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?
(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.
(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.)
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.