In Search Of An Author

In Search Of An Author

8 mins

Indra: I have been waiting now for over fifteen minutes. No one else is here yet. We have discussed so often to start the practice on time. As soon as they come they’ll want to eat first, especially Sharad. We’ll hardly have any time left for today’s full dress practice.

(Poonam enters the stage)

Poonam: There was so much traffic today. I got such a headache. Is no one else here yet? Indra, do you have an extra script? I forgot to bring mine.

Indra: I have only one copy, but no problem, you can share with me. By the way, hope you didn’t wear a strong perfume today.

Poonam: You are so bad Indra. I wore it just once and you’ve been complaining about it ever since.

(Nutan and Rajeev enter the stage)

Rajeev: Hi Indra

Nutan: Hi Poonam

Rajeev: Sorry, we got late today. And… where’s Sharad.

Indra: Sharad is not here yet. Either he is trapped in the traffic, or he will make that his excuse for being late.

Nutan: Rajeev, while we are waiting for Sharad, why don’t you tell everyone about our play.

Rajeev: OK! (Speaking to the audience from the center of the stage) Let me first apologize to you. Last few years, we’ve performed plays based on the Ramayana. This time we have decided a play based on Prithviraj Chauhan. Unfortunately, this time we could not practice properly…

Sharad: (entering the stage) How could we have practiced? You had to go on your vacations. Didn’t you?

Rajeev: Ya Ya, you are saying as if it was all my fault. Well, whatever the reason, this time we can only show you our practice, not the final play. Before we start, I want to introduce you to our troupe. Indra is going to play the role of Prithviraj Chauhan, Sharad will play Chand Bardai’s role. Chand Bardai was Prithviraj Chauhan’s companion. Nutan is the director of our play. Poonam, the stage and costume director. My name is Rajeev and I wrote this play. Nutan, please prepare tea later, you need to start your direction now.

Nutan: OK Rajeev! Indra and Sharad, both of you come and stand here please.

Sharad: Let me eat first. I came here directly from the office. I am starving.

Nutan: Sharad, have yours later. And Indra please bring your bow and arrow and put on your goggles.

(To the audience) This is the scene when Mohammed Ghauri had arrested Prithviraj Chauhan, blinded him and taken him to Afghanistan. Chand Bardai had boasted that Prithviraj was such a good archer, that even without sight he could hit a target. One of the Sultans wants to test this claim. He sits on a platform and challenges Prithviraj to shoot him. Now Poonam, our stage director, will tell you the rest.

Poonam: In this scene, the Sultan will sit on the other side of the stage, over there, while Chand Bardai will guide Prithviraj to shoot in a poem. Now Sharad, you recite the poem..

Sharad: Eight sticks, and yards ahead...

Nutan: Sharad, that’s too dull. Bring some passion into the poem.

Sharad: Ok, let me try

In a platform raised

Eight high

Thus sits sultan

Oh! My dear Chauhan

Dare your mark

(While Prithviraj is positioning the arrow towards the platform, a man wearing old warrior clothes enters with a bow and arrow pointing at Prithviraj)

Poonam: Hey there, mind your arrow. Why have you come in the middle of our play?

The Man: This man was also coming towards us to kill me and my wife.

Sharad: We are not here to kill anyone. We are just practicing a Prithviraj Chauhan play.

Nutan: But why have you two come here anyway?

The Man: We have come in search of an author.

Nutan: Why have you come here looking for an author in the middle of our practice?

Poonam: Look, if you want to see our practice, please go and sit with all the others over there.

The Man: We have come here in search of an author and we are going nowhere till we find one.

Sharad: Hey, who are you anyway, intruding into our practice wearing those colorful clothes.

The Man: We both are characters from the Ramayan.

Sharad: You mean you are Ram and she is Sita.

Ram: If you wish to see Ram, please visit a temple. Like I said, I have played the character of Ram in the Ramayan.

Sita: And I have played the character of Sita.

Nutan: Whoever you are, please go away and let us practice our play.

Ram: Why are you people doing a play on PrithviRaj? Isn’t he the reason Muslims started ruling over India?

Indra: What the hell are you talking about? in golden letters in the history of India.

Ram: No one wins a war by sacrificing himself. We win the war by killing the enemy. Instead of granting amnesty to Mohammed Ghauri 17 times, if Prithviraj had killed him when he had the opportunity, he would have done a great favor to our nation.

Indra: Isn’t having such a generous being a winner the hallmark of HIndra culture and tradition.

Ram: It is such a tradition that has destroyed India.

Sharad: You have been talking such high philosophy, what do you really want from us?

Ram: For hundreds of years, I have been wandering in search of an author. An author who can rewrite the Ramayan.

Sharad: Rewrite Ramayan? What’s wrong with Das’ Ramcharitmanas?

Ram: How many people do you know who learn from the Ramayan. They just read it quickly in 24 hours and feel blessed. That is the only importance they see in the Ramayan these days.

Nutan: What’s your vision of the new Ramayan?

Ram: The new Ramayan will have no war between Ram and Ravan. (To the audience) I ask all of you - if someone kidnapped your wife, what would you do? Nowadays, most men are upset with their wives anyway, why would they steal another person’s wife. Nevertheless, if someone does steal your wife, would you attack them with a bunch of monkeys?

Poonam: Let me ask you, if Ram had not defeated Ravan in the battle, how would he have brought back his wife Sita?

Ram: At first Ram should have tried to discuss the matter with Ravan. If he were not to agree to return Sita, he should have asked Hanuman to bring her from Lanka, simple as that.

Indra: But that would have meant Sita touching a strange man?

Ram: What strange man? Hanuman was a devotee of Ram. He was like a son to Sita.

Sharad: It's easy for you to say all this, but if your wife was a prisoner in someone's home, you would have done what Ram did.

Ram: By the way, how to unite and fight against their enemy. We have two epics: Ramayan and Mahabharat. Both have battle scenes. Look at any of our deities: Vishnu, Shiv, Ram or Krishna, they all carry weapons on them, ready to fight. What have we learnt from these battles or from these weapons? Nothing. We have let foreigners rule over our land for centuries. Even now, little nations around our country show the courage to challenge us.

Nutan: We have heard enough from you. I can’t take it any more. (With folded hands) Whoever you are, please leave us alone and let us complete our practice.

Ram: (Loudly, in anger), Perhaps you did not hear me. I've come here in search of an author and I will not leave unless I find one.

Rajeev: (To Nutan) Come here a moment (To Ram) why don’t you sit with your wife. Let me discuss with my colleagues and get back to you.

Ram: This is not my wife, she played the role of Sita Ji in Ramayan.

Rajeev: All right, be patient, sit there for a while. I'll soon come back to you soon.

(Rama and Sita sit down. The rest of the characters assemble)

Rajeev: What do you guys think we should do now?

Sharad: The first thing we should do is sit down and eat something. I am so hungry. What a menace these two are. Want Ramayan What a dumb idea.

Indra: Hey guys, I think we should just slip away from here and let the organizers of our show handle them.

Nutan: The organizers are already angry with us. We are showing the audience our practice instead of the final play.

Poonam: Rajeev, but why don’t you write a new Ramayan for them?

Rajeev: Hey, how can I write a new Ramayan for them, I don’t even have time for my next book

Nutan: What else can we do now?

Indra: In my view (keeping hands on the throat) I think we should just finish them. They have the audacity to remove the war from the Ramayan, Who is going to enjoy it without violence.

Sharad: What do they know about the pleasure of reading Ramayan through the night and day, singing songs and eating delicious food with friends and family.

Rajeev: Indra, what are you saying. If we kill Ram, the world will bury us alive.

Indra: Oh, but he is not Ram. He is simply his character.

Nutan: Indra is playing the character of Prithviraj. That does not make him Prithviraj. If we kill Indra, we will not kill Prithviraj, will we?

Poonam: We can’t just kill someone on the stage. Why don’t we call the Security to remove them from the stage.

Indra: I'll call (Loudly) Security... Can you send them off the stage.

Conversation between the security guard and the Ram and Sita

: Did you buy a ticket for this?

: We bought a ticket.

: You mean, you paid to get in?

: Did you carry the tickets?

: No. We have not carried it for centuries.

: Both of you, come with me You need to get out of here

(Ram and leave the stage with security)

(Flute starts playing in the background)

Nutan: Come everyone. We have wasted so much time. practice again.

Rajeev: (audience) I apologize for what in the last practice. We got carried because of the intruders. We will now show you our practice from the beginning.

(Krishna enters the stage)

Poonam: Now, who are you?

Krishna: I had played the character of Krishna in the Mahabharat.

Nutan: And what do you want from us?

Krishna: I've come in search of an author. An author who would write a new Mahabharat. A Mahabharat, in which the Pandavs and the Kauravs spend their lives happily without a fight. We now need to fight against injustice, instead of reading books about mythical wars.

All: Security…

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