Saturday, March 01, 2008

Diwali Dreams

This is a skit I wrote around 2006, on the occasion of Diwali, on request from an IIT alum for their annual day. It was not performed, but I enjoyed writing it, and wish to make it available for any use.

Scene 1: Kal (Yesterday)
Father and mother are talking to each other.

Father: We must plan a big Diwali (Festival of Lights) celebration. Our son is coming home after a long time.

Mother: Indeed, I am eager to make so many sweets for my daughter-in-law. She especially loves rasamalai.
Father: Our grandson must be old enough to walk. I must go buy some clothes for him.
Mother: Let's tell them about our plans today. Our son should have called by now.

Phone rings..
Son: Hello Ma, how are you?
Mother: I am fine beta, how are you? What time is it?
Son: Great! It's 9 PM Friday night, as always and it's 9:30 AM at your end, as always!
Mother: Son, we are making our Diwali plans - we're really excited about all the things we will do when you come here. Your father is here too, and you can hear him on the speaker phone.
Son: Umm.. Ma, Baba, I am sorry, but we're making other plans this time. The thing is, we only get 3 weeks of vacations every year, and we use that to come to India. This time, we want to go to South America.
Father: What? So you won't come home this time, son?
Mother: We haven't seen you all year!
Son: Please try to understand. We really miss you, but we must have some time on our own too. With our current lifestyle, we're unable to get a vacation any other time.
Father: Don't worry, son. We will see you next year.
Mother: Yes, I will do puja for you, bahu and our grandson.
Son: Thanks, Ma, Baba! I knew you'd understand. I have to run now, we're going to a movie.. all is well here, I will catch you next week.
Mother, Father: Bye!

Father and Mother look at each other.
Father: Hmm, we broke our backs to get him to school. We got him through IIT coaching classes, he got through to IIT and he is a big man now in the US. He does not have any time for us.
Mother: There, there. You should not make hasty conclusions. They have their own life to live and we have ours. Our happiness lies in their happiness.
Father: Hmmm.

That night.. Father is sleeping and he sees a dream. Enter from left, a young boy carrying a sack with things in it. He is hardly able to walk because of the weight.

Father: Boy, I see you are struggling with that weight. Can I help you?
Boy: No one can help me. Only I can carry this weight.
Father: What weight is this?
Boy: These are my expectations. I have lots of expectations.
Father: Why don't you let go? You won't have such a load then?
Boy: But what will happen to my expectations then?
Father: They will cease to be.
Boy: Really? You mean I don't have to drag it around?
Father: No. It is you who decides to drag it around. So also it is you who can leave them behind. Life will be much easier.

Boy hesitatingly lets go, then looks at the bag

Father: If you don't let them go, you will lose your freedom. Your expectation will bind you, little boy. Here, let me help you.
Boy: No, no, no!!!! (yells)
Father: (takes the bag from him and throws it) There! That's all there is to it!
Boy: Huh! Huh! (looks at himself, his hands, and becomes very light, jumps up and down) I am free! I am free! Yipee! (hugs father) Thank you! I am free! (Cartwheels out of stage)

Father sits down, smiling. Then lies down. Now he wakes up with a start.
Father: Oh God! Oh God!! (Wakes up his wife) I am free! I am free!! Can you believe, I am free!!
Mother: Have you gone mad, dear husband? It's 2 AM!
Father: Starts dancing.. I am free, I am free. I have no expectations from our children. We will be really happy this Diwali!

Scene 2: Aaj (Today)
Husband and Wife are brooding.
Husband: You know, something's bothering me.
Wife: What, my dear?
Husband: I feel like I am not balancing all our relationships. I want to show a lot of love toward my parents. But I don't know how to do so.
Wife: Hmm.. This is a complicated topic. Let's talk about it in the morning.

Husband and wife lie down. Wife gets up. A boy walks up to her, looking very unhappy. He has a toy fire engine stuck to his hand.
Boy: I want to talk to you. I need your help.
Wife: What is worrying you, child?
Boy: I am deeply troubled. Someone told me you can help.
Wife: Tell me what is troubling you.
Boy: Well, I have a little sister, and I have been trying to show her some love. But I don't know how, you see - she breaks my toys and I am really attached to my toys. Someone told me you can help me out.
Wife: Do you really care for your sister?
Boy: Yes, I do.
Wife: Well, love goes hand in hand with sacrifice. To test your love, you must test your ability to sacrifice.
Boy: What is sacrifice? Do I have to give up something?
Wife: Yes, you must give up what is really precious to you and what you would like to have. This precious thing must be something your loved one would like to have from you.
Boy: Oh, she loves my favorite toy - the red fire engine.
Wife: Then, you must give it to her.
Boy: But I can't, it is my favorite toy - see, my hand is stuck to it. See, it came with this glue attachment glue. I spread it all over the toy and then put my hands on it. Ever since, the toy has been stuck to my hand.
Wife: There is a special magic oil that can remove the glue.
Boy: How do I get this oil?
Wife: Think about your sister, and how much you love her. When you do that, look in your pocket - you will find the magic oil.
Boy: (closes his eyes and smiles, the puts his hands in his pocket) Oh!! Here it is!!
Wife: What does it say?
Boy: Detachment Oil.

He pours it, and it comes off his hand.
Boy: Yay!! It came off! It came off! Sister, sister, see what I have for you.

Runs and gives to sister, who is delighted. They go off stage.
Wife goes to lying position. Then wakes up with a start. Wakes her husband up.

Wife: My God, I have the answer to your question.
Husband: What question?
Wife: How to show love to your parents.

Husband sits up now

Husband: How?
Wife: What is the most precious thing we have or are looking forward to?
Husband: Hmm.. It is our time together when we go to South America.
Wife:We break our attachment to that and gift our time to our parents.
Husband: Hmm.. but that's hard. I really want to go there. Ever since I saw the package, I got attached to it.
Wife: (Smiles) I know. You need the magic oil.
Husband: What?
Wife: Nothing. Think of all the love and joy you will bring to your parents, and attach yourself to that idea.
Husband: (Closes his eyes) Hmm.. (Smiles, calms down, becomes light) You are right, my dear. We will go to India. Let's surprise them.

Scene 3: Kal (Tomorrow)
Mother and father are lighting the diwali lamp.
Father: This one has all our prayers for their happiness, wherever they are.
Mother: And this one is for any misfortune on their path to come to us instead.
Father: Now, let us light two more for them.

Two are lit, and two are about to be lit, when son and daughter-in-law come in with their child.
Son: Stop. Those two are for us to light.
Father: My God!!

Lots of shrieks, emotional reunion. Tears on everyone's eyes.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mitul said...

Love it...if we match the desires of our heart (in this case, the family vacation) with the needs (in this case, visiting parents), life becomes meaningful :-)

2:48 PM  
Blogger Vyjayanthi said...

This one really touched me. It took me back to my childhood when we are taught morals through stories. As we grow older and beyond the age of stories, we tend to forget the morals that come with them too. Once in a while, it is good to be reminded of them through stories...

6:58 PM  

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