Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Act I Scene II

Scene II : A relaxed pub in bangalore. Sprawled out, amidst cigarette smoke, on comfortable chairs/sofas, in a quiet corner, are Duncan and Banquo. Banquo is smoking. Whiskey glasses on the table.

(The play's constumes, a suggestion: Instead of modern day work clothes, why not have the same kind of clothes that people in the original Macbeth would have worn - maybe just for the principal characters. Present day setting, present day conversation, present day computers, cell-phones, whiskey glasses, cigarettes, but old day clothes. How about that?)

The scene opens in the middle of a conversation. The conversation has the relaxed deliberation of drunken conversation. Banquo's more so than Duncan's.

Duncan : So you admit you are jealous of Macbeth?

Banquo :

Jealousy's a natural feeling.
God created it along with love, hate, fear, creativity, ambition.
What's wrong with jealousy?
I would rather a friend who was jealous of me,
than a friend that was proud of me.
I would know I was superior.
Jealousy's a form of flattery.
And jealousy if used correctly,
Can lead to introspection, improvement,
For either party.
Jealousy is the first step to competition,
And to hard work, spirit, and human development.
Jealousy's a virtue!

Duncan (who's been chuckling through Banquo's speech): You are drunk! But seriously, I hope you are not jealous of Macbeth.

Banquo :

Duncan, my friend, my boss.
Don't worry.
There won't be ill feeling in your group.
Even if you take Macbeth
from being my report
and make him my equal,
And it's clear that's what you'll do.
I won't crib. I won't be bitter.
And I won't go looking for another job.
And seriously,
I am not jealous of Macbeth.
Though it would help if his wife were not so sexy,
Or if he dressed laughably or kept a funny moustache,
Or had pockmarks on his face,
Was shy of girls,
Or made shabby schematics,
Or if he had not saved my ass and neck,
So obviously, in the project gone by.

Duncan (laughing): Bloody. It's difficult to say when you are serious and when you are joking. But I'll take you at your word. (pause) And let's be Frank he'll do much more good for the group -

Banquo : And hence you...

Duncan - and hence me - if he were given a lot more responsibility. It's time he moved out of your illustrious shadow.

Banquo : No verbal appeasement please. Whiskey will do. (To a waiter): Excuse me! Boss!


Friday, April 14, 2006

Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa

Yesterday afternoon was pleasantly spent. After beer and lunch, Me and Amlendu were watching Shatranj Ke Khiladi at Amlendu's place. I have written about what an excellent movie it is - amazing cast, amazing story, screenplay and narration, amazing direction, amazing costumes, amazing decor, amazing music and dance - especially the Kathak performance played out for Wajid Ali Shah (Amzad Khan) - Kaanha main tose haari, chodo Hari - I think one can watch that movie for that performance alone.

Amlendu was pretty pissed with the way the Nawab and the other nobility of Lucknow, through their languid inaction, allowed the British to usurp Avadh. But I could sympathize with the blokes - all the good food, the good music and the general good life must have had their lulling effect. We ourselves, drunk and well fed, sleepily partaking of the Nawabi lifestyle through the computer screen were hardly the picture of action ourselves.

It was evening, in the movie, and in reality too. The sun was setting on the Nawabi rule in Lucknow and on Vars Notting Hill in Banaswadi, Bangalore. Four or Five Shehnai players sitting under a dome against the red sky were playing - Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa , Sa Dha Pa Ga Re Sa - Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa , Sa Dha Pa Ga Re Sa. I was thrilled to be able to identify (rightly I hope) the notes of raag Bhopali, last time I saw Satranj ke khiladi the same might have sounded like some complicated tune. Raag Bhopali is an evening raag, and my, did it hit the spot at that moment!

The movie was over soon afterwards, and I came back to my home - just about a flight of stairs away from Amlendu's - hurried to the one room where most of my stuff is, fetched my flute from inside a bag, went out onto the balcony and played out, slowly, Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa, Sa Dha Pa Ga Re Sa - over and over again till I was pretty convinced that it was the same tune I had heard in the movie. The dogs of the neighbourhood started started barking but I went on undeterred: Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa, Sa Dha Pa Ga Re Sa. Then I played a carnatic varnam in Mohana ragam (Bhopali is called Mohanam in the carnatic style) but the effect was not very pleasing. Would have started on the harmonium and started singing but I had sung myslef hoarse in the morning before lunch. I have Bismilla Khan's raag Bhopali on a casette. Got that out and played it on the tape player.

Lay down in the balcony and enjoyed the music. This was the first time I have been able to identify a Raag being played. Hmm. Life is headed in the right direction.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


A play in Five Acts - gross in parts

Warning: This play is the result of indulging a perverse imagination. Indulgence is requested from the reader too.

Dramatis personae (to start with) :

Three male witches - not quite wizards - employees of an IT company.
Macbeth - successful member of the same IT company.
Lady Macbeth - Macbeth's wife.
Banquo - Macbeth's colleague and friend.
Ross - Macbeth's immediate boss.
Mona - hot female member of the same IT company.
Several leaders - senior members of the same IT company.
Duncan - the big boss, the manager of Macbeth's group.

Act I Scene I

Scene I : A break area in the IT company, well past mandatory working hours.

Enter three witches. First witch has a coffee cup in his hand, the second witch has a can of Diet Coke, third witch has an empty water bottle and a bag of potato chips. The witches have a general negative air about them - mostly malice, some envy, some resentment - even if they smile (pleasnatly or otherwise) and crack jokes ( good ones or otherwise). This negativity - as if, despite the ac, it is a humid summer inside their shirts - is to be indicated by body language, costume design and makeup. Some of it, ofcourse, comes out in the dialogue. The break area, quite a cheerful place in the mornings, is dull and dismal at this time of the night, perhaps because of wrong choice of wall colours or unduly bright lighting, and perhaps becuase of careless use by tens of employees during the day.

Third Witch :
Its quite late and the buses are gone,
One is left to the mercy of autos.
Unless of course, y'all like me,
Have well prepared and booked your cabs

First Witch and Second Witch :
Ofcourse we have
Ofcourse we have

Third Witch :

I could hve gone home an hour earlier,
But the prospect of bad food is so repelling,
If I have to eat it I will,
But 'tleast will avoid smelling it cooking,
And till that time will stuff myself,
With these potao chips

First Witch :

And me too, but then I think,
Let me have a few cups more of coffee,
Afore I call't a night,
For at home,
coffee does'nt come
out at the press of a simple button,
And may not be so strong as I like it.

Second Witch :

I like to stick out here and drink my beer,
Though, ofcourse, there's beer at home too,
But beer is more fun in a coke can,
Amidst pleasant company
(the last line said with semi-cordial contempt)
Hey! I mean you!


Third Witch : Life's good eh guys?

First Witch : Ofcourse, free coffee.

Second Witch : Okay types money for ill-done work.

Third Witch : Fast internet, though the better ones be blocked.

First Witch : Good toilets kept clean...

Second Witch :...by underpaid blokes who don't know better.

Third Witch : the firing sword hangs on a slim thread though...

(dismal pause)

First Witch :

So what of it?
There's free coffee
In other companies too.

Second Witch (without feeling): I'll miss drinking coke with you guys.


Third Witch : Hey! Life's good guys?

First Witch : Ofcourse, free coffee.

Second Witch (sighing with real sadness): But some people have free coffee and more.

Third Witch and First Witch (with gossipy eagerness): Who do you mean? Who do you mean?

Seond Witch: You know!

Third Witch and First Witch (with gossipy eagerness): But still do tell!

Second Witch : Macbeth.

First Witch : Ya, lucky dog.

Third Witch : Stinking rich, lucky dog.

Second Witch :

Just married to a virgin bombshell,
And her father owns half of Bangalore,
Maybe not half, but at-least one percent,
All that money is his,
If only he'd ask.

First Witch :

But apparently he does'nt want any,
He wants only his own money,
Which ofcourse he's making pots of,
In a couple of years they'll make him VP.

Third Witch :

Ha. VP. That's a good one.
Bugger knows his job though.

Second Witch :

And his boss's and maybe his boss's boss's
Not to speak of mine and yours'

Third Witch :
Not to speak of mine and yours'?
Ha. I am sure he takes pains to point that out,
Subtully, as they say it,
To people that matters.

First Witch :

To people that matters.
Ha. To think he joined with us!

Second Witch :

To think he joined with us!
Ha. I am sure he's laughing in his head,
the once-a-while we sit at lunch


(pause pause)

Second Witch :

We'll fix the bugger for laughing at us.

Third Witch :

Nah. He's too big now.
What's your plan?

First Witch :

N'thing risky I hope.

Second Witch :

N'thing risky I hope
(Mimicking with contempt)
Na not risky.
But we have'nt much to lose,
Which of us will make it through
Next to next month's performance r'view
Is anybody's guess, anyway.

Third Witch :

So tell it.

Second Witch :

No not tonite.
It's but an idea now.
Let me think it over a couple of beers,
Sitting in the comfort of my sweet-smelling room,
(sweet-smelling said too sweetly - sarcastically)
And it'll be a plan tomorrow.
Have your wits abt you,
And we'll speak of this anon.

(Gets up, stretches. The other follow suit. Exeunt.)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Tiger for the occasion

A sher by Allama Iqbal which often comes to my mind when I stray into introspection.

Shauq ki deewanagee tai kar gai kitne makaam
Akl jis manzil pe thi, ab tak usi manzil mein hai

The madness of fancy (fantasy?) has crossed all barriers
Wisdom (good sense?) has not made much progress still

A sprouting wisdom tooth has made useless the left part of my mouth - not enjoying my food as much as might have. And everytime I think of the 'wisdom' tooth that is coming I think of the sher again.