Ground Zero - A Stage Play - II

Continued from Prevous Page

Scene 3

Al Tantra Cave. OSO, the chief of the group on a raised platform. NITO stands reverently behind. She is alert and ready to attend to his instructions of OSO. MIKO and DOJO sit in front on either side, in formal attendance. After a minute’s meditation or silent prayer, OSO raises his hand and NITO bows her head.

OSO: Good day my friends. I am pleased to share with you my satisfaction on the regional Conclave of Al Tantra. It was a great success. Your duties held you back, but your groundwork made the difference. I am proud of you. Imagine how much I missed you at the Conclave. 

NITO: (Touching the shoulder of DOJO and then of MIKO) I too missed you
DOJO … and MIKO. 

OSO: Emissaries came from far and wide. 

NITO: They were from different social strata, and diverse callings. 

OSO: We had clergy and tribal chiefs. 

NITO: With their long robes and traditional armor. 

OSO: Politicians and bankers … 

NITO: With new slogans and smart calculations. 

OSO: Navigators, emigrants, students - all came. 

NITO: They participated with great fervor. 

OSO: I already see our message working.

NITO: Working like laser beams.

OSO: It is spreading, and spreading fast. 

NITO: Like a virus. 

OSO: We now have networks in sixty countries. (NITO applauds by clapping) Soon we will extend our influence all over the globe. Such a rise is phenomenal. 

NITO: Who would have imagined our expansion a few years ago? 

OSO: It is a kind of jihad, a holy war my friends. It is bound to overtake the world. 

DOJO: What you call jihad, has become only your business, OSO.. 

MIKO: Primarily, your greed. Look at your coffers. 

DOJO: Swelling with all sorts of currencies. 

NITO: It is a matter of rejoicing, DOJO. I am excited. 

MIKO: You befool yourself, NITO. Do you know which animal of the circus you are playing? 

NITO: I’m happy with my role. I have good understanding with OSO. 

OSO: We all have to have good understanding with each other. We do not live in the dark ages. And we are not hounded by allegories. 

NITO: We are not enacting a morality play. 

OSO: We live in a very volatile world. Our rivals and adversaries are highly advanced. Our holy mission needs new technologies. How can we function without money? 

DOJO: But you are spinning money in very dubious ways. 

MIKO: You have no respect for the law of the land. 

DOJO: You recruit death dealers, drug traffickers, and money launderers in our ranks. 

MIKO: You want to establish yourself as a supreme mover and shaker. 

OSO: I‘m not surprised at your sound and fury. Money matters agitate everybody. Cool down and give me ideas about supporting a TV channel, and conducting training camps. NITO, why don’t you bring them something to drink? 

NITO bows and leaves. 

DOJO: You have not told us all about the Conclave. 

OSO: What do you want to know? 

MIKO: Tell us about Adam. He went to deliver an important message in the Conclave. 

OSO: But he didn’t show up at the Conclave. 

MIKO: Because he was assassinated just before the Conclave started. 

DOJO: And his dead body was found near the site of the Conclave. 

Pause. OSO is silent.

OSO: I am shocked and grieved. Adam was a great asset to our mission. 

DOJO: You do not look like shocked or grieved. You wanted to see Adam eliminated. 

OSO: It is not true. Who put this stuff into your head? It must be the work of our enemies. 

NITO brings glasses of elixir. She places the tray before DOJO and MIKO.

NITO: Drink this nectar and relax. OSO has sanctified it for you. 

MIKO: Look at your face, NITO. Your nose suggests that this elixir stinks. 

DOJO: OSO must have diluted it. He goes on doing such things secretly. 

OSO: Doubt has vitiated your mind. You will be normal after drinking this nectar. I also have some very special cookies for you. You can’t renounce these precious gratifications. 

NITO: You are getting used to them. 

DOJO: This is a false consolation. What is the real worth of these goodies? 

DOJO and MIKO kick away the tray.

MIKO: OSO, you offer us nothing. 

OSO: You are mistaken. I want you to realize your potential and fulfill yourselves.

DOJO: No, you devise the destinies of the people. You’ll devise ours too. 

OSO: I can sense the shape of the things to come. You can’t. 

NITO: OSO is unique. You aren’t like OSO.

MIKO: Yes, OSO is eunuch. We aren’t.

DOJO: He’s a barren soul. He can bring forth no fruit. Nobody wants to emulate OSO.

OSO: That doesn’t take away my role from me. 

NITO: We all have our roles. Let’s play them to the best of our abilities. 

DOJO: Our role shouldn’t make this world a more dangerous place to live in. 

OSO: We are just following our calling. We do only what we have to do. We have to take certain risks. 

DOJO: What risks? What are your personal stakes OSO? You have no manhood to lose.

MIKO: And no womanhood to lose either.

NITO: That is the beauty of OSO!

OSO: My real strength is in my being a eunuch. Manhood and womanhood are now getting a lot of beating. Those are becoming irrelevant. Look at me. I can’t be pulled down.

DOJO: What is there in you that can’t be pulled down? Your inside is empty.

NITO: Don’t show OSO his inside. Market it, if you can. And flourish.

MIKO: Flourish like you, NITO? In abject slavery?

DOJO: What do we get by marketing your empty inside, OSO?

MIKO: Doing all that is a hell of a job. 

DOJO: We have to raise your flag and propagate your brand names. 

MIKO: It is disgrace to have an assassin as the leader of a holy mission. 

DOJO: You need to be usurped, OSO. (They get up from their seats) Come on MIKO. The act of overthrowing him from the high pedestal is overdue. Let’s accomplish it, and do away with him. 

They get hold of OSO from his arms, and try to dislodge him from his seat. OSO remains rigid. His body is lifted up and it dangles. .

MIKO: You are a bastard, OSO.

DOJO: Maybe, you are the outcome of incest.

MIKO: You are a crook. 

DOJO: Your mind is corrupt.

OSO: You do not know that you are paying me compliments.

NITO: He likes your ridicule.

OSO: I know your outburst will have some cathartic effect on you. 

DOJO: You are just a piece of garbage.

MIKO: We will throw you into the gutter.

They make an unsuccessful effort to throw OSO down.

OSO: Stop kidding, DOJO. Don’t be foolish, MIKO. Enough is enough. You can’t throw me down like this. You have no power of the passwords. 

NITO: Passwords within passwords.

OSO: I’m not going to reveal them to you anyway. You are on the verge of losing all that you cultivated. Better go back, and resume your postures. 

NITO: Retrieve whatever you can. OSO will forgive you. He is very compassionate.

DOJO: Stop this rubbish about his compassion, NITO. Come on, MIKO. Let’s make a concerted effort to dislodge him.

They make another vigorous effort to throw OSO down but fail.

MIKO: His body magnetically sticks with my hands. He will take me along if he falls. 

DOJO: I also feel the same way. What’s this trick? 

MIKO: Could be a spell or sorcery. 

DOJO: Let us leave him alone for the time being. Very soon, we will evolve some strategy to deal with this bastard.

NITO: A bastardly strategy!

MIKO: We are not like you, NITO.

NITO: We are all alike, MIKO.

DOJO and MIKO release their grip, and reluctantly resume their seats.

MIKO: You are an evil genius, OSO. 

OSO: You pretend to dislike me, but in fact, you deify me. Perhaps you do not know what is happening inside you.

NITO: Oh, the structure of the inside! A shrine of the hidden and mysterious god!

OSO: Don’t philosophize, NITO. You are not good at it. Bring some fresh nectar for MIKO and DOJO.

NITO: Sure. I forgot that they must be exhausted. 

DOJO: Stay, NITO. We don’t want the nectar. 

MIKO: In stead, take OSO inside and massage his limbs.

OSO: My limbs are fine and in place. I enjoy the sensation you gave me by lifting me.

NITO: A real uplift! Are you pleased, OSO?

OSO: Why not? Their outbursts are innocent. I like such innocence.

NITO: There is somebody on the door. (Moving towards the door) I will check. Please compose yourself. At least one inch of smile.

NITO brings in PIF.

OSO: Welcome PIF. You are quite in time. This is the day for your regular initiation. MIKO and NITO have highly commended you. Don’t be surprised if I admit you to my inner circle. 

NITO: MIKO missed you awfully. She will rejoice your elevation. 

DOJO: Why do you hide your own feelings, NITO? I can clearly see your infatuation with PIF. 

PIF: I am not looking for such overtures, DOJO. I am a married man. 

DOJO: That’s exactly why you should be excited. You need a bit of flirting. Show some masculine spirits, boy. 

MIKO: PIF, aren’t you happy with what OSO is conferring on you? 

NITO: I bet he is. His show of reserve is an art. 

MIKO: Don’t expose yourself, NITO. PIF is not like you. He is an original person. 

NITO: Sorry, MIKO. I didn’t visualize the depth of your experience with PIF. 

DOJO: Me too. I wonder what else you have discovered about PIF. 

MIKO: DOJO, he is not like you either. Is this information enough? 

NITO: Not really enough, MIKO. Don’t betray DOJO like this.

OSO: You all are betraying PIF. You forget that I have to designate him. Take him to my cave and decorate him for the ceremony. 

MIKO: Like a sacrificial animal? 

DOJO: Just as we had decorated Adam a year ago? 

PIF: Sorry, OSO. Forget all that. No initiation, no designation for me. I have no interest in your mission any more. 

OSO: You astound me, PIF. How can you change so abruptly? You know it well that our mission is exceptional. Once somebody is in, there is no exit. This is the first commandment. If you want any special recognition, I will be glad to accommodate you. 

PIF: No, I have no such desire. I just quit. 

MIKO: PIF, I don’t know why I imagined you taking over from OSO. Possibly, on the next Conclave. 

NITO: Your imagination is too wild, MIKO. 

OSO: NITO, I appreciate MIKO’s imagination. Don’t think I am not capable of making any sacrifice. If PIF likes that way, I will step down in his favor. Voluntarily. 

DOJO: But how can PIF stoop so low? 

MIKO: He seems to be contemplating something different and deeper. 

OSO: His intention of quitting is intriguing. It’s outrageous. It is an insult of our holy mission. PIF, you owe us an explanation, 

PIF: I owe you nothing except this portfolio. Take it back. (He returns a sealed envelop.) I have not opened it. Your seals are intact. 

But you are violating the spirit. What blasphemy did you hear? Who is desecrating our holy mission? 

Tell us, PIF. Have you come across a mine under our feet? 

PIF: You will read everything in the press. Very soon. 

NITO: We need publicity anyway. But what will we read?

MIKO: A blitz? 

DOJO: Something catastrophic? 

OSO: What are you talking about? Nobody can harm or hinder us. We will pre-empt the attack on our reputation. 

NITO: How can we do that? 

OSO: Offence is the best offence. PIF should just name our enemy. 

NITO: Oh, the act of naming. The most ancient seminal practice. 

OSO: Shut up NITO. It’s not the moment to spout philosophy. Come on, PIF. Don’t try to be a Prometheus. Tell me everything. What did you hear? Who is trying to defame us? 

PIF: I’m not obliged to tell you anything. 

OSO: You are hiding a serious offence. Obviously you are an accomplice. Do you know which word describes you? You are an ‘infidel’. You can’t escape the consequence. (OSO claps thrice. Two Commandos enter. OSO waves his stick. With ritualistic movements, the Commandos cast a kind of spell on PIF. His body movements conform to their magical directions.) Take him to ground zero. Slowly and carefully. He may be sick. (The back wall of the first scene is lighted. The Commandos lead PIF to the center of the wall. All others simultaneously form a semi circle around PIF.) Fix him there. Against the wall. Right in the center. That is right. Let him stand. Arms spread out. Like Christ on the cross. Or let him sit in the lotus posture of Buddha. Whatever way he enjoys the most. (PIF is in a non-descript posture. OSO comes close to him) Are you comfortable, PIF?

PIF: That is not fair OSO. Why do you torture me like this?

OSO: You can escape this destiny only by revealing the name of our enemy. Tell me who is going to malign our mission in the press. Take your time to make up your mind. 

MIKO: You don’t have to suffer, PIF. Tell him the name. How does it matter to you? 

NITO: At least oblige MIKO. She is worth listening to.

DOJO: You too are worth listening to, NITO. 

NITO: Don’t be jealous DOJO. Let MIKO help. This is a common cause.

OSO: The silence of PIF is eloquent enough. He is not likely to relent. He may have his reason, but he will have to pay the price. He can't escape this predicament. (To the Commandos) Transfix him now. Let him be in the limbo, just dangling. He makes an interesting picture. He will stay brooding until he is ready to yield. (PIF is magically transfixed. The Commandos withdraw ceremoniously) PIF is now incapable of sending or receiving any messages. I will visit him tomorrow to check if he is ready to cooperate. 

DOJO: It seems you are inviting trouble by confining PIF.

MIKO: You are acting in panic, OSO. This means disaster. Why don’t you leave PIF alone?

OSO: I am in charge. There has to be somebody to lead. And, I am your natural leader. I know you have a soft corner for PIF. Just bid him an affectionate good bye, MIKO. I have no objection.

MIKO: Why only me. We all love PIF.

OSO: NITO can join you if she likes. Let us go, DOJO. We cannot waste our time like women. We have to search the records and find out who visited our den during the last some days and to what purpose. It is urgent.

OSO takes DOJO from hand and they move. DOJO hesitates a bit, looks back with mixed feelings. Exit OSO and DOJO.

MIKO: We recognized a great promise in PIF.

NITO: And you even wanted him to replace OSO. You must be having a great feeling for PIF. 

MIKO: And what about you? You often compared him to Adam. Do you know somebody assassinated Adam. 

NITO: I could guess that when he didn’t appear at the Conclave. 

MIKO: Don’t you think it is the work of OSO?

NITO: I really don’t know. I do feel for Adam. OSO never allowed me his innocent proximity. Association with OSO has destroyed all my fine feelings. Let me confide in you. His treatment of PIF has shaken me. 

MIKO: It is a relief to know you feel that way. 

MIKO and NITO move close to PIF

MIKO: PIF, why did you get into this predicament by hiding the information? Revealing the truth won’t hurt.

NITO: Truth hurts the most, MIKO. Though it shouldn’t. PIF must have reasons for his silence. People’s compulsions are formidable.

MIKO: Can’t we prevent OSO from harming PIF?

NITO: I wonder, how? The mind and methods of OSO are mysterious. And we don’t know much about PIF either.

MIKO: I know PIF adequately enough. Why do we need to know every damn thing about a man? Look at him! He seems perfectly honest. Absolutely harmless. Like Adam. 

NITO: (After a pause) Yes, he does. I don’t know why we lost Adam. His face will always inspire us. I confess I had not seen PIF in this light.

MIKO: (To PIF) Why should this have happened to you PIF? So abruptly? You must not have the same fate as Adam’s. I am heart-broken. Don’t you have a word for me, PIF?

NITO: Don’t be sentimental, MIKO. You forget that PIF is transfixed. He cannot communicate with you anymore.

MIKO: Can he communicate with you?

NITO: Unfortunately, not. He cannot utter a single word, perhaps except to OSO. He can communicate with us only if released. 

MIKO: Can’t we set him free?

NITO: We don’t know the password.

MIKO: Can’t we hack it? 

NITO: We can try, but trying needs time. And time is not on our side. 

MIKO: Can’t you somehow steal the password? You are so close to OSO. You can perhaps hoodwink him. You have the art.

NITO: What’s the use? OSO is very secretive, very aloof. He carries the smell of a rat around him.

MIKO: I would not mind that smell, if I can get that password.

NITO: I understand you. I share your agony. 

MIKO: I wonder if DOJO can somehow help.

NITO: A good question, but I don’t know the answer.

MIKO: Can we have any future with PIF? Any future at all? I don’t mean to possess him.

NITO: It seems we have lost PIF. At least for the time being.

MIKO: Can I touch him?

NITO: Don’t be foolish, MIKO. It is not his bed. It is the domain of OSO. We cannot touch him. Even if we do, he won’t feel the touch. He won’t know anything. It is a strange transfixion. 

MIKO: It is unbelievable. Don’t you think it is unreal? It all may vanish suddenly as it has come about. 

NITO: It is your wishful thinking. Better look at PIF while we can. 

MIKO: He is mute. He is not moving. But he is breathing. 

NITO: Maybe he is in trauma. 

MIKO: If his will power is strong, the charm may wear out soon.

NITO: I wish this happens, but OSO is very crafty. A big magician, a juggler. You do not know his power.

MIKO: One day OSO will transfix us all. Like he has transfixed PIF. He will make us utterly destitute, without voice, without feeling.

NITO: Let us leave now. OSO and DOJO are waiting for us.

MIKO: It is hard to leave PIF alone. (Lights start fading slowly) In this mysterious darkness. Something dreadful may happen to PIF. And to us all … It is a weird gloom. No light, no sound. No help from anywhere. Who knows what PIF is undergoing? Nobody should suffer like him. Nobody!

She bursts into tears.

NITO: Let the tears flow. Your burden will be lightened. I am not as lucky. Tears refuse to form in my eyes. OSO has divested me of all my precious emotions.

From the background, the voice of Oso is heard

OSO: NITO and MIKO, come on now. You are already late. Do not waste any more time.

NITO holds MIKO’s arm and leads her away. MIKO’s eyes are fixed on PIF while she is moving as if in trance.

OSO: Don’t you hear me?

NITO: Don’t yell, OSO. You do not know what is getting wasted.

Slowly they exit. Focus is on PIF.

Fade Out.   

Scene 4

It is the bed of PIF. MIT is awake and TIM is asleep.

MIT: Are you still asleep, TIM? You are not snoring. You must be awake. You were going to tell me about your girl, and then your eyes closed. I thought you had gone into a trance. I did not disturb you. If you are refreshed TIM, talk to me. Do you know your Dad did not turn up during the night? I kept on twisting in the bed. Waiting and waiting for him. I have also checked PIM’s room a few times. She is asleep. To whom should I turn for comfort? It is the daybreak. The bird has already alighted on our windowsill. But it is mute. I cannot talk even to the bird. Your Dad doesn’t like it. He thinks the bird is inauspicious. Please TIM, get up and scare it away. I myself have no courage to do so. Fears and doubts assail me. 

Enters PIM

PIM: Why are you up, Mom? It is so early. At least for TIM and me. We like to sulk in the sheets on holidays.

MIT: I know, PIM. You are young. You need to have your time the way you like. I tried not to disturb you. Tried hard.

PIM: Is Dad still asleep? He did not call upon me before going to bed last night. He never misses to chat with me when I am home. Is he all right?

MIT: Nothing is right, PIM. Your Dad is not in my bed. It is TIM. Your Dad did not come home last night.

PIM: Did he call?

MIT: No, he didn’t.

PIM: He never fails to call.

MIT: That’s why I am in anguish.

PIM: He must be busy doing something. Under pressure as usual. In fact, he needs to slow down.

MIT: I always tell him to slow down and relax, but he doesn’t listen to me. Maybe, he listens to you.

PIM: He has no obligation to work for us anymore. I‘ll get a job soon. I’m going for an interview today. TIM is already doing some freelancing. Dad doesn’t need to worry for us. We can be of some comfort to him.

MIT: It is hard to understand the needs of your Dad. He is too ambitious and restless. He gets frustrated very often. He looks for solace everywhere and gets into more trouble. He is dissipating himself. I don’t know how to handle him.

PIM: Just don’t get upset, Mom. He needs your approval and trust. Not your fears or doubts.

MIT: You talk like your Dad, PIM. Nobody cares what is happening inside me.

TIM: (Abruptly raising his head) What, Mom? Are you in some new anxiety? Last night you were so relaxed. You didn’t even send me to my bed. Where is Dad?

PIM: Dad hasn’t come home, TIM. Mom has been waiting for him the whole night. He didn’t even call.

TIM: Where could he go? Did he tell you anything about his business, Mom?

MIT: Don’t ask me, TIM. The activities of your Dad are wayward. He is not a focused person.

PIM: None of us is always focused. We do get distracted some time. Just possible, he suddenly remembered a forgotten errand. Or maybe he has met with some accident.

MIT: No. He is not prone to accidents. He has always escaped them. 

TIM: And, yet accidents do take place, Mom. It is in the nature of accidents to happen when least expected.

MIT: Accident is the last, not the first thing that people think of. I don’t know why, but I can’t imagine an accident overtaking your Dad.

PIM: Even if it happened, Dad couldn’t have designed one. Somebody may have held him as a hostage. We hear of such incidents everyday. 

MIT: Who will do that? To what purpose? Your Dad never made big money. Rather he often speculated and lost. His poems are not readable. He is not famous. He is almost nobody.

PIM: Who knows the motives of kidnappers? 

TIM: Don’t imagine disaster. Dad may be fine. He may come home by himself. All of a sudden.

PIM: Mom would never stop worrying for him. Even if he is home. 

MIT: My fault. I knew you would imply that.

PIM: For God’s sake, Mom. I don’t imply anything. TIM, can you defend me?

TIM: Don’t agitate, PIM. It is a difficult moment for Mom.

PIM: What can we do?

TIM: Make her some tea. She likes bed tea. It may help.

PIM: Then let me go and make some. We will have it together. Maybe Dad also drops in.

PIM leaves

MIT: Bed tea is not going to do me any good. It may worsen my condition.

TIM: Why do you think so? Simply because Dad isn’t home? Don’t be sullen, Mom. He is on his way

MIT: No, he isn’t on his way. I would know if he were.

TIM: How? How would you know?

MIT: I love your Dad. My intuition has never failed me about him. 

TIM: I admire your intuition, Mom. You have a wonderful rapport with Dad. Why do you try to hide it? Why don’t you tell me something cheering about him? Which quality of Dad, do you think, I should try to imbibe?

MIT: You don’t need to follow anybody. Not even your Dad. Just be yourself.

TIM: Come on Mom. Don’t be evasive. Talk about Dad. How did you fall in love with him?

MIT: Don’t tease me, TIM. Go and scare the bird away. He has come here at the wrong moment.

TIM reluctantly gets up and scares the bird. The bird is unmoved. 

TIM: The bird isn’t going away, Mom. His wings are spread, but he seems to be without any strength for a flight. He is frozen. Like a statue. He needs some nourishment. Why don’t you feed him with your wonder cake, Mom?

MIT: I don’t have any. I can’t bake it instantly. The bird must go without cake.

TIM: No, Mom. You can’t be that insensitive and callous. You could perhaps offer him something else. Any crumbs?

MIT: You are mistaken, son. This bird is different. Very special. He won’t accept crumbs. He would take only something especially made for him.

At least talk to the bird. He may perhaps respond to your affectionate words.

MIT: I am not equal to it. At least not at this moment. He must come back again. When your Dad is home.

PIM enters with a tray with tea cups.

PIM: Tea is ready, Mom. Do I bring it on the bed?

MIT: Take it back to the kitchen. You and TIM may share it, if you like. It cannot do me any good. I can’t have it. My head is awfully reeling. Leave me alone.

PIM: Relax Mom. Try the tea. It is refreshing. It will help you.

MIT: Don’t you hear me, PIM? (Yelling) What do you know about this toxic, habit-forming stuff? How do you presume that this poison will help me? 

TIM: Mom, don’t be harsh on PIM. It is not her fault that Dad isn’t home. PIM just wanted to help.

MIT: Nobody can help me. Neither you, nor PIM. Even this bird is behaving like a monster today. Let me scare him away.

She throws a pillow towards the bird, but it hits the tray. The tray falls down and the bird doesn’t go away. .

PIM: Sorry Mom. The tea is gone.

MIT: Good riddance! But why is the bird sticking here? What’s happening? Why do I confront puzzles and paradoxes?

TIM: Relax, Mom. You will be fine.

MIT: My heart is sinking. Where are you, PIF? You should be here. Right here, with me and with your children. I am sorry PIM, I have been harsh on you. What else could your poor Mom do?

MIT starts crying. Her postures vaguely resemble with those of PIF transfixed at ground zero. TIM gets up, takes the hand of PIM and tries to leads her away.

TIM: Come on PIM. Mom is really upset. I have never seen her in such anguish. It could be her blood pressure. Let us leave her alone. She will be herself in a while. 

As they are leaving, telephone rings. They rush back to pick it, TIM is the first to grab it.

TIM: Hello. Yes, it is TIM. Who is calling? … The Police? … What is the matter, Sir? 

MIT: The Police? Is your Dad all right?

TIM: (Sill on phone) Yes, you are right. I wrote that piece. (To MIT) Wait Mom, it is not about Dad. (To the caller) Thank you. … Raiding the den? Well, I will cooperate. … but I have a problem. My father did not return home last night…. No, he did not call. My Mom is unwell. I need to be on her side. … At my doorstep? Well I can meet your men briefly, but …

MIT: What is this all about? ‘Raiding the den’ - a futile exercise in sensationalism? Why should the police be at our doorstep? They have no right to disturb the tranquility of families. 

TIM: There is nothing of that sort, Mom. I wrote a piece on a nefarious cult. It went into the hands of police. They want to raid their den. They need my help. It is in the public interest. 

MIT: I will never understand this ‘public interest’. Don’t get too much involved in it. And tell me which den you are talking about. The den where you had a chance meeting with your Dad?

TIM is silent.

PIM: TIM, Mom has asked you something. Why are you quiet?

MIT: Don’t bother him, PIM. His silence tells me everything. He is just like his Dad. All men are alike.

TIM: What do you expect me to say, PIM? It is a difficult moment. Should I aggravate Mom’s blood pressure?

MIT: Transparency doesn’t aggravate suffering. Secrecy shapes disasters. I’m weary of my husband’s secrets. And now, I have to cope with those of my son. 

TIM: I may have to go, PIM. Can you take care of Mom and call a doctor?

MIT: How can anybody take care of me? Our predicaments are our own. No one can deal with them on our behalf. You may go, TIM. And take your secrets with you. I will retrieve your Dad, if I can. It doesn’t matter even if I fail. It doesn’t matter even if he doesn’t turn up on his own. I am on the verge of something. I don’t know what it is. I don’t need to know it either. Why should you worry about me when I don’t care what happens to me. Go and respond to your calling.

The doorbell rings

TIM: It’s the police outside. I need to brief them. Don’t be desperate, Mom. I will be back after a while. 

TIM leaves. The bird also leaves simultaneously.

PIM: Your bird has also left, Mom.

MIT: Better you leave too, PIM. You have a job interview. 

PIM: I am not in a mood to go for the interview. I’ll ignore it.

MIT: No. You needn’t be a martyr. Nobody does. It always entails useless suffering. Why should you lose a good opportunity just to be by the stupid side of your Mom?

PIM: You need me, Mom. I can’t desert you.

MIT: You said it was a wonderful opening. Why to miss it? Regrets for missing things are very painful. 

PIM: I‘m young, Mom. I can afford to miss this chance. But I can’t miss being your child, your daughter. Allow me to be one. I won’t go. 

MIT: By missing a good chance, you will only add to my suffering. This will not be the role of a daughter. Opportunity is calling you. You cannot stay with me forever.

PIM: Leaving you in this condition is hard on me.



More by :  Dr. Vishnu Sharma

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