Song of Exit

Oh little bird

Why do you search?

Can’t you see?

You are free

Fear not

Nothing external can cage you

No body

No place

No space

Small enough can cage you

No house

With its walls and windows

Can cage you

All disintegrates upon to its conditions

Little bird

Your Golden Cage

Is within

Your house walls seem thicker and thicker

Because you are more and more imbedded into

Your sense-desires

Craving

Awaken!

Lord Buddha once exclaimed

“Oh house-builder! You are seen, you shall build no house again!”

Thus cultivate, little bird, cultivate

Take upon the path the Elders have set you

And slowly untie the knots

That bind you to suffering

Oh little bird

Why do you search?

Can’t you see?

You are free

ps. Here is a free resource for Buddhist practitioners. I thought all precious, free things should be shared, here it is. Credits go to my teacher who introduced me to this book.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/PathofPurification2011.pdf

Freedom of Thought

Freedom of thought

Like a bird

Flying around the world

 

Fearless

Like a phoenix

Burning up impurities to ashes

 

Brave

Like a snow-lion

Hunting high up in the mountains

 

Mighty

Like a tiger

Roaming the dark wilderness

 

Grounded

Like a tortoise

Shelled by the Dharma

 

Flowing

Like a fish

In the pure River of Life

 

Sprouting

Like a bamboo tree

Up into the heavenly Sky

 

Blossoming

Like a lotus

To spread its inner beauty to the world

 

Free

Like the wind

Like the sound

Like the energy of Love

Echoing throughout the Universe

Nameless Freedom

Nameless freedom

Is what I search

Nameless freedom

Is what I long

 

Five elements dance within

Fire burns strong

Water flows clean

Wood grows long

Metal refines pure

All ready to endure

Explosive chaos

To eternal Harmony

 

By the clear lake of mind

The lotus heart tingles

Ready to blossom

And spread Love into the world

 

By the clear lake of mind

The dragonfly flies

In circles

Teaching the impermanence of life

 

By the clear lake of mind

The fisherman knits his net of interdependence

Ready to catch

The erroneous fish of isolated existence

 

By the clear lake of mind

The woodcutter sharpens his axe of wisdom

Ready to chop down

The vine-tree of ignorance

 

By the clear lake of mind

The yogi meditates

Ready to battle his ego

To finally realize Shunyata

 

By the clear lake of mind

A bird is perched

On the tree of illusory existence

Singing

 

Nameless freedom

Is what I search

Nameless freedom

Is what I long

 

Sing with me

My friend

Only together

Freedom shall be found

Quando cantas, pequeno pássaro? (When will you sing, little bird?)

Em Março toda a acção se junta

Na Primavera o tempo pergunta

Quando cantas, pequeno pássaro Buddha?

 

O Inverno tem sido muito frio

A tua voz o mundo necessita

Agora só se escuta

O rugido do vento da Morte

Que ceifa vidas

Dos fracos e dos fortes

Pessoas que ainda não ouviram a tua doce voz do Dharma.

 

Ouve-se o assobio das bombas que caem

Os gritos da Terra violada

O disparo dos tiros que cortam o choro das crianças inocentes

Rasgando os coracões dos seus parentes

Como se vive sem coração?

 

Quão grande será o sofrimento destes pais culpados?

Que vivem mais tempo que os seus pequenos

Como se libertarão das cicatrizes de uma esterilização forçada?

Como se liberatarão da raiva?

Da vontade de retribuição

De mais e mais sofrimento no ciclo da existência

Como se libertarão?

 

Só a tua doce voz do Dharma…

Só a tua doce voz do Dharma…

 

Em Março toda a acção se junta

Na Primavera o tempo pergunta

Quando cantas, pequeno pássaro Buddha?

 

Dharma como fruta se madura

Para chegar a Primavera

Três estações se espera

Para o brilho da Lua Cheia

Três fases se transforma

Para o caminho a Deus começar

Sete pecados mortais se expia

Para o Buddha em si acordar

As quatro Nobres Verdades se internaliza

Para a Lótus de Oito Pétalas se abrir

O Caminho Óctuplo se pratica

 

Lá dentro

O pequeno pássaro Buddha espera…

 

Em Março toda a acção se junta

Na Primavera o tempo pergunta

Quando cantas, pequeno pássaro Buddha?

 

Em Março

Primavera chega

Dharma madura

Lua Cheia brilha

O caminho a Deus começa

Buddha acorda

A Lótus de Oito Pétalas abre

E o pequeno pássaro Buddha canta!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before You Leave Come Say Bye

“Before you leave come say bye,”

Said the old man

To the young boy.

Good friends they became

Just like the Little Prince visiting the plane-wrecked Antoine Saint Exupery.

Was it accident that this young boy

Landed on the 3rd Planet in the Solar System?

Gravity has its own ways to pull people together,

And separating them.

The young boy learned that he had to leave soon

So hurriedly he rushed to say bye to the village community

And the old man in it.

But just as Gravity pulls people together,

It also pulls them apart

Making it hard to say bye.

Adding to this challenge,

People decomposed fast in this world

Like old ‘mushed’ paper

People got old and decomposed.

It was hard to say goodbye,

Somehow gravity was pulling them apart,

And the old man was decomposing like paper.

 

Paper like people

In a paper like world.

At first we stand straight and young

But soon we become old and curled.

Like balls of ‘mushed’ paper,

People and planets spin around

Joined and separated by the force of gravity.

 

Oh world,

Impermanent world,

You throw us together

And separate us

We are born,

We age,

We die,

Not having time to say a proper goodbye.

 

Remember as the body dies,

The soul lives on forever with God.

(So light up the spark of Love right here, right now, and Be with God.)

The Dancing Boy – A Script for a Children’s Dance Drama Part III Scenes VII, VIII, IX, X

Scene VII – In the Ghat With Friends

(Hero and his group of friends sit in their usual meeting place by the river ghat. They are relaxing and chatting with each other.)

(Hero) – How was your day?

(Laddoo) – My day was good. Our shop sold a big order of tablas today. I helped to convince the customer to buy one by playing a tune with my tabla. Just like this. (He plays a quick beat on his tabla.)

(Hero) – That’s a really nice beat.

(Iron-Man) – Our shop also sold two second-hand motorbikes today.

(Golu) – You guys all sold big orders. It’s hard to sell fruit these days. Our owner only sells organic fruits but they don’t look as good as the fruits produced using fertilizers and pesticides. People get tricked by the looks.

(Anand) – I guess my situation is similar to yours. Now people prefer the nice looking Totos (three wheeled electric vehicles) to cycle-rickshaws. They say “our rickshaws are old, worn out and too slow.” If people paid us a little more than a few rupees, we would be able to improve the conditions of our rickshaws, eat some proper food so we have energy to cycle faster. You know nowadays people talk about sustainability and going green, I don’t think rickshaws cause as much pollution as cars or auto rickshaws. Yet it seems like the society wants to starve us out of the streets.

(Pilot) – Totos are green too. They run on electricity.

(Anand) – Doesn’t electricity come from coal factories?

(Pilot) – I guess but at least it is better than using gasoline. Totos are the new thing, sorry to tell you but old things get replaced by new ones.

(Anand) –  The same thing is going to happen to you sooner or later. When an alternative to Totos comes out and kicks your Totos out of business, you will be the one complaining.

(Hero) – You two are always arguing. You (points to the Toto driver) should feel compassion for Anand and other rickshaw pullers. Think about how they are going to live after they lose their jobs, how their families are going to suffer. If you can, you should help rickshaw pullers find jobs as Toto drivers.

(Pilot) – You’re right…I’m sorry Anand. If you need a job as a Toto driver, I will try my best to help you out (pats Anand in the back). I’m here for you.

(Anand) – Thanks man, I appreciate it bhai.

(Laddoo) – How was your day Hero?

(Hero) – My day was terrible. I was never disrespected this much in my life.

(Friends) – What happened?

(Hero) – I decided to go to the other side of the river.

(Pilot) – Why?

(Hero) – I wanted to go learn some moves from a bboy crew over there.

(Golu) – You’re crazy. Crossing the river is dangerous. Just a few months ago a boat capsized and two people died because they didn’t know how to swim.

(Pilot) – Yes, this river can be very dangerous. I know of several people who drowned while swimming in the river. Do you know how to swim Hero?

(Hero) – A little bit…

(Laddoo) – Don’t listen to them Hero. You returned from the journey safely. Anyway, did they teach you bboying?

(Hero) – No. That’s what made me angry. Their crew leader was so disrespectful. He looked at my clothing and asked me “Where are you from?” I said “…from the other side of the river.” Right after I said that, they looked at each other and judged me. I never felt like that before. It was like I was a criminal or something.

(Iron-Man) – Do you want us to go beat them up?

(Hero) – No, we don’t have to do that. There was one person from their crew who was very nice.

(Friends) – Really?

(Hero) – Yes, she wanted to teach me some moves but the crew didn’t allow her.

(Laddoo) So it’s a she? Did you fall in love Hero?

(Hero) No, no, none of that… So this crew was training for an upcoming battle happening in a few months.

(Iron-Man) – Battle? Like a fight?

(Hero) – No, no. A dance battle…

(Laddoo) – Oh…Like in the movie Any Body Can Dance or ABCD?

(Hero) – Yes, sort of like that. When I was returning home, I had an idea.

(Laddoo) – What kind of idea?

(Hero) – Do you guys want to form a dance crew with me and battle them?

(Laddoo) – That’s a great idea! I’ve always wanted to learn breakdance. I’m in!

(Golu) – But I don’t know how to dance.

(Hero) – Don’t worry, I know some moves, I’ll teach you. What do you think Iron-Man?

(Iron-Man) – Why not? They disrespected one of our brothers so we need to show them that we can do this dance too!

(Pilot) – Sorry, I don’t think I have time for this! I am too tired after my work.

(Anand) – If I can do it, you can do it too. My work is more tiring than yours and I still have energy to learn this.

(Pilot) – Ok, for you Anand, I’ll do it.

(Hero) – It seems like a have a crew! Who has some music?

(Pilot) – I do. Check this out. (He plays a Yo Yo Honey Singh song.)

(All his friends start acting and dancing like Honey Singh, a very popular commercial rapper in India who raps songs with messages about portraying women as sexual objects, going to parties and drinking alcohol.)

(Hero) – Stop! What are you doing? This is not Hip Hop! This is bad want to be gangster music. Check out this song.

(Hero plays a Hip Hop song from his phone. This is a Hip Hop song that mixes the old with the new and has a inspiring message for the youth.)

(Hero) – Now we need to practice and work hard every day!

(Friends) – Yes! Let’s do this!

(Hero teaches his friends some moves. End of Scene VII.)

Scene VII Glossary:

Convince – verb, to make someone believe or agree to something

Fertilizers – noun, a product that is added to the soil to help plants grow

Pesticides – noun, a product that is used to kill insects that damage the plant

Complaining – verb, to say that you don’t like or that you unhappy with something

Compassion – noun, a feeling of wanting to help someone who is suffering

Capsized – verb, when a boat turns upside down in the water

Gangster – noun, a member of a group of violent criminals

 

Scene VIII – Practicing By the Ghat

(The group is sitting on a dance carpet set up by the ghat. They are sitting in a circle and chatting.)

(Anand) – Hey guys, while I was carrying a customer on the rickshaw, I saw this poster on a wall near the mall. I suddenly stopped the rickshaw and got the poster so I can show it you. Here it is. The customer kept yelling at me but who cares?

(The group of friends come together to read the poster.)

(Hero) – This is amazing Anand. I think this is the state dance competition that the crew on theother side of the river plans to go.

(Pilot) – The prize is 20 000 rupees for the winning dance crew!

(Golu) – That’s so much money…

(Pilot) – If we win that prize, I would get a new phone.

(Laddoo) – I would buy a new tabla for myself.

(Anand) – I would buy a fridge for my family.

(Golu) – I would use the money to get a new sound system for us.

(Iron-Man) – Stop dreaming about the money you don’t have yet. Remember our goal is to battle the dance crew who disrespected Hero.

(Hero) – Yes, let’s find that crew at the event and battle them. We will show them that people from this side of the river can bboy too.

(Friends) Yes! Let’s show them our skills.

(Hero) So who can attend this dance competition?

(Iron-Man) I’m ready for the battle. Count me in.

(Friends) I’m in!

(Hero) Do you have money for conveyance costs? We have to take a ferry then a bus.

(Golu) I have no money. I give all the money I earn to my parents.

(Hero) Can you ask them to give you some for this trip?

(Golu) I don’t know if they will give me but I’ll try to ask them.

(Pilot) Hero I have no money left.

(Hero) You’re funny. Yesterday I saw you at the local betel shop enjoying yourself – you were having cold drinks and eating ice-cream.

(Pilot) What? How come you saw me?

(Hero) Yea, my eyes see too many things. When you feel like having a cold drink, you control that desire and you can save enough money to cover the conveyance cost for this trip.

(Pilot) I’ll try…

(Hero) Anyone else has problems with the conveyance fee?

(Friends) No.

(Hero) Great. Let’s start our dance practice.

(The group of friends start practicing a dance routine. The practice doesn’t go well. People start forgetting moves and yelling at each other.)

(Pilot) Golu, you stupid, you’re doing this wrong! It’s not like this, you have to open your arms more.

(Golu) Ok.

(Hero) Take it easy Pilot. Don’t scream at Golu like that.

(Pilot) He is doing this move wrong.

(Hero) That is not an excuse to scream at your crew member and call him “stupid”. How would you feel if others called you “stupid”?

(Pilot keeps silent.)

(Laddoo) Let’s go people, don’t get upset at each other. Let’s keep going.

(The crew continues their practice. While working on a move, Golu injures his ankle.)

(Golu) Ouch! Stop, stop. (Golu lies on the floor and grabs his ankle.)

(Hero) What happened Golu?

(Golu) My ankle…

(Pilot) Are you acting Golu?

(Golu) I’m serious! I think I sprained it.

(Iron-Man) Let me check. (He examines Golu’s ankle.) It’s a minor sprain, you can still move well. Just rest and it will be good in a few days.

(Hero) Where did you learn this Iron-Man?

(Iron-Man) I used play football for the local club. These injuries are very common. Golu, you take a break and everyone else let’s continue practicing. We have a battle to win!

(Pilot) Yes sir, big boss Iron Man!

(Lights fade with the crew continuing their dance practice. End of Scene VIII.)

Scene VIII Glossary

Suddenly – adverb, quickly and as a surprise to others

Attend – verb, to go to or take part in an event

Yelling – verb, to say something very loudly, to scream

Desire – noun, a strong feeling of wishing or wanting something

Sprained – verb, to get hurt by twisting the ligaments (tissue that connects parts of the body)

 

Scene IX The Night Before the Battle

(Hero, mother and father are all sitting and waiting for Muskan to arrive home and start dinner. Muskan went to school to check her final examination results.)

(Muskan) I’m back!

(Mother) I’m glad you’re back. We were getting worried for you.

(Muskan) There was a lot of traffic on the way back from school.

(Father) Sorry for my impatience, how were your examination results?

(Muskan) Sorry father…I…

(Father) You what?

(Muskan) I passed with top marks! I am the class topper!

(Father) You almost gave me a heart attack! Congratulations! I’m so proud of you!

(At the same time Mother drops the plate with roti inside and starts screaming in joy.)

(Hero) Oh yea! (Hero starts dancing in joy.)

(Muskan) You are all acting so crazy. I’m so hungry, let’s eat!

(Mother) Ok, ok, everybody calm down. Let’s start dinner. (Mother starts serving dinner.)

(Muskan) Mother, father, now I don’t have to marry yet right?

(Father) You have proved yourself that you really want to continue your education. We support your decision. You can marry later, after you finish college.

(Muskan) Yes! I will now start my college applications!

(Father) Yes, you go for it. We will try to help you as much as we can financially but you know our family is not rich.

(Muskan) Yes father I know. There are scholarships available to help pay for college fees, I will try to apply for them.

(Mother) Hero, see how your sister is so responsible and hardworking. You need to learn from her. You have to study hard too.

(Hero) Yes mother.

(Muskan) Mother, Hero studies and works very hard day and night! He is a good boy.

(Hero) Boy? Sister, I am a grown-up now.

(Muskan) A grown-up? You will always be a boy in my eyes my little brother.

(Hero) As you wish sister. Mother, tomorrow I have no work or school so my friends and I are planning to go to a dance competition on the other side of the river? May I go with them?

(Father) A dance competition? Don’t you have better things to do?

(Hero) Like what?

(Father) Like studying.

(Hero) I study very hard when I go to the after-school learning center. You can ask the teachers there. Also I have been working very hard in the jute mill…

(Muskan) Father, Hero has been doing so much for the family lately. His good behavior should be rewarded, please let him go to this dance competition.

(Mother) Ok Hero, you may go but you must return by dinner time. It’s dangerous roaming around the other side so late.

(Hero) Yes I will be back before dinner time. Thank you mother! You are the best!

(Father) How about my opinion?

(Mother) Just let him go with his friends. I’m sure they will learn something from it.

(Hero) Yes we will. Maybe we will bring the dance trophy back home!

(Mother) Don’t brag about things you haven’t accomplished yet! That’s a bad habit.

(Hero) Sorry mother. I will give my best for this competition and we will see what happens.

(Muskan) That sounds so much better.

(Hero) I’m so nervous for this competition…Do you have any advice sister?

(Muskan) Actually the night before I went to take my first exam, I was really really nervous. Then I thought about all the hardwork I put in preparing for this exam so I decided to just let it Be. Whatever shall happen, will happen. I did all I could in preparing for the final exam so I let it all flow according to God’s will. I became free of worries and stress. I hope this insight helps you too…

(Hero) Thank you sister. This is really helpful. After listening to your advice, I have no worries now. Whatever shall happen, will happen. My dance crew did its best to prepare for this dance competition so we just need to allow the river of Life flow its course!

(Muskan) Hearing these words from you makes me feel so happy! Good luck for tomorrow’s dance battle Hero! Maybe I will see you there…

(Hero) What? Are you are going too?

(Muskan) Shhh… You get some good rest. Good night little brother. You will do fine tomorrow.

(End of Scene IX)

Scene IX Glossary

brag – verb, to exaggerate one’s sense of importance

nervous – adjective, to feel worried or scared about what might happen in the near future

advice – noun, a opinion on what someone should do

stress – noun, a state of mental tension

insight – noun, a deep understanding of someone or something

 

Scene X Freestyle Battle Event

(Background is a Hip Hop dance competition with live music and graffiti art. DJ Jojo Joney is in the stand playing music.)

(Hero’s crew walk into the stage where the jam is happening.)

(Hero’s sister Muskan appears with her bgirl crew.)

(Hero) – Hey sister, what are you doing here?

(Muskan) – Hi Hero! I want to tell you something. Sorry I didn’t tell you or parents before but I am actually a b-girl. My friends are too. We have a girl’s only crew on this side of the river. We have seen how hard how guys have been practicing and we decided to help you beat that crew that disrespected you.

(The crew that shunned the boy enters the stage. They act very cool, expensive clothing, some with sunglasses. The crew walks past Hero’s crew and Bill bumps into Hero.)

(Hero) – Watch your step!

(Bill) – Says who? Dirty boy!

(DJ JoJo Joney) – Watch out for your language on the dance floor or you may be disqualified. For tonight’s first battle, we have two dance crews from different sides of the river. (Introduce by the crew names.)

(The dance floor divides into two sides. Battle time. Improvised freestyle battle. Crews can do routines if they want to.)

(After the battle, the audience decides which crew should win. The DJ announces the winner. The winning crew celebrates.)

(DJ JoJo Joney) – Let me tell you something about this talented crew from the other side of the river that I admire. These are working children, hard-working young men who in addition to practicing breakdance, they hold full time jobs. They do the hardest jobs that most of you don’t really consider them important. They are rickshaw pullers, mechanics, fruit sellers, Toto drivers and jute mill workers yet they found time to practice what they love despite all their hardships! Much respect! This is the true essence of Hip Hop! Let’s give a round of applause to these kids.

(Bill) – Respect! I want to apologize for my past attitude towards your crew. Please forgive me. Your crew showed everyone here how talented and creative you are. I have never seen moves like the ones you guys did during our battle. Your dance flows straight out of your Heart.

(Hero) – As long as your apologies are sincere, we accept them.

(Bill) – I hope one day I will dance as freely as you do… I have so much to learn. Who is your dance teacher?

(Hero) – Same for me, learning never ends. To be honest, our crew has no money for a dance teacher. We had to teach ourselves how to dance. I was guided by a ferryman who told me to observe and listen to the River and that is what I did… My dance is inspired by the flow of the River.

(Bill) – That’s deep…

(Sweetz) Wait Hero, our crew wants to ask you something.

(Hero) Sure, what is it?

(Sweetz) Bill, why don’t you ask them to join us for the dance performance during Chinese New Year?

(Bill) Ah good idea Sweetz. (Turns to Hero and his crew) Our crew was invited to perform for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration. We would like to invite you to perform with us, if you guys have time of course.

(Hero) Chinese New Year? When is that?

(Bill) It happens every year sometime around the end of January and start of February. It varies according to the lunar calendar. It is a very big festival. There will be lots of traditional Chinese food, firecrackers, singing, lion dance and our breakdance performance.

(Hero) Wow that sounds wonderful! (Hero turns to his crew) What do you think?

(Hero’s crew) We are in!

(Laddoo) Who doesn’t like Chinese food seriously?

(Hero) Stop thinking about food Laddoo, it’s time to return home, to the other shore! Chal!

(Red lights and Chinese festival music in the background. Close the curtains. End of Scene X.)

(The End)

Scene X Glossary

Shunned – verb, to say no or stay away from someone or something

Bumps – verb, to crash or run into someone or something usually with impact

Disqualified – verb, to take someone out of a competition because of breaking the rules

Improvised – verb, something created at the moment, spontaneously, often without preparation

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

Thank you for reading this script for children’s play. I would really appreciate if you could share with me your ideas and thoughts about this script so I can improve it. Ideas for collaborative projects are also welcome.

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q2vG8QiIis

(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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Vk-xfVQg8

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?)

(Hindi)

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

TO BE CONTINUED…