researched and documented Contemporary Art of Baroda, which was published as a book by the same title. She is currently involved in developing and teaching post-graduate courses in creative writing at the New School for Culture and Creative Expression at Ambedkar University Delhi.

  • Chitralekha

    Chitralekha was born and raised in South Mumbai. She has lived in Jamshedpur, Hong Kong, Singapore, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York and wandered the rest of the globe observing cultures. She is presently parked in New Delhi, trying to crystallize the lessons of a nomadic life.

  • Geeta Sundar

    Dr Geeta Sundar began her career as a consultant in medicine at BL Kapoor Memorial hospital, Delhi. She has also done a course in medico-legal law. She is a regular contributor to Times Wellness as well as a corporate lecturer. Her published works include Health after Forty and A-Z of Bone Muscle and Joint Diseases. She has also written a work of fiction called Premier Murder League. She is both a consultant in medicine and a writer. At present, she is working in Pune.

  • Jyotsna Jha

    Jyotsna Jha belongs to Kolkata. She has an M.Phil in English Literature and has worked as a teacher, instructional designer, and editor. She is married to an army officer and has two sons.

  • Prarthana Rao

    Prarthana Rao was born and raised in Chennai. After her schooling at Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram, she completed B.Sc. Visual Communication from Loyola College, followed by a Masters in International Studies from Stella Maris College, securing gold medals in both courses. She has worked as a freelance content and copywriter and has dabbled in acting and scriptwriting as well. She has been writing short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and just about anything since the age of six. Prarthana enjoys music, movies and yes, books.

  • Santana Pathak

    Santana Pathak is not a conventional female writer dogged by social norms and values. Growing up and studying in a North-eastern state and working in fields like academia and journalism in the pan-Indian layout, she has seen two different worlds dealing differently with common human values. This disparity has made her sensitive towards the complexities of life. It has also widened the horizon of her expectations and nothing surprises her. Her writings are born from thoughts that keep playing in her mind and feelings that touch her heart with each passing experience.

  • Sheela Jaywant

    Sheela Jaywant has worked in a multi-specialty tertiary care hospital for many years and for half a decade in a five-star hotel. And in earlier avatars, as a librarian, teacher and UNICEF volunteer. As an author of three books, Quilted: Stories of middle-class India, Melting Moments, and The Liftman and Other Stories, as well as a columnist and translator, she found that creative writing couldn't pay the bills. So she wrote three books of short fiction and did two translations alongside her day job. Later, many of her stories found their way into anthologies. When people ask her where she gets her ideas from, she says: 'you'.

  • Shreya Manjunath

    Shreya Manjunath has a PGDM from IIM Bangalore and a BE in Computer Science from PESIT. She has been working as a management consultant. Shreya also writes socio-political satirical articles for a leading satirical website.

  • Yishey Doma

    A journalist and a poet, Yishey Doma was born in Martam in the east district of Sikkim. Her published works include the highly acclaimed coffee table book Sikkim: The Hidden Fruitful Valley and other books like Legends of the Lepchas: Folktales from Sikkim and Sikkim: A Traveller's Companion. Her work has also been anthologized in Strangers Notes and Other Essays. She is a recipient of the first North-East Poetry Award (Guwahati, 2007) from the Poetry Society of India. Yishey lives in Gangtok and works as a copy editor for the Sikkim Express.

400 participants, 12 winners and 1 extraordinary book

  • It is hard to describe how deeply a well written short story affects you. It invokes in you those emotions which you cannot really describe, only feel. You go with the protagonist, like a silent ghost, experiencing vicariously all that they do, wringing your hands in despair sometimes, calling out to them to stop at other times, but deeply involved nevertheless in all that they do. For those brief moments, you are a part of their lives -- feeling the emotions they feel through your mind. It is a surreal feeling, truly like entering another body and coming back to your own when the story is over.

  • In May 2012, Random House India, in association with MSN, had conducted a short story contest to hunt for twelve of India's finest women writers. The participants could choose from one of the following themes:

  • a. Woman in the City
    'Frankly my dear

    , I don't give a damn' -- Gone With the Wind

  • b. Growing up in India
    'Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes' -- Oscar Wilde

  • c. The Man in my Life
    'Being with him made her feel as though her soul had escaped from the narrow confines of her island country into the vast, extravagant spaces of his' -- The God of Small Things

  • One of the conditions laid down was that the quotes given with each topic had to be incorporated somewhere into the story. Hundreds of entries poured in and the judges had a difficult time picking the final ones that appear in this book.

  • Each of these twelve stories here are remarkable in their own way. They are stories from women like you and me, based in different places like Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Bangalore and Gangtok, who have drawn on their experiences from the places they have visited perhaps (or lived in) and woven them deftly into the stories they tell. They take us on a journey all around the world, really. They make us familiar with a place where we have not been to before, making it come alive with all the sight and sounds and a myriad other things that it almost feels like one has visited it many a time. Whether it is the newly-wed Bengali bride feeling out of place on her honeymoon in the story 'Other people's lives' by Anisha Bhaduri or an unusual obsession a working woman has, in the story 'Revelation' by Aprameya Manthena, one finds that the writing is so powerful that we get under the skin of the protagonist deeply. I visited Boston and walked by the Charles River with Belinder Dhanoa, without leaving my room, through her story 'A Boston Brahmin,' and I travelled to Madgaon and Canacona with Sheela Jayawant, much the same way in her story 'Yokemates.'

  • Some of the stories are deeply moving, some disturbing, and some make you want to just dive into the book and be a part of it. All of them are superbly written and they make you think.

  • Unlike a novel which takes you on a long journey and demands a certain effort on your part to complete it -- reading a short story is almost effortless. It is like floating idly in a coracle on a warm sunny day, with the gentle breeze blowing through your hair, as the world goes around, although I must admit, in reality I read it curled up in my blankets with the rains tap-tapping on my window panes, and it was just as enjoyable. That is what good stories do. They make you forget everything momentarily.

  • It made me think that a collection of short stories is a treat, like a box of assorted chocolates for if you do not like one, there is always another one you can help yourself to.

  • As for me, I loved them all and hopefully you will too. So relax, sit back, let go, allow your heart to beat that much faster, lose yourself for a little while, and indulge in these tales.

  • Happy reading!

  • -Preeti Shenoy
    July 2012

  • Preeti Shenoy

    Preeti Shenoy is an author and an artist, with three national bestsellers - Life Is What You Make It, 34 Bubblegums and Candies and Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake. er interests are as multifarious and diverse as her several academic degrees, which include an internationally recognised qualification from the UK in portraiture. She loves yoga, travelling, nature, creating stuff, photography, blogging and basketball. She lives in Bangalore, India, with her husband, her two children and a hyperactive Doberman. To know more go to