Girl Child: The Taboo

The Characters:

Geeta – daughter in law.

Sumitra Devi- mother in law

Mahesh- son

Raghu- Doctor

Scene-1                               

Curtains open

A fully and well furnished lobby is shown. An old lady in her late 60s clad in a white saree with a big chandan tikka is sitting on the sofa.

SUMITRA DEVI (shouts): Bahu, I am waiting since so long. It’s already so late. How much time do you take to get ready? We are not going to some party. (She starts grumbling).

Shortly a lean framed lady slowly steps out of the room. Her head is covered with a pallu.

GEETA (in a grim tone): Maaji, I am here.

Sumitra gives her an offensive look and leaves the room. Geeta too follows her, wiping her tears in between. Both leave the stage.

Curtains close

Scene -2                                      

(curtains open)

The gate of a small nursing home reads ‘ABC maternity Hospital’. Some people in saree and dhoti kurta are seen entering and leaving the hospital.

Geeta enters the stage. She looks at the board and is visibly sad.

GEETA (looking at audience speaks to herself): Why again? Bhagwan, how long I will have to commit this crime? I don’t want to step inside. But what can I do? How can I stand against Maaji and my husband?

Meanwhile Sumitra Devi enters the stage and orders her to go inside. Both eventually enter the gate and disappear.

Curtains close.

Scene-3                                     

(Curtains Open)

A small room is shown with a bald, bespectacled person busy in writing. His name plate reads in Hindi; Dr Raghu Raheta. On the chair opposite to his, Sumitra Devi is sitting waiting for him to finish his work.

DR. RAGHU– Sumitra Ji, all the paper work is done. Your Bahu is also prepared. It will just take me five mins to complete the procedure and you will be free of this unnecessary burden (starts laughing).

SUMITRA DEVI– I am aware of the same. Hence, I come to your clinic only. (she hands over a bundle to doctor). (sighs) I don’t know when my bahu will give us a boy. I am fed up of her (mumbles).

DR.RAGHU (in a whispering tone): Don’t worry. God willing, our next sex determination test will give you good news. Now, you wait here and have a cup of tea.

Dr Raghu leaves the stage. Sumitra Devi starts chanting her beads.

Curtains close.

 

                                  

Scene-4                                     

(curtains open)

Scene of a bedroom; Geeta is sitting at the corner of bed with her head down. A man in his late 20s is sitting on the wooden chair lying next to the bed.

MAHESH (in an irritated voice): Look, Geeta, It has been a week since the abortion but you are behaving like a little girl and this wasn’t for the first time. (He chides her). Now stop crying like a baby.

The stage is silent for few minutes.

MAHESH (scornfully): Amma needs a grandson and there is nothing wrong with that. She needs a boy who can support and look after us. (He goes close to her) next time I want a son otherwise I will send you to your parents.

Mahesh leaves the room.

GEETA (looks towards the audience): Even Maaji is a woman. How can she be so ruthless and heartless? (Looking at the direction where Mahesh went) Don’t you feel pity for your unborn daughters? Can’t you feel my pain? (She starts weeping loudly)

(Curtains close)

Scene-5                                     

(curtains open)

Scene of Dr Raghu’s room. Mahesh and Geeta are sitting in front of Dr Raghu. Mahesh is anxiously waiting for doctor babu to speak.

DR.RAGHU (happily): Badhai ho Mahesh Babu! Your wife is pregnant again. God willing, this time you will definitely be blessed with a son. Sumitra Devi’s prayers will be definitely answered this time.

Mahesh excitedly leaves the room along with Dr Raghu discussing about future plan of action.

GEETA (still sitting): what if it is again a girl? Will these monsters kill her again? Bhagwan, why are you doing this to me and my babies?

(Curtains close)

Scene-6                                      

(Curtains Open)

It’s evening time. Lobby of Sumitra Devi’s house. Sumitra Devi, Mahesh are sitting on the chairs while Geeta is standing at the corner.

SUMITRA DEVI (looks angrily at Geeta)- Kalmuhi, ek ladka nahi de paa rahi, kahan se gale pad gayi”.

Geeta doesn’t respond, she corrects her pallu.

SUMITRA DEVI (looks at her son):Bachua, Finalise the date and time. I don’t know how much money we will have to waste on her? Her parents shall only pay (she starts chanting Ram Ram).

Mahesh nods like a puppet. Sumitra Devi leaves the stage with Mahesh following her; an inconsolable Geeta is left behind.

Same arrangement on the stage, it’s morning time.

Sumitra Devi is walking impatiently in the lobby; she looks agitated.

Geeta comes out of her room; she is carrying a suitcase in hand.

SUMITRA DEVI (startled): Ae Bahu, what is this? Where are you going?

She tries to hold Geeta’s elbow but Geeta snubs her off.

GEETA (in a stern voice): No Ammaji, not again. Otherwise I will forget my limits. You yourself are a woman, yet you bear so much hatred for the innocent souls who are not yet born. You made me a criminal as well. (She pauses). If you try to stop me this time, I will complain in the police.

Sumitra Devi appears scared, she doesn’t move. Geeta starts walking towards the door.

GEETA: Auto wale, chaloge?

(Curtains close)

Final scene                       

(Curtains open)

A small room with a single bed, table chair and small kitchen space is set up. Geeta is standing at the door.

GEETA (cheerfully): Bye bye gudiya.

Looking towards the audience.

GEETA– I am happy, very happy with my gudiya. I work in a primary school and look after my small family. Before I leave you all to get ready for my job, I just want to request you. Please educate your daughters so that they are self sustaining. I didn’t have the courage to leave the house where I got married, hence kept suffering. But no female shall bear the atrocities the way I did. So fight against injustice.

She joins her hands in the position of Namaskar. Lights dim and curtains close.

__________________________________________________________

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Pooja Gupta

Pooja Gupta is a clinical microbiologist by profession based in Bathinda, Punjab. Her encounter with the pen is a recent one and since then she became completely addicted to it.

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