I wasn’t shocked. It was an invitation to the abode of Mother Nature. The only thing that raised the hair on my legs was the fact that we were going to be in a forest all by ourselves; that too in the thickest jungle in the whole of Uttaranchal without any guardian or forest guide. They had packed bundles of eatables lest Akshay would miss his spaghetti balls or French omelette. I had been to several bonfire events before it, but this was much more special. It was not planned (at least not by me). The drinks (I take only soft ones) the songs by the fire, the eerie stories and ancient legends of the jungle. It was …THWART! My entire dream sequence was brought to a halt by this monster of a bolder. We departed from the freeway towards the patchy segment which was not straight, not unidirectional and definitely not frequented.
I ran to the room where I had left my clothes. I wore the blazer over that despicable costume. The sheer fabric of the costume stuck to my body like a leach. I was full of regret and loathed the day I had chosen to step on the stage. Why had I been nominated for the play by Robot? Why had the girls not locked the green room? Why had i forgotten my long coat? Why had the practice room been so dark? Why had the mirror been strategically placed in the room? Why had that girl chosen the most important day of my acting career to walk into my life? That day that place, that fateful moment when everyone barged into the practice room, only to find me denuded by an illusionary woman? All this appeared to be the devil’s clockwork. I was still lost in my thoughts when Lady Penguin walked in. She took a seat beside me. I knew there were words in her mouth, sentences being framed by her mind, whispers being blown from her lips, but much before they could take the shape of a voice I decided to walk away.
This is the truth, all dreams shatter when you realize that you are replaceable. I wasn’t comfortable with someone speaking my dialogues. Moreover my voice was borrowed from an aged Sanskrit professor of the school. So for the second time in my life, I took an independent decision. I asked a girl to help me out with recitation. Helen or Akanksha, I used those names interchangeably. She was a veteran when it came to theatricals. Robot’s younger sister had introduced us. I needed her guidance. And she was more than willing to help.
Kalsh: I cometh in your village, from far far… away,
Saw you bathing in the pond, my heart just sway,
And Since that fateful day, I have lost my way,
Please take me with you, for this is all I pray
Helen: Bold, Strong, Young, never seen such a Man,
Oh stranger! What is it that you plan?
If your love takes my pain in its span,
Oh seeker, I promise all I can.
Akanksha has taught me to express the words with music. I understand the way love burns a fire in the heart. She portrays Helen in all her true colours- Vulnerable like a flower, intimidating like a painting, yet approachable to his love. This was exactly the crux of this scene. Edward sees Helen bathing in a pond and it is love at first sight for him. Then he follows Helen back to her village. He pursues her and confesses his feelings. The amazing fact is that Helen stays in a village predominated by her own family. So she has never had any pursuer. She is overwhelmed by the new developments in her life. She is attracted to this man Edward, just as Edward is to her. Both of them finally tie the knot and decide to settle down for a family (without any dating or prenuptial counselling). They begin their new life as Man and Wife.