Thursday, October 2, 2014

my assignment for screen play writing at TDSB Learn4life Fall 2014 class

The forest at the edge of the Himalayan Mountains was thickly wooded, dark and cool. There were places in the forest, where even the sun’s rays could not penetrate through the thick branches of the trees.

This forest was home  not only for the hundreds of birds& beasts, plants & trees, reptiles & fishes, rocks & caves, lakes & rivers but also for many of society’s outcasts and oddities.  Rumor had it that not only did people seeking God lived here but also the lunatics, the robbers and thieves, the lepers and the other outcasts of society.  There were huts with monks who meditated upon God in this forest. The simple people of the nearby villages, walked to these huts to give alms and seek blessings, advice and holy ashs from the monks. Fearful of the wild beasts and the robbers who were supposed to inhabit the forest, they never came singly but in groups.

Some villagers said they saw this leper or that lunatic entering or leaving the forest. Some claimed to have seen fierce looking dacoits with huge mustaches entering the forest, in the early hours, carrying booty. If everyone’s story was believed, the forest seemed to hold more people, than a city!

Little boys played at the edge of the forest during the holidays from school when could escape the watchful eyes of their parents. Only the boldest of the older boys strayed a bit farther inside the forest to prove he was not scared of the ghosts haunting the trees in this forest.

Several tales about this forest made their rounds. One tale is of a brave hunter & his servant who entered this forest many years ago. People spoke in hushed tones about the hunter who never returned and his servant who was a babbling idiot when he emerged from the forest. Another was the tale of a band of robbers who lived in the forest and hid their booty in one of the caves. No villager dared to enter to hunt for this treasure and wild tales of the treasures hidden grew as the stories passed on from one generation to another.

Kiran, a teenager from the city, who spent his holidays with his grandmother, who lived in the village at the edge of this forest, played with the boys, by the river running between the forest and the village.  He loved the wide open spaces in the village. He loved swimming in the river and keeping an eye out for the cunning croc, added a delicious sense of danger to the swimming.  Kiran found the mangoes tasted sweeter only if he stole them! He enjoyed the scary thrill when the old man guarding the trees gave chase to him and his friends.  

Kiran heard the stories about the forest from his friends. He was fascinated by the story of the ghost which had chased a man who took the shortcut through the forest to reach another village. He was curious about the treasures in the cave. He was most curious about his grandmother, who let him do almost everything he wanted but would never let him go to the forest.

One hot day, when his friends were busy helping their families with harvesting the crops, Kiran, was by the river fishing and looking across at the forest. He tried to peer through the trees, but could see nothing but trees and a family of monkeys doing what monkeys do…. Kiran  looked longingly at the forest.  He had only a few days left before his school, in the city started. He thought of the forest, the people in it, the treasures in it, the wild animals, whose roars in the nights, sent shivers up his spine. He thought of the robbers and killers who lived in them, though he had never seen any.  He wondered if he would ever see the King Cobra with 5 hoods and if he would ever get the Nagaratna from it’s hood.

Kiran’s longing to go into the forest got stronger and stronger, as the day for him to depart to the city got nearer and nearer. But his grandmother was adamant that her grandson, who came to stay with her should return to the city, safe and sound. She would not hear of Kiran, even setting foot on the other side of the river. Kiran, who loved his grandmother was torn between obeying her and his longing for the forest.

He thought of the forest all the time. He spoke less to his friends and lost interest in his games. His mind was full of the forest and he thought of it during the day and dreamt of it at night.  Will he return to the city without searching the forest?