Dec 10, 2023
Dec 10, 2023
Plot: A dying old man suffering from Alzheimer, has visions of his dead first wife and two dead sons. Presently he lives with his second wife and sons from second marriage.
Dheeraj : the old man
Seema : the old man’s dead first wife
Shashank : the old man’s elder son (dead)
Vikram : the old man’s second son(dead)
(The stage is set as Dheeraj’s bedroom. He is alone, lying on his bed, struggles to pick up the glass tumbler but drops it. Seema enters)
Seema: Thirsty? (picks up the glass, keeps on the table)
You remember! (smiles)…the terrible sound of bombs and aircrafts…you lay there wounded…the bullet had shoved off the flesh from your arm….the army hospital….trying to pick up the glass of water….just slipped off your weak grip…
Dheeraj: and then I saw you….how can I forget? 1971….the year of the war …but for me…of love.
Seema: Love? Yes, I felt so….but it vanished way too soon.
Dheeraj: No, it didn’t. We married, against my mother’s wishes…and our children….wasn’t any of it love?
Seema: Oh, yes! Your overflowing love….and your wandering eye! Distributing love to all those who came your way.
Dheeraj: My faults, my follies…..and here I lie today….can’t recall a thing.
Seema: The pills I took never diluted the abuses you hurled. I slept for hours, on the floor at times, oblivious of what went on in my own home. You made a good show of my depressive state.
Dheeraj: You left the kids…never thought of them…your suicide shattered them….how I managed after that…Oh Lord…taking care of kids alone is a nightmare!
Seema: What an upbringing! And where are they now?
Two of them…gone.
(Seema goes to a dark corner of the room. The light is dimmed. Shashank enters.)
Dheeraj: Is that you, Shashank!
Shashank: Oh you remember me, Captain Sahab?
Dheeraj: Why do you call me Captain Sahab?
Shashank: Because that’s what you always were….Captain Sahab…trying to discipline your kids as a military man. Good for Mohit that he always lived away from you. But for me and Vikram, you were only a military man with a cane.
Dheeraj: But I loved you a lot, dear. Discipline, too, is a must, you see.
Shashank: Loved me? Really? I seriously doubt. And to talk of discipline….
……..you call this discipline?….thrashing a little boy with belt and cane and then hanging him upside down continuing with the beating till the boy fainted!
Maybe that’s what they teach you in wartime. Why couldn’t you let go of the long gone military-time ghost hanging over your head like a Betal? You just served for a short period of time in the Short Service Commission but carried the false pride and the tag of Captain Sahab throughout your life, trying to prove your mettle, not on the borders but inside your own home…. hurting everyone around.
My mother…who loved you like anything…used to wait for you from dawn to dusk…and then one day…she just left…tired of all that waiting.
Dheeraj: And a few days later, you left, too!
Shashank: As if you had nothing to do with it! My mother’s face…how could I forget? And then…
….I had revolted, yelled at the top of my voice…but it all fell on your deaf ears….and then one day….
…you just brought a lady to our house…how could you expect me to give her my mother’s place? And when I couldn’t give in to your ever increasing demands…then the Captain Sahab took over the father’ s senses….
I was a little child and everyone, including our relatives, expected me to understand and adjust to the fast changing situation….why was there nobody to understand my feelings?
Dheeraj: I don’t know if I was right or wrong, but I was heartbroken the day you left.
Shashank: And that’s why you continued your spree and then a few years later….
(Unable to speak anymore, Shashank goes to the dark corner of the room. The light is dimmed. Vikram enters.)
Dheeraj : Finally you’ve come to me, Vikram.
Vikram: Only to take you along.
Dheeraj: And you blame me, too?
Vikram: What for?
Dheeraj: I don’t know. Maybe for not being with you when you needed me the most.
Vikram: Blame? No, I don’t blame anyone…not you especially.
You were never there for me. I never had any expectations from you. How can I blame someone who never held my hand, never wiped my tears, never patted me on my success. I have no grudges. I lived alone and when that loneliness was too much for me to bear, I just quit. Why should anyone blame you?
But today, I won’t go alone. You have lived your life…
Dheeraj (cuts him short): A life….worthless, disgusting, venomous to my own loved ones…(cries)
But…I did sacrifice…
…the day you left….I couldn’t bear anymore….and I ….I stopped dyeing my hair black….
(Vikram steps back, shocked)
Vikram: What a sacrifice!
(The visions disappear, taking Dheeraj along.)
More by : Dr. Giti Tyagi