Thursday, February 11, 2010

Logline and story(work in progress) - varun

Logline - It’s about this teenager who has just got out of his small sheltered world and is making a train journey on his own where he is introduced to the hypocritical nature of people by his interactions with a religious lady and her 5 foot tall framed picture of Lord Krishna.

When one travels in a long journey train in India one cannot avoid new experiences that could range from nice to bizarre.

I was waiting in the waiting room of New Delhi railway station eating food that mum packed and with every bite I took I felt the small sheltered world I lived in disappear. Its not the same as it used to be, the world was different, life wasn’t simple as it was in childhood. There was constant movement of different people like a river and after a point the movement didn’t stop but became stale. It was 9:00 p.m and the train had come. I got into the train after like waiting for 5 hours on the station as I didn’t have a direct train from my hometown Ludhiana. My seat no. was 52 in B1. But this is India and there is not even once when you can travel as one person per seat, there is always some old mother who had to urgently go because somebody in her family died or college boys who were lazy to get a reservation in advance and were traveling on a waitlisted ticket. They would generally beg for some space to sit. But this time it was different. My whole seat was occupied by Krishna, Indian god who was smiling behind the glass frame. The aunty who had her seat opposite mine was carrying this with her, excited as if she had just met god and he gave her an autographed picture of himself. She appeared to be very religious lady. She had sacred threads tied around her neck. One could see the peacefulness on her face. When she smiles it was as if she was seeing heavenly beauty all around her. This is what attracted me towards her, made me wonder how can one enjoy one’s life like that as when I looked around all I could see was people frantically trying to adjust themselves and their oversized luggage in the compartment, cockroaches roaming around in the dark places. She also had an id card hanging from her neck stating her to be part of the pilgrimage to Akshardham temple. She made some space for me to sit as if I was the one who was traveling without ticket but her expressions and gestures told a different story as she very nicely said, “ Come Beta! Sit, I m sorry for the inconvenience but he’s our god and I can’t keep it on the floor”. She very politely asked, “Are you comfortable, Beta” I reluctantly said, “I’m fine Aunty”. Anyways what can one say to elders, otherwise get ready for a one hour long speech on how today’s generation does not respect elders, have no values and blah, blah, blah. And now she’s used her blackmailing technique of calling you “BETA” so you’ll be a really heartless person to not be nice to her. She wasn’t even 40 years old, I wonder did she have no responsibilities in life, going on a two week long religious trip. When the pantry guy came to take orders for dinner asked me what I want for dinner, I felt as the lady sitting next to me on one side and the god on the other will make me go through the guilt trip of killing an innocent living being for my tastes. I ordered a veg. meal. In the night one cannot even stare out of the window. I had veg. dal, paneer and roti for food whereas the woman had Chinese noodles and Manchurian as the prashad/dinner which was part of her trip package. She offered me also some. Even though I refused she just kept on offering and finally I took it just to stop her from offering me. She chatted with me for some time talking about philosophies of Krishna and how if you keep faith in god everything gets taken care of in your life. There was a kid cleaning the train floor, generally people avoid contact with these kids who you will find spending the money they get on smoking on the station, she took out a rupee coin and gave it to him with a smile. After dinner she said she was tired and asked, “Beta (again), this picture won’t fit on the upper berth so will you please sleep on my berth. If you have ever traveled in an Indian train, side upper is the worst and for a six feet tall guy to fit himself onto that is in itself an achievement. When everybody went to sleep was when I heard the rhythmic sound of the train’s engine. All these sounds of various parts of the train formed a rhythm as they belonged with each other. I wonder what people do by getting up at 6 :00 a.m in a train, do they go for a walk from one compartment to the other. As the day progressed people belonging to the same religious group kept on coming and praising how wonderful the picture was. Many people asked where did you buy it from what is the price of it and she would reply, “my Krishna is priceless but I bought it for rs 600”. She started singing devotional songs and soon there were ladies all around singing along, clapping and cheering and now there were four people just sitting on our seat. I was shoved in one corner managing somehow. I was experiencing live satsang in a train. That night she couldn’t finish her food and she kept it and told me o give it to someone when the station comes, “why waste bhagwan’s prashad, somebody will eat it”. the train stopped at a station which wasn’t a big station but was the last station that night. The next station would come after four hours around 2: 00 a.m . I got off looked around but there wasn’t anyone except a crippled sitting next to the weighing machine. I asked him showing the half eaten fried rice box if he wants it, and he angrily refused and said, “go away! Will you eat left over’s of my food”. I came back a bit shocked at the sudden burst of anger from that person. She saw me back with the box and asked, “you didn’t give it to someone”. I replied, “I could n t find anyone who wants it and anyways it’s half eaten so you should just throw it”. She said, “ just leave it next to them and they’ll have it, give I’ll go” she took the box from me and went towards the door, the train got signal and was about to move so she didn’t got off and threw the box towards the crippled. The box fell near his feet. She shouted, “ Bhaiya khaa lena, it’s god’s prashad”. When he looked up, the train had started moving and she was back in the bogie smiling. It was already late and I had to get up early as my station was going to come at 4:30 a.m so I went back on the upper berth and tried to sleep. The image of that man’s angry face didn’t leave my head and flashes of this woman asking me to change seats, offering food, giving money to the cleaning boy, singing devotional songs, her saying my god is priceless and throwing the left over food towards the crippled and then coming back in smiling entered me as pieces which started to make sense. She spoke politely to me and offered food because she wanted me to let her keep the picture on my seat and even shift me to a more uncomfortable seat. She showed her belief in god to make herself get free from the responsibility of her actions and believe that it’s god’s will. She started singing devotional songs to get noticed and when people praised her, it boosted her ego and she sang more. She wanted to give her left over food to someone so that she doesn’t feel guilty about wasting food and she doesn’t actually care if the person eats it or not as long as she got rid of it. My station had come and I got off the train when everyone was still sleeping, decided to come by flight the next time.

1 comment:

  1. You will need to identify two or three mini-incidents that expose the woman and her hypocrisy relating to religion.
    Flesh these out properly in sequence.
    Remember the episode you saw in Tickets this morning where the woman humiliates herself because of her stupidity. That's the path to take.
    Develop the three characters - the woman, the boy and the god-image. Design incidents around them that are visual in nature and give insight into the stupidity and self-contradictory belief systems of the woman and how her beliefs do not gell with her behaviour.