I wrote this play which is a modern take on Nativity in the year 2002 when I was in college. I had even directed this play at the Annual Christmas Gathering in my college. I had written about the actual nativity incident in my previous blog which of course became famous for its “Oh Shit” line so in this blog I have just copy pasted the original scripts. I had taken a new approach to Nativity by bringing the characters more at home in my city instead of Bethlehem and of course transforming Jesus into a girl child.
A man walks across the stage and sits on a high chair placed in a corner of the stage.
The narrator comes and faces the audience.
Narrator: (pointing her finger at the chair): –
Do you know who that person is? That is God. And he is waiting for the birth of his son ‘Jesus’ and this time Jesus is coming to the family of Carpenter Bishu and his wife Annapurna, who stay in a nameless slum in Kolkata.
(Saying this she walks out of the stage, God Remains seated)
[While narrator speaks the other actors come to the stage and assemble themselves in their respective positions. Seen on the stage are Bishu, wiping his face and Annapurna giving him a glass of water; little far away is seen two women with water pots talking amongst themselves in gestures]
Bishu: I really do not know what will happen to us. First of all my business is suffering a loss these days. Moreover, I have heard that some Babus wants to have a building on this land and it seems they will evict all of us…the entire slum.
Annapurna: (Shudders) but then what will happen to us and what about our child; he is due any moment now- what shall happen to him?
Bishu: Learn to depend on God; I have a feeling that he will help us – somehow.
[Three men enter the stage while Bishu & Annapurna are talking]
Man 1: Hey, you!
Bishu: Who me?
Man 1: Yes you, did you not get a notice that you have to empty this place? Then how dare you are still here?
Bishu: But, but…where can I go Sir? I do not have a place to stay and my wife is due any moment now.
Man 2: Go to hell. You rotten insect! We want this place empty and RIGHT NOW!!
[Saying this all three start throwing out the belongings of Bishu & Annapurna]
Bishu & Annapurna: Sir, Sir, Please Sir, please, please have mercy on us.
Man 1: Talk of mercy, ha? Just push off…
[They proceed towards the other two women who were standing far off, shuddering in fear]
Man 2: And you there, you two; what are you doing here, aaah, didn’t hear what we said? Go and take your belongings and push off from here. Go!
[Bishu & Annapurna meanwhile starts gathering their belongings and looks around helplessly]
Annapurna: Where shall we go now? What shall we do now? (weeps)
Bishu: I really do not know. All I know is that we have to (looks helplessly) leave our place and go. But where? Where exactly?……
[Bishu starts walking out of the stage taking Annapurna and their belongings. The Women (1& 2) meanwhile have run away, driven out by the 3 men; all have left the stage while Bishu was talking. God remains seated and watches in amusement]
A woman enters the stage along with another woman.
Woman 3: Pavement dwellers! Yes, that is our only identity. No ration, no water, no medicines for us….we are the dirt of the society. (Fumes in anger)
Woman 4: Arrey Baba, why do get so angry Champa? You know the reality so how does it help being so angry.
[They sit in a corner and do the same work ]
Bishu & Annapurna meanwhile enter the stage followed by woman 1&2.
Annapurna: (Sits down helplessly)
I can’t walk anymore… I think I shall die…
(She lies down in pain)
Bishu: Oh my God, what shall I do now? Where shall I go?
(Walks around the stage helplessly)
[The other two women (1&2) meanwhile comfort Annapurna]
Woman 3: What’s wrong there?
Bishu: My wife is expecting her baby.what shall I do now? What shall I do?
Woman 4: Champa, come let’s go there and help her deliver her baby.
[Woman 3&4 go there]
[Woman 3& 4 along with Woman 1&2 to help Annapurna to deliver. After a while Woman 3 emerges out]
Woman 3: Hey, Mr. Husband. Congratulations to you. You have a baby girl.
[The other women’s withdraw the bed sheet; Now Annapurna is seen holding the baby]
[Meanwhile, Narrator enters the stage]
Narrator: Stop! Stop!! Stop!! Please Stop!!
[The actors freeze in their respective positions]
[Narrator moves towards God]
Narrator: But God, what is this? I thought you were waiting for the birth of your So, Jesus. But this is a girl…
God: (Smiles) So? What difference does it make if it is Jessica instead of Jesus? My sole purpose of sending my Son… rather Daughters to bring reform to mankind, to help them understand what Justice is; to help human beings differentiate between right and wrong. If a man can bring salvation, a woman can equally bring it.
Hey, please let them carry on.
Narrator: I understand now. Yes, please carry on.
[Narrator walks out]
Woman 4: (To Bishu) hey, it is pretty cold today and your child needs some warm clothes first.
Bishu: But, where do I get. We were evicted a few hours ago………
[A woman walks in with a big bag]
Sister Dorothy: What is the matter here? Can I help you in some way?
Bishu: Who are you?
Sister Dorothy: I am Sister Dorothy.
Woman 3: Oh yes, here is the answer to our problem. Sister Dorothy comes every Thursday to distribute clothes and woolen among us. No one cares for us pavement dwellers the way she does.
Sister Dorothy: Do not tell this way, Champa. I am just a simple social worker trying to do my bit. And if you have to thank anyone, thank God.
[Meanwhile, a young college guy walks in]
College Guy: Mmmmm….. Excuse me; can I help you in any way? I know I am just a college guy but maybe I can be of some help.
Sister Dorothy: Of course you can help us. Your help is what we need most. This lady has given birth to a child (points her finger to Annapurna and her child). I think she looks very weak; can you get her something warm to drink. In the meanwhile, I shall dress her child so that she does not catch a cold.
[She starts dressing the child]
College Guy: Oh boy o boy. What a cute child. I do not have much money except my bus fare. But of course, of course, I can get the woman a glass of milk from the teashop nearby.
[He runs out of the stage]
[A young man enters whistling with another young man]
Woman 3: Oh no, there comes Kalia – the local Goonda. God knows what mischief he will play.
Kalia: Hey you miscreants of the society! Oh sorry, Sister Dorothy, I did not mean you (he smiles at Dorothy). Whats up, folks?
[Walks up to them]
Kalia: Wow !! A kid? A cute one that too !!! But why here?
Bishu: We had a home but now………
Kalia: Evicted people, huh? Hey, Poltu (calls his assistant – the other young man)– run down to Kallu’s house and bring our club room keys and open it and keep it ready for these people. Let them stay there, till we find a proper house for them.
[Poltu runs out….]
[College guy comes in and gives the glass of milk to Annapurna]
Bishu: (Holding Kalia’s hand) I really do not have any words brother, how do I thank you? What can I give you, I am too poor.
Kalia: Oh Bogus!! What help can you give me? But yeah, I have a condition…..I shall give the name to your kid.
Bishu: Yes, Of Course.
Kalia: Now come-on, please assist her all of you…… our club is just a few steps from here.
[Annapurna gets up, assisted by others- Women’s followed by Sister Dorothy. All exit except Sister Dorothy. She suddenly stops.]
Sister Dorothy: Kalia, I never knew you had such a golden heart. God will certainly bless you.
Kalia: Oh Sister, it sounds so great but I am just the same goonda- Golden Sholden is very bookish. All I know is that the child is lucky- food, clothing, shelter….she has all three of them. She is lucky!
[They all exit]
[Narrator comes in]
Narrator: So she has finally arrived. Maybe she will grow up to be a saviour or maybe not, you never know when Jesus shall come again; maybe tomorrow, maybe today and may be right next door to you. Will you recognize him or her then? Or will you walk away ignoring him or her as yet another child of the pavement dweller, yet another addition to our burdened society.
God: Or…. Or maybe he was already born but you never knew when because he died in his infancy due to malnutrition. Or maybe she was killed in the womb of her mother because she was a girl child.
Narrator: So friends, while we celebrate Christmas- exchanging gifts, bake cakes, share good wishes let us remember that our child Jesus was born in a humble manger to a poor carpenter and it can happen again… today…..right now…. In some remote corner of our world.