India Blues

This is a one-act play my mother wrote. The point of it wasn’t whether it could be enacted though (which explains some of the supposed ‘stage directions’). She wanted to show how from one perspective (which could be portrayed in this medium), the relations between the countries of the subcontinent had come to resemble playground politics at a point in time when India was regularly portrayed as the Big Brother political entity. She didn’t necessarily agree with this, nor wholly disagree. But she could tell the effect it had on the media.

INDIA BLUES

{A One Act Play}

The characters: All friendly neighbours.

Curtain rises and in come Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Sri Lanka <frowning and in a fighting mood>: I don’t know about you Nepal, but I’ve had enough – really fed up!

Nepal <crestfallen and sulking>: Same here buddy. But what can we do? We are stuck in our places for life. Wish there would be another Big Bang so that we could drift away from Big Brother. This virtual house arrest – or more appropriately, this life imprisonment is killing. As for being fed up, we haven’t been fed for months now, what with the blockade, so how can we possibly be fed up?!

Sri Lanka: Still got your sense of humour eh, at a time like this? <gravely> Brave! Very brave!

Enter Maldives from backstage.

Maldives<in a jolly mood>: Now what’s up with the two of you? The blues, eh? <merrily> Not for me, the blues!

Sri Lanka and Nepal<in unison>: Yeah we know, we know. No need to make us feel bad.

Enter Pakistan and Bangladesh from backstage.

Pakistan<excitedly>: What’s the matter? Are we talking about democracy?

Nepal: No we are discussing our problems with ‘you know who’.

Bangladesh<sarcastically>: Say, Pakistan, is there nothing else you can talk about these days except democracy?

Pakistan: Well, we know how bad you feel about it, but let’s face it, democracy has come to stay in Pakistan after years of –

Bangladesh<interrupting tongue in cheek>: Here we go again!

Pakistan<making a point>: Just wait till you get a taste of democracy. It will come one day. You can’t go on like this, you know.

Bangladesh<agitated>:  What do you mean ‘can’t go on like this’? What do you know about what’s going on?

Pakistan: Forget it. Let’s change the subject, shall we? Didn’t you also have a problem with ‘you know who’ recently – something to do with flood waters <tongue in cheek> apart from other problems, that is?

Bangladesh: Look who’s talking! You too have your plate full, haven’t you, what with the border problem, the terrorists, etc. etc.? Anyway we were lucky enough to have sorted out our problem forthwith.

Pakistan: You don’t say? You mean the flood waters started flowing in the opposite direction? Heh! Heh!

Sri Lanka<interjecting>: Okay you two. That’s enough! Nepal and I are in such a bad mood and the two of you just keep arguing with each other. Try and solve our problems.

Pakistan: I’ve got the SAARC problem to solve and as for the troops and the blockade, well, I’ve told India, indirectly, that is, in an interview, that the troops will have to leave and as for the blockade…

Sri Lanka<interrupting again>: Now, hold it that’s no help at all so you needn’t bother. The troops won’t just up and leave – much as I would want them to! As for SAARC, I’m not attending and that’s that!

Pakistan<dejected>: Aw shucks, now come on Sri Lanka, don’t be a spoil sport. We’ve made all the arrangements.

Sri Lanka<adamant>: Arrangements or no arrangements, I’m not sitting at the same table with ‘you know who’. No siree!

Pakistan: Oh, how childish of you Sri Lanka!

Nepal<surprised at Pakistan’s attitude>: Hey hold it there Pakistan! On whose side are you anyway eh? Remember, we’re all in the same boat.

Pakistan: I’m not sailing in no boat. I’m on firm ground these days after years –

Sri Lanka<interrupting in utter despair>: Oh Nepal, why did you remind Pakistan of democracy?

Nepal: I did no such thing! I was just reminding Pakistan of the boat!

Enter Bhutan, who quietly sits down.

Bhutan<quietly>: Yes, no excitement please. We can resolve our bilateral problems with India amicably.

Sri Lanka<extremely agitated>: Please, Maldives and Bhutan, we really don’t need your advice, so pipe down already, okay!

Enter India majestically from backstage.

India: Ah! Who do we have here? Our friendly neighbours. Any problems? <Not waiting for a reply> Well whatever the problem the only way our is through …

But before India completes her sentence, everyone shouts out in unison

NEGOTIATION!

 

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