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Loreto?s Shreya takes the title stairway

SHREYA MAHESHWARI, a class XII student of Loreto Convent, Lucknow is now standing on a ?stairway? from where she can actually go anywhere. She won the ?Classmate Young Author Contest 2005 (CYAC)? title for her story ?Stairway to Nowhere? at the CYAC finals in Mumbai on Saturday.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2006 01:43 IST

SHREYA MAHESHWARI, a class XII student of Loreto Convent, Lucknow is now standing on a ‘stairway’ from where she can actually go anywhere. She won the ‘Classmate Young Author Contest 2005 (CYAC)’ title for her story ‘Stairway to Nowhere’ at the CYAC finals in Mumbai on Saturday.

Talking to Hindustan Times on phone from Mumbai, Shreya said “It was like a dream come true. I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m happy that I’ve actually made it. All the 16 contestants were very bright and talented and it was definitely very tough.” Her story moved Ruskin Bond, who headed the jury comprising of noted writers like Nandita Puri, Neeru Nanda, Alpana Chaudhary, Bakthiar Dadabhoy.

Bond said, “Stairway To Nowhere displays the rare talent of its author.” It certainly did. For, Shreya’s story was selected from among the 120,000 entries that were admitted in CYAC.

Though Shreya won a special seven-day literary tour to London covering historic places like Oxford, Cambridge, Stratford, etc for her story ‘Stairway To Nowhere’ as prize, she surprised the organisers by refusing to take the trip. “I’ve requested the organisers to give away the money in charity to the needy and destitute of the society,” she said. Why? “For a simple reason that it was not ethical for me to accept it as it was not hard-earned,” Shreya said.

Talking about her story that earned her the title, she said that it is all about a girl whose father was killed in Kashmir. With the passage of time the girl grew up and became a successful journalist with a news channel.

“Later, this girl (reporter) returns to Kashmir to take stock of the existing situation and….. The story runs into 2,000 words,” she said. Shreya wants to become a writer as it gives her an opportunity to express her thoughts. Back home, her mother Sutapa Sanyal, IPS has expressed happiness over her daughter’s success.

Sanyal said: “Shreya called me up at 1:15 pm and asked me to take a guess. I thought for a while and said that she must have won the title. She screamed, yes. I congratulated her and wished her all the luck. My daughter was very happy because this was a hard-earned title and she faced a stiff competition right through.”

Another Lucknow girl, Ayushi Singh of class XII, City Montessori School, Aliganj was selected among the top 16 entries at the CYAC finals. All the 16 finalists won Home PCs, camcorders, digital cameras etc.

Both Shreya and Ayushi plan to write a book at some point of time. “Certainly, we would, but then right now we would be concentrating on our studies,” they said.

Says Ayushi: “It was a great learning experience for us. Interaction with Ruskin Bond itself was a great privilege and honour.” Their friends, too, have hailed their achievement.

Last year, Lucknow’s Jyoti Iyer was adjudged the Classmate Young Author for her story, ‘Postbox No 99.’ CYAC was held in Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin, Lucknow, Pune, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Guwahati.

Ruskin Bond later remarked, “CYAC has resulted in a surge of interest among young authors. The variety of themes on which the children wrote brought to light creativity, imagination, inventiveness and skill with words.”

First Published: Mar 26, 2006 01:43 IST