A week ago when I met Pinky Jayanta Bora over a cup of coffee, she told me about her forthcoming Short Stories Drama Festival. As we delved into the conversation deeper I realized that the festival was about stories that weave threads of human complexness.
Stories that were written decades ago, but is relatable in today’s world of ours where everything is instant and just a click away.
Four prodigious writers who needs no introduction at all and their four incredible tales are about longings – but in different forms. Munshi Premchand’s Boodhi Kaki, Asha Purna Devi’s Trankorta, Mamoni Raisom Goswami’s Xanskaar and Aabid Surti’s Teesri Aankh (Third Eye) – All four are phenomenal . The one common factor the four stories hold is a sense of desire, wish and craving and if I am permitted to add, I must say the four stories are also about deprivation at the same time.
Abraham Maslow was right when he said and I quote, “Once we have food and shelter -- but before we can seek self-actualization -- we must feel safety, belonging, and mattering. Without these three essential keys a person cannot perform, innovate, be emotionally engaged, agree, or move forward.”
Munshi Premchand’s Boodhi Kaki is a feeble old woman who craves for love and attention with a perpetual gluttony. Her tribulations are akin to an alcoholic – the very thought of food makes her ravenousness and there comes a point of such deprivation that she loses the balance between what is right and wrong and does all that fills her only sense organ left functioning normally – the sense of taste. And what were the reasons that led her to this state of privation? Her own God fearing nephew and his family, with whom she entrusted all her wealth in return for love and care.
Aabid Surti’s Teesri Aankh or The Third Eye looks calm and peaceful on the surface. A happy and devoted wife, two sincere and honest grown up children and a loving brother - nothing could have been more neat or better, Sundarlal thought and felt always, until one fine day when the eye of the insight; in the form of a pair of silver rimmed sunglasses enters his life and nothing seems what it really is. A family that connives and conspire to push Sundarlal to the point of insanity.
Asha Purna Devi’s Trankorta has a thirteen year old dirty rotten scoundrel Kanhai who craves for security in the form of shelter and food. He eventually succeeds in gaining this from the very home where he had stepped in to steal. The blind trust the master showered on Kanhai turn tables as he changes and proves one and sundry wrong that sometimes all one needs is a leap of faith.
In Mamoni Raisom Goswami’s Xanskaar, Damayanti is not righteous, yet she has no qualms about it. On the other hand Pitamber; who desperately seeks to have a child of his own, go beyond the limits of self righteousness and does something totally unacceptable. But what would be repercussions?
All the four stories are progressive and undogmatic written excellently by free thinking minds. I am looking forward to these spine-tingling adaptations on stage.
A year ago Girish Karnad’s stage adaptation Malini was a wonderful watch too directed by Manik Roy.