THUGS

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PRECURSORS OF THE ISIS , TALIBAN, & THOSE WHO CONVENIENTLY USE THE NAME OF GOD TO KILL, TORTURE AND COMMIT HEINOUS CRIMES JUST TO FULFILL A SELFISH PRIVATE AGENDA

 

STORY & SCREENPLAY BY
COLONEL B.C. SHUKLA

THUGS

Log line :

The story of India’s murdering fraternity and the man who destroyed them, Colonel William Henry Sleeman.

Synopsis: Set during the British rule, a British officer stumbles upon the secret cult of Kali, the goddess of destruction, and the men who worshipped at her altar by killing hapless wayfarers and looting them. One such thug was Ferranghea who proudly claimed to have strangled 791 men, women and children. His capture sounded the death knell to the secret cult of thugs. Woven in this story is the love affair of Colonel Sleeman and his French wife, Amelie.

The story reveals the modus operandi of the thugs, their culture and their mind set. In the light of the situation prevailing currently when mass murder is acceptable in the name of religion this story is relevant today because it gives an insight into the mind set of the modern day thugs and the way to expunge them.

The screenplay is a bilingual, it is written in English and Hindi. There are two complete versions of the screenplay, one completely in Hindi and the completely in English.  Of course, as is de regieur of multicultural works there is some overlapping of the two languages.  l also have a shooting script which is different from this screenplay. Thugs is a period film set during the British raj ( 1830 onwards). The registration number in the Library of Congress is

 

Background: The British ruled India for nearly two hundred years. During their rule they brought about drastic changes in the lives of the Indian people. Their rule sowed the seeds of modernization. They brought a lot of changes.Even though the Indians were fighting for their freedom, they still can’t deny that whatever infrastructure today India has it’s due to their contribution and their way of administration. But all these aspects are not noticed as it has become customary to blame them for all their ills, in this process their good deeds are forgotten.

They eradicated Sati, the practise of burning widows at the funeral pyre of their husbands, and Thugee. In a common parlance, a thug is synonymous with a cheat, a cutthroat, a ruffian. In 19th century India, thugs were a class of professional thieves and assassins who used clever disguise and cunning to rob and kill people. Their gang operated virtually all over the country, even as far as south. But they were much more dominant in central and northern India.

Claiming a legendry origin, the thugs were drawn from both Hindu and Muslim ranks. They carried their trade invoking the the goddess Kali, Durga or Bhabani, who allegedly consecrated their operative weapons – a scarf, yellow or white in colour ( denoting their ranks in the gang ) which was used to strangle the victim and a pickaxe for digging his grave. While they carried their depredations over a wide area, there is no evidence to suggest that the Thugs had any central or even regional organization that was hierarchical, nor did they constitute a regional fraternity, much less a social order.

The widespread incidence of Thugee in the 19th century may be explained as a natural consequence of the anarchy or confusion prevailing in the preceding decades. The British tried hard to bring about efficiency in administration that was the result of the annexation of ‘native’ states by the British.

The modus operandi of the thugs was to disguise themselves as travelers, be-friend co-travelers, their prospective victims, and strangle them when off-guard. Their operation would extend over a number of days, the victims being hacked to pieces and buried. Their gangs operated during certain seasons, while masquerading as cultivators for the rest of the year.

The rich landlords and chiefs with whom they shared their booty usually patronized them. It is estimated that in the course of his career a thug, on an average, murdered 256 people. Other groups employed different methods such as Daturias and Megpannais.

Then a man came and he saw that this needed to change. He was William henry Sleeman. he was called Thuggee Sleeman. He was also shocked and shattered by the death of a girl whom he admired and had slowly fallen in love. When he found that it was Ferranghea who had murdered the girl and her father on their way to Banaras, he decides to take revenge. He thought this was social menace that had to go. So he went ahead with his plan and established a separate Thuggee and Dacoity Department. A real problem faced by it was the difficulty of securing convictions; to meet this lacuna, the law was amended in 1836, 1843 and 1851. Thuggee took a long time to die down. By 1840, 3689 of the clan had been tried; eight years later another 651 had been apprehended. By 1853 there had been reports of stray cases in the Punjab, for by then the evil had been virtually suppressed.

William Henry Sleeman, who was popularly known as Thuggee Sleeman was the person responsible for the eradication of thuggee from India. At Allahabad, on his way back from the Anglo- Nepalese war, he came across a document on Thuggee. From this point onwards he developed undivided interest on the subject. He also acquired during this period a good mastery over Hindi, Arabic and Persian. He was deported to serve in MP state. When he saw that the common people were not safe, he made a plan that he had to catch these thugs and make travel safer for the people.

Governor General Lord Bentinck promoted him and made him a captain and also the permission to deal with the thugs freely. He set up a cell and started the work. He was surprised that these killers didn’t leave a clue. He came to know that the landlords and the zamindars patronized these thugs. One such thug was Ferranghea who used to operate fearlessly and gave some part of the money to the rich landlord who guarded him. Sleeman started to investigate. The officials were not pleased with Sleeman’s interference. The district courts out of jurisdiction refused to help him.

During this a French girl called Amelie de Josephine falls in love with Sleeman.She is in awe of him. She had come to India from Mauritius. She had taken upon herself that she would slowly but steadily win him and she does succeed in winning his heart. They get married and settle down, but Amelie wanted to return to France. Sleeman promises that he will go only after finishing the work that he had taken upon himself. During his fight his enemies try every possible trick to get him out of their way.

They even send one of the thugs in disguise. He comes and tells Sleeman that he wanted to live a normal life. When Sleeman asks him how they operate and how they kill people, the ex- thug demonstrates the ways of their modus operandi. During this, he tries to kill him and Sleeman’s servant saves him and their plan is broken. After this incident Sleeman takes upon himself that he has to catch the thugs.

He starts tracking them down and also arrests the people that were supporting them. He makes it possible for the common people to travel fearlessly. At one point he captures Ferranghea and his team. He hangs all of them. And opens a school for their children and open up a way of living for their families.

Later he died during his journey to England.

– Researched and written by Bhagwan Shukla.

 

THUGS
IN. TEMPLE OF KALI – MIDNIGHT

In a dimly lit sanctum, the stature of Goddess Black (Kali) with red tongue hanging out with a sword (khadag) in one hand and a human head with blood dripping in the other. There are about thirty thugs in the audience. The dress is Kutchi style with dhoti or aligarhi pajamas and kurtas without buttons (angrakhas). The people wear turbans of Tipu Sultan variety. The priest sits on a raised platform dressed in red silk dhoti wearing a similar wooden beaded necklace (rudraksh). A corpse lies on the pedestal.
A woman devotee dressed in white sits cross legged near the corpse. She sways with the eerie music with a spooky and scary background and atmosphere. She gets up, indulges in the dance macabre, and then sits down.
There are no other sounds (sound of owl screeching or ass braying or single jackal calling are considered inauspicious by the thugs) except for loud noise of drums (nagara) and then silence.

PRIEST
Oh mother, bless us so we could be
successful in what we are about to do. Oh mother, you are so powerful. Take away our worries.

WOMAN
It will be done. I need
blood…blood…blood.

Preparations are made for sacrificing a goat. The goat is sacrificed. The blood caste mark (tilak) is put on the foreheads of all the devotees. The devotees (Thugs) leave the temple.

EX. A ROAD THROUGH FOREST – DAY
There are a caravan of travelers on a road through forest. The caravan has four bullock carts for ladies and children and men on horses are armed with swords and spears. They are traveling from Surat to Benares. Two riders on horses ride ahead as scouts.
The passage of caravan is being carefully watched by two scouts of thugs. They look carefully at men, women, children, weapons, horses, and bullocks.

One of the bullock carts has a young, very pretty girl, ( Gauri ). With her sits an older woman ( Ma ). Opposite them is a little boy ( Sukhi ). The bullock cart is being driven by a middle aged man ( Babujee ). This is obviously a family. Gauri is dreaming, her eyes soft as she looks in the distance. The sound of laughter, that of a man and a woman, overlaps Gauri’s face.

FLASHBACK.
EX. A SUGARCANE FIELD -DAY
Patne, a young, handsome man, holds Gauri’s ankle, as he slips on a thick brass anklet ( payal ) on it. Then he raises her feet to admire it even as Gauri smooths her skirt down.

GAURI
Will you leave my foot !

PATNE

No,  No way. Once a girl’s hand is in
mine, there is no way I’m going to leave it, not in a life time.

GAURI
Did I say leave my hand. I said let
go of my foot. Or else…

PATNE
Or else ? Are you are going to hang
me ?

GAURI
(putting her hand around his neck)
No, I will put a noose of my love around your neck, like this.

PATNE (smiling)
I hope it doesn’t happen that while you are putting the noose around my neck your Ma and Pa put another kind of noose around your neck and get you married.

GAURI (annoyed)
Whenever you open your mouth it is
to say something gloomy.

(MORE)

2.

GAURI (CONT’D)
My Ma and Pa are not like that.
They would give their life for me.

FADE IN:

EX – A SMALL HUT- DAY
A resounding slap fills the air and we see Gauri standing with her hand on her cheek.

BABUJEE
You whore, I send you to the fields
and you are having fun with that low caste Patne. Get away, I don’t even want to look at you. Go inside. If you as much as step out I will break your legs.

Gauri runs inside sobbing.

MA
She came to tell you what is in her
heart and you beat her mercilessly. She’s young, if she does something crazy the whole village will spit on us.

BABUJEE
I have a cure for that. I am going
to Surat to sell some stuff. You, Gauri and Sukhi, all of you, accompany me.

MA
And this house, these fields, who
will look after them ?

BABUJEE
Don’t worry about that. I will tell
Monu. If my brother is not there for me in difficult times, then he’s not a brother worth his salt.

We see Gauri hiding near the window listening conversation.

BABUJEE (CONT’D)
And tell his bride to fix Gauri’s
wedding with Mishir Panda’s boy. When I return after six months I am going to make sure that this wretch is wedded and sent off in her palanquin to her husband’s home. And we are well rid of her, I curse
the day she was born. (MORE)
to the
3.

BABUJEE (CONT’D)
The cheek of this wretch, to come and recount her love-story to her father.

MA
(shaking her head)
To be born a woman is a curse. She Must have sinned in her previous life, that is why in this life she is born a woman.
(gives a deep sigh)
Well, we have this drum like a mill stone around our neck and we have to beat it , whether we like it or not.

EXT-A WINDING PATH IN FRONT OF THE HUT-DAY
From Patne’s P.O.V. we see bundles being loaded on a bullock cart even as Gauri sits with her mother and her little brother Sukhi in the cart. Her father stands by the cart talking to Moti, his brother.

BABUJEE
I will see you after six months.
You talk to Mishir Panda about Gauri’s marriage. Everything should be organized by the time I come back . There should be no mistake in this and no delay.

MOTI
There won’t be brother, don’t you
worry. Gauri is not only your daughter, she is like a daughter to me.

Babujee gets in the cart and makes clicking sounds to the bullock.

MOTI (CONT’D)
I touch your feet in reverence
brother.

BABUJEE Blessings . Be happy.

As the cart draws away, squeaking and swaying, Gauri’s eyes meet Patne’s. There are tears in both.
End of Flashback.
4.

BACK TO PRESENT.
Gauri has tears in her eyes . The carts sway as they wend their way. The thugs look at each other, a message passes between their eyes.

EXT- CAMP OF THUGS – DAY
The scouts report to the chief (sardar).

SCOUTS 1 & 2

Hail to Ma Kali, Chief.

CHIEF
Hail to ma Kali? What news do you
bring?

SCOUT 1
Sir, twelve roosters, four hens,
two chicks, three bullock carts and six horseman. They are armed with spears and swords. They are all Hindu.

CHIEF
So are we. Hindus. Where should we
meet?

SCOUT 1
I think, near the Bairagiya stream.
And the plan, the same as before.

All the thugs change into pilgrim dress. They put on saffron clothes and put their belongings in open shoulder bags. Two of them have Ektaras (a single stringed wind instrument) on their shoulders. They have white or yellow scarves around their heads. The scarves denote their status. Yellow scarves denote gurus (teachers or heads) and white scarves, chelas (followers or students).

EXT. JUNGLE – DAY
Meeting of traveler’s scout with thugs.

THUG CHIEF                                                              Hail to Lord Rama.

TRAVELER SCOUT                                                Hail. Who are you?
5.

THUG CHIEF
We are on a pilgrimage, sire. We
are from the village Bansukhiya. Where are you going?
.
TRAVELER SCOUT.                                                 The same

The thugs start singing a song in praise of God (bhajan). There are two lead singers and the others follow. The traveling scouts turn their horses and ride away.

EXT. CROSSING IN JUNGLE – DAY
The thugs and travelers meet at the crossing.

TRAVELER                                                         Where are you headed?

THUG CHIEF
We are on a pilgrimage, my friend.
Our souls are burdened with many sins. The time has come to cleanse our sins. We will lay our heads on Shiva’s feet. Mother Ganges will wash away our sins.

TRAVELER
How long will it take you to get to Benares?

THUG CHIEF                                                        About thirty days.

TRAVELER                                                       Where will you stay?

THUG CHIEF
At Balkisun Panda’s place. He’s the
pundit from our village.

TRAVELER                                                         Where do you hail from?

THUG CHIEF
Oh, same old, same old, Bansukhiya
village. Our village won’t change in a span of half hour.

TRAVELER
All right then, lets move on.
6.

THUG CHIEF
It’s alright. You go ahead, we’ll
follow. It’s dusk now, anyway. We’ll set up camp.
The travelers move out. Reach the river front. Decide to halt for the night. Thugs also reach the same spot. Decide to halt some distance away.

EXT. CAMPS – NIGHT
Hectic activity in both camps. Camps are put up. Food is cooked and eaten.

INT. TENT – NIGHT
The travelers collect in a tent with two guards outside. Mehfil scene with drinks and a song by a lady at a party. OS they hear bhajan (devotional song) by the thugs.

TRAVELER’S LEADER
Ah, what melody, what rhythm….
Their song, … it touches my heart. How well they sing. Let them join us.

BABUJEE
Its not safe to hob nob with
strangers

TRAVELLERS LEADER
They are unarmed , my good fellow .
Have you noticed ? They do not even have sticks to kill snakes. And we are armed to the teeth . How do you think they will harm us ?

Babujee goes to call them. Gauri, her mother and Sukhi are sitting away from the men folk. There is a sound of a jackal which startles her and she looks out of the tent. She sees a shadowy figure standing. It is Patne. Her eyes widen.

GAURI (To Ma)
Amma, I will be back. I have to go.

She makes a face as if she has to go to the bathroom. Her mother just nods her head. Gauri looks towards Sukhi who smiles and in low tones makes the sound of jackal calling. She looks at him with mock anger, gives a soft smile and goes out.
7.

CONTINUOUS EXT.-JUNGLE-NIGHT
Gauri is walking stealthily when an arm reaches out and pulls her. Her scream is stifled by Patne’s hand. She looks at him and he slowly removes his hand from her mouth.

GAURI
When I heard the jackal’s call I
knew it had to be you. What are you doing so far from home. If Babujee spots us he is going to strangle me.

PATNE
There is nothing to worry about.
Your Babujee, in any case, will get you married to Misir Panda’s son. I won’t be able to see that.

GAURI
So what will you do ?

PATNE
At the next camp I want you to be
ready with your clothes. Next time you hear the call of the jackal then come to me.

They hear some noise.

GAURI
It seems to me Babujee has come
back with those mendicants. I have to go.

She makes a move to go. Patne holds her hand.

PATNE
Gauri, without you my life had lost
all meaning.

He pulls her towards him and embraces her. After a moment he pushes her away.

PATNE (CONT’D) Go now, don’t forget
Gauri smiles at him and turns to go.

INT.- TRAVELER’S TENT -NIGHT.                       Babujee comes with the thugs.
8.

TRAVELER’S LEADER
Ah, we are blessed. Come in, come
in.

Thugs are cordially invited . Sixteen of them come . Four wait outside with guards and talk to them. Ten sit inside the tent . They are behind or near each male traveler. Four watch the women. Two keep their eyes on the door .

TRAVELLERS LEADER
We heard your melodious song and
couldn’t resist inviting you to join us.

THUG
The blessings of Lord Siva is with
us.

Reception formalities are observed . The thugs politely refuse drinks and eat only paan ( leaf with betelnut and tobacco )Thugs start singing Bhajan ( devotional song ) Suddenly the thug singer shouts .

THUG SINGER.                                               Tambaku lao
(English translation) Bring the tobacco !!

I/E -TRAVELER’S TENT /SAME TIME
Gauri who has almost reached the tent hears the voice and the scuffle. She starts running. She reaches the tent just in time to see the thugs who are in the process of murdering all the travellers. Out come the scarves .There is a coin attached to each end. They are whipped around the neck of all the travelers including women and children. Gauri screams. Patne hears her scream and starts running towards the camp. Gauri is screaming. The thugs look at her. She turns to run. One of the thugs leaps out and catches her. The other thugs follow. The thug is going to squeeze her neck.

THUG CHIEF                                                       Stop.

The thug stops. The thug chief strides towards them and gives the screaming Gauri a resounding slap. She stops screaming.

THUG CHIEF (CONT’D) There is no point in screaming now,understand. You want to live, you have a choice. Marry me and you will live.
9.

Gauri screams and pushes him away.

GAURI
No ,no. Murderer. You killed Ma and
Babujee.

She looks at Sukhi and goes berserk, screaming. The thug chief tries to stop her by holding her shoulders and shaking her but she pushes him and runs and is overpowered by another thug. Patne reaches the spot at this time just in time to see a thug throw a hand kerchief around her throat and strangle her. Gauri’s eyes are looking at him even as she dies and Patne faints.
BLACK.

EXT / A LESS DENSE PART OF THE JUNGLE / DAY
Thugs traveling as business men run into Capt. William Henry Sleeman’s posse of fifteen riders with Capt. Sleeman in the the lead.

CAPT .SLEEMAN                                                    Who are You ?

THUG
We are business men returning from
Surat. We have our depot in Surat. We just sold our goods in Benares.

CAPT SLEEMAN
We will have to search your goods .

THUG
You are welcome to. Please go
ahead.

In the search women and children’ clothes are found. The thugs are arrested.

THUG (CONT’D)
We are men with families. We just
bought these clothes for our kids.

CAPT. SLEEMAN

Tell that to the Judge.

I/E- COURT – DAY
Thugs are produced before a magistrate .
10.

MAGISTRATE
There is no concrete evidence of
any wrong doing on the part of the miscreants. No one has come forward to claim the clothes. So I order them to be released.

SLEEMAN
(to an officer sitting
next to him)
It’s unfortunate, they slipped through. There was no witness. They are definitely rogues.

Sleeman is on horseback with his posse. He looks suspiciously at the thugs, all of whom bow obsequiously to him.
Sleeman turns his horse and gallops away in a cloud of dust.

IN – MESS- NERBUDDA CLUB – JABBALPORE – NIGHT
Mess is lit with candles in chandeliers. English officers saunter in mess kits. Dresses vary with different units. Ladies in crinoline hooped skirts. A Gurkha band in attendance . A gaming table in the corner. Ladies sit in a corner.Talk is of Thugs,rajah.

LT. JOHNSON
I hear the Raja of Orcha plans to
have a huge ceremony to marry the stone to the shrub.

SLEEMAN
The tulsi to the shaligram, my Good
man. It is a religious thing.

LT. JOHNSON                                                    Bloody natives.

SLEEMAN
It is best not to make comments
about things which you do not know about.

Enter a pretty girl . Amélie Josephine Blandin de Chalain de Fontenne
Sleeman sees her and falls in love with her at first sight .

CAPT. SLEEMAN                                                   Now who could that be ?

11.

LT. JOHNSON                                                  Wouldn’t you like to know.

Capt. Sleeman looks quizzically at him.

LT. JOHNSON (CONT’D)                                           So would I.

On the other side of the room sits Amelie with her chaperone, Mrs. Bancroft. Amelie has noticed Capt. Sleeman looking at her and Mrs. Bancroft has noticed Amelie’s interest.

MRS. BANCROFT
It does not behove a young lady of
good breeding of an illustrious family of Comte de Fontenne to be staring at any gentleman so pointedly. Decorum, young lady, decorum and restraint.

AMELIE (looking down)
Yes madam.

But as soon as Mrs. Bancroft leans away to talk to another friend she looks towards Capt. Sleeman who glances towards her even as Major Augustin joins them.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
So why are you gentlemen hanging
around. We invite the ladies to the mess so that the gentlemen will talk to them. I see so many of the pretty girls getting bored. Come I will introduce you to some .

He leads them to Miss Amelie and Mrs Bancroft. Mrs. Bancroft and Amelie notice the gentleman coming towards them. Amelie shifts with excitement. Mrs. Bancroft holds her wrist tightly.

MRS. BANCROFT
Now, young lady, restrain yourself.
No unseemly excitement. Be like the lady your illustrious family of Comte. Blondin De Fontenne raised you to be. Decorum Amelie, decorum and restraint.

AMELIE Yes, madam.

The gentlemen reach them.

12.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
Mrs Bancroft , may I present Capt.
Sleeman and Mr. Johnson. And who may be the pretty lady whom I haven’t had the honour to meet ?

MRS . BANCROFT                                                This is Amelie Josephine de
Fontenne. She is French, from Mauritius .

AMELIE
(get up and curtsies)
Bon Jour Monsieur .

MRS BANCROFT                                                   She knows no English.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
That should be no handicap . These
gentlemen will soon learn French.

CAPT. SLEEMAN                                                       I know French .

LT. JOHNSON
I will learn soon but, please
Mademosielle, excuse me tonight

He bows. Amelie gives him a sweet smile. Here the conversation between Amelie and Sleeman can be in French for sometime. Amelie laughs at Sleeman’s atrocious French even as Mrs. Bancroft glares at her. Sleeman laughs at Amelie’s attempt to speak English.

CAPT. SLEEMAN
Ah let us strike a bargain . You
teach me French and I will teach you English.

A funny interlude can be most improper English from Amelie and atrocious French from Capt. Sleeman.

CAPT.SLEEMAN
So you’re interested in sugar cane.
Yes, I have brought some from Tahiti. Shall we go and see the fields tomorrow, say 8 in the morning. We will ride together to the fields.

Buglers announce the arrival of Governor General William Cavendish Bentick. Walks in Lord Bentick, sees Capt. Sleeman who clicks his heels and gives a short bow to Lord Bentick.
13.

SLEEMAN (to Amelie)
Excuse me, Mademoiselle. I must meet Lord Bentick to discuss a very urgent matter. But please do reserve a dance with me.

AMELIE
(smiling and sitting down)
Oh, most certainly Capt. Sleeman. I will look forward to it.

Sleeman bows and moves to Lord Bentick

BENTICK
Well, sir , what have you been
keeping yourself busy with ?

CAPT. SLEEMAN
Nothing in particular, My Lord. I
met some very interesting men who, I suspect, to be thugs.

LORD BENTICK
Good Lord . How are you alive then ?

CAPT SLEEMAN
I said, suspect to be Thugs, sir.
But we have no proof.

LORD BENTICK
Most interesting indeed. There have
been persistent representations from Bhadralok (gentlemen) from Calcutta to eradicate this menace. Come and see me this time in the afternoon tomorrow.

Lord Bentick moves on. Sleeman turns towards Amelie again. He is walking towards her and Mrs. Bancroft. She holds Amelie’s wrist in a way that it can not be seen by others.

MRS. BANCROFT.
It seems to me he is as enamoured
of you as you of him. But I expect you to conduct yourself with propriety and decorum. Unseemly haste is unbecoming of a lady of breeding from the family of Comte Blondin De Fontenne.

AMELIE                                                              Yes, Madam.

14.

CAPT. SLEEMAN                                     Mademoiselle, may I have the honour
of this dance with you ?

Mrs. Bancroft is holding onto Amelie’s wrist and smiles at Amelie willing her to refuse.

AMELIE
Oui, Monsieur. It will be pleasure.

She makes a move to get up and Mrs. Bancroft has no option but to release her wrist. Capt. Sleeman sweeps her away in his arms in an old fashioned waltz even as Mrs. Bancroft glares. Scene fades out leaving the couple in a swirl of dance.

INT – AMELIE’S BEDROOM- NIGHT
Amelie is being helped by an Indian maid to slip on her night dress. The maid buttons her and then slips on a Muslin bonnet. The dress she wore to the dance lies in a large heap on the bed. Mrs. Bancroft sits upright on a chair. Amelie listen to her with her eyes cast down.

MRS. BANCROFT
I have never seen such disgraceful
behavior in my life ! What will I tell your father, the Comte Blondin de Fontenne. All the lessons of decorum and restraint went flying out of the window when you set your eyes on Capt. Sleeman. A most unsuitable man for you, he is 40 if he is a day and you a young chit of 18. This is insupportable.

Amelie turns around, her back to Mrs. Bancroft and faces the maid who is down in the floor taking out Amelie’s dainty slippers. The maid looks up at Amelie who makes a moue and a horrible face. The maid giggles. Amelie turns around to face Mrs. Bancroft, looking contrite.

MRS. BANCROFT (CONT’D)                                        I think Lt. Johnson is much closer
to your age. And a very agreeable and personable gentleman. I forbid you to keep your tryst with Capt. Sleeman in the morning. Shanti will tell him you have the migraine. Is that understood ?

AMELIE.                                                               But,

15.

She turns around, her back to Mrs. Bancroft as Shanti ties the strings of her bonnet under Amelie’s chin.

MRS. BANCROFT
No buts. I expect you to transport
yourself with the decorum and manner befitting an English lady.

AMELIE (under her breath)
But I am French.

She looks at the maid and waggles her eyebrows and rolls her eyes. The maid giggles.

MRS. BANCROFT (sternly to the maid,
trying to speak Hindi) Shanti, no hee hee. No Hans (Laugh). Jao ( go now ) Morning, six.
(holds up her fingers and counts). One , two, three, four, five, six.

Shanti holds the edge of her sari between her teeth and nods her head vigorously and runs out giggling.

MRS. BANCROFT (CONT’D) (sighs impatiently)
These native women.

She looks at Amelie, tucked in bed, making a pretty picture as curls escape her bonnet. Her eyes soften

MRS. BANCROFT (CONT’D)                                Amelie, you are from a noble family
of France. And I expect you to conduct yourself in a way which will bring honour to the family of Comte. Blondin de Fontenne Good night ,my dear.

She dims the light and goes out. Amelie sighs.

AMELIE (whispers to herself)
Capt. Sleeman.                                                          Her eyes close.

DISSOLVE TO:
16.

IN – AMELIE’S BEDROOM- MORNING
Mrs. Bancroft looks shocked as she looks at Amelie’s rumpled empty bed. Behind her Shanti giggles and Mrs. Bancroft glares at her. A breeze flutters the sheer curtains and she looks out to see, far off in the distance, Amelie on a horse, galloping away.

EXT.- SUGARCANE FIELDS- DAY
Capt. Sleeman watches as Amelie, sitting side- saddle on a horse, gallops towards him. She reins in her horse near him, her face flushed and pretty. Capt. Sleeman doffs his hat to her.

SLEEMAN
A very top of the morning to you,
Mademoiselle Amelie de Fontenne. Thank you for being here

AMELIE
Call me Amelie, s’il vous plait, if
you please. I would not have missed this rendezvous for anything.

Sleeman moves his horses towards the field and Amelie moves along with him on her horse.

SLEEMAN
Merci beaucoup, I am honoured. And
how is the formidable Mrs. Bancroft.

Amelie dimples at him.

AMELIE
Ah ! Mrs. Bancroft. Tres bien but
very, how should I put it, very

She pauses, wrinkling her nose, searching for a word.

SLEEMAN                                                       Annoyed ?

AMELIE
Oui. Annoyed. You see, Amelie does
not behave as a proper English lady should, no decorum, no restraint. She flies to meet the unsuitable Capt. Sleeman.

Sleeman laughs. He gets off the horse and helps her to dismount.
17.

SLEEMAN (looks down at her)
It seems to me I have got you in trouble with the formidable Mrs. Bancroft.

AMELIE
Non, non. Amelie has no restraint,
no decorum. Amelie does not behave like a proper English lady. Because Amelie is French. Amelie’s blood is rouge. And
(she slips her hand into his)
Amelie likes the unsuitable Captain Sleeman.

Sleeman laughs and they started walking towards the field. Unknown to them a pair of eyes are looking at them intently as they approach the field talking and laughing.

SLEEMAN
(bending the stalk of a
sugarcane)
See, Amelie, the Indian variety of sugarcane is very hardy and strong.

AMELIE
(her eyes twinkling)
Ah, but Monsieur, the Mauritius variety is sweeter.

SLEEMAN
When I met your father in Mauritius
I never got a chance to taste it.

AMELIE (tongue in cheek)
Maybe you went in the wrong season when it was still a plant. You have to wait till it is mature, n’est-ce pas.

Sleeman laughs. The eyes watching the couple widen as it spots a snake. There is a rustle and Sleeman grabs Amelie’s arm.

SLEEMAN                                                          Watch out, a snake.

Amelie gives a scream and clutches Sleeman. They both watch the snake slither away. Sleeman draws Amelie towards himself and they kiss. The eyes are watching. Amelie draws away when they hear the voice of her maid, Shanti.
18.

SHANTI
Mem sahib, Mem sahib. Aap ko Madame
bulati.
(English translation)
Mem sahib, Mem sahib. Madame is calling you.
Amelie rolls her eyes heavenwards. And Sleeman laughs.

SLEEMAN
I think I better escort you home to
save you the tongue lashing you are bound to get.

He helps her on her horse. Amelie looks at him and smiles

AMELIE
Bon, and I have the perfect
solution to save me.

Sleeman looks at her enquiringly.

AMELIE (CONT’D)

You can ask for my hand in
marriage.
(sighs deeply)
Mrs Bancroft was right. No decorum, no restraint.

Sleeman laughs and mounts his horse.

SLEEMAN
I like you this way. Come, let us
go and face the dragon together.

Amelie kicks her horse gently on the side and they both gallop away, raising a cloud of dust. We can see the back of a man’s head watching them go and then the man rises and we see the two figures galloping away from his point of view.

INT.- AMELIE’S DRAWING ROOM -A LITTLE WHILE LATER
Amelie is siting in a high-backed chair, hands folded in her lap, eyes down, trying to look contrite as Mrs. Bancroft looks at her with pursed lips. Sleeman stands near the window trying to look serious.

MRS. BANCROFT
Well, I never in my entire life,
faced such disobedience. What am I going to tell your father, Comte Blondin de Fontenne.

19.

AMELIE
I am sorry, Mrs Bancroft.

MRS. BANCROFT (to Sleeman)
Capt. Sleeman, Amelie is but a child,

AMELIE
(hastily interrupting)
Non, non.

MRS. BANCROFT (holding up her finger
peremptorily)
But you, as a responsible and mature officer of the British army would be expected to stay within the norms of acceptable behavior, particularly when dealing with someone as young, and may I add, and of a impetuous disposition as that of Amelie de Fontenne. A girl’s reputation is no trifling matter, Capt. Sleeman.

SLEEMAN
My intentions are strictly
honorable, Mrs Bancroft. (beat)
I would like to ask the hand of Amelie de Fontenne in holy matrimony.

Mrs. Bancroft’s expression is ludicrous and her jaw drops even as Amelie smiles and claps.

AMELIE
Bravo, Capt. Sleeman, bravo.

She quickly changes her expression to a serious one as Mrs. Bancroft glares at her.

SLEEMAN
Do I have your permission to court
her till a suitable date is fixed for the wedding ?

MRS. BANCROFT (raising her shoulders
helplessly)
I can’t see any possible objection to that. But, I have to ask the Comte. before any announcement.

20.

SLEEMAN
Absolutely. Though I know Amelie’s
father and I am sure he would have no possible objection to this alliance.

He bows to both of them.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) I will take your leave, Mrs.
Bancroft. Mademoiselle Amelie. Amelie smiles at him.

MRS. BANCROFT (graciously)
You may leave him to the door Amelie.

Amelie walks to the door and watches as Sleeman mounts his horse. He smiles at her and she smiles back and winks. He laughs.

SLEEMAN                                                              Au revoir Amelie.

He gallops away. Amelie walks in towards Mrs. Bancroft.

MRS. BANCROFT (looking at Sleeman
galloping away)
Well, he certainly has excellent manners.
(dreamily)
And most personable.

EXT.-SUGARCANE FIELDS- A LITTLE LATER.
Sleeman is galloping near the sugarcane fields when the same man whose eyes had been watching Sleeman and Amelie suddenly moves through the fields and stands in front of Sleeman’s horse. The horse rears up and Sleeman controls it and looks up to see Patne.

SLEEMAN
What is the meaning of this. You
frightened the horse.

PATNE
I am sorry , sir. But I have a
matter of great importance to convey to you, but in private.

21.

SLEEMAN
First, you need to tell me who are
you?

PATNE                                                                  Sir, I am a thug.

Sleeman looks astonished.

SLEEMAN
You are very brave. Telling a
British officer you are a thug.

PATNE
I was not always a thug,
circumstances made me one.

SLEEMAN (wryly)
That’s what they all say. It seems to me they have gypped you of your share …hmmm.

PATNE
No, it is not like that , sir.
Please listen to my story and then make a decision.
Patne sits on his haunches and his eyes look distance.
PATNE (CONT’D) (V.O.) The evil eye destroyed our life,
Gauris’ and mine. And the thugs strangled my love.
into the                                                      DISSOLVE TO:
His words overlap scenes of Gauri putting her arms around Patne’s neck, Gauri’s father slapping her as Patne looks, Gauri going away in the bullock cart, Gauri meeting Patne in the jungle, Patne watching Gauri being strangled. BLACK. Patne is crying and Sleeman looks at him sympathetically.

SLEEMAN (dismounting from his
horse)
I’m sorry. But what was the need to become a thug.

PATNE (V.O.)
When I saw Gauri’s murder the world
went black. (MORE)

22.

PATNE (V.O.) (CONT’D) When my eyes opened I saw an old
man splashing water on my face.
FLASHBACK.
DISSOLVE TO:
Patne’s eyes open to see a kindly old man splashing water on his face. He tries to get up

BABA                                                                 Rest, my son.

PATNE (looking around)
Gauri.

He looks around. The jungle is silent except for the sound of few birds. Tears fall from his eyes.

BABA
Don’t weep, my son. Close by, near
the banyan tree is my hut. Eat something, you’ll gain strength.

The old man helps Patne to get up and they start walking. They reach a hut where the old man’s daughter is making rotis on a tawa ( tortillas on a griddle ) over an open fire. Close by sits her son, seven years of age, an open faced, cheery boy. They watch curiously as the old man helps Patne to walk and then to sit down with a rock as his back rest. Close by is a stream which can’t be seen but one can hear the splashing sound of the water falling on rocks.

BABA (CONT’D) (to his daughter)
Muniya, one roti for the guest, please.
The daughter gives a despairing look at the meagre dough.

MUNIYA                                                              Yes, baba

On a broken alumunium plate she places a roti and some green chutney and an onion and hands it over to Patne.

BABA
One is not enough for a young lad.
Give him one more. As it is my stomach is upset, a little warm water will help.
23.

He says this even as Gauri looks pleadingly at him. Patne, who is busy devouring the roti (tortilla) sees this.

PATNE                                                               Baba, itna bahut hai.
(English translation) Baba, this is enough.

BABA
Enough ? We do not believe in
sending our guests home with a half empty belly.

PATNE (V.O.)
And that old man went hungry to
fill my stomach.

We overlap his voice over a visual of Patne eating while the old man looks on with a gentle smile. His daughter looks on with her chin cupped in her palm. The little boy eats too.

BACK TO PRESENT.

SLEEMAN
All that is fine. But what is the
connection between this and your becoming a thug and then coming to me?

PATNE
There is, sir. You have been so
patient so far, just bear with me a little more.

PATNE (V.O.) (CONT’D) The old man, not content with
giving me his meal and going hungry, also gave me his new blanket to use, while he shivered in the cold winter air.

Patne’s voice overlaps on a visual of the old man shivering in the cold while Patne lies with a blanket covering him.

PATNE (V.O.) (CONT’D) The old man’s kindness and concern
touched me so much that for a moment I wanted to stay back and make them my family but I had to find Gauri’s murderers so I left.
24.

Patne’s voice overlaps on a visual of Patne embracing the old man and waving farewell to his daughter and her son and walking away on a path through the jungle.

PATNE (V.O.) (CONT’D) I started walking and reached a village where in a fair, I spotted one of the thugs from the gang.

Patne’s voice overlaps the action sequence of the dialogue. A village fair, spotting the thug who is mingling with the villagers with insouciance, laughing and slapping their back.

PATNE (V.O.) (CONT’D) As I walked towards him I thought to myself, how do I befriend him ?

Visual of Patne walking towards the thug.

PATNE (V.O.) (CONT’D) And then, there was an incident, I
know not what to call it, fate, providence ?

We see the previous voice over a tight shot of Patne’s eyes widening as he sees Sleeman with a posse of soldiers arriving at the fair and accosting the thug.

SLEEMAN

Hey you, come here.

THUG CHIEF (folding his hands)
Yes, your honor.

SLEEMAN                                                               What is your name ?

THUG.                                                               Khaderu, your worship.

SLEEMAN
Where is the rest of your gang ?

KHADERU (stammering)
Please, please sir. We are poor people. I do not belong to any gang.

SLEEMAN
Don’t play the innocent with me,
you rogue. I know your type well. I
will see you hang. (MORE)
25.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
You have made life a living hell
for law abiding citizens.

Sleeman turns his horse and rides away as Khaderu glares at him , his expression ferocious.

BACK TO PRESENT.

SLEEMAN
I remember. I had caught them and
dragged the entire lot to the court but there was no witness. People are terrified. Bloody rogues.

PATNE
Yes, people are terrified of them
and they of you. After you left I followed him and reached where his friends were gathered, just behind Bhowani’s temple.

FLASHBACK.

FADE TO:
Visual of Patne watching the thugs collected behind the temple and Khaderu gesticulating.

BACK TO PRESENT.

PATNE
I told them that I had seen what
happened in the fair and that is why I had followed Khaderu till their place. That I used to work as a servant in your household. That you had accused me of stealing and beaten me and thrown me out. And now my only desire in life was to take revenge.

SLEEMAN (admiringly)
Simple, but effective.
DISSOLVE TO:
26.

PATNE
Yes, but they don’t know that my
desire for revenge is from them, not you. If they ever come to know….

SLEEMAN
All right, tell me, when these guys
kill they do not leave a trace , no blood , nothing . How is that?

PATNE
They do not use swords and spears.
Only their hands. Look at this, this is a handkerchief,there is coin tied to its one end. If you search them you will only find this. How can you incriminate them with this. It is no crime to have this, everyone ties their coins in handkerchiefs. Now, let me show you their trick. With your permission ?

The man goes behind Sleeman, flicks the hanky around Sleeman’s neck and tightens. Sleeman frees himself an kicks him in the shins .

SLEEMAN (coughing)
Don’t show this trick again, fellow.
(grabbing the man and holding him in a vice like grip)
First things first . I think the safest place for you is the jail, safe for all of us at least.

PATNE
Think about it, sir. There is no
better way to catch Ferranghea than through me.

LT. JOHNSON (O.S.)                                            Capt. Sleeman. Capt. Sleeman.
We see Johnson and then from his P.O.V. we see only Sleeman’s horse. Sleeman, who is hidden by the sugarcane releases Patne from his grip.

SLEEMAN
All right, come to the office
tomorrow.
27.

PATNE
(diving in the bushes)
Not in the office, sir. Ferranghea’s spies are everywhere. I will keep you informed.

He disappears in the field, just as Johnson reaches.

LT. JOHNSON (panting)
Captain Sleeman. Lord Bentick is here on an unexpected chukker. He wants to see you. Make haste, man.

He looks around.

LT. JOHNSON (CONT’D)

What are you doing alone in these
fields? A little bird told me that you had a rendezvous with another pretty bird. But you seem to be alone.

SLEEMAN (laughing)
The pretty little bird has flown away. Leaving the not so handsome buzzard quite alone.

He starts walking towards the horse.

LT. JOHNSON
Don’t be modest, Sleeman. You are
in good favor with the ladies.

SLEEMAN (mounting his horse)
I was talking about you, not myself.

He kicks the horse and gallops away, leaving Johnson gaping in a cloud of dust.

INT. SLEEMAN’S OFFICE-DAY
Lord Bentick turns around when Sleeman walks in and salutes him. Major Augustin stands near him. A doorman ( chobdar) stands near the door.

SLEEMAN
God save the Queen, Sir.
28.

BENTICK
God save the Queen, Capt. Sleeman.
What is this I hear, you had captured a party of travellers under the impression that they were thugs.

SLEEMAN
I am sure they were, your Honour.
We just had no proof. But, we may soon have that too if my source is to be believed.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
We should go for their leaders,
especially the most dreaded of them all, Ferranghea. He is a holy terror.

Lord Bentick looks enquiringly at him.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN (V.O.) (CONT’D)                          The Zamindar of Narsinghpore had not paid land rent of RS 15000 for 6 years.So the troop jacked his house. In the house there was a guest lady who on the same day gave birth to a son, Ferranghea. He is the most dreaded Thug leader. No one has seen him. He works through agents.

Major Augustin’s dialogue overlaps over visual of British troops surrounding Zamindar Of Narsinghpur’s house while, in the house, a lady gives birth to a baby. A pair of hands hold up the baby.

BENTICK
He gave the British troops the slip
once, this time we have to catch him.

SLEEMAN
He works through agents. He has an
excellent spy system. I wouldn’t be surprised if what we are talking gets to him in a few days.

BENTICK/MAJOR AUGUSTIN (together)
No.
29.

EXT.- BEHIND BHOWANI’S TEMPLE-NIGHT.
We see the doorman of Sleeman’s office talking to the thug chief- Ferranghea. There is a bonfire burning. Some thugs are smoking the hookah. Patne fills a hookah, gives it to the old man and sits near him. The old man has blood shot eyes.

DOOR MAN
The company is getting vigilant.
Your name was mentioned two three times.

FERRANGHEA (getting annoyed)
That benchut (f— ) Sleeman. We’ll have to get rid of him.

DOOR MAN
That Bentick was also jumping in
excitement.

OLD MAN
The days of thuggee are over. You
all have ruined a hundred year old tradition. If you do not follow the path shown by Bhowani then this is what happens. Now you have begun killing women and children.

FERRANGHEA
The days of Thuggee are not over,
Sleeman’s days are over. (to Patne)
Hey you, Patne, what happened to all your big talk about taking revenge from Sleeman. You joined our gang with the idea of killing Sleeman. And what have you done so far?

PATNE
So far, I have filled tobacco in
the pipe, washed clothes, cooked meals. You allowed me to join the gang, showed me the trick of the handkerchief, but never took me along for any of your raids. Come on man, you need a stout heart to kill a man, not just tricks with piece of cloth. And to kill one like Sleeman, it is not a joke.

KHADERU

He speaks the truth.
30.

MEER
(a Muslim thug)
Let’s take him with us, teach him the ropes.

KOSARI
We have to do the ceremony first.
Who was his guru ?

DRIGPAL.
I taught him the trick with the
kerchief.

FERRANGHEA
All right, let’s prepare for the
ceremony. Then, some fun and games. That Sleeman, M..F.., has blown my brains.

EXT.- BEHIND BHOWANI’S TEMPLE-A LITTLE LATER.
DISSOLVE TO:
All the thugs are gathered in a semi-circle. The sacred pick- axe is placed on the ground, next to it is a pile of raw sugar.

OLD MAN
Hail to Ma Kali. Mother look on us
with favor. We are about to set off on a mission in your service, protect us and show us the way. May all obstacles be removed so that we may get what we desire.

The old man sprinkles some water around the pick-axe.

OLD MAN (CONT’D) (shouts)
Jai Kali Ma..

ALL THE THUGS (shout)
Jai Kali Ma.
There is silence for a few minutes, then an ass brays from one direction, then another from the opposite. The thugs cheer.

DRIGPAL. (to Patne)
That is a good omen.
31.

All the Thugs take some sugar in the palm of their hand and fling it in their open mouth. Patne does the same.

KOSARI
Now you have taken the pure sweet.
From now on your thirst will only be quenched with human blood.

FERRANGHEA
We will leave for our mission after
four days. Till then Patne you will eat simple, wear simple clothes, sleep on the floor and will touch no woman. But before that one celebration.

EXT.- BEHIND BHOWANI’S TEMPLE-A LITTLE LATER.
JUMP CUT TO:
All the thugs are seated around the fire, drinking and singing.
MANY THUGS (singing with dholak- a
percussion instrument)

Bairagiya nala zulam zor . Jahan base hain teen chor . Jab tabla baje dhin dhin. Tab ek ek par teen teen .
(English translation)
Hell and Fury at the Bairagya stream , Three thieves live there and dream.
When the drums beat , one two three.
They all fall on one and he gets creamed.

Sound of laughter and excited talk. Patne looks at them with hate in his eyes.
GAURI’S MURDER BY KHADERU.
JUMP CUT TO:
BACK TO:
32.

SAME TIME.
Tears come into Patne’s eyes.

INT.- CHRISTCHURCH, JUBBALPORE- DAY There are tears of joy in Amelie’s eyes.

DISSOLVE TO:

AMELIE

i do

PRIEST
You may kiss the bride.

Sleeman lifts Amelie’s veil and as he gives a chaste peck on her cheek says

SLEEMAN
We are in the presence of many
Indians. For the time being this will have to suffice.

The guests clap. Sleeman and Amelie are getting married in the presence of all the English officers and ladies as well as some Hindu princes including the Raja of Orcha. Sleeman and Amelie walk down the aisle. The officers shake Sleeman’s hand and congratulate him and the ladies kiss Amelie. Mrs Bancroft hugs Amelie as she weeps copiously.

MRS. BANCROFT

Oh, child. I will miss you.

AMELIE (comforting her)
Please don’t cry Mrs. Bancroft. I am just around the corner and will visit you every single day, if I can.

MRS. BANCROFT
No, no. Your duty is now by your
husband and I wish you get all the happiness in the world.

AMELIE
(with a small smile)
I already have that , married as I am to mon cherie, William. I could want no more, except, maybe, to give him a son.
33.

MRS. BANCROFT (looking shocked)
Amelie. Remember what I told you.

AMELIE
I know, I know, Mrs. Bancroft.
Decorum and restraint. (looking at Sleeman)
But it is very difficult to do that when you have got what you have desired for many lifetimes.

MRS. BANCROFT (more shocked)
Many life times. That is blasphemous. It seems to me that the Oriental culture is influencing you unduly. As the wife of an Englishman it does not behove you to talk native. Sleeman will not approve.

AMELIE
Ah, Mrs Bancroft , but I am French.
And William knows that the French are licensed to be exotic.

Amelie sees that Sleeman is looking towards her.

AMELIE (CONT’D)
But, look, my husband calls. As a
dutiful wife I must obey him. (smiles at Mrs, Bancroft)
Do not worry Mrs Bancroft. I will not let you down. I will be a good Christian you will see.

Amelie sweeps away and clasps the arm that Sleeman is holding out to her and they both sweep out of the church.

DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. LAWNS OF THE MESS-DAY-EVENING
The lawns are groaning with buffet tables, The ladies are in white and fanning themselves. The gentlemen are in full military regalia. The Raja of Orcha is in his finery and talks to Sleeman and Amelie.

RAJA
My heartiest congratulations to
both of you. (MORE)
34.

RAJA (CONT’D)
And I would like to extend a warm
welcome to both of you at my humble abode for the wedding of the tulsi with the shaligram in my kingdom

Amelie looks enquiringly at Sleeman.
SLEEMAN
It is a festival of great religious
significance among the Hindus. The tulsi is symbolic of Goddess Sita and the shaligram of Lord Vishnu. Am I right Raja Sahib ?

RAJA
As always Captain Sleeman. You take
the trouble to study a culture which is foreign to you without any harsh thoughts to belittle it. History will remember men such as you and not only those who seek to conquer and exploit.
(to Amelie)
You are fortunate to be married to such a good man, Madame Amelie.

AMELIE
I know, Rajah sahib.

SLEEMAN (holding her hand)
Likewise, my dear.

RAJA
Well, please remember my invitation
and do me the honor of your presence in my humble state.

SLEEMAN
Thank you Raja sahib, you are most
gracious.
RAJA
I will take your leave now.

He bows to both of them and walks away.

AMELIE
He didn’t eat anything.

SLEEMAN
The Rajah doesn’t eat anything
cooked by anyone other than by his
personal cooks. (MORE)
35.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) It is a caste thing. We are
considered low caste, you know, I think, the word they use in private is “melech” or defiled.

AMELIE

Bon dieu!

SLEEMAN  (laughs)
Yes, that does come as a shock to those of us who consider ourselves a cut above the natives.
(looking at Mrs. Bancroft) Don’t tell Mrs. Bancroft, she will be mortified.

Mrs Bancroft, sees them looking at her, waves and gives a superior smile. Amelie laughs happily. Sleeman looks at her lovingly.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
I can not wait to make you mine.

Amelie drops her eyes and blushes.

INT.-SLEEMAN’S BEDROOM -NIGHT
Int / Bedroom / Night
Enter Capt. Sleeman and Amelie in the bridal chamber .
SLEEMAN
Thank God it is all over and you
are mine .

AMELIE
I am so happy . How I wish we could
go away to France .

SLEEMAN

By and by.

AMELIE
Your uniform intrigues me. What do
you wear underneath?

SLEEMAN

I will show you .

He takes off his boots.

DISSOLVE TO:
36.

AMELIE
Good God they are so heavy .
Sleeman takes off his coat with the medals jingling. Amelie tries it and stoops with mock gesture of being crushed under its weight .

SLEEMAN
Before I go any further I would
like to see how you look so puffed up.
Amelie takes off layers after layer of clothes. Sleeman gapes at her .

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
I have a feeling you are not there
at all. Or, maybe, a cat may jump out of you somewhere, sometime .

Ultimately Amelie stands in Bodice and split bloomers .
SLEEMAN (CONT’D)

At long last . You are all so
practical and the gates of heaven are always open .
Capt. Sleeman takes the hand of Amelie and lifts her to the bed.

EXT.- BEHIND BHOWANI’S TEMPLE-NIGHT.
The thugs are gathered under a tree except for Drigpal and Kosari

FERRANGHEA
So it is final. We’ll leave for
Murena village in three days. There is a wedding party on its way from Kundalee. The lughas have already dug the graves in our old place. That is where all the bodies will be buried.
(to Patne)
It’s your first, so look and learn.
(he looks around)
And where are Drigpal and Kosari? It’s a wedding party, we need the enticers.

MEER
They were bored so they went for a
little escapade.
37.

OLD MAN
It’s a wedding party, what are you
going to do with the bride

FERRANGHEA
The same what we do with the
others.

OLD MAN
Well, you are done for then. You
have started going against the wishes of the mother. This is the beginning of the end of thuggee.

FERRANGHEA Quiet, old man.
(shrugging his shoulders)

The zamindar of Narsinghpur has an insatiable appetite and we have to fill his coffers no matter what and he doesn’t care how we do it.

Kosari and Drigpal walk in. Kosari has a bundle in his hand.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) Where were you guys. We have to leave in three days and you are
loafing.

KOSARI (grinning)
I thought let’s get some practise before leaving.

DRIGPAL.
But we didn’t get anything. Just a
waste of time.

KOSARI (opening the bundle)
This new blanket will serve us well in the winters.

Patne gets a flash of the old man and his blanket.

KHADERU (laughing)
For this cheap blanket how many lost their lives?
38.

DRIGPAL.
We mixed so much of that poisonous
dhatura in the flour that an army could not survive so, I doubt if there are any chances for the old man, his daughter and that little boy. Curtains for all three.

All the thugs laugh and Patne looks agitated. He gets up.

KHADERU
Where are you off to brother. Hang
around a bit, we have many things to discuss.

Patne sits down reluctantly.

KHADERU (CONT’D)
First learn the call of the jhirni.
He makes the sound of the wild beast calling.
KHADERU (CONT’D)
This is the sound of the thugs to
warn each other of their presence.
He makes the sound and looks at Patne to repeat it. Patne repeats it but its obvious he is agitated.

PATNE (To Ferranghea)
Chief, please give me permission to leave. I have an upset stomach. There is a fellow who gives medicine in the village I will get some stuff that will help me.

FERRANGHEA
I know who you mean, Dinanath,
right?

Patne nods his head

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) As long as the stuff does not
include liquor.

All the thugs laugh.

OLD MAN
You have to eat simple, only then
will Ma Kali bless us.

Patne nods and leaves swiftly.
39.

KHADERU (to Ferranaghea)
His stomach was fine till a moment ago, whatever happened to it suddenly?

KOSARI
As the time nears he is getting the
shivers. I hope he doesn’t shit in his pants on the day.

All the thugs laugh

DRIGPAL (proudly)
This is thuggee, not a joke. You need a stout heart for it. Now we’ll come to know how deep run the waters. That M.F..

He spits on the ground.

EXT.-JUNGLE-NIGHT
Patne is running though the jungle till he comes to the old man’s hut. He sees that the daughter and her son lying dead but no sign of the old man. Next to them are the remains of the meal. He runs around trying to find him and finally follows the sound of the water. He finds the old man lying face down in the water. He drags him out and tries to revive him. Then he lifts him and places him on the shoulder and runs.

INT.- MEDICINE MAN’S ( DINANATH’S) HUT- NIGHT
The old man lies on a charpoy ( a bed ) while Patne wipes his forehead and tries to fan him with his white scarf.

DINANATH
It’s good you brought him right
away and saved his life. He should be walking by tomorrow.

Patne takes out some money and holds it out to him.

PATNE
Please do me this favor. Please
keep him with you and send him off. I will pay whatever it costs. I have some urgent work.
40.

DINANATH All right.
(looking at his white scarf)
I know what urgent work you have. Well, it’s God’s will.

Patne leaves and halts at the door and looks at Dinanath.

PATNE
Don’t draw any hasty conclusions
about me. I am also God’s will. He leaves hastily.

INT.- SLEEMNAN’S DRAWING ROOM – DAY Amelie and Mrs. Bancroft are having tea.

AMELIE
So Shanti is getting married. Isn’t
she a little young to be getting married.

MRS. BANCROFT

According to native custom she is
old. She is fifteen now and, according to her mother, she would like to have got her married by eight.

AMELIE
I would like to give her a little
something, she served me well. Excuse, moi.
She gets up and comes back a little later with a pretty pair of gold ear rings with a unique design which she gives to Mrs. Bancroft.

AMELIE (CONT’D)
Please give her this as a wedding
gift.

MRS. BANCROFT (looking at it)
Charming. You are too generous, Amelie.

AMELIE
A trifle, pray do not make much of
it Mrs Bancroft.
41.

Sleeman is seen arriving on horseback . He is holding a cage with a canary in it.

MRS. BANCROFT
Ah, your dear husband. Looks like
he has a gift for you too. I better leave.

She gets up as Sleeman strides in with the cage and bird.

SLEEMAN
Good evening, Mrs Bancroft. How
nice of you to keep Amelie company.

MRS. BANCROFT (dryly)
Well, ever since the dear child has left me it is I who have been in need of company. But I must be off. I will leave the happy couple to enjoy their togetherness.

AMELIE
Do come soon again , Mrs Bancroft.

SLEEMAN
I will ask one of the men to escort
you.
(he shouts)
Bearer, bearer,

A man comes running out.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) Memsahib ko hifazat se unke gar
chod kar aao.
(English translation)
Please leave Mem sahib to her residence with utmost care.

MRS. BANCROFT
You are too kind Capt. Sleeman.

She leaves with the bearer. Captain Sleeman turns to Amelie.

SLEEMAN
A trifle for you, my dear.

AMELIE

Oh how pretty.
(her eyes cloud over)
But I don’t like to see birds in cages.
42.

SLEEMAN
I know my dear. But its wings are
hurt. As soon as it is better you can release it. I know you will take good care of it.

AMELIE
Thank you, William. You have a kind
heart. And I do love you, mon cherie.

We show that Patne is watching sitting on a tree which is near the outer boundary wall. He has a cloth on his head which he has brought forward to hide the lower part of his face.

SLEEMAN
(bends down to kiss her)
I love you too, Dearest heart. And what about some tea for the hard working and tired husband.

AMELIE (squealing and jumping
up.)
Oh, how remiss of me. Forgive me. But I have with my own hands made some cutlets for you which you are sure to like.
(She goes in calling out to the cook)
Khansama, khansama.

A deer which is walking in the garden is startled when Patne moves and Sleeman looks up and sees him. Patne jumps down and hides behind the bushes. Sleeman goes towards the bushes which are concealing Patne.

SLEEMAN
Tum?

(English translation) You?

PATNE
Sir, the thugs have unleashed a
reign of terror on simple people. They have killed the family of the old man who saved my life. I saved the old man. They are heartless. They have no religion. I will send the old man to you tomorrow, he will tell you the whole story.
43.

SLEEMAN
Will he be a witness against them?

PATNE
Why not? Who is left in his life
that he should be afraid.

SLEEMAN Theek hai, bejh doh.
(English translation) All right, send him.

Patne suddenly ducks in the bush. Sleeman looks surprised.

AMELIE (O.S.) William, William.

Sleeman turns around.

AMELIE (CONT’D)

Do come,your tea is ready.

Sleeman starts walking towards the house.

PATNE (O.S.)
Sahib, Ferranghea plans to attack a
wedding party leaving from Kundalee.
Sleeman halts for a moment.

 

SLEEMAN
Theek hai.
(English translation) All right.

He starts moving towards Amelie. From Patne’s P.O.V. Amelie throw her arm around Sleeman’s neck.

JUMP CUT TO: VISUAL OF GAURI THROWING HER ARMS AROUND PATNE.

EXT.-MANGO ORCHARD – BEHIND ZAMINDAR OF NARSINGHPUR’S MANSION -DAY
The Zamindar is sitting on a manji (Bed made with hemp twine). Next to him is an aluminium bucket filled with water and mangoes. The zamindar is picking out a good mango, feeling it to test it and then sucking it and then throwing it away on the side for some goats who are nosing it.
44.

ZAMINDAR
Showing your face after along time.

FERRANGHEA
Just organizing myself, sir. The
festival season of Dushera-Diwali are in two and a half months, that is when we get busy.

ZAMINDAR
Surely you haven’t been sitting
idle all this time. That is not possible.

FERRANGHEA

Huzoor,..
(English translation) Sir.

A LITTLE GIRL’S VOICE (O.S.)

Dadajee, dadajee.
(English translation) Granpa, Granpa.

A little girl about 8 comes running and sits next to the zamindar. He strokes her head.

ZAMINDAR
We are planning her wedding soon.
The boy, his family are good but they want a good dowry.

FERRANGHEA
Do not worry. For the little one
we’ll risk out lives. Nothing but the best for her. You’ll be very happy.

ZAMINDAR (waving a dismissal)
All right, keep it in mind. You have been evading the issue for some time now. Don’t forget I have to pay a lot of middlemen to look the other way.

FERRANGHEA (bowing his head in
supplication with his
hands folded)
You are our saviour, Lord. As long as you are looking out for us no one in the area of Narsinghpur can harm a hair of our head.
45.

The zamindar waves him away and takes out a mango and offers it to his grand daughter.

DISSOLVE TO:
I/E.- COURTYARD OF FERRANGHEA’S HOUSE – DAY
Ferranghea’s mother sits on a khatiya (hemp twine bed).His Wife is sitting by a choolah (baked mud open fire) and his boy, (five ) sits near the mother eating some puffed rice from a alumunium bowl. His foster-brother,Jhurhoo, stands near the well, drinking water from a brass lotah(vessel ). Finally he rinses his mouth with the water and spits out some of it. From his P.O.V, we see Ferranghea come in, bending his head to enter the low slung doorway.

JHURHOO Paye lagee, bhaiyya
(English translation) Touch your feet in reverence, brother.

FERRANGHEA
Khush raha, Jurhoo Kya khabar ?
(English translation)
Bless you, be happy, Jhurhoo. Whats new ?

Ferranghea goes towards his mother to touch her feet even as his partially veiled wife looks at him through the corner of her eyes and his son runs towards him.

SON

Baba, baba
Ferranghea touches his mother’s feet who blesses him, picks up his son and swings him up.

JHURHOO
What can I say, the expenses are
much more than the earnings. It’s becoming difficult to make ends meet. It has also come to my hearing that Sleeman is asking questions about us.

MOTHER
May he burn in hell. Can’t a soul
earn his bread in peace without his interference.
46.

FERRANGHEA
The zamindar is on my case too. Nothing satisfies that M..F..If tomorrow’s wedding party yields
something then I will fling it on his face.

MOTHER
If your wish is fulfilled then I
will offer sweets at the temple of chausat yogini.

JHURHOO
What should we do about Sleeman?

FERRANGHEA
We have to fix him. According to
our rules we cannot touch a defiled one such as he but a new member has joined our gang who wants to settle a score with him. We’ll use him.

MOTHER
May the devil rot his guts. Ma Kali
sees everything, he will have to answer for his sins.

While she is speaking Ferranghea is looking from the corner of his eyes at his wife who is also giving him side long glances from he veil. She stirs the pot simmering on the fire, covers it and walks towards a room.

FERRANGHEA
Ma, I will just freshen up and
come.
MOTHER
(walking towards the open
kitchen)
You do that, I will take out the food for you.

I/E.- COURTYARD OF FERRANGHEA’S HOUSE – A LITTLE LATER
Ferranghea, Jhurhoo and Ferranghea’s little son are seated in a line eating from three brass thalis (large plates) with little brass bowls (katoris)filled with appetising food. The mother is making the rotis (tortillas) and as they puff up she places it in each ones plate. The wife sits behind Ferranghea and is fanning him with a bamboo fan.
DISSOLVE TO:
47.

MOTHER
(smiles at the three of
them, head bent, eating) Look at you two, the spiting image of Lord Ram and Lakshman. May the divine mother bless you both and give you a long life.

BOY
If they are Ram and Lakshman, then
what I am ?

MOTHER
You, you are Hanuman, my little
monkey God. They all laugh.

JHURHOO (sighs)
We’ll have long life when Sleeman’s life is cut short.

FERRANGHEA (grimly)
We’ll fix him . I will arrange for that.

INT.-SLEEMAN’S OFFICE-DAY
CHOBDAR ( DOORMAN ) Huzoor aapse ek aadmi milna chata hai ?
.
(English Translation)
Sir , there is a man to see you .

SLEEMAN
Send him in. And send Salamat Ali
to take down his statement.

The old man who had saved Patne’s life comes in. Sleeman waves to him to sit on a chair.

OLD MAN
(siting on his haunches)
Main yahin theek hoon. (English Translation)
I am all right here.

Salamat Ali comes and sits unobtrusively in the corner and starts writing down whatever the man says.
48.

SLEEMAN
Tell me, what do you want to say.
Yes, I know, your family had, I mean the thugs had…

OLD MAN
They are ruthless sir, they can
pluck out the heart of anyone.

SLEEMAN
Can you tell me what happened ?

FLASHBACK.
EXT.- OLD MAN’S HUT- DAY
DISSOLVE TO:
The old man’s daughter is sitting near the choolah ( baked kiln ) and stirring some lentils in the pot. Next to her is an aluminium thali ( large plate ) in which there is a little dough which she divides into two balls and starts making the roti ( tortillas). On a nearby tree the blanket waves in the wind. The old man is sitting on the haunches looking in the distance and the little boy is playing in the mud with a stick, watching some ants march and then changing their direction with a piece of leaf. Drigpal and Kosari come near them and sit down.

DRIGPAL

Pranam baba.
(English translation) Greetings, baba.

OLD MAN

Jeete raho, beta
(English translation) Live long,my son

DRIGPAL
We are travellers baba, we’ll rest
a while, cook our food, eat and be on our way.

OLD MAN
Of course, my son. Eat, rest a
while, there is water to drink too.

In the mean time, Kosari has taken out flour in a big plate. He gets up and starts picking up sticks to light a fire when the old man’s daughter brings two plate with lentils and a tortilla in each for the old man and the little boy.
49.

DAUGHTER
Tell them he can make his rotis on
the choolah, there is still some fire left. There is some water too to knead the dough.

Old man takes the plate from her hand and taking out the little bowl of lentils gives it to her.

OLD MAN
Give this dal to them. I get gas with it.

She gives him a look of exasperation and gives the lentil to Drigpal and then goes inside the hut. The boy has sat down next to his grandfather to eat.

OLD MAN (CONT’D) (to Kosari)
There is a fire there, son, why don’t you cook on it. There is some water too. And taste the dal, my daughter makes an excellent dal.

The daughter comes out with a green chilli and gives it to the old man. The old man and the little boy start eating. Kosari stops looking for sticks and comes back and starts taking out the flour from a cloth shoulder bag. He also mixes some dhatura ( poison) in one part of the flour quietly. Then he takes the dough and slaps it between his hands to make a thick tortilla and places it on the griddle. He brings the first one and gives it to the boy.

OLD MAN (CONT’D) (touched)
There was need to do that, son.

DRIGPAL
There was no need for you too,
father, to give us fire to make our rotis, to give us water, to give us that dal.
(to Kosari)
Hey, give baba one too and one to the little girl.

OLD MAN
You are a guest, and a guest is
God, it is written. I was only doing my duty.
Kosari gets up and gives a roti to the old man who breaks it in two and gives one half to the little boy.
50.

OLD MAN (CONT’D) Enough, I am full, I can just have
half. You are good souls, may the Lord look out for you.

Kosari takes the roti he had already placed on the griddle when he had come to give the other to the old man and gives it to the daughter who starts eating it. The old man gets up.

OLD MAN (CONT’D)

I will drink water and come.
The old man goes slowly and we follow him to the little stream which we could hear in the back ground. He bends down to drink the water, his eyes roll up and he faints. BLACK.

INT.SLEEMAN’S OFFICE-DAY
OLD MAN
I found my self at the medicine man
when I woke up.

SLEEMAN
Why did you not come to us?

OLD MAN
When I came back to my hut I found
that the wolves had taken my grand son’s body to a nearby bush. And my daughter corpse was in the hut. All for one blanket.

He begins to sob. Sleeman is overwhelmed by the man’s sadness. He gets up and paces the floor.

SLEEMAN
Why did you not come to us ?

OLD MAN
Sahib, I did go to the village people and they all said, you have already lost your daughter and grandson, nothing will bring the back. Close the matter here or the village will be troubled by the Company officials for no rhyme or reason. I would not be able to live in peace where I do now.
BACK TO:
51.

SLEEMAN
Why do you want to live there? We
would have settled you somewhere else.

OLD MAN (breaking down again)
I don’t want to leave the place which holds my fondest memories. What else does an old man have to live for, but his memories.

SLEEMAN
(putting his hand on the
man’s shoulders)
You will get justice, don’t you worry. Describe those two men, please.

We see the doorman’s impassive face.

EXT.- BEHIND BHOWANI’S TEMPLE-NIGHT.
FERRANGHEA
The village men had told that old
man not to go to the Company officials. Has he gone senile ?

DOOR MAN
It seems to me some one has instigated him.

FERRANGHEA
If I find that man he’s had it.

KOSARI
What will happen to us. Sleeman has
our description?

FERRANGHEA
You both be alert. Now something
has to be done about Sleeman. Where is

KHADERU
He has gone to the village. Said he
had some urgent work.

FERRANGHEA (spitting on the ground)
That M..f…, he is not worth a
penny and HE has urgent work. (MORE)
52.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) (to Khaderu)
Go and call him.

Khaderu leaves.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) (to the rest of the gang)
Get ready, everyone, we have to leave. We have the news that the wedding party has left.

EXT.- ROAD- A LITTLE LATER IN THE DAY
Capt. Sleeman and Lt. Johnson are waiting by the side of the road with a posse. A little to the distance we can see a village.

LT. JOHNSON
Your man told you the wedding party
is going to leave from Kundalee and your men found out from the headman it is leaving at four. But from here to their destination the thugs can attack anywhere. They will probably choose not to attack if they see us.

SLEEMAN
I don’t want them to attack. I just
found out that the wedding party is of Amelie’s maid, Shanti, whom she loves dearly. So I want your men to escort them till the their village, some forty miles away.

Far off in the distance they can see a cloud of dust.

LT. JOHNSON
All right I will send two sepoys
with them and tell them to be alert.
(he calls out)
Hari Singh, Nar Bahadur.
Two men fall move forward.
LT. JOHNSON (CONT’D)
Tum log us baraat ke saath jao unko
une gaon tak pahuncha doh. (English translation)
Both of you will accompany that wedding party and escort them to their village.
53.

BOTH MEN

Sir .

They turn their horses and gallop away towards the crowd coming towards them. Sleeman and Lt. Johnson also turn their horse and the rest of the posse follows them.

EXT.-MANGO ORCHARD-DAY- A LITTLE LATER
The little wedding party,comprising of twelve men and two palanquin carriers is moving slowly escorted by the two sepoys. It is very hot and dusty and most of the men have their mouth covered with the edges of the turbans It is hot and all of them are sweating. They pass by a mango grove.

ONE OF THE MEN.
It is very hot. I think we should rest a while.

All the men turn towards the orchard. The palanquin is put on the ground and an old woman, head covered emerges from it. One of the men pours out some water from a surahi (a mud vessel with a spout) and gives it to her in in a kulhar ( baked mud cup). She hands the cup to the bride in the palanquin whose bangled and hennaed hand emerges to take it.

MAN 2 (to the sepoy)
Thanedar sahib, why don’t you come down from your horse and have a drink of water. I could fill a pipe with tobacco for you.

SEPOY 1
(jumping off the horse)
That will be fine.

SEPOY 2
I am all right here.

There is an almost imperceptible shifting of men. Man 2 gives water to the sepoy and picks up the pipe.

MAN 2 Tambaku lao
(English translation) Bring the tobacco.

There is a sudden activity. One man springs on the sepoy sitting on the horse and brings him down. Another man brings down the man who has raised his head to drink the water by pouring the water down his gullet rather than touching the vessel with his lips.
54.

They both flick the scarf around the neck of the two men while two hold his arms and one sweeps his feet from under him. Within seconds the men are dead. Then a man removes the end of the turban from across his face. We see it is Ferranghea.

FERRANGHEA (looking at the sepoy who
was killed when drinking
water)
This one at least got a drink of water, Sleeman is not going to be so fortunate.

He goes and touches the feet of the old woman who pushes back her sari from her face to reveal she is his mother.

MOTHER
Live long , my son. Now, please
hurry, your bride is restive sitting in the palanquin for so long. She was going to make the pickles and at this rate its not going to happen.
FERRANGHEA (to his men)
Hurry. Where have the lughas dug the grave?

TWO MEN (LUGHAS) (one pointing to a
direction) Ohar.
(English translation) There.

FERRANGHEA
All right,let’s take the bodies
there. Hurry up, the real wedding party will be here soon.
The men pick up the bodies and we follow them to see them break the joints, make gashes in the body.
LUGHA I (to the other)
Have you made the gashes deep enough. Or the stomachs will fill with air and the bodies will rise and break the earth. And then there will be hell to pay.
55.

LUGHA 2 (sarcastically)
Do you think I am a green horn? We have been lughas for many generations.

LUGHA 1 (placatingly)
All right, all right. I just asked.

The lughas pack the bodies neatly in the grave. Then they cover it with the mud and put stones and some bramble on it.

ONE OF THE LUGHAS Now, no animal can get to these
bodies.

FERRANGHEA (O.S.)
Are you going to grow roots there.

The other wedding party is on its way.

BOTH THE LUGHAS
Aat hain
(English translation)
Coming.

They both run towards the voice. The mother gets in the palanquin and the men take their positions. We can see a wedding party in the distance comprising of two palanquin bearers and six men, one of whom seems to be the groom with a yellow turban. As the second wedding party comes by Drigpal raises his hand to stop them. Kosari stands next to him

DRIGPAL
(with tears in his eyes)
Please stop brother. A huge calamity has befallen us. The bride has fainted due to the heat and her maid has no idea what to do. That girl works in the zamindar’s house, he will flay us alive if we don’t do something.

The men of the second wedding party look at each other.

SHANTI (V.O.)
We usually make the person sniff a
shoe when someone faints.

KOSARI
Then , my child, please do
something about it. We’ll place
your palanquin next to it. (MORE)
56.

KOSARI (CONT’D)
We are men and we can’t go near the
ladies.

One senior member of the second wedding party nods his head.

SENIOR MEMBER
All right, Let’s see what can be
done.

DRIGPAL.

Please follow me.

He moves into the grove, the second wedding party following him. When they reach the spot they place the palanquin next to the other one. The same bangled and hennaed hand is out of the palanquin. Khaderu is sitting with a pot of water. You can see almost an imperceptible shifting of the thugs.

KHADERU

Please drink some water.

He starts to pour out the water in a kulhar. (an earthen cup). Some of the men move towards him. Ferranghea is sitting on his haunches and smoking the pipe which makes a gurgling sound as he drags in the smoke in his lungs. He is watching the procedure keenly. Then, satisfied, he looks at the embers in the pot and shouts.

FERRANGHEA Tambaku lao
(English translation) Bring the tobacco.

The thugs spring into action and in moments all the men of the wedding party lie dead.
Silence.

SHANTI (V.O.) Ee hosh mein aa gail.
(English translation) She has come to her senses.
SHANTI (CONT’D) (V.O.) Ee hosh mein aa gail.
(English translation) She has come to her senses.

MOTHER (V.O.)
Have a look why nobody speaks.

Shanti emerges from between the palanquins. She looks at
57.

the gruesome scene before her and screams. BLACK.

EXT.-ROAD-DAY
Capt. Sleeman, Lt. Johnson and a posse of sepoys are trotting on the same road where earlier we had seen the wedding party. They pass the mango grove where the killings had taken place.

SLEEMAN
This is amazing. How can two sepoys
and a complete wedding party disappear like this ?

LT. JOHNSON
It’s definitely the work of the
thugs. They are wily creatures.

SLEEMAN
Well, we need proof, bodies,
witnesses, anything. Otherwise it will be difficult to apprehend them. My Patne has also disappeared since that day and Amelie is distraught at Shanti’s disappearance.

LT. JOHNSON
Well, you will need solid proof. My
Lord Bentick is not very popular with the natives for getting rid of the sati system. Good lord, burning a woman on her husband’s pyre, can anything be more barbaric! So, he does not want any more flak from the people, especially the feudal ruling class.

SLEEMAN
I understand his apprehension. We
will not take a step forward without ample proof.

LT. JOHNSON
Not to mention, the rumblings in the ranks. A lot of the officers think you are on a wild goose chase.

SLEEMAN
More like a wild boar hunt.
Ferranghea is like a wild boar turned mad, goring everything in its path. (MORE)
58.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
And he is going to get his just
desserts. Now if I can only find Patne ?

I/E.-COURTYARD OF FERRNAGHEA’S HOUSE-NIGHT
Ferranghea and Jhurhoo sit on two low wooden seats. (pidhas ). His wife places two bowls of rice pudding in front of them which they eat by placing their mouth on the edge of the bowl.

FERRANGHEA
(wiping his mouth with the
back of hand)
That was great sweet you made.

JHURHOO
There is no difference between the
kheer made by mother’s hand and that made my brother’s wife.

MOTHER (coming out of an
adjoining room)
That is because bhabhi is another name for mother. She takes care of you as a mother would.

FERRANGHEA
Mother, can you bring those earings
we got in the last raid, you know, the wedding party. I am going to the zamindar and I will give it to him
The mother goes inside and comes back and gives the ear ring to Ferranghea. It is the same that Amelie had given to Mrs Bancroft to give to Shanti.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) (getting up and touching
his mother’s feet)

Acha, pai lagin Ma.
(English translation)
I touch your feet in reverence.

MOTHER

Jug jug jiya.
(English translation) Live , many lives.

Jhurhoo gets up and touches his brother’s feet. Ferranghea holds him by the shoulders.
59.

FERRANGHEA
Don’t worry about any thing as long
as your brother is alive.

As he is going out his son comes running in. Ferranghea lifts him and throws him in the air as the mother looks fondly

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D)

You will bring glory to your
family. May you become a bigger thug than me.

The mother cracks her knuckles on the side of her fore- head even as she looks at them fondly. Ferranghea puts the boy down and moves out swiftly. From a distance he looks back and sees the boy standing there looking at him. Ferranghea smiles to himself and moves on.

INT.-SLEEMAN’S BEDROOM -NIGHT
Amelie is looking very pretty attired in a gown. She is putting on her necklace but the clasp doesn’t seem to close.

SLEEMAN (coming towards her)
May, I ?

He helps her with the clasp and it clicks into place.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
May I be the first to compliment
you on how fetching you look tonight ?

AMELIE (smiling)
How about other nights?

SLEEMAN (laughs)
You are incorrigible Amelie.

AMELIE
What about the day ? I won’t know
when I look the most fetching so that I can persuade you to, no will you to, plant the seeds of your passion in me so I can gift you with a son.

SLEEMAN
By and by Amelie. I will be happy
with daughters.
60.

AMELIE
Oh, but I want a son, just like
you. Ah, I am so desperate. (she puts her arms around
his neck)
Cherie, forget that silly party and let’s try right now. You never know, today may be our lucky day.

Sleeman laughing and removing her arms from around his neck.
SLEEMAN
When we come back, I promise. But,
we have to go. There are a lot of important dignitaries, including the Raja of Orcha and the Zamindar of Narsinghpur. I want to meet that man for I believe he is in cahoots with the thugs.

AMELIE
Oh then we must. I know how
important this is for you. It’s been some time since the disappearance of Shanti and we are nowhere near solving that puzzle. And whatever happened to your informant?

SLEEMAN
Patne ! That is the biggest riddle.
He just disappeared. I hope they have not found out and killed him. That will be a big setback.

Amelie picking up her purse. As she goes out the canary in the cage, hanging in her balcony tweets. Amelie goes towards it and taps on the cage while the bird hops.

AMELIE
Oh, le peau oiseau. You will soon heal and I will set you free.

Sleeman looks at her affectionately. She comes to him,links her arm through his and they both go out of the room.

IN – MESS- NERBUDDA CLUB – JABBALPORE – NIGHT
Bearers move around the guest comprised of a largely English crowd except for a few Indian dignitaries among them the Raja of Orcha and the Zamindar of Narsinghpur who is with his grand daughter. Lt.

61.

Johnson, Major Augustin, Mrs Bancroft are all present. Amelie talks with the ladies and Sleeman is with Major Augustin and Lt. Johnson.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN (jocular)
Well, Sleeman, caught any thugs recently. I tell you man it’s just a bee in your bonnet.

SLEEMAN
Well, the two sepoys are still
unaccounted for and still no sign of Amelie’s maid and the wedding party.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
Oh you know these sepoys. A.W.O.L.
without any reason, now that the festival season is around the corner. And as for the maid, probably ran off with her boy friend and the rest of the wedding party too ashamed to say any thing about it.

SLEEMAN
Well, I hope you are right but I
have a feeling in my bones it is something much more macabre than that.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
Oh pooh, just your imagination
working over time. It happens if you stay in this heat for so long. I believe you had the fever twice already.

LT. JOHNSON
Beg your pardon sir but Capt.
Sleeman had malaria. That is from mosquitoes.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
Yes, yes, and they induce delirium.

Sleeman winces and looks at Lt. Johnson Whose eyebrows have gone up. Then he shrugs.

SLEEMAN
Excuse me sir. I see the Zamindar
of Narsinghpur there. (MORE)
62.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
I would like to go and meet with
him on some pressing matter.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
Still chasing the golden hind, eh.
Don’t tell me you think the zamindar is mixed up in this thug nonsense.

SLEEMAN
I have my suspicions, sir but no
proof. Unfortunately,my informer has disappeared, God knows where.

MAJOR AUGUSTINAll right, go ahead then. But don’t step on any toes. It is a sensitive
issue and the Governor general is pussy- footing too, what with the religious sensibilities of these natives.

Sleeman moves away.
In another corner Amelie is sitting with a group of ladies and Mrs. Bancroft.

MRS. BANCROFT
Marriage suits you Amelie, I have
never seen you look so flushed and happy.

LADY 1 It must be love.

AMELIE
Yes, it is love, or as we French
say, le grand passion.

LADY 2
Well, I hope we will be seeing
evidence of the grand passion soon, in the way of some little posies. What would you like Amelie, a girl or a boy.

AMELIE
A boy, of course, just like my dear
William. I have even thought of a name, I am going to call him Arthur.

MRS. BANCROFT

That’s very sweet dear.
63.

LADY 1
And what if it is a girl? I think
girls are so sweet.

She points with her fan at the Zamindar of Narsinghpur’s grand daughter.

LADY 1 (CONT’D)
Isn’t she sweet ? Dressed just like
her mama in a sari and pretty jewelry.

Amelie looks to where she had pointed at the little girl and her glance falls on her ear rings. They are the same ear rings she had given to Mrs. Bancroft to give Shanti. She gasps.

MRS. BANCROFT
Any thing the matter, my dear ? You
have gone quite white.

AMELIE (stammering) No, no. I, just,

She sees Sleeman walking by and gets up hastily.
AMELIE (CONT’D)
Excuse me, a moment, ladies. I will
be back. I have just remembered an urgent message I had to give my husband.

The ladies look curiously at each other as Amelie walks away. They see her talking to Sleeman, gesticulating furiously.

LADY 2
These French. Always so excitable.

MRS. BANCROFT
Well, it is good to be passionate about something. I could never be
well disposed towards the a certain kind of cold fish, found among the English.

The lady makes a moue with her mouth and looks miffed. Amelie walks back and joins them. From her P.O.V. we see Sleeman walk towards the Zamindar. The zamindar smiles gratuitously as Sleeman walks towards him.
64.

ZAMINDAR (folding his hands)
Namaste Sleeman jee. It is my good fortune to be seeing you.

SLEEMAN
Namaste, zamindar jee, my pleasure
too. And how is everything in the Narsinghpur area. No untoward incidents of thuggee and dacoity I hope.

ZAMINDAR
How is that possible, in your raj,
Sleeman sahib? Nobody would dare ?

SLEEMAN
And yet there are many reports
filed of missing persons, in spite of the reluctance of the populace to come to us.

ZAMINDAR
People have nothing better to do.
Sleeman sahib but file reports. Husband runs away with another woman, file a report. Servant goes away without telling the master, file a report.

SLEEMAN
What about children ? I hear there
is a marriage party that disappeared from your area. The bride was not more than fifteen. And yet, no one came to file a report?

ZAMINDAR
Perhaps, she ran away with her
lover and the brides party is too ashamed to come forward.

SLEEMAN
Yes, that is the story doing the
rounds. But it is a little too pat and I am inclined to disbelieve it.

Sleeman looks at the his grand daughter.

ZAMINDAR
My little grand daughter.
(to his grand daughter)
Sleeman uncle ko namaste kaho. (MORE)
65.

ZAMINDAR (CONT’D) (English translation)
Say hello to Sleeman uncle.

LITTLE GIRL. (folding her hands)
Namaste.

SLEEMAN
Namaste. Your ear rings are very
pretty. I would like to get a pair for your Auntie. Where did you get them ?

LITTLE GIRL. (shyly)
Dadajee ne diye.
(English translation)
Dadajee gave me.

Sleeman looks quizzically at the Zamindar whose face blanches.

ZAMINDAR (flustered)
I will have to ask her mother. And I will certainly let you know.

SLEEMAN You do that.
(abruptly)
Now if you will excuse me. I must go and pay my respects to the Raja of Orcha.

He leaves the Zamindar fuming, an ugly look on his face.

EXT.-MANGO ORCHARD-DAY
We see the same ear rings held aloft and then as the ear rings goes out of focus we see Ferranghea’s face come into through it.

FERRANGHEA
Yes, I found these earings in the
wedding party raid. What happened,
Sire?

We see Jhurhoo standing next to him.
66.

ZAMINDAR (gnashing his teeth)
I have no idea but that Sleeman was unnaturally interested in it and asking one too many questions about it.

FERRANGHEA
I will ask the village folk about
this. But we’ll have to do something about Sleeman.

ZAMINDAR
Do what you have to but don’t drag
my name in your affairs, understand.

FERRANGHEA Yes sir, rest assured.

The zamindar stalks away. Ferranghea glares at him.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) (to Jhurhoo)
When it comes to sharing the loot, he wants the largest share. And just because there is some danger he is the first rat that deserts the sinking ship.

JHURHOO
That is the difference between
family and others. I will never leave your side brother.
He bends down to touch Ferranghea’s feet who hold him by the shoulder and hugs him , tears of emotion running down his cheeks.
FADE TO BLACK.

WE SHOW A TIME LAPSE OF SOME MONTHS WITH FERRANGHEA’S GANG ATTACKING TRAVELLER’S, SLEEMAN AT THE HEAD OF HIS POSSE ACCOSTING MEN WALKING ON THE ROAD, READING, TRYING TO PUT HIS POINT OF VIEW ACROSS TO LORD BENTICK, AMELIE PLAYING WITH THE CANARY, LOOKING AT CHILDREN LONGINGLY, FERRANGHEA AND HIS FAMILY, FERRANGHEA WITH THE OTHER THUGS SINGING OR MAKING A SACRIFICE.
67.

INT.-SLEEMAN’S BEDROOM -NIGHT
We hear retching sounds coming from Amelie’s bathroom. Sleeman sits out side looking worried. She comes out, her cheeks flushed, her forehead damp.

SLEEMAN
I have called for the doctor.

AMELIE
Oh William, it could be something I
eat.
(she smiles happily)
Could it be ? Do you think ?

SLEEMAN
That’s why I called the doctor.
There is a knock on the door.
VOICE (O.S.)
Sir, the doctor is coming up
stairs.

SLEEMAN Aane doh.
(English translation) Let him come.

He goes and opens the door and a doctor comes in.

AMELIE
Good evening doctor. We are sorry
to impose on you at this late hour.

DOCTOR
It is no imposition. Please lie down.

Amelie lies down and the doctor takes her pulse and asks her to open her mouth and show her tongue. She looks hopefully at him. Sleeman smiles .

DOCTOR (CONT’D)
As I suspected, it is amoebiasis.
It’s the drinking water, you know. I will write down the name of medicines.
(scribbling on paper)
And, remember, plenty of fluids, light food and plenty of rest.
(getting up)
I will take your leave Madame. Bon nuit.
68.

AMELIE
That’s so kind of you doctor but,
ever since I married William, it is Good Night.

SLEEMAN (laughing)
That’s what she says doctor. But when it comes to her precious language she is like a tigress defending her cub.

AMELIE
Well, in the absence of my own cub
I guess it will have to be the language.

DOCTOR
Ah, yes. Madame desires a child.
Some times the stress of wanting something precludes the having of
it.
(to Sleeman)
Why don’t you take Madame to a restful environment. The marble falls at Bheraghat on the banks of the River Narmada are a spectacular sight. I believe they are called the Dhuandhar falls or the smokey cascade.

SLEEMAN
I think that is a very good idea.
As soon as you are a little better we could go for a camping expedition. We could ask Mrs. Bancroft too and some of the other ladies.

DOCTOR
I will take your leave now.

Sleeman gets up to escort him.

DOCTOR (CONT’D) (raising his hand)
Pray, do not be bothered, Stay with your wife. I will ask one of the servants to show me out to my carriage.

He leaves.
69.

AMELIE
What was the name of the falls the
good doctor told us about?

SLEEMAN
Dhuandhar falls – which means like
a smoke, falls which fall like smokey cascade.

EXT.DHUADHAR FALLS-RIVER NARMADA-DAY
We see the falls from Amelie’s P.O.V. and she turns around and walks towards the tents where many English ladies are seated on chair or dhurees, the gentlemen standing around hob- nobbing and a host of nujeebs, sepoys, bearers and servants waiting on them.

LADY 1
What a splendid idea on the part of
Captain Sleeman. This is a sight I would not have missed for the world.

MRS. BANCROFT
Yes, indeed. Quite spectacular.
(to Amelie who has joined them)
Thank you, my dear, for inviting us all. Now, we know why the good Captain Sleeman loves you, it is your sweet disposition.

LADY 2
(Looking at some of the
English children playing
with the sepoys)
Yes, indeed. They make a happy couple and I am sure, soon will be a happy family.

Amelie’s face falls and Mrs. Bancroft glares at Lady 2.

MRS. BANCROFT
What is the hurry, I ask you. They
have hardly been married a little more than three months.

LADY 2
Well, she is young, to be sure, but
Captain Sleeman, would surely like to get on with it.
70.

MRS. BANCROFT
Of all the vulgar remarks, Eliza.
It shows a lack of breeding on your part.

LADY 2
(giving an artificial
laugh)
Oh, have I offended anyone. I am so sorry. I have been trained to speak my mind and not simper and skedaddle like some of us here.

LADY 3 (to Lady 4)
Does she have a mind to speak of, I ask you.

LADY 4
Well, if she did, she wouldn’t be
making statements like that.

LADY 3
But Poor Amelie, it is mortifying,
particularly when she herself is so keen.

Captain Sleeman is seen to be walking towards them.

MRS. BANCROFT
Yoo, hoo Captain Sleeman. This way.

SLEEMAN
Yes, Mrs. Bancroft. At your
service.

MRS. BANCROFT
I say, Amelie is looking a little
peaky. Maybe, it is time to go back to the camp.

Sleeman looks at Amelie concerned.

SLEEMAN
Yes, she is a little drawn, may be
it would be best if she went back. The others could follow later.

He holds out his hand to Amelie

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) Come Amelie, my dear.

Amelie takes his arm and he escorts her to a horse.
71.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) ( to the groom )
Mem sahib, ko hifazat se unke kheme mein pahuncha doh.
(English translation)
Take the mem-sahib safely back to her tent.
(to Amelie)
Maybe I should come with you. You are looking tired.

AMELIE
Oh William, don’t fuss so. You go
and look after the guests. I will be fine.

She kicks the horse and it moves with the groom (syce) holding the reins. Sleeman sighs and goes back to the party.
Amelie is enjoying her ride watching the scenic beauty of the banks of the River Narmada. On the other side of the bank she can see the multitudes who have come to participate in the Kumbh mela ( an annual fair when people take a dip in the holy waters ).
She reaches her tent, gets off her horse and goes in. Her canary is hanging on one side of the door way. She dismisses the groom and goes inside and lies down on her bed. Her eyes close. Suddenly she gets up with the sound of her canary chirping . She goes out and sees a mendicant standing outside.

MENDICANT (holding out the bowl)
Ma, bhiksha ?
(English translation)
Some alms, mother.

Amelie hesitates, then goes inside and comes out with some money which she goes to put in his bowl. The mendicant grabs her hand and tries to pull her away. Amelie screams.Sleeman and the rest of the party who hear the scream hurry towards the tents. Sleeman is galloping in front and the men behind. Hearing the hooves of the horses the mendicant leaves Amelie and runs away. Sleeman reaches Amelie’s tent, springs off the horse and rushes towards her. The groom also comes running.

SLEEMAN (to the groom)
Where were you ? Why did you leave the memsahib and go ?
72.

GROOM (scared)
Saheb, I wanted to go to the bushes, I mean,

SLEEMAN (cooling down) Haan, haan, I know
what you mean.

By the time the rest of the party has reached. The ladies rush to Amelie to comfort her.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
This is a serious matter, Sleeman.
For a native to touch an English woman, it is unheard of. This all due to your thuggee nonsense. I say leave the natives alone, let them stew in their customs.

SLEEMAN
I beg to disagree, sir. We are not
here merely to rule but to rule sagaciously.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN                                               Well, see what comes of such
poppycock ideas. Your wife is molested and..

AMELIE (interrupting)
I agree with my husband Major Augustin. If the French had a few more sagacious men such as William maybe they would have been in the happy position that the British are. And there are always risk in the line of one’s duty.

MRS. BANCROFT
Hear, hear. Spoken like a wife of a
true Englishman.

LT. JOHNSON
Yes, all that is all right but what
do we do now ?

AMELIE
Oh, please don’t break up the party
on my account. The sadhu has been chased away and will not dare show his face.
73.

SLEEMAN But Amelie, my dear..

AMELIE
Look William, I think he was after
my bracelet
(she hold up her hand to
show the bracelet)
But even if he was a thug with a grudge against you, don’t you think it is better to stay here and show we are not scared.

LADY 1
She speaks the truth.

SLEEMAN
Well, it is true, the common Indians are, by and large, a civilized lot. I mean you can send these children into the fair without any thought that they will harm them. But these thugs are something else. And many of them do don the disguise of sadhus and fakirs.

MRS. BANCROFT
Well, then it is decided, we will stay.

SLEEMAN
Well, after lunch, a little walk by
the banks of the river is what I have planned for everyone. Say around 3.30.?

LADY 1 (excited)
Maybe, we can visit the fair?

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
No, no, no. Madame. There is a high
risk involved there. We don’t have enough nujeebs to take care of you and the others.

AMELIE
Let’s cross that bridge when we
come to it. For the time being it’s time for lunch. Major Augustin, I have some hot curry for you, just the way you like it.
74.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
Most excellent, the hotter the
better.

All of them go towards a large tent where a sepoy is waiting to open the flap of the tent. They all file in laughing and chattering excitedly.

EXT.- BEHIND BHOWANI’S TEMPLE-A LITTLE LATER.
Ferranghea, Jhurhoo, the old thug, and the other thugs are gathered. The mendicant who had attacked Amelie is there too.

FERRANGHEA (giving him some money)
Well, you have done as we wanted. You can go now.

SADHU
If there is anything else I can do
let me know.

FERRANGHEA
No, our objective was only to scare
them . Let’s see how much courage dear Mr. Sleeman has to continue his investigation against us .

OLD THUG
You have attacked his wife. You
know Ma Kali doesn’t like attacks on women.

JHURHOO
And what about him , trying to
snatch our livelihood from our mouth, what about that eh ?

KHADERU Theek kaha.
(English translation) Absolutely

FERRANGHEA
Well, let’s not waste time arguing.
What’s the next plan of action?

MEER
I have heard Nizam’s brother
Salabat Khan has left Punjab with two servants. He is carrying a lot of items worth looting.
75.

DRIGPAL.
Then what are we waiting for ?
Let’s be off.

MEER
Well, the jamaldehi thugs have
tried heir best but he is not falling in their trap. And he is armed to the teeth.

FERRANGHEA
We’ll have to go a long way. But
the rewards will be rich.

JHURHOO
So what, you go brother,I will look
after the work here.

KOSARI
Now that white boy must have cooled
down too.

FERRANGHEA
Well if he hasn’t cooled down I
have some more buckets of cold water to cool him down.

He spits on the ground as they all laugh.

EXT.-ON THE BANKS OF THE RIVER NARMADA.- DAY
The English party is sauntering. On the other side of the bank a fair can be seen with men and women in colorful costumes. The English women are wearing long gowns. The men walk together.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN (to Sleeman)
I say old chap, you better cool down on your activities. These thugs are dangerous fellows, don’t want anything to happen to Amelie.

SLEEMAN
That’s exactly what they are hoping
for. On the contrary, I’m going to speed up the process. If I could get some proof, some hint. I really don’t know where my informer has disappeared.
76.

A group of native women pass them by. They are wearing half saris, their legs uncovered and they are all balancing a pot on their head. When they see the English ladies they giggle and looking at the men they giggle and cover their faces with the edge of their sari.

MRS. BANCROFT (shocked)
I say, what is the point of covering your face when the legs are on display for all to see.

SLEEMAN
Well, Mrs. Bancroft, all legs look
alike so, maybe they think there is no point in covering them. You do distinguish a person by his or her face.

LADY 2
Well, I for one feel that
displaying your legs is quite shameless.

LADY 3 (to lady 4)
Provided you have legs worth the display. From what I hear our dear Eliza’s quite the bow legged one.

Lady 4 titters.

AMELIE (pointing)
Oh look a temple. And look at the statues.
They all look towards the statue of Shiv and Parvati with snakes coiled around the neck of Shiva.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN                                  Blasphemous.

SLEEMAN
That is the Lord of Destruction,
Shiva with his consort, Parvati from the trinity of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver and Shiva, the destroyer and the regenerator. One could probably compare them to our Adam and Eve and the snakes to the snake mentioned in the Testament.
77.

MRS. BANCROFT
You are very up to date with the
Oriental culture, Captain Sleeman

SLEEMAN
I like to think that we are here to
improve the quality of life of the people as best as we can and not merely rule.

LT. JOHNSON
Hear, hear. Captain Sleeman. I hope
the Indians realize their good fortune in having men like you here.

LADY 1
Oh, people can be very ungrateful.
What was it that Mark Anthony said over Caesar’s dead body,
(she thinks)
Oh yes, I remember, The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.

SLEEMAN
Well, I believe in doing my duty as
best as I can. The rest is up to the people. I am really not looking for any medals.

LADY 2
Oh, Captain Sleeman, you are so
modest.

LADY 4 (to lady 3)
Which is more than what Eliza can claim to be.
She signals with her eyes Eliza’s ankles on display as she lifts her gown high above the ground and Lt. Johnson goggling at it.                                         Lady 3 titters.

SLEEMAN (spying a boat on the
banks of the river)
Anyone for the mela, the fair, I mean, across the river. There is a boat there and he can ferry us across.
78.

AMELIE (clapping her hands
excitedly)
Oh, lets. It will be so much fun.

LADY 2 (to lady 1)
Amelie is quite the child bride for our Captain Sleeman. No wonder he is so gaga about her.

MRS. BANCROFT (raising her eyebrows at
lady 2’s girlish gown) Well, maybe we all don’t fancy mutton dressed as lamb on our plates.

Lady 2 makes a moue of displeasure. They all follow Sleeman towards the boat and are helped up into it by the gentlemen. Sleeman picks up Amelie by the waist and puts her in the boat and then clambers in after her. The boat moves slowly in the waters towards the fair. As the oars dip in the water we can see hear the sound of laughter of the English party.

EXT.- ROAD- DAY
A Moghul officer- Salabat Khan – is riding on a fine Arab horse. He has a bow and a quiver of arrows, a pistol tucked into the waist band of his trousers and a sword by his side. Two helpers ( the cook and the butler) ride on inferior quality of horses. They spot six men sitting on the side of the road, weeping copiously. The men are all bearded in the approved Muslim style. Next to them lies a body shrouded in white cloth. The officer stops.

SALABAT KHAN.                                                   Kya hua, kyun ro rahe ho? (English translation)
What happened? Why are you crying?

MAN 1
What do I tell you ? This calamity
has befallen us. We Are soldiers on our way home when our companion could not bear the rigors of the journey and collapsed. He is dead and we, illiterate, buffoons that we are, do not know the correct way to bury the body. If you could be kind enough to read some verses of the Koran-e-Sharif then we could bury him. (MORE)
79.

MAN 1 (CONT’D)
Please sir, all the Mussalmans of
the world will bless you for this kind deed.

SALABAT KHAN (getting off the horse)
All right. You get some water to do the wazoo.
(to the butler)
Naushad, take out the carpet.

The soldiers take out the water and place it next to the carpet which the butler has unrolled and placed near the grave. Salabat Khan sits on the carpet and washes his hands, feet and face. Two soldiers sit on either side.

SOLDIER 1 (to butler)
Why don’t you go and stand with the others so that sahib can read the verses in peace.

The butler goes away and stands with the cook and the other four soldiers. Salabat Khan starts reading his verses. When he lifts his neck and raises his hand in supplication one of the men whip the hand kerchief around his neck and the other helps him. In a moment he is dead. The other soldiers take care of the butler and cook. The soldier who was crying copiously and had entreated with the officer removes his beard. It is Meer. The others, too, remove their beards. They are Ferranghea, Khaderu, Drigpal, Kosari and another thug- Gopal, not of their gang.

GOPAL
We Jamaldehi thugs used to think we
are the cat’s whisker’s but you guys have beaten us this time.

FERRANGHEA
Thugs have their own way of life.
And we have to help each other, that is our duty and our religion.

MEER
Well, thugs are thugs, Hindu or
Musalman, we are all brothers. It is a religion above all religions. The way of the Thugs.

FERRANGHEA
Let’s leave the talk for later an
get rid of the bodies first. (MORE)
80.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) (to Kosari and Drigpal who
are going through the
effects of the victims) Well, after sweating out in the heat have we got anything out of this nayamat ?

Kosari and Drigpal bring some jewelry, a bag of coins and the officer’s weapons.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D)
Not bad.
(to the others)
All right, lughas. Do your work and hurry.

The others get to work. They break the joints, slash the bodies and put them in the grave already dug. Then they light a fire with some brambles and sticks which they stamp out.

LUGHA 1
I challenge any M..F.. who sees
this spot to guess that there is a stout soldier and his tweedle- dee and tweedle- dum buried here.

All the thugs laugh uproariously.

I/E.-ZAMINDAR OF NARSINGHPUR’S HAVELI-DAY
Sleeman is standing outside the Zamindar’s mansion with a posse of soldiers.Inside the zamindar is rushing around, slipping on his kurta ( shirt) while his wife finds his shoes and while he sits on the bed holds it while he slips his feet in.

ZAMINDAR
Now, what the dickens is the
matter? Why has Sleeman descended on us? He has made my life living hell, ever since he arrived here.
WIFE (gently)
Why don’t you go and find out ? Maybe it is nothing important.

ZAMINDAR
You don’t know these white folks.
They don’t go anywhere without a reason.
81.

He gets up and almost runs outside. His wife follows him, covers her head with a sari edge and pulls it forward to cover her face. She stands behind the door, partially visible while the Zamindar runs out to Sleeman.

ZAMINDAR (CONT’D) We are blessed Sleeman sahib. Please do come into my humble
abode.

SLEEMAN
Not today, zamindar sahib. Some
other day.

ZAMINDAR
And to what do I owe the pleasure
of your company at my humble abode ?

SLEEMAN
I was on my way and passing by when
I remembered the ear rings your grand daughter wore the other day. My wife liked them very much and I would like to buy then for her. You told me your wife had bought it from some where.
(Then he raise his voice a bit and says to her)
Namaste, respected sister-in -law.

The zamindar is stupefied.

WIFE
Namaste, brother. He must have
forgotten, he gave me the ear rings.

Sleeman looks quizzically at the Zamindar

SLEEMAN
Let me be frank with you zamindar
sahib. I don’t like to play games. Those ear rings belonged to my wife and she had given it to her maid who has, since then,disappeared. Now what do you want me to make of it ?

The zamindar is rattled.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
You better tell me the truth. It
will be better for you.
82.

ZAMINDAR
Ferranghea gave me those ear rings
as a gift. I have no idea where he got them.

SLEEMAN (kicking his horse)
I am sure you do. But we’ll deal with that later.

He gallops away with his posse behind him.

ZAMINDAR (turning around and
speaking harshly)
Who told you to stand here and listen to our conversation. You have ruined everything.

The wife flies inside, the zamindar following her .

ZAMINDAR (CONT’D) Is anyone around, go and call
Ferranghea.

I/E.- COURTYARD OF FERRANGHEA’S HOUSE
Ferranghea is pacing up and down while Jhurhoo stands, arms akimbo,on one side. The mother sits on a raised platform ( takth) and is cutting vegetables with an old fashioned slicer. Ferranghea’s wife is stirring a pot on the fire. The little boy is playing with a kite trying to make it fly.

FERRANGHEA
I should have understood. That
zamindar has no morals or ethics.

MOTHER
He is going to burn in the fires of
hell, the godless soul.

JHURHOO
Now what will we do, that zamindar
has given your name to Sleeman.

MOTHER
But he has no evidence against you.

FERRANGHEA
Once our name is written in the official records then they have means and ways to get evidence.
83.

The boy who is running around falls down and starts crying. Ferranghea picks him up and lifts him and hugs him.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D)
I am not worried for myself but for
him. I know what is the lot of a child without a father, I have lived through that.

MOTHER                                                             Jug, jug jiya bachwa.
(English translation) Live long , my son.

JHURHOO (emotional)
If you were not around I know what could have happened to us.

FERRANGHEA                                                    There is only one way.

They all look at him.

FERRANGHEA CONT’D) The death of Sleeman.

EXT.- SUGARCANE FIELDS- DAY
Sleeman is riding when a man suddenly comes before him.

SLEEMAN (shocked)                                                Patne!

PATNE                                                                 Jee, huzoor.
(English translation) Yes, sir.

Sleeman jumps off the horse and walks to the side of he road, holding its bridle. Patne follows.
Where

SLEEMAN
Where were you , all these days?

PATNE
I was in hiding, tying to save my life .

SLEEMAN
Tell me clearly, what happened?
84.

PATNE
It happened like this , sir.

FLASHBACK.
DISSOLVE TO:
Patne is walking on the road, singing a folk song when he sees Dinanath (the medicine man) coming on a mule.

PATNE
Ram, Ram, Dinanathjee.

DINANATH
( getting off the mule)
Ram, Ram Beta . How are you and how is the old man ?

PATNE
He is fine now, and it is all due
to you.

DINANATH
I had spent a total of five ruppees  on his
medicines, son.

PATNE
Yes, yes. I will come to your house
and clear the dues. I am sorry, I was a little late in settling the accounts but I was a little short.

DINANATH
No problem. It’s fine. The good
intentions take care of bad debts, sooner or later.
Dinanath get on his mule slaps it on its rump to move on.Patne looks at him, scratching his head when Jhurhoo comes out of the sugarcane fields. Patne almost jumps out of his skin.

PATNE
You frightened me out of my wits,
brother.

JHURHOO
Oh, I had just gone to the fields
for the usual, you know what I mean.

Patne nods his head.
85.

JHURHOO (CONT’D)
But what work did you have with
that old medicine man and why was he asking you for five rupees ?

PATNE
Woh, aisa hua ki…..
(English translation) It happened like this…

KHADERU (O.S.) Jhurhoo, Hey, Jhurhoo.
Jhurhoo looks to see Khaderu running towards him. Jhurhoo also runs towards him.

JHURHOO Kya baat hai ?
(English translation) What happened ?

KHADERU
Make haste. Ferranghea is calling
you. He is very angry. And he wants Patne.
We see he two men running in one direction and Patne turns and runs in the other direction.
BACK TO PRESENT.

PATNE
I thought Ferranghea has come to
know something so I took to my heels.

SLEEMAN
And what have you been doing since
then?

PATNE
In this country when you have no
way to make ends meet, what do you do ? I, too, became a sadhu.

Patne grins. Sleeman laughs.

SLEEMAN
You are a rogue, but a likeable
one.
DISSOLVE TO:
86.

PATNE
What did you say, sir ?

SLEEMAN                                                               Maine bola ki tum badmaash ho, par mujhe pasand ho. I said you are a rogue, but a
likeable one.Now that you mention sadhu, a sadhu had attacked Amelie sahib.

PATNE
Sir, Ferranghea has a network
all kinds of ruffians. Many a times they have donned the guise of holy man to attack people and catch  them in their web.

SLEEMAN
Well, his days are over. We have
proof that he was mixed up in the murder of Shanti and her wedding party.

PATNE
Sahib, Ferranghea is a very devious
fellow. He is not going to be captured so easily.

SLEEMAN
And the problem is that you too are
not there to give us information about his activities.

PATNE
I know what I will do. I will go
and ask Dinanathji, that medicine man, if Ferranghea or any of his men met him and asked about me. If not, I will join their gang with some trumped up excuse.

SLEEMAN (thoughtfully)
Yes, you do that.
(to Patne, in Hindi)
Haan, aisa hi karo.

PATNE
There is just one snag.

Sleeman looks at him inquiringly.

PATNE (CONT’D)
I don’t have the one rupee to give
Dinanath.
87.

Sleeman laughs, takes out a ruppee coin from his pocket and tosses to him.

SLEEMAN
To catch Ferranghea, I can spend a
million, this is nothing.

He spurs his horse and gallops away in a cloud of dust. Patne watches him go, a lonely figure on the road.

EXT.- SLEEMAN’S GARDEN -DAY
There are peacocks and a deer roaming around the garden as Amelie sits beneath the shade of a large umbrella with Mrs. Bancroft, having cucumber sandwiches, little tea cakes and a tea served by a bearer from a silver tea pot.

MRS. BANCROFT (dabbing her mouth with a
lace edged napkin ) Delicious, my dear. You really do have a gem of a cook.

AMELIE
Please have one of these wonderful
tea cakes, Mrs Bancroft. They are tres bien.

MRS. BANCROFT No, no, my dear. I am quite
stuffed. Not another morsel.

Amelie rings the bell. A little boy comes running out.

AMELIE
Go and tell the cook that sahib is
about to come. He should make a fresh pot of tea for him. And some nice cutlets.
(To Mrs Bancroft) William loves cutlets.

They hear the galloping of hooves and Sleeman comes in. He jumps off his horse and comes and kisses Amelie.

SLEEMAN (to Mrs Bancroft)                                 Good evening. Madame.
(as she makes a movement to get up)
Oh , please don’t leave on my
account.
(MORE)
88.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
I have some urgent work in the
office and, perhaps, you could keep Amelie company for some more time.

AMELIE
Oh, William, but you just came
home.

SLEEMAN
Duty calls, my dear. I think we are
on to something as far as that rascal Ferranghea is concerned.

MRS. BANCROFT
That dreadful man. I have heard some blood curdling tales about him.

SLEEMAN (dryly ).                                       Probably, all quite true. Well, I have got the measure of him this time. He is not going to escape justice.

MRS. BANCROFT                                                  Amen to that.

AMELIE
William, will you be home for
dinner? I have made some excellent Russian salad and some very good chops for you.

SLEEMAN
Well, I may be a little late. But
keep some for me. I have to take care of this matter once and for all. Can’t have the natives living in fear of these unholy monsters.

INT.-TEMPLE OF KALI-NIGHT

Ferranghea is standing with his hands folded in front of the image of Kali along with all the thugs including Patne. The priest is holding up the a large brass plate with the flame of several earthen oil lamps (diya) in front of the statue.

PRIEST
Oh, Ma Kali. You are all powerful.
Hear the pleas of your devotees. (MORE)

89.

PRIEST (CONT’D)
Remove the obstacles that stand in
their way and what they desire.

CUT TO :
The priest puts the caste mark (tilak ) on their foreheads with the blood of a goat sacrificed in front of it.
The thugs file out.

EXT.- BEHIND KALI’S TEMPLE-A LITTLE LATER.

FERRANGHEA
If Ma Kali is with us, then neither
Sleeman nor the whole east India Company can harm a hair of our heads.

OLD MAN
That is possible only if you tread
on the path shown by Ma Kali.

MEER
We follow the path of Ma Kali. I am
a pure Muslim but I have never gone astray from the path Ma Kali has shown us.

FERRANGHEA
Yes, and Bhowani will help us to
get rid of the demon Sleeman just as she destroyed the demon Mahisasur, and prove to us she favors us still.
(shouts) Jai Kali !

ALL THE THUGS (shouting)
Jai Klai ! Jai Klai! Jai Kali.

FERRANGHEA (turning to Patne)
Well, Patne, the time has come for you to be avenged.
(taking out a dagger from his pocket)
This is the sacred sword of Ma Kali, take this and go forth and sacrifice Sleeman in the name of Kali.

OLD MAN
Yes, my son. Ma Kali will bless
you.
(MORE)
90.

OLD MAN (CONT’D)
When the demon, Raktabeej, was on a
killing spree and Ma Kali was trying to rid of the world of this menace but unable to do so because every time she killed him, from the drops of his blood two more sprang forward. Then, Ma Kali, tired, created two men from the sweat of her brow and tearing of a portion of her skirt gave them the sacred hand kerchief, the rumal. she gave one of her ribs, symbolised by this dagger and a teeth, symbolised by this
(showing the pick axe) Symbolised by this pick axe.

FERRANGHEA
Come, now let us get ready for the
prayers.
(to Patne)
This time when you taste the sacred sugar you will become the biggest thug in the world for you will get rid of Sleeman.

The Thugs place the pickaxe on the ground with the raw sugar next to it. The pick axe is anointed with water and seven red dots of powder. The old man mumbles some prayers. All the thugs fling the raw sugar in their mouths. A crane calls

FERRANGHEA (brightens)
That is a very good omen.

KHADERU                                                          Let’s celebrate then.

All the thugs move about. We See Patne going to a lonely corner and spitting out the sugar.

EXT.- BEHIND BHOWANI’S TEMPLE-A LITTLE LATER. We see the thugs singing around a fire.

THUGS                                                                           Bairagiya nala zulam zor,
Jahan base hain teen chor.                                     Jab tabla baje dhin dhin                                        Tab ek ek par teen teen.
(English translation) (MORE)
91.

THUGS (CONT’D) Hell and Fury at the Bairagya
stream ,                                                             Three thieves live there and dream.
When the drums beat , one two three.
They all fall on one and he gets creamed.

FADE OUT

INT.-SLEEMAN’S BEDROOM -NIGHT

A hand holding a dagger is making repeated cutting blows on a mound on a bed suggestive of a sleeping person.

INT.SLEEMAN’S OFFICE-DAY
MAJOR AUGUSTIN (pacing the floor)
I told you, man, don’t needle these men, these thugs. That Ferranghea is a dangerous fellow.
(Here the doorman pricks his ears and is listening with an impassive face )
They had the guts to attack you in your bedroom !!!

SLEEMAN
I don’t want this to get out. I do
not want them to think I am scared.

LT. JOHNSON
Don’t think, sir, we should make
provisions for some extra security for you and Amelie.

SLEEMAN
No, no. No extra security. I don’t
want to give them the pleasure.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
Fools rush in where angels fear to
tread.

SLEEMAN
Maybe, ours not to question why,
ours but to do and die.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
So you agree you travel in the
Valley of Death.
92.

SLEEMAN
Why be frightened of something
which is inevitable ?

MAJOR AUGUSTIN (shaking his head)
Better you than me, man, I tell you.

Lt. Johnson looks on with admiration at Sleeman.

SLEEMAN                                                                It’s time to call (He raises his voice ).                                Chobdar  ( doorman )

DOOR MAN (coming in)
Jee, huzoor ( yes, sir )

SLEEMAN
Go and tell Ferranghea that I want
to see him n the office.

DOOR MAN
Jee huzoor.                                                          (Yes, sir )

Doorman goes away.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN
I never liked the fellow. Gives me
the creeps.

SLEEMAN (grinning)
Oh, I am sure he is a part time thug too in cahoots with Ferranghea but for the time being he serves my purpose.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN (with grudging admiration)
You are one hell of a fellow, Sleeman. Hats off to you, man.

SLEEMAN (simply)
Just doing my duty, sir. Nothing to it.
93.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN (turning to go)
Well, I better appraise My Lord Bentick of all the goings on here. Good day, Captain Sleeman.

Captain Sleeman and Lt. Johnson both salute the major smartly.

SLEEMAN/ LT.JOHNSON (together)
Long live the Queen.

MAJOR AUGUSTIN (turns back and salutes)
Long live the Queen.

EXT.-MANGO ORCHARD-DAY
FERRANGHEA (with hands folded)
You are our protector, sir, help us in our moment of hard times.

ZAMINDAR (irritated)
I warned you many times , don’t drag me in your mess. But you won’t listen.

FERRANGHEA
It was not my intention at all, my
Lord. But that Patne ruined everything. He went to finish Sleeman and did not even bother to check if the man was in his bed or not. Just slashed at this quilt and came back.

ZAMINDAR
He is a duffer and you are a bigger
duffer.

FERRANGHEA
( holding both his ears)
My lord, now we have made a mistake, please help us out.
94.

ZAMINDAR (shaking his head)
It is wisely said that it is better to have a wise enemy than a foolish friend.

FERRANGHEA
(bowing his head with his
hands folded )

Jee Huzoor ( Yes, my lord )

ZAMINDAR
Well, something will have to be
done. Or we’ll both sink together. You are like a mill stone around my neck.

FERRANGHEA (bowing his head)
Much obliged, my Lord.

ZAMINDAR
You can hide in the tunnels of the
temple at Narsinghpur.

FERRANGHEA (lying down in supplication)
It is my good fortune that you are my protector.
Zamindar looks at him with contempt and anger, turns around and walks away. Ferranghea raises his head and watches him stride away with hate in his eyes.

FERRANGHEA (CONT’D) (whispering to himself)
I will see you in hell.

FADE OUT

I/E.- COURTYARD OF FERRANGHEA’S HOUSE
Ferranghea’s family is collected. His mother is crying copiously, his wife sobs, his brother ( Jhurhoo ) is emotional, his son stands and watches puzzled.

SON
Why are you all crying? Father is
going on a journey. When he returns he will bring many nice things, clothes for us, toys for me, ear rings and bangles for ma.
95.

Ferranghea lifts the boy and hugs him close to his chest . His mother wails a little louder and his wife’s sobs increases.

MOTHER (vehemently)
May the devil rot Sleeman’s guts. He has destroyed the happiness of family.

JHURHOO
Brother, how long will you remain
in hiding in the tunnels?

FERRANGHEA (sighing)
As long as it takes,then,I think, we will have to find a new place to ply our trade. It seems to me our ways are lost here.

SON
Baba, what will you get for me this
time ?

FERRANGHEA (tears start out of his
eyes)
Well, I hope, I can bring good fortune and freedom for you, my son.

He puts his son on the ground and walks away.

EXT- FIELDS – NEAR A STREAM – DAY
A gang of 40 Thugs with Ferranghea in the lead make their way through the forest . They halt at noon. Ferranghea takes his lotah ( vessel for bathing ) and goes with Khaderu, his body guard, to the river for a bath. As he pours water over his head with a lotah (vessel) an owl screeches on the tree. Khadheru listens with awe on his face. He wraps a towel (cloth) around his waist and runs to Ferranghea.

KHADERU                                                                       Bhaag Chalo
(English translation) Lets get out of here.

FERRANGHEA
Kyun
(English dialogue)
Why ?
96.

KHADERU
Didn’t you hear the owl screech
It’s a bad omen. We have to beware.

FERRANGHEA
That omen is for tomorrow, not
today. I am going to make a killing today. Before going into the tunnels we need to get a big amount, God knows when we will get the opportunity again.

KHADERU
Let’s get out of this place ,
master. That f— Sleeman is going to kill us. What’s his problem? We have mouths to feed. We are just doing a job. Why is he on our case. Devil rot his guts.
Both return to their group. Group walks on. They stop for the evening and have a meal. Ferranghea ties his horse and goes towards the village.

I/E – VILLAGE HEADMAN’S HOUSE- DAY
The headman sits in his court-yard surrounded by a few other villagers.

FERRANGHEA
What’s new chief ? I hope the thugs
have not been bothering the people.

PATEL
No , all is quiet and peaceful
right now.

FERRANGHEA
Yes , not likely , the Company has
taken strict measures to keep them in check.

PATEL                                                              Where are you going ?

FERRANGHEA
We are travellers on our way to
Jubbalpore.

There is an uproar in the village .
97.

VILLAGERS
Pakado, pakado thug hain. Maro.
(English translation)
Watch out , they are thugs. Don’t let them escape .

Ferranghea comes out. Looks. His horse is fleeing and the police are chasing the thugs. Ferranghea runs after his horse and catches up with him in the fields. He mounts his horse and gallops off.

INT.SLEEMAN’S OFFICE-DAY
Five of the thugs are standing in front of Sleeman, their hands tied. One of them is Khaderu. The other is Meer.

SLEEMAN
So , you are Ferranghea’s gang
members. I know your type. With these hands you have butchered many innocents. All for money. Many women are widowed due to you. Many children have been orphaned. You are criminals. Don’t you go to hell for committing murder?

MEER
Never. We only do it on orders from
Devi.

SLEEMAN
Don’t ghosts of your victim haunt
you ?

MEER
Never, Devi protects us.

SLEEMAN
You are a Muslim, aren’t you? Then,
how come this belief in Devi?

KHADERU
Devi is mother to us all, whether
Hindu or Musalman.

SLEEMAN
(to Lt. Johnson, standing
near by)
Bloody rogues. Criminals like this have no God but their own criminal intent.
(to the thugs)                                                  (MORE)
98.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) Ferranghea kahan hai? Where is
Ferranghea?

The thugs are silent.

DURGA-ONE OF THE MEN                                       We have no idea, sir. He is in
hiding somewhere. Maybe Jhurhoo will know.

Khaderu Gives him a glare.

SLEEMAN                                                             Who is Jhurhoo.

DURGA
(scared and stammering)
His brother,sir.

SLEEMAN (shouting)
Chobdar. ( Doorman)

Doorman comes running in. He is a little nervous too.

DOOR MAN
Jee , huzoor. ( Yes, sir )

SLEEMAN
Tell the sepoy to take them away
and lock them up in the Jubbulpore jail.

DOOR MAN
Jee Huzoor. ( Yes, sir )

He runs out. The sepoys come running in and roughly take the prisoners out.

SLEEMAN (to Lt. Johnson)
I have an idea.

I/E- NARSINGHPUR TEMPLE-TUNNELS-DAY
Ferranghea enters the temple, bows his head devoutly and then swiftly opens a door behind the statue , goes inside. There is another wall but just beside it is an opening which is just bricked up with loose stones. He pushes the stone inside, leaving a gaping hole, climbs in and puts the stones back in their place. Ferranghea runs through the tunnels, panting. We see a posse with Lt. Johnson in the lead, galloping.
99.

INT.- CHRISTCHURCH, JUBBALPORE- DAY Amelie is praying.

AMELIE (V.O.) Le Bon Dieu,
A few words of the prayer are heard in French and the same is translated in English and overlapped with the following words in English

AMELIE (CONT’D) (V.O.) Come to our aid Dear God in this
hour of need. Protect us, my Lord. Help my husband to fulfill his mission. And God, if it is not too much trouble, can I have a son? But, I don’t want to worry you, if it is not part of your plans, but just telling you what is in my heart. I think that is allowed, n’est pas? Merci Beaucoup, Lord.

Amelie makes the sign of the cross and gets up and goes out of the church as bells ring.

INT.-SLEEMAN’S BEDROOM -NIGHT
Amelie and Sleeman have just made love. Amelie is lying in Sleeman’s arms.

AMELIE                                                           Cherie,.

Sleeman looks at her, a loving expression on his face as she speaks her heart out.

AMELIE (CONT’D)
I went to the church today. To pray
to keep you safe from Ferranghea and his gang. I am very scared for you.

Tear come to her eyes. Sleeman wipes her tears.

SLEEMAN
Don’t be, my darling. Your husband
is well able to look after himself. In fact, more than that I’m worried about you.
100.

AMELIE
Oh no. Please don’t fear for my
safety stand in the way of your duty.

SLEEMAN
Thank you, my darling . You are
very brave.

AMELIE
I have to be. I am the wife of a
brave British officer.

SLEEMAN
That you are and such bravery
should not be without its rewards.

AMELIE (turning to him)
Oh yes, You can reward me right away.

SLEEMAN
(laughing and taking her
in his arms)
I was thinking in terms of a little camping holiday in a little mango orchard.

AMELIE
Ooo, la la . Sounds delicious. I
love mangoes.

EXT.-MANGO ORCHARD-DAY
DISSOLVE TO:
Several tents are pitched in an orchard. Amelie walks in the orchard admiring the trees laden with fruits. There is flash of green as two parakeets fly by. Far off in the distance the horizon is red with the flame of the forest trees. One can hear the sound of the koel (cuckoo) calling. Amelie walks into the tent where hangs her cage with the canary in it. Sleeman is getting ready.

AMELIE
Some breakfast for you, mon cherie?

SLEEMAN
That will be wonderful. But,
something light, if you please. It’s too hot to eat anything heavy.
101.

AMELIE
What about a cool mango lassi ?

SLEEMAN (smiling)
Perfect. What else but a mango lassi if you are in mango orchard.

AMELIE (ringing her bell)
Khansama, khansama.

The cook comes in.

For sahib, one mango lassi.

COOK
Jee, mem sahib. ( yes, Madam )

He goes out.

AMELIE
So, any progress in the matter of
the thugs?

SLEEMAN (looking at his pocket
watch)
Even as we speak, Lt. Johnson is on the first leg of our mission to apprehend Ferranghea.

I/E.- COURTYARD OF FERRANGHEA’S HOUSE- DAY
Lt. Johnson knocks on the door. Mother opens the door. Lt. Johnson questions her. She shakes her head to say no. Lt. Johnson gestures her to stand to the side. Sepoys go in and come out with Jhurhoo. The mother hugs Jhurhoo and cries. The sepoys escort Jhurhoo. The mother runs behind the cavalcade as it gallops away.

INT.-SLEEMAN’S OFFICE-DAY
Jhurhoo stands in shackles in front of Sleeman.

SLEEMAN
You will be tried and the gallows
are waiting for you.

Jhurhoo looks scared.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
It will be better for you if you
tell us Ferranghea’s whereabouts.
102.

JHURHOO                                                                 I do not know sir.

SLEEMAN
He ran away, leaving you behind and
you are still trying to shield him.

JHURHOO
I am speaking the truth, my Lord.
Maybe the zamindar has an idea.

Doorman comes in.

SLEEMAN
Kya hai ? ( What do you want ? )

DOOR MAN
Sir, his mother and sister in law
are here.

Doorman goes out and comes back with Ferranghea’s mother, wife and his son.

MOTHER (crying)
Have mercy, my lord, my son is not guilty of any crime.

SLEEMAN
You asking me to be merciful to
someone who has not shown a shred of compassion to any human being?

The mother is quiet. Ferranghea’s wife puts her hand on her sons head and gives him a little push forward.

WIFE
Please think of this little soul.

SLEEMAN
And what about the many souls which
your husband has despatched, widowed many women, orphaned many children.

The wife keeps quiet.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) Chobdar ( doorman )

Doorman comes running in.

DOOR MAN
Jee huzoor ! (yes sir ! )
103.

SLEEMAN
Tell the sepoys that they will
remain here till such a time that Ferranghea is not found. They should be made comfortable.

DOOR MAN Jee Huzoor ( yes sir )

Doorman goes out. Sepoys come in and take them all out, both women crying and Jhurhoo, wiping the tears from his eyes.

SLEEMAN (to Lt. Johnson)
And now for the Zamindar.

I/E.- TUNNEL OF NARSINGHPUR TEMPLE- DAY
Zamindar and Sleeman stand in the temple. Sounds of stones being dislodged can be heard. After a minute there is a shout, a scuffle and then Ferranghea is brought out by the sepoys.

ZAMINDAR
(trying to look shocked)
What is this I hear? Sahib here is telling me you are a thug !

SLEEMAN (to the sepoys)
Take him to the Jubbulpore jail. (To Ferranghea)
Your family is safe with us.

Ferranghea  glares at Sleeman.

I/E MANGO ORCHARD- A TENT-WHICH IS SLEEMAN’S MAKESHIFT OFFICE -DAY.                                      Sleeman is on his seat. Ferranghea, chained and shackled, is brought into the office by the sepoys. Sleeman reads his file and does not even glance at Ferranghea . After 10 minutes.

SLEEMAN
Your friends have told us
everything. They have become King’s evidence. It will be better if you too tell us everything.

Ferranghea keeps quiet.
104.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
You are a criminal . You will be
tried and the gallows are waiting for you . Your wife will be widowed , Your children will beg from door to door. Khaderu will sleep with your wife. And he will make her sweep his floors. Your wife and children will go through what you have made others suffer. Eternal damnation will be your lot.

Ferranghea keeps quiet

SLEEMAN (CONT’D) (to everyone in the room)
Tum sab log bahar jao. (English translation)
All of you go out.

They all go out. Sleeman takes out his watch and puts it on the table .

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)
If you want to save your life you
can become a state approver. Yes or No, you have exactly one minute to decide .

Silence as the watch ticks. At the end of one minute .

FERRANGHEA                                                                 Haan ( yes )

SLEEMAN
How many have you killed ?

FERRANGHEA
791. Pity you did not allow me the
1000.

SLEEMAN
When was the last incident ?

FERRANGHEA                                                     Three months ago.

SLEEMAN                                                          Where ?

FERRANGHEA
Exactly where your tent is pitched.
105.

SLEEMAN                                                            Show me.

The group is led to Captain Sleeman’s tent.

SLEEMAN (CONT’D)                                          Darling we want to discuss
something . Do you mind going to the mess tent.

AMELIE
But don’t take too long, I want to
rest.

Digging starts. First some rags are pulled out. And then five bodies are taken out including a child. Thus they dig at three places and take out 21 bodies. While they are digging Patne comes and stands on the side. Ferranghea glares at him and spits on the ground. They dig a grave. There is a skeleton with a Hansli (anklet ) the same Patne had given to Gauri. Patne looks at it and his face blanches. He sits on his haunches and cries. Sleeman looks at him sympathetically.

INT – A HALL – DAY
Seated around a table are six generals, six civilians. The meeting is presided over by Lord Bentick. Enter Captain Sleeman. Sleeman opens out a map.

SLEEMAN
Here is a map of the territory over
which thugs operate. We have been following them, taking them in piece meal operations; warning other thugs and allowing them to escape or lie low. A concentrated effort is required . We would require at least 3000 troops. The area is divided into six regions each commanded by a Lt. Col. Completion of the operation will take at least two years. We start combing the area from 15th October. Operations go right up to monsoons. After monsoons we operate again in October. The job is that we search all suspicious travelers , follow them right up to their abodes. Establish their identity ,if not prosecute them.
106.

LORD BENTICK
If Captain Sleeman would kindly
leave us to confer.

Captain Sleeman goes out.

LORD BENTICK (CONT’D) Well, gentlemen. Here we have an
excellent plan. It is our duty to free this country from these parasites. Captain Sleeman is a devoted man who should be in charge

GENERAL I
Not in his present rank .

GENERAL 2
He should be a Colonel at least .

LORD BENTICK
So we are agreed upon to entrust
this work to Capt. Sleeman. ( He calls out )
Chobdar , Captain Sleeman ko Salaam
doh.
(English translation)
Chobdar, ( Doorman ) Request Captain Sleeman to come in.

Captain Sleeman enters

LORD BENTICK (CONT’D) Colonel Sleeman….
(Sleeman is shocked )
We have decided to entrust the work of thuggee extermination to you .

SLEEMAN
Thank you , my lord but I am too
junior to be promoted so fast.

LORD BENTICK
That is for us to decide. You can choose your team and troops. Best of Luck, sir.
FADE OUT.
107.

TIGHTENING THE DRAG NET. FOUR BATTALIONS COMB A FOREST AREA. THERE ARE TWELVE COMPANIES UNDER THE COMMAND OF THE MAJOR. VARIOUS AREAS ARE ALLOTTED TO THEM. THEY MOVE TOWARDS A PREDETERMINED POINT. THEY SURROUND TRAVELERS AND THUGS ALIKE. FERRANGHEA ESTABLISHES THEIR IDENTITY. HE POINTS OUT TOWARDS THE MEMBERS. SOMETIMES NAMING THEM SOMETIMES INDICATING INCIDENTS. PRISONERS ARE QUESTIONED DEEPLY BY INTERROGATORS.

INT.- JUBBULPORE PRISON- DAY
Thugs are locked up in groups of ten in the prison. Jhurhoo is in one of the groups. Ferranghea is not there. A Jailor comes in

JAILOR.                                                                   Jhurhoo, kaun hai?
(English translation) Who among you                       is Jhurhoo?
JHURHOO                                                          Main, Huzoor.
(English translation) It is I , sir.

JAILOR
Come on, your mother has come to
meet you.

Jhurhoo goes out with the jailor.

INT.- ANOTHER ROOM IN THE PRISON- DAY
Ferranghea’s mother looks at Jhurhoo in shackles and starts weeping. Jhurhoo goes and touches his mother’s feet. The mother puts out her hand to bless him

MOTHER                                                              Jug, jug,ji…..
(English Translation) Live long…..
She starts crying again.

JHURHOO
Don’t cry mother. Send of your son
to the gallows with a smile and pray to Ma Kali that I am born your son in every life.

Mother cries.
108.

JHURHOO (CONT’D)
I could not repay the debt a son
owes to his mother of the milk she fed him for him to be thus. Forgive me I am helpless.

Mother cries. Jhurhoo turns around and walks away

EXT. – PRISON GROUNDS – EVENING
Fifty Thugs are going to be hanged . It is the Evening before hanging .
They sing :
Bairgiya nala zulam zor Jahan base hain teen chor . Jab tabla baje dhin dhin Tab ek ek par teen teen .
(English translation) Hell and Fury at the Bairagya stream,
Three thieves live there and dream.
When the drums beat, one two three.
They all fall on one and he gets creamed.

EXT -GROUND – DAY
Ten platforms . A hangman steps forward to put the noose around Jhurhoo’s neck. He lifts his hand to stop him.

JHURHOO
Hey , don’t touch me with your
filthy hands. You low caste, we will not even drink water from your hands.

He puts the noose aronud his neck and shouts.

JHURHOO (CONT’D)                                                Jai Ma Kali

ALL THE THUGS (shouting)
Jai Ma Kali
109.

In this way each thug puts the noose around his neck , shouts Jai Kali, echoed by those left behind and swings.

EXT. JUBBULPORE JAIL -DAY
Ferranghea is in shackles. His mother, wife and son are there to see him off. He touches his mother’s feet who cries and hugs him. His wife touches his feet and cries. Ferranghea hugs his son and looks up at Sleeman.

FERRANGHEA
We are off, sir. But what about our
children ?

SLEEMAN
We will take care of them.

The rest of the film is only in visuals with a voice over

EXT-OPEN GROUND-DAY.
A Banner with Felicitation Ceremony. (Abhinandan samaroh) written on it. On the dais are a Collection of Indians who praise Sleeman for the good deed done.
Visual of Thugs being sent to jail or hung or on a ship sailing to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
NARRATOR (V.O.)
Because of Ferranghea’s capture and
the extraordinary work done by Captain Sleeman 400 thugs were hung and 3000 sent to jail .

Visual of thugs making carpet.

NARRATOR (CONT’D) (V.O.) Many were employed in a factory to make carpets.

A school with children studying, one of the children is Ferranghea’s child.

NARRATOR (V.O.) (CONT’D) The thugs children were sent to school.

Visual of Amelie and Sleeman travelling, happy. Sleeman hard at work, writing with mounds of papers.
110.

NARRATOR (CONT’D) (V.O.) Sleeman and Amelie left for Sagar in 1831 where he was appointed magistrate. He filed in his report on thuggee and as a result the Department of Thuggeee and Dacaity came into being.

Visual of Village of Kohka and Sleeman meeting Baba Haridas. Sleeman going to temple with Amelie.

NARRATOR (CONT’D) (V.O.) In 1832 Sleeman met Baba Haridas
who advised the childless Sleeman to visit the temple of the Devi. Soon after Sleeman and Amelie had a son, Arthur Henry Sleeman, after four years of marriage.

Visual of town of Sleemanabad.

NARRATOR (V.O.) (CONT’D) A grateful Sleeman distributed 100
acres of land to the villagers of Kohka which came to be known as Sleemanabad.
Visual of Devi temple and bell. A lamp burning.

NARRATOR (V.O.) (CONT’D) Sleeman also presented a bell to
the temple and made arrangements to keep a lamp burning in his name. This lamp burnt bright till the year 1996.
Visual of flame guttering and then dying off.

NARRATOR (CONT’D) (V.O.) The lamp extinguished in the year of 1996.

Visual of just the smoke of the flame rising.

NARRATOR (CONT’D) (V.O.) Of such fickle metal is fame
wrought and so short is the memory of a grateful nation.
THE END.
Story & screenplay – Bhagwan Shukla

THUGS
Story & screenplay by
BHAGWAN SHUKLA
Email: bhagwanshukla@yahoo.co.uk
Registered with the Library of Congress – PAu3-074229

PAu003074229 / 2006-10-13

THE BIRDS’ TALE ( A children’s play for adults ) To figure this one out you have to read the play .

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A BIRD’S TALE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Melody: a little cuckoo bird, our heroine.

Cuckoo: Melody’s mother who had abandoned Melody in Caw-gee’s nest.

Caw-gee: motherly crow with a brood of four.

Do-ray: Caw-gee’s first born, a musician.

Me-Far: a fat crow, younger to Do-ray. He plays the drums.

So-La: the third boy who plays the flute.

Ti-do: the girl crow, who plays the triangle.

Mr. Rabid: Music Tutor to the crows. He wears the Talibani turban and sports a beard, no moustache. This is to distinguish him from the rest of the Muslims of the world who are not rabid.

Senor Julio: a thrush, who is blind.

Gee-Peck: a middle aged peacock who is beautiful but ashamed of his ugly feet which are always clad in big clod-hopping boots. He is a classical Indian dancer. He loves Flow-Jo, the deer.

Flow-Jo: An athlete who is extremely fashion conscious. She loves Gee-Peck. She is middle-aged and is lost in youthful dreams.

Banana-Drama: A rocking monkey who is a Disc Jockey. He cool clothes, a bandana on his head, a single ear-ring, black shades and a carries a walk-man. Talks like a black rap singer.

Peter: a parrot.

Laurel/ Hardy: two rabbits.

Butterflies; a few small, a few big.

Kite-King – a king who is inordinately fond of the good life.

Guru God-man: Master of ceremonies,and later,the home minister to Kite-King. He is a crane who never stands on his two feet. He wears a white robe, a saffron shawl and a green Muslim cap (the three colors to show his affiliation to all communities- Hindu, Muslim, Christian). Around his neck he wears a beaded rosary with a cross and a Hindu caste mark on his fore-head and sports a beard. He wears glasses to show he is erudite.

Dr. Charlie: Court doctor to Kite-King who looks and acts like Charlie Chaplin.

Platy- pus: A contestant from Australia.

Pee-wee-King: A Chinese contestant.

Freezer: The judge who is a penguin. Peace-meal: a pigeon.

Mrs. Brown: a sparrow who is Cuckoo‘s maid. She is very hilly- billy.

Mr. Brown: Mrs. Brown’s alcoholic husband who is down on his luck and so drowns his sorrow in liquor.

Alien: he has come from a galaxy far, far away so can look like nothing on earth.

Audience: any number of actors, children or adults can be added to the cast in order to make a statement. The director can give free rein to his creativity.
Set direction: A few golden bars to denote luxury as well as being caged can be placed in Kite-king’s court as well as in Cuckoo’s bed chamber.

THE BIRD’S TALE

ACT 1

SCENE 1

Place: The jungle/Time:An hour before dawn. The jungle sleeps. Characters: All the animals of the jungle except Kite-King, his courtiers and the contestants from Australia and China

CUCKOO’S VOICE
Ko hoo Ko hoo

As the first rays of the sun touch the jungle we see Cuckoo tip-toe on to the stage holding the wing/hand of a little cuckoo bird.

LITTLE CUCKOO
Mom,Where are you taking me? I am scared.

Cuckoo
Shhhh child, I am only doing what is good for you.
( The little cuckoo weeps )

CUCKOO’S VOICE
Shhhh, Shhhhh.

At one end of the stage is a nest in which dozes Caw-gee along with her brood of four little crows. Cuckoo circles the nest cautiously, pushes the little cuckoo in it and moves stealthily away.

It is morning now. The animals of the jungle are awake. The two rabbits roll on to the stage playfully. A peacock who is wearing huge boots walks in and spreads his feathers and dances in an oriental style. A deer who wears smart trainer shoes munches on grass. The two rabbits dash against the crow’s nest. She opens one eye and looks at them.

LAUREL/HARDY (the two rabbits sing)
Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

FLOW-JO
(Sings in a very sweet voice )
Good morning.

GEE-PECK
(dancing in an oriental way and
singing)
Dha dha dhin dha, dha, dha, dhin dha, dha tin tin ta,dha tin
tin ta

ALL THE ANIMALS (together)
Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

Caw-Gee shakes the nest to wake her children and sings.

CAW-GEE
(singing in a raucous voice)
Rise and Shine, O children of Mine,
There’s much to be done and work is fun,
When the work is over it’s time for some leisure
We’ll dance and sing for the jungle folks pleasure.

All the animals look at each other distressed when she sings the last four lines. The four crows are shaking their wings, reluctant to get up.

DO-RAY:Mom,please, please let me sleep.

ME-FAR: Just five minutes more.

TI-DO: There’s no school today.

There is a sound of snoring from SO-LA. Suddenly CAW-GEE spies the little cuckoo in her nest.

CAW-GEE
Goodness! Who is this?

She shakes the little cuckoo to wake her. The little bird yawns and stretches.

CAW-GEE
Who, in the name of heaven, are you?

Little Cuckoo just shakes her head.

CAW-GEE
Are you mute ?

The four crows caw raucously and circle her. The Little bird shakes her head again. The jungle creatures look at each other amazed and then slowly come towards her.

ME-FAR
(pecking the little cuckoo)
She’s so …B.l.a.c.k.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.I want my Mom.

Do-Ray
She’s so tiny.

TI-DO
(looking at the little cuckoo’s
frightened face)
She’s in a funk.

SO-LA
(pecking the little cuckoo)
Ya, but why don’t you speak. Come on say something.

The little cuckoo bird cries musically.

LITTLE CUCKOO
Kooo hoo boo hooo. Ko hoo boo hoo.
(The four crows shut their ears with their wings/hands)

DO-RAY
What a rough voice!

Me-Far
Stop crying. My ear drums are about to burst.

So-La
You are so ugly.

Ti-Do
And have an ugly voice. It’s so harsh.

The four crows peck the little cuckoo who tries to save herself desperately.

GEE-PECK
(whispering to FLOW-JO)
Goodness gracious. They are calling her sweet voice harsh? Have they ever heard themselves? The jungle is in a tizzy ever since they arrived.

FLOW-JO
True, Mr. Gee-peck. Their cacophony has ruined our peace of mind.

GEE-PECK
Thank your stars Flow-Jo that you are so swift and can run away from their sound of music.
(Looks down at his boot-clad
feet)
Just look at my feet..
(takes out his foot from the boot)
Do they have any purpose at all…I have to wear these heavy boots just to hide them. I can’t even run away from their din.

The crows are pecking the little cuckoo. CAW-GEE picks her up and cradles her in her lap and then turns on the crows.

CAW-GEE
Stop this nonsense right away. You are not going to harass the poor darling.

The LITTLE CUCKOO cries pathetically. The crows shut their ears with their wings.

ME-FAR
All right, all right,Caw, caw, we won’t trouble her. Just tell her to stop the infernal racket.

PETER
(whispering to GEE-PECK)
Ah, the little bird even cries musically.

These little birds are heard by MR. RABID who has just hopped on to the stage.

MR. RABID (closing his ears)
You call her musical. Her voice is enough to burst anyone’s ear drums. Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to the little cuckoo bird)
Don’t cry, my child. I will take care of you.
(she looks angrily at the
crows)
If any of you dare to trouble her, I swear I will..

BANANA-DRAMA
Squeeze their throat. At least we’ll be spared the trauma of
their singing. Anyway, I don’t have to listen to them,I have my means.

(He switches on his walk-man and dances snapping his fingers.)

LITTLE CUCKOO
Koo hoo Boo hoo, Koo Hoo, Bo hoo, Mommy, Mommy.

CAW-GEE
(wiping the little bird’s
tears)
Don’t cry, little one.
(to the crows)
Shoo, go away. Go and get ready. Can’t you see your music
teacher is here.

MR. RABID
Salaam Madam.

All the animal look at each other distressed and react.

PETER
Music class, nooooo, never…
Gotta run

FLOW-JO
Gotta run

Runs from the stage, followed by Peter.

GEE-PECK
(walking away in a dignified
manner his boots clod hopping
away)
I think we have had enough. There is something known as noise
pollution. This racket is harming the environment. Today I am going to definitely write to the home-ministry.

He leaves the stage grumbling, followed by the two rabbits. The monkey is still dancing with his eyes closed.

CAW-GEE
(taking out the ear phones from
his ears)
What’s going on Banana-Drama. Gitt.

BANANA-DRAMA
Cool it mama. When will you recognise true art? We creative critters are always in a trance. We don’t care what’s happening around us.

CAW-GEE (pecking him)
Gitt, creative critter my foot, You are just a remix artiste. I know all about you “types”! Shoo now….

SCENE 2.
SAME TIME/SAME DAY AS SCENE 1. CHARACTERS: ALL THE CHARACTERS OF SCENE 1.

Mr. Rabid is conducting his music class. The little Cuckoo bird who is now called MELODY is sitting close by. CAW-GEE is knitting a sweater and looks up over her spectacles intermittently. The rest of the animals are hiding behind rocks, trees, in the grass. As the music class progresses they try various ways to close their ears.

MR. RABID
All right, my pets, let’s begin.

DO-RAY
Dooooooooooooooooooo

FLOW-JO stuffs her ears with cotton wool)

ME-FAR
Raaaaaaaaaaay
(GEE-PECK puts ear-plugs in his ears and ties a bandage around his head.)

SO-LA
Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
(Peter start banging his head against a tree)

TI-DO
Faa.mmmph Mmmphh
(He wants to sing but PETER’S hand/wing covers his mouth)

Mr. Rabid
What happened?
Ribbid Ribbid! Gitt! How dare you ?
Never mind my pets, they are all jealous of you. Never fear,don’t give up.

MR. RABID
(opening his hitherto closed eyes)
What happened ? Come on, sing.
(he looks at the creatures of the jungle running hither- thither)
What in God’s name is happening here? Shoo,Gitt ! How dare you interrupt our practice session!
(to the crows)
Never mind, my pets, they are all jealous of you. Never fear, don’t give up.
(to the little cuckoo, Melody)
You there,
(Melody looks at him with huge eyes)
Yes, yes, you. Let’s see how well you can sing. Sing with me.
(He croaks)
Do, ray,me, far, so, la,ti, doooooo

The animals close their ears and make all sorts of action and faces.

MELODY
(trying to imitate MR. RABID)
Do, ray, me, fa, so, la, ti,dooooooo

MR. RABID
That’s much better. Just keep practising. One day you will
learn to sing just like us.

(The animals have moved closer.
MR, RABID now looks at the crows and says)

MR. RABID
All right then, my pets. Let’s begin.

THE CAW SONG
Caw, caw, caw, we are the crows four.
Loo, loo, loo, looking for a song to bore.
You, you, you, are our audience for sure,
We,we,we,we have trapped you evermore.

We have trapped you evermore,
And we’ll never let you go,
For if we let you go,
Who’ll buy tickets for the show.

No tickets for the show
Means no money for us bores
No money for us bores means
No future for us crows.

No,no,no,no,please see our shows,
So we don’t eat trash anymore,
We live like kings and sleep like stars,
Take Oprah and Paris and Cruise our cars.
Parties and Photos, glitter and glamor,
We have no talent but still we clamor.
For the good life or la dolce vita
Who cares for talent when we have our teacher.
(Here they look at MR. RABID who hops with excitement)

FADE OUT.

SCENE 3
Place: Another corner of the jungle/ Time: day.
Characters: Melody/Senor Julio who is blind and wearing dark glasses.

Melody is singing a song as she wanders in the jungle.

SONG
The jungle is alive with the sound of music.
If music be the food of love,
love is all I need.
If need is the future of music,
I can do without it,yes sir,indeed.
In deed I will pray,
In prayers I will say,
Give me only music,
only music to share.

As she sings and twirls and hops she bumps into a brown bird who is wearing dark glasses.

MELODY
Goodness,couldn’t you see me ?

SENOR JULIO
No,child. I am blind.

MELODY
Oh! I am sorry.

SENOR JULIO
It’s okay. You are beautiful, child.

MELODY
But,but,I am….
(she looks at herself and then
at SENOR JULIO)
How do you know, you can’t see.

SENOR JULIO
To see you don’t need eyes. A good heart is enough and I can
see you with them, my child. I heard you singing but..Can you come closer?

Melody goes near SENOR JULIO who touches her face with his wings/hands.

SENOR JULIO
Beautiful.
Very beautiful but…..
(his hand/wings linger at her throat)

MELODY That’s not ..I mean that’s my neck.

SENOR JULIO
I know let me finish what I am saying. Your throat is sensitive but there’s something missing here.

MELODY (sadly)
I know MR. RABID also says that. He says I do not know how to sing.

SENOR JULIO
Well child,, if he says that you should be happy. If you sing like him the audience will pelt you with rotten tomatoes and eggs. I didn’t mean you can’t sing.

MELODY
Then what did you mean?

SENOR JULIO
I meant your throat is weak. It is sensitive but it lacks strength.
MELODY Oh, what should I do for that Mr.

SENOR JULIO
(bowing low)
Senor Julio at your service, my child. For that you have to train your voice.

MELODY
(wailing)
Oh what should I do. Who will train me?
(Then looking hopefully at
Senor Julio)
Will you train me?

SENOR JULIO
Of course, child. But on one condition.

MELODY
What condition?

SENOR JULIO
That you will tell no one about me except your mother.

MELODY
Done. I won’t tell anyone.

SENOR JULIO
All right then. Lets make a beginning right away.
(Both sing, first SENOR JULIO followed by MELODY)

SONG
SEVEN NOTES OF MUSIC( from the film Sound of Music)

Doe a deer, a female deer,ray, a drop of golden sun,
Me,a name I call myself,Far a long,long way to run.
So,a needle pulling thread, la,a note to follow so.
Tea, a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back to
Do, o, o, o, Doe,a deer a female deer…..
FADE OUT.

ACT 2.
SCENE 1.
Place: KITE-KING’S Court/Time:Night.
Characters: Kite-King, Cuckoo-Melody’s mother, courtiers.

KITE-KING is seated on a throne and CUCKOO is dancing and singing.)

SONG
I could have danced all night.
(From the film MY Fair Lady)

Cuckoo takes a final twirl, loses her balance and falls.

KITE-KING
Watch out! Did you get hurt?

(Gets up, places her hand on her hips and limps a bit)
Oh no, Sire, Just a little sprain.

KITE-KING
I have told you again and again and again that you are not as
young as before. It’s high time you retired so that we can get a new court dancer.
(From Cuckoo’s expression we can see that she does not like the idea.)
All right, let’s get this message across that we are going to hold a huge contest and whoever wins is going to get lots of goodies.

CUCKOO
Yes, Your highness, Kite- King.

She limps out of the court with a sour expression on her face.

KITE-KING
(to one of the courtiers)
See that the message is proclaimed to every nook and corner of the world. Cuckoo is really very crafty. Given half a chance she would even tell me to go fly a kite.

All the courtiers laugh uproariously.

ONE OF THE COURTIERS
Ha ha. That’s funny what his royal highness, the Kite- King just said. Cuckoo is capable of telling him to go fly a kite.
FADE OUT.

SCENE 2.
Place: The jungle/Time:day
Characters: All the inhabitants of the jungle.

The younger animals have grown up. Do-Ray holds a guitar and is the lead singer, Me-Far is on the drums, So-La plays the flute from which instrument emanates a variety of sounds intermittently and Ti-Do beats her metal triangle with a small rod. All the crows are singing THE CAW SONG. Mr. Rabid has a long white beard and wears spectacles. All the creatures of the jungle are dancing to THE CAW SONG.

BANANA-DRAMA
Not bad, I am going to remix this number.

PETER
When will you stop your monkey tricks and stop being a copy
cat. It’s very confusing, all this remix and stuff.

Gee-Peck is dancing and by mistake steps on Flow-Jo’s toes.

FLOW-JO
Ouch, ouch,ouch! Your huge boots have squashed my big toe.

GEE-PECK
Ooops! sorry! sorry! I am so sorry. But you know my problem,don’t you?

The rabbits are also hopping to the music. Melody brings some snacks for everyone.
MELODY
It’s tea time and snacks for everyone.

There are carrots for the rabbits, a long, green chilly for the parrot, a few spinach leaves for the deer and for the peacock there are some brown noodles that look like earth worms. For the butterflies they are some flowers with a straw stuck in the center of each flower. For the crows there are pizzas, burgers and colas. All the creatures eat and drink.

MR. RABID
Ladies and gentlemen creatures. I see that you like our music.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)
Do we have choice in the matter?
(Twisting both his ears with a
painful expression)
Well, it hardly matters now. My ear drums are completely
shattered.

HARDY
(to Laurel)
Yes, just like a snake you know. He can’t hear too, just moves along with the snake charmer’s pipe.

GEE-PECK
(who has a brown noodle
dangling from his beak)
Snake? Who said snake? Where’s the snake?

All the animals are shocked into silence.

MR. RABID
(looks scared and looks around)
Where’s the snake? Snake’s are my mortal enemies.

CAW-GEE
(throws a hard stare in Laurel/Hardy’s direction,then speaks soothingly to Mr. Rabid)
There’s no snake around. Don’t worry Mr. Rabid. If a snake dares to come here Gee- peck here will eat him up for dinner.

The noodles are still hanging from Gee- Peck’s beak. All the animals look at him.

BANANA-DRAMA
Yes,well, let him eat his noodles first. When the snake comes he will eat him as well.

GEE-PECK
Gross. I am not like other pea-cocks who eat snakes. Snakes are our friends actually. They eat up all the animals who are pests like rats,fro…
(Peter quickly shuts his mouth with his hands/wings)

MR. RABID
(puffing with anger)
What did you say? I know what you were going to say. Frogs. Snakes eat pests like frogs.

PETER
(giggling)
No, no. You are quite mistaken sir. How can you be our enemy? You sing so sweetly. Ah, what a melodious voice.

MR. RABID
(cooling down a bit)
All right, all right. There is no need to butter me up. I know you critters like the back of my tongue. You make fun of me and (points to the crows) and my pupils. Now just wait and see, I am going to teach you all a lesson you’ll never forget.

CAW-GEE
(nodding her head)
Yes, to be sure. Mr. Rabid is entering my children in a competition at the court of Kite-King. The winner will be made the court-singer. Later, there is talk of getting a good pension.

PETER
(to a butterfly)
Nothing can beat a good job in the government. Just eat, drink and be merry. No stress!

BUTTERFLY ONE
(flapping her wings)
Betcha ! Now take me for instance. I work in the State Department. All I have to do is fly here and fly there -in the country, out of the country and all for free. No worries man.

CAW-GEE
All right then. It is decided. We are all going to Kite-King’s court to encourage our group. Mr. Rabid has named the band – THE CAW-DOORS BAND.

BANANA-DRAMA
Dude, what kind of a name is that? So old and boring.

GEE-PECK
(whispers to Flow-Jo)
Just like their teacher.

Mr. Rabid over hears this remark and starts to puff up with anger.

MR. RABID
I heard what you said. So I am old and boring! Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(distressed)
Mr. Rabid ! Control your self. You have to watch your blood pressure. You might…..

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Flow-jo)
Burst like a big, fat balloon.
Flow-Jo laughs and then tries to stifle her laughter.

MR. RABID
(in a wild temper now)
Go on laugh away. You, modern, fashionable folks can do little else. What else do you know except to bare your teeth and grin like apes.
(Banana-drama can react here)

CAW-GEE
Get a hold on yourself Mr. Rabid. Please don’t be angry with them. They are all jealous of your talent. I am sure your pupils will get the first prize. That will shut them up.

DO-RAY
Yes, sir, please don’t worry. We are sure to make you famous all over the world.

ME-FAR
The world of music will remember you for ever and for ever.

TI-DO
And we’ll be big stars too. Everyone will look at us and
sing, Twinkle, twinkle little stars,

SO-LA
How I wonder what you are.

CROWS (together)
Twinkle, twinkle little star,how I wonder what you are.

MELODY
Mom, I want to be a star too.

The crows are silent and look at each other.

DO-RAY
No way Jose.

ME-FAR
You, don’t know how to sing. Everyone will laugh at you.

TI-DO
And then, no one’s going to take us seriously too because you are tagging along with us.

MELODY (crying)
Ko hooo, Boo, hoo.

CAW-GEE
Oh, Melody. Don’t cry baby. You will take part in the
contest. I’ll see who dares stop you from participating.

Mr. Rabid who had opened his mouth to say something shuts it hastily.

SO-LA
Mom, if she wants to be a part of the contest she can but only after we are done.

CAW-GEE
Why so ?

SO-LA
Because, if the audience runs away after hearing her song who is going to listen to us then,duh!

TI-DO
Don’t be mean So-La!

SO-LA
(to Melody)
Melody, you can help us okay, back-stage, but don’t you dare open your beak to sing.

CAW-GEE
Stop it, all of you. If Melody wants to be in the contest she’s going to get her chance too.

GEE-PECK
(to Flow-Jo)
Yes, one must dance when one gets the chance. I think I will take part in the contest too. After all, I am trained classical dancer from India.
(Flow-Jo bats her eye lashes)

BANANA-DRAMA
And I think I will present a couple of my items too. How long can I hide my talent from the world!

MR. RABID
This contest is not for grinning apes and copy cats.

GEE-PECK
And why not? If tuneless and ugly artistes can participate then why not copy cats?

MR. RABID
Ribbid! Ribbid! Hold your tongue you mangy bird or I will tear and crush your beautiful feathers which you so proudly display.

GEE-PECK
Are you capable of anything else? You are jealous of me because neither do you have looks, nor talent. All you know is to croak in the rains- ribbid, ribbid, and that’s what you are teaching these poor crows.

MR. RABID
(angrily)
Oh, I see. So that’s what you think of me. I am not going to leave any of you. You will all have to pay for this insult.

CAW-GEE
(desperately trying to calm Mr. Rabid)
Mr. Rabid, calm down, please calm down or you will get sick.

BANANA-DRAMA (to Peter)
I hope he goes for a long spell to the hospital. Then we can have some peace and quiet in the jungle. He is such a bore. I am sick to my teeth of his infernal racket.

MR. RABID
Ribbid! Ribbid! The cheek of this monkey. He wants to send me to the hospital. I am going to fix him first.

CAW-GEE
Mr. Rabid! Please, pretty please, calm down. We should all live in the jungle in peace and quiet.

MR. RABID
Now there is going to be peace and quiet after I have taught each one of these creatures a lesson and kicked them out of the jungle.

BANANA-DRAMA
And what if we all got together and threw you out, then what are you going to do?

MR. RABID
Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to all the creatures)
Be quiet,all of you. Who told you creatures to poke your nose in our affairs. Apologize to Mr. Rabid at once. You have hurt his feelings.

BANANA-DRAMA
And what about him. He has shattered the peace and quiet of
the jungle, what about that, huh?

BUTTERFLY ONE
Yes, and once when I was flying a little low he flicked his long tongue and tried to catch me. I was so scared, I swear.

MR.RABID
Come on, you liar.

BUTTERFLY TWO
No, of course not I am telling the truth.
(Addressing the other butterflies)
Ask them, aren’t I telling the truth?

All the butterflies nod their heads vigorously.

BUTTERFLIES
True, absolutely true. He hides in the grass and whenever he
gets the chance he flicks out his tongue to catch us.

Caw- gee looks at Mr. Rabid.

MR. RABID
(trying to cover his
discomfiture)
What’s got into these butterflies?
(Looking at Banana-Drama)
This is all this monkey’s tricks to throw me out of the jungle. He has no talent to speak of and that’s why he is envious of me.

BANANA-DRAMA
Just exactly what talent do you have dude? You have one talent and that you don’t need air to puff up like a balloon but all I have to do is stick a pin in you and you will deflate – Whooooooooooosh.

All the animals laugh uproariously and Mr. Rabid hops up and down and says “Ribbid” Ribbid” many times.

Caw-Gee claps her hand/wings and says peremptorily

CAW-GEE
(Clapping her wings/hands)
Peace, peace.
(Addressing all the creatures)
What has got in to all of you? Is this your culture? Is this civilized?

PETER
Culture and Civilization can boil themselves in oil, for all we care, Madam. I mean, everything has its limits. And this critter here has crossed all limits. And now we are not going to keep quiet. We are going to shout and scream and burst his ear drums so that he knows too what we go through day in and day out.

CAW-GEE
(brings her hand/wings together
to pacify him)
Brothers, I beg you, put an end to this quarrel. Look, the sun is about to set. It’s time to sleep peacefully in our homes. The morrow’s sun will bring a new day when we can live in peace and harmony with each other.

GEE-PECK
That’s is possible only if this critter here refrains from shattering the peace of the jungle or we restrain him.

CAW-GEE
No, no, no, my friends. Please be patient. He is just a little hot tempered but he is very warm-hearted other wise. He will make our jungle famous one day, you wait and watch.

PETER
Caw-nee,( pronouncing it as corny) I mean Caw-Gee. You are partial to him today but one day you are going to regret this. He will take a deep breath and plunge into the water leaving you to face the music.

CAW-GEE
Don’t say that, my son. He is an artiste and artistes are very simple.

PETER
He’s not simple, he’s a pimple, an ugly boil on the face of
the earth but by the time you realize this it may be too late.

CAW-GEE
(bringing her wings/hand
together in the attitude of a judge)
Order, order. Or you will be behind bars for disturbing the peace of the community.

LAUREL (to Hardy)
Behind bars. Whatever is that?

HARDY
It means to drink so much that you can’t see what is right
and what is wrong. You are cool with everything, even their singing.

LAUREL/HARDY
But, we don’t mind looking at them, we just don’t want to
hear them, especially when they start singing.

GEE-PECK
What are you both muttering about? To throw behind bars means
to send you to jail, to lock you up, to put you in the slammer.

LAUREL/HARDY
(together)
Ooooooooh! Who does Caw-Gee want to lock up ?

PETER
Caw- Gee wants to lock all of us up because she wants her
kids to be stars and since we don’t like their music she
feels humiliated.

HARDY

I see. If Caw-Gee wants her kids to be stars the what will
Mr. Rabid be ?

BANANA-DRAMA
Well, he’s round and full, so he’s a moon, dude.

FLOW-JO
No way, The moon’s too good for him, he’s just a pumpkin, the
one you see on Halloween.

All the animals laugh uproariously. Mr. Rabid hops up and down, furious.

MR. RABID
Ribbid, ribbid .

LAUREL (To Hardy)
Why does he keep croaking ribbid, ribbid? What does it mean?

HARDY
It means that when you don’t know what you want to say you
cover it up by jumping up and down and shouting ribbid, ribbid.

GEE-PECK
No, no, Ribbid means….

MELODY
Koooooooo

CAW-GEE
Yes, yes, my child I completely forgot where the matter all
began and look, where it has all ended. I am sorry to say the world is not too kind to a single mom who is only trying to do what’s best for her children.

FLOW-JO

No, non, Caw-Gee, that’s not true. We are all happy for Do-ray, Me-far, So-la and Ti-do but….

GEE-PECK
But, we only object to a certain individual who is only wants to confuse you so he can get what he wants.

BANANA-DRAMA
Ya man, Kaw-Nee ( pronounced Corny), I mean Kaw-Gee. We are all talented man in our own way. But, suppose someone is not
talented and the other person tries to thrust talent down his throat then that’s not cool, man.

MR. RABID
(jumping up and down angrily)
How can you say that, you ape, that my pupils have no talent.
I’ll show you. What do you know about talent, anyway, you copy cat!

Mr. Rabid’s eyes are bulging with anger and his tongue is lolling out.

BANANA-DRAMA
Careful dude, watch your step man or I’ll pull out your tongue which helps to put food in your stomach. I ( pointing to Caw-gee) was talking to her, not to you.

MR. RABID
(cooling down)
What do you mean? I didn’t understand.

BANANA-DRAMA
I was telling her that she has thrust the title of artiste on you when you don’t have no talent man.

MR. RABID
What did you say? I don’t have any talent. For your information I won the first prize in a huge musical show.

GEE-PECK
We know all about that. It was just a show for frogs and that too during the monsoon when all the creatures were hiding from the rains.

BANANA-DRAMA
And to top it, all the frogs find a well so that no other creature can participate in the contest.

FLOW-JO (giggling)
Fair- weather frogs , oops, I mean rainy- weather frogs find a deep well and croak away to glory and then pat each other
on the backs and divide the prize amongst themselves.

PETER
Yup, these kind of shenanigans are the speciality of film
festivals and award functions. They are one big family who
award each other at the function and then come back happily
to party the night away.

GEE-PECK
Yes, and the rest of the world can boil themselves in oil,
for all they care.

MR. RABID
What is this boil in oil, boil in oil, that you go on about?

GEE-PECK
Oh, the whole world moves on oiled wheels, don’t you know
that? Oil is really important. If there is no oil, the whole
world will come to a stand still. But what do these frogs
care? They are just happy croaking away!

MR. RABID
Ribbid! RIBBID !

GEE-PECK
Exactly!

LAUREL/HARDY
But what does ribbid mean?

MELODY
Kooooo
(all the creatures look at her)

CAW-GEE
Yes, my child, you will be in the contest too.

ALL THE CROWS
Mom!

CAW-GEE
Quiet, all of you. If Melody wants to compete in the contest,
then she is going to get her chance.

ALL THE CROWS
No way Mom! What will everyone think?

CAW-GEE
Quiet,not a word from you. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?
(To Melody)
You start your practise, child.

She leaves, shaking her head,grumbling
to her self.

To bring up children is quite a task. It’s not easy being a
single mom.

The crows peck Melody and she runs from
the stage cooing away. The other
animals, except Mr. Rabid, follow her.
Mr. Rabid hops in the other direction.
Midway he stops and addresses the audience.

MR. RABID
Did all you folks note their behavior? Well, I am not going
to spare them. I am going to teach them a lesson come what
may. The sky can fall or the earth can shake I will not rest
till I teach them a lesson. I too have a weapon that they
know not. Now, all of you just wait for the explosion!

He hops off. Suddenly there is a loud
crash and we hear Mr. Rabid’s loud voice shouting Ribbid)

MR. RABID (O.S.)
Who put this tub of water in the way? I am soaking wet.

BANANA-DRAMA (O.S.)
This is for you Mr. Rabid. You need to have a good wash
before you compete with us.

MR. RABID
Ribbid! Ribbid!

The sound of laughter of all the jungle folks.

SCENE 3
PLACE:A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE/DAY

CHARACTERS:ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE JUNGLE EXCEPT MR. RABID,CAW- GEE, AND THE FOUR CROWS. MELODY SITS IN THE CORNER.

Gee-Peck is dances in an oriental way
while Laurel and Hardy play a percussion instrument from India- the tabla

GEE-PECK
Dha,dha,tirkit, ta dha, krandha,krandha,tirkit, tirkit, ta
tha.

All the animals clap enthusiastically.

BANANA-DRAMA
Cool, very cool. No, no, I mean, hot, very hot.

FLOW-JO
(laughing)
You better decide whether Mr. Gee-Peck’s dance is cool or hot.

HARDY
I think it’s neither cool nor hot it looks like he is playing
the fool.

ALL THE ANIMALS
Whaaaaaaaaaaat!

HARDY
Well, if Mr. Gee Peck is gonna dance with such huge boots it’s not our dance but kinda like a tap dance.

BUTTERFLY ONE
Tap dance, whatever is that?

LAUREL
We had seen it when we had gone abroad once. The dancers wore huge boots and were dancing. And very fast too.

GEE-PECK
Oh well, compared to them I am a nothing. Neither here nor there.

FLOW-JO
Why don’t you just present a demo. Don’t take part in the competition.

PETER
Then who is going to represent us? We do need to teach Mr.
Rabid a good lesson.

Everybody is thinking.

MELODY
Coooooo

All the animals look towards her.

MELODY (cont’d)
Will all of you give me a chance to sing on your behalf?

BANANA-DRAMA
But can you sing? You have a sweet voice but professional
training is what you need.

MELODY
I have trained professionally. But I can’t reveal the name of
the maestro. It’s top secret.

PETER
All right, in that case why don’t you sing and let us decide.

ALL THE ANIMALS (together)
Hear! hear! let us hear you.

MELODY
All right.

She comes to the center of the stage
and sings.

SONG
The hills are alive with the sound of music.
(from the film Sound of Music)

She sings a few lines and then stops. The animals are quiet
for a moment and then clap enthusiastically and
shout”hear,hear,” and “bravo”!

GEE-PECK
Wonderful! What a melodious voice! Perfectly in tune and
rhythm.

BANANA-DRAMA
Rocking! Simply rocking!

FLOW-JO
All right then, it is decided. Melody will represent us.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(all together)
Yes,yes.

PETER
All right Melody. You have to win the first prize. We’ll
never get a chance like this one to teach Mr. Rabid a good
lesson.

MELODY
All that is fine but let’s not forget my brother’s are also
taking part in the contest. If I win they are going to feel bad.

FLOW-JO
Well, just listen to the wee bird. Everyone takes part in the contest,girl. But, this must be the first time I am hearing that someone is afraid to take part in the contest for fear of winning!

BANANA-DRAMA
That happens only when the results are “fixed” as to who is to win and who is to lose. Then it is smarter to lose for if you dare to win you could lose your life.

FLOW-JO
Yes, but this contest is not one of those ones for the Kite-
King genuinely wants an entertainer for his court,whether it be a singer or a dancer.

PETER
And,not only are you a good singer but you dance well too. I have seen you hopping from branch to branch,from tree to tree.

FLOW-JO (singing operatically)
I could have danced all night…
(she sings two lines of the
song from the film My Fair Lady)

GEE-PECK
(sings where she breaks off)
You could have danced all night…..

They look at each other lovingly while the animals look at each other.

PETER
All right, all right, the two of you. How long do you intend
to live in the past?

BANANA-DRAMA
Ya man. You gotta swing with the times dude.
(he snaps his fingers and
dances and sings)

SONG
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Up, up to the sky
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly Up, up to the sky
(from the group Silver Convention)

Just then a pigeon flutters towards
them. All the animals look at each
other amazed

PEACE-MEAL
(the pigeon)
I have brought you a proclamation from Kite -King.

GEE-PECK
Go ahead.

PEACE-MEAL
The Kite-King wants you all to know that you are all welcome to his land but no one is permitted to bring their tutor or teacher with them.

Just then Caw-gee and Mr. Rabid arrive.

BANANA-DRAMA
Oh Caw-nee, I mean Caw-Gee! He has just brought an important message from the King that Mr. Rabid is not permitted in the
contest.

CAW-GEE
Why Not? What kind of rule is that?

PEACE-MEAL
This is not a rule, it’s the law. The contestants cannot be accompanied by their tutors.

MR. RABID
Stuff and nonsense. I am going to go, let me see who dare stop me.

PEACE-MEAL
You are not going to get a visa.

MR. RABID
Why won’t you give me one? What kind of law is this? You can’t do this.

GEE-PECK
Listen, my good fellow, it’s their country, they can do whatever they want.

MR. RABID
I’ll see who will stop me from entering the country. I have my ways.

FLOW-JO
God forbid. Illegal alien. Are you going to break the law?

MR. RABID
Well, by hook or by crook, whatever it takes.

GEE-PECK
Why are you so stubborn Mr. Rabid? And why do you want to force yourself everywhere, even when you are not wanted.
After all, you must be having a place of your own. Why don’t you go and live there peacefully?

BANANA-DRAMA
Well, the fact is his well is very deep and the water’s are very shallow and murky. And there are many frogs like him who go ribbid, ribbid all the time. That’s why this dude has run
away and come here.

PETER
Well if he has run away and come here then he needs to sit quietly in a corner. Where’s the need to go ribbid, ribbid all the time.

GEE-PECK
Force of habit, my friend, force of habit.

MR. RABID
Ribbid, ribbid.

CAW-GEE
Mr. Rabid, don’t you bother about what they all say. Peace, my friend, peace.

PEACE-MEAL
Did you say some thing to me ?

CAW-GEE
I said Peace.

PEACE-MEAL
Yes, that’s my name Peace-Meal. In short, Peace.

ALL THE ANIMALS
Whaaaaaaaaat?

PEACE-MEAL
Yes, I am the pigeon of Peace. Another bird was in charge of this work but ever since the hunters have got rid of her I am now in charge of this work.

BANANA-DRAMA
I see. Yes, the dove was the messenger of peace but now he is extinct like the dodo bird. And now you are in charge of this work.

PEACE-MEAL
Yes, and now I am going to fly off too. Farewell.

He flies away.

All the animals sing

SONG
Fly, robin, fly…

BANANA-DRAMA (to Mr. Rabid)
Well, you better live in peace in the jungle. We’ll take a quick tour of the world and come, man.

GEE-PECK
And if you get too bored you still have your well where the other frog’s await you.

MR. RABID
Ribbid!Ribbid! Looks like you are not going to behave yourselves. Go fly a kite.

BANANA-DRAMA
Hellooo, we are going to meet the Kite-King. How can we fly a kite here?

All the animals laugh uproariously at his joke.

GEE-PECK
Great joke! We can’t fly a kite here coz we are going to meet the Kite-King!! Ho Ho Ho. Well said Banana-Drama.

Banana-Drama pulls up his collar and smirks.

CAW-GEE
Melody, what are you doing here this late. Come into the nest. It’s time to go to bed. We have to leave early tomorrow.
(Addressing the other animals)
Come along, all of you too.

BANANA-DRAMA
No way Mam. I was thinking of going to the disco. I have just got a new job as the D.J. I have to play all the latest hit songs.

CAW-GEE
You have to play, that’s all. Anyone can do that for you, they don’t need you for that. Go. Go to sleep, or you will all miss the flight tomorrow.

BANANA-DRAMA
All right Caw-Nee, I mean Caw-Gee. We respect you, that is why we listen to you Mam or
(looking at Mr. Rabid)
By this time we would have got rid of certain individuals.

Goes away singing “Black is black,
I want my baby back”by Los Bravos)

Mr. Rabid looks at him furiously. All the animals leave.
Only Mr. Rabid remains on stage.

MR. RABID
We’ll see who will get rid of whom. I will destroy all of  you. I have a secret weapon and that weapon is going to spell your doom.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 4.
PLACE: CUCKOO’S LUXURIOUS BED CHAMBER WHICH IS FURNISHED WITH A FEW GOLDEN RODS TO DENOTE LUXURY AND THE FEELING OF BEING CAGED/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS: CUCKOO/A PIGEON/MRS. BROWN/MELODY

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. There is a
knock on the door.
CUCKOO’S VOICE
Come in
(A pigeon comes in and bows
before Cuckoo.)
Did you do what I told you to do?

PIGEON
Yes madam,I told both my friends to keep an eye on the contestants and to let me know who among them is the best.

CUCKOO
And?

PIGEON
According to my sources the most talented of the lot is a young singer named Melody.

CUCKOO
All right then, go and invite her. Tell her I want to meet her tomorrow, in the evening. Tell her I want to give her tips to help her win the contest.

PIGEON (bowing respectfully)
To be sure Madam.

(Goes away)

CUCKOO
(putting her wings/hand
together)
Wants to replace me, indeed! We’ll see about that. I am going to teach her such a lesson that she‘ll go crying to her mamma. After I am done with her she’ll not even be able to eat, forget about tweet.
(she claps peremptorily)
Where is everyone? Yoohooo, I say, yoohoo.

A little sparrow comes in running.

MRS. BROWN
Yes Madam

CUCKOO
Are you deaf Mrs. Brown? Your problem is that you are hopping here and there all the time and when there is work to be done you are nowhere to be seen.

MRS. BROWN
(wringing her hands in fear)
Yes madam, to be sure madam. I had just gone to collect some grains and grit                                ( gives a shy smile)                                                    I am expecting five wee ones soon and we’ll need a bigger nest too. Hubby dear can’t
do all the house work, he has to work outside too to make
ends meet.

CUCKOO
(sarcastically)
I know exactly what he does outside. When are you folks going
to change your ways? Your husband has no work, he’s always
drunk in bars and you, you go on producing children. What’s
your husband’s name?

MRS. BROWN
(lowers her eyes shyly clasps
her hand and swings side to
side)
Mr. Lancelot Brown.

CUCKOO
Whatever! Go and tell Mr. Hadalot to take a break and come
and meet me right away. I have some work for him.

MRS. BROWN
Right away Missus (Cuckoo glares at her) I mean madame.

CUCKOO
Now off with you. Go and get me a few grains and salad
leaves. And, bring me a cold glass of water.

MRS. BROWN
(who is a little slow-witted)
To drink ?

CUCKOO (exasperated)
No, to have a bath! Oh God, give me strength that I can deal
with these slow witted and hilly billy sorts. Now, go, O
mother of mine, go and do as I say.

MRS. BROWN
Mother? I am not your mother. I am going to be a mother soon.
(Shyly)
Just a few days to go.

CUCKOO
(stamping her feet)
Are you going to leave or no!

The sparrow hops away

(Cuckoo draws in a deep breath)
What a life! On the one hand I have to deal with these dumb
hilly billy sorts and on the other I have to deal with that
rogue Kite-King who has no other interest in life but to
sing, dance and be merry. Just because I am a little old, I
mean a little mature now, he is scouting around for young
blood. He has one leg in the grave but he behaves like a
young rooster. Anyway, I can handle him and his new singing
sensation, what did pigeon say was her name, ah Yes! Melody.

Fade to black for a few moments to indicate that it is the next day and then we hear’s Melody’s voice.
MELODY’S VOICE
Kooooooo

Lights come on gradually. Melody is
standing on one corner of the stage.

Cuckoo is on the settee in a dishevelled state

MELODY
Madam you called me so here I am. I am a big fan, Madam. Your
songs are an inspiration to me.

CUCKOO
(Yawning)
Really! You are so little then how can you be a big fan?
(Giggling)
Just a joke. Come in, come and sit down.
(Pats the settee)
Come here, come sit next to me.

Melody sits next to her, a little
scared, a little nervous.

CUCKOO
Now then, tell me, where did you learn to sing. I mean, who
is your teacher?

MELODY’S VOICE
(as she thinks)
Senor Julio told me to tell no one but
(addresses Cuckoo)
Mother had appointed Mr. Rabid to tutor all of us.

CUCKOO
(taken aback)
Mr. Rabid! That tuneless frog who goes ribbid, ribbid in the
rainy weather.

MELODY
The same.

CUCKOO
Lordloveaduck!

CUCKOO’S VOICE
(as she thinks to herself)
Did that pigeon make a mistake? How can she be a good singer?
(Addresses Melody)
All right, let me hear you, let me see how you sing.

MELODY
I am sorry, the maestro forbid from singing in front of
anyone.

CUCKOO
Drat it! All right, at least let me hear you sing the seven
notes of melody, just like Mr. Ribbid taught you to sing.

MELODY
Just like Mr. Ribbid taught me to sing. All right.
(she sings hoarsely)
Do, Ray, Me, Far, So, La, Ti, Do.

CUCKOO
(gives an evil smile)
Hear, hear! What a voice. Wonderful, my child. You will
surely win the first prize in this contest.
(Joyfully)
Will you eat something?
(Claps her hands peremptorily)
Mrs. Brown, yoohoo,Mrs. Brown, are you deaf?

Mrs Brown who is wearing an apron and has a duster in which she is wiping her hands comes in running.

MRS. BROWN
Yes Missus
(Cuckoo glares at her)
I mean Madame

CUCKOO
Go and get a cola with ice for her. And get me some hot tea
and don’t forget the ginger.

MRS. BROWN
(as she goes )
Yes missus
(flustered)
I mean Madame

The lights are slowly dimming as we hear Melody.

MELODY’S VOICE
My teacher told me not drink anything cold. And definitely
not any cola. It has chemicals that kill bugs.

CUCKOO
Drat it!

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5. A
PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/CUCKOO/JUDGE-A FAT PENGUIN/ALL THE ANIMALS OF JUNGLE LAND/AUDIENCE WHICH CAN ALSO COMPRISE OF ANY BIRDS,BEASTS OR HUMANS THROUGH WHICH ONE MAY WANT TO MAKE A STATEMENT, AN ALIEN WHO HAS COME FROM ANOTHER GALAXY/MR. LANCELOT BROWN, MRS. BROWN AND THEIR FIVE CHILDREN/GURU GODMAN.

Kite-king comes and sits on his throne.
The audience claps

KITE-KING
Let the contest begin.

The Master of ceremonies is a crane. He holds the mike. He
stands on one foot then the other.

GURU GODMAN
Salaam,Namaste,Good Evening! Ich bin ein Guru Godman and
welcome you all. The Kite-King, in all his benevolence, has
organized this contest magnifique for all of us to enjoy.
Tres bien. Now, I will call on each contestant to come one by
one and I hope you will enjoy their performance. So, first
let me invite.. ( looks at his paper)

PETER (to Gee-Peck)
Why doesn’t he speak in one language,it’s very confusing.

GEE-PECK
So, he can please everyone.

GURU GODMAN
The first contestant tonight is China’s famous singer,
(looking at a paper in his hands)
Who is also trained in the martial arts like judo karate,Pee-
Wee- King.

Everyone claps and Pee-Wee-King comes
on stage and sings in the Chinese Style
and also demonstrates Judo and karate.

PEE-WEE-KING
(Sings in a falsetto)
Chop, chop, chop,chop suey.
Pop, pop, pop, pop goes the weasel.

Top, top, top, top of the Morning,                                                                                                                   Cop, cop, cop, cop out come evening.

Come morning, come evening,
By day and by night,
Buy, buy, buy our motto,
And sell, sell, sell,
When the time is right.

Buy and sell, buy and sell,
Do we care wherever we dwell.
All we want is the ship to sail,
We’ll bail out when the going is hell.
The song concludes and everyone claps.

LAUREL (to Hardy)
He looks like a boy then why does he sing like a girl? And his name is Pee-Wee-King. Is he small or is he a King? And why does he exercise when he sings? I am so confused.

GEE-PECK
So is he. And that is his problem. He can’t decide what he wants, what he wants to be and where he is going? I guess
he’ll make up his mind when the going is hell.

GURU GODMAN
And now is the turn of the famous bird from Australia – Platy-
Pus.

A weird looking bird comes on stage.

LAUREL
Now what kind of bird is this, I just can’t figure it out.

PETER
Nor can it. It hasn’t decided what it wants to be, a bird or
a beast. So its neither here nor there – just a Platy-pus.

LAUREL
That Chinese man should also decide what it wants to be or it
will turn out like this creature-neither here nor there- just a Platy-pus

PLATY-PUS
(Singing)
Fowl is fair and Fair is Fowl
Live we do not cheek by jowl.
Open spaces,weather fair,
Plenty to eat and not a care.
Confused are we and do not dare
To take a stand and show them all
We mean business and will not stick
Any funny business before we kick
All and sundry from our land.
No, no. no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes.
No-yes, no-yes, no- yes, no-yes,
Confused are we, we are confused,
Lord clear the heads of these Platy-pus.

All the creatures clap. We see a short
rotund individual clad from top to toe
in a burqa/abaya coming in. He stands
in a corner. This is Mr. Rabid.
clap.

GURU GODMAN
And now we call on stage four talented singers from the
jungle- Do-ray, Me-far, So-la, Ti-do, to present their song
titled, Black is Black.

The creatures clap and the four crows
come on stage lugging their instruments
which they place with stylized swagger
and superior attitude.

FOUR CROWS
(singing in a rap style)
Black is black and so is white.
Day is day and so is night.
If black is white and day is night
What does it matter if we look a sight,
What does it matter if we give you a fright,
What does it matter if you want us out of sight.
We may be bores
but now-a-days
anything goes.
If anything goes
than what does it matter
If we are not sure of our tunes or our pater.
We follow the credo of all our kind
To stiff the suckers who pay to watch
Our shows and our broadsides divine.
If they now complain,
We’ll not return their money
come thunder or rain.
No, no, that’s not our intention,
No,no,we’ll not allow any intervention,
We want our money
and we’ll hold it tight,
Nothing will cure us,
not even a swift kick
Up our backsides.

At the beginning of the song the
audience is too stunned to react. Then,
they slowly start to close their ears.
Some of them are trying to get out of
the hall. The Kite-King is flapping his
wings in anger. The Guru-Godman hastily
comes on stage. Only the alien is
clapping appreciatively.

GURU GODMAN
Yes, yes, to be sure. I think that is enough for the night.
Due to time constraints we’ll have to cut short this number. We apologize.

The animals are happy. From the
burqa/abaya clad individual comes the
sound of “Ribbid, Ribbid.” All the
Jungle-Land creatures look around
surprised then at each other.

GURU GODMAN
(cont’d)
Finally it is the turn of a young and talented singer. I
invite on stage Melody.

Melody comes on stage. All the
creatures clap. Cuckoo gives an evil
smile.

MELODY
(singing)
The hills are alive with the Sound of Music.
(from the film Sound of Music)
The audience is entranced, particularly
Kite-King. Only the alien is closing
his ears with a pained expression. When
the song is over the creatures clap
enthusiastically and shout
“Bravo,Bravo”and “Hear, Hear!”
Cuckoo looks furious.The Kite-King comes on
stage.

KITE-KING
Well done, well done! Tonight’s program was excellent and
entertaining. I am very pleased.
(The audience claps)
Singers from all parts of the world have entertained us
tonight with songs in many different languages. But music is
one language that brings together people from all over the
world. For music knows no boundaries,no languages,it is above
all. Music touches not our minds but our hearts. And the
entertainer whose song has touched all our hearts is no other
than the winner of tonight’s contest, Melody.

The creatures clap and yell ‘Bravo’ and ‘Hear, Hear!’ Cuckoo looks furious.

KITE-KING (cont’d)
We would like Melody to come on stage and accept her prize.

Melody comes on stage and accepts her
gift. A tiny crown is placed on her
head.

KITE-KING (cont’d)
I am so pleased with Melody’s singing that I hereby appoint
her as our court singer. Henceforth she will live here and
entertain me. The whole world will enjoy her music.
In return Melody will get untold riches and fame….
(The audience claps)

KITE-KING
(cont’d)
And henceforth she will live in a golden cage
(he looks at Cuckoo)
Since our old entertainer is about to retire she will now
live in a brass cage and her cage will be prepared for
Melody.
(It is clear that Cuckoo does
not like the Kite-King’s
suggestion.)

KITE-KING (cont’d)
And Cuckoo, you are hereby appointed Melody’s chaperone.
Please take care that she is taken care of and does not want
for anything.

(Cuckoo stands up and curtsies. Kite-King looks at
Melody)

KITE-KING (cont’d)
I congratulate you and wish you well for a bright future and
a new world.

MELODY
(To Kite-King)
May I have your permission to say a few words?

KITE-KING
To be sure, you may.

MELODY
I thank you all for considering me worthy of such honor and
for supporting me in this journey, I would like to call upon
the person who has my deepest respect. I would like to call
her on stage and in front of all you ask her for her
blessings. Mom…..

Caw-gee looks at Melody. She has tears
in her eyes. She walks slowly towards
the stage. She is old and has white
hair but Cuckoo recognizes her. Melody
touches Caw-Gee’s feet who blesses her.
The audience claps. The two embrace.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5 B

PLACE/TIME: SAME AS SCENE 5. THE STAGE IS BLACK FOR A MOMENT AND THEN SLOWLY LIGHTS UP TO SHOW THE AUDIENCE HAS LEFT. ONLY CUCKOO IS LEFT ALONE.
CHARACTERS:CUCKOO/ MR.RABID

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. A sudden
sound distracts her and she sees that a
burqa/abaya clad figure approaches her.

CUCKOO
(frightened)

What..who ..is there?

The burqa/abaya clad figure comes close
and lifts the veil from his face to
reveal Mr. Rabid. Cuckoo screams.

MR. RABID
Ribbid! I removed the veil from my face! Then why did you
scream?

CUCKOO
Never mind. Who are you? I am going to call the sentry to
throw you out.

MR. RABID
Don’t even think of making the mistake. You stand to lose a
lot.

CUCKOO
Really? I have just lost everything. What do I have to lose now ?

MR. RABID
If you do as I tell you then you will get what your heart desires…

CUCKOO
What are you implying, sir. At least think of your grey beard
before talking such rubbish.

MR. RABID
Oh dear me Madame. You have got me wrong. In any case, you
are not that young either.

CUCKOO
(narrowing her eyes and raising
an eyebrow)
Really, For the likes of you I am no less than a beautiful
hourie from heaven. Just which planet are you from Mister?

MR. RABID
Ribbid! Ribbid! Your tongue is as sharp as a knife. If you
were in my country….

CUCKOO
Exactly, that’s why I am not in your country. I have no wish
to live in a deep well
(she looks him up and down)
Nor do I wish to suffocate my self. I like to breathe free in
the fresh air, understood?

MR. RABID
Do you call living in a golden cage freedom?

CUCKOO
Well, it certainly beats living in a dark well.

MR. RABID
Heaven help me! Why have I got myself entangled in this
useless debate. Do you want to hear about something that is
in your interest?

CUCKOO
All right, go on

MR. RABID
Actually I am the tutor to the Caw-Doors Band.

CUCKOO
Ah, so that is why you hide your face.

MR. RABID
What rubbish. The laws in your country are so weird that I
have to resort to these means.

CUCKOO
Every country has its own laws. The laws in your country are
no less weird.
( she shudders )
Goodness, I couldn’t live there for even a day.

MR. RABID
(irritated)
Who is calling you there in any event? Why don’t you listen
to that which is in your interest?

CUCKOO
It’s not possible that it will only be in my interest and not
yours. You don’t look like a philanthropist to me.

MR. RABID
(almost in tears)
Please, I beg of you. Listen to me carefully.

CUCKOO
All right, all right, hurry up. It’s time for my massage.

MR. RABID
(stuttering in disgust)
Massage? Here we are about to talk of important matters of
the state, of a world which is going to be topsy-turvy and
you can only think of your massage.

CUCKOO
( tossing her head scornfully)
Soooooo! If you took an interest in some massage you wouldn’t
be so hyper, I mean stressed, I mean tensed. You would be
more happy and relaxed.

MR. RABID
(hopping up and down)
Ribbid! Ribbid! Who says I am not relaxed. I am very happy go
lucky.
(trying to laugh )
See how I laugh. He he he. See.

CUCKOO
All right, all right. There is no need for these histrionics.
All Right out with it. My time is precious.

MR. RABID
So I like I said before I am the tutor of the Caw-Doors band.

CUCKOO
Oh Yes, that reminds me you are Melody’s tutor too, then how
did she learn to sing so well.

MR. RABID
What do you mean? Melody does not know how to sing and yet
she won the contest. I suspect a huge conspiracy is afoot and
Kite- king is at the bottom of it all. I think he’s jealous of
my talent and wants to discredit me in front of everyone.

CUCKOO
Are you retarded, by any chance?

MR. RABID
Ribbid, Ribbid.

CUCKOO
ANYWAY, go on.

MR. RABID
I feel the two of us should get together (Cuckoo gives him a
hard stare), I don’t mean that. I mean if you help me to
dethrone Kite-King then, in return, I will make you the court
singer.

CUCKOO
And pray tell me what is your plan to dethrone him.

Mr. Rabid takes out a packet from his garment.

MR. RABID
Here take this medicine. Just stir it in Kite-king’s tea.

CUCKOO
I see, and then what will happen?

MR. RABID
What will happen? Kite-king will lose his memory, he’ll
forget he’s the king and we can easily place anyone we want
on his throne.

CUCKOO
It seems to me you are very fond of Bollywood films. I mean
memory loss and all that. Just like a movie.

MR. RABID
No way. I’m not fond of such trash. This kind of cheap
entertainment is forbidden where I come from.

CUCKOO
Oh, then what’s all this singing and dancing,what’s your
explanation for all that?

MR. RABID
I am doing all that out of my country, not in there.

CUCKOO
Wow,that kind of reasoning stinks of double standards. What
is bad there can’t be good here?

MR. RABID
You won’t understand these political matters.

CUCKOO
Hmmm, I understand your political matters completely. These
political matters have only one agenda, get what you want and
have a lot of fun. Who cares about the poor public. Any way,what do I care. As long as my fun and games continue I am not bothered what happens to the world around me(extends her hand forward). All right, give me your memory loss potion.
Mr. Rabid gives her vial. Cuckoo walks away, her heels clicking.

MR. RABID
So you want to be the court dancer eh, we’ll see about that.
You are not fit to be a street dancer. Just let me become the king then I will make you dance to my tune. You”ll forget your steps, Madame. Ribbid, ribbid.

FADE TO BLACK.
SCENE 6.
PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/MELODY/ALL THE COURTIERS/CUCKOO/GURU- GODMAN/PENGUIN/MRS. BROWN/DR.CHARLIE

MELODY
(singing sadly as she twirls
slowly)

SONG
The hills are alive with the sound of music
(From the film”Sound of Music”)

KITE-KING
Bravo, Bravo. I am pleased, very pleased. (to Cuckoo) I hope
you are looking after her? She should not want for anything.

He takes out a string of pearls from his neck and extends his hand/wing to Melody.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)

This is for you.

Melody accepts the necklace but from her demeanor we can see that she is not happy.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)
It seems to me you are not very happy. Why? Is anything the matter ?

MELODY                                                                        You have given me everything but…

KITE-KING

But ?

Melody is silent.

KITE-KING

Tell me ,what is that I cannot give you? (a little sternly), Come on, out with it?

MELODY (softly)
I want to breathe in the open air. Can I go back to the jungle?

KITE-KING
There is only one thing you cannot get and you have asked for
it- Freedom. Besides this, you can have anything you want.
matter?

MELODY
I don’t want anything else. I just want to fly in the open
skies, please let me go.

KITE-KING

(more sternly)
That is not possible. You can go now.

Melody walks away slowly, downcast.

KITE-KING

(to Cuckoo)

Go and explain to her, entertain her. Give her whatever she

wants so that she no longer wants to leave from here.

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Yes , your highness.

Cuckoo goes away. Kite-King is lost in

thought when Guru-Godman, who is standing next to him speaks.

GURU GODMAN
With your permission Sire, can I say something?

KITE-KING

Yes, yes, go on.

GURU GODMAN
It is my observation,your highness, that this old Cuckoo will
be unable to take care of the little cuckoo. On the contrary it is very likely that she will only trouble her. My suggestion is we appoint someone else to take care of her.

KITE-KING
Wonderful,you have great manipulative skills. I am glad I
included you in my council of ministers just after the contest.

GURU GODMAN

(bowing low)
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

KITE-KING
So, in your wise opinion who would be most suitable to look
after Melody?
GURU GODMAN
One name does comes to my mind but I am not sure if he will
agree.
KITE-KING

Who?

GURU GODMAN
His name is Senior Julio. He lives in the same jungle to
which Melody belongs.

KITE-KING

But, a man?

GURU GODMAN

By God’s grace he is blind.

KITE- KING

What a joke! A blind man to keep an eye on Melody. But really your manipulative skills are worthy of praise.

GURU GODMAN

So, should I send him a message Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes, of course!

(laughs)

Ah, the crafty Cuckoo will tie herself up in knots. Simply great, Guru-Godman, I am pleased.

GURU GODMAN

I have another request, Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes , of course. Go on.

GURU GODMAN
I have a friend, Mr. Rabid, who is very wealthy. He has
embarked on a world tour. He would like to enjoy the sights and sounds of our country. Please grant him a visa.

KITE-KING
Why not, why not. If he is your friend he must be of some
consequence. I will give orders for his visa. Do bring him to the court sometime.

GURU GOD-MAN
To be sure, your highness. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Pays his respects by bowing very low.

KITE-KING
(yawns loudly, bored of Guru-
Godman’s courtesies)
All right, all right,now think of something new to entertain us. The contest was a complete washout. Except for Melody’s all the items were absolute rubbish.

PENGUIN
(who is standing close by)
May I make a suggestion sire?

KITE-KING
Mr. Penguin, you are so cold, what suggestion could you
possibly give? Anyway, go on.

PENGUIN
I think we should have a contest between Cuckoo and Melody.
The loser will have to become the other’s maid-servant.

KITE-KING

(laughs)

Great, simply great! What an idea. Your mind is a devil’s workshop and its working overtime.
(To Guru-Godman)
Make arrangements and invite all those who had come before.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your sire.

Kite-king rises, stretches and yawns loudly.

KITE-KING
All right then, the court is adjourned. We’ll go and rest
now.

Kite-king walks away. As he is going he is scratching his beard,yawning, rubbing his eyes. All the courtiers heave a sigh of relief. Suddenly, Kite- king comes back. Everyone is alert again.

KITE-KING (cont’d)
Somebody tell Cuckoo to bring a glass of milk to my room.
Yes, your highness.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your highness.

Kite-king leaves. The other courtiers follow. Only the Penguin waddles behind.

GURU GODMAN

(to Penguin)
Your idea was excellent. Will you come to my house tonight. Mr. Rabid is coming too.

PENGUIN
If you give me dinner I will come. I am fond of fish.

GURU GODMAN
Me too. I have arranged for some flies for Mr. Rabid. He is
an expert in catching flies.

PENGUIN
Gross. Then it will be impossible to suffer him.

GURU GODMAN
Yes, but in politics one has to make friends with all kinds
of people. And he can be useful, you know.

PENGUIN
All right then I’ll suffer him too. I’ll even swallow a few
flies for his sake.

GURU GOD MAN
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

They leave. We hear Penguin’s voice back-stage.

PENGUIN ( O.S.)
Your name is Guru but you speak English very well. Where did you get your training?

GURU GODMAN (O.S.)
We have been at it since my grandfather’s time Now it flows in my blood.

Melody walks in slowly. She sings the same song she had sung in court, “The hills are alive with the sound of music,” Cuckoo follows, there is a glass of milk in her hand. Melody stands behind some gold bars, she looks sad.

CUCKOO

What do you want for?

MELODY

I want my Mom.

CUCKOO
Didn’t you recognise me. I Am your real mom. Many years ago I
had left you in Caw-Gee’s nest. Come on, Give me a hug.

MELODY (moving back)
No, never. You Are not my mom, Caw-gee is my mom.

CUCKOO

I gave birth to you, Melody.

MELODY
So what, you gave birth to me and left me. Caw-gee gave me
life.

CUCKOO
Your two are not the same. Look at me. My color, my looks, my
qualities are all like yours. I can give you everything. Riches, wealth, name, fame.

MELODY
Riches, wealth, name, fame – I can give you these, not you.
Today I have all this so you are with me. I don’t want any of this.

CUCKOO

Then, what do you want, child?

MELODY

I want Caw-gee’s love.
(screams) I want Caw-Gee’s love.

Melody falls down on the bed covered with a velvet bed spread and weeps. Cuckoo takes out the vial which was given to her by Mr. Rabid.

CUCKOO (V.O.)

I think I should give this memory loss potion to her. When
she will forget her old life she’ll forget Caw-gee too. Then I can control her totally.

She pours the potion in the glass of milk and then comes to Melody and strokes her with loving hands.

CUCKOO

Melody, my child. Please get up and drink this milk, it will
make you feel much better. I will personally talk to Kite- king today and ask him to send you back to your mother.

MELODY
(with tears in her eyes and
choked throat)

Promise ?

CUCKOO

Yes, yes, my child. I am your mother, not your enemy. Come
drink this.

Melody drinks the milk laced with the potio.

MELODY
(putting her arms around
Cuckoo’s neck)

Mom, you are so wonderful.

She loses her grip and faints.

CUCKOO

(gets up and claps)

Hello, is anyone around?

Mrs. Brown comes running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Missus…..I mean Yes Madame.

CUCKOO
Look at her, what has happened to her. Go and call the doctor
right away and tell Guru-Godman to inform his highness that Melody has fainted.(Mrs. Brown is staring at her with a deer caught in the headlights expression) Oh for God’s sake, what are you staring at me bug-eyed. Go on, hurry up.

MRS. BROWN
Yes, should I call the doctor first or go and inform Guru-
Godman.

CUCKOO
Oh Lordy, Lordy, are you a complete nincompoop? Go and tell
Guru-Godman first. Only when he sees her condition will matters proceed further.

MRS. BROWN (innocently)
What matters Missus…I mean Madame?

CUCKOO
Just this that his star singer is no longer in a state to
entertain his highness. He’ll have no choice but to come to me. And he thought he could take away my golden cage.

There is a sound of someone clearing his throat. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown jump in fright.

GURU GODMAN
I have seen everything and I have heard everything too.

Cuckoo is flustered.
CUCKOO

Sir, I was just saying, I mean….

GURU GODMAN
I know perfectly well what you mean. I have never seen anyone
as mean as you. And now for your selfish interests your tried to do away with this poor wee creature. You will be punished for this, for sure.

CUCKOO
All right, go and tell. I, too, will tell his highness that I
merely gave Melody the potion which your friend Mr. Rabid had given me to give him.

GURU GODMAN

(sighing deeply)

You are a very crooked woman. And how did you come to know that Mr. Rabid is my friend?

CUCKOO
Not only I, but everyone knows he is your friend. You asked
for his visa in front of everyone. What do you think, are you the only one who has spies?

GURU GODMAN
All right, all right, Mata Hari. This round is yours. But
what do we do with her (looks at Melody) And I have called for Senor Julio to take care of her.

CUCKOO
According to my sources Senor Julio is blind, so he can while
his time away in some corner. And as for her, she has lost her memory,not her singing abilities, so now she will sing and dance to our tune.

All this while Mrs. Brown has been stepping back slowly and now she quickly takes a step back and disappears from the scene.

CUCKOO (looking around)
Oh, where did Mrs. Brown vanish. These folks are a bunch of lazy good for nothings. One’s attention is diverted for just a second and off they go. It’s just as well or we would have to get rid of her as well.

GURU GODMAN
We’ll have to show this one to the doctor just so that his
highness does not suspect any foul play.

CUCKOO (screaming)
Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Brown, where the dickens are you?

Mrs. Brown rushes in, panting.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, Missus…I mean, Madame.

CUCKOO
Go and call Dr. Charlie and be quick.

MRS. BROWN
Yes, yes Missus…I mean Madame, madame.

Mrs. Brown leaves. Cuckoo picks up the glass and holds it high and says looking at it.

CUCKOO
I hope she loses only her memory with this potion. There will
be no other ill effects.

GURU GODMAN

That only Dr. Charlie can tell us.

Dr. Charlie comes followed by Brown.

DR.CHARLIE
Oh dear, oh dear, what happened? Dr. Charlie at your service.

GURU GODMAN
Will you (pointing to Melody) look at her please. We
know what happened. She just fainted suddenly.

Dr. Charlie takes out a large magnifying glass and inspects Melody.

DR.CHARLIE
The patient’s condition is extremely serious. Her body has
bloated up hugely.

CUCKOO (sarcastically)
Maybe it is because you are looking at her through a magnifying glass.

Dr. Charlie takes out a stethoscope and puts the two ends into Melody’s ears and listens into one with his ear.

DR.CHARLIE
I can hear some strange sounds. The patient’s mental state is
highly disturbed.

GURU GODMAN
I think you need to get your brains examined as soon as possible.

CUCKOO
(voice dripping with sarcasm)
What can anyone do about the state of affairs in this country. Fools rush in here and angels fear to tread. Everything is available at wholesale prices and this doctor too is part of the deal.

DR.CHARLIE (angrily)
Maybe you are not aware that I hold an M.B.B.S. Degree.

CUCKOO
And I know very well what that means, My Boys,Babies and
Spouses need my services and for that I need to stick it to you. Just like you your degrees too are available at wholesale rates.
GURU GODMAN
Anyway, now just do what other folks do. Just splash some
water on her face.
Ko…….
He looks towards Mrs. Brown who is staring open-mouthed. She is flustered and runs off and comes back with a bowl of water. Dr. Charlie splashes Melody’s face with water. Melody opens her eyes and looks around wide-eyed and distressed. Then she tries to speak.
MELODY
CUCKOO Melody! What happened, tell me?
Melody stares at her wide-eyed, trying in vain to speak.
MRS. BROWN
Lordloveaduck! The cat has got the wee mite’s tongue.
CUCKOO
What are you saying? Can’t you speak plain English?
Ignoramus,hilly billy critter.
GURU GODMAN
Well, she speaks the truth in her rustic way. This one’s
voice has gone and,most probably, she can’t recognise anyone too.
Drat it!
CUCKOO
(then a little happily)
54.

Well, now at least they will have to reinstate me as the court singer.
Kite-king enters.
KITE-KING
Wrong! That is impossible. You are no longer fit for thispost. We now seek fresh blood which is young,beautiful and can entertain us. Dry,old bones will not do.
(To Guru-Godman)
Send Peace-meal pigeon with the message that we are going to hold another contest. This time, besides untold wealth the winner will also get dearness allowance, transport, medical and an expense account.
CUCKOO (drawing in her breath)
Oh! This prize will tempt anyone.
KITE-KING
Yes,and I think you should start thinking about packing your bags and moving on. And yes, along with you, (pointing to Melody)
Take her along too. She is of no use now.
CUCKOO
What will I do with her? Call her mom. She’ll take her away.
GURU GODMAN
She is absolutely right. And there is no need for that thrush, Senor Julio too. I will tell him not to come.
KITE-KING
It he wants to pay his way and come, he can come. I have heard he too is fond of singing and dancing. He used to be a very famous singer at one time. Then he went blind due to an accident. And ever since then he stopped performing in public. Now he lives in a cottage in the jungle.
CUCKOO
Yes, I remember. Many years ago, I mean not so very long ago,
just about fifteen, no, ten, no…
GURU GODMAN
There is no need to stress your bird brain. I know for a fact that the thrush has not performed in public for the last twenty five years. Go on now.
CUCKOO (grimacing)
Uh, oh! Anyway, both of us had performed together once before the Queen of England. Suddenly the electricity went off. The thrush was holding a mike. When the lights came on again suddenly there was a loud bang and smoke all over.
Senor Julio shouted and fainted right there. He lost his eyes in that accident.
KITE-KING (yawning)
All right, all right, there is no need for your hundred year old tales. Take this ( looking towards Melody) one away and (looking towards Dr. Charlie) you help her too. If You can’t cure a body at least you can help lift it.
Mrs. Brown steps forward too. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown lift Melody from the shoulders and Dr. Charlie lifts her feet. They all leave the stage.
GURU GODMAN
Sire, till you get someone to replace the Cuckoo don’t throw her out.
KITE-KING
You are so right. We do need someone to entertain us. We’ll just have to make do with her. (sighing deeply)
It’s just my bad luck.
GURU GODMAN (smiling)
Don’t lose heart, your highness. Just throw a few coins and watch the fun. Not one but thousands will come running. Their breed is such. There are just a few who care about the arts, and one of those was Melody, but alas, that crafty Cuckoo has cast her evil eye on her.
KITE-KING
Well, her time is up in any case. You just go ahead and
announce the contest.
GURU GODMAN (bowing low)
Yes, your highness. Your slightest whim is my command.
KITE-KING I like your style. That is why I chose to make a high school failed like you my minister over many talented candidates .Come on, it’s late. (Yawns) I am off to sleep.
Goes away.
GURU GODMAN (narrowing his eyes)
Oh, you love to sleep, don’t you.

One day I’ll put you to sleep permanently that you won’t get up to see the morning sun. I am just a high school drop out but I will make sure you’ll drop dead soon.
ACT 3
Scene 1
PLACE: A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE /TIME: DAY
CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES OF JUNGLE-LAND AND SENOR JULIO.
(All the animals from Jungle- land are busy playing. The two rabbits, Laurel and Hardy,are wrestling with each other, the crows are playing baseball. The deer, parrot and butterflies are also playing. Banana-Drama, the monkey is giving the commentary. The game can be imaginary.)
BANANA-DRAMA
Do-ray has thrown the ball and Me-far has hit it, the ball is
flying….
(We can hear the plodding sound of Gee-Peck’s boots coming towards them )
Across the boundary
(Gee-peck catches the ball)
Straight into Gee-Peck’s hands.
GEE-PECK Saved by a wing and a prayer.
BANANA-DRAMA Can we call this a run out
Out, out!
ALL THE CROWS (shouting)
BANANA-DRAMA
This is not a run out because Gee-Peck is not a member of the
team.
Gee-peck throws the ball which lands on Mr. Rabid who gets up with a start.
MR. RABID
Ribbid! Ribbid! Is the game over or not? Come on my students!
Its time for music practise. You will surely win the contest this time.
FADE OUT.
57.

That is why I have hopped from such a long way to help you. Come on now, take out your music instruments.
(The crows take out their music instruments. The other animals take out the devices like ear plugs,cotton wool etc. to shut out the sound. There is a sound of someone singing. It is Senor Julio, the blind singer, who is coming towards them tap-tapping with his cane. He is wearing dark glasses. He bumps into Gee- peck.)
GEE-PECK Brother,careful! Can’t you see?
No.
SENOR JULIO
GEE-PECK
Oh! I am sorry! Dark glasses are in fashion so I did not
realize and….
MR. RABID Sure! you couldn’t see the cane too ?
GEE-PECK
(giving him a hard stare)
You love to fan the fire, don’t you? (to Senor Julio)
I thought, you use the stick to protect yourself from the many deadly creatures hiding in the grass like snakes,scorpions and some poisonous toads.
What do you want? Does Melody live here?
Mr. Rabid begins to puff up in anger. Caw-gee tries to save the situation by quickly intervening and addressing Senor Julio.
CAW-GEE SENOR JULIO CAW-GEE
She used to live here but ever since she won the contest she has become the chief entertainer in Kite-King’s court. Now she lives there. But, how do you know her?
SENOR JULIO
She was my pupil.
58.

BANANA-DRAMA
Gee, that Melody sure turned out to be a dark horse. I used
to wonder, how did she become such a hit singer?
MR. RABID
So,you used to give her tuitions. Now I know why there was no
improvement in her singing. This system of extra tuition has completely spoilt our system of education….tuition is not good.
SENOR JULIO
I want to meet Melody. Somehow, I have this feeling in my
bones that Melody is not happy.
FLOW-JO (to Peter parrot)
Blind folks have a stronger sixth sense than us.
CAW-GEE
To meet Melody you will have to go very far from this jungle.
To the city. Oh!
SENOR JULIO
CAW-GEE
We are all going to leave soon. The Kite-king is holding
another contest. You can come too.
GEE-PECK
MR. RABID
(puffing up with importance)
But he doesn’t have a visa. My friend Guru-Godman arranged one for me but for him….
GEE-PECK
Yes, indeed, this is a serious matter.
MR. RABID
And, contestants are forbidden from getting their teacher or
mentor with them.
(Everyone is quiet, they have
An idea!
their thinking caps on)
BANANA-DRAMA (jumping with joy)
(All the creature look at him with anticipation)
If he can’t go as a teacher or mentor he can go as a contestant, for sure.
59.

(All the animals, except Mr. Rabid, jump around in excitement)
GEE-PECK Banana-Drama! You are a genius.
CAW-GEE (laughs)
It seems to me that you do need used to think you are all style to me you do pack a punch.
FLOW-JO (giggling)
Hey, Caw-gee, haven’t you heard (she sings)
SONG Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
brains even to imitate. I and no substance but it seems
that song.
He floats like a butterfly and sings like a bee. Muhammad, the black superman,
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can.
(All the creatures sing and dance with joy. Gee-Peck does the tap dance)
Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee Muhammad the black superman
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can
(Banana-drama’s walkman falls on the stage as the creatures move out of the stage singing and dancing as they go. Only Mr. Rabid is left behind. He takes out his cellphone and presses a button.)
MR. RABID (speaking on the phone)
Hello. Who is that? Oh Guru-Godman. I am your dear friend Mr. Rabid speaking. Greetings from me to you! I just wanted to inform you that Melody’s teacher is also coming to your kingdom but as contestant.
What!
(he listens for sometime)
(The mobile falls from his hand, he picks it up hastily and holds it to his ear)
Melody has lost her memory and her voice too. Ribbid, ribbid.I Had given the medicine for Kite-king then what, oh, this is the crafty cuckoo’s doing indeed. All right then, I will make some other arrangements, all right, all right then. My heartfelt good wishes to you.
60.

(he switches off the phone and hops off the stage. Banana – drama comes from the other side to pick up the walkman he had dropped. The monkey picks up the walkman.)
BANANA-DRAMA (thinking)
Oh so that is the way the cookie crumbles. I will consult Gee- peck, Peter,and Flow-Jo and decide what is do be done now!
SCENE 2.
PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT. TIME: NIGHT.
CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES WHO WERE PRESENT AT THE PREVIOUS CONTEST. THIS TIME MR. RABID IS NOT WEARING A VEIL.
The kite-king is seated on his throne. Guru Godman comes on stage.
GURU GODMAN
All of you are very welcome. I am sure you must wondering that we just held a contest, what was the hurry for another one. The reason for this is the Kite-king’s generosity and soft heart. He has kept the contest with this logic in mind that winning and losing are only two sides of the same coin so why should only one person become the winner. Why don’t we give a prize to each contestant according to his talent as one’s meat is another’s poison. You must be thinking what kind of weird logic is this so without further ado let me invite on stage the four talented guys from the jungle, the Caw-Doors Band.
(The audience claps. Mr. Rabid who is standing on the edge of the propels the four crows forward.)
MR. RABID
This is your chance, lady luck is about to smile on you.
(The four crows come on stage and arrange their instruments)
(All the animals take out the various devices to close their ears such as ear plugs, cotton wool etc and plug their ears. Peter parrot is standing in front of a pillar.)
SONG
Lots of chocolates for me to eat, lots of chocolates for me to eat, Lots of chocolates for me to eat,

Lots of chocolates for me to eat.
(The four crows go on and on and on repeating the same line refusing to stop. After some time Peter parrot is beating his head on the pillar keeping time with the song. )
KITE-KING Enough! stop! What kind of song is this?
DO-RAY This is a rap song, sire.
KITE-KING
Rap, to be sure. Anyone who sings this song should be rapped
hard on the knuckles and made to wrap his singing career. Henceforth, this song should be given to the farmers.
(Everyone looks at him, surprised)
There is no better song than this to drive away the birds from the fields. We are pleased with your service to us. You will be henceforth known as , what did you say was the name of this song?
Rap song.
ME-FAR
KITE-KING You will be known as rap stars
Anyone else?
(The four crows jump and give each other high fives. The animals clap.)
KITE-KING
GURU GODMAN
Yes, your sire. There is a new contestant. I mean an old
contestant but now in a new avatar who would like to present an item for your listening pleasure.
KITE-KING To be sure. Old is gold.
CUCKOO (addressing the audience)
It seems he has understood finally. Anyway, no problem, he will live and learn.
(Senor Julio comes on stage and sings)
62.

SONG
CHIM CHIMINEYCHIM CHIMINEY CHIM CHIM CHER-EE!
A SWEEP IS AS LUCKY
AS LUCKY CAN BE
CHIM CHIMINEY CHIM CHIMINEY CHIM CHIM CHER-OO!
GOOD LUCK WILL RUB OFF WHEN I SHAKE ‘ANDS WITH YOU
OR BLOW ME A KISS
AND THAT’S LUCKY TOO
(The Kite-king and the audience are entranced, they all give him a standing ovation)
KITE-KING
Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful. You are an extraordinary talent but
alas! In our kingdom we have place only for a female entertainer I mean a lady singer or dancer
(looks at Guru Godman) Am I right Guru-Godman?
GURU GODMAN
Yes, your sire. In any case we men hardly have time from our
brain-related business. These kind of shenanigans only suit the women folk.
CUCKOO
(who is sitting next to Flow-Jo
leans towards her and says)
Just listen to these men folk,one can learn a trick or two about how to eat your cake and have it too. They will send the women to the front to face the fire from the enemy and
when it suits them they will not miss a trick to use them for their burning desires, if you get my drift. Dirty, rotten scoundrels.
63.

FLOW-JO (giggling)
It seems to me you will soon become a member of the women’s liberation movement.
CUCKOO
No way! I am against such nonsense. Just cropping your hair
short like men or wearing trousers cannot free you. For me only money is freedom.
FLOW-JO
But for money you are dancing to their tune. Then what kind
of freedom are you talking about?
(We see that a just a few
moments after this conversation began Kite-King is glaring at them, then the others too are looking at them. When The two of them feel the silence they look around flustered.)
KITE-KING
I am giving such an important speech and the two of you are
yakking away?
(The two of them stand up)
CUCKOO
Forgive us Sire. We were just telling each other how young
and handsome you look tonight.
KITE-KING (cooling down)
Thank you! But this is not the time for small talk when important matters of the state are being discussed.
GURU GODMAN
Sire, please don’t trouble yourself. These women are never
going to change. What else can they think of besides lipstick, make up, clothes and jewels.
MR. RABID (standing up)
May I have your permission to say a few words. Sire.
And who may you be?
KITE-KING
GURU GODMAN He is my friend, Mr. Rabid.
KITE-KING
Oh I see, the visa fellow. Go on, have your say.
64.

MR. RABID (pointing to Cuckoo)
Ask her where has she hidden Melody?
(Caw-gee and the creatures from
the jungle are startled. Kite- king and Guru Godman are flabbergasted. Cuckoo opens her beak to say something, then closes it.)
GURU GODMAN
Yes, yes, she has hidden Melody some place because she is
jealous of her.
(The Kite-King looks at Guru
God man and realizes what the other is trying to say)
KITE-KING (to Cuckoo)
At once, present Melody in court or you will be the worse for it.
CAW-GEE (screams)
My child, my wee one!
(addressing Cuckoo)
You have hidden my daughter some place, out with it or I will wring or neck, I was thinking that now there would be an item by Melody, she will coming soon but…
MR. RABID
Madam, you have no idea how crafty is this cuckoo. It was her
plan to get rid of Melody so that she could take her place as the court singer but her plans were not successful. Melody is still alive, only she has lost her voice and her memory.
My baby!
CAW-GEE (screams)
MR. RABID
And her plan was also to get rid of the Kite-king. She had
confided in me about her nefarious plans.
CUCKOO (screams)
Lies! lies! all lies ! it was he ….. (shuts her beak)
GURU GODMAN (smiling evilly)
Go on, do go on. But remember this you better back you words with proof or else….
65.

KITE-KING (furious)
What? She dares? (Clapping his wings/hands) Guards! Guards! (Peace-meal, the pigeon and Mr.
Brown run in, Mr. Brown is a little unsteady on his feet)
KITE-KING (to Peace-meal)
You? Where are the other guards?
PEACE-MEAL
Sire, they have gone to pour, I mean, protect the oil which
is in troubled waters so that the kingdom can keep running smoothly on well oiled wheels.
Where have they gone?
KITE-KING
PEACE-MEAL (pointing to Mr. Rabid)
Close to his well there is another well. The water of that well has certain herbs which are famous for their oil. It is said that it keeps the mind fresh and the body strong and healthy.
KITE-KING ( pointing to Mr. Brown)
And what about him? Why can’t he stand straight?
PEACE-MEAL
Sire, he is Mr. Hadalot, I mean Sir Lancelot Brown. This
morning he drank a little too much, I mean tea which does not suit him at all and that is why he is in this condition.
My husband!
(Mr. Brown can’t keep his balance and falls down. Mrs Brown screams and runs to him with her five children)
MRS. BROWN
(She cries hysterically and the children scream daddy, daddy)
KITE-KING (shouts)
Stop this infernal racket. Where is Dr. Charlie?
(Dr. Charlie runs out from the crowd)
66.

What kind of a doctor are you. Don’t you have sense enough to come to a patient at once.
DR.CHARLIE
I had come to see the show so I didn’t bring my medical bag.
GURU GODMAN
No matter what the crisis, he is always ready with his
excuses.
KITE-KING Examine the patient please.
(Dr. Charlie takes out his magnifying glass and examines Mr. Brown. The Cuckoo takes this opportunity to sidle out)
Where did you get your degree?
MR.BROWN
From the Lee Strasberg School of Acting. I have played a
doctor in many movies and television shows.
KITE-KING
And, if I am not mistaken, this costume you are wearing is
from the costume department of General Hospital.
How did you guess?
DR.CHARLIE
GURU GODMAN
We are deeply grateful to the good Lord that his royal high
highness did on fall sick or else….
DR.CHARLIE (miffed)
Maybe you are not aware of the fact that I have cured many fatal diseases in many films. In ‘Love Story” Ali Mcgraw had cancer and so did Debra Winger in “Terms of Endearment” and had it not been for me they
GURU GODMAN But didn’t they both die in the film?
DR.CHARLIE
That was the director’s fault. I had cured them completely.
These director’s are famous for killing people in films so
that it runs.
(By this time Cuckoo has left the stage)
KITE-KING Will you both stop this balderdash.
(addressing Dr. Charlie)
67.

Why don’t you follow your regular line of treatment and sprinkle some water on his face.
My husband! Daddy! Daddy!
(The alien comes forward and gives him a weirdly shaped blue bottle. Dr. Charlie pours out some liquid on his palm and sprinkles Mr. Brown’s face. Mr. Brown gets up instantly.)
MRS. BROWN
BROWN’S FIVE CHILDREN MR.BROWN
A current of energy and strength is running through my body. I feel as if I can tackle anyone.
In that case,
BANANA-DRAMA
(jumps and stands before him)
(he points to Mr. Rabid)
Can you push him? After all you are tiny and he is big and fat.
MR. RABID
Ribbid! Ribbid!
(Mr. Brown goes to Mr. Rabid.
Ribbid! Ribbid!
He stands before him and blows on him. Mr. Rabid stumbles backwards and falls down with a resounding thump. All the animals laugh uproariously.)
MR. RABID
KITE-KING (laughing)
Very good, very good. Now do what you had been called for in the first place. Take the crafty cuckoo….
(looks around) Where is she? Find her.
(Everyone disperses)
MR. RABID (whispering to Caw-Gee)
I am sure she is with Melody. Why don’t you ask Senor Julio to sing her favorite song. You never know she may follow his voice and come here or give some clue to her whereabouts.

CAW-GEE Not a bad idea at all.
(She goes to Senor Julio and says)
Senor Julio, why don’t you sing Melody’s favorite song. Melody may hear it and come to us.

SENOR JULIO.                                                          All right
(He holds the mike and sings)

SONG

Edelweiss, edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, edelweiss Bless my homeland forever.

(Everyone is entranced by his song. After some time we can hear Melody’s voice. She is singing in tandem with Senor Julio. Singing she comes on stage, followed by the Cuckoo. Melody completes the song with Senor Julio. She Has tears in her eyes,her lips are quivering, her voice is quavering.)
CAW-GEE.                                                                   Babyeeeee….                                                     (rushes to Melody)
(Melody embraces her and cries).                      My child, what happened to you?
(Cuckoo looks at her frightened)
MELODY
There is nothing to worry about mom. I went dizzy in the bathroom and fell down and hit my head on floor and fainted.
GEE-PECK (to Peter)
The same old story when you want to save someone.
MELODY
(gesturing towards Cuckoo)
Had it not been for Madame Cuckoo I would not be alive today, Mom.

CAW-GEE
No, no, banish the very thought, my child. You are safe and sound, that is enough for me. (to Cuckoo)
I am very, very grateful to you.
(Tears are streaming down Cuckoo’s cheeks )
CUCKOO
Please forgive me Melody, I never wanted to kill you. Greed had made me blind. I though that if you lost your memory then you would
(gesturing to Caw-Gee) )
forget her and accept me as your mom. But How was I to know that you would lose your voice as well.
(angrily) All this is because of
(pointing to Mr. Rabid) This fat frog and
(points to Guru Godman)
This hypocritical bird. Both of them had plotted to kill our gracious king. But how could I be so disloyal?
BANANA-DRAMA (to Peter)
She may be a wily bird but she is not so bad at heart.
FLOW-JO                                                             Seems to me her tears have washed away the ill will in her heart.
CUCKOO (to Kite-King)
Sire, this entire plot was the handiwork of your loyal minister Guru Godman and his dearest friend, Mr. Rabid.
GURU GODMAN
This Cuckoo is a liar, its her last desperate attempt to save herself.
PENGUIN
No, she speaks the truth. I am a witness to the fact that these two tried to lure me to be a part of their plan but were unsuccessful, naturally.
BANANA-DRAMA                                                  Ah! A new twist in the tale.
KITE-KING (angrily)
So,this is what has been happening!
(gestures to Peace-meal and Mr.
Brown)
Capture these two terrorists.
(Mr. Rabid and Guru Godman try to escape but all the animal surround them and Mr. Brown blows on the two and pushes them towards Kite-king till they fall at is feet. After this whenever they try to escape Mr. Brown prevents them by blowing on them and brining them back to their original position.)
KITE-KING
(looking towards Banana-Drama)
Thank you. If you had not called me and warned me about these two traitors I would have been taken in by their arguements.
(Mr. Rabid glares at Banana Drama)
BANANA-DRAMA (bowing low)
There is no need to thank me. After all humans, I mean animals, must help other animals, I mean animals must help you. I am just happy that
(looking at Mr. Rabid) We are free from this tuneless toad.
KITE-KING                                                              Tell me, how can I reward you?
BANANA-DRAMA
Well, it was only my sense of duty which made me do what I did but if you really want to reward me please give permission to Melody go back to her home.
KITE-KING
You have made a difficult request. If she goes back who will entertain me?
CUCKOO (softly)
I am here, your highness.
(Kite-King glances at her
Mom.
fleetingly.

(Suddenly Melody speaks).
MELODY                                                              Mom

(she faints)

KITE-KING
Oh, she has fainted again. Where is Dr. Charlie?
(Dr. Charlie comes near Melody and examines her with his magnifying glass.)
DR.CHARLIE
She is being stifled in this atmosphere. She has to leave this place or she won’t survive.

KITE-KING.                                                       Where to ?
DR.CHARLIE
In the open air where she can breathe, far from here, in the
jungle.

ALL THE ANIMALS (shouting)                                 Please, please.

CAW-GEE
Your highness, please save my daughter’s life, let her go.
(The Kite-King thinks, there is pin drop silence in the court.)
KITE-KING
All right.

ALL THE ANIMALS (joyfully)
Yaaaaaaay!

KITE-KING (raising his hand/wing)               There is one condition!
(all the animal are quiet)
All of you will come with Cuckoo and Senor Julio to meet me once a year.

ALL THE ANIMALS
Yaaaaay! Thank you.

ALIEN.                                                                     Zee zoo zap. Zim zim za zoo.

GEE-PECK                                                                  What is he saying ?
(The alien comes near Senor Julio, the blind thrush, takes out his dark glasses.
From his flask he takes out some liquid and splashes it on his eyes. Senor Julio, whose eyes were closed opens them. )

SENOR JULIO (he looks at Cuckoo)                        I can see. Cuckoo.

CUCKOO
Please forgive me. I hurt your feelings. When you went blind I left you and came away.
SENOR JULIO (whispering)
When you went away you were….
CUCKOO
Yes, my husband, Melody is your daughter.
(Everyone is shocked. Melody moves slowly towards Senor Julio)
BANANA-DRAMA                                         Another twist in the tale.

FLOW-JO.                                                              How romantic!

GEE-PECK                                                            What a beautiful twist.
(Both of them look into each other’s eyes)

BANANA-DRAMA
Oh, for Pete’s sake, why don’t you get over your old as hills love story and get married.
PETER
You won’t understand. The bitter-sweet feeling of being apart
is more satisfying then getting hitched.

MELODY                                                                Dad!
(goes towards Senor Julio)
(Senor Julio embraces Melody. Everyone claps.)

KITE-KING
All right then! Senor Julio and Cuckoo are hereby appointed
as the chief singer and dancer of our court and(looking towards Melody) Where would you like to stay?
MELODY
Your highness, I would like to be with Caw-gee.
(she goes towards Caw-Gee and embraces her)
She took a stranger into her home and heart, gave her love and made her own. I owe to her to love her in return.
KITE-KING.                                                               As you wish.
(looks towards Mr. Brown)
Henceforth you are my Chief Minister but keep in mind,get into the habit of drinking tea. All other stuff is off limits for you.

MRS. BROWN                                                         My husband !
CUCKOO
She is he real drama-queen, not me. Oh well, now that she is
the minister’s wife I will have to find me another one.
SENOR JULIO (lovingly)
I am there to do all your work.

CUCKOO
(dramatically).                                                        My husband !
(They embrace. Senor Julio sings, followed by Cuckoo, then Melody. The animals sing in chorus.)
SONG
(We are the World by Michael
Jackson) There comes a time
When we head a certain call
When the world must come together as one There are people dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to life The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change We are all a part of
God’s great big family
And the truth, you know love is all we need
[Chorus]
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me.
THE END.

THE PEACOCK’S PARTY

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Once upon a time there was a camel who was very high and all the little animals made a lot of fun of him. They would pull his leg all the time by asking him, ” Dear Mr. Camel, how is the weather up there ? Is it cold ? ” They said this because as you know the higher you climb the colder it gets just like the top of a hill or a mountain. The camel would sometimes get irritated when the animals poked fun at him and say, ” Why don’t you ask the giraffe ? He is even taller than me ! ” But the animals would only make fun of him. They thought that the camel was a really funny looking creature. He was very tall and had, what looked like a big cushion, sitting on his back . When he walked it looked like that two teams were playing tug of war inside him.

Not only did the animals make fun of the camel they also did not call him for any of their parties. They thought he was too large, too awkward and too ugly. Of course, had they seen a hippopotamus or a rhinoceros they would have not thought so but they only knew the camel, so they treated him very badly.

THE BEAUTIFUL PEACOCK DECIDES TO THROW A PARTY 🎉 🎈 🎊

One day the beautiful peacock decided to throw a party for his birthday. He invited all the animals but told them not to tell the camel.

THE UGLY CAMEL IS NOT INVITED.

The camel heard the animals whispering and knew there was going to be a party and as usual he was not going to be invited again. Poor camel he wept and he wept and fell off to sleep.

THE CAMEL IS SO SAD AND CRIES

When he got up a storm had come. The clouds were thundering and the rain was falling and falling and falling. There was water everywhere and the river was rising. The peacocks’ party was a complete washout.

Everything was floating away. So were his guests. They were all floating in the water trying desperately to stay afloat. The clever peacock quickly flew up and sat on the branches of the tree leaving his guests to fend for themselves. The animals were shouting for help knowing that when they got tired of kicking they will surely drown.

THERE WAS A HUGE STORM AND THE ANIMALS WERE IN A PANIC EXCEPT THE PEACOCK WHO SAT SAFELY ON THE BRANCH OF A TREE

The camel heard the animals cry for help and ran to help them. He told them, ” Don’t panic. If we work together we can get out of this mess. Some of you climb on to my back and I will quickly take you to that hill and leave you there. In the meantime, the rest of you help each other. The smaller animals climb on to the back of the big animals and wait for me to come back.” The animals did what the camel told them to do. The camel made many trips carrying the animals on his back till everyone was safe.

    THE CAMEL HELPED THE ANIMALS FROM DROWNING BY CARRYING THEM TO A HIGHER GROUND

The next day the rain stopped and the sun came out. All the animals were very happy. However, the camel had got a cold and was sneezing away. All the animals got together and decided to throw a big ‘ Thank you,’ party for the camel. Only the peacock was not invited. The camel was the chief guest. Everyone brought gifts for the camel. The goat brought him her fresh milk, the rabbits brought him carrots and nibbled away at them and the dog brought a big bone and chewed on it throughout the party. But the best gift was brought by the sheep who knitted a sweater for the camel from her own wool. She had remembered how the camel had caught a cold by making so many trips in the rain to save them. The camel was very happy that he had so many friends.

THE ANIMALS THROW A PARTY WHERE THE PEACOCK IS NOT INVITED BUT THE CAMEL IS THE CHIEF GUEST

That is why it is important to remember that it is not your skin but your skill which is important. And when you make friends look at their skills and not their skin. The best skill in the world is to have a helpful nature and to give a helping hand.

The End

The python and the pomegranate- the final solution

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The wily leopard and his three assistant hyenas try to cure the python and also try to use their talents to save their business.

 

POMEGRANATE FRUITS- GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH !

Pomegranate fruits – Good for your health !

There was a python who just loved to eat and sleep. That is what he would do all day long. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Now if you do this all day long and then day after day , then you are going to fall very, very sick. And that is what happened to the silly python . He became very, very sick. His tummy started hurting. Ow ! Ow ! Ow ! He howled. Now, if he had hands he would have clutched his stomach and howled just like you do. But pythons don’t have hands. Just a long body. So, he took his long body and stretched it and decided to crawl to the doctor. As the python was crawling to the doctors’ clinic he felt very hot and tired. So, he decided to rest under a tree. It was a tree with very red fruits hanging from it.

MR. PYTHON RESTED BENEATH A POMEGRANATE TREE

MR PYTHON RESTED UNDER A POMEGRANATE TREE

The python was very sleepy. He opened his mouth to yawn. Just then, PLOP, one of the red fruits fell into his mouth. The python gulped down the fruit as was his habit and fell off to sleep. When the python got up he was feeling much better but then, he thought to himself that since I have come so far I might as well see the doctor and find out why my stomach aches all the time. So, he crawled to Dr. Leopards’ clinic and lay down in the waiting room along with the other animals who also had some problem or the other .

Dr. Leopard asked the python to come into his examination room and asked him to lie down. The python said, “I am already lying down since I cannot sit.” Dr. Leopard made a face as he did not like anyone to correct him and said , “Yes, yes, I meant , lie down on the couch so I can examine you . Tell me, what is your problem?”
The python said, “I had a stomach ache but now I am fine. The stomach ache is gone.”
Dr. Leopard was surprised to hear that the python was feeling better without taking any of his medicines which were quite expensive. So he asked the python, ” Tell me Mr. Python, what did you do after you had the stomach ache ?
The python said, “Don’t you want to know how and when I got the stomach ache so you can cure me ?”
The leopard looked very silly in front of his helpers so he he smiled with his very sharp teeth and said,” Yes, yes! Please tell me what you eat and what you did ?”
The python said, “Well, in the morning I swallowed my breakfast in one gulp and went to sleep. Then, at lunch, I swallowed my meal in one big gulp and went to sleep and then, at dinner …….”
The leopard said, “Wait, I am a doctor, I know what you did. You gulped down your dinner and went to sleep!”
All the doctors’ helpers clapped at the doctors intelligence.
The python said, “I have been doing this for many,many days ! But then, yesterday, I had a BIG stomach ache, not the usual small ones. Maybe, it was because I went to a party and gulped down everything .”
“Hmmmmmmmmmm” said Dr. Leopard,” I see the problem now. You don’t chew your food. You must chew your food before you eat it .”

The python was very surprised that the doctor did not know that pythons don’t have teeth. He thought to himself, ” I better get out of here and find some doctor who knows his job. This doctor has a fancy coat but he does not know what he is doing.”

The python said, ” Now, that I am much better, I think I will go home.” He tried to crawl out of the room but Dr.Leopard blocked his way and said, “Wait, wait. You didn’t tell me what happened after the stomach ache. How did you get well? ”

The python was trapped in the room with the doctor and his assistants so he decided to clear the mystery of his wellness. He said, “well, I crawled all the way to your clinic which is quite a distance away. On the way, I was feeling sleepy so I slept under a tree. It was a tree with red fruits. When I yawned one of the fruits fell in my mouth and I gulped it down and then fell asleep. When, I got up I was feeling much, much better.”

Dr. Leopard said, ” It seems to me you slept under an apple tree and that is why you are fine now!”

The python said, ” I am sure it was not an apple tree!”

Dr. Leopard said, ” How can you be so sure that it was not an apple tree. You did say the fruits were red !”

The python said , ” I know it was not an apple tree because we all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away . But, as you can see, here I am with you and you are a doctor and you are not going away and you are not letting me go away too ! So, you see it was not an apple tree . ”

Dr. Leopard was stunned by this intelligent answer. He thought to himself, this python is very smart. Maybe, I can use him to get more patients.

TO BE CONTINUED ……….

ALL RIGHT, HERE’S THE NEXT PART OF THE STORY ….

😮 OMG ! CAN I JUST GO HOME ?

The doctor looked at the python and bared his very sharp, pointy teeth and said, “Well, Mr. Python, you seem to be very smart. I see that you don’t have a job as you told me yourself. So, why don’t you come and work for me ? I will pay you very well. “

The python was very surprised that the leopard was offering a job to him because as far as he knew the animals were afraid of him especially when he was hungry.

He asked Dr. Leopard, “ How will you pay me ? And in return what do you want me to do ? “

Dr. Leopard knew that if he told the python that he was planning to use him to get rid of the animals who refused to get cured by swallowing them he may not agree to work for him. That was his plan to solve his own problem and that of the python.

So he told the python, “ Mr. Python, you don’t have to do much work. You have to be as you were before. Just eat and sleep . The only difference is that you will eat what or who I tell you to eat and you have to do this in my clinic.”

The python thought to himself, “ This leopard is very clever but also very wicked. It’s not good to be with wicked people. So let me try to find a way so that this leopard does not kill off his patients he cannot cure. And there are too many of them. Even I will not be able to swallow so many of them because I only swallow when I am hungry not just for fun ! “

The python looked at Dr. Leopard looking eagerly at him as a solution to his problem of not being able to cure his patients and said , “ Dr. Leopard, why don’t you try some other way to help your patients ?”

Dr. Leopard said, “ Mr. Python, I know there are many other ways but this one is quick and foolproof.”

Actually Dr. Leopard did not know of any other way but he did not want to admit this in front of his assistants who thought Dr. Leopard was the cat’s whiskers. Also his assistants were a couple of hyenas who lived off the leftovers which the doctor could not finish.

Mr. Python said, “ Maybe your way is the quickest and foolproof and with no danger of being sued because there is no one to sue you or no evidence but sooner or later the animals of the jungle will realize what is going on and will stop coming to you. Then what will happen to your practice ? “

The assistant hyenas gasped at this possibility because they lived on the slim pickings left by the leopard and they were already very thin. Dr. Leopard also did not want to lose his very lucrative business ( which means a kind of work in which you make a lot of money ) so he asked Mr. Python, “ All right, what is your idea so that I can cure the patients who come to me ? “

Mr. Python said, “ It’s very simple Mr. Leopard.”

ALL RIGHT , LET ME KNOW WHAT WAS MR. PYTHON’S SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM AND THE BEST ONE WILL GET TO GO ON A TRIP TO HAWAII PAID FOR BY THEMSELF. IF I HAD THE MONEY I WOULD HAVE GONE MYSELF NOT SIT HERE WRITING THESE STORIES IN DULLSVILLE.” I WOULD WRITE THEM IN HAWAII .

THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE ; THEY WERE GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT, JUST LIKE THE POMEGRANATE ! THIS IS MY VERSION.

AND THERE IS A BONUS STORY , LUCKY YOU ! THE STORY IS CALLED ‘THE PYTHON AND THE POMEGRANATE TREE’ and is somewhere on this website. Oh wait, here is the link

https://wp.me/p4LwKY-p9

” The solution is that you and your assistants get together and buy a huge farm where you grow many healthy herbs and fruit trees like the pomegranate. You encourage your patients to eat the healthy foods and exercise so that they do not fall ill again. Pomegranate juice is especially good for health so grow a lot of pomegranate trees ”

 

 Dr. Leopard said, ” But that does not solve my problem. If people get well how will I run my practice. I need people to be cured but not completely cured so that they keep coming back to me .”

The python said, ” That’s not a very nice thing for a doctor to wish for but you are a leopard and I guess you won’t change your spots. So I think then there is only one final solution to this problem. The leopard moved forward to the python eagerly. And that’s when the python wrapped himself lovingly around the python and squeezed him. That was the Final Solution.

THE END

THE BIRDS’ TALE – a children’s comedy play for adults ( to figure this out you have to read the play!)

65A059B9-8EC5-4BC7-9604-F226BA9EA557

THE BIRDS’ TALE
BY
SHIPRA SHUKLA

ENGLISH AVATAR OF THE PUBLISHED HINDI PLAY STAGED IN INDIA

A BIRD’S TALE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Melody: a little cuckoo bird, our heroine.

Cuckoo: Melody’s mother who had abandoned Melody in Caw-gee’s nest.

Caw-gee: motherly crow with a brood of four.

Do-ray: Caw-gee’s first born, a musician.

Me-Far: a fat crow, younger to Do-ray. He plays the drums.

So-La: the third boy who plays the flute.

Ti-do: the girl crow, who plays the triangle.

Mr. Rabid: Music Tutor to the crows. He wears the Talibani turban and sports a beard, no moustache. This is to distinguish him from the rest of the Muslims of the world who are not rabid.

Senor Julio: a thrush, who is blind.

Gee-Peck: a middle aged peacock who is beautiful but ashamed of his ugly feet which are always clad in big clod-hopping boots. He is a classical Indian dancer. He loves Flow-Jo, the deer.

Flow-Jo: An athlete who is extremely fashion conscious. She loves Gee-Peck. She is middle-aged and is lost in youthful dreams.

Banana-Drama: A rocking monkey who is a Disc Jockey. He wears cool clothes, a bandana on his head, a single ear-ring, black shades and a carries a walk-man. Talks like a black rap singer.

Peter: a parrot.

Laurel/ Hardy: two rabbits.

Butterflies; a few small, a few big.

Kite-King – a king who is inordinately fond of the good life.

Guru God-man: Master of ceremonies,and later,the home minister to Kite-King. He is a crane who never stands on his two feet. He wears a white robe, a saffron shawl and a green Muslim cap (the three colors to show his affiliation to all communities- Hindu, Muslim, Christian). Around his neck he wears a beaded rosary with a cross and a Hindu caste mark on his fore-head and sports a beard. He wears glasses to show he is erudite.

Dr. Charlie: Court doctor to Kite-King who looks and acts like Charlie Chaplin.

Platy- pus: A contestant from Australia.

Pee-wee-King: A Chinese contestant.

Freezer: The judge who is a penguin.

Peace-meal: a pigeon.

Mrs. Brown: a sparrow who is Cuckoo‘s maid. She is very hilly-billy.

Mr. Brown: Mrs. Brown’s alcoholic husband who is down on his luck and so drowns his sorrow in liquor.

Alien: he can look like Steven Spielberg’s E. T. since he has come from a galaxy far, far away so can look like nothing on earth.

Audience: any number of actors, children or adults can be added to the cast in order to make a statement. The director can give free rein to his creativity.

Set direction: A few golden bars to denote luxury as well as being caged can be placed in Kite-king’s court as well as in Cuckoo’s bed chamber.

The Bird’s Tale

ACT 1

SCENE 1

Place: The jungle/Time:An hour before dawn. The jungle sleeps

Characters: All the animals of the jungle except Kite-King, his courtiers and the contestants from Australia and China

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Ko hoo Ko hoo.

As the first rays of the sun touch the jungle we see Cuckoo tip-toe on to the stage holding the wing/hand of a little cuckoo bird.

LITTLE CUCKOO

Mom,Where are you taking me? I am scared.

Cuckoo

Shhhh child, I am only doing what is good for you.
(The little cuckoo weeps.)

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Shhhhh, Shhhhhh.

At one end of the stage is a nest in which dozes Caw-gee along with her brood of four little crows. Cuckoo circles the nest cautiously, pushes the little cuckoo in it and moves stealthily away.

It is morning now. The animals of the jungle are awake. The two rabbits roll on to the stage playfully. A peacock who is wearing huge boots walks in and spreads his feathers and dances in an oriental style. A deer who wears smart trainer shoes munches on grass. The two rabbits dash against the crow’s nest. She opens one eye and looks at them.

LAUREL/HARDY
(the two rabbits sing)

Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

FLOW-JO
(sings in a very sweet voice)

Good morning.

GEE-PECK
(dancing in an oriental way and
singing)

Dha dha dhin dha, dha, dha, dhin dha, dha tin tin ta,dha tin tin ta

ALL THE ANIMALS
(together)
Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

Caw-Gee shakes the nest to wake her children and sings.

CAW-GEE
(singing in a raucous voice)

Rise and shine, O children of mine,

There’s much to be done and work is fun

When the work is over it’s time for some leisure

We’ll dance and sing for the jungle folks pleasure.

All the animals look at each other distressed when she sings the last four lines. The four crows are shaking their wings, reluctant to get up.

DO-RAY

Mom,please, please let me sleep.

ME-FAR

Just five minutes more.

TI-DO

There’s no school today.

There is a sound of snoring from SO-LA. Suddenly CAW-GEE spies the little cuckoo in her nest.

CAW-GEE

Goodness! Who is this?

She shakes the little cuckoo to
wake her. The little bird yawns
and stretches.

CAW-GEE

Who, in the name of heaven, are you?

Little Cuckoo just shakes her head.

CAW-GEE

Are you mute?

The four crows caw raucously and circle her. The Little bird shakes her head again. The jungle creatures look at each other amazed and then slowly come towards her.

ME-FAR

(pecking the little cuckoo)
She’s so …B.l.a.c.k.

DO-RAY

She’s so tiny.

TI-DO
(looking at the little cuckoo’s
frightened face)

She’s in a funk.

SO-LA
(pecking the little cuckoo)

Ya, but why don’t you speak. Come on say something.

The little cuckoo bird cries musically.

LITTLE CUCKOO
Kooo hoo boo hooo. Ko hoo boo hoo.
(The four crows shut their ears
with their wings/hands)

DO-RAY

What a rough voice!

ME-FAR

Stop crying. My ear drums are about to burst.

SO-LA

You are so ugly.

TI-DO

And have an ugly voice. It’s so harsh.

The four crows peck the little cuckoo who tries to save herself desperately.

GEE-PECK

(whispering to FLOW-JO)

Goodness gracious. They are calling her sweet voice harsh? Have they ever heard themselves? The jungle is in a tizzy ever since they arrived.

FLOW-JO

True, Mr. Gee-peck. Their cacophony has ruined our peace of mind.

GEE-PECK

Thank your stars Flow-Jo that you are so swift and can run away from their sound of music.

(Looks down at his boot-clad
feet)

Just look at my feet..

(takes out his foot from the
boot)

Do they have any purpose at all…I have to wear these heavy boots just to hide them. I can’t even run away from their din.

The crows are pecking the little
cuckoo. CAW-GEE picks her up and
cradles her in her lap and then
turns on the crows.

CAW-GEE

Stop this nonsense right away. You are not going to harass the poor darling.

The LITTLE CUCKOO cries pathetically. The crows shut their ears with their wings.

ME-FAR

All right, all right,Caw, caw, we won’t trouble her.
Just tell her to stop the infernal racket.

PETER
(whispering to GEE-PECK)

Ah, the little bird even cries musically.

These little birds are heard by MR. RABID who has just hopped on to the stage.

MR. RABID
(closing his ears)

You call her musical. Her voice is enough to burst anyone’s ear drums. Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to the little cuckoo bird)
Don’t cry, my child. I will take care of you.
(she looks angrily at the
crows)

If any of you dare to trouble her, I swear I will..

BANANA-DRAMA

Squeeze their throat. At least we’ll be spared the trauma of their singing. Anyway, I don’t have to listen to them,I have my means.

(He switches on his walk-man
and dances snapping his
fingers.)

LITTLE CUCKOO

Koo hoo Boo hoo, Koo Hoo, Bo hoo, Mommy, Mommy.

CAW-GEE
(wiping the little bird’s
tears)

Don’t cry, little one.
(to the crows)

Shoo, go away. Go and get ready. Can’t you see your music teacher is here.

MR. RABID

Salaam Madam.

All the animal look at each other distressed and react.

PETER

Music class, nooooo, never…

FLOW-JO

Gotta run

Runs from the stage, followed by Peter.

GEE-PECK
(walking away in a dignified
manner his boots clod hopping
away)

I think we have had enough. There is something known as noise pollution. This racket is harming the environment. Today I am going to definitely write to the home-ministry.

He leaves the stage grumbling, followed by the two rabbits. The monkey is still dancing with his eyes closed.

CAW-GEE
(taking out the ear phones from
his ears)

What’s going on Banana-Drama. Gitt.

BANANA-DRAMA

Cool it mama. When will you recognise true art? We creative critters are always in a trance. We don’t care what’s happening around us.

CAW-GEE
(pecking him)

Gitt, creative critter my foot, You are just a remix artiste.I know all about you “types”! Shoo now….

SCENE 2.

SAME TIME/SAME DAY AS SCENE 1.

CHARACTERS: ALL THE CHARACTERS OF SCENE 1.

Mr. Rabid is conducting his music class. The little Cuckoo bird who is now called MELODY is sitting close by. CAW-GEE is knitting a sweater and looks up over her spectacles intermittently. The rest of the animals are hiding behind rocks, trees, in the grass. As the music class progresses they try various ways to close their ears.

MR. RABID

All right, my pets, let’s begin.

DO-RAY

Dooooooooooooo
(FLOW-JO stuffs her ears with
cotton wool)

ME-FAR

Raaaaaaaaaaay
(GEE-PECK puts ear-plugs in his
ears and ties a bandage around
his head.)

SO-LA

Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
(Peter start banging his head
against a tree)

TI-DO

Faa.mmmph Mmmphh

( He wants to sing but PETER’S
hand/wing cover his mouth)

MR. RABID

(opening his hitherto closed
eyes)

What happened? Come on, sing.

(he looks at the creatures of
the jungle running hither-
thither)

Ribbid Ribbid! What in God’s name is happening here? Shoo, Gitt! How dare you interrupt our practice session!

(to the crows)

Never mind, my pets, they are all jealous of you. Never fear, don’t give up.

(to the little cuckoo, Melody)

You there,

(Melody looks at him with huge
eyes)

Yes, yes, you. Let’s see how well you can sing. Sing with me.
(He croaks)

Do, ray,me, far, so, la,ti, doooooo

The animals close their ears and make all sorts of action and faces.

MELODY
(trying to imitate MR. RABID)

Do, ray, me, fa, so, la, ti,dooooooo

MR. RABID

That’s much better. Just keep practising. One day you will learn to sing just like us.
(The animals have moved closer.
MR, RABID now looks at the
crows and says)

MR. RABID

All right then, my pets. Let’s begin.

THE CAW SONG
Caw, caw, caw, we are the crows four.
Loo, loo, loo, looking for a song to bore.
You, you, you, are our audience for sure,
We,we,we,we have trapped you evermore.

We have trapped you evermore,
And we’ll never let you go,
For if we let you go,
Who’ll buy tickets for the show.

No tickets for the show
Means no money for us bores
No money for us bores means
No future for us crows.

No,no,no,no,please see our shows,
So we don’t eat trash anymore,
We live like kings and sleep like stars,
Take Oprah and Paris and Cruise our cars.

Parties and Photos, glitter and glamor,
We have no talent but still we clamor.
For the good life or la dolce vita
Who cares for talent when we have our teacher.    

(Here they look at MR. RABID who hops with excitement)

FADE OUT.

SCENE 3
Place: Another corner of the jungle/ Time: day.

CHARACTERS: MELODY/ SENOR JULIO WHO IS BLIND AND WEARING DARK GLASSES

Melody is singing a song as she wanders in the jungle.

SONG
The jungle is alive with the sound of music.
If music be the food of love,
love is all I need.
If need is the future of music,
I can do without it,yes sir,indeed.
In deed I will pray,
In prayers I will say,
Give me only music,
only music to share.

As she sings and twirls and hops she bumps into a brown bird who is wearing dark glasses.

MELODY

Goodness,couldn’t you see me ?

SENOR JULIO

No,child. I am blind.

MELODY

Oh! I am sorry.

SENOR JULIO

It’s okay. You are beautiful, child.

MELODY

But,but,I am….
(she looks at herself and then
at SENOR JULIO)

How do you know, you can’t see.

SENOR JULIO

To see you don’t need eyes. A good heart is enough and I can see you with them, my child. I heard you singing but..Can you come closer?

Melody goes near SENOR JULIO who touches her face with his wings/hands.

SENOR JULIO

Beautiful.
(his hand/wings linger at her
throat)
Very beautiful but…..

MELODY

That’s not ..I mean that’s my neck.

SENOR JULIO

I know let me finish what I am saying. Your throat is sensitive but there’s something missing here.

MELODY

(sadly)

I know MR. RABID also says that. He says I do not know how to sing.

SENOR JULIO

Well child,, if he says that you should be happy. If you sing like him the audience will pelt you with rotten tomatoes and eggs. I didn’t mean you can’t sing.

MELODY

Then what did you mean?

SENOR JULIO

I meant your throat is weak. It is sensitive but it lacks strength.

MELODY

Oh, what should I do for that Mr.

SENOR JULIO
(bowing low)

Senor Julio at your service, my child. For that you have to train your voice.

MELODY
(wailing).

Oh what should I do. Who will train me? (Then looking hopefully at Senor Julio)
Will you train me?

SENOR JULIO.

Of course, child. But on one condition.

MELODY

What condition?

SENOR JULIO

That you will tell no one about me except your mother.

MELODY

Done. I won’t tell anyone.

SENOR JULIO

All right then. Lets make a beginning right away.

(Both sing, first SENOR JULIO followed by MELODY)

SONG

SEVEN NOTES OF MUSIC( from the film Sound of Music)

Doe a deer, a female deer,ray, a drop of golden sun,
Me,a name I call myself,Far a long,long way to run.
So,a needle pulling thread, la,a note to follow so.
Tea, a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back
to Do, o, o, o, Doe,a deer a female deer…..

FADE OUT.

ACT 2.

SCENE 1.
Place: KITE-KING’S COURT : /TIME:NIGHT
CHARACTERS : KITE-KING, CUCKOO- MELODY’S  MOTHER, COURTIERS

KITE-KING is seated on a throne and CUCKOO is dancing and singing.)

SONG
I could have danced all night.
(From the film MY Fair Lady)

Cuckoo takes a final twirl, loses her balance and falls.

KITE-KING

Watch out! Did you get hurt?
(Gets up, places her hand on
her hips and limps a bit)
Oh no, Sire, Just a little sprain.

KITE-KING

I have told you again and again and again that you are not as young as before. It’s high time you retired so that we can get a new court dancer.

(From Cuckoo’s expression we
can see that she does not like
the idea.)

All right, let’s get this message across that we are going to hold a huge contest and whoever wins is going to get lots of goodies.

CUCKOO

Yes, Your highness, Kite- King.

She limps out of the court with a sour expression on her face.

KITE-KING

(to one of the courtiers)
See that the message is proclaimed to every nook and corner of the world. Cuckoo is really very crafty. Given half a chance she would even tell me to go fly a kite.

All the courtiers laugh uproariously.

ONE OF THE COURTIERS

Ha ha. That’s funny what his royal highness the Kite-King just said. Cuckoo is capable of telling him to go fly a kite.

(laughs)

FADE OUT.

SCENE 2.
PLACE: THE JUNGLE / TIME: DAY
CHARACTERS: ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE JUNGLE

The younger animals have grown up. Do-Ray holds a guitar and is the lead singer, Me-Far is on the drums, So-La plays the flute from which instrument emanates a variety of sounds intermittently and Ti-Do beats her metal triangle with a small rod. All the crows are singing THE CAW SONG. Mr. Rabid has a long white beard and wears spectacles. All the creatures of the jungle are dancing to THE CAW SONG.

BANANA-DRAMA

Not bad, I am going to remix this number.

PETER

When will you stop your monkey tricks and stop being a copy cat. It’s very confusing, all this remix and stuff.

Gee-Peck is dancing and by mistake steps on Flow-Jo’s toes.

FLOW-JO

Ouch, ouch,ouch! Your huge boots have squashed my big toe.

GEE-PECK

Ooops! sorry! sorry! I am so sorry. But you know my problem, don’t you?

The rabbits are also hopping to the music. Melody brings some snacks for everyone.

MELODY

It’s tea time and snacks for everyone.

There are carrots for the rabbits, a long, green chilly for the parrot, a few spinach leaves for the deer and for the peacock there are some brown noodles that look like earth worms. For the butterflies they are some flowers with a straw stuck in the center of each flower. For the crows there are pizzas, burgers and colas. All the creatures eat and drink.

MR. RABID

Ladies and gentlemen creatures. I see that you like our music.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)
Do we have choice in the matter?
(Twisting both his ears with a
painful expression)
Well, it hardly matters now. My ear drums are completely shattered.

HARDY
(to Laurel)

Yes, just like a snake you know. He can’t hear too, just moves along with the snake charmer’s pipe.

GEE-PECK

(who has a brown noodle
dangling from his beak)
Snake? Who said snake? Where’s the snake?

All the animals are shocked into
silence.

MR. RABID
(looks scared and looks around)

Where’s the snake? Snake’s are my mortal enemies.

CAW-GEE
(throws a hard stare in
Laurel/Hardy’s direction,then
speaks soothingly to Mr.
Rabid)

There’s no snake around. Don’t worry Mr. Rabid. If a snake dares to come here Gee- peck here will eat him up for dinner.

The noodles are still hanging from Gee-Peck’s beak. All the animals look at him.

BANANA-DRAMA

Yes,well, let him eat his noodles first. When the snake comes he will eat him as well.

GEE-PECK

Gross. I am not like other pea-cocks who eat snakes. Snakes are our friends actually. They eat up all the animals who are pests like rats,fro…
(Peter quickly shuts his mouth
with his hands/wings)

MR. RABID
(puffing with anger)

What did you say? I know what you were going to say. Frogs. Snakes eat pests like frogs.

PETER
(giggling)

No, no. You are quite mistaken sir. How can you be our enemy? You sing so sweetly. Ah, what a melodious voice.

MR. RABID
(cooling down a bit)

All right, all right. There is no need to butter me up. I know you critters like the back of my tongue. You make fun of me and (points to the crows) and my pupils. Now just wait and see, I am going to teach you all a lesson you’ll never forget.

CAW-GEE
(nodding her head)

Yes, to be sure. Mr. Rabid is entering my children in a competition at the court of Kite-King. The winner will be made the court-singer. Later, there is talk of getting a good pension.

PETER
(to a butterfly)

Nothing can beat a good job in the government. Just eat, drink and be merry. No stress!

BUTTERFLY ONE
(flapping her wings)

Betcha ! Now take me for instance. I work in the State Department. All I have to do is fly here and fly there -in the country, out of the country and all for free. No worries man.

CAW-GEE

All right then. It is decided. We are all going to Kite-King’s court to encourage our group. Mr. Rabid has named the band – THE CAW-DOORS BAND.

BANANA-DRAMA
Dude, what kind of a name is that? So old and boring.

GEE-PECK
(whispers to Flow-Jo)

Just like their teacher.

Mr. Rabid over hears this remark and starts to puff up with anger.

MR. RABID

I heard what you said. So I am old and boring! Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(distressed)

Mr. Rabid ! Control your self. You have to watch your blood pressure. You might…..

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Flow-jo)

Burst like a big, fat balloon.

Flow-Jo laughs and then tries to stifle her laughter.

MR. RABID
(in a wild temper now)
Go on laugh away. You, modern, fashionable folks can do little else. What else do you know except to bare your teeth and grin like apes.(Banana-drama can react here)

CAW-GEE

Get a hold on yourself Mr. Rabid. Please don’t be angry with them. They are all jealous of your talent. I am sure your pupils will get the first prize. That will shut them up.

DO-RAY

Yes, sir, please don’t worry. We are sure to make you famous all over the world.

ME-FAR

The world of music will remember you for ever and for ever.

TI-DO

And we’ll be big stars too. Everyone will look at us and sing, Twinkle, twinkle little stars,

SO-LA
How I wonder what you are.

CROWS
(together)

Twinkle, twinkle little star,how I wonder what you are.

MELODY

Mom, I want to be a star too.

The crows are silent and look at each other.

DO-RAY

No way, Jose.

ME-FAR

You, don’t know how to sing. Everyone will laugh at you.

TI-DO

And then, no one’s going to take us seriously too because you are tagging along with us.

MELODY
(crying)

Ko hooo, Boo, hoo.

CAW-GEE

Oh, Melody. Don’t cry baby. You will take part in the contest. I’ll see who dares stop you from participating.

Mr. Rabid who had opened his mouth to say something shuts it hastily.

SO-LA

Mom, if she wants to be a part of the contest she can but only after we are done.

CAW-GEE

Why so?

SO-LA

Because, if the audience runs away after hearing her song who is going to listen to us then,duh!

TI-DO

Don’t be mean So-La!

SO-LA
(to Melody)
Melody, you can help us okay, back-stage, but don’t you dare open your beak to sing.

CAW-GEE

Stop it, all of you. If Melody wants to be in the contest she’s going to get her chance too.

GEE-PECK
(to Flow-Jo)
Yes, one must dance when one gets the chance. I think I will take part in the contest too. After all, I am trained classical dancer from India.

(Flow-Jo bats her eye lashes)

BANANA-DRAMA

And I think I will present a couple of my items too. How long can I hide my talent from the world!

MR. RABID

This contest is not for grinning apes and copy cats.

GEE-PECK

And why not? If tuneless and ugly artistes can participate then why not copy cats?

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Hold your tongue you mangy bird or I will tear and crush your beautiful feathers which you so proudly display.

GEE-PECK

Are you capable of anything else? You are jealous of me because neither do you have looks, nor talent. All you know is to croak in the rains- ribbid, ribbid, and that’s what you are teaching these poor crows.

MR. RABID
(angrily)

Oh, I see. So that’s what you think of me. I am not going to leave any of you. You will all have to pay for this insult.

CAW-GEE
(desperately trying to calm Mr.
Rabid)

Mr. Rabid, calm down, please calm down or you will get sick.

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Peter)

I hope he goes for a long spell to the hospital. Then we can have some peace and quiet in the jungle. He is such a bore. I am sick to my teeth of his infernal racket.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! The cheek of this monkey. He wants to send me to the hospital. I am going to fix him first.

CAW-GEE

Mr. Rabid! Please, pretty please, calm down. We should all live in the jungle in peace and quiet.

MR. RABID

Now there is going to be peace and quiet after I have taught each one of these creatures a lesson and kicked them out of the jungle.

BANANA-DRAMA

And what if we all got together and threw you out, then what are you going to do?

MR. RABID

Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to all the creatures)

Be quiet,all of you. Who told you creatures to poke your nose in our affairs. Apologize to Mr. Rabid at once. You have hurt his feelings.

BANANA-DRAMA

And what about him. He has shattered the peace and quiet of the jungle, what about that, huh?

BUTTERFLY TWO

Yes, and once when I was flying a little low he flicked his long tongue and tried to catch me. I was so scared, I swear.

MR. RABID

Come on, you liar.

BUTTERFLY TWO
No, of course not I am telling the truth. (Addressing the other butterflies)

Ask them, aren’t I telling the truth?

All the butterflies nod their
heads vigorously.

BUTTERFLIES

True, absolutely true. He hides in the grass and whenever he gets the chance he flicks out his tongue to catch us.

Caw- gee looks at Mr. Rabid.

MR. RABID
(trying to cover his
discomfiture)

What’s got into these butterflies? (Looking at Banana-Drama)

This is all this monkey’s tricks to throw me out of the jungle. He has no talent to speak of and that’s why he is envious of me.

BANANA-DRAMA

Just exactly what talent do you have dude? You have one talent and that you don’t need air to puff up like a balloon but all I have to do is stick a pin in you and you will deflate – Whooooooooooosh.

All the animals laugh uproariously and Mr. Rabid hops up and down and says “Ribbid” Ribbid” many times.

Caw-Gee claps her hand/wings and

says peremptorily

CAW-GEE
(Clapping her wings/hands)

Peace, peace.
(Addressing all the creatures)

What has got in to all of you? Is this your culture? Is this civilized?

PETER

Culture and Civilization can boil themselves in oil, for all we care, Madam. I mean, everything has its limits. And this critter here has crossed all limits. And now we are not going to keep quiet. We are going to shout and scream and burst his ear drums so that he knows too what we go through day in and day out.

CAW-GEE

(brings her hand/wings together
to pacify him)
Brothers, I beg you, put an end to this quarrel. Look, the sun is about to set. It’s time to sleep peacefully in our homes. The morrow’s sun will bring a new day when we can live in peace and harmony with each other.

GEE-PECK

That’s is possible only if this critter here refrains from shattering the peace of the jungle or we restrain him.

CAW-GEE

No, no, no, my friends. Please be patient. He is just a little hot tempered but he is very warm-hearted other wise. He will make our jungle famous one day, you wait and watch.

PETER

Caw-nee,( pronouncing it as corny) I mean Caw-Gee. You are partial to him today but one day you are going to regret this. He will take a deep breath and plunge into the water leaving you to face the music.

CAW-GEE

Don’t say that, my son. He is an artiste and artistes are very simple.

PETER

He’s not simple, he’s a pimple, an ugly boil on the face of the earth but by the time you realize this it may be too late.

CAW-GEE
(bringing her wings/hand
together in the attitude of a
judge)

Order, order. Or you will be behind bars for disturbing the peace of the community.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)

Behind bars. Whatever is that?

HARDY

It means to drink so much that you can’t see what is right and what is wrong. You are cool with everything, even their singing.

LAUREL/HARDY

But, we don’t mind looking at them, we just don’t want to hear them, especially when they start singing.

GEE-PECK

What are you both muttering about? To throw behind bars means to send you to jail, to lock you up, to put you in the slammer.

LAUREL/HARDY
(together)

Ooooooooh! Who does Caw-Gee want to lock up?

PETER

Caw- Gee wants to lock all of us up because she wants her kids to be stars and since we don’t like their music she
feels humiliated.

HARDY

I see. If Caw-Gee wants her kids to be stars then what will Mr. Rabid be ?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, he’s round and full, so he’s a moon, dude.

FLOW-JO

No way, The moon’s too good for him, he’s just a pumpkin, the one you see on Halloween.

All the animals laugh uproariously. Mr.
Rabid hops up and down, furious.

MR. RABID

Ribbid, Ribbid.

LAUREL
(To Hardy)

Why does he keep croaking ribbid, ribbid? What does it mean?

HARDY

It means that when you don’t know what you want to say you cover it up by jumping up and down and shouting ribbid, ribbid.

GEE-PECK

No, no, Ribbid means….

MELODY

Kooooooo.

CAW-GEE

Yes, yes, my child I completely forgot where the matter all began and look, where it has all ended. I am sorry to say the world is not too kind to a single mom who is only trying to do what’s best for her children.

FLOW-JO

No, non, Caw-Gee, that’s not true. We are all happy for Do-ray, Me-far, So-la and Ti-do but….

GEE-PECK

But, we only object to a certain individual who is only wants to confuse you so he can get what he wants.

BANANA-DRAMA

Ya man, Kaw-Nee ( pronounced Corny), I mean Kaw-Gee. We are all talented man in our own way. But, suppose someone is not talented and the other person tries to thrust talent down his throat then that’s not cool, man.

MR. RABID
(jumping up and down angrily)

How can you say that, you ape, that my pupils have no talent. I’ll show you. What do you know about talent, anyway, you copy cat!

Mr. Rabid’s eyes are bulging with anger and his tongue is lolling out.

BANANA-DRAMA

Careful dude, watch your step man or I’ll pull out your tongue which helps to put food in your stomach. I ( pointing to Caw-gee) was talking to her, not to you.

MR. RABID
(cooling down)

What do you mean? I didn’t understand.

BANANA-DRAMA

I was telling her that she has thrust the title of artiste on you when you don’t have no talent man.

MR. RABID

What did you say? I don’t have any talent. For your information I won the first prize in a huge musical show.

GEE-PECK

We know all about that. It was just a show for frogs and that too during the monsoon when all the creatures were hiding from the rains.

BANANA-DRAMA

And to top it, all the frogs find a well so that no other creature can participate in the contest.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

Fair- weather frogs , oops, I mean rainy- weather frogs find a deep well and croak away to glory and then pat each other on the backs and divide the prize amongst themselves.

PETER

Yup, these kind of shenanigans are the speciality of film festivals and award functions. They are one big family who award each other at the function and then come back happily to party the night away.

GEE-PECK

Yes, and the rest of the world can boil themselves in oil, for all they care.

MR. RABID

What is this boil in oil, boil in oil, that you go on about?

GEE-PECK

Oh, the whole world moves on oiled wheels, don’t you know that? Oil is really important. If there is no oil, the whole world will come to a stand still. But what do these frogs care? They are just happy croaking away!

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

GEE-PECK

Exactly!

LAUREL/HARDY

But what does ribbid mean?

MELODY

Kooooo
(all the creatures look at her)

CAW-GEE

Yes, my child, you will be in the contest too.

ALL THE CROWS

Mom!

CAW-GEE

Quiet, all of you. If Melody wants to compete in the contest, then she is going to get her chance.

ALL THE CROWS

No way Mom! What will everyone think?

CAW-GEE
Quiet,not a word from you. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? (To Melody)

You start your practise, child.

She leaves, shaking her
head,grumbling to her self.

To bring up children is quite a task. It’s not easy being a single mom.

The crows peck Melody and she runs from the stage cooing away. The other animals, except Mr. Rabid, follow her. Mr. Rabid hops in the other direction. Midway he stops and addresses the audience.

MR. RABID

Did all you folks note their behavior? Well, I am not going to spare them. I am going to teach them a lesson come what may. The sky can fall or the earth can shake I will not rest till I teach them a lesson. I too have a weapon that they know not. Now, all of you just wait for the explosion!

He hops off. Suddenly there is a loud crash and we hear Mr. Rabid’s loud voice shouting Ribbid)

MR. RABID (O.S.)

Who put this tub of water in the way? I am soaking wet.

BANANA-DRAMA (O.S.)

This is for you Mr. Rabid. You need to have a good wash before you compete with us.

The sound of laughter of all the
jungle folks.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

SCENE 3

PLACE:A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE/DAY

CHARACTERS:ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE JUNGLE EXCEPT MR. RABID,CAW-GEE, AND THE FOUR CROWS. MELODY SITS IN THE CORNER.

Gee-Peck is dances in an oriental way while Laurel and Hardy play a percussion instrument from India-the tabla

GEE-PECK

Dha,dha,tirkit, ta dha, krandha,krandha,tirkit, tirkit, ta tha.

All the animals clap enthusiastically.

BANANA-DRAMA

Cool, very cool. No, no, I mean, hot, very hot.

FLOW-JO
(laughing)

You better decide whether Mr. Gee-Peck’s dance is cool or hot.

HARDY

I think it’s neither cool nor hot it looks like he is playing the fool.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Whaaaaaaaaaaat!

HARDY
Well, if Mr. Gee Peck is gonna dance with such huge boots it’s not our dance but kinda like a tap dance.

BUTTERFLY ONE

Tap dance, whatever is that?

LAUREL

We had seen it when we had gone abroad once. The dancers wore huge boots and were dancing. And very fast too.

GEE-PECK

Oh well, compared to them I am a nothing. Neither here nor there.

FLOW-JO

Why don’t you just present a demo. Don’t take part in the competition.

PETER

Then who is going to represent us? We do need to teach Mr.
Rabid a good lesson.

Everybody is thinking.

MELODY

Cooo.

All the animals look towards her.

MELODY (cont’d)

Will all of you give me a chance to sing on your behalf? BANANA-DRAMA

But can you sing? You have a sweet voice but professional training is what you need.

MELODY

I have trained professionally. But I can’t reveal the name of the maestro. It’s top secret.

PETER

All right, in that case why don’t you sing and let us decide.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(together)

Hear! hear! let us hear you.

MELODY
All right.

She comes to the center of the
stage and sings.

SONG
The hills are alive with the sound of music. (from the film Sound of Music)

She sings a few lines and then stops. The animals are quiet for a moment and then clap enthusiastically and shout”hear,hear,” and “bravo”!

GEE-PECK

Wonderful! What a melodious voice! Perfectly in tune and rhythm.

BANANA-DRAMA

Rocking! Simply rocking!

FLOW-JO

All right then, it is decided. Melody will represent us.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(all together)

Yes, yes.

PETER

All right Melody. You have to win the first prize. We’ll never get a chance like this one to teach Mr. Rabid a good lesson.

MELODY

All that is fine but let’s not forget my brother’s are also taking part in the contest. If I win they are going to feel bad.

FLOW-JO

Well, just listen to the wee bird. Everyone takes part in the contest,girl. But, this must be the first time I am hearing that someone is afraid to take part in the contest for fear of winning!

BANANA-DRAMA

That happens only when the results are “fixed” as to who is to win and who is to lose. Then it is smarter to lose for if you dare to win you could lose your life.

FLOW-JO

Yes, but this contest is not one of those ones for the Kite-King genuinely wants an entertainer for his court,whether it be a singer or a dancer.

PETER

And,not only are you a good singer but you dance well too. I have seen you hopping from branch to branch,from tree to tree.

FLOW-JO
(singing operatically)

I could have danced all night…
(she sings two lines of the
song from the film My Fair
Lady)

GEE-PECK

(sings where she breaks off)
You could have danced all night…..

They look at each other lovingly while the animals look at each other.

PETER

All right, all right, the two of you. How long do you intend to live in the past?

BANANA-DRAMA

Ya man. You gotta swing with the times dude.

(he snaps his fingers and
dances and sings)

SONG

Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Up, up to the sky
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly Up, up to the sky
(from the group

Silver Convention)

Just then a pigeon flutters towards them. All the animals look at each other amazed

PEACE-MEAL
(the pigeon)

I have brought you a proclamation from Kite -King.

GEE-PECK

Go ahead.

PEACE-MEAL

The Kite-King wants you all to know that you are all welcome to his land but no one is permitted to bring their tutor or teacher with them.

Just then Caw-gee and Mr. Rabid arrive.

BANANA-DRAMA

Oh Caw-nee, I mean Caw-Gee! He has just brought an important message from the King that Mr. Rabid is not permitted in the contest.

CAW-GEE

Why Not? What kind of rule is that?

PEACE-MEAL

This is not a rule, it’s the law. The contestants cannot be accompanied by their tutors.

MR. RABID

Stuff and nonsense. I am going to go, let me see who dare stop me.

PEACE-MEAL

You are not going to get a visa.

MR. RABID

Why won’t you give me one? What kind of law is this? You can’t do this.

GEE-PECK

Listen, my good fellow, it’s their country, they can do whatever they want.

MR. RABID

I’ll see who will stop me from entering the country. I have my ways.

FLOW-JO

God forbid. Illegal alien. Are you going to break the law?

MR. RABID

Well, by hook or by crook, whatever it takes.

GEE-PECK

Why are you so stubborn Mr. Rabid? And why do you want to force yourself everywhere, even when you are not wanted. After all, you must be having a place of your own. Why don’t you go and live there peacefully?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, the fact is his well is very deep and the water’s are very shallow and murky. And there are many frogs like him who go ribbid, ribbid all the time. That’s why this dude has run away and come here.

PETER

Well if he has run away and come here then he needs to sit quietly in a corner. Where’s the need to go ribbid, ribbid all the time.

GEE-PECK

Force of habit, my friend, force of habit.

MR. RABID

Ribbid, ribbid.

CAW-GEE

Mr. Rabid, don’t you bother about what they all say.

Peace, my friend, peace.

PEACE-MEAL
Did you say some thing to me ?

CAW-GEE

I said Peace.

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, that’s my name Peace-Meal. In short, Peace.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Whaaaaaaaaat?

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, I am the pigeon of Peace. Another bird was in charge of this work but ever since the hunters have got rid of her I am now in charge of this work.

BANANA-DRAMA

I see. Yes, the dove was the messenger of peace but now he is extinct like the dodo bird. And now you are in charge of this work.

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, and now I am going to fly off too. Farewell.

He flies away.

All the animals sing.

SONG
Fly, robin, fly…

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Mr. Rabid)

Well, you better live in peace in the jungle. We’ll take a quick tour of the world and come, man.

GEE-PECK

And if you get too bored you still have your well where the other frog’s await you.

MR. RABID

Ribbid!Ribbid! Looks like you are not going to

behave yourselves. Go fly a kite.

BANANA-DRAMA

Hellooo, we are going to meet the Kite-King. How can we fly a kite here?

All the animals laugh uproariously at his joke.

GEE-PECK

Great joke! We can’t fly a kite here coz we are going to meet the Kite-King!! Ho Ho Ho. Well said Banana-Drama.

Banana-Drama pulls up his collar
and smirks.

CAW-GEE

Melody, what are you doing here this late. Come into the nest. It’s time to go to bed. We have to leave early tomorrow.

(Addressing the other animals)
Come along, all of you too.

BANANA-DRAMA

No way Mam. I was thinking of going to the disco. I have just got a new job as the D.J. I have to play all the latest hit songs.

CAW-GEE
You have to play, that’s all. Anyone can do that for you, they don’t need you for that. Go. Go to sleep, or you will all miss the flight tomorrow.

BANANA-DRAMA
All right Caw-Nee, I mean Caw-Gee. We respect you, that is why we listen to you Mam or
(looking at Mr. Rabid)

By this time we would have got rid of certain individuals.

Goes away singing “Black is black, I want my baby back”by Los Bravos)

Mr. Rabid looks at him furiously.
All the animals leave. Only Mr.

Rabid remains on stage.

MR. RABID
We’ll see who will get rid of whom. I will destroy all of you. I have a secret weapon and that weapon is going to spell your doom.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 4.

PLACE: CUCKOO’S LUXURIOUS BED CHAMBER WHICH IS FURNISHED WITH A FEW GOLDEN RODS TO DENOTE LUXURY AND THE FEELING OF BEING CAGED/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS: CUCKOO/A PIGEON/MRS. BROWN/MELODY

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. There is a knock on the door.

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Come in.
(A pigeon comes in and bows
before Cuckoo.)
Did you do what I told you to do?

PIGEON

Yes madam,I told both my friends to keep an eye on the contestants and to let me know who among them is the best.

CUCKOO

And?

PIGEON

According to my sources the most talented of the lot is a young singer named Melody.

CUCKOO

All right then, go and invite her. Tell her I want to meet her tomorrow, in the evening. Tell her I want to give her tips to help her win the contest.

PIGEON

(bowing respectfully)
To be sure Madam.
(Goes away)

CUCKOO
(putting her wings/hand
together)

Wants to replace me, indeed! We’ll see about that. I am going to teach her such a lesson that she‘ll go crying to her mamma. After I am done with her she’ll not even be able to eat, forget about tweet.

(she claps peremptorily) Where is everyone? Yoohooo, I say, yoohoo.

A little sparrow comes in running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Madam.

CUCKOO

Are you deaf Mrs. Brown? Your problem is that you are hopping here and there all the time and when there is work to be done you are nowhere to be seen.

MRS. BROWN

(wringing her hands in fear)
Yes madam, to be sure madam. I had just gone to collect some grains and grit ( gives a shy smile) I am expecting five wee ones soon and we’ll need a bigger nest too. Hubby dear can’t do all the house work, he has to work outside too to make ends meet.

CUCKOO
(sarcastically)

I know exactly what he does outside. When are you folks going to change your ways? Your husband has no work, he’s always drunk in bars and you, you go on producing children. What’s your husband’s name?

MRS. BROWN
(lowers her eyes shyly clasps
her hand and swings side to
side)

Mr. Lancelot Brown.

CUCKOO

Whatever! Go and tell Mr. Hadalot to take a break and come and meet me right away. I have some work for him.

MRS. BROWN

Right away Missus (Cuckoo glares at her) I mean madame.

CUCKOO

Now off with you. Go and get me a few grains and salad leaves. And, bring me a cold glass of water.

MRS. BROWN
(who is a little slow-witted)
To drink?

CUCKOO
(exasperated)

No, to have a bath! Oh God, give me strength that I can deal with these slow witted and hilly billy sorts. Now, go, O mother of mine, go and do as I say.

MRS. BROWN

Mother? I am not your mother. I am going to be a mother soon.
(Shyly)

Just a few days to go.

CUCKOO
(stamping her feet)

Are you going to leave or no!

The sparrow hops away
(Cuckoo draws in a deep breath)

What a life! On the one hand I have to deal with these dumb hilly billy sorts and on the other I have to deal with that rogue Kite-King who has no other interest in life but to sing, dance and be merry. Just because I am a little old, I mean a little mature now, he is scouting around for young blood. He has one leg in the grave but he behaves like a young rooster. Anyway, I can handle him and his new singing sensation, what did pigeon say was her name, ah Yes! Melody.

Fade to black for a few moments to indicate that it is the next day and then we hear’s Melody’s voice.

MELODY’S VOICE

Koooooo.

Lights come on gradually. Melody is standing on one corner of the stage.

Cuckoo is on the settee in a
dishevelled state

MELODY

Madam you called me so here I am. I am a big fan, Madam.

Your songs are an inspiration to me.

CUCKOO
(Yawning)

Really! You are so little then how can you be a big fan? (Giggling)
Just a joke. Come in, come and sit down.
(Pats the settee)

Come here, come sit next to me.

Melody sits next to her, a little scared, a little nervous.

CUCKOO

Now then, tell me, where did you learn to sing. I mean, who is your teacher?

MELODY’S VOICE
(as she thinks)

Senor Julio told me to tell no one but (addresses Cuckoo)
Mother had appointed Mr. Rabid to tutor all of us.

CUCKOO
(taken aback)

Mr. Rabid! That tuneless frog who goes ribbid, ribbid in the rainy weather.

MELODY

The same.

CUCKOO

Lordloveaduck!

CUCKOO’S VOICE
(as she thinks to herself)

Did that pigeon make a mistake? How can she be a good singer? (Addresses Melody)

All right, let me hear you, let me see how you sing.

MELODY

I am sorry, the maestro forbid from singing in front of anyone.

CUCKOO

Drat it! All right, at least let me hear you sing the seven notes of melody, just like Mr. Ribbid taught you to sing.

MELODY

Just like Mr. Ribbid taught me to sing. All right.
(she sings hoarsely)
Do, Ray, Me, Far, So, La, Ti, Do.

CUCKOO
(gives an evil smile)

Hear, hear! What a voice. Wonderful, my child. You will surely win the first prize in this contest.
(Joyfully)
Will you eat something?
(Claps her hands peremptorily)
Mrs. Brown, yoohoo,Mrs. Brown, are you deaf?

Mrs Brown who is wearing an apron and has a duster in which she is wiping her hands comes in running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Missus
(Cuckoo glares at her)
I mean Madame.

CUCKOO

Go and get a cola with ice for her. And get me some hot tea and don’t forget the ginger.

MRS. BROWN
(as she goes )

Yes missus

(flustered)

I mean Madame

The lights are slowly dimming as
we hear Melody.

MELODY’S VOICE

My teacher told me not drink anything cold. And definitely not any cola. It has chemicals that kill bugs.

CUCKOO

Drat it!

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5 A.

PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/CUCKOO/JUDGE-A FAT PENGUIN/ALL THE ANIMALS OF JUNGLE LAND/AUDIENCE WHICH CAN ALSO COMPRISE OF ANY BIRDS,BEASTS OR HUMANS THROUGH WHICH ONE MAY WANT TO MAKE A STATEMENT, AN ALIEN WHO HAS COME FROM ANOTHER GALAXY/MR. LANCELOT BROWN, MRS. BROWN AND THEIR FIVE CHILDREN/GURU GODMAN.

Kite-king comes and sits on his throne.

The audience claps

KITE-KING

Let the contest begin.

The Master of ceremonies is a crane. He holds the mike.
He stands on one foot then the other.

GURU GODMAN

Salaam,Namaste,Good Evening! Ich bin ein Guru Godman and welcome you all. The Kite-King, in all his benevolence, has organized this contest magnifique for all of us to enjoy. Tres bien. Now, I will call on each contestant to come one by one and I hope you will enjoy their performance. So, first let me invite.. ( looks at his paper)

PETER

(to Gee-Peck)
Why doesn’t he speak in one language,it’s very confusing.

GEE-PECK

So, he can please everyone.

GURU GODMAN

The first contestant tonight is China’s famous singer,

(looking at a paper in his hands)

Who is also trained in the martial arts like judo karate,Pee-Wee- King.

Everyone claps and Pee-Wee-King comes on stage and sings in the Chinese Style and also demonstrates Judo and karate.

PEE-WEE-KING
(Sings in a falsetto)

Chop, chop, chop,chop suey.

Pop, pop, pop, pop goes the weasel.

Top, top, top, top of the Morning,

Cop, cop, cop, cop out come evening.

Come morning, come evening,
By day and by night,

Buy, buy, buy our motto,

And sell, sell, sell,

When the time is right.

Buy and sell, buy and sell,

Do we care wherever we dwell.

All we want is the ship to sail,

We’ll bail out when the going is hell.

The song concludes and everyone claps.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)

He looks like a boy then why does he sing like a girl? And his name is Pee-Wee-King. Is he small or is he a King? And why does he exercise when he sings? I am so confused.

GEE-PECK

So is he. And that is his problem. He can’t decide what he wants, what he wants to be and where he is going? I guess he’ll make up his mind when the going is hell.

GURU GODMAN

And now is the turn of the famous bird from Australia – Platy-Pus.

A weird looking bird comes on stage.

LAUREL

Now what kind of bird is this, I just can’t figure it out.

PETER

Nor can it. It hasn’t decided what it wants to be, a bird or a beast. So its neither here nor there – just a Platy-pus.

LAUREL

That Chinese man should also decide what it wants to be or it will turn out like this creature-neither here nor there.

PLATY-PUS
(Singing)

Fowl is fair and Fair is Fowl

Live we do not cheek by jowl.

Open spaces,weather fair,

Plenty to eat and not a care.

Confused are we and do not dare

To take a stand and show them all

We mean business and will not stick

Any funny business before we kick

All and sundry from our land.
No, no. no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes.
No-yes, no-yes, no- yes, no-yes,
Confused are we, we are confused,
Lord clear the heads of these Platy-pus.

All the creatures clap. We see a short rotund individual clad from top to toe in a burqa/abaya coming in. He stands in a corner. This is Mr. Rabid

GURU GODMAN

And now we call on stage four talented singers from the jungle- Do-ray, Me-far, So-la, Ti-do, to present their song titled, Black is Black.

The creatures clap and the four crows come on stage lugging their instruments which they place with stylized swagger and superior attitude.

FOUR CROWS
(singing in a rap style)
Black is black and so is white.
Day is day and so is night.

If black is white and day is night

What does it matter if we look a sight,
What does it matter if we give you a fright,
What does it matter if you want us out of sight.

We may be bores

but now-a-days

anything goes.

If anything goes
than what does it matter
If we are not sure of our tunes or our pater.
We follow the credo of all our kind
To stiff the suckers who pay to watch
Our shows and our broadsides divine.
If they now complain,
We’ll not return their money
come thunder or rain.
No, no, that’s not our intention,
No,no,we’ll not allow any intervention,
We want our money
and we’ll hold it tight,
Nothing will cure us,
not even a swift kick
Up our backsides.

At the beginning of the song the audience is too stunned to react. Then, they slowly start to close their ears. Some of them are trying to get out of the hall. The Kite-King is flapping his wings in anger. The Guru-Godman hastily comes on stage. Only the alien is clapping appreciatively.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, yes, to be sure. I think that is enough for the night.Due to time constraints we’ll have to cut short this number.We apologize.

The animals are happy. From the burqa/abaya clad individual comes the sound of “Ribbid, Ribbid.” All the Jungle-Land creatures look around surprised then at each other.

GURU GODMAN (cont’d)

Finally it is the turn of a young and talented singer.
I invite on stage Melody.

Melody comes on stage. All the
creatures clap. Cuckoo gives and
evil smile.

MELODY
(singing)
The hills are alive with the Sound of
Music. (from the film Sound of Music)

The audience is entranced, particularly Kite-King. Only the alien is closing his ears with a pained expression. When the song is over the creatures clap enthusiastically and shout “Bravo,Bravo”and “Hear, Hear!” Cuckoo looks furious.The Kite-King comes on stage.

KITE-KING

Well done, well done! Tonight’s program was excellent and entertaining. I am very pleased.
(The audience claps)

Singers from all parts of the world have entertained us tonight with songs in many different languages. But music is one language that brings together people from all over the world. For music knows no boundaries,no languages,it is above all. Music touches not our minds but our hearts. And the entertainer whose song has touched all our hearts is no other than the winner of tonight’s contest, Melody.

The creatures clap and yell ‘Bravo’ and ‘Hear, Hear!’ Cuckoo looks furious.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

We would like Melody to come on stage and accept her prize.

Melody comes on stage and accepts her gift. A tiny crown is placed on her head.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

I am so pleased with Melody’s singing that I hereby appoint her as our court singer. Henceforth she will live here and entertain me. The whole world will enjoy her music.
In return Melody will get untold riches and fame….
(The audience claps)

KITE-KING (cont’d)

And henceforth she will live in a golden
cage (he looks at Cuckoo)

Since our old entertainer is about to retire she will now live in a brass cage and her cage will be prepared for Melody.
(It is clear that Cuckoo does
not like the Kite-King’s uggestion.)

KITE-KING (cont’d)

And Cuckoo, you are hereby appointed Melody’s chaperone. Please take care that she is taken care of and does not want for anything.
(Cuckoo stands up and
curtsies. Kite-King looks at Melody)

KITE-KING (cont’d)
I congratulate you and wish you well for a bright future and a new world.

MELODY
(To Kite-King)

May I have your permission to say a few words.

KITE-KING

To be sure, you may.

MELODY

I thank you all for considering me worthy of such honor and for supporting me in this journey, I would like to call upon the person who has my deepest respect. I would like to call her on stage and in front of all you ask her for her blessings. Mom…..

Caw-gee looks at Melody. She has tears in her eyes. She walks slowly towards the stage. She is old and has white hair but Cuckoo recognizes her. Melody touches Caw-Gee’s feet who blesses her. The audience claps. The two embrace.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5 B

PLACE/TIME: SAME AS SCENE 5. THE STAGE IS BLACK FOR A MOMENT AND THEN SLOWLY LIGHTS UP TO SHOW THE AUDIENCE HAS LEFT. ONLY CUCKOO IS LEFT ALONE.
41.

CHARACTERS:CUCKOO/ MR.RABID

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. A sudden sound distracts her and she sees that a burqa/abaya clad figure approaches her.

CUCKOO
(frightened)

What..who ..is there?

The burqa/abaya clad figure comes close and lifts the veil from his face to reveal Mr. Rabid. Cuckoo screams.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! I removed the veil from my face! Then why did you scream?

CUCKOO

Never mind. Who are you? I am going to call the sentry to throw you out.

MR. RABID
Don’t even think of making the mistake. You stand to lose a lot.

CUCKOO

Really? I have just lost everything. What do I have to lose now?

MR. RABID

If you do as I tell you then you will get what your heart desires..

CUCKOO

What are you implying, sir. At least think of your grey beard before talking such rubbish.

MR. RABID

Oh dear me Madame. You have got me wrong. In any case, you are not that young either.

CUCKOO
(narrowing her eyes and raising
an eyebrow)

Really, For the likes of you I am no less than a beautiful hourie from heaven. Just which planet are you from Mister?

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Your tongue is as sharp as a knife. If you were in my country….

CUCKOO

Exactly, that’s why I am not in your country. I have no wish to live in a deep well
(she looks him up and down)

Nor do I wish to suffocate my self. I like to breathe free in the fresh air, understood?

MR. RABID

Do you call living in a golden cage freedom?

CUCKOO

Well, it certainly beats living in a dark well.

MR. RABID

Heaven help me! Why have I got myself entangled in this useless debate. Do you want to hear about something that is in your interest?

CUCKOO

All right, go on.

MR. RABID

Actually I am the tutor to the Caw-Doors Band.

CUCKOO

Ah, so that is why you hide your face.

MR. RABID
What rubbish. The laws in your country are so weird that I have to resort to these means.

CUCKOO

Every country has its own laws. The laws in your country are no less weird.
(She shudders)
Goodness, I couldn’t live there for even a day.

MR. RABID
(irritated)

Who is calling you there in any event? Why don’t you listen to that which is in your interest?

CUCKOO

It’s not possible that it will only be in my interest and not yours. You don’t look like a philanthropist to me.

MR. RABID
(almost in tears)

Please, I beg of you. Listen to me carefully.

CUCKOO

All right, all right, hurry up. It’s time for my massage.

MR. RABID
(stuttering in disgust)

Massage? Here we are about to talk of important matters of the state, of a world which is going to be topsy-turvy and you can only think of your massage.

CUCKOO
( tossing her head scornfully)

Soooooo! If you took an interest in some massage you wouldn’t be so hyper, I mean stressed, I mean tensed. You would be more happy and relaxed.

MR. RABID
(hopping up and down)

Ribbid! Ribbid! Who says I am not relaxed. I am very happy go lucky
(trying to laugh)
See how I laugh. He he he. See.

CUCKOO

All right, all right. There is no need for these histrionics.
All Right out with it. My time is precious.

MR. RABID

So I like I said before I am the tutor of the Caw-Doors band.

CUCKOO

Oh Yes, that reminds me you are Melody’s tutor too, then how did she learn to sing so well.

MR. RABID

What do you mean? Melody does not know how to sing and yet she won the contest. I suspect a huge conspiracy is afoot and Kite-king is at the bottom of it all. I think he’s jealous of my talent and wants to discredit me in front of everyone.

CUCKOO

Are you retarded, by any chance?

MR. RABID

Ribbid, Ribbid.

CUCKOO

Anyway, go on.

MR. RABID

I feel the two of us should get together (Cuckoo gives him a hard stare), I don’t mean that. I mean if you help me to dethrone Kite-King then, in return, I will make you the court singer.

CUCKOO

And pray tell me what is your plan to dethrone him?

Mr. Rabid takes out a packet from his garment.

MR. RABID

Here take this medicine. Just stir it in Kite-king’s tea.

CUCKOO

I see, and then what will happen?

MR. RABID

What will happen? Kite-king will lose his memory, he’ll forget he’s the king and we can easily place anyone we want on his throne.

CUCKOO

It seems to me you are very fond of Bollywood films. I mean memory loss and all that. Just like a movie.

MR. RABID
No way. I’m not fond of such trash. This kind of cheap entertainment is forbidden where I come from.

CUCKOO

Oh, then what’s all this singing and dancing,what’s your explanation for all that?

MR. RABID

I am doing all that out of my country, not in there.

CUCKOO

Wow,that kind of reasoning stinks of double standards. What is bad there can’t be good here?

MR. RABID

You won’t understand these political matters.

CUCKOO

Hmmm, I understand your political matters completely. These political matters have only one agenda, get what you want and have a lot of fun. Who cares about the poor public. Any way,what do I care. As long as my fun and games continue I am not bothered what happens to the world around me(extends her hand forward). All right, give me your memory loss potion.

Mr. Rabid gives her vial. Cuckoo
walks away, her heels clicking.

MR. RABID

So you want to be the court dancer eh, we’ll see about that. You are not fit to be a street dancer. Just let me become the king then I will make you dance to my tune. You”ll forget your steps, Madame. Ribbid, ribbid.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 6.

PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/MELODY/ALL THE COURTIERS/CUCKOO/GURU-GODMAN/PENGUIN/MRS. BROWN/DR.CHARLIE

MELODY
(singing sadly as she twirls
slowly)

SONG

The hills are alive with the sound of music (From the film”Sound of Music”)

KITE-KING

Bravo, Bravo. I am pleased, very pleased. (to Cuckoo) I hope you are looking after her? She should not want for anything.

He takes out a string of pearls from his neck and extends his hand/wing to Melody.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)

This is for you.

Melody accepts the necklace but from her demeanor we can see that she is not happy.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)

It seems to me you are not very happy. Why? Is anything the matter?

MELODY

You have given me everything but..

KITE-KING

But?

Melody is silent.

KITE-KING

Tell me what is that I cannot give you? (a little sternly), Come on, out with it?

MELODY
(softly)

I want to breathe in the open air. Can I go back to the jungle?

KITE-KING

There is only one thing you cannot get and you have asked for it- Freedom. Besides this, you can have anything you want.

MELODY

I don’t want anything else. I just want to fly in the open skies, please let me go.

KITE-KING
(more sternly)

That is not possible. You can go now.

Melody walks away slowly, downcast.

KITE-KING
(to Cuckoo)

Go and explain to her, entertain her. Give her whatever she wants so that she no longer wants to leave from here.

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Yes , your highness.

Cuckoo goes away. Kite-King is lost in thought when Guru-Godman, who is standing next to him speaks.

GURU GODMAN

With your permission Sire, can I say something?

KITE-KING

Yes, yes, go on.

GURU GODMAN

It is my observation,your highness, that this old Cuckoo will be unable to take care of the little cuckoo. On the contrary it is very likely that she will only trouble her. My suggestion is we appoint someone else to take care of her.

KITE-KING

Wonderful,you have great manipulative skills. I am glad I included you in my council of ministers just after the contest.

GURU GODMAN
(bowing low)

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

KITE-KING

So, in your wise opinion who would be most suitable to look after Melody?

GURU GODMAN

One name does comes to my mind but I am not sure if he will agree.

KITE-KING

Who?

GURU GODMAN

His name is Senior Julio. He lives in the same jungle to which Melody belongs.

KITE-KING

But, a man?

GURU GODMAN
By God’s grace he is blind.

KITE-KING
(laughing)

What a joke! A blind man to keep an eye on Melody. But really your manipulative skills are worthy of praise.

GURU GODMAN

So, should I send him a message Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes, of course!
(laughs)

Ah, the crafty Cuckoo will tie herself up in knots.
Simply great, Guru-Godman, I am pleased.

GURU GODMAN

I have another request, Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes, of course. Go on.

GURU GODMAN

I have a friend, Mr. Rabid, who is very wealthy. He has embarked on a world tour. He would like to enjoy the sights and sounds of our country. Please grant him a visa.

KITE-KING

Why not, why not. If he is your friend he must be of some consequence. I will give orders for his visa. Do bring him to the court sometime.

GURU GODMAN

To be sure, your highness. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Pays his respects by bowing very low.

KITE-KING
(yawns loudly, bored of Guru-
Godman’s courtesies)

All right, all right,now think of something new to entertain us. The contest was a complete washout. Except for Melody’s all the items were absolute rubbish

PENGUIN
(who is standing close by)

May I make a suggestion sire?

KITE-KING

Mr. Penguin, you are so cold, what suggestion could you possibly give? Anyway, go on.

PENGUIN

I think we should have a contest between Cuckoo and Melody.
The loser will have to become the other’s maid-servant.

KITE-KING
(laughs)

Great, simply great! What an idea. Your mind is a devil’s workshop and its working overtime.
(To Guru-Godman)

Make arrangements and invite all those who had come before.

GURU GODMAN
Yes, your sire.

Kite-king rises, stretches and
yawns loudly.

KITE-KING

All right then, the court is adjourned. We’ll go and rest now.

Kite-king walks away. As he is going he is scratching his beard,yawning, rubbing his eyes. All the courtiers heave a sigh of relief. Suddenly, Kite-king comes back. Everyone is alert again.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

Somebody tell Cuckoo to bring a glass of milk to my room.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your highness.

Kite-king leaves. The other courtiers follow. Only the Penguin waddles behind.

GURU GODMAN
(to Penguin)

Your idea was excellent. Will you come to my house tonight.
Mr. Rabid is coming too.

PENGUIN

If you give me dinner I will come. I am fond of fish.
GURU GODMAN
Me too. I have arranged for some flies for Mr. Rabid. He is an expert in catching flies.

PENGUIN

Gross. Then it will be impossible to suffer him.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, but in politics one has to make friends with all kinds of people. And he can be useful, you know.

PENGUIN

All right then I’ll suffer him too. I’ll even swallow a few flies for his sake.

GURU GODMAN

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

They leave. We hear Penguin’s

voice back-stage.

PENGUIN (O.S.)

Your name is Guru but you speak English very well. Where did you get your training?

GURU GODMAN (O.S.)

We have been at it since my grandfather’s time Now it flows in my blood.

Melody walks in slowly. She sings the same song she had sung in court, “The hills are alive with the sound of music,” Cuckoo follows, there is a glass of milk in her hand. Melody stands behind some gold bars, she looks sad.

CUCKOO

What do you want for?

MELODY

I want my Mom.

CUCKOO

Didn’t you recognise me. I Am your real mom. Many years ago I had left you in Caw-Gee’s nest. Come on, Give me a hug.

MELODY
(moving back)

No, never. You Are not my mom, Caw-gee is my mom.

CUCKOO

I gave birth to you, Melody.

MELODY

So what, you gave birth to me and left me. Caw-gee gave me life.

CUCKOO

Your two are not the same. Look at me. My color, my looks, my qualities are all like yours. I can give you everything. Riches, wealth, name, fame.

MELODY

Riches, wealth, name, fame – I can give you these, not you. Today I have all this so you are with me. I don’t want any of this.

CUCKOO

Then, what do you want, child?

MELODY

I want Caw-gee’s love.
(screams)
I want Caw-Gee’s love.

Melody falls down on the bed covered with a velvet bed spread and weeps. Cuckoo takes out the vial which was given to her by Mr. Rabid.

CUCKOO (V.O.)

I think I should give this memory loss potion to her. When she will forget her old life she’ll forget Caw-gee too. Then I can control her totally.

She pours the potion in the glass of milk and then comes to Melody and strokes her with loving hands.

CUCKOO

Melody, my child. Please get up and drink this milk, it will make you feel much better. I will personally talk to Kite-king today and ask him to send you back to your mother.

MELODY
(with tears in her eyes and
choked throat)

Promise?

CUCKOO

Yes, yes, my child. I am your mother, not your enemy.
Come drink this.

Melody drinks the milk laced with the potion.

MELODY
(putting her arms around
Cuckoo’s neck)

Mom, you are so wonderful.

She loses her grip and faints.

CUCKOO
(gets up and claps)

Hello, is anyone around?

Mrs. Brown comes running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Missus…..I mean Yes Madame.

CUCKOO

Look at her, what has happened to her. Go and call the doctor right away and tell Guru-Godman to inform his highness that Melody has fainted.(Mrs. Brown is staring at her with a deer caught in the headlights expression) Oh for God’s sake, what are you staring at me bug-eyed. Go on, hurry up.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, should I call the doctor first or go and inform Guru-Godman.

CUCKOO

Oh Lordy, Lordy, are you a complete nincompoop? Go and tell Guru-Godman first. Only when he sees her condition will matters proceed further.

MRS. BROWN
(innocently)

What matters Missus…I mean Madame?

CUCKOO

Just this that his star singer is no longer in a state to entertain his highness. He’ll have no choice but to come to me. And he thought he could take away my golden cage.

There is a sound of someone clearing his throat. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown jump in fright.

GURU GODMAN

I have seen everything and I have heard everything too.

Cuckoo is flustered.

CUCKOO

Sir, I was just saying, I mean….

GURU GODMAN

I know perfectly well what you mean. I have never seen anyone as mean as you. And now for your selfish interests your tried to do away with this poor wee creature. You will be punished for this, for sure.

CUCKOO

All right, go and tell. I, too, will tell his highness that I merely gave Melody the potion which your friend Mr. Rabid had given me to give him.

GURU GODMAN
(sighing deeply)

You are a very crooked woman. And how did you come to know that Mr. Rabid is my friend?

CUCKOO

Not only I, but everyone knows he is your friend. You asked for his visa in front of everyone. What do you think, are you the only one who has spies?

GURU GODMAN

All right, all right, Mata Hari. This round is yours. But what do we do with her (looks at Melody) And I have called for Senor Julio to take care of her.

CUCKOO

According to my sources Senor Julio is blind, so he can while his time away in some corner. And as for her, she has lost her memory,not her singing abilities, so now she will sing and dance to our tune.

All this while Mrs. Brown has been stepping back slowly and now she quickly takes a step back and disappears from the scene.

CUCKOO
(looking around)

Oh, where did Mrs. Brown vanish. These folks are a bunch of lazy good for nothings. One’s attention is diverted for just a second and off they go. It’s just as well or we would have to get rid of her as well.

GURU GODMAN

We’ll have to show this one to the doctor just so that his highness does not suspect any foul play.

CUCKOO
(screaming)

Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Brown, where the dickens are you?

Mrs. Brown rushes in, panting.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, Missus…I mean, Madame.

CUCKOO

Go and call Dr. Charlie and be quick.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, yes Missus…I mean Madame, madame.

Mrs. Brown leaves. Cuckoo picks up the glass and holds it high and says looking at it.

CUCKOO

I hope she loses only her memory with this potion. There will be no other ill effects.

GURU GODMAN

That only Dr. Charlie can tell us.

Dr. Charlie comes followed by Mrs.
Brown.

DR.CHARLIE

Oh dear, oh dear, what happened? Dr. Charlie at your service.

GURU GODMAN

Will you (pointing to Melody) look at her please. We don’t know what happened. She just fainted suddenly.

Dr. Charlie takes out a large magnifying glass and inspects Melody.

DR.CHARLIE

The patient’s condition is extremely serious. Her body has bloated up hugely.

CUCKOO
(sarcastically)

Maybe it is because you are looking at her through a magnifying glass.

Dr. Charlie takes out a stethoscope and puts the two ends into Melody’s ears and listens into one with his ear.

DR.CHARLIE

I can hear some strange sounds. The patient’s mental state is highly disturbed.

GURU GODMAN

I think you need to get your brains examined as soon as possible.

CUCKOO
(voice dripping with sarcasm)

What can anyone do about the state of affairs in this country. Fools rush in here and angels fear to tread. Everything is available at wholesale prices and this doctor too is part of the deal.

DR.CHARLIE
(angrily)
Maybe you are not aware that I hold an M.B.B.S. Degree.

CUCKOO

And I know very well what that means, My Boys,Babies and Spouses need my services and for that I need to stick it to you. Just like you your degrees too are available at wholesale rates.

GURU GODMAN

Anyway, now just do what other folks do. Just splash some water on her face.

He looks towards Mrs. Brown who is staring open-mouthed. She is flustered and runs off and comes back with a bowl of water. Dr. Charlie splashes Melody’s face with water. Melody opens her eyes and looks around wide-eyed and distressed. Then she tries to speak.

MELODY
Ko…….

CUCKOO

Melody! What happened, tell me?

Melody stares at her wide-eyed,
trying in vain to speak.

MRS. BROWN

Lordloveaduck! The cat has got the wee mite’s tongue.

CUCKOO

What are you saying? Can’t you speak plain English?
Ignoramus,hilly billy critter.

GURU GODMAN

Well, she speaks the truth in her rustic way. This one’s voice has gone and,most probably, she can’t recognise anyone too.

CUCKOO

Drat it!
(then a little happily)

Well, now at least they will have to reinstate me as the court singer.

Kite-king enters.

KITE-KING

Wrong! That is impossible. You are no longer fit for this post. We now seek fresh blood which is young,beautiful and can entertain us. Dry,old bones will not do.

(To Guru-Godman)

Send Peace-meal pigeon with the message that we are going to hold another contest. This time, besides untold wealth the winner will also get dearness allowance, transport, medical and an expense account.

CUCKOO
(drawing in her breath)

Oh! This prize will tempt anyone.

KITE-KING

Yes,and I think you should start thinking about packing your bags and moving on. And yes, along with you,

(pointing to Melody)

Take her along too. She is of no use now.

CUCKOO

What will I do with her? Call her mom. She’ll take her away.

GURU GODMAN

She is absolutely right. And there is no need for that thrush, Senor Julio too. I will tell him not to come.

KITE-KING

It he wants to pay his way and come, he can come. I have heard he too is fond of singing and dancing. He used to be a very famous singer at one time. Then he went blind due to an accident. And ever since then he stopped performing in public. Now he lives in a cottage in the jungle.

CUCKOO

Yes, I remember. Many years ago, I mean not so very long ago, just about fifteen, no, ten, no…

GURU GODMAN

There is no need to stress your bird brain. I know for a fact that the thrush has not performed in public for the last twenty five years. Go on now.

CUCKOO
(grimacing)

Uh, oh! Anyway, both of us had performed together once before the Queen of England. Suddenly the electricity went off. The thrush was holding a mike. When the lights came on again suddenly there was a loud bang and smoke all over.

Senor Julio shouted and fainted right there. He lost his eyes in that accident.

KITE-KING
(yawning)

All right, all right, there is no need for your hundred year old tales. Take this ( looking towards Melody) one away and (looking towards Dr. Charlie) you help her too. If You can’t cure a body at least you can help lift it.

Mrs. Brown steps forward too. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown lift Melody from the shoulders and Dr. Charlie lifts her feet. They all leave the stage.

GURU GODMAN

Sire, till you get someone to replace the Cuckoo don’t throw her out.

KITE-KING

You are so right. We do need someone to entertain us.
We’ll just have to make do with her.

(sighing deeply)

It’s just my bad luck.

GURU GODMAN
(smiling)

Don’t lose heart, your highness. Just throw a few coins and watch the fun. Not one but thousands will come running. Their breed is such. There are just a few who care about the arts, and one of those was Melody, but alas, that crafty Cuckoo has cast her evil eye on her.

KITE-KING

Well, her time is up in any case. You just go ahead and announce the contest.

GURU GODMAN
(bowing low)

Yes, your highness. Your slightest whim is my command. KITE-KING

I like your style. That is why I chose to make a high school failed like you my minister over many talented candidates. Come on, it’s late. (Yawns) I am off to sleep.

Goes away.

GURU GODMAN
(narrowing his eyes)

Oh, you love to sleep, don’t you.
One day I’ll put you to sleep permanently that you won’t
get up to see the morning sun. I am just a high school drop out but I will make sure you’ll drop dead soon.

FADE OUT.

ACT 3

Scene 1

PLACE: A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE /TIME: DAY
CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES OF JUNGLE-LAND AND SENOR JULIO.
(All the animals from Jungle-land are busy playing. The two rabbits, Laurel and Hardy,are wrestling with each other, the
crows are playing baseball.
The deer, parrot and
butterflies are also playing.
Banana-Drama, the monkey is
giving the commentary. The
game can be imaginary.)

BANANA-DRAMA

Do-ray has thrown the ball and Me-far has hit it, the ball is
flying….
(We can hear the plodding sound
of Gee-Peck’s boots coming
towards them )

Across the boundary

(Gee-peck catches the ball)

Straight into Gee-Peck’s hands.

GEE-PECK

Saved by a wing and a prayer.

BANANA-DRAMA

Can we call this a run out

ALL THE CROWS
(shouting)

Out, out!

BANANA-DRAMA

This is not a run out because Gee-Peck is not a member of the team.

Gee-peck throws the ball which lands on Mr. Rabid who gets up with a start.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Is the game over or not? Come on my students! Its time for music practise. You will surely win the contest this time.
That is why I have hopped from such a long way to help you.
Come on now, take out your music instruments.

(The crows take out their music
instruments. The other animals
take out the devices like ear
plugs,cotton wool etc. to shut
out the sound. There is a
sound of someone singing. It
is Senor Julio, the blind
singer, who is coming towards
them tap-tapping with his
cane. He is wearing dark
glasses. He bumps into Gee-peck.)

GEE-PECK

Brother,careful! Can’t you see?

SENOR JULIO

No.

GEE-PECK

Oh! I am sorry! Dark glasses are in fashion so I did not realize and….

MR. RABID

Sure! you couldn’t see the cane too ?

GEE-PECK
(giving him a hard stare)

You love to fan the fire, don’t you?

(to Senor Julio)

I thought, you use the stick to protect yourself from the many deadly creatures hiding in the grass like snakes,scorpions and some poisonous toads.

Mr. Rabid begins to puff up in anger. Caw-gee tries to save the situation by quickly intervening and addressing Senor Julio.

CAW-GEE

What do you want?

SENOR JULIO

Does Melody live here?

CAW-GEE

She used to live here but ever since she won the contest she has become the chief entertainer in Kite-King’s court. Now she lives there. But, how do you know her?

SENOR JULIO

She was my pupil.

BANANA-DRAMA

Gee, that Melody sure turned out to be a dark horse. I used to wonder, how did she become such a hit singer?

MR. RABID

So,you used to give her tuitions. Now I know why there was no improvement in her singing. This system of extra tuition has completely spoilt our system of education….tuition is
not good.

SENOR JULIO

I want to meet Melody. Somehow, I have this feeling in my bones that Melody is not happy.

FLOW-JO
(to Peter parrot)

Blind folks have a stronger sixth sense than us.

CAW-GEE

To meet Melody you will have to go very far from this jungle.
To the city.

SENOR JULIO

Oh!

CAW-GEE

We are all going to leave soon. The Kite-king is holding another contest.

GEE-PECK

You can come too.

MR. RABID
(puffing up with importance)

But he doesn’t have a visa. My friend Guru-Godman arranged one for me but for him….

GEE-PECK.
Yes, indeed, this is a serious matter.

MR. RABID

And, contestants are forbidden from getting their teacher or mentor with them.

(Everyone is quiet, they have their thinking caps on)

BANANA-DRAMA
(jumping with joy)

An idea!
(All the creature look at him
with anticipation)

If he can’t go as a teacher or mentor he can go as a contestant, for sure.

(All the animals, except Mr.
Rabid, jump around in
excitement)

GEE-PECK

Banana-Drama! You are a genius.

CAW-GEE
(laughs)

It seems to me that you do need brains even to imitate. I used to think you are all style and no substance but it seems to me you do pack a punch.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

Hey, Caw-gee, haven’t you heard that song.
(she sings)

SONG
Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and sings like a bee.
Muhammad, the black superman,
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you
can. (All the creatures sing and dance with joy. Gee-Peck does the tap dance)
Muhammad, Muhammad Ali

He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee Muhammad the black superman

Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can

(Banana-drama’s walkman falls on the stage as the creatures move out of the stage singing and dancing as they go. Only
Mr. Rabid is left behind. He
takes out his cellphone and
presses a button.)

MR. RABID
(speaking on the phone)

Hello. Who is that? Oh Guru-Godman. I am your dear friend Mr. Rabid speaking. Greetings from me to you! I just wanted to inform you that Melody’s teacher is also coming to your kingdom but as contestant.
(he listens for sometime)

What!

(The mobile falls from his
hand, he picks it up hastily
and holds it to his ear)

Melody has lost her memory and her voice too. Ribbid, ribbid.I Had given the medicine for Kite-king then what, oh, this is the crafty cuckoo’s doing indeed. All right then, I will make some other arrangements, all right, all right then. My heartfelt good wishes to you.

(he switches off the phone and
hops off the stage. Banana –
drama comes from the other
side to pick up the walkman he
had dropped. The monkey picks up the walkman.)

BANANA-DRAMA
(thinking)

Oh so that is the way the cookie crumbles. I will consult Gee-peck, Peter,and Flow-Jo and decide what is do be done now!

SCENE 2.
PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT. TIME: NIGHT.

CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES WHO WERE PRESENT AT THE PREVIOUS CONTEST. THIS TIME MR. RABID IS NOT WEARING A VEIL.

The kite-king is seated on his throne.

Guru Godman comes on stage.

GURU GODMAN

All of you are very welcome. I am sure you must wondering that we just held a contest, what was the hurry for another one. The reason for this is the Kite-king’s generosity and soft heart. He has kept the contest with this logic in mind that winning and losing are only two sides of the same coin so why should only one person become the winner. Why don’t we give a prize to each contestant according to his talent as one’s meat is another’s poison. You must be thinking what kind of weird logic is this so without further ado let me invite on stage the four talented guys from the jungle, the Caw-Doors Band.
(The audience claps. Mr. Rabid
who is standing on the edge of
the propels the four crows
forward.)

MR. RABID

This is your chance, lady luck is about to smile on you. (The four crows come on stage
and arrange their instruments)

(All the animals take out the
various devices to close their
ears such as ear plugs, cotton
wool etc and plug their ears.
Peter parrot is standing in front of a pillar.)

SONG
Lots of chocolates for me to eat, lots of chocolates for me to eat,                           Lots of chocolates for me to eat,
Lots of chocolates for me to eat.

(The four crows go on and on
and on repeating the same
line refusing to stop. After
some time Peter parrot is
beating his head on the pillar
keeping time with the song. )

KITE-KING

Enough! stop! What kind of song is this?

DO-RAY

This is a rap song, sire.

KITE-KING

Rap, to be sure. Anyone who sings this song should be rapped hard on the knuckles and made to wrap his singing career. Henceforth, this song should be given to the farmers.

(Everyone looks at him,
surprised)

There is no better song than this to drive away the birds from the fields. We are pleased with your service to us. You will be henceforth known as , what did you say was the name of this song?

ME-FAR

Rap song.

KITE-KING

You will be known as rap stars

(The four crows jump and give
each other high fives. The animals clap.)

KITE-KING

Anyone else?

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your sire. There is a new contestant. I mean an old contestant but now in a new avatar who would like to present an item for your listening pleasure.

KITE-KING

To be sure. Old is gold.

CUCKOO
(addressing the audience)

It seems he has understood finally. Anyway, no problem, he will live and learn.

(Senor Julio comes on stage and
sings)

SONG

CHIM CHIMINEYCHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIM CHER-EE!

A SWEEP IS AS LUCKY

AS LUCKY CAN BE

CHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIM CHER-OO!

GOOD LUCK WILL RUB OFF WHEN

I SHAKE ‘ANDS WITH YOU

OR BLOW ME A KISS

AND THAT’S LUCKY TOO

(The Kite-king and the audience
are entranced, they all give
him a standing ovation)

KITE-KING

Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful. You are an extraordinary talent but alas! In our kingdom we have place only for a female entertainer I mean a lady singer or dancer
(looks at Guru Godman)

Am I right Guru-Godman?

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your sire. In any case we men hardly have time from our brain-related business. These kind of shenanigans only suit the women folk.

CUCKOO
(who is sitting next to Flow-Jo
leans towards her and says)

Just listen to these men folk,one can learn a trick or two about how to eat your cake and have it too. They will send the women to the front to face the fire from the enemy and when it suits them they will not miss a trick to use them for their burning desires, if you get my drift. Dirty, rotten scoundrels.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

It seems to me you will soon become a member of the women’s liberation movement.

CUCKOO

No way! I am against such nonsense. Just cropping your hair short like men or wearing trousers cannot free you. For me only money is freedom.

FLOW-JO

But for money you are dancing to their tune. Then what kind of freedom are you talking about?

(We see that a just a few
moments after this
conversation began Kite-King
is glaring at them, then the
others too are looking at
them. When The two of them
feel the silence they look
around flustered.)

KITE-KING

I am giving such an important speech and the two of you are yakking away?

(The two of them stand up)

CUCKOO

Forgive us Sire. We were just telling each other how young and handsome you look tonight.

KITE-KING
(cooling down)

Thank you! But this is not the time for small talk when important matters of the state are being discussed.

GURU GODMAN

Sire, please don’t trouble yourself. These women are never going to change. What else can they think of besides lipstick, make up, clothes and jewels.

MR. RABID
(standing up)

May I have your permission to say a few words. Sire.

KITE-KING

And who may you be?

GURU GODMAN
He is my friend, Mr. Rabid.

KITE-KING

Oh I see, the visa fellow. Go on, have your say.

MR. RABID
(pointing to Cuckoo)

Ask her where has she hidden Melody?

(Caw-gee and the creatures from
the jungle are startled. Kite-
king and Guru Godman are
flabbergasted. Cuckoo opens
her beak to say something,
then closes it.)

GURU GODMAN

Yes, yes, she has hidden Melody some place because she is jealous of her.

(The Kite-King looks at Guru
God man and realizes what the other is trying to say)

KITE-KING
(to Cuckoo)
At once, present Melody in court or you will be the worse for it.

CAW-GEE
(screams)

My child, my wee one!

(addressing Cuckoo)

You have hidden my daughter some place, out with it or I will wring or neck, I was thinking that now there would be an item by Melody, she will coming soon but…

MR. RABID

Madam, you have no idea how crafty is this cuckoo. It was her plan to get rid of Melody so that she could take her place as the court singer but her plans were not successful. Melody is still alive, only she has lost her voice and her memory.

CAW-GEE
(screams)

My baby!

MR. RABID
And her plan was also to get rid of the Kite-king. She had confided in me about her nefarious plans.

CUCKOO
(screams)

Lies! lies! all lies ! it was he …..

(shuts her beak)

GURU GODMAN
(smiling evilly)

Go on, do go on. But remember this you better back you words with proof or else….

KITE-KING
(furious)
What? She dares?
(Clapping his wings/hands)

Guards! Guards!

(Peace-meal, the pigeon and Mr. Brown run in, Mr. Brown is a little unsteady on his feet)

KITE-KING
(to Peace-meal)

You? Where are the other guards?

PEACE-MEAL
Sire, they have gone to pour, I mean, protect the oil which is in troubled waters so that the kingdom can keep running smoothly on well oiled wheels.

KITE-KING

Where have they gone?

PEACE-MEAL
(pointing to Mr. Rabid)

Close to his well there is another well. The water of that well has certain herbs which are famous for their oil. It is said that it keeps the mind fresh and the body strong and healthy.

KITE-KING
( pointing to Mr. Brown)

And what about him? Why can’t he stand straight?

PEACE-MEAL

Sire, he is Mr. Hadalot, I mean Sir Lancelot Brown. This morning he drank a little too much, I mean tea which does not suit him at all and that is why he is in this condition.

(Mr. Brown can’t keep his
balance and falls down. Mrs
Brown screams and runs to him with her five children)

MRS. BROWN

My husband!

(She cries hysterically and the
children scream daddy, daddy)

KITE-KING
(shouts)
Stop this infernal racket. Where is Dr. Charlie?

(Dr. Charlie runs out from the
crowd)

What kind of a doctor are you. Don’t you have sense enough to come to a patient at once.

DR.CHARLIE

I had come to see the show so I didn’t bring my medical bag.

GURU GODMAN

No matter what the crisis, he is always ready with his excuses.

KITE-KING

Examine the patient please.

(Dr. Charlie takes out his
magnifying glass and examines
Mr. Brown. The Cuckoo takes
this opportunity to sidle out)

Where did you get your degree?

MR.BROWN

From the Lee Strasberg School of Acting. I have played a doctor in many movies and television shows.

KITE-KING

And, if I am not mistaken, this costume you are wearing is from the costume department of General Hospital.

DR.CHARLIE

How did you guess?

GURU GODMAN

We are deeply grateful to the good Lord that his royal high highness did on fall sick or else….

DR.CHARLIE
(miffed)

Maybe you are not aware of the fact that I have cured many fatal diseases in many films. In ‘Love Story” Ali Mcgraw had cancer and so did Debra Winger in “Terms of Endearment” and had it not been for me they

GURU GODMAN

But didn’t they both die in the film?

DR.CHARLIE

That was the director’s fault. I had cured them completely. These director’s are famous for killing people in films so that it runs.

(By this time Cuckoo has left the stage)

KITE-KING

Will you both stop this balderdash. (addressing Dr. Charlie)

Why don’t you follow your regular line of treatment and sprinkle some water on his face.

(The alien comes forward and
gives him a weirdly shaped
blue bottle. Dr. Charlie pours
out some liquid on his palm
and sprinkles Mr. Brown’s
face. Mr. Brown gets up instantly.)

MRS. BROWN

My husband!

BROWN’S FIVE CHILDREN

Daddy! Daddy!

MR.BROWN
A current of energy and strength is running through my body.
I feel as if I can tackle anyone.

BANANA-DRAMA
(jumps and stands before him)

In that case,

(he points to Mr. Rabid)

Can you push him? After all you are tiny and he is big and fat.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

(Mr. Brown goes to Mr. Rabid.
He stands before him and blows
on him. Mr. Rabid stumbles
backwards and falls down with
a resounding thump. All the
animals laugh uproariously.)

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

KITE-KING
(laughing)

Very good, very good. Now do what you had been called for in the first place. Take the crafty cuckoo….

(looks around)

Where is she? Find her.

(Everyone disperses)

MR. RABID
(whispering to Caw-Gee)

I am sure she is with Melody. Why don’t you ask Senor Julio to sing her favorite song. You never know she may follow his voice and come here or give some clue to her whereabouts.

CAW-GEE
Not a bad idea at all.

(She goes to Senor Julio and
says)

Senor Julio, why don’t you sing Melody’s favorite song.
Melody may hear it and come to us.

SENOR JULIO

All right
(He holds the mike and sings)

SONG
Edelweiss, edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever.

(Everyone is entranced by his
song. After some time we can
hear Melody’s voice. She is
singing in tandem with Senor
Julio. Singing she comes on
stage, followed by the Cuckoo.
Melody completes the song with
Senor Julio. She Has tears in
her eyes,her lips are
quivering, her voice is
quavering.)

CAW-GEE
(rushes to Melody)

Babyeee….
(Melody embraces her and cries)

My child, what happened to you?

(Cuckoo looks at
her frightened)

MELODY

There is nothing to worry about mom. I went dizzy in the bathroom and fell down and hit my head on floor and fainted.

GEE-PECK
(to Peter)
The same old story when you want to save someone.

MELODY
(gesturing towards Cuckoo)

Had it not been for Madame Cuckoo I would not be alive today, Mom.

CAW-GEE
No, no, banish the very thought, my child. You are safe and sound, that is enough for me.

(to Cuckoo)

I am very, very grateful to you.

(Tears are streaming down
Cuckoo’s cheeks )

CUCKOO

Please forgive me Melody, I never wanted to kill you. Greed had made me blind. I though that if you lost your memory then you would

(gesturing to Caw-Gee) )

forget her and accept me as your mom. But How was I to know that you would lose your voice as well.

(angrily)

All this is because of

(pointing to Mr. Rabid)

This fat frog and

(points to Guru Godman)

This hypocritical bird. Both of them had plotted to kill our gracious king. But how could I be so disloyal?

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Peter)

She may be a wily bird but she is not so bad at heart.

FLOW-JO

Seems to me her tears have washed away the ill will in her heart.

CUCKOO

(to Kite-King)

Sire, this entire plot was the handiwork of your loyal minister Guru Godman and his dearest friend, Mr. Rabid.

GURU GODMAN

This Cuckoo is a liar, its her last desperate attempt to save herself.

PENGUIN

No, she speaks the truth. I am a witness to the fact that these two tried to lure me to be a part of their plan but were unsuccessful, naturally.

BANANA-DRAMA

Ah! A new twist in the tale.

KITE-KING
(angrily)

So,this is what has been happening!
(gestures to Peace-meal and Mr.Brown)

Capture these two terrorists.

(Mr. Rabid and Guru Godman try
to escape but all the animal
surround them and Mr. Brown
blows on the two and pushes
them towards Kite-king till
they fall at is feet. After
this whenever they try to
escape Mr. Brown prevents them
by blowing on them and brining
them back to their original
position.)

KITE-KING
(looking towards Banana-Drama)

Thank you. If you had not called me and warned me about these two traitors I would have been taken in by their arguements.
(Mr. Rabid glares at Banana
Drama)

BANANA-DRAMA
(bowing low)

There is no need to thank me. After all humans, I mean animals, must help other animals, I mean animals must help you. I am just happy that

(looking at Mr. Rabid)

We are free from this tuneless toad.

KITE-KING

Tell me, how can I reward you?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, it was only my sense of duty which made me do what I did but if you really want to reward me please give permission to Melody go back to her home.

KITE-KING

You have made a difficult request. If she goes back who will entertain me?

CUCKOO
(softly)

I am here, your highness.

(Kite-King glances at her
fleetingly. Suddenly Melody
speaks)

MELODY

Mom.

(she faints)

KITE-KING

Oh, she has fainted again. Where is Dr. Charlie?

(Dr. Charlie comes near Melody and examines her with his magnifying glass.)

DR.CHARLIE

She is being stifled in this atmosphere. She has to leave this place or she won’t survive.

KITE-KING

Where to?

DR.CHARLIE

In the open air where she can breathe, far from here, in the jungle.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(shouting)

Please, please

CAW-GEE

Your highness, please save my daughter’s life, let her go.

(The Kite-King thinks, there is
pin drop silence in the
court.)

KITE-KING

All right.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(joyfully)

Yaaaaaaay!

KITE-KING
(raising his hand/wing)

There is one condition!

(all the animal are quiet)

All of you will come with Cuckoo and Senor Julio to meet me once a year.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Yaaaaay! Thank you.

ALIEN

Zee zoo zap. Zim zim za zoo.

GEE-PECK

What is he saying?

(The alien comes near Senor
Julio, the blind thrush, takes
out his dark glasses.

From his flask he takes out
some liquid and splashes it on
his eyes. Senor Julio, whose
eyes were closed opens them. )

SENOR JULIO

I can see.
(he looks at Cuckoo)
Cuckoo.

CUCKOO

Please forgive me. I hurt your feelings. When you went blind I left you and came away.

SENOR JULIO
(whispering)

When you went away you were….

CUCKOO

Yes, my husband, Melody is your daughter.

(Everyone is shocked. Melody
moves slowly towards Senor
Julio)

BANANA-DRAMA

Another twist in the tale.

FLOW-JO

How romantic!

GEE-PECK

What a beautiful twist.
(Both of them look into each
other’s eyes)

BANANA-DRAMA

Oh, for Pete’s sake, why don’t you get over your old as hills love story and get married.

PETER

You won’t understand. The bitter-sweet feeling of being apart is more satisfying then getting hitched.

MELODY

(goes towards Senor Julio)

Dad!

(Senor Julio embraces Melody.
Everyone claps.)

KITE-KING

All right then! Senor Julio and Cuckoo are hereby appointed as the chief singer and dancer of our court and

(looking towards Melody )

Where would you like to stay?

MELODY

Your highness, I would like to be with Caw-gee. (she goes towards Caw-Gee and embraces her)

She took a stranger into her home and heart, gave her love and made her own. I owe to her to love her in return.

KITE-KING

As you wish.

(looks towards Mr. Brown)

Henceforth you are my Chief Minister but keep in mind,get into the habit of drinking tea. All other stuff is off limits for you.

MRS. BROWN
My husband!

CUCKOO

She is he real drama-queen, not me. Oh well, now that she is the minister’s wife I will have to find me another one.

SENOR JULIO
(lovingly)

I am there to do all your work.

CUCKOO
(dramatically)

My husband!
(They embrace. Senor Julio
sings, followed by Cuckoo,
then Melody. The animals sing
in chorus.)

SONG
(We are the World by Michael
Jackson)

There comes a time

When we head a certain call

When the world must come together as one

There are people dying

And it’s time to lend a hand to life

The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on

Pretending day by day

That someone, somewhere will soon make a change

We are all a part of

God’s great big family

And the truth, you know love is all we need

[Chorus]

We are the world

We are the children

We are the ones who make a brighter day

So let’s start giving

There’s a choice we’re making

We’re saving our own lives

It’s true we’ll make a better day

Just you and me.

THE END.

PUBLISHING DETAILS

Authors ‘ Introduction

TRANSLATION

COL. B. C. SHUKLA’S daughter, SHIPRA SHUKLA spent her childhood and youth as a typical , ‘army kid ‘ traveling to the many and varied regions that make India. She completed her masters in International Relations fromThe Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. After her marriage , encouraged by her husband, MR. GIRISH SHUKLA ,  she completed the producers course from the Film and Television Insitute of India, Pune and has been active in the varied media related fields like theatre, television , publishing as a writer, photographer director and producer . She writes in two languages, Hindi and English.

Kissa Koyal ka ( The Story of the Cuckoo ) is the first in the series called Kaise Kaise kisse ( Stories to make you wonder ) *

Shipra Shukla has two daughters and she lives with her family in Mumbai.

*This is a literal translation . In actual fact ‘Kissa Koyal Ka’ is The Bird’s Tale which is one of the parts of the series called Melody which is a part of The Collected Tails of Jungle Land . There are seven such series with fourteen books in each ( seven in English and seven in Hindi ) which make up the Collected Tails of Jungle Land

 

News about the forthcoming play .

 

Posters

Opening day excitement !

Melody on stage .

Four crows and their tutor !

The cast !

Taking a bow with the cast

The playwright , SHIPRA SHUKLA , with her father COL. B. C. Shukla ( on her left ), the director , NADIRA ZAHEER BABBAR, ( on the right ) and the suthors’ daughter , PALLAVI SHUKLA ( in the background )

REVIEWS OF THE PLAY .

 

 

 

A HEALTHY POMEGRANATE SALAD TO GO WITH MY ‘THE PYTHON & THE POMEGRANATE ‘ STORY.

Tags

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POMEGRANATE & SPROUTED MOONG BEAN SALAD

BASIC INGREDIENTS OF THE POMEGRANATE & SPROUTED MOONG SALAD

First and foremost you should know how to sprout MOONG beans which then you can eat in a variety of ways including raw or toss it with onions ( if you are not going on a date ! ), tomatoes , cucumbers, a dash of lime , salt or whatever innovation you can come up with ; you can sauté it with onions, bell peppers , add your regional spices and  (I have to say this because it makes me feel like a chef 👨‍🍳) , voila ! here is healthy salad for dieters of the world . TRY IT ! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR BODY FAT. THAT SAID, MY NEXT SALAD RECIPE IS AN INDIAN TAKE ON A CHINESE ONE ( THOUGH THEY MAY NEVER HAD HEARD OF IT ) ! IT’S A FRUIT&VEG CHINESE BHELPURI !

HOW TO SPROUT MOONG BEANS

Take a cup or two of whole moongbeans ( they are green in color for the uninitiated and you get them really cheap in Indian stores ), soak them overnight in water . Next day drain the water but keep it wet and cover and keep in a warm ( room temperature)place  ( maybe near a window , definitely not in the fridge )Keep sprinkling water on the beans and keep covered  and you should see the sprouts shooting out . In two or three days you should see this magic happening , no, not the Jack and the beanstalk variety but this ..

All right, once you have got this right you can take two handfuls , maybe more, and put the rest in the fridge .

STEAM THE  SPROUTED MOONG BEANS  WHICH YOU ARE GOING TO USE IN THE SALAD . STEAM IT LIGHTLY .Sprinkle water and steam in the microwave if you will for a minute or so

Here are the rest of the ingredients you will need to make this salad

POMEGRANATE SEEDS – TWO CUPS OR AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE IN PROPORTION TO THE MOONG BEANS .

 

DICED CUCUMBERS
PEELED & DICED CUCUMBERS . ON THE RIGHT IS A WHOLE CUCUMBER IN CASE YOU ARE JUST STARTING YOUR COOKING ODYSSEY AND DONT KNOW WHAT A CUCUMBER LOOKS LIKE ! 😂
WHOLE ONION TO BE DICED !

 

GREEN CHILLIES CHOPPED ( OPTIONAL – ONLY IF YOU CAN TAKE THE HEAT )
A HANDFUL OF CORIANDER LEAVES CHOPPED – WASH THOROUGHLY OR LEAVE IT IN WATER FOR SOMETIME , THEN REMOVE, PICK THE LEAVES FROM THE STEM )
TAMARIND CHUTNEY – FREELY AVAILABLE IN INDIAN STORES , THERE IS ONE WITH DATES BY DEEP WHICH IS PARTICULARLY YUMMY !

BUT IN CASE YOU ARE IN THE MOOD YOU CAN MAKE TAMARIND CHUTNEY BY SOAKING THE  INDIAN TAMARIND IN WATER OVERNIGHT, GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY BY SQUEEZING THE PULP, REMOVING THE SEEDS AND FIBRES, THEN BOILING IT WITH LOTS OF SUGAR, ADDING SALT, AND TWO TABLESPOONS OF LIGHTLY ROASTED AND GROUND CUMIN SEEDS AND SOME RED CHILLY POWDER OR YOU CAN TAKE THE EASY WAY BY USING  CLEANED THAI TAMARIND PULP AND ADDING THE REST OF THE INGREDIENTS OR EVEN EASIER JUST GET THE PULP ( AVAILABLE IN INDIAN STORES ) AND ADD THE REST OF THE INGREDIENTS TO IT . OH ! WHAT THE … JUST GET THE BOTTLE OF DATE AND TAMARIND CHUTNEY , THE DATE IS A HEALTHIER OPTION AND ALSO HELPS TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER IF YOU ARE SINGLE BECAUSE NOW YOU HAVE ATLEAST A DATE … VERY BAD JOKE , I APOLOGISE !

GREEN CORIANDER CHUTNEY – IT SHOULD BE BRIGHT GREEN , I THINK I LEFT IT AROUND FOR TOO LONG JUST LIKE THE SPROUTED MUNG BEANS WHICH HAVE BROWN SPOTS BUT YOU DON’T DO THAT ! DON’T BE TARDY LIKE ME BUT THEN I HAVE OTHER CONCERNS , IT’S A LONG STORY , BUT YOU CAN READ ABOUT IT IN THE BIRD’S TALE OR MELODY OR THE 14 BOOKS WHICH MAKE MELODY ( ENGLISH ) , SARGAM ( HINDI ) In the COLLECTED TAILS OF JUNGLE LAND ( ENGLISH ) or KAISE KAISE KISSE ( HINDI ) . THIS COMPLETES MY DAILY PLUG FOR MY CREATIONS !

GREEN CORIANDER CHUTNEY- AGAIN FREELY AVAILABLE IN THE INDIAN STORES BUT YOU CAN MAKE IT EASILY BY TAKING A BUNCH OF CORIANDER LEAVES WITH THE STEMS ( SOME NOT ALL ) , COUPLE GREEN CHILLIES, GARLIC , ROASTED CUMMIN POWDER OR JUST SOME CUMIN SEEDS ( ABOUT A TEASPOON), SALT AND SOME LIME JUICE AND GRINDING IT FINE IN A MIXER. SOME FOLKS ADD HALF AN ONION TO GIVE IT MORE BODY , SOME ADD A SLIVER OF GINGER AND SOME GET IN THE CAR AND DRIVE OFF TO THE STORE BUT FRESH IS ALWAYS HEALTHIER, HERE COMES MY FRENCH, N’EST – CE  PAS ?

ALL RIGHT MOVING ON

A HANDFUL OF PEANUTS – I DONT THINK THIS INGREDIENT NEEDS AN EXPLANATION, SO FAMILIAR IS IT TO ALL . BUT IN CASE OF ANY DOUBT OR SHORTAGE YOU CAN CONTACT A MR. JIMMY CARTER !
PAPDI – AN UBIQUITOUS INGREDIENT OF INDIAN STREET FOOD ( SOMEWHAT LIKE THE MEXICAN TORTILLA CHIPS BUT NOT QUITE , JUST DEEP FRIED ROUNDELS OF FLOUR TORTILLA SO USE SPARINGLY ) AVAILABLE FREELY IN ALL INDIAN STORES . BREAK INTO BITS AND ADD TO THE SALAD JUST BEFORE SERVING .
NYLON SEV OR JUST SEV ( WHY DO THEY CALL IT NYLON , I GUESS BECAUSE IT SOUNDS FANCY.) AVAILABLE IN INDIAN STORES AND PRETTY CHEAP .

WELL TOSS EVERYTHING TOGETHER EXCEPT THE PEANUTS, PAPDI AND SEV. THE PAPDI WILL BE BROKEN INTO BITS AND WILL BE TOSSED IN WITH THE PEANUTS JUST BEFORE SERVING AND THE SEV WILL BE USED AS GARNISH ALONG WITH A HANDFUL OF CORIANDER LEAVES . THE CHUTNEYS, OF COURSE, ARE ADDED , LESS OR MORE, ACCORDING TO TASTE.

ISN’T THIS AN INTERESTING & HEALTHY TWIST TO THE POPULAR INDIAN STREETFOOD WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH , THE BHELPURI !

HERE ARE SOME MORE PICTURES TO ILLUSTRATE THE PROCESS

ADDDING THE TWO CHUTNEYS
ADDING THE DRY INGREDIENTS INCLUDING THE PEANUTS !
TOSS THE SALAD AND GARNISH WITH CRISPY SEV & GREEN CORIANDER !

PRECAUTIONS : WHEN SPROUTING THE MOONG BEANS STIR A BIT EACH DAY SO THAT ALL OF THEM SPROUT. IF SOME BEANS DON’T THEY WILL BE HARD AND COULD PROBABLY CHIP YOUR TEETH IF YOU BITE INTO AN UNSPROUTED ONE. THEN YOU WILL BE OFF TO THE DENTIST AND THAT WON’T BE HEALTHY FOR YOU ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU SEE THE BILL 😬😂

ALSO ADD THE CHUTNEYS TO TASTE , A GOODISH AMOUNT FOR THOSE WHO LIKE IT SAVORY.

FINALLY, HERE IS THE LINK TO MY TWO POMEGRANATE STORIES WHICH ARE FEATURED ON MY OTHER WEBSITE

https://junglestories.blog

The final solution – the python and pomegranate 

https://wp.me/p4LwKY-oR

The python and the pomegranate tree , the bonus story I promised

https://wp.me/p4LwKY-p9

HERE IS A QUICK RECAP FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT IN A MOOD FOR MY RAMBLING WAYS.

HEALTHY POMEGRANATE & MOONG BEAN SALAD

INGREDIENTS

SPROUTED AND STEAMED MOONG BEANS – 2 CUPS

POMEGRANATE SEEDS – 2 CUPS

CUCUMBER – DICED – 3/4 CUP

ONION – DICED – 1/4 CUP

GREEN CHILLIES CHOPPED – TWO OR TO TASTE

TAMARIND CHUTNEY – 1/2 CUP OR TO TASTE

GREEN CORIANDER CHUTNEY – 1/4 CUP OR TO TASTE

GREEN CORIANDER LEAVES – 1/2 CUP

DRY INGREDIENTS 

ROASTED PEANUTS – 3/4 CUP

PAPDI – 10 to 14 or more

NYLON SEV – 1/2 CUP

METHOD

TOSS ALL THE PRODUCE AND CHUTNEYS TOGETHER. JUST BEFORE SERVING ADD PEANUTS, BROKEN BITS OF PAPDI AND NYLON SEV. GARNISH WITH SEV & CORIANDER LEAVES .

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – I VAGUELY REMEMBER READING THIS RECIPE IN SOME FILM MAGAZINE AND THE HEALTH NUT WHO GAVE THIS RECIPE WAS A POPULAR INDIAN ACTOR , HRITHIK ROSHAN . EVER SINCE WE CALL THIS THE HRITHIK ROSHAN SALAD !

THE BIRDS’ TALE – a children’s comedy play for adults ( to figure this out you have to read the play!)

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ENGLISH AVATAR OF THE PUBLISHED HINDI PLAY STAGED IN INDIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PLAYWRIGHT, SHIPRA SHUKLA ( in the center), her father, COL. B.C. SHUKLA ( on the left ) & her husband , MR. GIRISH SHUKLA ( on the right )

GEE- PECK
middle aged and ashamed of his ugly feet . He loves Flo-Jo, the deer.

 

FLO- JO , an athlete who although middle aged is fashion conscious and in love with GEE- PECK

 

BANANA – DRAMA, cool monkey who is a remix 👩‍🎨 artiste .

SENOR JULIO – blind thrush , Melody’s mentor and teacher .

GURU- GODMAN , minister to the luxury loving KITE- KING, who shifts from one leg to another to maintain the balance of power usually to benefit himself.

PEACE- MEAL, THE PIGEON OF PEACE , who is all a TWITTER and about to take off!

CONFUSED CHINESE CONTESTANT

SOME SCENES FROM THE PLAY

THE CAW- DOORS BAND practising with their tutor MR. RABID . Their music is driving the jungle folks nuts.

DR. CHARLIE CHAPLIN ( you can figure out his medical skills from his name !)

GURU- GODMAN & PENGUIN trying to be politically savvy .!

THE BIRD’S TALE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Melody: a little cuckoo bird, our heroine.

Cuckoo: Melody’s mother who had abandoned Melody in Caw-gee’s nest.

Caw-gee: motherly crow with a brood of four.

Do-ray: Caw-gee’s first born, a musician.

Me-Far: a fat crow, younger to Do-ray. He plays the drums.

So-La: the third boy who plays the flute.

Ti-do: the girl crow, who plays the triangle.

Mr. Rabid: Music Tutor to the crows. He wears the Talibani turban and sports a beard, no moustache. This is to distinguish him from the rest of the Muslims of the world who are not rabid.

Senor Julio: a thrush, who is blind.

Gee-Peck: a middle aged peacock who is beautiful but ashamed of his ugly feet which are always clad in big clod-hopping boots. He is a classical Indian dancer. He loves Flow-Jo, the deer.

Flow-Jo: An athlete who is extremely fashion conscious. She loves Gee-Peck. She is middle-aged and is lost in youthful dreams.

Banana-Drama: A rocking monkey who is a Disc Jockey. He wears cool clothes, a bandana on his head, a single ear-ring, black shades and a carries a walk-man. Talks like a black rap singer.

Peter: a parrot.

Laurel/ Hardy: two rabbits.

Butterflies; a few small, a few big.

Kite-King – a king who is inordinately fond of the good life.

Guru God-man: Master of ceremonies,and later,the home minister to Kite-King. He is a crane who never stands on his two feet. He wears a white robe, a saffron shawl and a green Muslim cap (the three colors to show his affiliation to all communities- Hindu, Muslim, Christian). Around his neck he wears a beaded rosary with a cross and a Hindu caste mark on his fore-head and sports a beard. He wears glasses to show he is erudite.

Dr. Charlie: Court doctor to Kite-King who looks and acts like Charlie Chaplin.

Platy- pus: A contestant from Australia.

Pee-wee-King: A Chinese contestant.

Freezer: The judge who is a penguin.

Peace-meal: a pigeon.

Mrs. Brown: a sparrow who is Cuckoo‘s maid. She is very hilly-billy.

Mr. Brown: Mrs. Brown’s alcoholic husband who is down on his luck and so drowns his sorrow in liquor.

Alien: he can look like Steven Spielberg’s E. T. since he has come from a galaxy far, far away so can look like nothing on earth.

Audience: any number of actors, children or adults can be added to the cast in order to make a statement. The director can give free rein to his creativity.

Set direction: A few golden bars to denote luxury as well as being caged can be placed in Kite-king’s court as well as in Cuckoo’s bed chamber.

The Bird’s Tale

ACT 1

SCENE 1

Place: The jungle/Time:An hour before dawn. The jungle sleeps

Characters: All the animals of the jungle except Kite-King, his courtiers and the contestants from Australia and China

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Ko hoo Ko hoo.

As the first rays of the sun touch the jungle we see Cuckoo tip-toe on to the stage holding the wing/hand of a little cuckoo bird.

LITTLE CUCKOO

Mom,Where are you taking me? I am scared.

Cuckoo

Shhhh child, I am only doing what is good for you.
(The little cuckoo weeps.)

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Shhhhh, Shhhhhh.

At one end of the stage is a nest in which dozes Caw-gee along with her brood of four little crows. Cuckoo circles the nest cautiously, pushes the little cuckoo in it and moves stealthily away.

It is morning now. The animals of the jungle are awake. The two rabbits roll on to the stage playfully. A peacock who is wearing huge boots walks in and spreads his feathers and dances in an oriental style. A deer who wears smart trainer shoes munches on grass. The two rabbits dash against the crow’s nest. She opens one eye and looks at them.

LAUREL/HARDY
(the two rabbits sing)

Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

FLOW-JO
(sings in a very sweet voice)

Good morning.

GEE-PECK.

(dancing in an oriental way and
singing)

Dha dha dhin dha, dha, dha, dhin dha, dha tin tin ta,dha tin tin ta

ALL THE ANIMALS
(together)
Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

Caw-Gee shakes the nest to wake her children and sings.

CAW-GEE
(singing in a raucous voice)

Rise and shine, O children of mine,

There’s much to be done and work is fun

When the work is over it’s time for some leisure

We’ll dance and sing for the jungle folks pleasure.

All the animals look at each other distressed when she sings the last four lines. The four crows are shaking their wings, reluctant to get up.

DO-RAY

Mom,please, please let me sleep.

ME-FAR

Just five minutes more.

TI-DO

There’s no school today.

There is a sound of snoring from SO-LA. Suddenly CAW-GEE spies the little cuckoo in her nest.

CAW-GEE

Goodness! Who is this?

She shakes the little cuckoo to
wake her. The little bird yawns
and stretches.

CAW-GEE

Who, in the name of heaven, are you?

Little Cuckoo just shakes her head.

CAW-GEE

Are you mute?

The four crows caw raucously and circle her. The Little bird shakes her head again. The jungle creatures look at each other amazed and then slowly come towards her.

ME-FAR

(pecking the little cuckoo)
She’s so …B.l.a.c.k.

DO-RAY

She’s so tiny.

TI-DO
(looking at the little cuckoo’s
frightened face)

She’s in a funk.

SO-LA
(pecking the little cuckoo)

Ya, but why don’t you speak. Come on say something.

The little cuckoo bird cries musically.

LITTLE CUCKOO
Kooo hoo boo hooo. Ko hoo boo hoo.
(The four crows shut their ears
with their wings/hands)

DO-RAY

What a rough voice!

ME-FAR

Stop crying. My ear drums are about to burst.

SO-LA

You are so ugly.

TI-DO

And have an ugly voice. It’s so harsh.

The four crows peck the little cuckoo who tries to save herself desperately.

GEE-PECK

(whispering to FLOW-JO)

Goodness gracious. They are calling her sweet voice harsh? Have they ever heard themselves? The jungle is in a tizzy ever since they arrived.

FLOW-JO

True, Mr. Gee-peck. Their cacophony has ruined our peace of mind.

GEE-PECK

Thank your stars Flow-Jo that you are so swift and can run away from their sound of music.

(Looks down at his boot-clad
feet)

Just look at my feet..

(takes out his foot from the
boot)

Do they have any purpose at all…I have to wear these heavy boots just to hide them. I can’t even run away from their din.

The crows are pecking the little
cuckoo. CAW-GEE picks her up and
cradles her in her lap and then
turns on the crows.

CAW-GEE

Stop this nonsense right away. You are not going to harass the poor darling.

The LITTLE CUCKOO cries pathetically. The crows shut their ears with their wings.

ME-FAR

All right, all right,Caw, caw, we won’t trouble her.
Just tell her to stop the infernal racket.

PETER
(whispering to GEE-PECK)

Ah, the little bird even cries musically.

These little birds are heard by MR. RABID who has just hopped on to the stage.

MR. RABID
(closing his ears)

You call her musical. Her voice is enough to burst anyone’s ear drums. Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to the little cuckoo bird)
Don’t cry, my child. I will take care of you.
(she looks angrily at the
crows)

If any of you dare to trouble her, I swear I will..

BANANA-DRAMA

Squeeze their throat. At least we’ll be spared the trauma of their singing. Anyway, I don’t have to listen to them,I have my means.

(He switches on his walk-man
and dances snapping his
fingers.)

LITTLE CUCKOO

Koo hoo Boo hoo, Koo Hoo, Bo hoo, Mommy, Mommy.

CAW-GEE
(wiping the little bird’s
tears)

Don’t cry, little one.
(to the crows)

Shoo, go away. Go and get ready. Can’t you see your music teacher is here.

MR. RABID

Salaam Madam.

All the animal look at each other distressed and react.

PETER

Music class, nooooo, never…

FLOW-JO

Gotta run

Runs from the stage, followed by Peter.

GEE-PECK
(walking away in a dignified
manner his boots clod hopping
away)

I think we have had enough. There is something known as noise pollution. This racket is harming the environment. Today I am going to definitely write to the home-ministry.

He leaves the stage grumbling, followed by the two rabbits. The monkey is still dancing with his eyes closed.

CAW-GEE
(taking out the ear phones from
his ears)

What’s going on Banana-Drama. Gitt.

BANANA-DRAMA

Cool it mama. When will you recognise true art? We creative critters are always in a   trance. We don’t care what’s happening around us.

CAW-GEE
(pecking him)

Gitt, creative critter my foot, You are just a remix artiste.I know all about you “types”! Shoo now….

SCENE 2.

SAME TIME/SAME DAY AS SCENE 1.

CHARACTERS: ALL THE CHARACTERS OF SCENE 1.

Mr. Rabid is conducting his music class. The little Cuckoo bird who is now called MELODY is sitting close by. CAW-GEE is knitting a sweater and looks up over her spectacles intermittently. The rest of the animals are hiding behind rocks, trees, in the grass. As the music class progresses they try various ways to close their ears.

MR. RABID

All right, my pets, let’s begin.

DO-RAY

Dooooooooooooo
(FLOW-JO stuffs her ears with
cotton wool)

ME-FAR

Raaaaaaaaaaay
(GEE-PECK puts ear-plugs in his
ears and ties a bandage around
his head.)

SO-LA

Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
(Peter start banging his head
against a tree)

TI-DO

Faa.mmmph Mmmphh

( He wants to sing but PETER’S
hand/wing cover his mouth)

MR. RABID

(opening his hitherto closed
eyes)

What happened? Come on, sing.

(he looks at the creatures of
the jungle running hither-
thither)

Ribbid Ribbid! What in God’s name is happening here? Shoo, Gitt! How dare you interrupt our practice session!

(to the crows)

Never mind, my pets, they are all jealous of you. Never fear, don’t give up.

(to the little cuckoo, Melody)

You there,

(Melody looks at him with huge
eyes)

Yes, yes, you. Let’s see how well you can sing. Sing with me.
(He croaks)

Do, ray,me, far, so, la,ti, doooooo

The animals close their ears and make all sorts of action and faces.

MELODY
(trying to imitate MR. RABID)

Do, ray, me, fa, so, la, ti,dooooooo

MR. RABID

That’s much better. Just keep practising. One day you will learn to sing just like us.
(The animals have moved closer.
MR, RABID now looks at the
crows and says)

MR. RABID

All right then, my pets. Let’s begin.

THE CAW SONG
Caw, caw, caw, we are the crows four.
Loo, loo, loo, looking for a song to bore.
You, you, you, are our audience for sure,
We,we,we,we have trapped you evermore.

We have trapped you evermore,
And we’ll never let you go,
For if we let you go,
Who’ll buy tickets for the show.

No tickets for the show
Means no money for us bores
No money for us bores means
No future for us crows.

No,no,no,no,please see our shows,
So we don’t eat trash anymore,
We live like kings and sleep like stars,
Take Oprah and Paris and Cruise our cars.

Parties and Photos, glitter and glamor,
We have no talent but still we clamor.
For the good life or la dolce vita
Who cares for talent when we have our teacher.    

(Here they look at MR. RABID who hops with excitement)

FADE OUT.

SCENE 3
Place: Another corner of the jungle/ Time: day.

CHARACTERS: MELODY/ SENOR JULIO WHO IS BLIND AND WEARING DARK GLASSES

Melody is singing a song as she wanders in the jungle.

SONG
The jungle is alive with the sound of music.
If music be the food of love,
love is all I need.
If need is the future of music,
I can do without it,yes sir,indeed.
In deed I will pray,
In prayers I will say,
Give me only music,
only music to share.

As she sings and twirls and hops she bumps into a brown bird who is wearing dark glasses.

MELODY

Goodness,couldn’t you see me ?

SENOR JULIO

No,child. I am blind.

MELODY

Oh! I am sorry.

SENOR JULIO

It’s okay. You are beautiful, child.

MELODY

But,but,I am….
(she looks at herself and then
at SENOR JULIO)

How do you know, you can’t see.

SENOR JULIO

To see you don’t need eyes. A good heart is enough and I can see you with them, my child. I heard you singing but..Can you come closer?

Melody goes near SENOR JULIO who touches her face with his wings/hands.

SENOR JULIO

Beautiful.
(his hand/wings linger at her
throat)
Very beautiful but…..

MELODY

That’s not ..I mean that’s my neck.

SENOR JULIO

I know let me finish what I am saying. Your throat is sensitive but there’s something missing here.

MELODY

(sadly)

I know MR. RABID also says that. He says I do not know how to sing.

SENOR JULIO

Well child,, if he says that you should be happy. If you sing like him the audience will pelt you with rotten tomatoes and eggs. I didn’t mean you can’t sing.

MELODY

Then what did you mean?

SENOR JULIO

I meant your throat is weak. It is sensitive but it lacks strength.

MELODY

Oh, what should I do for that Mr.

SENOR JULIO
(bowing low)

Senor Julio at your service, my child. For that you have to train your voice.

MELODY
(wailing).

Oh what should I do. Who will train me? (Then looking hopefully at Senor Julio)
Will you train me?

SENOR JULIO.

Of course, child. But on one condition.

MELODY

What condition?

SENOR JULIO

That you will tell no one about me except your mother.

MELODY

Done. I won’t tell anyone.

SENOR JULIO

All right then. Lets make a beginning right away.

(Both sing, first SENOR JULIO followed by MELODY)

SONG

SEVEN NOTES OF MUSIC( from the film Sound of Music)

Doe a deer, a female deer,ray, a drop of golden sun,
Me,a name I call myself,Far a long,long way to run.
So,a needle pulling thread, la,a note to follow so.
Tea, a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back
to Do, o, o, o, Doe,a deer a female deer…..

FADE OUT.

ACT 2.

SCENE 1.
Place: KITE-KING’S COURT : /TIME:NIGHT
CHARACTERS : KITE-KING, CUCKOO- MELODY’S  MOTHER, COURTIERS

KITE-KING is seated on a throne and CUCKOO is dancing and singing.)

SONG
I could have danced all night.
(From the film MY Fair Lady)

Cuckoo takes a final twirl, loses her balance and falls.

KITE-KING

Watch out! Did you get hurt?
(Gets up, places her hand on
her hips and limps a bit)
Oh no, Sire, Just a little sprain.

KITE-KING

I have told you again and again and again that you are not as young as before. It’s high time you retired so that we can get a new court dancer.

(From Cuckoo’s expression we
can see that she does not like
the idea.)

All right, let’s get this message across that we are going to hold a huge contest and whoever wins is going to get lots of goodies.

CUCKOO

Yes, Your highness, Kite- King.

She limps out of the court with a sour expression on her face.

KITE-KING

(to one of the courtiers)
See that the message is proclaimed to every nook and corner of the world. Cuckoo is really very crafty. Given half a chance she would even tell me to go fly a kite.

All the courtiers laugh uproariously.

ONE OF THE COURTIERS

Ha ha. That’s funny what his royal highness the Kite-King just said. Cuckoo is capable of telling him to go fly a kite.

(laughs)

FADE OUT.

SCENE 2.
PLACE: THE JUNGLE / TIME: DAY
CHARACTERS: ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE JUNGLE

The younger animals have grown up. Do-Ray holds a guitar and is the lead singer, Me-Far is on the drums, So-La plays the flute from which instrument emanates a variety of sounds intermittently and Ti-Do beats her metal triangle with a small rod. All the crows are singing THE CAW SONG. Mr. Rabid has a long white beard and wears spectacles. All the creatures of the jungle are dancing to THE CAW SONG.

BANANA-DRAMA

Not bad, I am going to remix this number.

PETER

When will you stop your monkey tricks and stop being a copy cat. It’s very confusing, all this remix and stuff.

Gee-Peck is dancing and by mistake steps on Flow-Jo’s toes.

FLOW-JO

Ouch, ouch,ouch! Your huge boots have squashed my big toe.

GEE-PECK

Ooops! sorry! sorry! I am so sorry. But you know my problem, don’t you?

The rabbits are also hopping to the music. Melody brings some snacks for everyone.

MELODY

It’s tea time and snacks for everyone.

There are carrots for the rabbits, a long, green chilly for the parrot, a few spinach leaves for the deer and for the peacock there are some brown noodles that look like earth worms. For the butterflies they are some flowers with a straw stuck in the center of each flower. For the crows there are pizzas, burgers and colas. All the creatures eat and drink.

MR. RABID

Ladies and gentlemen creatures. I see that you like our music.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)
Do we have choice in the matter?
(Twisting both his ears with a
painful expression)
Well, it hardly matters now. My ear drums are completely shattered.

HARDY
(to Laurel)

Yes, just like a snake you know. He can’t hear too, just moves along with the snake charmer’s pipe.

GEE-PECK

(who has a brown noodle
dangling from his beak)
Snake? Who said snake? Where’s the snake?

All the animals are shocked into
silence.

MR. RABID
(looks scared and looks around)

Where’s the snake? Snake’s are my mortal enemies.

CAW-GEE
(throws a hard stare in
Laurel/Hardy’s direction,then
speaks soothingly to Mr.
Rabid)

There’s no snake around. Don’t worry Mr. Rabid. If a snake dares to come here Gee- peck here will eat him up for dinner.

The noodles are still hanging from Gee-Peck’s beak. All the animals look at him.

BANANA-DRAMA

Yes,well, let him eat his noodles first. When the snake comes he will eat him as well.

GEE-PECK

Gross. I am not like other pea-cocks who eat snakes. Snakes are our friends actually. They eat up all the animals who are pests like rats,fro…
(Peter quickly shuts his mouth
with his hands/wings)

MR. RABID
(puffing with anger)

What did you say? I know what you were going to say. Frogs. Snakes eat pests like frogs.

PETER
(giggling)

No, no. You are quite mistaken sir. How can you be our enemy? You sing so sweetly. Ah, what a melodious voice.

MR. RABID
(cooling down a bit)

All right, all right. There is no need to butter me up. I know you critters like the back of my tongue. You make fun of me and (points to the crows) and my pupils. Now just wait and see, I am going to teach you all a lesson you’ll never forget.

CAW-GEE
(nodding her head)

Yes, to be sure. Mr. Rabid is entering my children in a competition at the court of Kite-King. The winner will be made the court-singer. Later, there is talk of getting a good pension.

PETER
(to a butterfly)

Nothing can beat a good job in the government. Just eat, drink and be merry. No stress!

BUTTERFLY ONE
(flapping her wings)

Betcha ! Now take me for instance. I work in the State Department. All I have to do is fly here and fly there -in the country, out of the country and all for free. No worries man.

CAW-GEE

All right then. It is decided. We are all going to Kite-King’s court to encourage our group. Mr. Rabid has named the band – THE CAW-DOORS BAND.

BANANA-DRAMA
Dude, what kind of a name is that? So old and boring.

GEE-PECK
(whispers to Flow-Jo)

Just like their teacher.

Mr. Rabid over hears this remark and starts to puff up with anger.

MR. RABID

I heard what you said. So I am old and boring! Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(distressed)

Mr. Rabid ! Control your self. You have to watch your blood pressure. You might…..

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Flow-jo)

Burst like a big, fat balloon.

Flow-Jo laughs and then tries to stifle her laughter.

MR. RABID
(in a wild temper now)
Go on laugh away. You, modern, fashionable folks can do little else. What else do you know except to bare your teeth and grin like apes.(Banana-drama can react here)

CAW-GEE

Get a hold on yourself Mr. Rabid. Please don’t be angry with them. They are all jealous of your talent. I am sure your pupils will get the first prize. That will shut them up.

DO-RAY

Yes, sir, please don’t worry. We are sure to make you famous all over the world.

ME-FAR

The world of music will remember you for ever and for ever.

TI-DO

And we’ll be big stars too. Everyone will look at us and sing, Twinkle, twinkle little stars,

SO-LA
How I wonder what you are.

CROWS
(together)

Twinkle, twinkle little star,how I wonder what you are.

MELODY

Mom, I want to be a star too.

The crows are silent and look at each other.

DO-RAY

No way, Jose.

ME-FAR

You, don’t know how to sing. Everyone will laugh at you.

TI-DO

And then, no one’s going to take us seriously too because you are tagging along with us.

MELODY
(crying)

Ko hooo, Boo, hoo.

CAW-GEE

Oh, Melody. Don’t cry baby. You will take part in the contest. I’ll see who dares stop you from participating.

Mr. Rabid who had opened his mouth to say something shuts it hastily.

SO-LA

Mom, if she wants to be a part of the contest she can but only after we are done.

CAW-GEE

Why so?

SO-LA

Because, if the audience runs away after hearing her song who is going to listen to us then,duh!

TI-DO

Don’t be mean So-La!

SO-LA
(to Melody)
Melody, you can help us okay, back-stage, but don’t you dare open your beak to sing.

CAW-GEE

Stop it, all of you. If Melody wants to be in the contest she’s going to get her chance too.

GEE-PECK
(to Flow-Jo)
Yes, one must dance when one gets the chance. I think I will take part in the contest too. After all, I am trained classical dancer from India.

(Flow-Jo bats her eye lashes)

BANANA-DRAMA

And I think I will present a couple of my items too. How long can I hide my talent from the world!

MR. RABID

This contest is not for grinning apes and copy cats.

GEE-PECK

And why not? If tuneless and ugly artistes can participate then why not copy cats?

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Hold your tongue you mangy bird or I will tear and crush your beautiful feathers which you so proudly display.

GEE-PECK

Are you capable of anything else? You are jealous of me because neither do you have looks, nor talent. All you know is to croak in the rains- ribbid, ribbid, and that’s what you are teaching these poor crows.

MR. RABID
(angrily)

Oh, I see. So that’s what you think of me. I am not going to leave any of you. You will all have to pay for this insult.

CAW-GEE
(desperately trying to calm Mr.
Rabid)

Mr. Rabid, calm down, please calm down or you will get sick.

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Peter)

I hope he goes for a long spell to the hospital. Then we can have some peace and quiet in the jungle. He is such a bore. I am sick to my teeth of his infernal racket.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! The cheek of this monkey. He wants to send me to the hospital. I am going to fix him first.

CAW-GEE

Mr. Rabid! Please, pretty please, calm down. We should all live in the jungle in peace and quiet.

MR. RABID

Now there is going to be peace and quiet after I have taught each one of these creatures a lesson and kicked them out of the jungle.

BANANA-DRAMA

And what if we all got together and threw you out, then what are you going to do?

MR. RABID

Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to all the creatures)

Be quiet,all of you. Who told you creatures to poke your nose in our affairs. Apologize to Mr. Rabid at once. You have hurt his feelings.

BANANA-DRAMA

And what about him. He has shattered the peace and quiet of the jungle, what about that, huh?

BUTTERFLY TWO

Yes, and once when I was flying a little low he flicked his long tongue and tried to catch me. I was so scared, I swear.

MR. RABID

Come on, you liar.

BUTTERFLY TWO
No, of course not I am telling the truth. (Addressing the other butterflies)

Ask them, aren’t I telling the truth?

All the butterflies nod their
heads vigorously.

BUTTERFLIES

True, absolutely true. He hides in the grass and whenever he gets the chance he flicks out his tongue to catch us.

Caw- gee looks at Mr. Rabid.

MR. RABID
(trying to cover his
discomfiture)

What’s got into these butterflies? (Looking at Banana-Drama)

This is all this monkey’s tricks to throw me out of the jungle. He has no talent to speak of and that’s why he is envious of me.

BANANA-DRAMA

Just exactly what talent do you have dude? You have one talent and that you don’t need air to puff up like a balloon but all I have to do is stick a pin in you and you will deflate – Whooooooooooosh.

All the animals laugh uproariously and Mr. Rabid hops up and down and says “Ribbid” Ribbid” many times.

Caw-Gee claps her hand/wings and

says peremptorily

CAW-GEE
(Clapping her wings/hands)

Peace, peace.
(Addressing all the creatures)

What has got in to all of you? Is this your culture? Is this civilized?

PETER

Culture and Civilization can boil themselves in oil, for all we care, Madam. I mean, everything has its limits. And this critter here has crossed all limits. And now we are not going to keep quiet. We are going to shout and scream and burst his ear drums so that he knows too what we go through day in and day out.

CAW-GEE

(brings her hand/wings together
to pacify him)
Brothers, I beg you, put an end to this quarrel. Look, the sun is about to set. It’s time to sleep peacefully in our homes. The morrow’s sun will bring a new day when we can live in peace and harmony with each other.

GEE-PECK

That’s is possible only if this critter here refrains from shattering the peace of the jungle or we restrain him.

CAW-GEE

No, no, no, my friends. Please be patient. He is just a little hot tempered but he is very warm-hearted other wise. He will make our jungle famous one day, you wait and watch.

PETER

Caw-nee,( pronouncing it as corny) I mean Caw-Gee. You are partial to him today but one day you are going to regret this. He will take a deep breath and plunge into the water leaving you to face the music.

CAW-GEE

Don’t say that, my son. He is an artiste and artistes are very simple.

PETER

He’s not simple, he’s a pimple, an ugly boil on the face of the earth but by the time you realize this it may be too late.

CAW-GEE
(bringing her wings/hand
together in the attitude of a
judge)

Order, order. Or you will be behind bars for disturbing the peace of the community.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)

Behind bars. Whatever is that?

HARDY

It means to drink so much that you can’t see what is right and what is wrong. You are cool with everything, even their singing.

LAUREL/HARDY

But, we don’t mind looking at them, we just don’t want to hear them, especially when they start singing.

GEE-PECK

What are you both muttering about? To throw behind bars means to send you to jail, to lock you up, to put you in the slammer.

LAUREL/HARDY
(together)

Ooooooooh! Who does Caw-Gee want to lock up?

PETER

Caw- Gee wants to lock all of us up because she wants her kids to be stars and since we don’t like their music she
feels humiliated.

HARDY

I see. If Caw-Gee wants her kids to be stars then what will Mr. Rabid be ?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, he’s round and full, so he’s a moon, dude.

FLOW-JO

No way, The moon’s too good for him, he’s just a pumpkin, the one you see on Halloween.

All the animals laugh uproariously. Mr.
Rabid hops up and down, furious.

MR. RABID

Ribbid, Ribbid.

LAUREL
(To Hardy)

Why does he keep croaking ribbid, ribbid? What does it mean?

HARDY

It means that when you don’t know what you want to say you cover it up by jumping up and down and shouting ribbid, ribbid.

GEE-PECK

No, no, Ribbid means….

MELODY

Kooooooo.

CAW-GEE

Yes, yes, my child I completely forgot where the matter all began and look, where it has all ended. I am sorry to say the world is not too kind to a single mom who is only trying to do what’s best for her children.

FLOW-JO

No, non, Caw-Gee, that’s not true. We are all happy for Do-ray, Me-far, So-la and Ti-do but….

GEE-PECK

But, we only object to a certain individual who is only wants to confuse you so he can get what he wants.

BANANA-DRAMA

Ya man, Kaw-Nee ( pronounced Corny), I mean Kaw-Gee. We are all talented man in our own way. But, suppose someone is not talented and the other person tries to thrust talent down his throat then that’s not cool, man.

MR. RABID
(jumping up and down angrily)

How can you say that, you ape, that my pupils have no talent. I’ll show you. What do you know about talent, anyway, you copy cat!

Mr. Rabid’s eyes are bulging with anger and his tongue is lolling out.

BANANA-DRAMA

Careful dude, watch your step man or I’ll pull out your tongue which helps to put food in your stomach. I ( pointing to Caw-gee) was talking to her, not to you.

MR. RABID
(cooling down)

What do you mean? I didn’t understand.

BANANA-DRAMA

I was telling her that she has thrust the title of artiste on you when you don’t have no talent man.

MR. RABID

What did you say? I don’t have any talent. For your information I won the first prize in a huge musical show.

GEE-PECK

We know all about that. It was just a show for frogs and that too during the monsoon when all the creatures were hiding from the rains.

BANANA-DRAMA

And to top it, all the frogs find a well so that no other creature can participate in the contest.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

Fair- weather frogs , oops, I mean rainy- weather frogs find a deep well and croak away to glory and then pat each other on the backs and divide the prize amongst themselves.

PETER

Yup, these kind of shenanigans are the speciality of film festivals and award functions. They are one big family who award each other at the function and then come back happily to party the night away.

GEE-PECK

Yes, and the rest of the world can boil themselves in oil, for all they care.

MR. RABID

What is this boil in oil, boil in oil, that you go on about?

GEE-PECK

Oh, the whole world moves on oiled wheels, don’t you know that? Oil is really important. If there is no oil, the whole world will come to a stand still. But what do these frogs care? They are just happy croaking away!

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

GEE-PECK

Exactly!

LAUREL/HARDY

But what does ribbid mean?

MELODY

Kooooo
(all the creatures look at her)

CAW-GEE

Yes, my child, you will be in the contest too.

ALL THE CROWS

Mom!

CAW-GEE

Quiet, all of you. If Melody wants to compete in the contest, then she is going to get her chance.

ALL THE CROWS

No way Mom! What will everyone think?

CAW-GEE
Quiet,not a word from you. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? (To Melody)

You start your practise, child.

She leaves, shaking her
head,grumbling to her self.

To bring up children is quite a task. It’s not easy being a single mom.

The crows peck Melody and she runs from the stage cooing away. The other animals, except Mr. Rabid, follow her. Mr. Rabid hops in the other direction. Midway he stops and addresses the audience.

MR. RABID

Did all you folks note their behavior? Well, I am not going to spare them. I am going to teach them a lesson come what may. The sky can fall or the earth can shake I will not rest till I teach them a lesson. I too have a weapon that they know not. Now, all of you just wait for the explosion!

He hops off. Suddenly there is a loud crash and we hear Mr. Rabid’s loud voice shouting Ribbid)

MR. RABID (O.S.)

Who put this tub of water in the way? I am soaking wet.

BANANA-DRAMA (O.S.)

This is for you Mr. Rabid. You need to have a good wash before you compete with us.

The sound of laughter of all the
jungle folks.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

SCENE 3

PLACE:A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE/DAY

CHARACTERS:ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE JUNGLE EXCEPT MR. RABID,CAW-GEE, AND THE FOUR CROWS. MELODY SITS IN THE CORNER.

Gee-Peck is dances in an oriental way while Laurel and Hardy play a percussion instrument from India-the tabla

GEE-PECK

Dha,dha,tirkit, ta dha, krandha,krandha,tirkit, tirkit, ta tha.

All the animals clap enthusiastically.

BANANA-DRAMA

Cool, very cool. No, no, I mean, hot, very hot.

FLOW-JO
(laughing)

You better decide whether Mr. Gee-Peck’s dance is cool or hot.

HARDY

I think it’s neither cool nor hot it looks like he is playing the fool.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Whaaaaaaaaaaat!

HARDY
Well, if Mr. Gee Peck is gonna dance with such huge boots it’s not our dance but kinda like a tap dance.

BUTTERFLY ONE

Tap dance, whatever is that?

LAUREL

We had seen it when we had gone abroad once. The dancers wore huge boots and were dancing. And very fast too.

GEE-PECK

Oh well, compared to them I am a nothing. Neither here nor there.

FLOW-JO

Why don’t you just present a demo. Don’t take part in the competition.

PETER

Then who is going to represent us? We do need to teach Mr.
Rabid a good lesson.

Everybody is thinking.

MELODY

Cooo.

All the animals look towards her.

MELODY (cont’d)

Will all of you give me a chance to sing on your behalf? BANANA-DRAMA

But can you sing? You have a sweet voice but professional training is what you need.

MELODY

I have trained professionally. But I can’t reveal the name of the maestro. It’s top secret.

PETER

All right, in that case why don’t you sing and let us decide.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(together)

Hear! hear! let us hear you.

MELODY
All right.

She comes to the center of the
stage and sings.

SONG
The hills are alive with the sound of music. (from the film Sound of Music)

She sings a few lines and then stops. The animals are quiet for a moment and then clap enthusiastically and shout”hear,hear,” and “bravo”!

GEE-PECK

Wonderful! What a melodious voice! Perfectly in tune and rhythm.

BANANA-DRAMA

Rocking! Simply rocking!

FLOW-JO

All right then, it is decided. Melody will represent us.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(all together)

Yes, yes.

PETER

All right Melody. You have to win the first prize. We’ll never get a chance like this one to teach Mr. Rabid a good lesson.

MELODY

All that is fine but let’s not forget my brother’s are also taking part in the contest. If I win they are going to feel bad.

FLOW-JO

Well, just listen to the wee bird. Everyone takes part in the contest,girl. But, this must be the first time I am hearing that someone is afraid to take part in the contest for fear of winning!

BANANA-DRAMA

That happens only when the results are “fixed” as to who is to win and who is to lose. Then it is smarter to lose for if you dare to win you could lose your life.

FLOW-JO

Yes, but this contest is not one of those ones for the Kite-King genuinely wants an entertainer for his court,whether it be a singer or a dancer.

PETER

And,not only are you a good singer but you dance well too. I have seen you hopping from branch to branch,from tree to tree.

FLOW-JO
(singing operatically)

I could have danced all night…
(she sings two lines of the
song from the film My Fair
Lady)

GEE-PECK

(sings where she breaks off)
You could have danced all night…..

They look at each other lovingly while the animals look at each other.

PETER

All right, all right, the two of you. How long do you intend to live in the past?

BANANA-DRAMA

Ya man. You gotta swing with the times dude.

(he snaps his fingers and
dances and sings)

SONG

Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Up, up to the sky
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly Up, up to the sky
(from the group

Silver Convention)

Just then a pigeon flutters towards them. All the animals look at each other amazed

PEACE-MEAL
(the pigeon)

I have brought you a proclamation from Kite -King.

GEE-PECK

Go ahead.

PEACE-MEAL

The Kite-King wants you all to know that you are all welcome to his land but no one is permitted to bring their tutor or teacher with them.

Just then Caw-gee and Mr. Rabid arrive.

BANANA-DRAMA

Oh Caw-nee, I mean Caw-Gee! He has just brought an important message from the King that Mr. Rabid is not permitted in the contest.

CAW-GEE

Why Not? What kind of rule is that?

PEACE-MEAL

This is not a rule, it’s the law. The contestants cannot be accompanied by their tutors.

MR. RABID

Stuff and nonsense. I am going to go, let me see who dare stop me.

PEACE-MEAL

You are not going to get a visa.

MR. RABID

Why won’t you give me one? What kind of law is this? You can’t do this.

GEE-PECK

Listen, my good fellow, it’s their country, they can do whatever they want.

MR. RABID

I’ll see who will stop me from entering the country. I have my ways.

FLOW-JO

God forbid. Illegal alien. Are you going to break the law?

MR. RABID

Well, by hook or by crook, whatever it takes.

GEE-PECK

Why are you so stubborn Mr. Rabid? And why do you want to force yourself everywhere, even when you are not wanted. After all, you must be having a place of your own. Why don’t you go and live there peacefully?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, the fact is his well is very deep and the water’s are very shallow and murky. And there are many frogs like him who go ribbid, ribbid all the time. That’s why this dude has run away and come here.

PETER

Well if he has run away and come here then he needs to sit quietly in a corner. Where’s the need to go ribbid, ribbid all the time.

GEE-PECK

Force of habit, my friend, force of habit.

MR. RABID

Ribbid, ribbid.

CAW-GEE

Mr. Rabid, don’t you bother about what they all say.

Peace, my friend, peace.

PEACE-MEAL
Did you say some thing to me ?

CAW-GEE

I said Peace.

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, that’s my name Peace-Meal. In short, Peace.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Whaaaaaaaaat?

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, I am the pigeon of Peace. Another bird was in charge of this work but ever since the hunters have got rid of her I am now in charge of this work.

BANANA-DRAMA

I see. Yes, the dove was the messenger of peace but now he is extinct like the dodo bird. And now you are in charge of this work.

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, and now I am going to fly off too. Farewell.

He flies away.

All the animals sing.

SONG
Fly, robin, fly…

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Mr. Rabid)

Well, you better live in peace in the jungle. We’ll take a quick tour of the world and come, man.

GEE-PECK

And if you get too bored you still have your well where the other frog’s await you.

MR. RABID

Ribbid!Ribbid! Looks like you are not going to

behave yourselves. Go fly a kite.

BANANA-DRAMA

Hellooo, we are going to meet the Kite-King. How can we fly a kite here?

All the animals laugh uproariously at his joke.

GEE-PECK

Great joke! We can’t fly a kite here coz we are going to meet the Kite-King!! Ho Ho Ho. Well said Banana-Drama.

Banana-Drama pulls up his collar
and smirks.

CAW-GEE

Melody, what are you doing here this late. Come into the nest. It’s time to go to bed. We have to leave early tomorrow.

(Addressing the other animals)
Come along, all of you too.

BANANA-DRAMA

No way Mam. I was thinking of going to the disco. I have just got a new job as the D.J. I have to play all the latest hit songs.

CAW-GEE
You have to play, that’s all. Anyone can do that for you, they don’t need you for that. Go. Go to sleep, or you will all miss the flight tomorrow.

BANANA-DRAMA
All right Caw-Nee, I mean Caw-Gee. We respect you, that is why we listen to you Mam or
(looking at Mr. Rabid)

By this time we would have got rid of certain individuals.

Goes away singing “Black is black, I want my baby back”by Los Bravos)

Mr. Rabid looks at him furiously.
All the animals leave. Only Mr.

Rabid remains on stage.

MR. RABID
We’ll see who will get rid of whom. I will destroy all of you. I have a secret weapon and that weapon is going to spell your doom.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 4.

PLACE: CUCKOO’S LUXURIOUS BED CHAMBER WHICH IS FURNISHED WITH A FEW GOLDEN RODS TO DENOTE LUXURY AND THE FEELING OF BEING CAGED/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS: CUCKOO/A PIGEON/MRS. BROWN/MELODY

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. There is a knock on the door.

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Come in.
(A pigeon comes in and bows
before Cuckoo.)
Did you do what I told you to do?

PIGEON

Yes madam,I told both my friends to keep an eye on the contestants and to let me know who among them is the best.

CUCKOO

And?

PIGEON

According to my sources the most talented of the lot is a young singer named Melody.

CUCKOO

All right then, go and invite her. Tell her I want to meet her tomorrow, in the evening. Tell her I want to give her tips to help her win the contest.

PIGEON

(bowing respectfully)
To be sure Madam.
(Goes away)

CUCKOO
(putting her wings/hand
together)

Wants to replace me, indeed! We’ll see about that. I am going to teach her such a lesson that she‘ll go crying to her mamma. After I am done with her she’ll not even be able to eat, forget about tweet.

(she claps peremptorily) Where is everyone? Yoohooo, I say, yoohoo.

A little sparrow comes in running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Madam.

CUCKOO

Are you deaf Mrs. Brown? Your problem is that you are hopping here and there all the time and when there is work to be done you are nowhere to be seen.

MRS. BROWN

(wringing her hands in fear)
Yes madam, to be sure madam. I had just gone to collect some grains and grit ( gives a shy smile) I am expecting five wee ones soon and we’ll need a bigger nest too. Hubby dear can’t do all the house work, he has to work outside too to make ends meet.

CUCKOO
(sarcastically)

I know exactly what he does outside. When are you folks going to change your ways? Your husband has no work, he’s always drunk in bars and you, you go on producing children. What’s your husband’s name?

MRS. BROWN
(lowers her eyes shyly clasps
her hand and swings side to
side)

Mr. Lancelot Brown.

CUCKOO

Whatever! Go and tell Mr. Hadalot to take a break and come and meet me right away. I have some work for him.

MRS. BROWN

Right away Missus (Cuckoo glares at her) I mean madame.

CUCKOO

Now off with you. Go and get me a few grains and salad leaves. And, bring me a cold glass of water.

MRS. BROWN
(who is a little slow-witted)
To drink?

CUCKOO
(exasperated)

No, to have a bath! Oh God, give me strength that I can deal with these slow witted and hilly billy sorts. Now, go, O mother of mine, go and do as I say.

MRS. BROWN

Mother? I am not your mother. I am going to be a mother soon.
(Shyly)

Just a few days to go.

CUCKOO
(stamping her feet)

Are you going to leave or no!

The sparrow hops away
(Cuckoo draws in a deep breath)

What a life! On the one hand I have to deal with these dumb hilly billy sorts and on the other I have to deal with that rogue Kite-King who has no other interest in life but to sing, dance and be merry. Just because I am a little old, I mean a little mature now, he is scouting around for young blood. He has one leg in the grave but he behaves like a young rooster. Anyway, I can handle him and his new singing sensation, what did pigeon say was her name, ah Yes! Melody.

Fade to black for a few moments to indicate that it is the next day and then we hear’s Melody’s voice.

MELODY’S VOICE

Koooooo.

Lights come on gradually. Melody is standing on one corner of the stage.

Cuckoo is on the settee in a
dishevelled state

MELODY

Madam you called me so here I am. I am a big fan, Madam.

Your songs are an inspiration to me.

CUCKOO
(Yawning)

Really! You are so little then how can you be a big fan? (Giggling)
Just a joke. Come in, come and sit down.
(Pats the settee)

Come here, come sit next to me.

Melody sits next to her, a little scared, a little nervous.

CUCKOO

Now then, tell me, where did you learn to sing. I mean, who is your teacher?

MELODY’S VOICE
(as she thinks)

Senor Julio told me to tell no one but (addresses Cuckoo)
Mother had appointed Mr. Rabid to tutor all of us.

CUCKOO
(taken aback)

Mr. Rabid! That tuneless frog who goes ribbid, ribbid in the rainy weather.

MELODY

The same.

CUCKOO

Lordloveaduck!

CUCKOO’S VOICE
(as she thinks to herself)

Did that pigeon make a mistake? How can she be a good singer? (Addresses Melody)

All right, let me hear you, let me see how you sing.

MELODY

I am sorry, the maestro forbid from singing in front of anyone.

CUCKOO

Drat it! All right, at least let me hear you sing the seven notes of melody, just like Mr. Ribbid taught you to sing.

MELODY

Just like Mr. Ribbid taught me to sing. All right.
(she sings hoarsely)
Do, Ray, Me, Far, So, La, Ti, Do.

CUCKOO
(gives an evil smile)

Hear, hear! What a voice. Wonderful, my child. You will surely win the first prize in this contest.
(Joyfully)
Will you eat something?
(Claps her hands peremptorily)
Mrs. Brown, yoohoo,Mrs. Brown, are you deaf?

Mrs Brown who is wearing an apron and has a duster in which she is wiping her hands comes in running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Missus
(Cuckoo glares at her)
I mean Madame.

CUCKOO

Go and get a cola with ice for her. And get me some hot tea and don’t forget the ginger.

MRS. BROWN
(as she goes )

Yes missus

(flustered)

I mean Madame

The lights are slowly dimming as
we hear Melody.

MELODY’S VOICE

My teacher told me not drink anything cold. And definitely not any cola. It has chemicals that kill bugs.

CUCKOO

Drat it!

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5 A.

PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/CUCKOO/JUDGE-A FAT PENGUIN/ALL THE ANIMALS OF JUNGLE LAND/AUDIENCE WHICH CAN ALSO COMPRISE OF ANY BIRDS,BEASTS OR HUMANS THROUGH WHICH ONE MAY WANT TO MAKE A STATEMENT, AN ALIEN WHO HAS COME FROM ANOTHER GALAXY/MR. LANCELOT BROWN, MRS. BROWN AND THEIR FIVE CHILDREN/GURU GODMAN.

Kite-king comes and sits on his throne.

The audience claps

KITE-KING

Let the contest begin.

The Master of ceremonies is a crane. He holds the mike.
He stands on one foot then the other.

GURU GODMAN

Salaam,Namaste,Good Evening! Ich bin ein Guru Godman and welcome you all. The Kite-King, in all his benevolence, has organized this contest magnifique for all of us to enjoy. Tres bien. Now, I will call on each contestant to come one by one and I hope you will enjoy their performance. So, first let me invite.. ( looks at his paper)

PETER

(to Gee-Peck)
Why doesn’t he speak in one language,it’s very confusing.

GEE-PECK

So, he can please everyone.

GURU GODMAN

The first contestant tonight is China’s famous singer,

(looking at a paper in his hands)

Who is also trained in the martial arts like judo karate,Pee-Wee- King.

Everyone claps and Pee-Wee-King comes on stage and sings in the Chinese Style and also demonstrates Judo and karate.

PEE-WEE-KING
(Sings in a falsetto)

Chop, chop, chop,chop suey.

Pop, pop, pop, pop goes the weasel.

Top, top, top, top of the Morning,

Cop, cop, cop, cop out come evening.

Come morning, come evening,
By day and by night,

Buy, buy, buy our motto,

And sell, sell, sell,

When the time is right.

Buy and sell, buy and sell,

Do we care wherever we dwell.

All we want is the ship to sail,

We’ll bail out when the going is hell.

The song concludes and everyone claps.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)

He looks like a boy then why does he sing like a girl? And his name is Pee-Wee-King. Is he small or is he a King? And why does he exercise when he sings? I am so confused.

GEE-PECK

So is he. And that is his problem. He can’t decide what he wants, what he wants to be and where he is going? I guess he’ll make up his mind when the going is hell.

GURU GODMAN

And now is the turn of the famous bird from Australia – Platy-Pus.

A weird looking bird comes on stage.

LAUREL

Now what kind of bird is this, I just can’t figure it out.

PETER

Nor can it. It hasn’t decided what it wants to be, a bird or a beast. So its neither here nor there – just a Platy-pus.

LAUREL

That Chinese man should also decide what it wants to be or it will turn out like this creature-neither here nor there.

PLATY-PUS
(Singing)

Fowl is fair and Fair is Fowl

Live we do not cheek by jowl.

Open spaces,weather fair,

Plenty to eat and not a care.

Confused are we and do not dare

To take a stand and show them all

We mean business and will not stick

Any funny business before we kick

All and sundry from our land.
No, no. no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes.
No-yes, no-yes, no- yes, no-yes,
Confused are we, we are confused,
Lord clear the heads of these Platy-pus.

All the creatures clap. We see a short rotund individual clad from top to toe in a burqa/abaya coming in. He stands in a corner. This is Mr. Rabid

GURU GODMAN

And now we call on stage four talented singers from the jungle- Do-ray, Me-far, So-la, Ti-do, to present their song titled, Black is Black.

The creatures clap and the four crows come on stage lugging their instruments which they place with stylized swagger and superior attitude.

FOUR CROWS
(singing in a rap style)
Black is black and so is white.
Day is day and so is night.

If black is white and day is night

What does it matter if we look a sight,
What does it matter if we give you a fright,
What does it matter if you want us out of sight.

We may be bores

but now-a-days

anything goes.

If anything goes
than what does it matter
If we are not sure of our tunes or our pater.
We follow the credo of all our kind
To stiff the suckers who pay to watch
Our shows and our broadsides divine.
If they now complain,
We’ll not return their money
come thunder or rain.
No, no, that’s not our intention,
No,no,we’ll not allow any intervention,
We want our money
and we’ll hold it tight,
Nothing will cure us,
not even a swift kick
Up our backsides.

At the beginning of the song the audience is too stunned to react. Then, they slowly start to close their ears. Some of them are trying to get out of the hall. The Kite-King is flapping his wings in anger. The Guru-Godman hastily comes on stage. Only the alien is clapping appreciatively.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, yes, to be sure. I think that is enough for the night.Due to time constraints we’ll have to cut short this number.We apologize.

The animals are happy. From the burqa/abaya clad individual comes the sound of “Ribbid, Ribbid.” All the Jungle-Land creatures look around surprised then at each other.

GURU GODMAN (cont’d)

Finally it is the turn of a young and talented singer.
I invite on stage Melody.

Melody comes on stage. All the
creatures clap. Cuckoo gives and
evil smile.

MELODY
(singing)
The hills are alive with the Sound of
Music. (from the film Sound of Music)

The audience is entranced, particularly Kite-King. Only the alien is closing his ears with a pained expression. When the song is over the creatures clap enthusiastically and shout “Bravo,Bravo”and “Hear, Hear!” Cuckoo looks furious.The Kite-King comes on stage.

KITE-KING

Well done, well done! Tonight’s program was excellent and entertaining. I am very pleased.
(The audience claps)

Singers from all parts of the world have entertained us tonight with songs in many different languages. But music is one language that brings together people from all over the world. For music knows no boundaries,no languages,it is above all. Music touches not our minds but our hearts. And the entertainer whose song has touched all our hearts is no other than the winner of tonight’s contest, Melody.

The creatures clap and yell ‘Bravo’ and ‘Hear, Hear!’ Cuckoo looks furious.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

We would like Melody to come on stage and accept her prize.

Melody comes on stage and accepts her gift. A tiny crown is placed on her head.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

I am so pleased with Melody’s singing that I hereby appoint her as our court singer. Henceforth she will live here and entertain me. The whole world will enjoy her music.
In return Melody will get untold riches and fame….
(The audience claps)

KITE-KING (cont’d)

And henceforth she will live in a golden
cage (he looks at Cuckoo)

Since our old entertainer is about to retire she will now live in a brass cage and her cage will be prepared for Melody.
(It is clear that Cuckoo does
not like the Kite-King’s uggestion.)

KITE-KING (cont’d)

And Cuckoo, you are hereby appointed Melody’s chaperone. Please take care that she is taken care of and does not want for anything.
(Cuckoo stands up and
curtsies. Kite-King looks at Melody)

KITE-KING (cont’d)
I congratulate you and wish you well for a bright future and a new world.

MELODY
(To Kite-King)

May I have your permission to say a few words.

KITE-KING

To be sure, you may.

MELODY

I thank you all for considering me worthy of such honor and for supporting me in this journey, I would like to call upon the person who has my deepest respect. I would like to call her on stage and in front of all you ask her for her blessings. Mom…..

Caw-gee looks at Melody. She has tears in her eyes. She walks slowly towards the stage. She is old and has white hair but Cuckoo recognizes her. Melody touches Caw-Gee’s feet who blesses her. The audience claps. The two embrace.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5 B

PLACE/TIME: SAME AS SCENE 5. THE STAGE IS BLACK FOR A MOMENT AND THEN SLOWLY LIGHTS UP TO SHOW THE AUDIENCE HAS LEFT. ONLY CUCKOO IS LEFT ALONE.
41.

CHARACTERS:CUCKOO/ MR.RABID

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. A sudden sound distracts her and she sees that a burqa/abaya clad figure approaches her.

CUCKOO
(frightened)

What..who ..is there?

The burqa/abaya clad figure comes close and lifts the veil from his face to reveal Mr. Rabid. Cuckoo screams.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! I removed the veil from my face! Then why did you scream?

CUCKOO

Never mind. Who are you? I am going to call the sentry to throw you out.

MR. RABID
Don’t even think of making the mistake. You stand to lose a lot.

CUCKOO

Really? I have just lost everything. What do I have to lose now?

MR. RABID

If you do as I tell you then you will get what your heart desires..

CUCKOO

What are you implying, sir. At least think of your grey beard before talking such rubbish.

MR. RABID

Oh dear me Madame. You have got me wrong. In any case, you are not that young either.

CUCKOO
(narrowing her eyes and raising
an eyebrow)

Really, For the likes of you I am no less than a beautiful hourie from heaven. Just which planet are you from Mister?

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Your tongue is as sharp as a knife. If you were in my country….

CUCKOO

Exactly, that’s why I am not in your country. I have no wish to live in a deep well
(she looks him up and down)

Nor do I wish to suffocate my self. I like to breathe free in the fresh air, understood?

MR. RABID

Do you call living in a golden cage freedom?

CUCKOO

Well, it certainly beats living in a dark well.

MR. RABID

Heaven help me! Why have I got myself entangled in this useless debate. Do you want to hear about something that is in your interest?

CUCKOO

All right, go on.

MR. RABID

Actually I am the tutor to the Caw-Doors Band.

CUCKOO

Ah, so that is why you hide your face.

MR. RABID
What rubbish. The laws in your country are so weird that I have to resort to these means.

CUCKOO

Every country has its own laws. The laws in your country are no less weird.
(She shudders)
Goodness, I couldn’t live there for even a day.

MR. RABID
(irritated)

Who is calling you there in any event? Why don’t you listen to that which is in your interest?

CUCKOO

It’s not possible that it will only be in my interest and not yours. You don’t look like a philanthropist to me.

MR. RABID
(almost in tears)

Please, I beg of you. Listen to me carefully.

CUCKOO

All right, all right, hurry up. It’s time for my massage.

MR. RABID
(stuttering in disgust)

Massage? Here we are about to talk of important matters of the state, of a world which is going to be topsy-turvy and you can only think of your massage.

CUCKOO
( tossing her head scornfully)

Soooooo! If you took an interest in some massage you wouldn’t be so hyper, I mean stressed, I mean tensed. You would be more happy and relaxed.

MR. RABID
(hopping up and down)

Ribbid! Ribbid! Who says I am not relaxed. I am very happy go lucky
(trying to laugh)
See how I laugh. He he he. See.

CUCKOO

All right, all right. There is no need for these histrionics.
All Right out with it. My time is precious.

MR. RABID

So I like I said before I am the tutor of the Caw-Doors band.

CUCKOO

Oh Yes, that reminds me you are Melody’s tutor too, then how did she learn to sing so well.

MR. RABID

What do you mean? Melody does not know how to sing and yet she won the contest. I suspect a huge conspiracy is afoot and Kite-king is at the bottom of it all. I think he’s jealous of my talent and wants to discredit me in front of everyone.

CUCKOO

Are you retarded, by any chance?

MR. RABID

Ribbid, Ribbid.

CUCKOO

Anyway, go on.

MR. RABID

I feel the two of us should get together (Cuckoo gives him a hard stare), I don’t mean that. I mean if you help me to dethrone Kite-King then, in return, I will make you the court singer.

CUCKOO

And pray tell me what is your plan to dethrone him?

Mr. Rabid takes out a packet from his garment.

MR. RABID

Here take this medicine. Just stir it in Kite-king’s tea.

CUCKOO

I see, and then what will happen?

MR. RABID

What will happen? Kite-king will lose his memory, he’ll forget he’s the king and we can easily place anyone we want on his throne.

CUCKOO

It seems to me you are very fond of Bollywood films. I mean memory loss and all that. Just like a movie.

MR. RABID
No way. I’m not fond of such trash. This kind of cheap entertainment is forbidden where I come from.

CUCKOO

Oh, then what’s all this singing and dancing,what’s your explanation for all that?

MR. RABID

I am doing all that out of my country, not in there.

CUCKOO

Wow,that kind of reasoning stinks of double standards. What is bad there can’t be good here?

MR. RABID

You won’t understand these political matters.

CUCKOO

Hmmm, I understand your political matters completely. These political matters have only one agenda, get what you want and have a lot of fun. Who cares about the poor public. Any way,what do I care. As long as my fun and games continue I am not bothered what happens to the world around me(extends her hand forward). All right, give me your memory loss potion.

Mr. Rabid gives her vial. Cuckoo
walks away, her heels clicking.

MR. RABID

So you want to be the court dancer eh, we’ll see about that. You are not fit to be a street dancer. Just let me become the king then I will make you dance to my tune. You”ll forget your steps, Madame. Ribbid, ribbid.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 6.

PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/MELODY/ALL THE COURTIERS/CUCKOO/GURU-GODMAN/PENGUIN/MRS. BROWN/DR.CHARLIE

MELODY
(singing sadly as she twirls
slowly)

SONG

The hills are alive with the sound of music (From the film”Sound of Music”)

KITE-KING

Bravo, Bravo. I am pleased, very pleased. (to Cuckoo) I hope you are looking after her? She should not want for anything.

He takes out a string of pearls from his neck and extends his hand/wing to Melody.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)

This is for you.

Melody accepts the necklace but from her demeanor we can see that she is not happy.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)

It seems to me you are not very happy. Why? Is anything the matter?

MELODY

You have given me everything but..

KITE-KING

But?

Melody is silent.

KITE-KING

Tell me what is that I cannot give you? (a little sternly), Come on, out with it?

MELODY
(softly)

I want to breathe in the open air. Can I go back to the jungle?

KITE-KING

There is only one thing you cannot get and you have asked for it- Freedom. Besides this, you can have anything you want.

MELODY

I don’t want anything else. I just want to fly in the open skies, please let me go.

KITE-KING
(more sternly)

That is not possible. You can go now.

Melody walks away slowly, downcast.

KITE-KING
(to Cuckoo)

Go and explain to her, entertain her. Give her whatever she wants so that she no longer wants to leave from here.

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Yes , your highness.

Cuckoo goes away. Kite-King is lost in thought when Guru-Godman, who is standing next to him speaks.

GURU GODMAN

With your permission Sire, can I say something?

KITE-KING

Yes, yes, go on.

GURU GODMAN

It is my observation,your highness, that this old Cuckoo will be unable to take care of the little cuckoo. On the contrary it is very likely that she will only trouble her. My suggestion is we appoint someone else to take care of her.

KITE-KING

Wonderful,you have great manipulative skills. I am glad I included you in my council of ministers just after the contest.

GURU GODMAN
(bowing low)

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

KITE-KING

So, in your wise opinion who would be most suitable to look after Melody?

GURU GODMAN

One name does comes to my mind but I am not sure if he will agree.

KITE-KING

Who?

GURU GODMAN

His name is Senior Julio. He lives in the same jungle to which Melody belongs.

KITE-KING

But, a man?

GURU GODMAN
By God’s grace he is blind.

KITE-KING
(laughing)

What a joke! A blind man to keep an eye on Melody. But really your manipulative skills are worthy of praise.

GURU GODMAN

So, should I send him a message Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes, of course!
(laughs)

Ah, the crafty Cuckoo will tie herself up in knots.
Simply great, Guru-Godman, I am pleased.

GURU GODMAN

I have another request, Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes, of course. Go on.

GURU GODMAN

I have a friend, Mr. Rabid, who is very wealthy. He has embarked on a world tour. He would like to enjoy the sights and sounds of our country. Please grant him a visa.

KITE-KING

Why not, why not. If he is your friend he must be of some consequence. I will give orders for his visa. Do bring him to the court sometime.

GURU GODMAN

To be sure, your highness. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Pays his respects by bowing very low.

KITE-KING
(yawns loudly, bored of Guru-
Godman’s courtesies)

All right, all right,now think of something new to entertain us. The contest was a complete washout. Except for Melody’s all the items were absolute rubbish

PENGUIN
(who is standing close by)

May I make a suggestion sire?

KITE-KING

Mr. Penguin, you are so cold, what suggestion could you possibly give? Anyway, go on.

PENGUIN

I think we should have a contest between Cuckoo and Melody.
The loser will have to become the other’s maid-servant.

KITE-KING
(laughs)

Great, simply great! What an idea. Your mind is a devil’s workshop and its working overtime.
(To Guru-Godman)

Make arrangements and invite all those who had come before.

GURU GODMAN
Yes, your sire.

Kite-king rises, stretches and
yawns loudly.

KITE-KING

All right then, the court is adjourned. We’ll go and rest now.

Kite-king walks away. As he is going he is scratching his beard,yawning, rubbing his eyes. All the courtiers heave a sigh of relief. Suddenly, Kite-king comes back. Everyone is alert again.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

Somebody tell Cuckoo to bring a glass of milk to my room.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your highness.

Kite-king leaves. The other courtiers follow. Only the Penguin waddles behind.

GURU GODMAN
(to Penguin)

Your idea was excellent. Will you come to my house tonight.
Mr. Rabid is coming too.

PENGUIN

If you give me dinner I will come. I am fond of fish.
GURU GODMAN
Me too. I have arranged for some flies for Mr. Rabid. He is an expert in catching flies.

PENGUIN

Gross. Then it will be impossible to suffer him.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, but in politics one has to make friends with all kinds of people. And he can be useful, you know.

PENGUIN

All right then I’ll suffer him too. I’ll even swallow a few flies for his sake.

GURU GODMAN

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

They leave. We hear Penguin’s

voice back-stage.

PENGUIN (O.S.)

Your name is Guru but you speak English very well. Where did you get your training?

GURU GODMAN (O.S.)

We have been at it since my grandfather’s time Now it flows in my blood.

Melody walks in slowly. She sings the same song she had sung in court, “The hills are alive with the sound of music,” Cuckoo follows, there is a glass of milk in her hand. Melody stands behind some gold bars, she looks sad.

CUCKOO

What do you want for?

MELODY

I want my Mom.

CUCKOO

Didn’t you recognise me. I Am your real mom. Many years ago I had left you in Caw-Gee’s nest. Come on, Give me a hug.

MELODY
(moving back)

No, never. You Are not my mom, Caw-gee is my mom.

CUCKOO

I gave birth to you, Melody.

MELODY

So what, you gave birth to me and left me. Caw-gee gave me life.

CUCKOO

Your two are not the same. Look at me. My color, my looks, my qualities are all like yours. I can give you everything. Riches, wealth, name, fame.

MELODY

Riches, wealth, name, fame – I can give you these, not you. Today I have all this so you are with me. I don’t want any of this.

CUCKOO

Then, what do you want, child?

MELODY

I want Caw-gee’s love.
(screams)
I want Caw-Gee’s love.

Melody falls down on the bed covered with a velvet bed spread and weeps. Cuckoo takes out the vial which was given to her by Mr. Rabid.

CUCKOO (V.O.)

I think I should give this memory loss potion to her. When she will forget her old life she’ll forget Caw-gee too. Then I can control her totally.

She pours the potion in the glass of milk and then comes to Melody and strokes her with loving hands.

CUCKOO

Melody, my child. Please get up and drink this milk, it will make you feel much better. I will personally talk to Kite-king today and ask him to send you back to your mother.

MELODY
(with tears in her eyes and
choked throat)

Promise?

CUCKOO

Yes, yes, my child. I am your mother, not your enemy.
Come drink this.

Melody drinks the milk laced with the potion.

MELODY
(putting her arms around
Cuckoo’s neck)

Mom, you are so wonderful.

She loses her grip and faints.

CUCKOO
(gets up and claps)

Hello, is anyone around?

Mrs. Brown comes running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Missus…..I mean Yes Madame.

CUCKOO

Look at her, what has happened to her. Go and call the doctor right away and tell Guru-Godman to inform his highness that Melody has fainted.(Mrs. Brown is staring at her with a deer caught in the headlights expression) Oh for God’s sake, what are you staring at me bug-eyed. Go on, hurry up.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, should I call the doctor first or go and inform Guru-Godman.

CUCKOO

Oh Lordy, Lordy, are you a complete nincompoop? Go and tell Guru-Godman first. Only when he sees her condition will matters proceed further.

MRS. BROWN
(innocently)

What matters Missus…I mean Madame?

CUCKOO

Just this that his star singer is no longer in a state to entertain his highness. He’ll have no choice but to come to me. And he thought he could take away my golden cage.

There is a sound of someone clearing his throat. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown jump in fright.

GURU GODMAN

I have seen everything and I have heard everything too.

Cuckoo is flustered.

CUCKOO

Sir, I was just saying, I mean….

GURU GODMAN

I know perfectly well what you mean. I have never seen anyone as mean as you. And now for your selfish interests your tried to do away with this poor wee creature. You will be punished for this, for sure.

CUCKOO

All right, go and tell. I, too, will tell his highness that I merely gave Melody the potion which your friend Mr. Rabid had given me to give him.

GURU GODMAN
(sighing deeply)

You are a very crooked woman. And how did you come to know that Mr. Rabid is my friend?

CUCKOO

Not only I, but everyone knows he is your friend. You asked for his visa in front of everyone. What do you think, are you the only one who has spies?

GURU GODMAN

All right, all right, Mata Hari. This round is yours. But what do we do with her (looks at Melody) And I have called for Senor Julio to take care of her.

CUCKOO

According to my sources Senor Julio is blind, so he can while his time away in some corner. And as for her, she has lost her memory,not her singing abilities, so now she will sing and dance to our tune.

All this while Mrs. Brown has been stepping back slowly and now she quickly takes a step back and disappears from the scene.

CUCKOO
(looking around)

Oh, where did Mrs. Brown vanish. These folks are a bunch of lazy good for nothings. One’s attention is diverted for just a second and off they go. It’s just as well or we would have to get rid of her as well.

GURU GODMAN

We’ll have to show this one to the doctor just so that his highness does not suspect any foul play.

CUCKOO
(screaming)

Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Brown, where the dickens are you?

Mrs. Brown rushes in, panting.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, Missus…I mean, Madame.

CUCKOO

Go and call Dr. Charlie and be quick.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, yes Missus…I mean Madame, madame.

Mrs. Brown leaves. Cuckoo picks up the glass and holds it high and says looking at it.

CUCKOO

I hope she loses only her memory with this potion. There will be no other ill effects.

GURU GODMAN

That only Dr. Charlie can tell us.

Dr. Charlie comes followed by Mrs.
Brown.

DR.CHARLIE

Oh dear, oh dear, what happened? Dr. Charlie at your service.

GURU GODMAN

Will you (pointing to Melody) look at her please. We don’t know what happened. She just fainted suddenly.

Dr. Charlie takes out a large magnifying glass and inspects Melody.

DR.CHARLIE

The patient’s condition is extremely serious. Her body has bloated up hugely.

CUCKOO
(sarcastically)

Maybe it is because you are looking at her through a magnifying glass.

Dr. Charlie takes out a stethoscope and puts the two ends into Melody’s ears and listens into one with his ear.

DR.CHARLIE

I can hear some strange sounds. The patient’s mental state is highly disturbed.

GURU GODMAN

I think you need to get your brains examined as soon as possible.

CUCKOO
(voice dripping with sarcasm)

What can anyone do about the state of affairs in this country. Fools rush in here and angels fear to tread. Everything is available at wholesale prices and this doctor too is part of the deal.

DR.CHARLIE
(angrily)
Maybe you are not aware that I hold an M.B.B.S. Degree.

CUCKOO

And I know very well what that means, My Boys,Babies and Spouses need my services and for that I need to stick it to you. Just like you your degrees too are available at wholesale rates.

GURU GODMAN

Anyway, now just do what other folks do. Just splash some water on her face.

He looks towards Mrs. Brown who is staring open-mouthed. She is flustered and runs off and comes back with a bowl of water. Dr. Charlie splashes Melody’s face with water. Melody opens her eyes and looks around wide-eyed and distressed. Then she tries to speak.

MELODY
Ko…….

CUCKOO

Melody! What happened, tell me?

Melody stares at her wide-eyed,
trying in vain to speak.

MRS. BROWN

Lordloveaduck! The cat has got the wee mite’s tongue.

CUCKOO

What are you saying? Can’t you speak plain English?
Ignoramus,hilly billy critter.

GURU GODMAN

Well, she speaks the truth in her rustic way. This one’s voice has gone and,most probably, she can’t recognise anyone too.

CUCKOO

Drat it!
(then a little happily)

Well, now at least they will have to reinstate me as the court singer.

Kite-king enters.

KITE-KING

Wrong! That is impossible. You are no longer fit for this post. We now seek fresh blood which is young,beautiful and can entertain us. Dry,old bones will not do.

(To Guru-Godman)

Send Peace-meal pigeon with the message that we are going to hold another contest. This time, besides untold wealth the winner will also get dearness allowance, transport, medical and an expense account.

CUCKOO
(drawing in her breath)

Oh! This prize will tempt anyone.

KITE-KING

Yes,and I think you should start thinking about packing your bags and moving on. And yes, along with you,

(pointing to Melody)

Take her along too. She is of no use now.

CUCKOO

What will I do with her? Call her mom. She’ll take her away.

GURU GODMAN

She is absolutely right. And there is no need for that thrush, Senor Julio too. I will tell him not to come.

KITE-KING

It he wants to pay his way and come, he can come. I have heard he too is fond of singing and dancing. He used to be a very famous singer at one time. Then he went blind due to an accident. And ever since then he stopped performing in public. Now he lives in a cottage in the jungle.

CUCKOO

Yes, I remember. Many years ago, I mean not so very long ago, just about fifteen, no, ten, no…

GURU GODMAN

There is no need to stress your bird brain. I know for a fact that the thrush has not performed in public for the last twenty five years. Go on now.

CUCKOO
(grimacing)

Uh, oh! Anyway, both of us had performed together once before the Queen of England. Suddenly the electricity went off. The thrush was holding a mike. When the lights came on again suddenly there was a loud bang and smoke all over.

Senor Julio shouted and fainted right there. He lost his eyes in that accident.

KITE-KING
(yawning)

All right, all right, there is no need for your hundred year old tales. Take this ( looking towards Melody) one away and (looking towards Dr. Charlie) you help her too. If You can’t cure a body at least you can help lift it.

Mrs. Brown steps forward too. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown lift Melody from the shoulders and Dr. Charlie lifts her feet. They all leave the stage.

GURU GODMAN

Sire, till you get someone to replace the Cuckoo don’t throw her out.

KITE-KING

You are so right. We do need someone to entertain us.
We’ll just have to make do with her.

(sighing deeply)

It’s just my bad luck.

GURU GODMAN
(smiling)

Don’t lose heart, your highness. Just throw a few coins and watch the fun. Not one but thousands will come running. Their breed is such. There are just a few who care about the arts, and one of those was Melody, but alas, that crafty Cuckoo has cast her evil eye on her.

KITE-KING

Well, her time is up in any case. You just go ahead and announce the contest.

GURU GODMAN
(bowing low)

Yes, your highness. Your slightest whim is my command. KITE-KING

I like your style. That is why I chose to make a high school failed like you my minister over many talented candidates. Come on, it’s late. (Yawns) I am off to sleep.

Goes away.

GURU GODMAN
(narrowing his eyes)

Oh, you love to sleep, don’t you.
One day I’ll put you to sleep permanently that you won’t
get up to see the morning sun. I am just a high school drop out but I will make sure you’ll drop dead soon.

FADE OUT.

ACT 3

Scene 1

PLACE: A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE /TIME: DAY
CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES OF JUNGLE-LAND AND SENOR JULIO.
(All the animals from Jungle-land are busy playing. The two rabbits, Laurel and Hardy,are wrestling with each other, the
crows are playing baseball.
The deer, parrot and
butterflies are also playing.
Banana-Drama, the monkey is
giving the commentary. The
game can be imaginary.)

BANANA-DRAMA

Do-ray has thrown the ball and Me-far has hit it, the ball is
flying….
(We can hear the plodding sound
of Gee-Peck’s boots coming
towards them )

Across the boundary

(Gee-peck catches the ball)

Straight into Gee-Peck’s hands.

GEE-PECK

Saved by a wing and a prayer.

BANANA-DRAMA

Can we call this a run out

ALL THE CROWS
(shouting)

Out, out!

BANANA-DRAMA

This is not a run out because Gee-Peck is not a member of the team.

Gee-peck throws the ball which lands on Mr. Rabid who gets up with a start.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Is the game over or not? Come on my students! Its time for music practise. You will surely win the contest this time.
That is why I have hopped from such a long way to help you.
Come on now, take out your music instruments.

(The crows take out their music
instruments. The other animals
take out the devices like ear
plugs,cotton wool etc. to shut
out the sound. There is a
sound of someone singing. It
is Senor Julio, the blind
singer, who is coming towards
them tap-tapping with his
cane. He is wearing dark
glasses. He bumps into Gee-peck.)

GEE-PECK

Brother,careful! Can’t you see?

SENOR JULIO

No.

GEE-PECK

Oh! I am sorry! Dark glasses are in fashion so I did not realize and….

MR. RABID

Sure! you couldn’t see the cane too ?

GEE-PECK
(giving him a hard stare)

You love to fan the fire, don’t you?

(to Senor Julio)

I thought, you use the stick to protect yourself from the many deadly creatures hiding in the grass like snakes,scorpions and some poisonous toads.

Mr. Rabid begins to puff up in anger. Caw-gee tries to save the situation by quickly intervening and addressing Senor Julio.

CAW-GEE

What do you want?

SENOR JULIO

Does Melody live here?

CAW-GEE

She used to live here but ever since she won the contest she has become the chief entertainer in Kite-King’s court. Now she lives there. But, how do you know her?

SENOR JULIO

She was my pupil.

BANANA-DRAMA

Gee, that Melody sure turned out to be a dark horse. I used to wonder, how did she become such a hit singer?

MR. RABID

So,you used to give her tuitions. Now I know why there was no improvement in her singing. This system of extra tuition has completely spoilt our system of education….tuition is
not good.

SENOR JULIO

I want to meet Melody. Somehow, I have this feeling in my bones that Melody is not happy.

FLOW-JO
(to Peter parrot)

Blind folks have a stronger sixth sense than us.

CAW-GEE

To meet Melody you will have to go very far from this jungle.
To the city.

SENOR JULIO

Oh!

CAW-GEE

We are all going to leave soon. The Kite-king is holding another contest.

GEE-PECK

You can come too.

MR. RABID
(puffing up with importance)

But he doesn’t have a visa. My friend Guru-Godman arranged one for me but for him….

GEE-PECK.
Yes, indeed, this is a serious matter.

MR. RABID

And, contestants are forbidden from getting their teacher or mentor with them.

(Everyone is quiet, they have their thinking caps on)

BANANA-DRAMA
(jumping with joy)

An idea!
(All the creature look at him
with anticipation)

If he can’t go as a teacher or mentor he can go as a contestant, for sure.

(All the animals, except Mr.
Rabid, jump around in
excitement)

GEE-PECK

Banana-Drama! You are a genius.

CAW-GEE
(laughs)

It seems to me that you do need brains even to imitate. I used to think you are all style and no substance but it seems to me you do pack a punch.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

Hey, Caw-gee, haven’t you heard that song.
(she sings)

SONG
Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and sings like a bee.
Muhammad, the black superman,
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you
can. (All the creatures sing and dance with joy. Gee-Peck does the tap dance)
Muhammad, Muhammad Ali

He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee Muhammad the black superman

Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can

(Banana-drama’s walkman falls on the stage as the creatures move out of the stage singing and dancing as they go. Only
Mr. Rabid is left behind. He
takes out his cellphone and
presses a button.)

MR. RABID
(speaking on the phone)

Hello. Who is that? Oh Guru-Godman. I am your dear friend Mr. Rabid speaking. Greetings from me to you! I just wanted to inform you that Melody’s teacher is also coming to your kingdom but as contestant.
(he listens for sometime)

What!

(The mobile falls from his
hand, he picks it up hastily
and holds it to his ear)

Melody has lost her memory and her voice too. Ribbid, ribbid.I Had given the medicine for Kite-king then what, oh, this is the crafty cuckoo’s doing indeed. All right then, I will make some other arrangements, all right, all right then. My heartfelt good wishes to you.

(he switches off the phone and
hops off the stage. Banana –
drama comes from the other
side to pick up the walkman he
had dropped. The monkey picks up the walkman.)

BANANA-DRAMA
(thinking)

Oh so that is the way the cookie crumbles. I will consult Gee-peck, Peter,and Flow-Jo and decide what is do be done now!

SCENE 2.
PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT. TIME: NIGHT.

CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES WHO WERE PRESENT AT THE PREVIOUS CONTEST. THIS TIME MR. RABID IS NOT WEARING A VEIL.

The kite-king is seated on his throne.

Guru Godman comes on stage.

GURU GODMAN

All of you are very welcome. I am sure you must wondering that we just held a contest, what was the hurry for another one. The reason for this is the Kite-king’s generosity and soft heart. He has kept the contest with this logic in mind that winning and losing are only two sides of the same coin so why should only one person become the winner. Why don’t we give a prize to each contestant according to his talent as one’s meat is another’s poison. You must be thinking what kind of weird logic is this so without further ado let me invite on stage the four talented guys from the jungle, the Caw-Doors Band.
(The audience claps. Mr. Rabid
who is standing on the edge of
the propels the four crows
forward.)

MR. RABID

This is your chance, lady luck is about to smile on you. (The four crows come on stage
and arrange their instruments)

(All the animals take out the
various devices to close their
ears such as ear plugs, cotton
wool etc and plug their ears.
Peter parrot is standing in front of a pillar.)

SONG
Lots of chocolates for me to eat, lots of chocolates for me to eat,                           Lots of chocolates for me to eat,
Lots of chocolates for me to eat.

(The four crows go on and on
and on repeating the same
line refusing to stop. After
some time Peter parrot is
beating his head on the pillar
keeping time with the song. )

KITE-KING

Enough! stop! What kind of song is this?

DO-RAY

This is a rap song, sire.

KITE-KING

Rap, to be sure. Anyone who sings this song should be rapped hard on the knuckles and made to wrap his singing career. Henceforth, this song should be given to the farmers.

(Everyone looks at him,
surprised)

There is no better song than this to drive away the birds from the fields. We are pleased with your service to us. You will be henceforth known as , what did you say was the name of this song?

ME-FAR

Rap song.

KITE-KING

You will be known as rap stars

(The four crows jump and give
each other high fives. The animals clap.)

KITE-KING

Anyone else?

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your sire. There is a new contestant. I mean an old contestant but now in a new avatar who would like to present an item for your listening pleasure.

KITE-KING

To be sure. Old is gold.

CUCKOO
(addressing the audience)

It seems he has understood finally. Anyway, no problem, he will live and learn.

(Senor Julio comes on stage and
sings)

SONG

CHIM CHIMINEYCHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIM CHER-EE!

A SWEEP IS AS LUCKY

AS LUCKY CAN BE

CHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIM CHER-OO!

GOOD LUCK WILL RUB OFF WHEN

I SHAKE ‘ANDS WITH YOU

OR BLOW ME A KISS

AND THAT’S LUCKY TOO

(The Kite-king and the audience
are entranced, they all give
him a standing ovation)

KITE-KING

Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful. You are an extraordinary talent but alas! In our kingdom we have place only for a female entertainer I mean a lady singer or dancer
(looks at Guru Godman)

Am I right Guru-Godman?

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your sire. In any case we men hardly have time from our brain-related business. These kind of shenanigans only suit the women folk.

CUCKOO
(who is sitting next to Flow-Jo
leans towards her and says)

Just listen to these men folk,one can learn a trick or two about how to eat your cake and have it too. They will send the women to the front to face the fire from the enemy and when it suits them they will not miss a trick to use them for their burning desires, if you get my drift. Dirty, rotten scoundrels.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

It seems to me you will soon become a member of the women’s liberation movement.

CUCKOO

No way! I am against such nonsense. Just cropping your hair short like men or wearing trousers cannot free you. For me only money is freedom.

FLOW-JO

But for money you are dancing to their tune. Then what kind of freedom are you talking about?

(We see that a just a few
moments after this
conversation began Kite-King
is glaring at them, then the
others too are looking at
them. When The two of them
feel the silence they look
around flustered.)

KITE-KING

I am giving such an important speech and the two of you are yakking away?

(The two of them stand up)

CUCKOO

Forgive us Sire. We were just telling each other how young and handsome you look tonight.

KITE-KING
(cooling down)

Thank you! But this is not the time for small talk when important matters of the state are being discussed.

GURU GODMAN

Sire, please don’t trouble yourself. These women are never going to change. What else can they think of besides lipstick, make up, clothes and jewels.

MR. RABID
(standing up)

May I have your permission to say a few words. Sire.

KITE-KING

And who may you be?

GURU GODMAN
He is my friend, Mr. Rabid.

KITE-KING

Oh I see, the visa fellow. Go on, have your say.

MR. RABID
(pointing to Cuckoo)

Ask her where has she hidden Melody?

(Caw-gee and the creatures from
the jungle are startled. Kite-
king and Guru Godman are
flabbergasted. Cuckoo opens
her beak to say something,
then closes it.)

GURU GODMAN

Yes, yes, she has hidden Melody some place because she is jealous of her.

(The Kite-King looks at Guru
God man and realizes what the other is trying to say)

KITE-KING
(to Cuckoo)
At once, present Melody in court or you will be the worse for it.

CAW-GEE
(screams)

My child, my wee one!

(addressing Cuckoo)

You have hidden my daughter some place, out with it or I will wring or neck, I was thinking that now there would be an item by Melody, she will coming soon but…

MR. RABID

Madam, you have no idea how crafty is this cuckoo. It was her plan to get rid of Melody so that she could take her place as the court singer but her plans were not successful. Melody is still alive, only she has lost her voice and her memory.

CAW-GEE
(screams)

My baby!

MR. RABID
And her plan was also to get rid of the Kite-king. She had confided in me about her nefarious plans.

CUCKOO
(screams)

Lies! lies! all lies ! it was he …..

(shuts her beak)

GURU GODMAN
(smiling evilly)

Go on, do go on. But remember this you better back you words with proof or else….

KITE-KING
(furious)
What? She dares?
(Clapping his wings/hands)

Guards! Guards!

(Peace-meal, the pigeon and Mr. Brown run in, Mr. Brown is a little unsteady on his feet)

KITE-KING
(to Peace-meal)

You? Where are the other guards?

PEACE-MEAL
Sire, they have gone to pour, I mean, protect the oil which is in troubled waters so that the kingdom can keep running smoothly on well oiled wheels.

KITE-KING

Where have they gone?

PEACE-MEAL
(pointing to Mr. Rabid)

Close to his well there is another well. The water of that well has certain herbs which are famous for their oil. It is said that it keeps the mind fresh and the body strong and healthy.

KITE-KING
( pointing to Mr. Brown)

And what about him? Why can’t he stand straight?

PEACE-MEAL

Sire, he is Mr. Hadalot, I mean Sir Lancelot Brown. This morning he drank a little too much, I mean tea which does not suit him at all and that is why he is in this condition.

(Mr. Brown can’t keep his
balance and falls down. Mrs
Brown screams and runs to him with her five children)

MRS. BROWN

My husband!

(She cries hysterically and the
children scream daddy, daddy)

KITE-KING
(shouts)
Stop this infernal racket. Where is Dr. Charlie?

(Dr. Charlie runs out from the
crowd)

What kind of a doctor are you. Don’t you have sense enough to come to a patient at once.

DR.CHARLIE

I had come to see the show so I didn’t bring my medical bag.

GURU GODMAN

No matter what the crisis, he is always ready with his excuses.

KITE-KING

Examine the patient please.

(Dr. Charlie takes out his
magnifying glass and examines
Mr. Brown. The Cuckoo takes
this opportunity to sidle out)

Where did you get your degree?

MR.BROWN

From the Lee Strasberg School of Acting. I have played a doctor in many movies and television shows.

KITE-KING

And, if I am not mistaken, this costume you are wearing is from the costume department of General Hospital.

DR.CHARLIE

How did you guess?

GURU GODMAN

We are deeply grateful to the good Lord that his royal high highness did on fall sick or else….

DR.CHARLIE
(miffed)

Maybe you are not aware of the fact that I have cured many fatal diseases in many films. In ‘Love Story” Ali Mcgraw had cancer and so did Debra Winger in “Terms of Endearment” and had it not been for me they

GURU GODMAN

But didn’t they both die in the film?

DR.CHARLIE

That was the director’s fault. I had cured them completely. These director’s are famous for killing people in films so that it runs.

(By this time Cuckoo has left the stage)

KITE-KING

Will you both stop this balderdash. (addressing Dr. Charlie)

Why don’t you follow your regular line of treatment and sprinkle some water on his face.

(The alien comes forward and
gives him a weirdly shaped
blue bottle. Dr. Charlie pours
out some liquid on his palm
and sprinkles Mr. Brown’s
face. Mr. Brown gets up instantly.)

MRS. BROWN

My husband!

BROWN’S FIVE CHILDREN

Daddy! Daddy!

MR.BROWN
A current of energy and strength is running through my body.
I feel as if I can tackle anyone.

BANANA-DRAMA
(jumps and stands before him)

In that case,

(he points to Mr. Rabid)

Can you push him? After all you are tiny and he is big and fat.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

(Mr. Brown goes to Mr. Rabid.
He stands before him and blows
on him. Mr. Rabid stumbles
backwards and falls down with
a resounding thump. All the
animals laugh uproariously.)

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

KITE-KING
(laughing)

Very good, very good. Now do what you had been called for in the first place. Take the crafty cuckoo….

(looks around)

Where is she? Find her.

(Everyone disperses)

MR. RABID
(whispering to Caw-Gee)

I am sure she is with Melody. Why don’t you ask Senor Julio to sing her favorite song. You never know she may follow his voice and come here or give some clue to her whereabouts.

CAW-GEE
Not a bad idea at all.

(She goes to Senor Julio and
says)

Senor Julio, why don’t you sing Melody’s favorite song.
Melody may hear it and come to us.

SENOR JULIO

All right
(He holds the mike and sings)

SONG
Edelweiss, edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever.

(Everyone is entranced by his
song. After some time we can
hear Melody’s voice. She is
singing in tandem with Senor
Julio. Singing she comes on
stage, followed by the Cuckoo.
Melody completes the song with
Senor Julio. She Has tears in
her eyes,her lips are
quivering, her voice is
quavering.)

CAW-GEE
(rushes to Melody)

Babyeee….
(Melody embraces her and cries)

My child, what happened to you?

(Cuckoo looks at
her frightened)

MELODY

There is nothing to worry about mom. I went dizzy in the bathroom and fell down and hit my head on floor and fainted.

GEE-PECK
(to Peter)
The same old story when you want to save someone.

MELODY
(gesturing towards Cuckoo)

Had it not been for Madame Cuckoo I would not be alive today, Mom.

CAW-GEE
No, no, banish the very thought, my child. You are safe and sound, that is enough for me.

(to Cuckoo)

I am very, very grateful to you.

(Tears are streaming down
Cuckoo’s cheeks )

CUCKOO

Please forgive me Melody, I never wanted to kill you. Greed had made me blind. I though that if you lost your memory then you would

(gesturing to Caw-Gee) )

forget her and accept me as your mom. But How was I to know that you would lose your voice as well.

(angrily)

All this is because of

(pointing to Mr. Rabid)

This fat frog and

(points to Guru Godman)

This hypocritical bird. Both of them had plotted to kill our gracious king. But how could I be so disloyal?

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Peter)

She may be a wily bird but she is not so bad at heart.

FLOW-JO

Seems to me her tears have washed away the ill will in her heart.

CUCKOO

(to Kite-King)

Sire, this entire plot was the handiwork of your loyal minister Guru Godman and his dearest friend, Mr. Rabid.

GURU GODMAN

This Cuckoo is a liar, its her last desperate attempt to save herself.

PENGUIN

No, she speaks the truth. I am a witness to the fact that these two tried to lure me to be a part of their plan but were unsuccessful, naturally.

BANANA-DRAMA

Ah! A new twist in the tale.

KITE-KING
(angrily)

So,this is what has been happening!
(gestures to Peace-meal and Mr.Brown)

Capture these two terrorists.

(Mr. Rabid and Guru Godman try
to escape but all the animal
surround them and Mr. Brown
blows on the two and pushes
them towards Kite-king till
they fall at is feet. After
this whenever they try to
escape Mr. Brown prevents them
by blowing on them and brining
them back to their original
position.)

KITE-KING
(looking towards Banana-Drama)

Thank you. If you had not called me and warned me about these two traitors I would have been taken in by their arguements.
(Mr. Rabid glares at Banana
Drama)

BANANA-DRAMA
(bowing low)

There is no need to thank me. After all humans, I mean animals, must help other animals, I mean animals must help you. I am just happy that

(looking at Mr. Rabid)

We are free from this tuneless toad.

KITE-KING

Tell me, how can I reward you?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, it was only my sense of duty which made me do what I did but if you really want to reward me please give permission to Melody go back to her home.

KITE-KING

You have made a difficult request. If she goes back who will entertain me?

CUCKOO
(softly)

I am here, your highness.

(Kite-King glances at her
fleetingly. Suddenly Melody
speaks)

MELODY

Mom.

(she faints)

KITE-KING

Oh, she has fainted again. Where is Dr. Charlie?

(Dr. Charlie comes near Melody and examines her with his magnifying glass.)

DR.CHARLIE

She is being stifled in this atmosphere. She has to leave this place or she won’t survive.

KITE-KING

Where to?

DR.CHARLIE

In the open air where she can breathe, far from here, in the jungle.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(shouting)

Please, please

CAW-GEE

Your highness, please save my daughter’s life, let her go.

(The Kite-King thinks, there is
pin drop silence in the
court.)

KITE-KING

All right.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(joyfully)

Yaaaaaaay!

KITE-KING
(raising his hand/wing)

There is one condition!

(all the animal are quiet)

All of you will come with Cuckoo and Senor Julio to meet me once a year.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Yaaaaay! Thank you.

ALIEN

Zee zoo zap. Zim zim za zoo.

GEE-PECK

What is he saying?

(The alien comes near Senor
Julio, the blind thrush, takes
out his dark glasses.

From his flask he takes out
some liquid and splashes it on
his eyes. Senor Julio, whose
eyes were closed opens them. )

SENOR JULIO

I can see.
(he looks at Cuckoo)
Cuckoo.

CUCKOO

Please forgive me. I hurt your feelings. When you went blind I left you and came away.

SENOR JULIO
(whispering)

When you went away you were….

CUCKOO

Yes, my husband, Melody is your daughter.

(Everyone is shocked. Melody
moves slowly towards Senor
Julio)

BANANA-DRAMA

Another twist in the tale.

FLOW-JO

How romantic!

GEE-PECK

What a beautiful twist.
(Both of them look into each
other’s eyes)

BANANA-DRAMA

Oh, for Pete’s sake, why don’t you get over your old as hills love story and get married.

PETER

You won’t understand. The bitter-sweet feeling of being apart is more satisfying then getting hitched.

MELODY

(goes towards Senor Julio)

Dad!

(Senor Julio embraces Melody.
Everyone claps.)

KITE-KING

All right then! Senor Julio and Cuckoo are hereby appointed as the chief singer and dancer of our court and

(looking towards Melody )

Where would you like to stay?

MELODY

Your highness, I would like to be with Caw-gee. (she goes towards Caw-Gee and embraces her)

She took a stranger into her home and heart, gave her love and made her own. I owe to her to love her in return.

KITE-KING

As you wish.

(looks towards Mr. Brown)

Henceforth you are my Chief Minister but keep in mind,get into the habit of drinking tea. All other stuff is off limits for you.

MRS. BROWN
My husband!

CUCKOO

She is he real drama-queen, not me. Oh well, now that she is the minister’s wife I will have to find me another one.

SENOR JULIO
(lovingly)

I am there to do all your work.

CUCKOO
(dramatically)

My husband!
(They embrace. Senor Julio
sings, followed by Cuckoo,
then Melody. The animals sing
in chorus.)

SONG
(We are the World by Michael
Jackson)

There comes a time

When we head a certain call

When the world must come together as one

There are people dying

And it’s time to lend a hand to life

The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on

Pretending day by day

That someone, somewhere will soon make a change

We are all a part of

God’s great big family

And the truth, you know love is all we need

[Chorus]

We are the world

We are the children

We are the ones who make a brighter day

So let’s start giving

There’s a choice we’re making

We’re saving our own lives

It’s true we’ll make a better day

Just you and me.

THE END.

PUBLISHING DETAILS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK COVER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authors ‘ Introduction

TRANSLATION

COL. B. C. SHUKLA’S daughter, SHIPRA SHUKLA spent her childhood and youth as a typical , ‘army kid ‘ traveling to the many and varied regions that make India. She completed her masters in International Relations fromThe Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. After her marriage , encouraged by her husband, MR. GIRISH SHUKLA ,  she completed the producers course from the Film and Television Insitute of India, Pune and has been active in the varied media related fields like theatre, television , publishing as a writer, photographer director and producer . She writes in two languages, Hindi and English.

Kissa Koyal ka ( The Story of the Cuckoo ) is the first in the series called Kaise Kaise kisse ( Stories to make you wonder ) *

Shipra Shukla has two daughters and she lives with her family in Mumbai.

*This is a literal translation . In actual fact ‘Kissa Koyal Ka’ is The Bird’s Tale which is one of the parts of the series called Melody which is a part of The Collected Tails of Jungle Land . There are seven such series with fourteen books in each ( seven in English and seven in Hindi ) which make up the Collected Tails of Jungle Land

News about the forthcoming play .

 

Posters

Opening day excitement !

Melody on stage .

Four crows and their tutor !

The cast !

Taking a bow with the cast

The playwright , SHIPRA SHUKLA , with her father COL. B. C. Shukla ( on her left )o, the director , NADIRA ZAHEER BABBAR, ( on the right ) and the authors’ ,daughter PALLAVI SHUKLA ( in the background )

REVIEWS OF THE PLAY .