The Word Wiz

(From the top branch of Muse

An eerie melody sweeps through ether

Matter springs to life for a while to amuse

And the spirit returns, saying it doesn’t matter)

A humble tribute to his master by a subject

On the eve of his 400th Death Anniversary


The Word Wiz



When the curtain raises the fade out is on the memorial of Shakespeare. It will be in the typical Indian fashion: The bust of the bard in ruins sitting on a high platform, dusty and faded, wrapped in cobwebs and littered with bird droppings. The place looks dark, desolate and remote. Foot of the platform littered with dry leaves all over. The growth of bushes and the dust collecting over betray that it has been abandoned for long.


From afar children playing rugby, their cries, their calls, their shouts and hullaballoo is heard.


As the stage gets slowly illuminated an old man enters from one end of the stage and slowly passes by it.  He stops and looks at the statue for a while putting his hand over his eyes and then suddenly exclaims

Old man:     “Oh! Me! Gee god! What a curse!”…

(He dusts the statue passionately with his hands and his towel and cleans the surrounds plucking few plants from the neighbourhood.)

When I told you those myths and legends

They were just that.

But when you breathed life into ’em

On this Globe, they just walked into every home

God had summoned Light

But failed to keep his work intact.

Then came you, to complement his acquit,

It is no hyperbole, his whole, your ‘less’ dominate’.

His make withered… See you me?

While yours, walks free, steeple chasing time.

(Wind changes direction frequently putting to nought what he had done earlier. Then on one occasion he roars at it)

“You element! Are in your elements?

Know you what you have been doing?

Rage as you wish elsewhere.

But here, weave as gentle not to move a feather

The Bard is resting here under.

Might be scripting a tale or two to the new audiences.”

The wind ceases. As he resumes his work, children playing rugby enter chasing a ball that has come off-the-stage. The ball hits the old man. All of them halt and put on faces of regret. One of the boys comes forward.)

Boy1:   We are so very sorry. It was an accident.

Our playfulness over ran our propriety.

But Sir! What are you doing at this forlorn place?

Old man:    Its Easter today

But it looks it was only yesterday.

I was sitting under that tree

When youth of your age used to flock around me

Pestering to tell them a tale each day.

Girl1    :      Oh!  Then I got you. You’re the famed story teller.

My granny tells many stories about you.

Where had you been all along?

Why don’t you sing us that “All the world is a stage…”

Boy 2           (to other boys) Boys! It’s quits for the game.

(With the old man)         Tell us some story.

All              Yes, we want to hear some story.

(in chorus): It was long since we heard any story.

Boy 2:          No, but first that song.

Old man:      Music and tales are so close to your heart, I know.

But tell me you want the song or the tale first.

All     :         We want the song first.

(Old man sings the song ‘All the world is a stage…’

As he begins the song, fade out will be on him.)

(As he sings the song 7 characters from his plays come one after another and enact the seven stages of life.  The stage is divided between the old man and the characters and the focus will be alternating between them.)

All the world is a stage, and all the men and women are players;

They have their exits and entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts, the acts being seven ages.

At first infant, mewing and puking in the nurse’s arms.

And then the whining school boy, with his satchel, and shining morning face,

Creeping like a snail unwillingly to school.

And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

Then a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like a pard,

in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the babble reputation even in the cannon’s mouth.

And then the justice, in fair round belly with capon lined, with eyes severe,

And beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances; and so he plays his part.

The sixth stage shifts into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose well saved,

A world too wide for his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish tremble, pipes and whistles in his sounds.

Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.”

When the old man sings the line “…at first an infant, mewing and puking in the nurse’s arms…”   

The scene from THE TEMPEST  when Prospero speaks to Miranda is enacted

(A howling of Tempest precedes the entry of characters)

“Miranda:        “(Father!)

You have often

Begun to tell me what I am; but stopped,

And left me to a bootless inquisition,

Concluding, ‘stay: not yet.’

Prospero:         (Miranda!)

The hour’s now come;

The very minute bids thee open thine ear;

Obey, and be attentive.  Canst thou remember

A time before we came unto this cell?

I do not think thou canst, for then thou was not

Out three years old.

Miranda:          Certainly, sir, I can.

Prospero:         By what? By any other house, or person?

Of anything the image tell me, that

Hath kept with thy remembrance.

Miranda:          ‘T is far off;

And rather like a dream, than an assurance

That my remembrance warrants.  Had I not

Four or five women once, that tended me?

Pros       :         Thou hadst, and more, Miranda.  But how is it

That this lives in thy mind?  What seest thou else

In the dark backward and abysm of time?

If thou remember’st aught, ere thou cam’st here,

How thou cam’st here, thou may’st.

Miranda:          But that I do not.

Prospero:         Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since

Thy father was the Duke of Milan, and

A prince of power.

Miranda:          Sir, are not you my father?

Prospero:         Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and

She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father

Was Duke of Milan, and his only heir

A princess; no worse issued.

Miranda:          O, the heavens!

What foul play had we,that we came from thence?

Or blessed wasn’t we did?

Prospero          Both, both, my girl:

By foul play, as thou say’st, we were heaved


But blessedly holp hither.

Miranda:          My heart bleeds

To think of the teen that I have turned you to,

Which is from my remembrance.

Focus shifts back to the old man  as he sings : ‘ then the whining school boy, with his satchel, and shining morning face, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school’ ………. the scene from  The Hamlet Act I scene III where Polonius gives advice to his son Laertes is enacted:

“Polonius:        Yet here, Laertes! Aboard, aboard, for the shame!

The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,

And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing

With thee!

And these few precepts in thy memory

See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,

Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;

The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to your soul with hoops of steel;

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade.  Beware

Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,

Bear ‘t that the opposed may beware of these.

Give everyman thine ear, but few thy voice;

Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man,

And they in France of the best rank and station

Are most select and generous, chief in that.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;

For loan oft loses both itself and a friend,

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above all; to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!”

Old man      Sings…

(As he sings “And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow” the scene from Romeo and Juliet when he speaks to Juliet by her window is enacted )

“Romeo:        By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am;

My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,

Because it is an enemy to thee;

Had I it written, I would tear that word.

Juliet:               My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words

Of that tongue’s utterance, yet I know the sound:

Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?

Romeo:            Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.

Juliet:               How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?

The orchard walls are high and hard to climb;

And the place death, considering who thou art,

Of any of my kinsman find thee here.

Romeo:            With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls;

For stony limits cannot hold love out,

And what love can do that dares love attempt;

And therefore your kinsmen are no stop to me.

Juliet:               If they do see they will murder thee.

Romeo:            Alack! There lies more peril in thine eye

Than twenty of their swords; look thou but sweet,

And I am proof against their enmity

Juliet:               I would not for the world they saw thee here,

Romeo:            I have night’s cloak to hide from their eyes;

And but thou love me, let them find me here;

My life were better ended by their hate,

Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.”

Old man: Sings

As he sings “then a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like a pard, jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, seeking the babble reputation even in the cannon’s mouth” the scene from The Merchant of Venice when the prince of Arragon makes his bid to select the right casket is enacted:  Flourish of Cornets. Enter the Prince of Arragon, Portia, and their trains.)

“Portia:            Behold, there stand the caskets, noble prince,

If you choose wherein I am contain’d,

Straight our nuptial rights shall be solemnised;

But if you fail, without more speech, my lord,

You must be gone from hence immediately.

Arr.                   I am enjoin’d by oath to observe three things;

First, never to unfold to any one

Of the right casket, never in my life

To woo a maid in way of marriage;


If I do fail in the fortune of my choice,

Immediately to leave you and be gone.

Portia:              To these injunctions every one doth swear

That comes to hazard for my worthless self.

Arr.:                 And so have I address’d me.  Fortune now

To my heart’s hope!  Gold; Silver; and base Lead.

Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath:

You shall look fairer, ere I give or hazard

What says the golden chest? Ha! Let me see;

Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.

What many men desire! That ‘many’ may be meant

By the fool multitude, that chose by the show,

Not learning more than the fond eye doth teach;

Which pries not the interior, but, like the mart let,

Builds in the weather on the outward wall,

Even in the force and the road of casualty.

I will not choose what many men will desire,

Because I will not jump with common spirits

And rank myself with barbarous multitudes.

Why then to thee, thy silver treasure-house;

Tell me once more what title thou dost bear:

Who chooseth me gets as much as he deserves

And well said too; for who shall go about

To cozen fortune and be honourable

Without the stamp of merit?  Let none presume

To wear an undeserved dignity.

O! That estates, degrees, and offices

Were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour

Were purchased by the merit of the wearer.

How many then should cover that stand bare;

How many be commanded that command;

How much low peasantry would then be glean’d

From the true seed of honour; and how much honour

Pick’d from the chaff and ruin of the times

To be new-varnish’d!  Well, but to my choice:

Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.

I will assume desert.  Give me key for this,

And instantly unlock my fortune here. (He opens the silver casket)

Portia:              Too long a pause for what you find there.

Arr.                  What’s here? The portrait of a blinking idiot,

Presenting me a schedule!  I will read it.

How much unlike thou art to Portia!

How much unlike my hopes and my deservings!

Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.

Did I deserve no more than a fool’s head?

Is that my prize? Are my deserts no better?”

Old man: Sings…

(As he sings “And then the justice, in fair round belly with capon lined, with eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances; and so he plays his part” The scene from First part of King Henry IV Act V scene I when the prince, King Henry, and others prepare for war.  Sir John Falstaff   enters the stage after the following conversation

Off the stage:

“King:  and, Prince of Wales, so dare we venture thee,

Albeit considerations infinite

Do make it against it. No, good Worcester, no,

We love our people well; even those we love

That are misled upon your cousin’s part;

And will they take the offer of our grace,

Both he and they and you, yea, every man

Shall be my friend again, and I will be his.

So tell your cousin, and bring me word

What he will do; but if he will not yield,

Rebuke and dread correction wait on us,

And they shall do their office.  So be gone:

We will not now be troubled with reply;

We offer fair, take it advisedly.

Prince:             It will not be accepted, on my life.

The Douglas and Hotspur both together

Are confident against the world in arms.

King:                Hence, therefore, every leader to his charge;

For, on their answer, will we set on them;

And God befriend us, as our case is just!

Falstaff:           Hal, if thou see me down in the battle,

And bestride me, so;’t is a point of friendship.

Prince:             Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship.

Say thy prayers, and farewell.

Falstaff:            I would it were bedtime, Hal, and all well.

Prince:             Why, thou owest God a death.”

(Falstaff enters fore stage)

Falstaff:           ‘T is not due yet:  I would be loath to pay him before

His day.  What need I be so forward with him that calls not

On me?  Well,‘t is no matter; honour pricks me on.  Yea,

But how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then?

Can honour set to a leg?  No.  Or an arm?  No.  Or take

Away the grief of the wound?  No.  Honour hath no skill in

Surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is that

Word honour?  Air.  A trim reckoning!  Who hath it?  He that

Died o’ Wednesday.  Doth he feel it?  No.  Doth he hear it?

No.  Is it insensible then?  Yes, to the dead. But will it not

Live with the living?  No.  Why?  Detraction will not suffer it.

Therefore I’ll none of it.  Honour is a mere scutcheon; and so

Ends my catechism.”

Old man:     Sings:

(As he sings “The sixth stage shifts into the lean and  slipper’d pantaloon, with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose well saved, a world too wide for his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, turning again toward childish tremble, pipes and whistles in his sounds. the following scene from King Lear Act IV Scene VI will be enacted:

“Lear:               No, they cannot touch me for coining; I am the king myself.

Edgar:              O thou side-piercing sight!

Lear:                Nature’s above art in that respect. There’s your press-money.  That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper:

draw me a clothier’s yard.  Look, look! a mouse.  Peace, peace! this piece of toasted cheese will do’t.

There’s my gauntlet; I will prove it on a giant.  Bring up the brown hills.  O! well flown, bird; i’ the clout, i’ the clout:  hewgh! Give the word.

Edgar.              Sweet marjoram.

Lear:                Pass.

Glou.               I know that voice.

Lear.                Ha! Goneril, with a white beard!  They flattered me like a dog, and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were there.  To say ‘ay’ and ‘no’ to everything I said!  ‘Ay’ and ‘no’ too was no good divinity.  When the rain came to wet me once and the wind to make me chatter, when the thunder would not peace at my bidding, there I found ’em , there I smelt ’em out.  Go to, they are not men o’ their words: they told me I was everything;‘t is a lie, I am not ague-proof.

Glou.               The trick of the voice I do well remember: Is’t not the king?

Lear.                Ay, every inch a king:

When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.

I pardon that man’s life.  What was thy cause? Adultery?

Thou shall not die: die for adultery! No:

The wren goes to ‘t, and the small guilded fly

Does lecher in my sight.

Let copulation thrive; for Glouster’s bastard son

Was kinder to his father than my daughters

Got ‘tween the lawful sheets.

To ‘t, luxury, pell-mell ! for I lack soldiers.

Behold yond simpering dame,

Whose face between her forks presageth snow;

That minces virtue, and does shake the head

To hear of pleasure’s name;

The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to ‘t

With a more riotous appetite.

Down from the waist they are Centaurs.

Though women all above:

But to the girdle do the gods inherit,

Beneath is all the fiend’s:

There’s hell, there’s darkness, there’s the sulphurous pit,

Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie!

Pah! pah! give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary,

To sweeten my imagination: there’s money for thee.

Glou.               O! Let me kiss that hand.

Lear                 Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.

Glou.               O ruin’d piece of nature! This great world

Shall so wear it out to nought.  Dost thou know me?

Lear.                 I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou sqiny at me?

No, do thy worst, blind cupid; I will not love.  Read thou this

Challenge; mark but the penning of it.

Glou.                Were all thy letters suns, I could not see.

Edgar.          (Aside): I would not take this from report; it is,

And my heart breaks at it.

Lear.                Read.

Glou.               What! with the case of eyes?

Lear                  O, ho! Are you there with me? No eyes in your head,

Nor no money in your purse?  Your eyes are in a heavy case,

Our purse is a light: yet you see how this world goes.

Glou.                I see it feelingly.

Lear                 What! Art mad? A man may see how the world goes

With no eyes.  Look with thine ears: see how yond justice

Rails upon yond simple thief.  Hark, in thine ear: change

Places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the

Thief?  Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar?

Glou.               Ay, sir.

Lear                 And the creature run from the cur?

There you might’st behold the great image of authority;

A dog’s obeyed in office.

Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!

Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;

Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind

For which thou whipp’st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.

Through tatter’d clothes small vices do appear;

Robes and furr’d gowns hide all.  Plate sin with gold,

And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;

Arm it in rags; a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.

None does offend, none, I say, none; I ‘ll able ’em:

Take that of me, my friend, who have the power

To seal the accuser’s lips.  Get thee glass eyes;

And like scurvy politician, seem

To see the things thou dost not.  Now, now, now, now;

Pull off my boots; harder, harder; so.

Edgar.              (Aside) O! Matter and impertinency mix’d; Reason in madness.

Lear                  If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes;

I know thee well enough; thy name is Glouster;

Thou must be patient; we came crying hither;

Thou know’st the first time that we smell the air

We waul and cry.  I will preach to thee: mark.

Glou.                Alack, alack the day!

Lear                  when we are born, we cry that we are come

To this great stage of fools.  This a good block!

It were a delicate stratagem to shoe

A troop of horse with felt; I ‘ll put ‘t in proof,

And when I have stol’n upon these sons-in-law,

Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

Enter a Gentleman, with attendants.

Gent.                 O! Here he is;  lay hand upon him.

Sir, your most dear daughter—

Lear                 No rescue? What !  a prisoner? I am even the natural fool

Of  fortune.  Use me well;  you shall have ransom.

Let me have surgeons;  I am cut to the brains.

Gent.                You shall have any thing.

Lear                 No seconds? all myself?

Why this would make a man a man of salt,

To use his eyes for garden water-pots

Ay, and laying autumn’s dust.

Gent.                Good sir,–

Lear                  I will die bravely, like a smug  bridegroom.  What !

I will be jovial; come, come; I am the king,

My masters, know you that?

Gent.                You are a royal one, and we obey you.

Lear                 Then there’s life in ‘t.  Nay, an you get it,

You shall get it by running.  Sa, sa, sa, sa.  ( Exit : Lear )”

Old man      Sings:

(As he sings “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing” The scene from King Lear Act V Scene III will be enacted:

“Lear               (With Cordelia in his arms)

Howl, howl, howl, howl!  O!  You are men of stones:

Had I your tongues and eyes,  I’d use them so

That heavens vault should crack.  She’s gone for ever.

I know when one is dead, and when one lives ;

She’s dead as earth.  Lend me a looking-glass ;

If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,

Why, then she lives.

This feather stirs ; she lives ! if it be so,

It is a chance which does a redeem all sorrows

That ever I have felt

A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all !

I might have saved her ; now she’s gone for ever !

Cordelia, Cordelia ! stay a little.  Ha !

What is’t though say’st !  Her voice was ever soft,

Gentle and low, an excellent thing in the woman.

I kill’d the slave that was a-hanging thee.

Did not, fellow ?

I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion

I would have made them skip ; I am old now,

And these same crosses spoil me.

And my poor fool is hang’d ! No, no, no life !

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,

And thou no breath at all ?  Thou’lt come no more,

Never, never, never, never, never !

Pray you undo this button ; thank you, sir

Do you see this ?  Look on her, look, her lips,

Look there, look there !                            (Dies)

The focus shifts back to the old man

Boy1           Wah! Wah!

Boy2           Excellent!  Excellent!  Your song is excellent!

Old man:     But it is not mine.  It is his (pointing to the statue)

Who made all this world his stage,

All languages, tongues, and dialects his liege,

And nature which was so proud of its prowess

In creating characters at its will and fancy

Was still blinking its eyes in wonder at a Portia,

A Cordelia, a Juliet, an Ophelia or a Lucrece.

When his villains speak, they echo every man in no man

And when his heroes act, they seem down to earth.

The gamut of his writing is not to blare his genius

But to sum up: we differ merely from barriers without

When he wrought passions, they were neither random

Nor were they native to a soil, race or colour.

He chartered the scape of whole human emotions

And collected every single spec worth its name

Only to reflect like a faithful looking glass

For men to look-in, peruse, amend, and rejoice.

He never takes sides with good or evil

Nor hies behind his rolls just to preach a sermon

He bares the human contradictions, dilemmas, and disciplines

Without a hint of contrivance, from a natural flow of events.

We wail, we laugh, we play, get hurt, and simper

As he conjures up events from our very life

As the emotion dissipates it leaves no stains

But a sweet lingering aroma lasting our life time.

Boy1           What is his name?

Old man:     Didn’t you ever hear any stories

From your grannies over fire place?

Boy2            My grand pa was the best story teller.

He would spin a story in a trice.

Girl1            My grand ma was even better.

Never was her story treasure empty.

Girl2            My mother tells me a story at bed time

But she never repeats herself any time

Did you ever hear about the merchant

Who pawned himself for his friend’s love?

Boy1           Do you now about the king

Who tested the loyalties of his off spring?

Girl1           That is a household story

But have you ever heard how to tame a shrew?

Boy2           My grandsire tells exotic stories

About dreams, fantasies and what not.

All              (Simultaneously) :  My grand pa is great,

No, My granny is great

No, my mother is great,

No my grandsire is great.

Old man:     But do you know where they got these stories from?

Boy2           O, I forgot. Was it Shake…. Something?

Old man:     Say it properly.  William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.

(Enter a soldier)

Soldier:       Why spoil their youth with fiction and fancy tales?

Tell them about history, about war and bravery.

Old man:     Brave soldier! Good luck to thee.

But fiction is no easy meat to cook, prithee

True. You must wage war

Against no-law, no-custom, and no-scruple.

But if wars, laws and vengeance

Could discipline, chastise and correct people

We wouldn’t have had these any more.

Good and evil, the hemispheres of character

Wax and wane, by turns, at one another’s expense.

Fiction gives vent to the heroics within

And resurrects to life the springs drying up in psyche.

History is a recipe, a decocture from the past

Filtering fact from fiction, take whit by whit.

It is a lamp, not the spade that helps clear your way

And our duty is just that, ‘fore we pass away.

Sold.          Might be so.   But, I fear your fiction

Dries up the heroics at that.

Reason, no doubt, seasons our emotion

But an excess of it inhibits our action.

Fancy is a flight, no one wants to get down

The wings of crazy ideas and exotic things

The world looks oblong,  flat and  perplexing.

History, on the contrary, is a record of our kin

Our lives, a reliving of theirs, events scattered though.

We make the same mistakes, feel same passions

Witness mutely the events ..  momentary and momentous

Silly and serious, brazen and civil, timorous and trepid

We inherit their fate and fortunes alike.

Old man:     So, by consequence,

History and fiction stand on the same pedestal.

Sold.           But with some knowledge and the will to work our way,

We can steer thro’ rough waters to possible safer shores.

Old man:     Isn’t life’s mirth or misery a chance?

Sold.           Doesn’t bravery take the seat of chance?

If the world were surfeit of geniuses and giants

Wouldn’t actions end before they incubate in mind?

Action is the spice of thought

And if it were absent, life reduces to inanimate.

History  whets action by comparison.

Old man:     Life imagined through history is fancy.

But fiction nearer to life is history.

I sow these seminal minds

With the viable seeds of  fiction

That when they are up against a Brutus

They play  Mark Antony

And when they are up against Hotspurs

They play the Henries.

Children:     But we want to hear the tales you said you told him

(They point towards the statue )

Old man:     Didn’t you hear the legend

That he who touches his quill

Shall see before him, his matter, making a drill

Girl1           Then let me chance to touch it first

To see in me the best or the worst.

(She attempts to touch the quill and there will be a sudden flourish and the whole stage becomes dark.  Slowly the right stage gets illuminated and the following scene from Troilus and Cressida, Act II Scene 3 will be enacted where Cassandra, a prophetess, comes running on to the stage)

Cry, Trojans, cry! Lend me ten thousand eyes.

Virgins and boys, mid-age and wrinkled eld,

Soft infancy, that nothing canst but cry,

Add to my clamours! Let us pay betimes

A moiety of that mass of moan to come.

Cry, Trojans, cry! Practise your eye with tears!

Troy must not be, nor goodly Ilion stand;

Our fire brand brother, Paris, burn us all.

Cry, Trojans, cry!  a Helen and a woe!

Cry, cry! Troy burns, or let Helen go. ( Exit )”

Left stage gets illuminated and the girl asks in all innocence

Girl1           What does it mean?

Old man:     Baby, you are!   Innocent to the core.

As elements play their role,

They please and frighten your soul.

You see things that others can’t think

And when you prophesise the world takes no wink

Boy1           Let me try then.

(There will be a sudden flourish and the whole stage becomes dark.  Slowly the right stage gets illuminated and the following scene from Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, Act III Scene 1 is enacted where Hamlet, the prince  comes on to the stage)

To be, or not to be: that is the question;

Whether ‘t is nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to takes arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them?  To die:  to sleep;

No more ; and by a sleep to say we end

The heartaches and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, ‘t is a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d, To die, to sleep ;

To sleep ; perchance to dream ; ay, there’s the rub ;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled this mortal coil,

Must give us pause.  There’s the respect

That makes calamity or so long life ;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of disprized love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

The patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bare those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of ?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and movement

With this regard there currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.

As the left stage gets illuminated back”

Boy1           (to Old man):  What does it mean?

Old man:     It means you become a philosophic dialectic

And often your action is impeded by your logic.

Girl2           (touches the quill) after a flourish the scene from Merchant of Venice Act IV Scene 1 is enacted:

“Portia:            The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;

‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But the mercy is above this sceptred sway

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

An earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice.  Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That in the course of justice none of us

Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,

And that the same player doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy.

And when the light are restored to the left stage the old man looks at Girl2 and says:

Old man      Honey!  It means you love fair play

As naturally as a bee honey.

As Boy2 touches as usual there will be flourish and the following  from Julius Caeser Act III Scene 2 when Brutus tries to defend his action is enacted:

Brutus:           Be patient till the last.

Romans, countrymen, and lovers!

hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear:

believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour,

that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom,

and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.

If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caeser’s,

to him I say that Brutus’ love to Caeser was no less than his.

If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caeser,

this is my answer:

Not that I loved Caeser less, but I loved Rome more.

Had you rather Caeser were living, and die all slaves,

than that the Caeser were dead, to live all free men?

As Caeser loved me, I weep for him; as he

was fortunate, I rejoice at it;

as he was valiant, I honour him;

but as he was ambitious, I slew him.

There is tears for his love;

joy for his fortune;

honour for his valour ;

and death for his ambition.

Who is here so base, that he

would be a bondman?

If any, speak; for him have I offended.

Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman?

If any, speak. for him have I offended.

Who is here so vile, that will not love his country?

If any, speak; for him have I offended.

I pause for a reply.

(Behind the stage )

chorus: None, Brutus, none.

Brutus:             Then none have I offended.

I have done no more to Caeser

than you shall do to Brutus.

The question of his death

was enrolled in the capitol;

his glory not extenuated,

wherein he was worthy,

nor his offences enforced, for which

he suffered death.

{ Enter Antony and others, with Caeser’s body }

Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony:

Who, though he had no hand in his death,

shall receive the benefit of his dying,

a place in the commonwealth;

as which of you shall not?

With this I depart:

that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome,

I have the same dagger for myself,

when it shall please my country to need my death.”

Old man :    ( With Boy2 ) It means you are valiant and a good speaker too

You can convince your detractors, as your supporters,

With ease.  But if you don’t permit passion overcome you,

You will not regret your action as Brutus did.

(Behind the stage: voices of ghosts sprits and apparitions)

Chorus:       What about us?

We wafted in air ‘fore he was born

And came to life donning mantles under his pen.

We had our second lives,

When we played, danced when bestowed rare powers,

And as he met his elements,

So were we restored

Give us a chance to say our thanks

To leave our shadows along with his images.

(All the ghosts spirits and apparitions come to the fore stage and mingle with the characters already appeared, and all of them sing in unison.   Spirits, ghosts and apparitions stand one side and other characters stand the other side to start with )


(Characters) : He gave us birth

He gave us breath

He gave us mirth and mantle

Spirits:        (Pointing the statue )

He gave us birth

He gave us breath

He gave us mirth and mantle

Cha.            He gave us life

He made us fife

And bade us hustle and hassle

Spi.             He blessed us life

He blessed us fife

And bestowed hoary story

All               (Together and severally):

Blessed I am

And blessed you are

To notch this ion from eon

O, Bard of Avon!

O, Lord of heaven!

Let play this play-let on and on.


(Curtain comes down )


(Other than stage directions, all text appearing in italics is Shakespearean.)


A Giant Leap


Earth and Moon Test By Artist DENNIS (DESO)

Earth and Moon Test

Artist Dennis (Deso)



A globe wobbles in cosmos

A man makes … a giant leap for mankind

A million hearts flutter on another.



The (Great) Indian Poetry Project-An Update

The (Great) Indian Poetry Project

All good things take time. As many of you know, the (Great) Indian poetry project is very ambitious in scope, with a big online component. With hundreds of modern Indian poets come thousands of poems, and through those poems,  a powerful, multi-hued history of Modern India and its people. We are painstakingly collecting all the information of these wonderful poets and promise you an online archive like no other. We thank all of you for your support and patience so far. From June onwards, we will be introducing profiles, reviews, and interviews.

Another component of The (Great) Indian Poetry Project is a specialized press that will introduce new poetic voices through the publication of their first books. With two other talented poets, Minal Hajratwala and Ellen Kombiyil, we have formed The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective and our first offering will be out later this summer.

We are also collaborating with another poet…

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What is so great?

What is so great about Time

If it can’t heal yesterday’s wounds?


What is so great about Time

if it can’t shoot Spring

over Autumn-swept ground?


Caning and caring

are strange ways no doubt

but, Time is both

an exponent and expert in the two.

Etched in Flesh

Whenever the thought of the person

Fills your lungs to full

And a lingering fragrance envelopes you;

Whenever an odd tear

sleekly slips through the eye lids

Against your most vehement efforts to contain;

A strange energy charges and infuses you

When you feel desperate

and resign to a state of eternal morass;

Through a quote, a laugh, a stranger’s profile

or someone’s idiosyncrasy

Nature always insures that person in your memory;

If you must have cursed yourself a thousand times

for having played  like a pebble

with that pearl…

Then, surely

the person must be,

A six lettered word


any mortal,

mundane relation

you might have.

The Eternal Quest

Voyager One (Space: 1999)

Voyager One (Space: 1999) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am ambitious and upright
as upright as the Minute-hand at 12.00
as I venture into the world of challenges.

The Second-hand slowly slices through me
in alternating currents of inspiration and desperation
ultimately sagging me down to dissipation
with many things to do, perhaps too many.
Perplexed as I am, and failing to prioritize,
I dab at everything leaving things un-done or half-done.
The confidence in me recedes to its lowest ebb;
And, I am no longer the model I wanted to be
with the fabric of faith giving in at several places.

And after the Thirties, the ascent starts
as the slicing seconds now start splicing,
checking the few threads that snapped,
the few that sagged,
and those that lost their spin altogether.
Hanging by my strong warps,
I start mending the weft,
removing the unreliable yarn,
and adopting new strands here and there.

Thus begins the northern journey
with the Gravity sling the grave life’s encounters gave.
I am now a lone Voyager into the stellar spaces
burrowing into my strength to the last ampere
wandering into the luminous cosmic black hole.

(After reading Voyager 1 might have reached Inter-stellar Space)

A Thin Life

Mirror Image (The Twilight Zone)

Mirror Image  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I hate it.
Is this life?
A wretched one incarcerated within cubic bounds.
It’s not even a screen-saver-like
That comes to life on its own
When action stops temporarily.

Just imagine how cruel it is!
There is no breathing, no living,
No sun rises, not even once in a blue moon
No love, no passion,
No sensuous or sensual pleasures
No soul and no salvation.
Just an endless imaginary existence… that’s all!

I am so fluid as to take the form that stands in front.
Entering and exiting as they come and go
I can’t even hang on to the wall like a calendar
Or, smugly nestle in an album to relive a trapped second.
There will be no memories
No action that I can call my own
But just an imitation, a living by proxy
Like ether, like phantom,
I am … yet, I am not
I breathe … but am not alive
I wail… but you can’t touch my tears.

My greatest tragedy is,
I am two-dimensional
In a three-dimensional world.

(To my mirror image)

12th June 2012