The Dancing Boy – A Script for a Children’s Dance-Drama Part II Scenes IV, V, VI

Scene IV – The City On the Other Margin

(Urban scene. Music starts and Hero does a dance to this beat made of sounds from the city on the other side of the river.)

Song 2: Street Beats in Kolkata by Beatshop (Beatmaker and DJ Ko Wong-Horiuchi)

Youtube link:

(Hero does a dance expressing his sensory overload in the city. Music stops. Hero bumps into a man in suit.)

(Meeting With the Man in Suit)

(Man in suit) – Watch your step boy!

(Hero) – I’m sorry.

(Man in suit) – Why do you look so lost? You are not from here aren’t you?

(Hero) – No I’m from the other side of the river.

(Man in suit) – I thought so. Instead of roaming around, you should get a job like everyone else.

(Hero) – I do have a job sir.

(Man in suit) – I know what kind of jobs you boys from the other side of the river do here. Roaming around and trying to get some easy money: scamming tourists, lying, stealing.

(Hero) – No sir I do none of that. I work in a jute mill on the other side of the river. I came to this side to find a group of breakdancers. Have you seen a breakdance group around here by any chance?

(Man in suit) – Breakdance? What a waste of time, breakdancing… You should go look for a well paying job on this side of the river and make some money. (He checks his expensive watch.) Then you will be able to buy a nice watch like this one. (He shows his watch to Hero.) Chii, I’m so late for my business meeting. Sometimes I talk too much… Remember boy time is money, never waste it. Now get out of my way.

(The man in suit walks away in a fast pace.)

(Meeting With the Wealthy Lady with Her Son)

(A rich, upper class lady walks into the stage holding her son’s hand. Her son carries a small backpack and is eating a big piece of chocolate. )

(Hero) – Hello didi. Have you seen a group of breakdancers around here?

(The lady ignores him.)

(Hero) – Hello, have you seen a group of breakdancers around here?

(Lady’s son) – Wow, breakdancers!

(Lady) – Come here dear, don’t talk to him.

(Hero) – Excuse me, please don’t pretend I don’t exist. I am just asking whether you have seen any group of breakdancers around here.

(Lady) – Break, what?

(Hero) – Breakdancers. I’m looking for a group of young people dancing on the street.

(Lady) – Dancing on the street… Are they beggars?

(Hero) – No, no.

(The lady’s son starts breakdancing.)

(Lady) (The lady slaps her son’s back to stop dancing.) What are you doing? You need to have manners when in public. Don’t dance in the street like a monkey. Let’s go home.

(The lady and her son walk away.)

(Meeting With the Shopkeeper)

(Hero walks towards a betel shop by the river ghat with a big, attractive name sign – “Common Betel Shop”. At the time, there are no customers at the betel shop.)

(Hero) – Hello sir. Do you know about a group of kids dancing around here?

(Shopkeeper) – Dancing? Not really. Do they earn money?

(Hero) – I don’t think so.

(Shopkeeper) – Why would they dance if they can’t earn money from it? Young people nowadays, you don’t know how hard it is to make a living.

(Hero) – Sir, how hard it is to make a living around here?

(Shopkeeper) – You have no idea, do you? You have to work from morning to evening but money is never enough.

(Hero) – I also work from morning to evening but my family tries to be grateful with the little money we have.

(Shopkeeper) – That’s just sweet talk. Nobody is happy being poor. My wife and children are always complaining about money and money and how they don’t have enough of it. So here I am earning money for them. Anyways why am I telling this to you…

(Hero) – Sir, did your wife and children ever come visit your store?

(Shopkeeper) – No they have no interest in it.

(Hero) – Why don’t you invite them and ask them to come visit you? I am sure they will see how hard you work everyday and start appreciating your sacrifice for them.

(Shopkeeper) – You are much wiser than you look young man. I will think about it.

(Hero) – People say don’t judge a book by its cover…

(Shopkeeper) – You are too smart for my liking. Are you going to buy anything?

(Hero) – No sir.

(Shopkeeper) – Then why don’t you move to this side so customers can see and walk into the shop.

(Hero) Ok. (Hero moves to the side.) Actually I will go and take some rest under that Banyan tree. This way I won’t disturb your business. Sir, I hope everything works out for your shop and your family.

(Shopkeeper) – I hope so too, thank you. You have a kind heart young man. What is your name?

(Hero) People call me Hero.

(Shopkeeper) You know Hero, that is a very old Banyan tree. When I was your age, I used to sit there and contemplate life but now I sit in the shop and worry about money. You enjoy your years of youth because there is no joy in old age.

(Hero) – Sir why don’t you come sit with me under the shade of that Banyan tree?

(Shopkeeper) – Thank you for your offer but I have to look after this shop. After all, my family and this shop are the only two valuable things that I have in my life. I would have a nice time relaxing under that Banyan tree but I can’t leave my shop…

(Hero) Why? Can’t you close your shop for a little break?

(Shopkeeper) Why would I? If I sit here in my shop, I get paid for doing so. However if I sit under that Banyan tree, I lose money. Then I start chatting, meeting new people, paying others tea and snacks, and eventually my pocket will go empty.

(Hero) Sir wouldn’t you do the same sitting at sitting in your betel shop? Meeting people, tea, snacks…

(Shopkeeper) No. My conduct is very strict and professional when I am in the shop. Only work, no fun or relaxation.

(Hero) Sir sometimes people need to relax and spend time with family and friends.

(Shopkeeper) Why relax if you can make money? Do you see those two customers that are walking here? They are ready to purchase some chewing tobacco and betel leaves. If I wasn’t sitting here in the shop, this money would go to another seller.

(Hero) Sir I still don’t understand your thinking but I respect it. Will you ever reach a time in which you tell yourself “I have earned enough money?”. Once you do, we can go together and relax under that Banyan tree. For now I will go by myself and take some rest. Good bye sir.

(Shopkeeper) When you get older, get married and start a family, you will understand my thinking. As I said enjoy your years of youth. Best of luck for you and I hope you find the breakdance group you were looking for. Goodbye.

(Hero goes and sits down under the Banyan tree. End of Scene IV.)

Scene IV Glossary:

Sensory – adjective, of related to the senses like taste, touch, smell, seeing and hearing

Roaming – verb, moving around without aim or purpose

Scamming – verb, to cheat other people usually for money

Pretend – verb, to act like something is true but it is not, to give a false appearance

Nowadays – adverb, in the present or current time

Grateful – adjective, feeling or showing thanks for something or someone 

Scene V – Encounter With the Dance Crew

(While Hero sits under the Banyan tree, the dance crew he was looking for walk into the stage with a boombox and acting very cool. The boy watches curiously.)

(Bill) – Dude have you seen the new music video on MTV?

(Xerox) – Yea, it’s so amazing.

(Bill) – Let’s add some of their moves into our routines.

(Xerox) – Yea, good idea man.

(Sweetz) – It’s nice to get inspired from others ideas but we shouldn’t copy them. By the way, how did your exam go Bill?

(Bill) – You’re right no ‘biting’ (*a term used for copying other dancers’ moves in bboy/bgirl culture). My exam went well. If I get a good score on this, I can go study in a top university in the US or UK.

(Xerox) – Oh man, when you go abroad, you’ll meet so many famous bboys and bgirls.

(Bill)– Yea, maybe I can practice more and learn more things there. My parents aren’t too happy with me practicing street dance. They want me to focus on my studies so I can have a stable job in the future.

(Sweetz) – Remember you can’t always aim for stability. Just like dance, you have to aim for creativity and originality.

(Bill) – You and your talk about originality. I think winning battles is more important. You can be the most original bboy or bgirl in the world but if you can’t win any competitions, you are nothing. I really want to win the upcoming dance competition so I can show my parents how I can become a successful professional dancer.

(Xerox) – Respect man. Our crew is here to help you out in bringing that trophy back home to show your parents.

(Sweetz) – We are here to support you Bill.

(Other crew members) – Yes. (All the crew members nod and show signs of support and agreement.)

(Bill) – Thank you guys, now let’s practice. We have a jam to win!

(The dance crew start their dance practice. Hero approaches them.)

(Hero) – Hello. My name is Hero. Could you teach me some moves please?

(The crew look at him from top to bottom. The crew leader decides to ask Hero.)

(Bill) – Where are you from?

(Hero) – I am from the other side of the river.

(The group of young kids look at each other and judge him.)

(Bill) – Why don’t you find a crew on your side of the river?

(Hero) – I haven’t seen any bboy crews over there.

(Bill) – Then you should start your own crew. (Turns around to his crew members.) Chal, let’s continue practicing. We have an international jam coming up in a few months.

(Sweetz) – Come on, let him practice some moves with us.

(Bill) – Do you want to move to the other side of the river and create a crew with him then?

(Sweetz) – No, I just want to teach him some moves.

(Bill) – We have an international dance battle coming up soon. We need to practice hard if we want to win this.

(Other crew members) – Come on Sweetz, let’s continue our practice for the jam.

(Sweetz) – Sorry, I have to go practice with them. What’s your name again?

(Hero) – My name is Hero. Thanks, anyway. Go ahead.

(Sweetz) – I’m known as bgirl Sweetz. I apologize for my crewmate’s attitude, he’s under lots of pressure. Maybe when the dance competition is over you can come and practice with us.

(Hero) – Maybe. Bye.

(The boy walks away from the dance practice really disappointed. End of scene V.)

Scene V Glossary:

Creativity – noun, the ability to make new things or think of new ideas

Originality – noun, being different and new in a good way

Attitude – noun, a way of thinking and behaving that is unfriendly

Start of Scene VI – The Ferry Back Home

(Ferryman) – Hello my friend.

(Hero) – Hello. (Replies the boy, very sad, looking down and avoiding eye contact.)

(Ferryman) – What happened?

(Hero) – They didn’t let me practice with them. One kid was nice but others didn’t want me to join them. They were saying how they had to practice in order to win this dance battle coming up.

(Ferryman) – I see. These kids want to win the competition, and succeed in life just like everyone else on this side of the river. Don’t let this city bring you down my young friend. This is like a city of crows, people who live here fight each other for the leftovers. Let’s return home to the other shore. The river is our friend and it will guide us home.

(Hero) – Yes, I want to return to my side of the river, where I belong.

(Ferryman) – Remember your true home is on the other shore.

(The ferryman sings another song about the river. This is a folk song composed by Bhupen Hazarika.)

Song 3: “O Ganga Behti Ho Kyun” (O Ganga why do you keep flowing?) by Bhupen Hazarika

Lyrics and English Translation (edited from different available versions)

(Assamese )

Bisterno varorey, / (On your wide banks)

Afankhya janore, / (That are home to countless people)

Hahakar sunio (In spite of hearing their anguished cries)

Nnirovey, / (So silently and unmindfully)

Bhural hui tumhi, / (Oh you old river?)

Bhural hui bura ki aur. / (Why do you keep flowing?)


Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, o ganga behti ho kyun?..
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)

Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, o ganga behti ho kyun?..
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)

Naitikta,  nasht  hui, manavta bhrasht  hui,
(Morality is destroyed, humanity has been corrupted)
Nirlajj bhav se behti ho kyun?..
(Why do you keep flowing shamelessly?)
Itihas ki pukar, kare hunkar,
(The call of history is roaring)
Oh ganga ki dhar, nirbal jan ko, sabalsangrami, samagrogrami, banati nahi ho kyun?.
(Oh stream of Ganga, why don’t you turn the weak into powerful warriors marching forward?

Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, o ganga behti ho kyun?..
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)

Anparjan, aksharheen, anginjan, khadyoviheen, *neatravhiheen,
(Innumerable people are illiterate, uneducated, without food and blind)
dikshmon ho kyun?.
(Why are you silent seeing this?)
Itihas ki pukar, kare hunkar,

(The call of history is roaring)

O Ganga ki dhar, nirbal jan ko, sabalsangrami, samagrogrami, banati nahim ho kyun?.

(O stream of Ganga, why don’t you turn the weak into powerful warriors marching forward?)

Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, o ganga behti ho kyun?
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)

Vyakti rahe, vyakti kendrik, sakal samaj, vyaktitya rahit,
(People are self-centered, the entire society is characterless)
Nishpran samaj, ko tor ti chodti na kyun?
(Lifeless society, why are you unaware of this?)
Itihas ki pukar, kare hunkar,

(The call of history is roaring)

O Ganga ki dhar, nirbal jan ko, sabalsangrami, samagrogrami, banati nahi ho kyun?.

(O stream of Ganga, why don’t you turn the weak into powerful warriors marching forward?)

Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, o ganga behti ho kyun?..
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)

Shrutasvini, kyun na rahin,
(Why did you stop being a source of action and energy)
Tum nishchay, chintan nahim,
(You became inanimate)
Prano me prerana deti na kyun?
(Why don’t you give inspiration to life?)
Unmat avani, kurushetra garami, gange janani, navabharat me, bhisma rupi, sut samrajayi, janati nahi ho kyun?
(The exhilarated earth has become Kurushetra (a battleground, where Mahabharata took place), Ganga, o mother, in this modern India why don’t you give birth to a victorious son like Bhishma, the great warrior?

Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, o ganga behti ho kyun?..
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)
Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, o ganga behti ho kyun?..
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)

Vistar hai apar, praja dono par, kare hahakar ni sabdth sada,
(Your expanse is immense, the people living on both banks are suffering silently)
O ganga tum, ganga tum, ganga tum, o ganga tum, ganga tum,  ganga behti ho kyun?..
(O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)
Ganga behti ho kyun? (O Ganga why do you keep flowing?)

(The ferryman finishes singing)

(Ferryman) – We have arrived. When you feel sad and lost, just observe and listen to the river my friend. The river is always dancing. The river dances in its own rhythm. The river dances with an infinite joy and everywhere it flows, it is at home. Goodbye my friend. God bless you!

(Hero) Goodbye sir. God bless you too and thank you for ferrying me across the river!

(End of scene VI.)

Scene VI Glossary:

Avoiding – verb, to stay away from something or someone

Leftovers – noun, the remains of something has already been used, eaten or completed

Rhythm – noun, a regular and repeated pattern of sounds and/or movements  

Infinite – adjective, something that has no limit or ending  

List of Context specific words (India):

Betel or pan – leaves of a climbing plant commonly chewed by people in India as a mild stimulant

Bhai – brother

Chal – common expression with a meaning similar to “let’s go”

Dada – older brother in Bengali

Didi – older sister in Bengal

Ghat – series of steps that lead to the river

Majhi – boatman

Khichdi – a popular dish in India made of rice and lentils (dal). It is a flexible dish that can be prepared only with rice and lentils or vegetables and/or meat can be added to it

Tabla – a classical Indian musical instrument which consists of a pair of small hand drums attached together, one being slightly larger than the other and is played using pressure from the heel of the hand to vary the pitch

Toto – A three wheeled electric battery powered vehicle that can be used as an alternative to rickshaws


Short Story: The Old Lady In The Market

This is a fictional short story. All characters and situations are imaginary. Only the locations are inspired by real places visited when travelling around the world.

“If you marry well, you will be happy,” said an old lady to a young unmarried lady savoring a homemade glutinous rice ball filled with pork, also called “zong zi” in Chinese. The old lady made this dish with love in her small room near the ‘Old’ Chinatown in Kolkata, a historical place near Tiretta Bazaar, famous for its early morning Chinese breakfast served in food stands.

The old lady owned of these small food stands. Every day, the old lady would come to the remnants of this ‘Old’ Chinatown in Kolkata and set up her own little food stand. She would place a chair and a bamboo basket on the floor and voila! She was now an independent business owner and this was her small food shop in the small busy street where the famous Chinese breakfast was served every morning. Other local Chinese Indians would also set up food stalls serving traditional Chinese breakfast foods. There were food shops selling fish and meatball soups, dumplings, steamed buns, spring rolls, sesame balls filled with red bean paste, pickled cabbage and many other traditional Chinese foods. This old lady made her special delicacies in her house, brought them to the market, and sold them to all the people visiting her stand: local Chinese Indians living in the area, Bengalis with a taste for Chinese food, migrants and tourists from other states in India or the ‘foreigner’ tourists who had heard about this exquisite place in a travel magazine or travel show. The old lady was happy to sell her delicacies to any passerby curious and brave enough to try the ‘goodies’ inside the bamboo basket. This bamboo basket showcased plastic bags filled with bamboo leaf wrapped “zong zi”, salted duck eggs, and tofu.*

*For those who haven’t heard of these foods before: “zong zi”(glutinous rice balls filled with pork and wrapped in bamboo leaves), salted duck eggs (a very salty type of preserved eggs), tofu (curd made from soybeans).

As the young lady was eating and chatting with the old lady, a middle aged man stepped in and whispered an intruding remark to the young lady, “One time I bought some eggs and tofu from this lady. The salted eggs were rotten and the tofu was sour! Be careful with what you buy from this lady.” The young lady quickly replied, “Thanks for the information but I can figure it out by myself. If you don’t mind, we were having a nice talk before you stepped in.” The man, stung by the power of the young lady’s response, backed off and went on his way. He wasn’t going to get lucky with this girl.

The old lady had very bad hearing and sight yet she fully understood what just had happened. Slowly and with a gentle smile, she leaned her wrinkled face towards the young lady’s delicate face and said with a soft voice, “These men are the worst. Never marry these kind of men.” She paused for a second. “If you marry well, you will be happy.”

The young lady nodded in agreement. In an attempt to change the topic, the young lady asked, “Do you have any sons or daughters?” The old lady replied, “Yes, I had a son and a daughter.” She glanced down and said, “My son died very young. He was only ten years old when he died of typhoid. It happened during the onset of the Sino-Indian War in 1962. Life was terrible for the Chinese living in India…” Then she looked up, and added, “My daughter moved to Hong Kong and got married there. My daughter married well, she is happy now.”

From the darkened sky above, it started raining. The old lady reached for a dark blue umbrella near the bamboo basket. She opened it and sheltered herself from the rain. Seeing the young lady without an umbrella, the old lady kindly made a gesture for the young lady to step into her blue shelter. While the old lady sat in her chair holding the umbrella, the young lady stood next to her, semi-curled, trying to dodge the incoming rain. There was a moment of silence. For a few minutes, both the old and the young lady contemplated the gently falling monsoon rain. Looking around, everything made sense, people seeking shelter from the rain, food vendors hurrying to close their shops, people eating, chatting, laughing, all under the falling rain, all in one moment, the present moment.

Once the rain slowed down, the old lady reached for her bag and from there she took out her wallet and showed an old black and white passport sized photo of a young woman. “She is my daughter”, she said. “My daughter married well, she is happy now.”

The rain stopped. The old lady started packing up her food shop. The Chinese breakfast was over. There was no fixed time for the start and ending of Chinese breakfast but generally it started very early around 5.30am and ended around 8.30am. It flowed accordingly to the temporary transactions between the food vendors, customers, weather and other unseen factors. Or a better way to explain this would be, it just flowed. Some food vendors had already packed and left while others were staying a little longer in order to sell all their perishable foods before going home or to other jobs. Especially the middle aged men and women had to rush to other places where they held other jobs. Life was tough; only selling Chinese breakfast in the morning can’t really feed their children and parents who lived with them, all under the same roof. On the other hand, many elderly Chinese Indian food sellers could return to their lonely homes and rest because most of them didn’t do it for the money; they did for the pure joy of it, to socialize with people and to keep alive their Chinese culture and presence in Kolkata. Of course, nobody could complain about the extra income from it. The old lady was satisfied with her sales. She had managed to sell all the “zong zi” though she still had leftover salted eggs and tofu. In a slow and careful motion, she packed them up. “Will these go bad?” asked the young lady innocently. The old lady slowly turned her head up, looked into the young lady’s eyes and replied as follows:

Everything goes bad, my dear.

Eggs will root,

Tofu will turn sour.

Children die,

Hearts will turn sour.

Only Hope remains

That I will meet them again in Heaven.

My sight is blurring,

My hearing is deafening,

My Death is approaching.

Life is like the monsoon rain,

It comes quickly and disappears swiftly.

Flooding our senses

And receding into emptiness.

My advice to you my dear,

Is just Being in Love.

Not to men

But to God.

You can find Him everywhere.

Remember if you marry well, you will be happy my dear.


Saying this, the old lady bid farewell and disappeared into the busy streets of Kolkata. The young lady looked around and slowly started to realize the beauty of God in everything.



Poem: Systems


That ‘systemize’ you

Into objects

Of systematic production.



That ‘productimizes’ you

Into consumers

Of productive destruction.



That ‘destructimizes’ you

Into things

Of destructed conscience.



That ‘consciencizes’ you

Into beings

Of unlimited compassion.



That liberates you

From these systems of cyclic volition.


May all beings become free from systems that bring suffering to all of us.

Poem: Connecting Your Heart (Part I)

Part I

As I sit writing this poem,

The chair made by a worker machine supports my weight.

My feet touches the ground and it supports me.

Burning coal factories fire the electricity to the lamp above.

This air I breathe in and out is shared among all.

The water I need flows through all, unevenly.

These clothes I wear were made by factory workers from all around the world,

Most likely trapped in low wage work in order to survive this hierarchical world.

An organized, globalized world, fueled by desires for wealth, fame and power.

Projected through the lens of a prescribed system often called capitalism.


An abstract system that categorizes and divides real life according to

So called laws of demand and supply,

Shareholder value,

Price and other fancy names that express no meaning at all,

For they are all empty.


Empty of its own inherent existence,

Empty from the only thing that makes them real,