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Our party reached the theatre company's office at around 2 pm. The owner, the actors, and dramatist were waiting; neatly folded betel leaves and cigarettes were kept ready to welcome the party.
Immediately upon arriving, Rasiklal launched into the difficult task of impressing the owner. "Sorry, we are late," he said. "We chose to walk rather than travel in cars because we wanted to enjoy nature's beauty. Mr Guruprasad is a great admirer of nature; had it been within his powers, he would have lived the life of an ascetic, or lived in a hilly village that afforded him to sit under a tree and listen to birds chirping the whole day long."
Vinod added more punch to the statement, "And, instead of taking the straight road, we followed a circuitous route. Oh, my legs!"
Amar applied the brush and added a few more coats, "Truly, a worthy person! His servants travel in cars but Mr Guruprasad prefers to walk. At the break of dawn when other rich people are still in deep slumber, he can be seen by the banks of the river enjoying the magnificent colors of the rising sun!"
"A poet! A poet who wants to fly away free!" Mastaram supplied his bit. "He keeps gazing at rose petals for hours together! God knows what he searches in them. The greatest poets in Europe have gained fame for their love of nature. If only Mr Guruprasad had lived in Europe, he would have become famous by now! One day he saw a child crying, and broke into sobs himself. His distress was so intense that when I asked him the reason he could not utter a word; he found his voice at last with much difficulty!"
Vinod: Sir! A poet's heart overflows with tender emotions, it is a store of sweet music, and it mirrors the infinity.
Rasik: What wonderful words! "Mirrors the infinity"! Wow! Sir, your association with our poet friend has brought out the poet in you too to some extent!
Guruprasad remonstrated mildly, "I am neither a poet nor do I claim to be one. Friends, you describe me as a poet for no reason."
Rasiklal: A paragon of humility! He thinks he is a commoner! That is the sign of greatness; a person, who starts believing he is great, is doomed for certain.
"You will listen for yourself how he has poured his heart into this play," Rasiklal said addressing the owner. "Most poets have a kind of carefree attitude, but Mr Guruprasad has not a trace of it. While writing this play, he must have read a thousand volumes to get the facts right. You are well aware how writers have distorted the history of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah's rule; Mr Guruprasad has painstakingly skimmed only the truth from these writings."
Vinod: Yes! For this reason, I accompanied Mr Guruprasad to Kolkata where we spent six months searching for facts in Matiaburj. We discovered a manuscript in Wajid Ali Shah's own handwriting; the Nawab had written about his life. We had to worship an old woman before we could lay our hands upon the manuscript six months later!
Amarnath: It is not a manuscript but a jewel!
Mastaram: Mr Guruprasad has embellished it and added to its glitter. A drama should be such as to cause the audience to clutch their hearts; every sentence should pierce the heart.
Amarnath: He has read hundreds of books on theatrical creation. Owner of the Lahore Dramatic Club sought Mr Guruprasad for a whole week pleading for the rights of the play. But Mr Guruprasad refused. There isn't any point in transferring the rights to a theatre group which doesn't have good actors; it would have made an awful mess of the play. Your group has the best actors, and your playwright is renowned. If you decide to take up the play, it will cause a stir.
Vinod: Yes, this is the only company whose performances I look forward to watching. The less said about other groups, the better. They can't perform plays; I have stopped watching their plays!
Guruprasad: Writing a theatre piece is no child's play; I believe even five years are not sufficient to write a really good drama. I think you can write only a single good play in your lifetime. This has been corroborated by acclaimed critics who unanimously agree that a person can write only one good play in his lifetime. I have read theatrical works from several other countries; all of them have some flaw or the other. Some are high in emotional content but low in linguistic essence; if there is linguistic essence then the emotional content is missing; if there is humour then there are no songs; if there are songs then there is no humour. A play cannot be described as a play until all these four elements - emotion, language, humour, and songs - are present. I am a person of little consequence; it is only through my association with you, friends, that I learned a few things. My composition is insignificant, but if god wills, you will not find such flaws in it.
Rasiklal: It will be unfortunate to discover flaws in your work; you, who have spent ten years studying music and the arts under the best teachers, are unlikely to have made mistakes.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu