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Sunday, November 23, 2008

And They Lived...

An ancient auditorium like structure in a remote village in India is seen. Its faded walls show the handmade rust colored old paint patterns on it. The walls also show an ancient faded design pattern of arcs in which faded pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses are seen. Walls bear heavy cracks which dissect the arc patterns. Matter scribbled mostly in charcoal is seen overwritten in a shabby manner on these arc patterns. This matter contains written words as well as drawings of various types and of different subjects - the messages of love, obscene statements and advices, uneven shapes of hearts with a zigzag arrow inserted in them, satires of political as well as governmental slogans etc.. The facing wall has a closed door situated somewhere in between the arc patterns and the scribbling. The door has a faded handmade rust color on its huge frame. The door is two fold and every fold of it has three rectangular divisions with heavy borders. These borders have decorative brass flowers nailed on them. On this background are seen a man and a woman. 
At the left side of the stage the woman is sitting on an old wooden chair. The light source from the left wing illuminating her suggests a window in the wing. Woman looks not so fresh, just awaken from her sleep. She is adjusting a big notepad over the wooden hands of her chair. She is deeply concentrating on her writing. She has inserted her left hand in her hair. Her curly hairs are blown and look shabby. She stops writing for a while and starts thinking. Doing this she removes her left hand from her hair and starts concentrating into her nails, searching for something which has traveled from her hairs to her nails. Due to her obesity her movements are dead slow. Her complexion is jet black. Her appearance is much masculine. Her eyes do alternately show traces of her intelligence. She is in her early forties but looks much older than that. 
The man looks anemic and much feminine. He is wearing up to date morning workout costumes. Posing himself as a super active person he is on his showy warm-ups. He is humming a tune. His way of humming is feminine. His jerky movements look strange. It seems that he does not have the sense of rhythm and the jerks tend towards abnormality. He is of the same age as hers but looks much younger.
Two beddings adjacent to each other are lying on the floor between both of them. Her bedding is still spread out and untidy while his bedding is properly rolled and tied. 
During his workouts he gets continuously disturbed by her still spread out untidy bedding. He gets more disturbed by seeing his own properly and extra cautiously rolled bedding near hers. He doesn’t tell her straight away about her bedding. Instead he decides a workout and purposely fumbles on her
She: (fully concentrated in her writing, shocked but slowly) Aye? What is it?
He: (murmurs) what is that...a bedding.

He is leaning with his legs stretched out. His head pops out through the triangle formed by his stretched legs. He is waiting for her next reaction.
She murmurs ‘steady…’ and gets busy in her work again. He becomes serious. His humming stops. He tries to concentrate on his workouts but constantly gets disturbed by her spread out, untidy bedding so as by her presence. This continuous disturbance leads to his rising anger. He realizes it and starts the remedy of deep breathing and becomes normal. He starts humming again. There is a smile on his face now. Then he looks at her and her bedding alternately and starts laughing. His laughter is unusual as if he doesn’t know how to laugh. His laughter does have unusual breaks.

She: (notices his laughter, concentrated in her work, slowly but with a concern) what is it?
He: (unusual laughter with breaks) Change your bedding… at least now!
She: (totally involved in her writing) hum… change… change…exchange…
He: (thinking it as an answer to his command, childishly crying) No! No!
Not at all! N…O! No exchange between my neat bedding and (In a feminine tone of pinch) your archeological one!
She: Hey! Why are you shouting like that?
He: (cries further) what have you said now? - Just now? 
She: (immersed in her work, unaware about her participation in the present dialogue, slowly and peacefully) what is it…? I am busy in my work… What have I said…?

Totally defeated, he laughs. His laughter is a fake one with its unusual breaks. Her untidy, ancient bedding is scorching him now. The remedy of deep breathing becomes useless and he starts spot jogging. Slowly he becomes normal. In a relax state he is jogging and casually looking everywhere but her presence unavoidably catches his eyes. She is busy in her writing and scratching in her hair. Then his eyes fall again on her bedding. He removes his eyes from her bedding, concentrates on spot jogging and decides something. He revolves around himself while spot jogging. Facing all possible directions he turns his back and in a sudden movement leaps towards her ancient bedding. Like a skillful worker peacefully he rolls and ties her bedding perfectly. She has sensed his sudden movement. She attentively observes his act. 

She: Thanks! (Turns towards her business and become busy) Thanks!

Involved in the pleasure of completing a major task he hears her second ‘thanks’ and gets shocked. His face depicts the realization -‘so you were observing me’. Anger mounts on his face. Staring her in anger he gets up.
She is totally unaware of not only his reactions but anything else than her work. He returns to his place continuously staring her. He returns and doesn’t realize what to do further. Then he senses a strong feeling of thirst.
There is another wooden chair near him. His executive bag is down on the floor near the chair. He rests his hand on the chair’s back and leans over the chair to pick up his executive bag. He keeps the bag on the chair and takes out a mineral water bottle from it. He assesses how much water does it hold and for how much period will it last. He calculatedly consumes the water and assesses again. While doing so his face has turned towards the right wing. There is a window in the right wing and he realizes that it is still closed. He heads towards the window holding the bottle in his hand. He enters the right wing and the wing gets illuminated. Thus he opens the window and looking through the window outside he comes out. He stops. He is seeing something unusual outside. Some pungent smell is disturbing him. Still he lingers as if he has been attracted by all that. Freshly he realizes that there is a water bottle in his hand. He involuntarily sips it while looking at her. She is as it is. He gets bit frustrated and his stare returns and gets transfixed on the view outside. As the degree of his frustration increases, he takes a deep breath and concentrates only on the bottle. His calculative ness doesn’t allow him to sip the water further. He then rotates its lid along its neck tightly and opens his bag. He is about to keep the bottle inside it and he realizes that he has forgotten to offer her water. Holding the bottle in his hand he slightly heads towards her with a little smile on his face.

He: water?

She is unaware. He lingers expecting her response. As if an answer to his lingering she shakes her hand in negation. ‘As you please’ -he reacts by his showy gestures. The gestures look more unusual by the eurhythmic and feminine jerks of his neck. Making an unusually raised noise of his deep breath he turns towards his bag and puts the bottle inside it. Forcefully pulling the chain he shuts of the bag. He bangs the bag near his chair. Again with still bigger sound of his deep breath he sits on the chair and stretches his legs in two opposite directions. Then he starts narrating as if there is some utmost important content in it.

He: No water at all in the journey! No! – That means there was- but like -
(Waves his hand towards the right wing window first and then towards the metal jar and glass kept on the left side table - the ancient shaky wooden table adjacent to the left wing near her chair) just because of the bottle inside my bag I was – and once I get utmost thirsty or when the utmost hunger captures– (stops and purposefully looks at her) you very well know my thirst… my hunger…
She: (busy in her writing, slowly) home is home man and you never expect –
He: Exactly! Same thing! Same thing about food! (Gets charged) see! It takes four hours from my office to this place. What a place? One can’t drive
and reach here safely –hence the useless public transportation system- the autos and the garbage state transport buses… and last but not the least the horrible endless walk from the state transport terminal to this- to this - (with a disgusting look in his eyes he looks at the ceiling and elsewhere) what one has achieved by erecting this auditorium in this place? 
She: (as if giving dictation, busy in her writing) A-n-ta-ji Ba-n-a-ji au-dit-orium… for the shep-herd- comm-unity… about- this- A-nta-ji Ba-na-ji… (He utters a disgusting hum but she thinks he wants to know more) An-ta-ji-ba-na-ji- w-as a-
He: (looks at her) Ok! I know! I know… (Concentrates on her and his voice
gets surmounted by an unusual husk) only for you… just to reach up to you… to get you mounted on me- (stops due to a sudden click of an unusual idea, looks through the just opened window. With a cunning expression in his eyes he looks back to her. Looking again at the left window he gets up from his chair and comes towards the window. Looking outside the window his face contracts and he picks his nose between his thumb and his index finger.) Urine…cow dung… garbage…rubbish! - (Shuts the window slowly and gives a sly look to her) -dumped all around this pace… to overcome it and-(Concentrating on her he starts walking towards her. His voice becomes hoarse) dying to come to you… (Murmurs) to get you mounted on… me… on myself… (Laughs with the unusual breaks) and I very well know… you also are waiting for me with the same eagerness …

Continues his murmur in a trance and hauntingly passes behind her chair towards the right wing window. He leans over the old, shaky table and succeeds in shutting the old window after several attempts. All the while he is looking at her with a definite purpose in his eyes. As the light source cuts off suddenly she faces a great trouble in her assignment. She gives an intense, totally unexpected and strong reaction which is totally in contrast with her behavior so far.

She: (intensely fighting with the disturbance in her research writing) Aye!
Aye! What- what is this! What has hap- (By now he has started moving his palms softly over her shoulders, she realizes it and in a reflex action forcefully removes his hands away) what -what is this- what are you doing? Now-At this time-

She raises her head and starts staring at him angrily. He fumbles and moves few paces back. She has forcefully thrown his hands away and he has experienced some jerks to his hands. He is rubbing his forearms and palms, trying to adjust his breath and trying to be normal.

He: What? -what means? Don’t I work for the entire week? - Any thing that comes my way? - As much as I can? (Curses) bloody marketing! (Suddenly changes his stance and attacks her) what you do is the-the (Looks away from her in disgust and murmurs) the research bullshit of the archeological department! Foreign NGO’s spy work smartly converted in a world project to-
She: (Realizes what he is up to, gets up with anger) what? What do you want to say?
He: (Desperate in his anger, oscillates his neck in a feminine manner) Then?
What’s wrong in saying it? Is anything wrong?
She: And you are charging me in this manner for (indicates the closed windows and points what is he up to) this?
He: (folds his hands at his chest and again oscillating his neck in feminine way) Yes!
She: Shit! (Disgusted, in a reflex action looks away from him)
He: (Turns towards her and charges her) what shit? Haven’t we done it in the places like…like… first class coupe and places more irrelevant than that? - At improper times and timings? Have not we?
She: (Helpless and speechless, still tries) but just last night -just here-
He: (Abnormally raged) that’s it! Just last night! Yes! But not now! Today if one needs to–I –I –myself need to–(his expression becomes highly feminine, abruptly parts away with his rage by giving a heavy feminine jerk to his body) forget it!

He gains momentum by the jerk and starts walking towards his chair and helplessly sits on it. She is nervous, not able to assess the unexpected but senses it as . She looks at her notepad which she had thrown on the old shaky table. She then heads towards him as if one goes to a child to solace it.

She: I –truly - I was not at all able to assess- (Again she looks at her chair. Her eyes don’t settle there. They travel along the shaky table, the metal jar and the metal glass. Finally they rest on the closed window for a while and then return to him.) Something like this- (She cautiously stops herself thinking her further explanation will carry blame on him and will arouse his anger. She remains staring at him with no words to utter. Then realizing her speechless state will go against her she continues) I just did not realize- (in the attempts of telling the truth and clear her position her voice becomes intense. It seems that unknowingly she has become too much intense and probably because of that she gently touches his back. He reacts to it as if he had expected the touch. He gives an animal like jerks to his body to throw away her hand, her touch. These jerks are of course feminine. It becomes very much clear to her that his behavior is totally childish but under the influence of the intense emotion of her own truthfulness she is unable to give up. She is in total dilemma. She firmly thinks that he definitely wants her to plea for her reaction. On the other hand she is firm on her own stand that she is not at all wrong, she had never pleaded even her parents for that matter. Finally she suffers from the total compulsion of pleading him.) –I am –I am –extremely –so –sorry! (Deep breath comes out of her. She gets somewhat relaxed. She expects his reaction from the corner of her eyes. He is totally satisfied. He releases a deep breath. She is totally hurt by her plea against her own will. She takes time to become normal and stands as it is. He is successful in having her plea. His calculative mind is still unable to asses what to do next and he keeps mum. She becomes normal and is again looking from the corner of her eyes for his reaction. He is expecting her next reaction with some calculations in his mind. She travels to her own designated place so to say with a compulsion. He realizes it and is unmoved; calculatedly he does not want to react on it. She is about to sit on her chair and she notices her notepad which she has thrown on the old shaky table near the window. Her hand reaches to it involuntarily. While picking it up her attention is grabbed by the closed window-the window which was closed by him before some time. For a moment she stares the window. Then she opens it with an unexpected bang. This time his tightly erected backbone which he is using as a strong resistance against her does not follow his calculative mind’s order and it gets unexpectedly loosen. He has to make some efforts to control the simultaneous deep breath coming out of him. He then attempts some gestures which one involuntarily observes in a lazy state of mind and body. By this he tries to straighten his backbone, tries to regain his resistance. She has by the time concentrated on the view outside the window) mountains… so many secrets do the ranges of mountains hide in them… that is what I used to think when I started studying the subject archeology… (Her unexpected talk causes a remarkable jerk to his neck and he starts looking at her. Then he realizes and tries to subdue the spontaneous reaction. These tries along with the built in feminine behavior result in abnormal expressions. Then he tries to overcome this abnormality) after some time it became clear… to suppress everything and to convert it in to the fossils… the huge mountains get erected… (She laughs unusually. Her unusual laugh to herself surprises him again but this time he is bit cautious. He tries to control his reaction bit successfully) all this is governed by the mother nature… though I studied it in my school itself… my love for the mountains like others continued for a long time… (Again a whimsical laugh) thinking about ‘the secrets in the laps of the mountains’ etc… (The laugh remains of the same type but gets accelerated now) Cliché! Cliché! We name these things… of other’s and condemn them… some times we do it to ourselves also… (Laughs, then suddenly becomes serious) from my first and the only husband I learned… as one comes closer and closer to the huge mountains the harsh reality gets exposed (then canceling her own statement) I didn’t learn from him that…his presence was just a chance during that phase…just a chance…again a cliché? (Giggles and merrily holds both the flaps of the windows. Raises her heels and in an unusual happiness concentrates on the view outside. This is a surprise for him. Can she talk this much? Can she talk like this? Questions start hovering on him. He tries to control and hide his expressions. In the process subtly and cautiously his hand travels to his executive bag and she reaches her maximum) I concentrated totally on archeology! -on the contrary I should say archeology engrossed me totally! Yes!
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