Strange Lives: Scene VII

Updated: Sep 13

Priorities?


[This scene takes place in the Casting cafe. Rohan arrives as Nivedita waits for him. The darkness and cold breeze embraced them as they sat in the open lawn before the cafe.]


Rohan:

Sorry about the delay Nivedita. Let me begin by saying that we are willing to pay you forty percent of what we will earn through your book.


Nivedita:

Oh! That’s great.


Rohan:

I hope you contribute many such wonderful works in the future. However, let me tell you beforehand that no one can predict how art would be received. So don’t be disappointed if the reviews or sales aren’t good.


Nivedita:

Not at all. I’m glad my first work is finally getting published and I wouldn’t bother much if people don’t appreciate it that much. We are storytellers Rohan, not entertainers. Not everyone might like what we wish to say.


Rohan:

You could be both. No one is holding you back.


Nivedita: [Smiling]

If you don’t mind, could you tell me as to why you asked me to join you for a cup of coffee? I am sure this isn’t a usual procedure for all your writers.


Rohan:

Because I was curious to learn a few things about you.


Nivedita:

My question still stands.


Rohan:

Honestly, I liked the views of your lead character. The choices she made between family and friends, her views about a successful life etc. I was curious to know if it was just a character or was it you yourself?


Nivedita:

That’s not exactly me but I share a lot of views as well.


Rohan:

So do you not trust your friends as much as your family with your secrets?


Nivedita:

Yes. I think it is foolish to trust friends more than close family. Even after depending on them for almost everything, I don’t see why we shouldn’t trust them in most cases. I mean, I seriously have a lot of friends who share their darkest secrets with each other but their siblings are completely in the dark. For the love of God, I can never understand why they trust their friends so much?


Rohan:

As they say, only the ones we trust and love can hurt us the most. If that’s true, they better be family than a friend. I agree with you. Can I know...


Nivedita: [Interrupting]

If you don’t mind, can you tell me your view on your brother’s marriage?


Rohan:

My view?


Nivedita:

I have heard your stance through Madhuri and I got curious. I mean, I was told that you strongly believe in family legacy and the caste system but it is unbelievable to me as to how an educated graduate supports the caste system which was nothing more than a tool that was used to divide our country?


Rohan:

Let me clear up a few things before answering your question. I don’t judge people based on their caste. This image of me dividing people and setting priorities for everyone based on their caste is not true. On the other hand, I oppose inter-caste marriages because every caste in India has its own way of living. When a married couple are from two different castes, there are many aspects that wouldn’t go hand in hand and compromise is the only solution. Now, tell me, would you purchase an item knowing for a fact that you would have to compromise on a lot of aspects while using it? Not always. None of us do unless the item is itself a rare possession. But, look at my brother, he is making a choice in which he would have to compromise on many aspects for a lifetime! I believe he will regret this decision in the years to come. So, I oppose it.


Nivedita: [Smiling]

No offense Rohan but from what I understand, you don’t even know what love really means. When you say Bhadra has to compromise, I say it doesn’t really matter if it is Maina or someone else. Leading a life with a person would always require compromises and it doesn’t matter if they belonged to the same caste or not.


Rohan: [Sarcastically]

Really?


Nivedita:

It all boils down to one thing, loving your partner so much that your heart cries out in joy that no matter what happens, she has you and you have her. Come what may, there is another soul in this solitary world that loves you. I strongly believe that there is nothing more beautiful than the warmth of a lover’s hug and the bliss in a kiss!


Rohan:

Alright, let’s just say I agree to that. What about my brother’s legacy? I assume you know that when the castes were initially created, they were based on the nature of work. For example, Brahmins were into acquiring knowledge while the Kshatriyas were into ruling etc etc. The division was not meant to divide us but was to strictly allocate people to their respective jobs in the society. With time, each of these castes started following their own traditions and have become distinctly unique in their own way. Now, if we intermingle, we are taking away the opportunity from children to identify with one kind.


[Observing Nivedita looking disgusted]


Rohan:

You might hate the caste system due to many reasons but the system trembled only when we started under-valuing manual jobs while honoring white-collar jobs. In a society that implements the system in a proper way, growth and prosperity will follow. It is unfortunate that we not only left the system but are also annaliting traditions followed by each caste through these inter-caste marriages. We are staining the legacy our forefathers have left us and I cannot accept it. I respect Maina by all means and she is always welcome to our family as a friend but not as a member!


Nivedita:

So a child shouldn’t get to choose his profession? He or she should accept their fate and live by the rules dictated by society which could clearly do better.


Rohan:

Do you really think we are doing it better now?


Nivedita:

You seem to forget our history.


Rohan:

Centuries of stability doesn’t stand a chance before decades of misuse.


Nivedita: [Tired]

You have a skewed understanding of the system that you adore so much. Maybe if you fall in love with someone who isn’t of your caste, you might rethink about staining the legacy.


[Rohan looked at Nivedita and smiled.]

 

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Credits

This contribution is edited by Edlyn Dsouza & photographed by Pankaj Tottada.

 

Product

This drama is available in a paperback & ebook.




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