[This skit was supposed to be performed as part of an intra-college skit performance on the Foundation Day of Kurseong College (North Bengal University), Darjeeling, in 2006. The students in the English department were supposed to develop a script. When that did not materialize, it was suggested that I try to come up with a working script. Since I was absent the day it was performed, I was spared the embarrassment of watching the students struggle with this amateurish effort. The song at the end of the script is taken from Scorpions’, “Wind of Change,” Album: Crazy World (1990). I am grateful to the students for suggesting certain changes to make it more workable.
In a positive development, the Government of India has recently (April 2010) passed Right to Education Act that guarantees free and compulsory education for all children between the age group of 6 and 14, thus fulfilling a constitutional obligation.
My apologies in advance if it sounds overly sentimental and moralistic. I have consciously tried to avoid a tone of moralism.
Anyone wishing to perform this skit must acknowledge its source properly.]
A Professor sitting in his study, holding his head in his hands, is on the verge of desperation, trying to write a skit to be performed by his students. The skit competition is being organized by an NGO working on “Child’s Right to Education.”
Few books are piled up on the table and a writing pad in front of him. He lights a cigarette.
The first and last speeches in the skit are in the form of a monologue; the professor’s thoughts will have to be narrated as a voice-over by another person in the background.
Professor: (Voice-over) Oh! What a lot of mess. Tomorrow I have got to give this script to my students for the skit competition. How do I start? I know there are other colleges taking part in the competition. My script has got to be different. Looks like others will harp on the exploitation of little children. Their hardships, their struggle. No, I will not sentimentalize this. I will be different. Let me have three-four children working as cobbler, tea-stall vendor, and laborer in a factory. Suppose they come and sleep in the same place at the end of the day. Let me try to imagine what they must be talking about…it’s difficult when both the partners work. Who will look after the house? Moreover, who will look after our two-year old daughter? This girl was working in our house for so long. Suddenly her parents took her away. Someone else was offering them more money. Even we were paying her around Rs.500/- every month. And all the food she guzzled on. These people are so selfish. They are so ungrateful. My elder daughter comes back from school at three o’clock when none of us are at home. At least this girl used to give her food and play with her until we got back home from work. Now, I have to look for another girl. My wife doesn’t want a grown up woman. She feels the house isn’t safe because they bring in all kinds of people when we are not home…I have got to finish the script today itself. We will rehearse over next two days. Idea! What about having this little boy sell channa outside the school gate during Tiffin hours? He must be wondering how these kids earn their livelihood when they spend almost the whole day in school…Let me have some coffee. I will ask mali to get me some. Ramu, Ramu…
Ramu: (From inside) Aaya, babu.
Professor: Ramu, get me some coffee.
Ramu: Ji, babu. (Prepares to go.)
Professor: Arre, Ramu, you have a daughter. How old is she?
Ramu: Babu, she is just eight. She is going to school. Kyun babu?
Professor: School! What’s she going to school for? Bring her here. You know the girl who was working in my house left. I need somebody to look after my two year old daughter. Moreover, your daughter can play with my elder one when she comes back from school. She will get good food. She can sleep in the kitchen.
Ramu: Lekin babu?
Professor: Now, don’t irritate me. Bring your daughter tomorrow. I have got to finish this script. Get me some coffee.
Ramu: Ji, babu. (He goes.)
Professor: (Voice-over) Now I can finish the script in peace…It will surely appeal if I can capture the thoughts of this little kid selling channa outside the school-gate. He must also be longing to go to school and see what happens inside those rooms. What about ending the skit with this song (to be sung as a chorus in the background):
“Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change…”