Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stories from the Out of Print workshop at Lekhana: Sonali Bhatia


Clown Shoes and a Couple of Cats
Sonali Bhatia

BHASKAR: Damn it! You nearly gave me a heart attack. What the heck is the matter with you?
ABHIJEET: Let me come in, at least.
BHASKAR: You had an accident or something? You drunk?
ABHIJEET: No and no. Your Mom’s asleep, right?
BHASKAR: Yeah. She sleeps soundly. It’s Jinky and Winky we have to worry about.
ABHIJEET: I still don’t understand what sort of idiot names his cats Jinky and Winky.
BHASKAR: And I still don’t understand what sort of madman knocks on a friend’s door at four o’clock in the morning unless he is drunk or has had an accident or something.
ABHIJEET: I’m not mad, I’m not drunk and I haven’t had an accident.
BHASKAR: Then what are you doing here?
ABHIJEET: I had to hide from the beat policeman.
BHASKAR: What have you done, man?
ABHIJEET: Shhhhhh. Don’t wake Jinky and Winky.
BHASKAR: To hell with with the cats. Why are you hiding from beat policemen at four A.M. in the morning?
ABHIJEET: Not beat policemen. This city does not put two policemen on one beat. A beat policeman.
BHASKAR: I don’t care if there are a hundred blinking policemen.  Why are you hiding from them? You’re not mad, you’re not drunk, you haven’t had an accident, you’re hiding from one solitary beat policeman at four A.M. in the morning and you’re refusing to tell me what’s going on?
ABHIJEET: You have any pizza? I’m hungry.
BHASKAR: Never mind pizza!
ABHIJEET: Rice and rasam then? Some fruit? C’mon, man, I’m hungry!
BHASKAR: I’m not giving you anything until you tell me why you were hiding from the beat policeman
ABHIJEET: So that he wouldn’t see me.
BHASKAR: Listen, that’s why someone hides from someone else. So that the someone else don’t see them.
ABHIJEET: Doesn’t. So that the someone else doesn’t see them.
BHASKAR: Will you stop correcting my grammar?
ABHIJEET: Will you give me something to eat?
BHASKAR: No.
ABHIJEET: We’ve been friends for twelve years and you would let me starve?
BHASKAR: You’re not starving. You’re either mad or you’ve committed some horrendous crime.
ABHIJEET: Mad people and criminals get hungry too, you know.
BHASKAR: Tell me what you’re doing here, for crying out loud.
ABHIJEET: Okay. Okay. But you must promise me you won’t freak out.
BHASKAR: I’m already freaked out, in case you didn’t notice. Have you stolen something? Have you k-k-  m-m-
ABHIJEET: I haven’t done anything wrong.
BHASKAR: Then what have you done?
ABHIJEET: No freaking out, no telling anyone.
BHASKAR: All right, all right.
ABHIJEET: I was putting clown shoes on the shoe pile.
BHASKAR: What?!
ABHIJEET: Clown shoes. You know, shoes worn by clowns.
BHASKAR: I know that clown shoes are worn by clowns. What the hell were you doing with them?
ABHIJEET: You know the pile of shoes that’s been seen on your street corner?
BHASKAR: Yeah. Kind of hard to miss it. It’s there, and every time the municipal cart comes and takes the shoes away, the pile appears again. Blinking great crowds coming around to gape at a pile of shoes. Old shoes, new shoes, pretty pink and blue shoes ... why the hell am I reciting a rhyme I learnt twenty-seven years ago? Now the media has got hold of this shoe pile story. TV cameras and newspaper reporters interviewing every shopkeeper and passer by
ABHIJEET: I made it, Bhaskar. I’m the shoe piler.
BHASKAR: YOU?
ABHIJEET: Shhhhhh. Don’t wake Jinky and Winky. If they wake up, they’ll meow and wake your neighbours up and maybe even wake your Mom up, and then we’ll be in trouble.
BHASKAR: We – YOU – are already in trouble, I think.
ABHIJEET: Not unless you blab. Actually, I’m brilliant.
BHASKAR: Yeah, yeah, right. My friend the shoe piler. Other people’s friends write poetry, or make scientific discoveries, or sell candy in the mall. Some people’s friends are painters, some people’s friends are architects. My friend piles shoes and hides from one beat policeman at four A.M. in the morning.
ABHIJEET: No. Your friend has landed a job as copywriter.
BHASKAR: At four A.M. in the morning? Someone gave you a job at this time? Are they mad or drunk or have they had an accident or something?
ABHIJEET: Listen.
BHASKAR: I’m trying to listen, if you’ll talk.
ABHIJEET: The Amazing Advertising Agency, they have one big client, right.
BHASKAR: So?
ABHIJEET: Their big client is the Super Shoe Shop. I know that’s a tongue twister, but heck, that’s our biggest client’s brand name and one part of my campaign is to actually get kids to say it five times fast and they get a discount on a pair of shoes.
BHASKAR: Never mind all that. Get to the point will you, man?
ABHIJEET: So listen, I got shoes. I bought a few, I took a few from my sister’s closet, she has so many shoes, she hasn’t yet noticed the missing pairs.
BHASKAR: A few? Blinking great piles of shoes those were.
ABHIJEET: No. It was cleverly stacked newspaper with just a few shoes on top. I told you I’m brilliant.
BHASKAR: Are you going to tell me WHY, sometime this century?
ABHIJEET: So that everyone’s talking about shoes. It’s already happening. Look at all the free publicity. You said it yourself. Crowds, cameras, reporters ... it’s the teaser campaign that’ll win all the awards there are to win.
BHASKAR: What’s it teasing toward?
ABHIJEET: Well, I haven’t yet thought it through, but something like a slogan on the wall behind the shoes – available at Super Shoe Shop or something.
BHASKAR: You’ve gone through all this for something you haven’t even thought through yet? My goodness, you are mad. My friend, the mad shoe piler.
ABHIJEET: The client wants the campaign only day after tomorrow. By that time I’ll have cracked something and can present it to him. I had to get the buzz about shoes started, though. Couldn’t wait for the exact campaign headline to hit me.
BHASKAR: Have you got the concept approved by the client?
ABHIJEET: Not yet.
BHASKAR: Okay, your copy supervisor, or visualiser, or creative director or someone? Anyone who isn’t mad, have they approved of this?
ABHIJEET: You have to be mad to be in advertising. It doesn’t work otherwise. It’s one of the things they look for on your CV.
BHASKAR: I can’t really dispute that. But anyway, do you have – well, an accessory, so to speak, who knows you are doing this and has let you?
ABHIJEET: No. Well, you, now.
BHASKAR: Not me, not me.
ABHIJEET: You know I’m doing this.
BHASKAR: I know I’m hiding you from a beat policeman. I still don’t know why you had to hide, though. Did you have the clown shoes in your hand, or something?
ABHIJEET: No, I’d already piled them, but if he caught me skulking around at this time, especially in this shady neighbourhood –
BHASKAR: Hey watch it. My Mom and I happen to live here.
ABHIJEET: And Jinky and Winky. Anyway, if he caught me, he’d ask why I was there. And he’d torture it out of me. And the TV channels and reporters would appear, and everyone would know. And ka-boom, my whole brilliant campaign would be busted.
BHASKAR: Phew. I don’t know what to say.
ABHIJEET: Say that you have some pizza in the fridge, or some rice and rasam, or even a bit of fruit. I’m hungry, man. Shoe piling is not an easy job.
BHASKAR: Okay, I’ll get you something to eat. There is some leftover pasta in the fridge.
ABHIJEET: Sounds good. I’ll help myself.
BHASKAR: No, I’ll bring it. I know my way around the kitchen in the dark. I can’t put on the light there. My Dad used to sneak food at night, and Mom sleeps through a thunderstorm otherwise, but the minute the kitchen light switch comes on, she wakes up.
ABHIJEET: Oh, I never knew why your Mom walked out on your Dad. Was that the reason?
BHASKAR: It’s past four A.M. in the morning. Can we not be discussing my parents’ marital problems?
ABHIJEET: Yeah, let’s not. Be a good man and get me the pasta.
BHASKAR: Ooooooooo! Damn cats! When did you start sleeping on the kitchen floor?
JINKY AND WINKY (off, loud): Mweeerrrrrr mewoofrrrrrrr mfowwrrrrooofffrrrrooo
NEIGHBOURS (off): Will you shut those damn cats up? We’re coming there right now to get them!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, Sonali. Loved it. you are a natural, knew it back then.

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