Thursday, 27 March 2014

Mom, I am Gay! (One Act Play 1)

(The stage has a setting of two rooms; one, the draw-in room with a small dining table, and the other half of the stage has a setting of a bedroom, with a bed, a cupboard, and a study table.)
(Raj is running inside the house to go to his room. He has a roll of paper in his hand. His mother is present in the room, with a pooja thali and a small bell in her hand; she is ringing it. Raj runs past her and get inside his room.)
Ma: “Arey Raju Beta, why are you running inside the house?”
(Raj didn’t stop to answer her, and went inside his room. His mother leaves the stage. Raj sits on his bed, and slowly unrolls the paper that he has been carrying in his hand.)
Raj (reads aloud to himself): “The verdict of Supreme Court turns against the homosexual citizens in the country as they have been criminalised under section 377.”
(Raj keeps staring at the newspaper)
Raj (thinking): “So, am I a criminal as well?”
(Ma knocks on his door, Raj hides the newspaper under his pillow.)
Ma (comes inside the room with the pooja thali in her hand): “Raju, what happened Beta? Why were you running? Is everything okay?”
(Ma puts a vermillion mark on Raj’s forehead, and gives him two cubes of sugar from the plate in his cupped palms.)
Raj (clearing his throat): “Nothing Ma, was just running late to school. I was about to get ready.”
Ma (pats his shoulders and smiles): “Mera Raju Beta, such a hardworking lad. Come on, get ready quick. I made your favourite aloo parathas today.”
(Raj smiles and hugs his mother. Ma gets a little worried now.)
Ma: “Is everything okay, Beta? Tell me.”
Raj: “Nothing Ma, I am a little worried about my studies.”
Ma (kisses his cheeks): “Whatever are the results, however is your studies, you are never going to be less of my son. Don’t be worried, Beta. We will always love you and accept you for what you are, and what you would become in the future. And I know, my Beta would never let me down.”
(Ma leaves the room with smile. Raj closes the door behind her, and breaths heavily. He takes his school uniform out of his cupboard, and throws them on his bed. He sits on a corner of the bed and gets lost in his thoughts.)
(Lights shift to a part of the room behind Raj, where an adult and a small boy are seated on the bed. His uncle, Gopal, is smiling at the boy, and giving him chocolates, and slides his hand inside his pants. The boy smiles and chuckles)
Boy: “Hahahaha, Gopi Uncle, its tickling.”
Gopal: “Does it feel nice? Tell me.”
Boy “Its tickling.”
Gopal: “Raju, don’t tell anyone about this, its our “big boy secret”. Okay?”
Boy: “Okay.”
(A mobile phone starts ringing. Raj comes out of his thoughts, and reaches towards his phone. He reads the message, looks at the time and starts getting ready for school.)
(Raj is in his school uniform and comes out of his room. His mother is arranging breakfast for him on the dining table. Raj looks at his watch, and feels troubled.)
Ma: “Beta, come and have some breakfast.”
Raj: “Ma, I am running late for school. Can I eat them later?”
Ma (smiles): “Okay, but let me pack some for you. Eat during your tiffin break.”
(Ma takes a tiffin box and puts the aloo parathas inside, and gives it to Raj. Raj puts the tiffin box in his bag, and leaves.)
Scene 2
Evening time
(Raj is back from school, and is studying on his table. He is staring at the book and is thinking.)
Raj (to himself): “I never liked boys in that way, maybe that shows that I am not. But what about Gopi Uncle? Why did I like it in my childhood, what does that mean? Why is the government doing this? Now, they are going to put in jail. Ma and Papaji would die out of shame. What do I do?”
Papaji enters the room, and Raj is unaware of his presence. He clears his throat to talk. Raj turns back and is startled.)
Papaji: “What happened? Are you okay? You seem to be tired and worried.”
Raj: “Nothing Papaji, these math sums are killing me. I have my first board exams in a month, and I am a little worried.”
Papaji: “Its okay Beta, you will do well. Come at once for dinner; study afterwards.”
(Raj and Papaji leave the room. They go to the draw-in room, where the food is being served by Ma. They all occupy their seats, and start eating. Papaji pulls out the newspaper to read. Everyone is silent.)
Papaji: “There now! Justice is done to our culture. These homosexual freaks are now decriminalised. They should be banned from the country.”
(Raj starts sweating, and Ma is eating in silence.)
Papji: Now Shukla’s son will be behind bars for his madness. The other day, I saw him holding hands and walking with another man in the community park, and kissing him on his cheeks. When I told Shukla about this, he said that he doesn’t mind his son being different. Now let me see where he hides his so-called “different” son. Shameless people, huh!”
Raj (timidly): But Papaji, they too are human beings, and they too have feelings. They have rights.”
Papaji: “Don’t speak, Raj. I know much more than you. I have seen the world much more than you did. Don’t try to be too smart with me.”
(Ma looks up from the plate. Raj gets frustrated.)
Raj: “But Papaji…”
Papaji (angrily): “Shut up, Raj! Stop arguing with me. Finish your dinner and get back to your studies.”
(Raj gets really angry; he takes a deep breath, and gathers all her strength to speak.)
Raj (looks at his mother): “Ma, I need to tell you something.”
Ma (without looking up from her food): “Quit it, Raj. Your father is right.”
Raj: “Ma, I am gay!”
(Papaji looks at Raj and is shocked. Ma gets up from the chair with an exasperated face with her hands on her chest)
The End

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Odour-Captures of My History

"Are you mad, do you get high by its smell?", is the question that my mother asked me when she found me smelling my new textbooks. When I was a small girl, I used to open my new books, and take a deep breath, digging my nose deep in them, and feel relaxed. The smell of the books make me feel happy about a beginning: beginning of a new session of school, beginning of a new book, beginning of a new story, new characters, beginning of a new syllabus, everything. Today, when I smell my new books, it takes me back to those days, when I was a little girl, sitting on my bed, curiously going through the books, to see how different my new course is going to be, and how much I will have to study. With the new books, came a new responsibility, of studying harder, being grown by a year, and trying to behave accordingly.

Smell has been an enchanting sense for me, as I am blessed with the skill of recalling smell of different things, and get lost in the time that it belongs to. I miss the smell of the fresh cow dung, waiting to be picked by my Maami in my Granna's house in Assam, which brings the memory of the fresh and soothing mornings of my summer vacations in my childhood, I miss the odour of the wooden chulha, which reminds me of the delicious sweets that my Granna makes when I used to visit her. I miss the smell of moss, which brings the mud trails and my endless ventures in the farms with my cousins. I miss the smell of my Dad's fart, which of course was disgusting, but now its lack brings his absence around me, a void in my daily routine of him farting next to me, and laughing like a small kid, as if he had just accomplished the most naughtiest deed of his life once again. I  miss the smell of my Mom's skin, which reminds me how close she used to hug me, to rock me to sleep, how close I was to her for a moment, and how far I am from her today.

Odours and odours, they are like captures of memory in my head, which brings me to the joy of remembering the best things of my life, and reminds me how distant I am from them this moment. Life just goes by, and all it leaves behind is memories, sheer thoughts of absence of something in your life.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Love is a Test, a Life-Long Test

When you are in love, there are moments when your lover looks like the best thing that has ever happened to you in the world, and the best part of your life is happening now. But after some time of you being with your partner, something seems to be missing, something seems to be out of place. After few months of being together night and day, you seem to observe the beautiful show that your lover has been putting on so far, being so calm and patient, it seems to be fading away. It brings me to a question, is there a right time and age of falling in love?

When I saw Meera being happy with Sameer, and the endless list of gifts, surprises, dates, and romantic small nothings that they both shared, I envied them so much, I envied Meera so much. So young, and they look to be much better than us adults. But after few months of all these lovey-dovey days, Meera started to whine about her love life, that she hardly has time for herself, that Sameer had changed, and now is such a different person, and so on. I thought maybe she is too young to date and understand the complexities of a relationship, and hence I advised her to finish her high school and then date anyone, ever. But these days, I am facing the same problems with my long term boyfriend, who is pursuing a Masters degree with me. I wonder, am I too young too to understand a completely different person, or is it just not the right thing now to be with him?

With the time withering by, and the life changing our thoughts everyday, every moment we emerge as a new person, a new individual. And this is what we need to care about when we are in a relationship with a person, that we are changing as much as he/she has changed over time. This is the foundation of a relationship, understanding. When you go along with a person in a journey of love, care, marriage, and family, you need to know that this is what it takes to be happy with your partner, an understanding that the person living with you is loaded up with more qualities that makes your temper go high off the roof, than the ones which makes you melt down to the ground. A peace with this very phenomena is what would bring peace in your relationship.

Meera understood this fact in a bitter way, and since she loves Sameer a bit too much, she is working out on the compromises with Sameer. Sameer too is taking initiatives to understand what Meera hates about him, and is trying to control his habits to keep her happy. And do they live happily ever after, well, only time knows