बुधवार, 7 अप्रैल 2010




Uday’s voice is heard in the dark. He is talking to a child called Hussain (age 15 years)

Uday: Look… tell me… what is the need to hide? You should have just gone ahead and told you father.. I couldn’t go to school.

Hussain: No… no

Uday: You won’t?.. Okay tell me how did your exams go?

Hussain: I didn’t appear for them… was hiding here

Uday: What? You didn’t give the exams? Come on, I’ll talk to your father… Oh!
What happened? Arre, listen kiddo.. Wait… Hussain… Hussain

(Hussain frees his arm from Uday’s grip and runs away.. Meanwhile Iti comes there)

Iti: What’s the matter? Who was that ?

Uday: Him? … Hussain… what happened was that I was waiting for you... he was hiding back here… When I tried to talk to him, he fled… He is a bit weak…mentally. He was hiding in fear of the results

Iti: His results are out today?

Uday: Yes, but he did not give the exams… so he is hiding from his father… He will go to the school to collect the results

Iti: Where did he go?

Uday: I told him, come I will talk to your father, so he ran off

(Iti glances at her watch. Uday shuts up. Both remain quiet for a while)

Uday: Come… let’s sit on that bench

Iti: No… I am fine here. So… what the state of your illness?

Uday: I was okay for quite some time, then now, just a few days back… in a temple.. I got fever on seeing the idol.

Iti: Why? What was it about the idol?

Uday: It was ordinary.. But as soon as I got this fever, that idol looked absolutely
wretched to me.. A wretched little idol amidst that huge crowd of devotees.. Someone was offering money, another was breaking a coconut.. yet another was meditating for hours, praying for something. And that idol was watching it all silently. I suddenly thought, that it was telling me, ‘Nothing is in my hands.’ I immediately.. left from there.. when I was going down the steps of the temple, I felt, that it is perhaps the faith of so many people that brings them here everyday… because of them, at least that stone idol got enough life to be able to say, ‘Nothing is in my hands.’

Iti: Then?

Uday: Then what? When I searched for you, I discovered you had been transferred, I found your address with great difficulty.

Iti: How long will you pursue me?

Uday: Arre! You are my doctor!! And I need to consult you

Iti: You don’t need to consult me.. you are just afraid of being ordinary

Uday: No… I know that I am an ordinary man

Iti: You are an ordinary man, but you are afraid of being ordinary in my presence

Uday: Meaning?

Iti: Meaning, you are still cultivating this illness, so that you can be special among all my other patients

Uday: That’s a lie.. whatever I feel… I tell you honestly

Iti: This is the illness I am talking about… if you keep meeting me everyday, you will never get these attacks… But as soon as you stop meeting me, these fits start up

Uday: So what are you saying?

Iti: Just that… I don’t have the cure for this, nor do I even want to treat it now.. That’s why I never called you to my clinic… Okay, I am getting late, I got to go.

Uday: Arre! I have come from so far hunting for you and you won’t even talk to me?

Iti: It’s no use.. if you are worried about your condition, find another doctor.

Uday: You know.. I tried.. but it didn’t work

Iti: And it won’t even work… anyway, I don’t wish to discuss this further, I am late.. I am going

Uday: But I came here just to meet you

Iti: You have met me…

Uday: Look, I won’t leave till I am through with what I have to say… I pay you for your consultancy, so what’s your problem?

Iti: I don’t want your money… go away… I won’t ever meet you again

Uday: I will wait for you

Iti: So keep waiting.. I am off

(Iti leaves… Uday angrily chucks his bag.. then he slowly picks it up.. there are three benches in the park… he sits on one of them.. but it is sunny there, so he shifts to the second bench, which has one end in the shade. He sits there, takes out a book and starts reading. Then Nawaz enters. He comes running in.. and is unhappy at the sight of Uday sitting in the shaded spot )

Nawaz: You are sitting…

Uday: Yes.. I am.. so?

Nawaz: You will sit here?

Uday: Yes… I will.. now

Nawaz: It’s okay then…but could you.. you sit there?

Uday: Why?

Nawaz: Because I want to sleep

Uday: Oh! You want to sleep, so I should sit in the sun?

Nawaz: Arre! In 10-15 minutes the shade will be there too…it’s just a matter of a little while

Uday: Yes, it’s just a matter of a little while.. so you sleep there

Nawaz: Arre: what a strange, stubborn man you are…look I have stuffed myself to the gills, If I don’t sleep quickly, I will throw up

Uday: So throw up!

Nawaz: I can’t

Uday: Why?

Nawaz: It’s against the rules to vomit here

Uday: What? A man doesn’t even have the freedom to vomit?

Nawaz: If I throw up over you… then let me see you talking of freedom

Uday: You are trying to scare me?

Nawaz: No I am not trying to scare you…look… look.. I am starting to sweat

Uday: So?

Nawaz: Then in a few moments my ears will start to redden… that is a sign that the time has come.. if I still try to control myself, then my eyes will start watering… and then nothing is under my control… today’s, yesterday's, the day before yesterday’s food… out

Uday: Okay… you sit here.. when it’s shady there, I will move…

Nawaz: Thank you… but see, I am not even in a condition to sit… it is important for me to sleep

Uday: Arre.. if you keep sitting for a while, you won’t die

Nawaz: You have no idea, I have stuffed myself like a pig today.. It is crucial for me to nap this afternoon.. please permit…

Uday: I won’t

Nawaz: Please allow me…

Uday: Hey.. will you lie down on me.. sit up straight… straight

Nawaz: Look.. my ears are reddening.. now my eyes will start watering, and then you will be in no condition to sit anywhere

Uday: Okay…okay

Nawaz: Thank you

(Uday gets up and sits on another bench.. he takes out a book.. he tries to avoid the sunlight that is falling right on his head. Then he takes out a cigarette, looks for a matchbox.. but he can’t find it.)

Uday: Do you have a light?

Nawaz: It is against the rules to smoke here

Uday: It’s not written anywhere…

Nawaz: It is not even allowed to put up signs anywhere

Uday: You come here to sleep everyday?

Nawaz: Yes

Uday: You must have spent half your life sleeping.. you must be a government employee… did I get it right? Stubborn, grouchy employee

Nawaz: I am asleep…

Uday: If I go right now and complain against you, you could be fired from your job

Nawaz: You are threatening me in my dream... it's no use, I am asleep

(Uday falls silent.. then the spot gets the shade, and he removes the book from his head. And getting into a comfortable position, he resumes reading. Just then Madan arrives at the park, and on seeing Uday sitting there, looks annoyed. Then after pacing up down a bit goes and stands behind Uday. Uday ignores him.)

Madan: I have been coming to this park for years.. . earlier I used to pass by from the outside everyday.. just think, a park on my route, and I never came in. I was always in a hurry to get home. Ever since I have started to come to this park, let's say, it has become a habit. It's a nice park.. small.. isn't it? That's right... compared to the other parks? Now that you have come into the park, enjoy it, wander around a bit. You have been sitting here for quite some time now, perhaps that's why you are not appreciating this park. Stroll around a bit.. at the back there... there are deer, rabbits and all.

Uday: I know

Madan: Is that so? You have been back there.. that's why you are angry. I too like this section of the park. There's nothing much back there, deer and rabbits, that's all... and what kind of deer, they look like cows. Really.. are deer like that? They are chewing all the time, they don't jump or prance about.. they are cows.. meaning.. they don't even look exactly like cows, more like calves.. you must have seen them running around the area.

Uday: Yes

Madan: Yes, they are exactly like those.. and the rabbits, what is to be said about the rabbits?

Uday: They must appear like rats to you

Madan: No..one can look at the rabbits.. they look like rabbits. But for how long can one stare at rabbits? Now rabbits are not monkeys, to jump about and entertain you. According to me, every park must have monkeys. What do you say?

Uday: I agree with you.. It is important to have monkeys and it is also important to lock them in cages. You let them loose like this and they are likely to bother people sitting peacefully in the park.

Madan: Who lets monkeys loose in a park... here even the deer... you are calling me a monkey? How dare you? Look.. do you know who I am? I am the science and music teacher in the school across there... and look how young you are… I thought you looked a bit worried, so i spoke to you. And you are insulting me... you.. if I wish, I could have you thrown out from this park right now... you... hey... is anybody there.. anybody there..

Nawaz: Hey.. why are you yelling... quiet...shut up.. some people are sleeping here, can't you see?

Madan: I'm sorry.. but he called me a monkey

Nawaz: Are you a monkey?

Madan: No

Nawaz: Then why are you offended?

Madan: Arre.. but..

Nawaz: Okay..now I say to you.. monkey, monkey

Madan: You..

Nawaz: You aren't.. right? End of matter.. let me sleep

(Madan calms down a little.. glances at his watch once... then sits quietly, but the moment he look towards Uday, he starts getting angry )

Madan: It's good you intervened... otherwise... you must be knowing, earlier young people were forbidden to come to the park in the afternoon... that was best. Isn't it? Don't you think so?

Nawaz: I am asleep

Madan: I only come here, so that I can rest for a while in the afternoon, under the shade of this peepal tree

Uday: Sorry

Madan: What? Did you say something to me?

Uday: I said I am sorry.. it accidentally slipped out my mouth.. I apologise

Madan: Did you hear that? Did you? He is saying sorry... okay, let it be... by the way the place where you are seated, is the best spot in the park

Uday: There are just three benches in this park, and they are all right here, in the same space.. what's so special about this one?

Madan: The view is slightly better from there

Uday: What I can see from here, you can see from there too, and what is there to see? There is a building standing opposite there.. you call that a view?

Madan: That's exactly what am saying.. the building is opposite this bench, but the building is not bang opposite your bench.

Uday: From here I can just see a balcony of the building opposite, that you can't see.. what difference does that make?

Madan: The difference is in the sky.. you get to see more of the sky from there, and I get less

Uday: I have no interest in the sky

Madan: Then you come here... I am very interested in the sky..come on get up

Uday: Arre! Why should I get up? Whoever comes here, tells me to get up from my seat. You go back you your spot.. I don't want to get up

Madan: Arre, but didn't you just say that you are not interested in the sky?

Uday: I am not.. but I am interested in sitting at this spot.. this is a strange bullying…

Madan: Do you know, that's my seat?

Uday: Is your name written on this seat?

Madan: What kind of argument is that? When you went to your class in school, was the teacher's name written on the seat? No... right? But you didn't go and sit in the teacher's chair, did you? You did sit in your own place

Uday: What does that mean?

Madan: Which school did you go to.. don't you understand a simile?

Uday: Arre.. what kind of simile is that? What is the connection between a park and a classroom?

Madan: Okay.. now that you are talking of connections.. what is your connection with this village?

Uday: Meaning?

Madan: Were you born in this village?

Uday: No

Madan: Then I have the bigger right to this place.. I was born here, raised and grew up here

Uday: If that is so, then I was born in this country, so by that logic I have an equal right

Madan: I came into this world before you.. so my right is greater

Uday: I am a Hindu.. now talk

Madan: I am a Brahmin and a member of the All India Students' Federation too... now why are you tongue-tied?

Uday: So now, you will flay me for being a lesser Hindu?

Madan: This is Gandhi Park, and by the way, the man who donated these three
benches to the park is a Kelkar.. Pandit Hari Kelkar

Uday: So?

Madan: And I am Usgaonkar

Uday: Me Punyat Shiklo.. mala Marathi yete (I was educated in Pune, I know Marathi)

Madan: What?

Uday: Kai zhala? Tula Marathi yet nahi ka? Yes.. yes...What's the matter? You don't know Marathi?)

Madan: My mother was not Marathi.. my father was.. and he died when I was a child...I don't know Marathi, but I am Marathi..I have the greater right.. that's all.

Uday: Kai karaycha aahe kar.. me ikdun uthnar nahi (Do what you will, I won't get up from here)

Madan: What?

Uday: I won't get up

(Madan sits quietly for a moment, but he cannot hold back)

Madan: When you came here, both these benches must have been unoccupied?

Uday: All three were empty

Madan: So you came here even before him?

Uday: And now I will not get up from here

Madan: So you will just keep sitting there

Uday: Yes

Madan: I have studied human psychology.. and in ordinary circumstances, every man wants to sit in the centre... but you are sitting in the corner.. what does that mean?

Uday: It means that I am crazy

Madan: No it means you have some fear inside you, fear of being caught... that's why you sit in the corner seat.

Uday: Shut up

Madan: I am actually a science teacher, but studying and understanding the human psyche is my hobby... caught you kiddo

Uday: Kiddo?

Madan: Okay never mind the kiddo... did I catch you.. come on own up now

Uday: Arre.. own up what? You go on spewing anything, and I am supposed to agree?

Madan: You are casting doubts on my hobby?

Uday: Think whatever you want to

Madan: Okay.. listen to this.. you have come here for the first time.. you don't belong here.. you have come from some other city.. tell me am I right on all three points?

Uday: They are all the same thing

Madan: Hang on a bit.. you are bright.. it's not so easy to trip you up.. Now I get it.. you are bored of your life.. you want to leave everything and run off to some place..you want to start your life over again.. where you can jump and prance and become a child again.. tell me is that right?

Uday: Rubbish

Madan: You are an excessively obstinate man, and because of your stubbornness, you have ruined your life. It is this stubborn trait that makes you want to keep sitting in my place.. now tell me.. is that right?

Uday: Rubbish

Madan: You believe God has not been fair to you... that's why you go to temples and think of sex, so that you can avenge yourself on God

Uday: What?

Madan: You have come here to commit suicide.. you have a disease that's impossible to cure.. you like eating live cockroaches, you are a spurned lover betrayed in love.. that's all..all

Uday: Give up?

Madan: Why are you murdering my hobby? I must have got at least one thing right? One? Not even one? Not even one?

Uday: One thing is right

Madan: Yes..yes.. yes (he exhales noisily) Which one

Uday: That one.. but only half right

Madan: What is a half-right thing?

Uday: Meaning half right, half wrong

Madan: Which one... about God?

Uday: No no.. that

Madan: About the cockroach?

Uday: Oh no. that one

Madan: Suicide?

Uday: No no.. the other one

Nawaz: Then which one? Which guess is right.. Buddy, tell him and let me get back to sleep.. really, caught up in the chatter of you two guys, I have not been able to sleep.. which one is right... which one

Uday: I.. have an illness

Madan: But...

Nawaz: (To Madan) He has an illness, okay? You heard him.. an illness, end of matter.. now am going to sleep

(After a while)

Madan: An illness that is impossible to cure?

Uday: No.. that's why I said your guess was half right.. there is a cure perhaps.

Madan: What is this illness?

(Nawaz wakes and sits up)

Madan: Now why did you get up?

Nawaz: What illness.. what do you have.. blurt it out quickly and get it over with

Uday: I have a mental illness

Nawaz: That's it, you heard, now no more questions

Madan: Yes...

(Nawaz goes back to sleep.. Madan is silent for a while.. then slowly gestures towards Uday, 'which'?)

Uday: I feel i am a genius

Nawaz: Okay, okay.. I get it.. till you don't hear the whole thing and you don't transmit the whole thing, you two won't let me sleep. Now tell all, hurry up and tell it all.

Uday: I told him.. I'm done

Nawaz: That you are a genius? What great deeds have you done that you believe you are a genius?

Uday: I haven't done any such thing.. that's why I said, it's an illness that makes me believe I am a genius.. and the treatment for it is on

Madan: Shall I ask?... One question (Madan asks Nawaz)

Nawaz: Ask

Madan: There must be some reasons that compelled you to think that you are a genius

Uday: Yes.. I get fever, my whole body goes cold.... whenever I see all that which is actually not there at all

Madan: Hallucination?

Nawaz: What?

Madan: He sees things

Nawaz: Oh.. ok..so how did it begin, this hallucination of yours?

Uday: Yes... Where did it begin? It started the night they took my mother to hospital.. her health had suddenly taken a turn for the worse.. that night riots started in the city. I hid with my mother in a small cobbler's shop. For two days and two nights we hid in there...The hospital was right opposite, but I just wasn't able to cross the road. They say, that area was the worst affected by the riots... one night I peeked through a hole in the shop and I saw that some people were killing other people, slaughtering them, really badly. It happened for the first time then.. that I started getting a fever, my whole body went cold...and I saw that those people are kids.. small kids... who are playing cops-n-robbers, Hindu-Muslim...and I got the feeling that their parents will emerge from somewhere now, and scold the lot that 'it's getting dark, now stop playing.' And all the kids will stop playing...those who had just slaughtered a lot of people, and also all those who lay dead after being slaughtered... they will all get up and go their own homes

Nawaz: And you started believing that you are a genius?

Uday: No... I had gone to see a doctor, long ago.. and she said these words, 'You think you are a genius.' So I felt...maybe that's what I think, and that is my illness.. My treatment has been on, since then

Nawaz: Did the treatment help at all?

Uday: Yes.. it did.. but then this incident that took place at a temple, that scared me a bit

Madan: What happened at the temple? Which temple?

Nawaz: Yaar, why don't you finish saying it all at one go

Uday: I already did.. I don't want to say any more

Madan: Arre? What about the temple thing?

Nawaz: Is this the way to tell?... for instance... someone asks you your name, your answer should be, my name is so-and-so... that's the end of it. But you say.. my name is so-and-so, but.. or.. else... Arre, what does this but mean?

Uday: But now... after so many days, I have told this to someone besides my doctor.. it felt good

(Nawaz looks at his watch and gets worried)

Nawaz: Oh god! Half an hour has passed and I haven't slept yet.. it is very important for me to sleep... I won't wake up before four.

Madan: If you are getting so bothered, why don't you go back there?

Nawaz: Back there, where? Among the deer and rabbits? Or should I crouch among the kids' swings and sleep? Look I want to sleep, and I will sleep right here...If you guys want to chat about all these idiotic things, then why don't you two go back there? If you want to sit here, then you have so be absolutely quiet.. I am sleeping

(Nawaz goes back to sleep, Madan stays silent for a while)

Madan: I have no interest in chatting, I just want to sit in my place, where this Mr Genius sits glued.

Uday: Why do you want to sit here?

Madan: I can't tell

Uday: What an odd quirk... I think he is crazy..he needs treatment…what do you

Madan: Arre.. why are you dragging him in our conversation? Let him sleep

Uday: Oh yeah.. you want to fight and grab this place? Let him mediate

Madan: Ok.. I will accept whatever he decides

Uday: Yes.. speak... we will do as you say

(Nawaz gets up and leaves.. Nawaz and Uday look at each other surprised)

Madan: That gentleman was sleeping here, you drove him away.. with your stubbornness to sit there

Uday: Look, actually

Madan: Let it be, now don't apologise to me. I have already forgiven you once... you shameless fellow. Arre.. what a strange devil you are.. at least go see where the poor fellow has gone. You have never been to school and are pretending to read here.

(Uday gets up and goes towards the back calling out. in the meantime, Madan sits in Uday's place, at the extreme edge of the bench. He looks up and smiles and shuts his eyes. Just then Uday returns.)

Uday: Hey.. how did you.. get up.. get up from my place

Madan: Wait..wait

Uday: Arre. get up from my place.. you want to capture my seat.

(Uday forces Madan to get up)

Madan: What kind of loony behaviour is this? You have come to our village from outside, and are forcing us out of our own place?

Uday: Hey.. why is your face wet?

Madan: I can't tell you..just let me sit here awhile.. just for a little while more.

Uday: No... move.. move.. what madness is this.. move

(Both start grappling.. just then Nawaz enters. He has a stick in his hand. He sits in his place and bangs the stick loudly on the floor. Both are startled)

Uday: I went to fetch you.. and as soon as I got up, he sat in my place.. he is so shameless, he was refusing to get up.

Nawaz: Both of you move this way.. move... move

(Both move to one side.. Nawaz looks carefully at the place)

What is it about this place? There is just this tree in front... and (bends a little),, and...

(His eyes fall on a girl standing in the balcony opposite, drying her hair)

Oh! So the benefits of this place

Uday: What..what benefits...

(Uday bends and looks and also sees the girl)
Madan: Whatever you are thinking... it's totally wrong

Nawaz: What else are we supposed to think? You tell us what we should be thinking

(Uday also stares at the girl.. then she leaves)

Uday: Oh... hey she's gone

Madan: She's gone?

(Madan goes to see, both of them push him)

Madan: She will just return.. She has just wet her hair, now she will shampoo it, and then apply conditioner and then she will come back

Nawaz: You are a teacher.. does all this suit you? I am ashamed that my son studies in your school

Madan: Yes.. I am that kind of teacher..the kids call me Gabbar Singh in school.. if you wish you can withdraw your child from the school

Nawaz: Why should my child leave the school? I will complain against you.. and you will be sacked from school

Madan: What is my fault? That I want to sit at this spot?

(As he says this, he sits down at Uday's place again, Uday makes him get up)

Uday: Your fault is that you are sitting at this spot and ogling her, which is a kind of eve-teasing

Madan: Think of it what you will

Uday: And why is your face wet?

Madan: That I can't tell you

Nawaz: Why is your face wet ?

Madan: Okay.. I will tell you the whole thing.. and if after hearing it, if you still feel that it is ogling or eve-teasing, then I will do whatever you say, and if not, then this spot is mine.. is that agreed?

Nawaz: First tell us what it is

Madan: Listen.. she is the maths teacher in our school, she lives in that house opposite. Here, from just this one spot, is the balcony of her house visible.

Nawaz: Chhee.. you with the maths teacher of your own school?

Madan: Will you let me finish? Earlier too, i used to come here without any reason.. one day, I was sitting right here.. the park was quite crowded.. or I would never sit here.. my spot was that one.. where you are sitting now

Uday: Arre.. get to the point

Madan: That is what I am doing.. that day she came onto her balcony.. after her bath.. to dry her hair..I was watching her...just then she swung her hair and some drops of water flew over straight on to my face... when that day wasn't even windy... I though I must have been deluded.. to examine that delusion, I started to come here again and again...You will be surprised, but those drops of water go neither right nor left, but they fly from her hair straight to my face.

Nawaz: Does she know this?

Madan: No.. at this point, even I don't know what it is...

Uday: And?

Madan: And what? I have told you.. this is it..and I have become accustomed to it.

Uday: You should seek treatment for this

Madan: No… but this is the one thing that makes me feel a bit special. Or the days were going by just teaching. Now tell me.. is this ogling or eve-teasing?

Nawaz: No.. but

Madan: Then let me sit in my place… come on.. move

Uday: I will just not move from this spot

(Madan tries to force him to get up)

Nawaz: Listen pal, this may not be ogling or ever-teasing, but it is not not ogling or not eve-teasing either.

Uday: Arre but he does sit here and ogle

Nawaz: But that doesn’t come into the realm of eve-teasing

Madan: Look, it’s no point arguing.. this is my spot.. get up from here

Nawaz: No..wait.. He hasn’t had his say yet.. let him present his case.. then we will decide who deserves this place more

Madan: Arre.. he has already given his reason.. he has an illness.. if he begins to think of himself as a genius, it’s the end of the matter.. Then you start thinking you have a right over the whole world… Hitler also had the same affliction

Uday: You are making fun of my illness?

Madan: Arre.. so you are ill.. so?

Nawaz: Shut up both of you.. come on, not you prove your right over this spot

(Uday gets serious.. he can see that his seat slipping away)

Uday: Arre, what is this? Why should I prove my right.. this place is mine.. and you are a witness

Nawaz: You were first sitting here, right?

Uday: And you evicted me from there.. now I am sitting here and this is my place

Nawaz: No.. you are not getting it.. now that place has a history attached to it.. we are both witness to the fact that he is not lying.. the place belongs to the one with the history

Uday: I have just passed Law, I know the rules… Nobody has the right to oust anyone from a public place

Nawaz: But Mr Lawyer, my word is law as far as the problem of this place is concerned. And I also have a stick in my hand… You have given me this authority… Settle the issue, settle the issue…. That’s what I am doing now.. deciding… law! As far as the word public is concerned… it doesn’t have any significance in this country…Here everything is public and nothing is.. Mr Lawyer, do you have anything more to say?

Uday: Oh yeah! This is like.. I give you space to rest in my house and you spread yourself all over.. and when I came and sat here, you are making up these stories and trying to evict me from here.. meaning from, my own house.

Madan: Arre, this is a park, what does it have to do with a house.. he is throwing up a pointless argument

Uday: You are a teacher… don’t you understand what a simile is?

(Madan approaches Uday angrily.. Uday gets even angrier)

Uday: Listen.. don’t even think about coming here.. I.. I can do anything for this place

Madan: See…he is threatening to attack me

Nawaz: Look here.. this is Gandhi Park.. all this won’t be tolerated here

Madan: You … Godse

Uday: Sorry, sorry.. ok.. now listen to this… simile

Nawaz: What? What?

Uday: This is the only way I can prove my right over this spot.. simile… I hope you guys are educated… listen… simile.. If you think of that bench as Palestine, then you have turned me into an Arab… I gave this Jew (Nawaz) shelter at my place, and he ousted me from my own home… Now I want to fight for this little spot of mine, and you are telling me all this won’t be tolerated here?

Madan: What are you saying?

Nawaz: I want to give a reply to that… Brother… Abraham’s son Jacob had got a title of Israel from God’s angel… This was actually a settlement of Jews.. This was never Palestine.. it was always Israel.. It’s another matter that the Jews were never able to live here.. but it did belong to them. So then one day they came to live here… ‘Brother this is our land.. now get out of here.’ That’s it… Now what can anyone do about the fact that in the Arabic (gestures towards Uday) language, the meaning of Israel is Yamraj, the God of Death.

Uday: But what about those Arabs who believed it was their home? You suddenly quote the words of God and seize everything from them?

Madan: Guys.. what are you talking about?

Uday: That what happened to them there, you are doing to me here.. you Jew

Madan: Jew? Hey, I just want to sit in one corner of park bench… why is that such a big problem for you? Enough of your nonsense, now get up from here

Uday: I will not give you this place, come what may… but if you are going so crazy over this spot, then this is what I can do.. if you give me your place,, then I will go there… because at first I had come and sat there.. and then you can ask him for this place

Madan: This is just fine.. come on… get up

Uday: Alright… but first tell him to get up

Madan: Ok sir, that solves the whole problem… get up

Nawaz: I don’t have any objection.. hang on let me think

Madan: What it there to think? It is quite simple

Nawaz: The matter is not as simple as you think it is…I have no problem letting you have this place, but I object to being made to vacate my place

Madan: Brother, nobody is making you vacate your place.. you are being given that spot in exchange for this one

Nawaz: And after that you will make me get up from there.. and say you come here, and let me sit there?

Madan: Yes

Nawaz: Meaning.. Because of you two, I will be made to get up from my seat twice, when all I wanted was to sleep here

Madan: But why don’t you simply accept that this is really your seat?

Nawaz: How can I accept that? I am sitting here, this is my seat.. that’s all

Madan: I fail to understand why you are giving so much importance to such a small issue? Arre there are three benches in this park.. there are three of us.. what does it matter who sits where… you guys have turned this into a conyroversy…and I am the one being crushed in between… Arre, you guys just have to kill time, but for me that spot is vital

(Madan sits down in a rage.. all three are silent)

Nawaz: Have you ever been to Kashmir?

Madan: No…

Nawaz: I haven’t either, but I have always seen it as a part of the map of India… But if some other country tells us, Kashmir is not yours, it is ours.. then I get very agitated. I don’t like it… Never mind that I don’t have anything to do directly with Kashmir, or this place… all I know is, that this place is ours now.. Our country.. nobody can take it away from us…

Madan: What are you trying to say? Am I asking you for Kashmir?

Uday: That’s not what he means… arre.. we are talking in similes

Madan: Arre, but what is the connection of this bench with Kashmir?

Uday: There is no connection with the bench.. but there is with this place...with being ousted from your place.

Madan: But I am giving him another seat.. I mean this… and then that

Uday: (To Nawaz) When people are ousted from their land and dumped into another.. then.. they.. sometimes cannot accept the new place as their own… Entire generations of those people live in wait ..in the hope that one day, everything will be alright, and they will be invited back to their own land… something like what China did with Tibet

Nawaz: (To Uday) But that never happens… nobody ever returns the land after ousting people from it… That place belongs to you only as long as you occupy it.. Later, Tibetans and all their Lamas kept shouting.. ‘This was our land… this was our land’ but nobody listens

Madan: Hey, who is Tibet and who is the listener? Who are you guys talking about?

Uday: Just like, your history is connected to this place... similarly, a history of being made to get up from my place is connected to me

Madan: What history is this? I have never read of any such history?

Uday: That’s the problem..that we never bothered to find out about this history.. That was my place.. from where he ousted me… now forgetting all about past history, look how he is fighting with you for that place.. as if it is his place

Nawaz: Hey.. why don’t you just forget that little detail?

Uday: How can I forget? Being ousted from your place is a kind of humiliation.. if you don’t feel the same, then give up your place

Nawaz: (To Uday) Come…take your place back

Uday: No.. you don’t quite understand the point… you are swapping places with me…that is easy… I am talking of being evicted from my place.. so if you get up from that place at his request, then I will let you have this place

Nawaz: Whether you hold your ear this way or that.. isn’t it the same thing?

Uday: It’s not the same… You hold your ear the way I tell you to, then let me see how you hold your ear.

Madan: Hey pal, why don’t you hold your ear the way he tells you to…hold your ear

Nawaz: Why should I hold my ear?

Madan: Brother, you tell me how you want the ear held.. I will do it instead of him..hold my ear

Uday: You are not getting the point

Madan: Is that so? I want this place, and I am not getting the point?

Nawaz: Buddy, all this is still in similes

Madan: What kind of simile is this, pal.. you explain that to me right now.. what is this simile?

Nawaz: Shall I explain?

Madan: Yes

Nawaz: Then listen… Tic Tac Toe.. three in a row… I take this… here you go.. and this place is mine, get it?

Madan: (Pointing to himself) Here we go… no what it this.. this is wrong.. you just tell me straight off... are you going to swap places with him or not?

Nawaz: The straight off point now is that I am willing to swap, but he isn’t agreeing

Madan: You are willing, right? Just hang on (Goes to Uday) now why are you going back on your word?

Uday: I am not going back.. all I am saying is that you make him get up from his place first, then I will go and sit there.

Madan: But it is the same thing, isn’t it? Why? Look here.. you please get up.. get up please…

Uday: It’s because of people like you that Adivasis turn into Naxalites

Madan: What do you mean because of me?

Uday: If you keep ousting them from their lands again and again, what option to they have left but to pick up weapons?

Madan: This simile I am beginning to follow.. listen to this genius.. If you displace the Adivasis from their land and do not give them land in return, they are bound to pick up weappns… But I am giving him another place… yes.. yes.. now talk… simile

Uday: If you have followed that, then you must have also got this… why am I insisting that you get him to vacate his place?

Madan: Yes, I get it.. you don’t want to become an Adivasi

Nawaz: You let it go.. I understand what he wants done… it doesn’t make any difference to me… You come here and say to me, ‘Please get up from here.’ And I will get up from here

Madan: Done… ‘Please get up from here’

(Nawaz gets up)

Uday: No.. not like that.. nobody gives up their place so lovingly… it hurts to be evicted from your place. You have to get the nuance of force in your voice

Madan: Arre.. he is getting up.. now what difference does it make how he gets up?

Uday: It does make a difference… because getting up is not significant, being forced to get up is the moot point… it doesn’t matter to him right? So now tell him, and tell him in a tone as though someone has forcibly intruded upon your house, and refuses to leave

Nawaz: Well, it does not matter to me, but I have not intruded upon anyone’s home

Uday: I was just explaining the tone.. say it

Madan: Just get up.. right now

Uday: No, there is still some respect in that line.. say it angrily

Nawaz: Listen.. just say it once, in whatever tone you are supposed to and get it over with.. come on

Madan: Get up from my seat please, now… right this moment or I can do anything (he grabs Nawaz’s collar in a rage) Get up.. can’t you understand? Are you deaf? Get up or I will push you out.. come on.. get up..

(Nawaz looks at him stunned… Madan removes his hand from the collar. Nawaz has got up.. Nawaz and Uday both start to walk.. Uday sits in Nawaz’s place and Nawaz in Uday’s)

Madan: I am sorry I spoke like this in the heat of the moment.. I did not intend to yell at you like that (To Uday) Did I yell too loud?

Uday: No..it was fine

Madan: Now I have to get him up from there too.. shall I tell him?

Nawaz: What is the time?

Uday: It’s three-thirty

Nawaz: In just half hour my son’s results will be out.. I thought at first, I will spend that time napping..but because of you guys’ hassles, I could not even sleep…Then I though since you two won’t let me sleep, might as get into the fray and pass the time

Uday: Look now.. it is already three-thirty

Madan: Now will you sit there till four? She will be on her way

Uday: Shoo.. shoo

Nawaz: I have played with my son for ten years in this very park… he likes this park more than home

Uday: How old is you son?

Nawaz: He is fifteen

Madan: But today only the fifth grade results are to be declared

Nawaz: He is in the fifth grade..he is a bit weak mentally

Madan: Yes.. I know him…he came to my music class once.. he is handicapped,, what is his name?

Nawaz: He is not handicapped.. because of people like you, he is not able to pass

Madan: Look, I think that..

Nawaz: I don’t care what you think…I can rattle off the entire fifth grade syllabus by heart.. Every year I get him to prepare.. for the last four years… it is very important for both of us that he passes

Madan: I know the boy.. he is crazed by love for his son

Uday: Can’t you shut up?

Nawaz: Yes.. I have gone crazy…Do you know, I bought him a bicycle two years ago… But he hasn’t even touched it yet.. he knows he hasn’t passed… When Gabbar Singh like teachers, like you make fun of him at school, he doesn’t eat his dinner at night…Now the two of us have decided that as soon as we pass the fifth, we will leave the school ourselves. And I am totally certain he will pass this year.. I just couldn’t kill this time till four o’clock.. that’s why I stuffed myself like a pig, in the hope that I will able to sleep though the whole afternoon.. I would wake up straight at four and get to know the result.. I can’t endure this slowly creeping time

(All three sit silently for a while)

Uday: You are making him copy.. that’s not right

Nawaz: What? I am tutoring him

Uday: I am not talking of that copying… all of have us have our own roles in this story..if someone is compelled to play someone else’s part, then he is not living… he is copying… Hussain wants to live.. he doesn’t want to copy

Nawaz: How do you know his name is Hussain?

Uday: That illness of mine.. I think I am a genius

(Nawaz gets up and approaches Uday.. Madan is about to get up and sit in Uday’s seat when Uday speaks)

Uday: (To Madan) My doctor told me something.. that my illness is linked to my childhood.. when I was born, my parents believed that I was a special child. That turned into an illness… to this day I am still trying to play the role of that special child.. when I am actually an ordinary man.. and the funny thing is that your son is a special child and you want to turn him into an ordinary man

(Madan resumes his seat.. Now Uday and Nawaz are sitting on the same bench.. Madan is in the middle bench, and the bench over which they were quarreling, is unoccupied)

Nawaz: What happened? Now you don’t want your place? I am talking to you.. can’t you hear?

Uday: Listen.. why aren’t you going to your spot… it is lying vacant

Madan: I am fine here

Nawaz: Now.. don’t turn yourself into a saint…Your place is empty.. go sit there

Uday: Let him be...if he doesn’t want to go…

Nawaz: Why? Why won’t he go? He drove us up the wall, ‘this is my place, this is my place..’ now it is unoccupied, that place.. he has to go there.. get up.. get up..you

(Nawaz tries to force him up.. Uday tries to stop him.. But Nawaz does not budge)

Uday: Hey…Listen…he doesn’t want to go.. let him be.. look…let it be

Nawaz: He won’t agree like this..

(Nawaz steps forward and calls out to the maths teacher.. Uday tries to stop him)

Nawaz: Listen.. O maths teacher.. Madam… Come out.. O teacher

Uday: Hey..what are you doing?

Nawaz: You stay calm.. Madam.. teacher.. listen.. Miss.. teacher.. teacher…

Madan: Shout.. call her.. I will also join you (Shouts) Madam, listen. Miss, come out.. Hey, why have you stopped? Yell some more.. makes no difference to me now.. you guys have ruined everything

Uday: What? We did? What did we do?

Madan: Watching the maths teacher from this spot is not important.. her standing there, drying her hair, none of it is important.. what is important, you destroyed today

Nawaz: Arre.. you are accusing us as if we have murdered someone?

Madan: A murder has been committed.. I am Gabbar Singh.. In my school, at home.. in the market.. everywhere I am a villain.. a bad man… Except at this place..here on this bench I am a hero.. I am good, I am honest.. it is just here that I am Me. You two have just now, killed this Me. You have turned me into a villain here too…Now I am a villain everywhere

(Uday moves towards Madan.. Nawaz stops him and goes to Madan himself)

Nawaz: Look, I can do anything for my place.. you have given me this place.. now go there and sit in your own spot.. go on pal.

(Madan gets up)

Hussain: Father

(Nawaz turns to see Hussain standing behind)

Nawaz: Arre son… what is the time? Arre is it four already? The results must be out.. Son, you wait here, I will go get the result

Hussain: Father… Result…

(Hussain looks terrified.. Nawaz snatches the result from him)

Nawaz: You fetched the result? What is it?

Hussain: Sorry Father…

(Hussain clings to Uday in fear, Uday consoles Hussain)

Uday: Do you still need the result?

(Nawaz looks at Hussain… He is clinging to Uday in terror.. Nawaz cannot bear to see this fear and tears up the result.. He pulls Hussain to him and hugs him.. Both leave)

(Uday notices that Madan is still sitting in the middle bench. He goes to the other bench and just then spots the maths teacher)

Uday: Hey… your math’s teacher.. she has arrived

(Madan is about to get up, then looks thoughtful and sits back again. Uday looks at him with a smile…and gestures for him to come to that spot… Uday sits there, looks at the girl, shuts his eyes.. after a while he opens his eyes.. Madan slowly gets up and approaches Uday..He touches Uday’s cheeks, which are wet.. Both smile.. Madan leaves.)

(Uday spends time alone… He sits on each bench like Nawaz and Madan in different postures… He tries to argue with himself to pass the time.. but he cannot bear this solitude.. after some time, he picks up his bag and leaves.)

(After some time Iti comes into the park..She looks around.. she does not see Uday.. she feels like laughing because she came.. she smirks and leaves)


1 टिप्पणी:

  1. Is there any place where I can find the original Hindi script of this play. It would be a real help. I'm willing to buy it if its available for purchase, but I can't seem to find it. Its an amazing Play. Thank you.

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