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 I Scenes I, II, III

Dedicatory Note: 

This dance-drama script is dedicated to all children and youth who struggle to find their inner voices and their sense of place in an unjust world that cages them in slums and to lives of poverty and powerlessness.

Notes before reading the script:

This script for a children’s dance-drama was written based on life experiences travelling and working in India. It blossomed from the relationships developed with people who openly shared their lives with all its joys, sorrows and most importantly Love. It was the innate joy of children and youth, the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Hip Hop culture, the River and the places where I lived and worked that inspired me to write this script for a children’s dance-drama. Since this script was written by taking in mind the needs of young English learners, it was decided to include definitions of words that might prove to be difficult for these young learners. Definitions were simplified as much as possible so young English learners can connect to the specific meaning used in the specific context. Also, a list of definitions for context specific words is provided at the beginning or end of the post. The script will be separated into three separate posts due to the size of the script. Ideas for lesson plans, feedback and constructive criticism are welcome. I hope this script will inspire and bring joy to you.

List of context specific words (India) used throughout the script:

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”

Chii – common expression to express annoyance or mental unease towards something

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

List of Characters:

Hero: He is a fourteen year old teenager who helps his family by working in a jute mill. Naïve and idealistic, he hasn’t yet experienced the corrupting world of modernizing India. Although he works in the mill, Hero is still a student at the local public school but he skips lots of classes due to lack of interest and due to time conflict with the  work in the jute mill. Hero is a very curious boy and loves to ask questions and learn new things. In his free time, Hero goes to his neighborhood’s non-formal educational center where he has learned many new things and developed strong skills in reading, writing and in different subjects. Hero has an innate drive to dance and wants to learn bboying or breakdancing.

Ferryman: A wise old man who appears to be a simple man doing his work joyfully. Little do people know about his mystical and divine inner nature that allows him to simply enjoy the present moment. He loves to sing folk songs while he ferries people across the river.

Muskan (Sister): Muskan is Hero’s older sister. She is eighteen years old and about to take her final class twelve examinations. She is an intelligent, free-spirited and determined young lady who enjoys learning and trying out new things. Her parents want to set up an arranged marriage for her but she wants to continue her education beyond class twelve and graduate from college.

Mother: She is a housewife, very dedicated to her family. She works very hard and runs all household related affairs from managing the money, shopping, cooking, cleaning and raising the children. She is a natural leader and has lots of inner strength therefore she has the final say in any decision related to family issues.

Father: A hardworking, down-to-earth man who has been the family breadwinner since he was very young. He is experienced with life and the everyday struggle for survival faced by the poor working classes. The factory he worked in for most of his life closed down so he lost his job. Depressed, he recently started drinking alcohol as a way to escape from reality.

Anand (Cycle rickshaw puller): Anand is fifteen years old and is one of Hero’s best friends. He is a caring and family oriented young man who works as a cycle rickshaw puller in order to help support his family. Anand used to get top marks in school but he had to give up his studies a few years ago in order to start earning money for the family. He used to have big interest Anand has experienced major physical and psychological hardships working as a cycle rickshaw puller so he became angry and disappointed at life. He is worried about what future might hold for him and his family.

Scene I By the River Ghat

(A boy named Hero sits by the ghat, a worship song is playing in the background, he is reading an old book and sometimes glancing at the river.)

(His friend Anand enters the stage driving a cycle rickshaw. He stops his rickshaw by the ghat and walks to say hi to Hero.)

(Anand) – Hi, Hero!

(Hero) – Hello, Anand.

(Anand) – How was your day?

(Hero) – Tiring. Working in the jute mill takes a lot out of me. Non-stop making jute bags and if I ever get distracted or slow down, my boss beats me up.

(Anand) – Pulling a rickshaw takes a lot out of me too. My father’s rickshaw is falling apart and I have no money to repair it. When I cycle people around, the metal chain keeps popping out so I have to stop the rickshaw and place it back into place. Customers complain a lot but I have no other choice…

(Hero) – And I thought my job was hard. Your job might be a lot harder than mine specially in a hot day like today.

(Anand) – But the worst part is not even the physical labor or the heat, the worst part is how people don’t really treat me like I am worth anything. Some people don’t even look at me like I’m a human being and others throw their payment money at me like I am a dirty beggar.

(Hero) – That’s so disrespectful!

(Anand) – Yes, sometimes I feel like throwing them out of my rickshaw. But then I think about my mother, younger brother and sister and how they need my support. You know my father passed away recently so I have to take care of my family now. I take all these insults for them.

(Hero) – I’m really sorry about your father.  You are doing the right thing by taking care of your family. God bless you.

(Anand) – Thank you. I saw you were reading a book just a few minutes ago. What book is it?

(Hero) – You mean this book? I found this old book on my way here from the jute mill. Somebody left it on the pavement. Nobody was there to claim it so I picked it up and brought it along with me so I can read it.

(Anand) – Even though I can’t read or write well, I would never drop any book on the road. You know, I used to love going to school and learn how to read. I used to be a top student in class but I had to quit school and take up a job. Sometimes I wish I was still in school so I can learn to read properly. Hero could you read a few lines from this book for me?

(Hero) – Sure Anand, let me read my favorite lines from a poem in this book.

“On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.

The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances.”

(Anand) What does “boisterous” mean?

(Hero) I don’t know. Whatever words I don’t know, I just skip them.

(Anand) Wait, I see you have a touch screen cellphone. Why don’t you check in the dictionary? I have a very cheap China mobile so no internet, only calling and sms.

(Hero) Ok, let’s check it out…Here it is, boisterous – adjective, a noisy and active way filled with energy.

(Anand) A noisy and active way filled with energy. Hm, like the river right now.

(Hero) Good point, I’ll continue reading.

“On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.”

(Anand) Can you check “trackless” for me?

(Hero) Ah I don’t need to check this one. Trackless means having no path, no track.

(Anand) This is just how I feel right now, boisterous and trackless. Inside, I’m boiling with anger and disappointment at life. I see no path for me, no tracks. There is no future in my life Hero except being stuck in this crap job as a rickshaw puller.

(Hero) I wish I could help you Anand. If you want, I can see if there are any vacant jobs with the jute mill. Maybe you can work with me for the jute mill. I know your family is suffering right now, if there need is any way help just let me know. I will see what I can do.

(Anand) Thank you bhai. (Anand sheds some tears and looks down to his kness and lifts his head up.) Who wrote these lines Hero?

(Hero) These lines are from a poem called “On the Seashore” written by Rabindranath Tagore.

(Anand) – Thank you for reading this poem to me. I don’t really understand the full meaning of it but it sounds beautiful. Look at the sky and see those dark clouds. A storm is coming.  I think it’s time for us to go home.

(Hero) – Yes, it is. I’m also late for dinner.

(Anand) – Get into the rickshaw. I can give you a ride.

(The two friends ride in the rickshaw together back to their houses.)

Scene I Glossary:

Worship: the act of showing respect and love for God or a deity

Glancing: from verb to glance, to look at someone or something very quickly

Takes a lot out of: idiom, to drain a lot of energy out of

Specially: adverb, being different than normal, particularly

Labor: noun, physical or mental work

Worth: adj., having value

Passed away: verb, someone who died

Insults: noun, bad talk that can hurt other people’s feelings  

Properly: adj., in a correct way

Boisterous: adj., a noisy and active way filled with energy 


Scene II – In the House

(Hero) – I’m back!

(Mother) – Go wash your hands and come eat. We are waiting for you!

(Father) – Quickly, I’m starving!

(Hero) – Ok, ok. What do we have for dinner?

(Mother) – Khichdi.

(Hero) – Again, mother? We have been having khichdi for three days in a row.

(Mother) – If you gave me some money, I would buy some meat and vegetables and cook more things.

(Hero) – But I just gave money to father a few days ago.

(Father) (Gives an angry stare at the boy. Makes signal for the boy to shut up.)

(Mother) – What did you do with the money?

(Father) – I used it to pay some bills due.

(Mother) – What bills? I just paid rent and the electricity bill last week.

(Father) – Personal bills. None of your business.

(Mother) – Did you go to the alcohol store?

(Father) – I said none of your business! I’m hungry, let’s eat!

(Mother) -Hero, next time you give the money to me, do you understand?

(Hero) – Yes, mother.

(Mother) – Let’s eat. (The mother starts serving the food.) We have some good news. Tomorrow your father and I are going to meet a potential husband for your sister.

(Hero) – Who is this?

(Father) – It’s one of my old friends’ brother’s son. He is a hardworking boy from a good family.

(Muskan) – Can we just eat instead of talking about my marriage?

(Mother) – You are a grown up lady now. Times are dangerous for unmarried young ladies living in our neighborhood. It is best for you to get married and start a family.

(Muskan) – What about my studies?

(Father) – You are almost finishing class twelve. It’s a big achievement. Not many girls in our neighborhood are able to accomplish this.

(Muskan) – What if I want to go to college?

(Father) – Do you want to continue studying?

(Muskan) – Yes.

(Father) – Then we will wait and see how you do in your final examinations. If your results are good, you may continue your studies. If they are not, it will be time for you to get married.

(Muskan) – Trust me. I will work very hard and I will be a class topper.

(Father) – We believe you. If you work hard, you can achieve whatever you set yourself to.

(Hero) – Wow look at the TV. That’s so cool. What kind of dance is this?

(Muskan) – It’s called breakdance or bboying or bgirling depending if it’s a boy or girl dancing. I saw some kids doing it on the other side of the river. I practice…(she stops what she was going to say.)

(Hero) – Wow! I can do this too! (The boy tries to imitate what he sees.)

(Mother) – Finish your food!

(Hero) – I want to go to the other side and practice with those breakdancer kids!

(Mother) – Are you mad? You are not a child anymore. You have to help support the family. Your father just lost his job recently! His factory just closed down.

(Hero) – Don’t worry mother! I can do both. Tomorrow I have no work so I will travel to the other side of the river and go practice with them! Where is that group’s practice spot, sister?

(Muskan) – They practice near the ghat on the other side of the river.

(Hero) – Awesome! I will go there tomorrow. I need to practice some of my moves first.

(Muskan) – I also know of an all girls crew on the other side of the river if you want to practice with them instead.

(Hero) – A girl’s crew? No, it’s ok. I’ll go find this group first.

(Muskan) – As you wish.

(Lights slowly fade with the boy trying to do some breakdance.)

Scene II Glossary:

Achievement: noun, a successful result usually due to effort and hard-work

Accomplish: verb, to succeed or to complete something

Fade: verb, to slowly disappear

Scene III – The Ferryman By the Ghat

(Ferryman) – All aboard. Let’s travel to the other shore.

(Hero) – Is this ferry going to the other side of the river?

(Ferryman) – Yes, it is. Why do you want to cross the river my friend?

(Hero) – I’m going to learn breakdance sir.

(Ferryman) – Breakdance? Is it popular again now? I first heard of this dance forty years ago. It is also called bboying or bgirling right?

(Hero) – Yes. Do you know how to breakdance sir?

(Ferryman) – Haha, no. I have seen people doing this but I haven’t tried it myself. You seem like a simple and friendly young man. Let me tell you something about the other side of the river. You know, the other side is not a welcoming place for kids like yourself.

(Hero) – What do you mean sir?

(Ferryman) – It is a city for the so called ‘modern people’. Life is fast and monotonous. People walk around in fancy shirts with no smiles in their faces and bump into each other. People cheat, people argue and people walk around like they are better than everyone else. Do you still want to go to the other side of the river?

(Hero) – I had no idea about this. Thank you for your advice. What you are saying might be true but I still want to figure it out by myself. Yesterday, I learned from my sister that there is a group of breakdancers on the other side of the river. My goal is to travel to the other side, find these dancers and practice with them. No matter what happens, I will cross this river and see the city with my own eyes!

(Ferryman) – I see you are determined to go! Wonderful it is when people set out for quests! I wish you the best of luck my friend. Go on and chase your dream! Let me teach you a song that us ferrymen always sing to enjoy ourselves.

Song 1: “Mere Sajan He Uspar” by S. D. Burman from movie Bandini (1963)

Lyrics by Shailendra and English Translation by Dr. V. S. Gopalakrishnan (Edited Version)

O re majhi, o re majhi, o mere majhi / (O boatman, o boatman, o my boatman)
Mere saajan hain us paar / (My lover is on the other side of the river)
Main man maar /(I am unwillingly)
Hoon is paar o mere maajhi / (On this side, o my boatman)
Ab ki baar / (This time)
Le chal paar /(Take me to the other side)
Le chal paar / (Take me to the other side)
Mere saajan hain us paar (My lover is on the other side of the river)
Main man maar /(I am unwillingly)
Hoon is paar o mere maajhi /(On this side, o my boatman)
Ab ki baar / (This time)
Le chal paar / (Take me to the other side)
Le chal paar / (Take me to the other side)
Mere saajan hain us paar / (My lover is on the other side of the river)

Oh man ki kitaab se tum / (Strike out my name from your mind)
Mera naam hi mita dena / (Erase my name)
Gun to na tha koi bhi / (I had no good qualities)
Avgun mere bhula dena (Forget my bad qualities)

Man ki kitaab se tum / (Strike out my name from your mind)
Mera naam hi mita dena / (Erase my name)
Gun to na tha koi bhi / (I had no good qualities)
Avgun mere bhula dena / (Forget my bad qualities)

Mujhe aaj ki vidhata / (I am the Creator of today)
Mujhe aaj ki vidhata / (I am the Creator of today)
Mar ke bhi rehta intazaar / (If I die I will also wait for you)
Mere saajan hain us paar / (My lover is on the other side)
Main man maar / (I am unwillingly)
Hoon is paar / (On this side)

O mere maajhi / (O my boatman)
Ab ki baar / (This time)
Le chal paar / (Take me to the other side)
Le chal paar / (Take me to the other side)
Mere saajan hain us paar (My lover is on the other side)

Mat khel jal jaayegi / (Don’t play you will get burned)
Kehti hai aag mere man ki / (Says the fire of my mind)
Mat khel mat khel / (Do not play, do not play)
Mat khel jal jaayegi / (Don’t play you will get burned)
Kehti hai aag mere man ki /(Says the fire of my heart)

Main bandini piya ki / (I am a prisoner of love)
Main sangini hoon saajan ki / (I am the partner of my lover)
Mera kheenchti hai aanchal / (Someone pulls my dupata (Indian scarf))
Mera kheenchti hai aanchal / (Someone pulls my dupata (Indian scarf))
Man meet teri har pukaar / (My heart is calling for you)
Mere saajan hain us paar / (My lover is on the other side)

Main man maar /(I am unwillingly)
Hoon is paar o mere maajhi /(On this side, o my boatman)
Ab ki baar / (This time)
Le chal paar / (Take me to the other side)
Le chal paar / (Take me to the other side)
Mere saajan hain us paar / (My lover is on the other side of the river)
O re maajhi, o re maajhi, o mere maajhi / (O boatman, o boatman, o my boatman)

(The ferryman finishes singing.)

(Ferryman) – We have arrived. Go on my friend. Go find the group of dancers. Once you complete your journey, I will be here to ferry you back home. I can ferry you to the other shore.

(Hero) – What a beautiful song! Thank you sir. See you soon.  (End of scene III)

Scene III Glossary:

Aboard – preposition, get onto a vehicle like a boat or ship

Popular –adjective, liked or followed by many people

Modern – adjective, related to present or recent time

Monotonous – adjective, boring or as having no variety

 To Be Continued…