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A Snapshot Of Invisibility

By Vaibhav Raj


[An inflatable pool filled with water lies just behind the stage apron, at the centre. A Boy is sitting on a bar stool behind it, gazing at his reflection. He has a note in his hand and proceeds to read from it]


I came across this video of a colour-blind Boy wearing corrective glasses and that enabled him to see colour for the first time.

Turns out there were videos strewn across YouTube of people who were colour blind to various degrees, seeing some colour pop up for the first time. And each and every time they saw this colour, without exception, each and every one of them burst into tears, as if a switch went off. They wept and exclaimed like children in spite of themselves.

A primal perspective of existence was revealed to them, and touched something overwhelming inside of them, something they weren't even familiar with. They were united with an inherent necessity of life, and in this union, as they became whole, they realized that they had grown to live without it, as all things can learn, but it was so much better to live life with it.

Now I'm not about to say something as tacky as you bring colours to my life don't worry (which you do). What I'm probably trying to say is, I love you because at this point, it's beyond me. This is what I mean when I say I can't help it, for I love you naturally, as an instinct, as an ingrained response, for you trigger this inherent feeling, this sensation inside of me, and love arises inside of me at the sight of you like the tears in the colour-blind Boy at the sight of colour, and after a union with this feeling I can't bring myself to go back to how I lived before it, it is a dormant emotion I’d like to keep.

[The Boy stops reading from the letter]


I have this memorised anyway, I mean I wrote it.

[The Boy smiles nervously. He goes on to speak, but on second thought, retreats the letter and chooses to continue reading from it]


I’ll just...Anyway,

I saw TVF flames because you were watching it remember? There is this opportune moment I'd like to pick from. You remember Rajat brings Ishita that Harry potter wand, feigning ignorance, writing "Expecto Petroleum", as a way to apologize.

I bring this Harry Potter wand to you.

For it seems like for me to be with you, I need a beautiful stroke of magic, and with this, I hope to someday summon that magic, for that is a thing I still believe in. And someday, the universe will conspire for it to happen, and like Joel And Clementine, we will see each other in Montauk, even after memories crumble.

[The Boy puts the letter away]

I chose to start off with this, because this is the only semblance of solid ground that I stand on. This is the only iota of coherent thought that will be found in this piece here. Love for You, and Love for this.

[He lays out a sweeping gesture encapsulating the stage]

From here on out, everything is a mire of confusion and disorder, barely coherent. Also, I do not claim to present solutions. I do not have a monopoly on the huBoy condition. This is a mere case study. No, not a sob story, neither a tragedy, don’t be alarmed. It’s often funny, often sad. I just don’t seem to know when. There is no overarching event, no trigger that everything can be traced to.

There’s only uncertainty.

Everything else is contaminated by thought, and by the prospect of YOU [He points an accusatory finger at the audience]

You, who have hijacked my imagination and make me a sucker for validation,. Screw YOU!

I’m sorry, I don’t detest people at all. I love you guys.

I detest the spectre of you; you who are one of the Boyy spectres a rogue mind conjures. The spectre of past, and future.

I do not know where any of this will lead really. It’s Noise and Static. Existing on too Boyy planes all at once.

But it’s not all bleak believe me, I’m a very optimistic person really. Magic and all the like, I take the full stock of it. I'll tell you about one such tale. Whenever I feel low and I see an airplane in the night sky. It, really, really calms me down. I just assume it's Hagrid up there on Sirius' motorbike, watching over me. It’s really reassuring you know, life hack!

And, I think it's time we start the performance..


We are ready for you.


What? Why? Whatever it is, can it not wait, I have a performance coming up?


To project you to 2012 of course!

[Two men clad in burlesque Science fiction clothes march up to him and take him to another, now illuminated section of the stage. A recliner lies in what seems to be a doorway. The recliner is jacked with wires. They strap the Boy to the recliner. The Boy doesn't resist.

They put what seems like white sleeping blinders on his eye, with a couple of wires running down from it hooked to a machine in the dark.

They pour a couple drops of a solution on each of his eyes, over the blinder.]


Sorry but, where am I being sent again?


To 2012 love. Where you've always wanted to be!




Yes yes, your last school year. You've constantly wanted to hit restart, and that is the point you always yearn to return. Back when you were unblemished and at your best. To not repeat your mistakes again. To make it right this time. To not waste time again. Your back cracks with the weight of wasted time. It's time you recline.

[The Boy seems overwhelmed with happiness.]


Oh, okay, thank you.

[He lies back ready to be jettisoned.]


A series of images from your past will be projected on your vision. When you recognise the strongest impulse, latch onto that memory.


But that's going to be tough. I'm practically always under assault by thoughts, and images, future past and fantasies all amalgamated together. The droning is annoying. I'm not very good at holding on to a moment


You are. You've simply trained yourself to believe otherwise. You will however be aided, by nerve depressants.


(reclining)..okay then.. NO BUT WAIT!

I don't want to go anymore.


Excuse me ? You've wanted this for the last 8 years.


Yes but something good happened in this recent ‘ 7 and a half to 8’ bit . I don't want to go anymore.


The girl?


What..Well not just her.. Never mind, how do you know, and how is it that you can break the rules of time and send me back?


You know us. It's just that the constant simulations have scrambled your perception.



[The girl seems jaded and rattles off what seems like information she has repeated to a million such questions.]

GIRL- You haven’t been birthed yet. You have been given the chance to hone your skills to deal with life through a number of prepositioned simulations. They are your practise yard. You fall over, you make mistakes, so that you learn and when you are finally born, you can lead a good life.


Wow..but, wait, so these people, my family, my friends..?


The situations and people around you shall largely remain the same, you control the progression locus of your life and how well you will fare. Think of it like training before a football game. You know your team, you know the other team, and you know the venue. The result however, can be influenced by your performance.


Wait..that..okay that's a lot to take in. Wow. So we're not just travellers in the dark, figuring out our heads from our toes through trial and error. There is a practise set after all..

[The girl leans towards the Boy ]


Well, what with all your ever crippling fear of the imminent future, coupled with all your merciless self loathing when you falter, one would believe that is the case. That you almost certainly should have known or planned better. That you almost certainly did come in with an instruction manual.

[The Boy gazes for a moment and then it sinks in. He takes off his blinders and becomes lucid, his dream all clear to him now. Ecstatic music soars. The sermon from the mountain is clear as day. ]

[The lights and sound smash to a halt]

Footsteps are heard. The girl comes ahead


“ Agar tadbeer itni sehel hoti, toh ab tak kismat aazmai kar leta.”

The sermons sound easy don't they. And so empowering! The epiphanies keep coming in one after the other don't they. You’ll be scrolling across and a Steve Harvey tweet would say "if you're in hell, why would you want to stop in hell? Just keep going " and a surge of power will rush through you! AMEN ! But they

never work do they, the surges dampen, and in times of crisis your brain scurries for that one counter measure it had bookmarked that it will respond with next time, the 'coping mechanism' but it hardly ever comes when needed. So you feel even more like shit.

[The Boy comes over from behind and accosts the Girl]


-Stop! hang on a minute, what the hell was that, why did you fluff your lines back there? And why did the sound take so long to cue in,that was such an awkward pause.

[He wheels around]

And you..where's that Boy, he was supposed to cut you off when..


Relax, it's okay, nobody found out.


Oh shut it. It should be perfect. Completely spot on.


Not again, pipe down man.


come on, it's going to come across as so tardy, my first written text, my first..


You're starting out, you're allowed to mess up.

BOY ( to the audience )-

That has to be crap isn't it? Whenever you create anything it has to be a masterpiece right away eh? Lauded universally? Come on, don't tell me there lies scope for trial and error?


There does.


Why then any urge I have to perform or create, is perennially crippled at the prospect of result?


Well you seem to be plagued by quite a few issues, would you like to talk about it?

[A Freudian couch is ferreted into the stage. Few men make the Boy lie down on it. Another chair is brought, the Girl sits on it, and is handed a clipboard.]


So let's begin from the start.


So after school..

The Boy suddenly bolts up and sits upright.


No I'm not doing it.




It's pure cringe.


Excuse me ?

BOY- Everywhere , everyone just keeps talking about their puny little mental issues. It's repulsive. I need the good old toughening up routine.

GIRL- you don't need to resent help. You need to drop your own prejudice against yourself.


That's not it. I'm not prejudiced. I'm sick of it. Of talking about it. Of bearing it as a cross. I mean solidarity to everyone who goes through this. I know it's tough, but I just can't stand it.


Is it because you don't feel special anymore, when you could place the blame on this, well, your head, and now everyone just chips in and it feels like the novelty is wearing off.


Obviously that too, look at you all smug, pretending you've made a breakthrough. But I'm sick of being held hostage by this since so long. I’ve had a good life. I have a comfortable life. This condition what iv had is pure fucking weakness, and nothing else. Pure weakness and buggery. Laziness! I’m literally only being a loser

When other people talk about it all I can see is my weak pathetic self. Not the ones who have reasons to be this way. I'm sorry. They go through hell and I wish them recovery. But us losers? We who just decided to be mental cripples, deriving this out of thin air, we've curated issues out of nothing. It's infuriating. I refuse to acknowledge this. I will ridicule this out of existence.


- the mind is the most complex organ of all, and works in ways we still don't understand after centuries. . Why would it's diseases be any less tricky.


Ah spare me,Here it comes again, stop.


Trivialising your ailment is a pretty common…


No fuck no, I don't want to hear it. Hell no. I know the charts. The cute little artsy informatics that point out the cycles of self sabotage and self loathing. I know the motions okay. But no. Discipline. That's all. That's all I need. Stop this Tete a Tete lest please do. Let's fucking go we have a performance to put forward. Let me get over it.

[The Girl rises in alarm]


Oh yes, you sly dog, you had me derailed. Well go ahead then.


How do I start ?


What? This is literally about you. Come on now, you’re an actor, take 10 minutes, jot down the basic outline of a situation, and just run with it from there on. Improvise.


Yes, I’ll do that, okay.. yeah..well you clear on away then..yeah we should get around to it.

[The Girl leaves, the Boy stands alone]

Figures have entered the stage, carrying random objects such as drum, pots and pans. They begin banging at the objects. A shrill cacophony rises.


Yeah, Yeah I’ll certainly get around to it. Wait hang on I’ll just have a quick cigarette and coffee and then we’ll begin the work right away

[He moves swiftly, and dunks his head in the water. Sensory deprivation, the cacophony zips shut]

[However, as soon as the Boy takes his head back out from the water, the screaming cacophony begins again]


What? Alright I just have to clean this place, it’s too disorganized, give me a moment.

[He dunks his head in the water again. The noise shuts out again, and yet again regains the same tempo when he resurfaces]


Yes yes I'm almost ready. Just need to watch the office for a bit and cheer myself up. Then we’re ready to go.

[Dunk. Silence. Resurface. Noise]

[The Boy seems disputed.]


Yeah yeah I'm getting on with it. Just..okay just let me watch this movie it'll be good for inspiration.

[Dunk. Silence. Resurface. Noise]

[Its driving him insane. His knees are now buckled, as if a great weight lies over him.]


Alright i’m going to do it, hang on a second. Just a second okay! I need to check my phone quickly.

[Dunk. The noise does not go away anymore. Not even underwater]

[The Boy surfaces, startled. He dunks his head in the pool again. No avail. He does it again. And again. Over and over again. The noise doesn’t recede.

[He takes a step back, the cacophony causing him great anxiety. He tries to say something but all that comes out of him are staccato outbursts of gibberish].


Alright, Alright, ALRIGHT! I KNOW what i have to do alright ! Yes I have it. [The noise recedes. A silence lingers.]


I ..

[He hovers for a moment]

I am going to take a nap.

[The Boy goes back on the couch to take a nap.]


[The Girl stands at the centre of what seem like a wagon wheel. 10 nylon ropes strung from various parts of her body stretch out in all the different directions. Standing in the shadows are figures at the end of each rope.]


I don’t think we can count on him anymore to get the performance going really. I need to take charge. We’re basically the same anyway. Inside outside, outside inside, you figure it out


So let’s get this goi..

[A tug by the string at her shoulder. She breaks off momentarily, but then immediately resumes.]


But before we proceed I must give a definite shoutout to this book that I incorporated a major concept from, for this performance, ‘The unbearable lightness of being’. Right the beginning there is this portion..

[A tug at her other shoulder turns her in the other direction. She again breaks off and resumes without missing a beat.]


Nevermind,nevermind. We needn’t really go there. Getting on with it should rather just tell you the recent incident that actually set this into motion, so it was 15th Feb..

[Tug at a different part of the body.]


Oh but before that you have to know this, these, these threads, they are thoughts, like you know how one thought comes in your head and you go with it. Yeah, a bit of a meta Brechtian interruption; smart am I not? Only difference is Brecht aimed at alienation. I shall use this for exposition.



Stupid stupid, that was silly. Borderline amateur. Im sorry.



Vo chhodo,Let's just dive right into it straight up , so , hypothermia. Yes once in a while what happens is. I mean i saw this in a mental floss article i read a few years ago..


Girl- Sorry sorry , i digress too much. Bit of a monkey brain.

(She laughs)


Girl- Okay i’ll try it anyway,I mean it might sound vague but i'll try my best to articulate it.



So when I moved from school to college.



Eww I sound too grim. It’s supposed to be funny, so when I moved from school to college..



Actually let me give you the concept first.



Oh yes, you’ll lose your wits at this, this is how i was supposed to start, so I’m in the first year,writing my paper



I really began to suck at papers after class 10



I was though a school superstar in 12th



Wait it will be clearer if I start here,you know the saying “ Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards’



When i began in 2017 I got myself the greatest set..



It’s actually been a great couple of years

[The tugs become more and more violent and the gaps between each tug decrease at an alarming pace. The Girl lies stranded midway, a marionette hoisted midair by multiple puppeteers, flitting between emotion to emotion at a breakneck pace, the permutations and combinations of thoughts whizzing through her. Sometimes she changes her thoughts entirely. Sometimes she just says it in a different fashion, disappointed with the previous manner of speaking, until she was reduced to bare words and rapidly switching stances.]

[From the rubble of words rises an incessant droning, the tune carried by the shadows at the end of the rope. The tugs have stopped.

With great difficulty, the Girl regains her composure, and she starts talking again, smiling with effort, over the droning noise.]


Before I begin If you have any questions you can..


I’m not really a fan of talking to be honest with you. Words just seem really insufficient to me. Inactivity has really permeated my soul. But somehow I still run away as far as possible from actual action. Not today though. I will perform. I will.. STOP!

[The droning zips shut.]


There we go now. Isn’t that nice? Moving on, finally, let’s start the performance. Hang on a minute though.

The performance; it has begun already hasn’t it?

[An effusive smile of resignation dawns on her face.]


Well this happens with me quite too often. I wait for, I yearn for moments so much, I keep my eyes peeled for them with such strain, that they pass me by, and I don’t even register them.

[She keeps talking while undoing the knots from her body and tossing them away. A casual laughter creeps across her face]


Back in Class 9 I think, we had this poetry book. And I remember, I remember this one line from this poem, it was called I think Ode to Duty, by Wordsworth I think it was. It seemed strange that it jumped out to me back then. Now I realize it was a sort of premonition. It said something like, and I paraphrase, “this unchartered freedom tires me’. And it seemed strange to me, why would you tire of freedom. Well, coasting through life now, rudderless, directionless for years, the rot of inactivity ever increasing, I now understand.

But you’ve often heard about the ‘bad days’, and the ‘good days’ right? I don’t dread the bad days really. Because on the worst ones, it gets better.

You know hypothermia right? How people, just before they are about to freeze to death-in cases of chronic hypothermia ofcourse-they take off all their clothes. Hot flashes.

So the body employs vasoconstriction right, constricting the blood vessels to prevent the loss of heat. Only in chronic cases , the muscles responsible for vasoconstriction fatigue and fail, so the blood soars to the extremities. And you feel hot. And then you take off your clothes and die.

If you remove the dying bit and stay with me here, there are days when all the mechanisms in your head, all the flight or fight hormones that heighten your anxieties and strike the terror of nothingness in your head, and recede your spirit to somewhere near your bowels, compressing you and congesting, once in a while, these mechanisms become fatigued and the sheer fear that has been plaguing your brain gives way. And your spirit soars and you wonder what even were you fearful of ever,and you are yourself again. You know those days don’t you? When you aren’t sandpaper against a grater, you’re instead a hot knife through butter.

[She suddenly snaps her head around as if fearful of some movement in the dark.]


Just a second..

[She leaves her spot and moves to investigate towards the darker parts of the stage. For a few moments, an apparent vacancy lingers. The light comes back abruptly to find the Girl in another part of the stage, startled. She smiles effusively again]


Nothing there, as usual. Fight or Flight mode isn’t an instinct, It’s a way of life. Now Now don’t look so scared, I'm not paranoid. No No. I mean the toll we exact on our nerves is pretty hefty. And unnecessary. But, well, allow me rant off once more.

You guys have often walked from someplace brightly lit into someplace really dark? And you’re momentary petrified aren’t you? For a few moments your stand riveted to your spot. You even sometimes have the illusion that something moves in the dark. Even when your eyes begin to adjust bit by bit you’re still convinced that you will collide into something.

But after a little while you are able to see clearly and then you move on. So you land yourself in a strange situation, you face dread for a moment, but then you see past it, or see the solution and begin to move on. Here’s the strange little catch with my head though. I don’t know but this is how my brain seems to be wired. That initial sense of dread.. I never get over it. Seriously, I

mean my eyes will adjust and all, but that initial urge of keeping away, that dread lingers right throughout with me. Even if I take a situation head on, “like a boss”, that dread is always there. Mundane things too

. I mean think about it, a person who has a phobia of the dark. You take the dial of that dread and you turn it right up to the first moment. When you step in the dark from blinding lights and you stand riveted to your spot stunned, for the briefest moment. Maybe the ones with a phobia, their minds hold onto the briefest moment all the while they are in the dark. Which is why exposure therapy is often warned against!

Maybe..I don’t know! Not that I have a phobia. I’m only speculating. I'm not even sure, there’s only so much that self therapy and emotional labour brings you.

[She looks around]

Hang on, why have I been ranting like a buffoon all on my own. Where is he? Is he on another one of his three-hour “Power naps”?

[She Exits]


[We come back to the couch. It’s turned away from us,facing the back wall. The Boy is apparently still asleep. His feet are hanging off the other end.]

[Figures move downstage, in a beeline from right to left , carrying random objects. They cast a shadow on the back wall, towards which the couch faces. The throng subsides. The Boy sits up, facing the back wall.]


Welcome to the thousandth recurrence of Plato’s cave. This time, it's in my head. The place where I reside. The place where I'm stuck. It irks me that I exist not in the moment, but in a diarrhoea of thought. Coasting through the real world on autopilot. A bit of vitality always hijacked in some chain of meaningless thought.

I never fully experience the world, only incomplete bits of it that stream through the senses. Barely ever fully experiencing an emotion to its fullest, preparing to respond more often than feeling something actually, it's like my own shadow world I’m inhabiting, contaminated by my mind. Chained to not a pole, but to a brain that refuses to engage with actual sensory input, but rather chooses to remain infatuated with its own inventions. A dictator!

[The Boy gets up and walks around the couch. He has a hump. He is deformed and his face is distorted, and boils scream all over his left arm.]

[The Girl enters. ]


Limbo ?




Are you okay?


No, but I am comfortable.


That is not what you should be

The Boy starts laughing.


For years I've been lingering in this ground. It makes me want to break out of my skin and flee. But i wouldn't do that. I think. Neither here nor there, ever.

I do not trust myself. I look at my ideas with suspicion. I nap I nap and I nap. I feel that whatever I do I'm bound to do the wrong thing. Such is my mistrust. So I don’t do anything at all.

And then I look at all the time I’ve butchered. Dino din kaat die maine. Samay ka Kasai hu mai. Quereshiyo se bhi bada. Isilie samay humesha khafa sa rehta hai, mera hoke kabhi aata hi nahi.

And then I look at it all, the wasteland. And i work, work to the point of torture, push myself till I hate It. And then I’m scared to go again. I suffer from inertia.


Yes I do. Do not slide further down. You’re in a bad enough place as is. Come come now.


Always teetering at the edge. Never doing the thing I’m supposed to. Maybe fear of the result. I think it's the fantasies of adulation. Or maybe it's because my esteem has begun to reside exclusively at the mercy of the validation of others.

Never doing the one thing I'm supposed to. And never quite allowing myself to do anything else either, because there is this one thing I'm supposed to be doing.

[They both roar with laughter]


And don’t you know it, all the time at our disposable, all the days we could extract worth from, all of them, turned to dust.

Neither the primal objective, nor the side quests. Neither here, nor there! Just a middle ground of quick gratuitous stimulations, and the clock keeps rolling..and ticking. And ticking.

[They are startled into action by the loud ticking clocks. They move hurriedly with purpose, but have nowhere to go, and drift for a bit, increasingly agitated at their own confusion. The ticking escalates in tempo. They rush in all directions.]




Just keep looking.


There’s too much to look through. There’s too much. WHY DIDN’T WE START EARLIER?


We have now, keep going.


It’s never going to be enough. We’re too far behind. We’re too late. We’ve wasted too much time.

[They keep rushing across all over stage]

[The Boy comes by the pool and stutters to a halt. He gazes at his reflection. The Girl stops to look at him.]


The Nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in the glass.

[The Boy violently attacks the water with his face, as if to obliterate the image of his hideous form.]

[The Girl comes up and calms him down.]


Here Boy, here Boy lets go now. Let’s get ourselves some drinks.Let’s get hammered..

[The Boy moves towards the couch but abruptly pushes her away again. He wheels towards the pool, but stands arrested to the ground


The 19th century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his face in the glass.

[The Boy straightens up, drops his facade, and storms towards the EXIT. [The Girl lingers, shrugs her shoulders, and goes to sleep on the couch].



Oi wake up you, we have to do it don’t we?

[The Girl wakes up gingerly and plonks herself on the chair, vacating the couch for the Boy.]


You seem chirpy today.


Yeah I was being a bit of a prima donna that day.


Come on now, prima donna really?


I’m sorry of course that’s inappropriate; hissy fit; I was being a baby


You weren't, you were just down. You were in a dark place.


Can we not? All those romantic and ‘freaky’ texts you send out in the night hit differently when you read them in the morning don’t they ? Save me the cringe, its morning, I am pure again.


Well I'm done with you. I'll let experts take care of this

[An artist walks in. The Boy hurriedly rises in respect and vacates the couch. He is excited by the artist’s presence and takes the chair. The learned Boy takes the couch. He has a book by his side. The Girl seats herself beside him.]

ARTIST- (To the Boy)

Alguna Pregunta?



[The Artist whispers something in the Girl’s ear. The Girl snaps back]


Any questions?


Err.. Yes ! Sir! I’m sorry ! I.. Err.. bear with me if i might sound incoherent at times, but I will bring this together.

[The Girl rapidly goes back and forth, whispering translations into the artist’s ear.]

[The Artist gives an encouraging smile.]


So, lately, I've felt like i've been just falling through life. Like I'm coping really well and all, but like, I'm unable to retain anything, hold onto anything. I pay attention to things, they home in on my conscience as well, but when I look back at my week it's like I can recall nothing. Like not organically. I have to look it up. I think it's all this scrolling. Leaping from app to app, bombarding my brain with information , over stimulating it, I think I've trained my brain to just process information for the briefest of moments and then let it go. So like, you know, how we are oversaturated with knowledge, hyper flooded with info, and aware. Ignorance is bliss no more..


Excuse me, excuse me, you did let us know that you will vacillate but eventually get to a point, but could you please get there quicker ??


Yeah of course, umm, it's just that with all these options we are exposed to, so much to read, so much to watch, so much to listen, so much to learn and do,how do you find any sort of conviction sticking to something, how do you are sure that this is what you do, and that is something you shut do you have any sort of conviction at all? How do we ever get a sense that we are enough? Will we ever get that sense?

[The Artist begins to answer. The Girl here’s one sentence from him and then speaks it in English to the Boy. The Artist occasionally gesticulates to help the women.]

GIRL- What’s happening to you is very interesting.

GIRL- Believe me when I say, confusion is interesting

GIRL-Otherwise everything gets very boring very quickly.

GIRL- I’ll keep it very short

GIRL- I’ll take the example of Chekhov

GIRL- The seagull

GIRL- Keeping it simple,, there are two writers in the play. Trigorin and Trepliov GIRL- I see myself as Trigorin. You are very much the image i have of Trepliov GIRL- Trigorin ends up confused.

GIRL- Trepliov ends up killing himself.

GIRL- Now what i want you to do is not to kill yourself.

GIRL- Because then there is Nina.

GIRL- Nina is an actress, who faces a lot of difficulties, and I'm going to quote her last few lines that she says to Trepliov to you.

GIRL- “Constantine, that for us, whether we write or act,..”

GIRL- “it is not the honour and glory of which I have dreamt that is important-” GIRL- ”it is the strength to endure.”

GIRL- ” One must know how to bear one’s cross, and one must have faith.” GIRL- “I believe, and so do not suffer so much, and when I think of my calling I do not fear life.”

[The Artist concludes with this. The Boy seems overwhelmed for a moment]


Whoa, that was..Thank you so much.

[The Artist whispers something to the Girl again]


Have you read the seagull?


No but, I will.

[The Artist reaches out, and with a heavy accent, says]


Here, take my copy.

{The Boy reaches out. The artist and the Girl leave. The Boy bows down. He furiously begins to flit through the book]


[The Boy lies on the couch. He is reading intently. A laugh begins to brew. He starts laughing with utter abandon, the mirth of release.]

[The Girl comes hurrying in]


Bless that Artist, he probably didn’t even get half of my questions, but Boy did he still get the bull’s eye. I am Trepliov indeed. Though I’m not sure even he is aware to what extent. You remember the bit he said about Nina surely? Just lifted up your spirit didn't it?. But wait there’s more. Allow me to recount what Trepliov says in reply to Nina right after.

“You have found your right path, you know which way you are going, but I am still floating about in a chaotic world of dreams and images, not knowing what use it all is. I have no faith, and I do not know what my vocation is”

Bang On. Our lives summed up. It’s practically liberating.

[The Boy is overawed. They collapse on the couch, flooded with glee.]


Yesterday I was listening to 2000s hits and came across Pussycat dolls “beep”. So the lyrics go something like this. First WILL.I.AM walks in with his bit “It’s funny how a Boy only thinks about the *beep*, you got a real big heart, but I’m looking at your *beep*. And so on.

To which Nicole Scherzinger replies..


WAIT WAIT WAIT I’ll do her.

“I don’t give a damn keep looking at my “beep”, cause it don’t mean a thing that you looking at ma *beep*. Imma do my thing while you’re playing with your *beep*

Ah haha ha ha!


Yaaas girl. So i was all like slay it queen, consider me empowered can’t let pathetic creeps dictate my life forever girl powahh!

And then in the evening my mother was watching Ramayan. Lord Rama was scaling the villages in disguise, hearing those sneaky villagers diss her one true love, straight up disrespecting her character and flinging shit at her. And Lord Rama sat and sobbed and let it torment him. He defeated the greatest terror on earth but gave up against people’s mentality, like hell no brother I’ll have to do another avatar to take care of this shit. I’m done trifling this life.

So basically what I’m saying is, Nicole S prevailed where the great God Rama failed.


Lmao, 10/10..


Did you just say LMAO out loud?


Oh. Im sorry, LMAO is my standard response to long convoluted text messages that I don’t really pay attention to. I zoned out somewhere midway. So anyway! I’m all in.


So anyway, if you feel irked by your anxieties, and hate yourself for the fact that you let yourself be incapacitated by putting too much stock in what others think of you, relax, it will take a while to amend that, it’s pretty gritty demon, it brought Gods to their knees.

That satsang was from me to me


Mmhm, improv coping mechanism,nice.


You’re still not paying attention, you’re just throwing in stock keywords you know will keep the conversation running because that’s what the other guy

wants to hear, and you will never have to fully engage because you’re not really interested but you don’t want to be rude.

You’re basically employing my own social hacks on me.


I’m sorry, I mean basically don’t victimize those Lords and Gods so much. Baaki good. Nice satsang Boy.


But always mould a narrative in such a fashion that it gives buoyancy to your sense of self worth. It can lead to narcissistic and arrogant behaviour. But when your sense of self worth is in the dumps, it only brings it up to about a decent level of self-love. That narcissism danger is far off yet.

So in supplementing their victimization, I propel my sense of self worth. Voila, lifehack!


Like what all ‘woke’ men have been doing with history. Sure.


Hey, not saying it is right. But whatever gets a nice productive day out of me for now.


Mehnati ho tum. About time really, we’ve sat in our filth for years.


Kuch bhi ho jaaye, jeet ant me meri hi hogi.

[the girl smiles and croons a melody]


*And someday when I sing my song, a small town kid will come along, that'll be the thing to push him on and on*.

[A noose is lowered onto the stage. The Boy walks to it. The noose and the Boy are the only things visible.]


The thing is, it's never just one rule that can get you through. There is never such a thing as that one rule you fall back onto. It comes with so many sub corollaries often. And your mind is like a mutating energy monster, adapting to your grounding techniques, punching holes in it, and finding loopholes around it.

It's exhausting, the constant battle, the incessant droning. So what do I do?

[The Boy suddenly takes stance and starts treating the hanging noose as if it were a punching bag. He throws punches and ducks around]


I keep at it, I absorb the blows, and wait for my surge of energy, because it inevitably does come. I'll show you, I'll show the lot of you,, come on in guys let's move to the..

[A phone rings.

The Boy is startled.]


Oh yeah it's Saturday.

[The Boy is positively delighted. He leaves the spot. A landline phone and a chair lie on stage. He picks up the phone. The Boy is positively throbbing with nervous excitement. He sits on the chair, facing away from the phone. The phone faces the audience, while we see the Boy's left profile, sitting on the chair.


Hello, yeah, no, of course not. Toh, kaisa Raha ye hafta (he laughs). Han wahi wali photo, whatsapp ki thi jo parso, ya kal . Hana wahi tumhara John Krasinski wala screenshot, "Some Good News" wala.

Oh, hang on let me get the soul music, apparently it's pravachan time right away today. Ji gurudev.!

[The Boy glances towards the audience]

Okay wait give me a moment I'm in the middle of something, two minutes. I'll call you right away.

[He hangs up.]

[The Boy comes up to the apron of the stage. He opens his mouth to say something, but it seems unsure if he is able to muster the words or courage to say anything.]

[The Boy calls out to the wings]


Bhai ek Pyaaz aur ek chaaku.

[An onion and a knife is handed to him. He starts slicing it right away]


I have to have tears for this upcoming section mates, I just have to. I want legitimate tears, tears of joy and profound feeling. It’s imperative. I don’t really trust myself to deliver, and I don’t want to risk it. Just a bit more, ah that stings, there, now it's good. I’ll use this whenever I need the sting

[He keeps the onion and knife near the phone, and goes back upfront to speak. However after a moment, he just drops his facade and lets out a massive smile. He goes back to the chair and picks up the phone and puts it to his ear. During the length of the following text, he either speaks while sitting on the chair, or roaming around the stage, but carrying the phone with him, always speaking into the receiver.]


You know those Bollywood movies are not completely far off in their fantasies. You remember the scenes where someone really misses some loved one and they can see them in flesh in front of them at random events, only it's an apparition and they vanish as soon as this person reaches out to touch or address them.

Happens with me as well. I mean, not quite. I have the sum of her mannerisms internalised to such a degree that in my wistful moments, or when my thoughts drift to her in a situation, I see her come alive for the briefest of moments and can see her react exactly as she would, walking beside me or standing in front of me, or on a video call, i see my mind recreate an absolute perfect, alive form of her, with the sharpest and the smallest twitch of expression.

I am Trouble, sharp and unbound,

To everything that seeks to trouble you,

As for my own trouble,

Is that the spectre of you looms,

In front of me, through all moments.

The sum of your mannerisms alive,

As if my eyes reject a world without you,

And are funnelled,

Into a pocket universe

With you as the sole inhabitant,

And I, the sole witness.!

But is being haunted by a vision of bliss

Any trouble at all?

Of Course in trysts with unrequited love there is never an ultimate fantasy. There are so many desires and wishful, wistful moments. Every day you have a new romantic vision, you this it , this is the fuel that’ll keep you going but then..

I thought about how I should present this section to you, because of course its imperative you fall in love with the Girl I did too.

But that’s another one of my hyper fixations speaking. Besides, your perception filters will always attach your life and judgement bias to whatever I have to say. Also, it’s about time I begin to pay less and less heed to what you might think.

Just let it suffice to say this girl is far more beautiful, far more talented than anyone you have ever known. She is God’s own child. No thoughts, not even a contrary reflex is allowed in my vicinity. I’ll fight you. I will. Don’t even think about it. Thought crime. This right here is an Orwellian state now.

So, love made my knees buckle. Here I am going through life thinking I've got the hang of flings and dating business and whatnot. Quite the fan of polyamory in fact. !

And In comes this gust of wind and it obliterated me. 4 days is all it took.

I mean of course you didn’t think I was one of those “Love at First Sight” losers eh? Naah, I held on for 4 complete days.

Actually to be fair, It was basically like Shahrukh Khan and Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Na. It's like the ground they walked on had an afterglow. And there I was, All my designs simplified,

All my plans compromised,

All my dreams, sacrificed.

All of my emotions, all my reactions, all of my senses are contaminated by the diarrhoea of thought, of self doubt, of over thinking, and then when this all consuming feeling hit me that just overrode everything else, well, unconditional surrender!

I just began to wrestle and knockout my insecurities, muzzling my erratic cagey thought. Always striving to see the reason behind her actions, through and through, so you could really understand them.

Also, quick side note, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt. I'm telling my story, and I will, even in the throes of self hatred, present myself as a tragic hero.

And how do you know love? Well if the fact that they haven’t left your thought for a minute for over 7 months now, wasn’t enough. Recall your most private moments, or your most blissful moments, or essentially any moment of surging emotion. It could be as simple as you unwinding in a cool night under a full moon, with the optimum breeze. And in each and every one of those moments

there was a lacuna, a void. You wish they were there with you to share the moments.

But then there is the question of this old fucker, my reliable head! It gets me every time.

I would want every line to be a punchline with her, every story super hilarious, every action super impressive, every ordinary situation a ‘moment’, I would crave her attention. I would emulate situations that I saw get a laugh out of her.

I would tell her so many things to her in a single breath anxious to tell all my cool stories to her while simultaneously not wanting to bore her and I would rush through, anxious to get to the good bits, and then get even more ill at ease when they didn’t land.

I lost all my sense of self-worth a few weeks down the line because my mind convinced me that I just wasn’t good enough, that I had to overcompensate. And I lingered much too much as well.

I’d see them do well and simultaneously feel exultation for them, and misery at myself, that I was still stuck. Like a direct juxtaposition. And then this feeling of being upstaged trickled in, like if they were being appreciated, to be worthy I have to be even more appreciated than they are.

I mean I’m basically the master of playing it cool, I’d never let this spillover into my behaviour very evidently, but my insides were grinding. And stranger thoughts still started niggling me.

What if what I call unconditional love,-absolute surrender-is actually spinelessness? What if I’m simply scared, that if I bat for myself more often, and not always align myself exactly to their will, I’ll lose them? Or is it just convention that generates these fears?

Worse, what if my ‘love’ is merely a conquest, what if I’m merely in this ‘game’ till they love me back? What if I’m Woody Allen quoting Groucho Marx at the beginning of Anne Hall “ "I would never wanna belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member”

The worst feeling, the worst fear that clings to you is that, forget the best version, you aren't even yourself with them! You're just some needlessly hyperactive version of yourself flailing your arms in wild effort. And you fear that you're going to lose them on the basis of a version of you that is not even in the same ballpark of the person you are. That really rattles your bones. Do any of you get that?

So one cosy night, I liked hearing the sound of rain tapping the ground after ages. It was borderline therapeutic. But soon as I began wishing for it to last, the rains turned violent, the tapping now a blithering noise.

Do I make things non hedonistic by hovering?

Am I forever meant to take good feelings through small dosage, lest the novelty of it be lost on me and it grows old very quickly. The taps were beautiful, but by choosing to dwell on it I took its charm away.

And I realized, Do I do this with love as well?

I feel a powerful, moving, uncontaminated force, and I, distressed from all adulteration in all my emotion in life, choose to stick to it like a burr. You know those tiny thorny spheres that cling to your socks and your clothes when you pass through bushes, or an overgrown field. I suffocate this novelty however, and I hover and I linger in hopes of extending it and extending it, until it becomes dry and snaps. And you stick to them like a burr. Burr isn’t toxic, it isn’t harmless. Just plain annoying and clingy. I reduced myself to Burr.

You know I realized that was so stupid. I realized that i want to be with her for ages, and I'm sure we will be a part of each other's life for 30,40,50 years. And yet every time i saw her I behaved as if this is it, everything impressive has to happen today, today is the last audition. I was hyperfixating again. Like I was running out of time. And in doing so I was rooting against my own belief. And I could not let that happen. That I have to start looking at the love I bear for her when I see her, not the insecurities I harbour. And for my own sake, I need to learn to detach.

[The Boy keeps the phone away]


Still haven’t got the complete hang of all of those things. It’s gotten so much better though. It’s in a good place.

You know..I mean you have to know, when something’s working, and it’s going well, and you see a dawning affection in their eye. And some other day, they raise their eyes at you, and for the briefest, tiniest moment you see a look that tells you that they are thankful to see you..

[The Boy begins singing while retreating]

*Raah me unse, mulaqat ho gayi, jisse darte the wahi baat ho gayi.. * BOY-

Aur zindagi bhar ka, ta-umr ka sath chahiye. Thodi si umr lubhaane me hi nikal jaaye toh bura kya hai.

aur baaki aap jaante hain, jeet ant me meri hi honi hai.

It was ‘Harry met Sally” wasn’t it? That line. “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”

Yeah, that’s indeed what makes it really difficult.

This nervousness is not all bad though. I like it. It keeps me on my toes, makes sure I keep checking for impurities and make an effort to keep it fresh every day.

When you’re walking along on a cold night and a few paces upfront you see a few men have a fire going. You don’t have time to stop, but as you pass them, the warmth of fire and the smell of burnt wood caresses your skin for the smallest moment. That tender moment, that brief tender brush..

[He begins to walk to the platform at the back end. He gazes back]


There is however one little thing. What if all this unconditional love, is just a shtick to fuel my hero complex..

[He climbs on the platform and looks back.]


I’m too nice to people sometimes, and I like it when they place me on a pedestal.

[Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden plays. It's a live concert version]

[The Boy starts performing as if at a concert. His massive shadow is projected on the cyclorama.]

[The crowd croons the melody in the recording. He is soaking it up. The lyrics hit and he starts performing.]

“I am a man who walks alone

And when I'm walking a dark road

At night or strolling through the park

When the light begins to change

I sometimes feel a little strange

A little anxious when it's dark

Fear of the dark

Fear of the dark

I have a constant fear that something's always near

Fear of the dark

Fear of the dark

I have a phobia that someone's always there"

[The music halts. The Boy smiles]


The grandest of concerts at dusk lit stadiums.

Or the feeble folk tunes ringing in the fields of hay,

and everything in between,

my ambition encompasses it all.

I am fueled by art ,and by the lure of attention. All at once.

I'm Freddy fucking Mercury and I want it all.

And it’s scary. What if that’s all I want. What if what I consider a Showman inside of me is just an Exhibitionist?

[The Boy begins to walk down]

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, until is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

We think of ourselves as tragic heroes. We love to think of ourselves in that light don't we? You push away the truly despicable bits. You never speak of the things which actually expose how deplorable you are.

Well let's find out. But don't hope too much, I'll still not really reveal the things which will make you think truly low of me.

Alright then, never have I ever. Let's play a game ladies and gentlemen, yes right here, let's hand out the glasses, a few drinks please. One for me!

[A liquor glass is handed out to him]


Alright then you know the rules. Never have I ever, the game that helps break the ice we say, but which basically is just a medium to say your kinks out loud and make people titillate you through peer pressure.

Here we go, we start off with a softie,

"Never have I ever peed in a pool?"

Of Course you have, drink up yeah.

Alright then, let's get crass, we're running out of time.

"Never have I ever done it in a restroom"

"Never have I ever had a threesome"

Wait wait! you know what, I'll really escalate the stakes here. Let me make it truly personal, and downright dirty. Might get a bit complex but stick with me

"Never have I ever been unable to contact my father for a few hours, and had my mother worriedly calling me as well, and the first thing that flashed into my head after letting myself think of the worst was not great emotional distress, but about how am I going to sustain myself and "chase my passion".

[The Boy knocks back the drink.]


Yeah got a bit twister there but you get the gist. The Boy who has spent his life showering me with care and support, the first impulse of care in me extends not to him, but to his money.


Get the hell away from me all of you. I'm sick of you and I'm sick of me. [He teeters on his feet for a bit, clearly tipsy].


Fat lot of passion-chasing I am doing. Feel the urge to create and then just shoot blanks. I am coasting along on the talent of my teachers. Take them away, what are you?

Shit. Shit. Worthless hunk of shit.

Companionship and Validation, give that to you losers around here and half the world doesn’t have problems anymore. Half of my inferiority complex comes from not having a proper tragedy to pin this shit onto, to make sense of it. Fucking phoney that’s what I am.

And oh yeah, Rage.

[He laughs in derision]

Loads of it, I have such rage. All consuming, earth shaking rage. But all of it fucking impotent. Worthless.

[He realizes the state he’s put himself in and sighs]


“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

[The sound of the theme from "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is heard. The Boy shakes himself and regains his composure again]

[The Girl enters onto the platform at the back in cowboy attire. She stutters to a halt diametrically behind the BOY. The Boy still faces the audience]

[Two men come in. One helps the Boy into an overcoat. The other puts a hat on his head and gun in his hand.]


You here for me?


A man's gotta do something for a living.


Dying aint much of a living Boy.


Oho wet noodle got himself a mouth. Well all your new found bravado is about to be as useful as pogo stick in quicksand. I've been with you since you crawled out of your mother's filth, and I ain't going nowhere. You think your oh so carefully constructed mechanisms and grounding techniques and emotional labour is gonna count for shit. You don't even remember them half the time you dumbfuck.

You're just bumbling through life like a deer in the headlights, barely keeping it together, lucky punk. Misery is your fucking disposition. You're gonna settle the fuck down. Reaching too much and you're only gonna end up killing yourself one day in frustration".


I tried to be reasonable, I didn’t like it.

You see this coat. I got this made in February. The winter was over though. And it killed me that I didn’t get the chance to wear it. Well here I am, having designed and written an entire sequence just so I could get to wear this and show this off because it looks so, so sweet on me.

You think you throw anything at me, and I wouldn’t find ways to run rings around it?

[The Girl howls with laughter]


"Barcelona came back from 0-4 down to beat PSG 6-1 in the next tie. I'm simply in the 4-0 phase of life and I’ll live life having the grandest of fun because I know the 6-1 comeback is inevitable"

Hysterical. It's pathetic really, your naiveté, your convoluted designs to make yourself cope, and the inevitable relapse.

Well let's size them up shall we. Let's have a game of quick draw. [The Girl puts her hand on the gun]

[The Boy follows. They stare down. The duel begins].

The Girl

Years after years wasted. Minutes, Seconds, Hours, Months. Static. Stagnant. 25 year old already. All around you people making sense of their lives. Getting places. Shame. It's already too late. And your love, look at her go..

[Shadows creep towards the Boy while the Girl speaks. The Boy seems unsettled. He gathers himself and stutters]

The Boy

I..I have my own rhythm. I will not be perturbed by others. Their life is not my life. I refuse to live in awe of what others are, and belittle my life every day. Things will fall into place when they're supposed to.

[The Boy draws his gun and shoots at the shadows.

Two figures fall].

The Girl


What about this world though around you that's on fire. You see but you do nothing. You can do nothing. Or you can but you still don't ? It kills you. It emasculates you.

[The Shadows approach the Boy again. The boy seems to be groping for something in his head ]

The Boy

I can do nothing for anyone if I'm diseased inside out. I need to first nurse myself. If I jump in right now I'll only heighten my inadequacy and waste away

further. I am sorry, I have to be selfish right now. Fighting the good fight will soon follow.

[He shoots. A figure collapses.]

The Girl

You are in the zone today. Bravo. Tell me, are you in the groove today. Loving this? Feeling the audience? You're not externally analyzing yourself at the same time. Watching your movements, watching yourself act while you act, your insides screeching at the mistakes, your head just anticipating everything it has to do, while wondering if you took the right approach during prep.

[The shadows converge again. The Boy closes his eyes]


Concentrate on breathing. Rigor, imagination and truth for now. The masonry will come later.

[He opens his eyes and shoots. Another one bites the dust]

My teachers have it covered don't you worry.

[The Girl is cackling. She seems to relish what she is going to say next]


And the love you...

[The Boy immediately shoots all around with manic energy]


I will not let you make that murky. I will not let you drag her in the mire. I will not let you poison that.

I am mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

I will fucking joke you into oblivion. I will fucking laugh you out of existence. I will degrade you through sheer indifference. You will not have power over me anymore.

[The Girl takes off her hat.]


Well. Okay. You shouldn't have sent that GIF yesterday though that made it sort of awkward.

[The Boy takes out his phone immediately, extremely concerned.]


Shit yes. Reply bhi nahi aaya uske baad baat hi band ho gayi. Hey I think I'll just send an even raunchier one so it'll definitely be clear I'm joking. Yes. There.

No no it just seems too much I'll delete the message for both of us. Oh I’ve got it I’ve got it. I’ll just send “See I warned you I'm bound to make it creepy”. That’ll show Im self aware and it was intentional. Laugh emoji laugh emoji Tilted laugh emoji.


Oh no too many laugh emojis it looks awkward. Delete for both. I’ll send a black Moonface that’s the best. There!

The chat window looks so desperate though, two deleted messages,shit. She’s online.. She didn’t even acknowledge, shit I’ve made it worse”

[The Boy is struggling. The Girl has crept near. She takes out her phone and casually makes a remark]


This Deepfake thing is getting out of hand. First it was just the morphed porn videos, which was extremely disturbing in itself. Now they’re reports it’s being used in election campaigns

[The Boy looks into her phone]


Yes its so so terrifying. It’ll come to the point where video evidence will mean nothing, you won’t know the truth ever again.

[The Boy is hunched up, his body tense. He has dropped his guard, and his anxiety has begun creep up]


Watching “Afterlife” that day was strange wasn’t it? Did you also know you could put Heroin in a joint as well? All I knew was that it was either the pills or the needle.

Imagine someone you know and love, they go hang out, and somebody hands them a joint, and it's spiked. Wow, scary vulnerable; people around us. Imagine someone stuck in such a situation and they call you, and they’re in a hostile environment. Wow. Makes you think, doesn't it? What would you do ? What could you do? How would you help them? I mean even if you knew would your brain even function in that moment? Scary..

[The Boy is positively knotted up with worry. Two shadows creep up on him. Figures get hold of him and wrestle him to the ground. The Boy struggles extensively, screaming in rage]


What no ?Why?For this?What even, why am I thinking that? There’s literally nothing, stop! This is so stupid. There isn’t even a thing this so dumb.

[The figures wrestle him to the ground swiftly]


Stop, I’m not doing this, get off, screw this play, Samajh nahi aa raha kya bol rha hu? Hato. Mujhe nahi karna koi natak vatak.

[The men let go of him, unsure what to do now]


Thank you aap logo ne bht help ki please go wrap up I’m not doing this anymore.

[The Boy gives a gentle push to the men. The Girl looks completely taken aback]


Kya ho gaya?We still have to do the bit?

[The Boy seems to be on the verge of a panic attack]


I do not want to do any more bits. Nothing at all. I am sick of this to my gut. I just want to remain angry oh wish I could remain angry forever. It’s so exhausting, be on your guard 24x7, holding onto your rules. Remember them, make visual impressions that you can learn. Tonnes and Tonnes of mental reengineering, affirmations and reaffirmations all day, and it still becomes a vicious cycle of overthinking and reactionary reaffirmations.

Engage with only the current moment, and yet Lord forbid you take your guard down for once you’re done!

There it is! Chronic sense of your inadequacy, its back. The consistent niggle of how you will be perceived. Boost your ego, judge yourself and compare, hate yourself to such an extent that all your self-trust is smoke, so you indulge in the good old self sabotage shame cycles, and you procrastinate. Distract yourself from the present through consistent scrolling and elaborate fantasies. And then masturbate for some quick gratification

And then go to sleep, and then wake up not wanting to face the day because you’ve again made it so that you have to begin from square one again!

[The Girl tenderly gets a hold of him]


It’s okay. Let’s build a fort.

[The Boy regains some composure and then agrees. They hurry across. Collect a total of 5-6 blocks and rapidly build an enclosure, after which they crawl underneath. The Boy drifts to sleep.

The girl is breathing peacefully, contemplating him]


I hate these fantasies and this daydreaming. For if you indulge in them for as long as I have, you will to.

But I would probably be so much worse off without these forts. For they protect me from the worst of it, they protect me from capitulation.

A possibility, and visions follow.

A memory of a feeling and holding on to live them again swells. A desire, and a dream takes shape. Visions like drizzle on a barren land. Enough to keep life going with vigor. They insulate me, they propel me.

They are often therapeutic.

I often think about the vastness of human experience, nostalgia for things and people and situations and food and places we haven’t even seen or felt, the vastness of ‘out-there’ to explore, It permeates our fantasies. Storm clouds and mountains and blood moons. The substance of all the great and the good verses... Anyway, before I run off on another tangent..

How did it get so bad? I don’t know, I can possibly recall how it started though! College after school was very different. Different in the sense it was very different from where I’d wanted to be and different in terms of the people I had been surrounded by until now. But rather than walking at my pace and finding my own rhythm, I straight away tried to fit in. But then I didn’t know how. So I’d watch and observe, then I’d say a joke and see if it lands, and i based my behaviour on and around approval. You see I fit in very well, but I had no sense of identity anymore. I was just calculation, not emotion anymore. And validation was my parameter for growth.

I did not care to look weak however, even for a moment; It must appear that I’m sticking it to every situation.

Soon I became a collection of social hacks and nothing more.. [the boy wakes up with a start, He storms off, the Girl follows] BOY-

No fantasies. No. My toes wiggle. I can’t lie down anymore.. I hate it when my toes wiggle. I cannot lie down any more. Please

[The Girl walks up to him]


About time we start the performance then, isn’t it?

[Music: Epilogue, LA LA LAND by Justin Horowitz]

The Boy walks to the stage, slowly, rhythmically. He struggles to keep his head on his shoulder. The weight of it causes it to keep falling over. He lies down and immediately wakes up into a dream. He tries to break into sweeping movements, but the presence of a crowd keeps terrifying him, and he keeps stopping, overly conscious with himself. ]

[The Girl breezes by him and hands him a blindfold.

The Boy puts on the blindfold and smiles. ]


How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot,

The world forgetting, By the world forgot,

Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind,

Each Prayer Accepted; Each wish resigned

[He lets go. He keeps banging into things, but the hurt does not matter to him anymore. He soars with the music. He plays-act, he romances, he breaks free. As the crescendo rises, he snatches his blindfold off and runs off to find the Girl and they both revel in utter joy.]


Okay Okay, let’s just go and have a drink now.


No we have to keep dancing, forever and ever, that’s how we win.


Yes, and what about the rest of the stuff.

[The Boy is as ecstatic and erratic as a child. He is ecstatic and positively drunk on delight.]


Oh yes, too many things to do , to see, to feel. Let's go then, onwards and forwards, Rage Rage against the dying of light!!


You go on, and make me a drink.

[The Boy exits. He is exultant. The sounds of “Rage Rage against the dying of light” keep ringing.]


Really easy to cheer us up. Our emotions basically move along like sinusoidal graphs. Up down Up down all in any given moment.

Well, I’d like to take your leave now. I’m exhausted.

One last letter before you go though. From someone as fragmented as me. From one of my favourite books, The Book Of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa.

[The woman retrieves a letter and starts reading]