Dosh (One Act Play 2)

Characters
Nila: A reserved and conservative woman age 22, who is a bookworm, soft, intelligent, and  silent.
Ma: Agitated and cynical, 35 years old, who is angry, complaining, and a mother who loves her son more than Nila.
Papa: A calm, silent man of 50, who is rigid and particular about his morals. He loves Nila more than his son.
Abhimanyu: An agitated boy of 18, college going boy, a narrow minded chauvinist, and a control freak.
Mayank: An artist and novelist, tall, and of wheatish complexion, 24 years old.
Gokul Dada: The librarian, who is around 70. A warm intelligent, kind, and who loves Nila like his own daughter.
Scene 1:
At the s protagonists house
Nila is getting ready in her room; she is looking at the mirror, and pinning her dupatta to her dress. She is getting ready for a book launch in a book shop. She is getting late, and is running. Her mother is serving tea for her father and brother. They are seated on the sofa. 
(As she leaves, there is darkness in her room; that part of the stage is getting ready for the next scene.)
(The mirror is just a wooden frame, where Nila stands behind the frame, facing the audience, and gets ready. One half of the room is the hall, with an old TV, table and old sofa. The two rooms are separated by a frame with a curtain hanging. There is another door frame with curtain after the hall, which is the exit from the room.)
Ma: “Where are you going in such a hurry? “
Nila: “Ma, I have to go for the book launch that I told you about earlier na? I am running late already.”
Abhimanyu: “Ma, I read about the writer on Google, he is a young bachelor, and writes all rubbish philosophies. I see now, why she has to go for his book launch. Maybe that guy is her boyfriend. Who knows if she is really going for a book launch, or somewhere else?”
Papa: “Abhi, have you forgotten your manners? She is your elder sister, and this is not the way you are going to talk to her. Do you understand?”
(Abhimanyu looks away in disrespect and denial.)
Ma: “Yes, go ahead! Curse my son a bit more. Your day starts by cursing my poor boy, and ends with being harsh to him every night over his studies. All for your beloved daughter, who loves spending her time in books, rather than learning how to do household works? Only God knows when she will get married, and I can sit tension free. ”
(Nila gets frustrated by her mother’s comments. She kisses her father’s cheeks, and leaves the house.)
Papa: “Why do you keep eating my head talking about her marriage? What is wrong with you? Is she sitting on your head?”
Ma: “You won’t understand, Ji. You don’t see anything in front of your love for her. She is getting older, and it is better that we should get her married before she finds a man on her own, and elopes with him. I can’t even imagine how much embarrassment we would have to face in front of your brothers and their families. May Lord Ram calls me above before I see any of such thing in my life.”
Papa: “It is an utter waste to talk to you at the first place. You have never let her be in peace. What wrong is she doing now? She studied well in her school, and college, and is religiously working in her office, and the library. She has never said anything mean to you as far I remember. What else do you need? My Nila is an exemplary daughter. And I am proud of her.”
(Ma gets angry, and is leaves the room.)
Ma: “Why am I even talking to you, when you are not willing to listen at all? Mark my words that if we don’t find a groom for her soon, she would find on her own.”
(Papa ignores with an expression of disgust and disturbance on his face, and sips his tea. Abhimanyu leaves the room behind his mother. Nila had been standing outside the door, and trying to hear all of the conversation. When there is silence in the room, she sighs and leaves.)
Scene 2
At the Library
(There are few chairs arranged on half of the stage, and is occupied by a few people. There is one chair in the back, which is empty for Nila, and one chair in the front, facing the other chairs, where Mayank is sitting.
Nila arrives late to the venue, where Mayank is discussing about his novel. She occupies the only empty chair, and listens to the discussion.)
Mayank: “My book is about a journey of my protagonist, Sadhu, who walks on the land called Ayodhya, soaking red with blood of Hindus and Muslims. He wonders why there is a fight over a simple historical building, which became the reason of riots in Gujarat and Ayodhya.”
One man amongst the audience raises a question: “Sir, why is Sadhu, the Hindu priest, shown to be feeling bad for the Muslim blood spilled in the entire riot. Shouldn’t he be supporting the Hindus in this agenda?”
Mayank: “But not everyone is blinded by religion and violence. My character is such a person, who believes that religion should be the medium to bring peace in human-kind through the differences, not violence and wars. I wanted to show the perspective of such a person, who believes in the welfare of all living beings, let that be any caste, creed, or species.”
(Gokul Dada rises from the audience, and comes next to Mayank, and speaks until he reaches next to him.)
Gokul Dada: “Well, that’s all for today, let the boy have a breath. I hope that you all enjoyed the session. We wish you good luck, Mayank, for your new book. I pray that everyone would see and understand the points and agenda that you raised in your book. The tea is served in the verandah; please, help yourself.”
(People clap for Mayank. Mayank stands up, and bows to them with his hands joined. Everyone gets up to leave with a murmur. Gokul Dada spots Nila, and calls her out.)
Gokul Dada: “Arey Nila Beta, come here for a moment.”
(Nila smiles and walks towards him and Mayank. Gokul Dada introduces them to each other.)
Gokul Dada: “Mayank, meet Nila, the most intelligent member of this library, who works more than I do to keep this place alive; Nila, this is Mayank.”
Nila (smiles): “Dada, sometimes you should stop blowing my trumpet so much. Well, of course I know Mr. Mayank. I loved your book. Such a powerful thought put across in such a simple way.”
Mayank (smiles): “Well, I tried. I am glad you liked my book. Thank you.”
(Gokul Dada looks at both of them, and smiles.)
Gokul Dada: “Well, I will leave you both here now. Nila Beta, show him around. I should check if everything is going well with the guests and the tea.”
(Nila and Mayank smile at him as he leaves. Now Mayank and Nila are alone, and silent, not knowing what to talk. Mayank breaks the silence.)
Mayank: “So what are your plans for the day?”
Nila: “Ummm…well, nothing much. I am staying back after all the guests have left, and help Dada to clean up the library. How about you?”
Mayank (smiles): “Nothing much, I thought of going to the flea market to get a chair, but I guess I should stay back, and help Gokul Dada too clean up the mess, which I am responsible for.”
(Nila feels shy, and looks away from him. She is trying not to smile.)
Mayank (comes closer to her, and says): “Would you mind if I stay back?”
(Nila smiles looking away from Mayank, and Mayank’s smile broadens. They both try to arrange the chairs, slowly, and with shy. They both leave the stage once they are done, smiling at each other.)
Scene 3
Nila’s House
(Nila is combing her hair, in her room, looking at the mirror, and humming a song. She is smiling and, and making faces at the mirror. Her mother is working in the hall; she hears Nila humming, and stealthily lifts the curtain to see. Nila does not realise that her mother is watching, and continues making faces, and smiling. Then she keeps staring at the mirror, thinking of something, and looks away, feeling shy.)
(Nila’s mother feels suspicious about her daughter.)
Ma: “What’s the matter, why are you feeling so happy?”
(Nila is startled, and now scared that her mother was watching her.)
Nila: “Nothing, what are you talking about? I am always happy.”
Ma: “What were you thinking that made you feel so shy?”
Nila: “Ma, stop it now. I was not thinking anything. Don’t scold me for no reason.”
Ma: “One thing you keep in your mind, you can make your Papa a fool, but not me. I know very well what are you upto these days. Tell me, who is he?”
(Nila gets agitated and raises her voice, and speaks to her mother.)
Nila: “Ma, what have I done now? For a moment can’t I be happy? What is your problem with me? Why are you upset with me all the time?”
(Papa hears the ruckus, and enters the stage hastily and angrily.)
Papa: “What is happening here, what is this ruckus all about? What’s wrong now?”
Ma: “Your beloved daughter was looking at the mirror, and was thinking of something which made her so happy and shy. When I asked her what was it, she started yelling at me.”
Nila is almost in tears, comes closer to her father, who standing between them.
Nila: “Papa, I was just in a good mood, and was combing my hair. I did not think of anyone, and felt shy. Ma came in spying on me and started asking me questions. What do I do?”
Ma: “Stop fooling us, Nila! How much would you lie? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
Papa (raises his voice): “Enough, whatever it is, its over now. Nila, you get back to what you were doing. You are getting late for the library. Gokul Dada already called twice on the landline.”
He looks at Ma: “And you! Go finish your work, and stop annoying her so much.”
Ma: “You always take her side, wait and watch how one fine day she would break your trust, and leave you heartbroken.”
Papa: “Go now!”
(Ma leaves the room in anger, and exits from the stage. Nila starts sobbing. Papa calms her down, and speaks to her.)
Papa: “Nila, stop crying now. You know how your mother is, what’s the point in getting hurt for her words?”
Nila: “Papa, I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t know why she is always upset with me.”
Papa (pats her head): “Its okay, Beta, don’t be upset. Just forget what happened, and get ready. You are running late now.”
(Nila wipes her tears, and smiles at her father. Papa leaves the room, and exits the stage. Nila gets back to the mirror, and stares at it, with tears in her eyes.)
Scene 4
Libray
(There are four chairs in the room, where Nila and Mayank had occupied two of them. Mayank is holding Nila’s hand, and looking at her. Nila is looking down, and is worried.)
Mayank: “Nila, for how long would you be upset thinking about it. It is alright. It is done.”
Nila: “No, it is not alright. I did not like what happened yesterday. We shouldn’t have done it. I am feeling so guilty. How am I going to face my Ma and Papa?”
Mayank: “You didn’t like what? We have done no sin, Nila. It is part of life. You are hurting me now.”
Nila: “Mayank, I didn’t mean to hurt you, but this is not how I am. We shouldn’t have lost control.”
Mayank: “Nila, we like each other. What else do you want? I love you so much!”
Nila: “Mayank, we could have waited. What if something goes wrong between us in the coming days? What am I going to do?”
(Mayank holds her chin, and turns her face towards him.)
Mayank: “Nila, look at me. I promise you that no matter what happens tomorrow, I will marry you. I promise you, Nila. Now stop getting worried, and smile.”
(Nila looks at Mayank.)
Nila: “Mayank, I have given you everything, don’t dessert me. Don’t leave me.”
(Mayank smiles at Nila.)
Mayank: “Pagli, nothing will happen. Relax. We are made for each other. I will never leave you.”
(Nila smiles at Mayank, and hugs him.)
Scene 5
Library
(Nila is anxiously waiting for Mayank. It had been six months since they knew each other. Even Gokul Dada knew that they liked each other, and was happy for them. He finds Nila sitting alone in, and worried.)
Gokul Dada: “Nila, Beta what happened; why are you so worried?”
Nila: “Dada, I am waiting for Mayank. I really need to talk to him.”
(Gokul Dada gets worried, but does not attempt to ask her anything. Mayank enters the scene.)
Gokul Dada: “Here he is! Mayank, you will live a long life; Nila and I were just talking about you.”
(Gokul Dada leaves the stage, and Mayank sits next to Nila. Nila is very much worried.)
Mayank: “Nila, what happened? Is everything okay? Why are you so worried? Is everything okay?”
Nila looks at him, and raises her voice. She is on the verge of tears.
Nila: “Nothing is okay, Mayank! Everything is wrong. I don’t know what to do.”
Nila breaks down. Mayank puts his arm across her shoulder and pulls her towards his chest.
Mayank: “Hey, stop crying now, and tell me what happened. I promise whatever it is, I am there with you. Now tell me, what happened?”
(Nila stops crying.)
Nila: “Mayank, we have to get married as soon as possible. We cannot waste even a single day. I will talk to my Papa about you today. Please, we have to get married.”
(Mayank is shocked.)
Mayank: “What are you talking about? Its been just six months. Lets wait for another year, until I am in a good position. I will come myself and ask for your hand. Its too soon now, dear.”
(Nila pushes away from Mayank.)
Nila: “But by few months, my entire world will collapse. I cannot live to see the day, when…
Mayank: “When what? What are you talking about? Be clear, and stop talking in riddles.”
(Nila takes a deep breath, and gathers her courage.)
Nila, slowly: “Mayank, I am pregnant.”
(Mayank stands up in shock. Nila gets scared to see his reaction.)
Mayank: “This can’t be true. You are lying! Stop playing with me, Nila.”
Nila: “What makes you think that I am joking?”
Mayank: “No, no! This is not true; it can’t happen. This is not true. Tell me, Nila, that it is a lie.
(Nila gets angry. She raises her voice.)
Nila: “I am not joking, Mayank. Stop behaving like this.”
(Mayank collapses in his chair. He gets afraid.)
Mayank: “What do we do now? Is there any way to stop this, an abortion maybe?”
(Nila gets angry to hear this. She did not expect him to even mention about aborting the child.)
Nila: “What are you talking about? I can’t get abortion done!”
Mayank: “Nila, what else do you want to do, I can’t get married to you now. I am not in a state of taking care of another person, and raise a child. Why don’t you understand?”
(Nila stands up in shock, and anger.)
Nila: “Oh! First you tell me that you will be with me through all good and worse, and now you are backing off? I wish I knew all these before. Don’t worry; I will take care of it myself. You are free.”
(Nila leaves the place, and Mayank keeps sitting on his chair, silent and shocked. Gokul Dada stands in a distance from Mayank, worried and speechless.)
Scene 6
Nila’s House
(Papa, Abhimanyu, and Ma are sitting in the hall, and watching TV together.)
Papa: “Nila is not home yet? Does anyone know when is she coming back?”
(Ma is about to open her mouth, and just then Nila enters the room. She is sad, and worried. She is lost in her own world. She slowly walks past them.)
Papa: “Arey Nila, you will live for hundred years! I was just asking your mother about you. How was your day? You look tired.”
(Nila does not respond, neither she looks at him. But she keeps walking.)
Papa: “Nila, I am asking you something, what happened? Why are you so worried?”
(Nila stops, and turns towards them. She gathers all her strength to tell him what is wrong with her.)
Nila: “Papa, if I tell you something very serious and devastating, would you stop loving me?”
(Papa gets worried now.)
Papa: “Of course not, my child! Tell me what happened, and we will sort it out.”
Nila pauses, and speaks: “Papa, I met a guy in the library, and we like each other. Its been six months since we are seeing each other.”
Ma: “I knew it! I knew she has an affair with some guy. But you didn’t believe me.”
Papa: “Hush, let her speak!” turning to Nila, “Beta, that’s wonderful! Who is this lucky man, I would like to meet him. Call him over lunch tomorrow.”
Nila: “But there is more to it, Papa.”
Papa: “Why? What is more to it? What are you hiding?”
(Nila starts crying.)
Nila: “Papa, I am pregnant by his child, and now he has refused to marry me.”
(Everyone gets up from their seats and they are shocked.)
Papa: “What are you talking, Nila? Are you out of your mind?”
Nila: “Papa, its true. I am sorry.”
Ma: “Why would it not be true? What’s so new about this? Her mother is a whore, and now she turned into one? She has a whore’s blood running in her veins, and one day, it had to show the true colours.”
(Nila is shocked and puzzled to hear this. Papa collapses in his seat.)
Nila: “Ma, why are you talking like this? What are you talking about?”
Ma: “Don’t you dare call me Ma with your slutty mouth, you bitch! I am not your mother. Your mother left you with your father right after your birth, and eloped with her lover years ago. Your father got married to me, and brought me home in just few weeks after that,”
(Nila is puzzled, and she looks at her father puzzled. Ma comes forward and clutches Nila’s arm.)
Ma: “What are you looking at, your father? He did not let you know about any of this, so that you would have a normal childhood, and a normal family. Now this is the way you repay for your father’s deeds. Cheeh!”
Abhimanyu: “Ma, don’t touch her, don’t let your hands get dirty touching a whore like her.”
(Nila cries more. She moves towards her father, and kneels down next to him. Papa does not look at her.)
Nila: “Papa, why did you do this? Why didn’t you tell me any of this before? Why? I need answers?”
(Papa stands up, and slaps Nila. Nila is astonished. Ma and Abhimanyu smile.)
Papa: “How dare you ask me for answers? What right do you have to ask me anything? How will I ever show my face to the society now? What have you done?”
(Papa sits down, and weeps.)
(Nila gets up slowly, and walks towards her room. The lights fade from the stage, and only a light moves along with Nila, focusing on her. Nila walks to the mirror and stares at her reflection.)
Nila: “Such a betrayal, such a lie? My entire life has been a lie! My own father kept me in dark for this long, for so many years! I know now, why Ma is always so angry with me; she is not even my mother. The one who gave me birth, even she didn’t want me. I can’t blame Mayank then, he is just another man. Whom do I blame for such a life? Whom do I blame for everything that has brought me to this condition? Probably myself, for loving and caring people, for trusting Papa, and for giving myself to Mayank. I feel so ashamed, so disgusted. What’s left there in my life now? What’s left? No, I don’t want to live such a life. I don’t want to live anymore.”
(She takes out a bottle from the drawer in the dressing table, opens the cap, and stares at it for a moment. She is about to drink the contents of the bottle, but she hears Mayank’s voice.)
Mayank: “Nila! No, give me that, right now!”
(Mayank snatches the bottle and reads “Poison” written on the label. Nila is shocked.)
Nila: “Give me that right now, I don’t want to live; I don’t want to live anymore!”
(Mayank holds her, and hugs her tight. Nila weeps loud, covering her face on his chest.)
Mayank: “Nila, shhhh… everything is going to be alright. I can’t live without you. You were going to take my life away with yours.”
Nila: “Why are you here, what do you want from me now?”
Mayank: “Nila, I came to take you with me.”
(Nila stops crying, and looks at him, shocked and puzzled.)
Mayank: “Miss Nila Sharma, will you marry me?”
(Nila smiles, and cries out of joy. She doesn’t answer, but hugs him tight.)
Nila: “I felt so lonely, Mayank. I felt so hopeless. I felt so lonely.”
(Mayank rocks her in his arm, kisses her on her head.)
Mayank: “Now I am here, you need not worry. I will take you away from all the sadness, and the sorrows. Me, you, and our baby; we will be happy.”
(Nila listens to him, and cries. Mayank pushes her gently, and wipes his tears.)
Mayank: Come, let’s go! Your Papa and Gokul Dada are waiting to bless us.”
(Nila looks at him surprisingly. She wipes her tears. They walk towards the hall. Gokul Dada and Papa are standing, smiling, and tears of joy in their eyes. Ma and Abhimanyu are standing in a corner, crossed and speechless.)
(Nila looks at her father, and weeps. Papa comes forward, and hugs her. They both cry. Papa looks at Ma and Abhimanyu, and then looks at Mayank.)
Papa: “Take her away! Take her away to a better future, to a happier life. My Bitiya Raani has suffered a lot because of our mistakes.”
(Mayank smiles at Papa, assuring him to take care of her. Nila moves away from her father, and looks at Ma and Abhimanyu. They both leave the room without a word. Papa does not say anything. Nila now moves towards Gokul Dada.)
Gokul Dada: “I heard you both talking in the library. Once you left, I spoke with Mayank, and explained how he is going to lose a gem like you from his life. We didn’t waste time, and ran here to meet your parents, and you.”
(Nila starts crying, and Mayank holds her again. He smiles at Nila.)
Mayank: Let’s go home.
(Nila smiles at Mayank, and looks at Papa, who raises his hands in a gesture to bless them. They both leave the stage slowly.)

Lights Off
The End

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