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We Shall Overcome

presented by the fom kolkata at the All India FOM Meet 2009.

The play begins with a look at an ordinary Indian family.  Although their lives seem to be fine, we quickly learn that there may be cause for concerns for the father’s health.  We are taken through the events that show how the family understands and copes with distressing news and how the support of friends and the community help them lead normal lives.

SCENE 1 – AROUND THE DINING TABLE

Characters: Navin, Stuti, Pooja, Samiran

(The family is seated at the dining table.
Seating order – from Left to Right: Navin, Stuti, Pooja & Samiran )

SUTRADHAR:
This is an ordinary home in India , in fact it could well be anywhere in the world. It is the simple and happy home of Navin, Stuti Pooja and Samiran.- It is dinner time and the children are engaged in some innocent banter as is wont between siblings. Come let us look at what is happening in this home tonight .

(Samiran and Pooja playfully arguing)

Samiran: Mamma , will you look at Pooja please ask her to behave herself . Ouch ! the silly girl is kicking me under the table !

Pooja: Mamma , you tell me who is silly ; he is messing with the puris and you know I hate it when they get all flat and crumpled !!

Stuti: Arrey please baba , what is this constant bickering ? Finish up and go and get busy with your home work will you ??

Samiran: Ma, you know na , this silly girl never studies – its TV TV TV all the time for her .
Pooja: Look who is talking , I never get a chance only, to watch my programmes , Its always Samiran who gets his way and watches cricket all the time – Bully !!
Navin (agitated, clutching his stomach): Will you all just keep quiet and go away from here ? Children I am quite fed up of this nonsense – can a man not have peace in his own house ?
Samiran: Papa please take me to the cricket match on Sunday ..please ? please ?
Pooja: Oh No Papa , Papa you promised we will go to Science City. You promised me . It has been so long since we had a fun outing . Papa please ?
Stuti: Enough of all this children – these days your Papa seems to be in no mood for anything at all . See how you are only irritating him all the time – get up now .

Samiran: OK – Iam off to sit on the computer and surf the net . At least there this Pooja will not disturb me ! Girls anyway don’t do anything intelligent so I will have some peace!

Pooja: (Puts tongue out and says) nyaaaaaaahhhhh!!
Navin (loses his temper and shouts …): Oh my God ! will you stop this nonsense ? Just get up and go!

Stuti: Shush ..eesh!! I have three little cildren to take care of it seems !!
(children exit – stage right)

SCENE 2 BEDROOM

Characters: Navin, Stuti

(Navin is seated on the bed, reading a novel. Stuti is seated on a chair next to the side table and combing her hair. There are a few clothes on the bed that she folds and keeps aside during the course of her interaction with Navin.)

SUTRADHAR
Navin is exhausted and seems to be totally indifferent to his wife’s efforts at simple conversation and attempts to cheer him up. Stuti is upset and hurt at his behaviour . Navin confides that he has not been feeling well at all for the last few days and Stuti immediately consoles him and encourages him to try and get a good night’s rest.

Stuti: You know, Navin the children are quite right . Nowadays you have become really lethargic and lazy . Office – home – office – home .; that’s it ! You are not interested in anything other than your daily set routine . You haven’t even noticed my new hair style ! Not a single comment ?
Arrey , you know what, for Neel’s brother’s marriage – you remember na ? it’s quite soon now the date ; well I am going to wear my new flame coloured saree and you too Navin wear your orange kurta . Remember how we always used to co ordinate the colours we wore ? It would look so stylish !
(Navin is by now looking totally bored and upset and indifferent)

Stuti: Naviiiiiiiiiin !!! are you listening to me at all? Hey , are you upset with all the hungamma the children were creating ? Come on , they are only children with too much energy .

Navin: Please Stuti, you are as bad as them –going on and on all the time . Give me a break will you and spare me these inane conversations – saree and hairstyle , really as if it is the most important thing in my mind now ; I really cannot be bothered . I am not in the mood for all this and I am feeling quite tired and sick. For the last few days I have been plagued by this persisitent ache in the left side –see , here in the abdomen and you know , while I was brushing my teeth just now there was bleeding from the gums –I don’t know . I am quite worried.

Stuti: Oh Navin, you never said a word – oh my dear , why didn’t you ? Chalo , go to sleep now . I am so sorry I have gone and on about all these inconsequential things . Don’t worry it must be gas or acidity. And hey ! listen , tomorrow I am changing your tooth brush – I will get a soft bristle one . Really is it a toothbrush or the toilet cleaning brush !! No wonder your gums bleed .

 

 

SCENE 3 AROUND THE DINING TABLE – TWO WEEKS LATER

Characters: Navin, Stuti, Pooja, Samiran, Gilly

(Navin,Stuti and Samiran are seated on the dining table. Navin is looking distracted and trying to read a newspaper, Stuti is knitting and Samiran is playing with his phone. )

SUTRADHAR :
Two weeks have gone by . Let’s visit the Kumar family again and see how they are getting along . The children have a friend visiting but keep stealing glances at their still listless and disinterested father. Stuti eventually decides that she needs to do some thing and takes matters into her capable hands. She realises Navin needs a docotor’s opinion.

(Pooja enters from the right with her friend Gilly. )

Pooja: Samiran, do tell us what is there in this Internet that is so interesting that you are even happy to give up cricket on TV for it

Samiran: Arrey, what would you girls know ? The whole world is at your fingertips and sititng at home you can keep yourself so well informed about anything and everyhti ng !! What is the weather like in Singapore today or whether it has snowed in New York ; I can even follow my cricket scores on the Internet . Who wants your TV now!!

Pooja: Oh so that is why Papa , he leaves you alone now and does not go on and on about taking him to see the match !! Papa, what is it ? Why don’t you say something? Oh Papa, you are so quiet these days . You know Gilly’s Papa has got her a puppy dog for her birthday ? What will you get me Papa ? I would like a puppy dog too. Please ?

Stuti: Pooja, Samiran , see Papa is really tired so let’s not trouble him too much. Gilly my dear . time to go home now , come and tell your Mummy Pooja will surely come for your birthday party ok?

(All the children exit stage right.)
Stuti: Navin, this has gone on for long enough . I think I have ignored your symptoms and we have not taken it too seriously . I think you need to see a doctor . We should not put this off much longer .

Navin: Hey, hey hold on ! Never in all my life have I been to see a doctor – am just fine Stuti , just a bit worn down with work pressure and irregular timings I think. Don’t begin nagging for something so small . All I need is a break and some rest . Don’t fuss now.

Stuti:Navin , listen to me just this once please . I have a feeling we should not ignore these symptoms . One visit to Dr Koner –that is all I am asking you to do . You can do that Navin? Please , for my sake ? At least let us know all is well and after all he is our family physician.

We should have no problem getting a quick appointment ; it will be like meeting a friend that is all.
Navin (getting up from the chair and walking towards the audience): OK OK; Then why don’t you call up Dr Koner ? I will try and make it home early tomorrow – tchah ! What a problem all this is
Stuti (Facing the audience for emphasis): For your good heath nothing is a problem – I really wonder why we always tend to take our health problems so lightly . Should this not be no 1 on our list of priorities?

SCENE 4 AT THE FAMILY DOCTOR’S CLINIC THE NEXT DAY

Characters: Dr Koner, Navin, Stuti

SUTRADHAR
The doctor does a complete physicial examination and advises a blood test so that any suspicion can be ruled out. Now maybe it hits Navin that this could be something needing attention but still Stuti is determined to keep a positive outlook and is an encouraging presence beside Neel.

(Dr.Koner enters the room from behind the separator, followed shortly by Navin who tidies up his clothes and wears his jacket hanging from the chair)
Dr Koner : Yes , the discomfort in the abdomen is because your spleen is enlarged . This distension is of course not normal so let’s see what can be done rh?
Navin: Oh ! I see. I thought it must have been gas or some such problem doctor. Is this a cause for worry Sir?

Stuti: Doctor , he has not been his normal self for some days now you know, complaining of tiredness and weakness and of course the pain . He is not his usual calm and unruflfled self at home too. Even the simple antics of the children tend to irritate him and make him lose his temper . That is why I have insisited he come and see you. I wonder what it could be to make him feel so unwell.

Dr Koner : Mrs Stuti , I am very glad you have taken this decision and brought him to me . Now let us have these blood tests done and find out what is making him uneasy like this . Once I have the reports only then can I also give you a diagnosis . Listen , there is no need to panic –it is a routine test and will let us know how we can treat him and make him feel better , that’s all.

SCENE 5 NEXT DAY. SAME LOCATION

Sutradhar :
This is a great shock indeed . Looking at the reports of the blood test , Dr Koner is stunned and conveys his findings to the by now very nervous couple . It is a serious situation as the tests reveal very , abnormal counts indeed and he feels that Navin should immediately consult a specialist and that too a medical oncologist . Someone who is an authority on Blood Cancers.

It is possible that Navin may have a kind of Leukemia ; the spleen enlarged like this and results of the blood tests unfortunately can mean only one thing.

Stuti and Navin are in shock . Whatever they expected it was definitely not this – this was a thunderbolt out of the blue for sure. They are stunned into incomprehensible silence. Navin throws up his hands in despair . Somehow , giving each other whatever strength they can they make their way home .
ACTION NO DIALOGUES

(Dr.Koner has an open a file before him. He gestures at it and explains the facts while Navin and Stuti look on. Navin looks shocked and and Stuti gets up from her chair. She walks around to where Navin is sitting and comforts him. The scene ends with both Dr. Koner and Stuti standing over Navin’s seated figure.)

 

SCENE SIX LIVING ROOM

Characters: Navin, Stuti, Pooja, Samiran, Neel – family friend

SUTRADHAR
Husband and wife are in great disress but are determined to fight this out and decide to share the disturbing news with a close friend and neighbour knowing that this could be the best thing they can do under these circumstances. The friend is emphatic in his praise for their promptness in going to a doctor, sharing the news with him and the family’s docotr’s advice to see a specialist . This reassuring presence of the friend lightens the weight of the burden the shocked couple are carrying. The children too have understood that something is not right and they are no longer their boisterous selves. The adults , very rightly , decide that this information should not be kept from the children. They are asked to busy themselves with surfing the net and getting some inputs on the disease.
(Navin and Stuti are seated on the sofa/chairs. The children are sitting on the floor and playing a boardgame.)

Stuti: Navin , you know what , I am going to call Neel . We cannot just sit here and not do anything .

Samiran: Ma, what is it ? what hapenend to Papa? Are you ok Papa ? Should I go up and call Uncle Neel?

Navin: Its OK son, let it be – take Pooja and go to your room now .

Stuti: on phone ….Hullo, Neel Bhaiyya , Hello , you are home Thank God ! Please can you drop in for a while? Yes, just now itself please if it is ok ? thank you bhaiyya. That’s it children – go on , watch TV or something – leave Mamma and Papa alone for a while please my dears ?

(Pooja and Samiran get up to leave the room.)

Pooja (facing the audience): There has to be something very wrong in here – Mamma is actually asking us to go watch TV? I don’t believe this .

(Door Bell rings and Stuti goes to bring Neel in from stage right)

Neel : Navin , Stuti Bhabhi what’s this ? Where are Pooja Samiran ? Hey, is all well? What is the matter ? Navin ?

Stuti: Neel Bhaiyya
..looks at Navin and makes a gesture of despair and tries to stop her tears
Neel would you know any good Cancer specialist ?

Neel : Cancer specialist ? Arrey , what do you mean ? Why all of a sudden do you want a Cancer specialist ?

Navin: Gets up and puts his arm around Stuti.
Neel , you know what Neel , there is a problem here now . You know I just went to see Dr Koner for a minor ailment ; weakness and all – a routine check up and well, Neel , listen – he has dropped a bombshell on us .

Stuti: He advised a routine blood test Neel Bhaiya and it has turned out to be a kind of cancer – Blood Cancer . Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (reads from report)

Navin: Yes Neel , blood cancer; can you believe? Would any one say that loking at me that I have cancer ? will you ? Am fit and fine , just a bit tired these days . He has told me I need to go and see an Oncologist and has given a letter – that’s it . I have cancer !!

Neel : Hey, hey…. Easy Navin . calm down my friend . You know what ? I do know an oncologist . In fact I know him well and I also know he is a very fine doctor so come on tell all about how this has come about .
(Pooja and Samiran come quietly into the room and sit next to Navin.)

Stuti: Samiran !! Pooja !!

Neel : Bhabhi , let them be here . with us .

Stuti: But they are children . They will not understand .

Navin: No Stuti , let them be . It is our duty to explain it to them then. Better that they get to know from us rather then hear incomplete , inaccurate accounts from elsewhere . It will only make mattwers worse.

Neel : Pooja , come to me my dear – did you see Gilly’s new puppy dog ? Samiran, do you know what Leukemia is my boy ?

Samiran: Yes of course . It’s a kind of Blood Cancer na ?

Navin: Son, I haven’t been feeling very well right ? So Ma and I went to see the doctor and we did some tests . According to those blod tests , Samiran , it looks like I might be sick because of Cancer – Leukemia .

Pooja (going over to Stuti) : Ma , Papa has cancer ? But Ma how come ? why ??

Samiran: What why / How? Oh dear always asking foolish questions – nom one knows why you get cancer of the blood . It just happens . Come with me Pooja , I will show you on the computer and the internet all about cancers – come with me .

Neel (On the phone):Hullo, Dr Sheshadhari ? Hullo Sir – Neel Kankani here . I hope I am not disturbing you Sir? Sir I want to bring a very dear friend , also my neighbour , to come and see you . Yes , yes Sir his family doctor recommends he does . It seems like a diagnosis of CML . Oh sure , thanks , of course Sir . Very good of you Sir.

Chalo – that is done – Dr Sheshadari is the best. Hey Bhabhi cheer up , just as you are the best in the fish curry department he is the best in his field . He is a very senior and experienced oncologist . And nowadays there is so much advancement in the treatment of cancer ; one better than the other . You know you have to be very grateful to Dr Koner your family physician for guiding you so well and without wasting time.

Navin: Oh God I still cannot believe this ; now I am worried about what new fangled treatment this specialist will suggest .

Stuti: All I know about cancer is that the treatment is very storng and harmful and worse than the disease only .

Navin: And my worry is the cost Neel . What are we going to do ?

Stuti: I am not able to think straight at all ; what should we do ; how will we manage . Oh Ma !!!

Neel : Stuti Bhabhi – what is this ? This is not at all what I expected from you . We all look upto you for strength ; Navin , the children , my family ….
Stuti: Maybe if Iknew somehting about all this ; maybe if all of us had a more clear idea of what it is like and what it means then???

Neel : Correct – knowledge is the most powerful tool for us and will give us the strenght we need to fight this . Tomorrow when we meet Dr Sheshadari he will tell us more about it .

Samiran: Neel Uncle , what cancer did you say ? Leukemia no?

Neel : Look , the children are smarter and quicker than us to move ahead . Yes Samiran , it is Chronic Myeloid Leukemia CML – you found something on the internet ?

Samiran: Yes Neel Uncle , there is a lot I have been able to find . It says here on website that for CML there is very new and wonderful line of treatment ; they are calling the tablet a Magic Bullet – and it is made by a company in Switzerland .

Navin: Oh I see, it is from a foreign country . How can we get it ? Neel, you know I think I am also as confused and worried as Stuti .
Neel : Listen to me now . Till we meet the oncologist tomorrow we are not to worry about these things. When faced with any situation what we need to do is be prepared with as much information and knowledge as possible . Half baked knowledge is no good so we reach out to those who will give us the correct and most useful information and guidance. And the best person is the oncologist we are going to meet .

Come on , let’s begin right with the visit to the oncologist tomorrow

(Hugs Navin and Stuti puts her arms around the children )

SCENE 7 AT THE MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST’S CONSULTING ROOM

Characters: Dr Sheshadhari, Navin, Stuti, Neel

SUTRADHAR
One look at the worried couple that Neel has brought to meet him is enough for the oncologist to exert all his kind charm and reassuring manner. Neel seeks permission and sits in the consultation. Dr Sheshadari gos through the reports and Dr Koner’s letter and case history . He urges them to look at the positive aspect of the situation – it a cancer that is least likely to cause the kind of trauma they are all expecting . Not only is there an excellent medication for CML in all probabilites Navin might even qualify for the donation programme the company has put in place. .

(Everyone is seated –fromleft to right – Navin, Dr.Sheshadri, Neel, Stuti)
Neel : Dr Saheb , It is very good of you to see us like this at such short notice .
Navin and Stuti: Thank You doctor

Dr Sheshadhari : Not at all, not at all, please sit down and let me read your reports. So the diagnosis is CML Hmm….Mr Navin? First let me tell you this is the kind of blood cancer that is least worrisome . Today one can safely say that it is like a chronic , manageable condition .

Stuti: But doctor Saheb , it is Cancer and we are so frightenend something will happen and our children are still so small …. …

Dr Sheshadhari : Mrs Navin , you are worrying unnecessarily and I can understand this reaction but medical science has advanced so much and today let me tell you we need not fear this disease any more . You are worried for the children ? Why? This is not hereditary or contagious.
Neel : Dr Saheb , we have heard that there is a new drug for this ? Is that true ? is this that cancer only?

Dr Sheshadhari : Of course , that is why I said this is the least worrisome of all cancers. So you have doing some reading on this eh?

Navin: But we also know it is a costly medicine Sir and our worry is how we can afford something like this …

Dr Sheshadhari : Let’s see now ; the company that makes this medicine , they have an assistance programme in place . They help patients who cannot afford to buy the medication and there is a Foundation that can help you access this programme . We have to apply first and then they will get in touch with you .

But first Mr Navin there is a very important test we have to do – the Bone Marrow test . Once this report is ready , it called the Ph+ve test , you have to send it to the Foundation along with some other documents .

Neel : thank you Doctor . You just tell us what is it that has to be done and we will do it. We really need your guidance here Sir.

Dr Sheshadhari : Along with the Bone Marrow report you have to keep all your personal documents ready to be couriered where they tell you to do so. Now , you wait for the report and then a call from the Foundation.

And Mr Navin , you have to be strong and positive . Along with the medicine this is also necessary – together you can work on comlete control. And take away al thoughts from your mind that you have a life threathenning disease. (Navin smiles – interaction)

 

SCENE 8 LIVING ROOM

Characters: Navin, Stuti, Samiran, Pooja, Neel

SUTRADHAR
The all important Bone Marrow test is done – it is an invasive procedure and Navin , Stutit accompanied by Neel come back home . The children are concerened and having Neel by their side all this while is of great help to the bemused couple. Both of them feel very reassured and begin to feel they can cope with this situation ..

(Navin , Stuti and Neel enter – Navin is holding his back )

Pooja: Papa , what hapenend ? Are you alright ?

Samiran: Papa ? The test got done ? the Bone Marrow test ? Papa , come sit ; was it very painful ?

Navin: No son , the doctor gave some local anesthesia so the pain was not so much but I did feel a lot of discomfort and now I am feleing all sore .
Stuti: Neel Bhaiyya , thank you – if you were not with us I really don’t know what we would have done . Really …

Neel : Arrey Stuti Bhabhi what are you saying – can I not even do this much for you ?

Chalo , as soon as the report is with us we will get in touch with the Max Foundation .

SCENE 9 AFTER TWO DAYS LIVING ROOM

(Phone rings – Pooja picks up the phone )

Pooja: Hullo ?

Ayeshah : Hullo Iam calling from Bombay ? May I speak to Mr Navin Kumar please ?

Pooja: Mamma , Papa , Bombay se Phone hai

Navin: Hullo , yes? Navin here

Ayehsah : Mr Navin , This is Ayeshah , from The Max Foundation

Navin: Yes Ma’an , did you receive my application and documents ?

Ayeshah : Yes, we have received those and I have also spoken to Dr Sheshadari. Your documents are all in order Navin . You have given all the necessary information in great detail and that will help in speeding up the approval process. Please do not worry , your application will be processed as soon as possible .

Navin: I am so releived Miss Ayeshah , please tell me what else I need to do

Ayeshah : You have to be in regular touch with your doctor Navin and not miss a single appointment . Once you are ready for your next supply the doctor himself will let us know but you have to be in touch too.
Navin: That I will surley do thank you so much . Miss Ayeshah can I ask you something? The doctor did tell me there were others like myself ? with the same disease and in the same condition ..getting medication ….

Ayeshah : Yes of course they are – in case you would like to get in touch them I could let you have their contact numbers and they will be only too happy to have you call them . I will send you a list of names of phone numbers as soon as possible Navin ji and do talk to them .

Actually Navin ji , there are groups of people in almost all cities who are now part of this programme and this group is called Friends of MAX – I can put you in tocuh with them through an e mail group if you would so like . You can be in touch with everyone and be part a lot of a lot sharing .

Also , very soon there is going to be a group meeting in your city – I will ask the memebers here to get in touch with you . You should attend with your family . It is a good chance for you to meet everyone .

Navin: Of course, that is great ! Thank you very much

SCENE 10 FRIENDS OF MAX MEETING

Characters: Navin, Stuti, Pooja, Samiran

SUTRADHAR : ONLY ACTION – NO DIALOGUE

All formalities are completed , the medicine is collected and now every night at the dining table there is a new ceremony . It is Pooja’s responsibility to see that after dinner , her dear Papa is given his special , precious tablet that will keep him well.

Navin calls his children close to his side and seeing his calm visage and the smiling one s of the children Stuti too seems to be in control of her emotions and more calm now. There is confidence and cheer now especially with the upcoming meeting . Navin tells his family about this other family they are all soon to meet. Navin’s health too begins to improve with great ease and speed.

FOM Volunteers converge and a group meeting is in progress – there is much laughter and cheer and sharing of testimonials

(Ayeshah introduces Navin and family to the group)

Ayeshah : Come here Navin and Stuti – this is your first time right ? Please meet Subir and Sushmita se miliye ….( the four greet each other)
Ayeshah introduces the Testimonial session

Anshu Agarwal

Cedric Mathews

Rajat Majumdar

Tushar Ghosh

the Bombaywala’s entrance

Pramod and Nirmesh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anshu Agarwal, Cedric Mathews, Rajat Majumdar, Nirmesh & Pramod (from Bombay)
Tushar (sings a song)

SUTRADHAR – Concluding comment for FOM Meet

The dark and foreboding clouds of despair seem to have disappeared into the horizon and now the bright rays of hope and optimism take their place. Meeting other families faced with similar challenges and seeing how they have coped fills Navin and Stuti’s hearts with courage and they are confident they too will manage to cross this hurdle .

(People in the background miming interaction)

 

ACT II

SCENE 1 – SIX MONTHS LATER – POST DINNER SCENARIO AT HOME

Characters: Navin, Stuti, Pooja, Samiran, Sen Family

SUTRADHAR
The months go by and the Kumar family home is once again a happy household . What transpired seems like a bad dream now …….but this does not last .
Stuti, always alert and perceptive to the slightest change in her husband’s behaviour seems to be bothered by some warning signs she cannot put a finger to. Navin is distracted and she wonders if all is well with his routine . She seems to feel some thing is missing and asks him if he has been to see the doctor and collected the last supply.

Navin brushes aside her attentons asking her to leave him alone and not begin the nagging all over again . He is well and does not reminders of his disease please . In fact his counts are normal now so please …Stuti is not convinced

Pooja: Mamma, has Papa become alright now ? He does not need his medicine any more ?
Stuti: Papa , my dear child , needs to take his medicine every day – for as long as the docotor tells him to . Only then will his counts remain normal and Papa be healthy . Why ? what hapenend ? Why this question all of a sudden ?

Pooja: Mamma, nowadays Papa does not take his medicine from me aymore ; that is why I asked . He always says let it be I will take it when I need it.
Samiran: Yes Mamma look , Pooja is actually right ! See, the strip inside the box is full .

Stuti: Navin , Naveeeeeen ….oh now you are hiding behind the paper . What on earth is going on ? Oh really I never thought I would have to monitor you like a child – oh dear ; it is all my fault . I am so afraid what Dr Sheshadari will say .

Navin: Hey, what is all this racket about ; leave me alone will you please ?
Stuti: Navin , it is only because we care about you and do not want you to be sick again .

Navin: Enough is enough !! What is this making out as if I am on my death bed ! Iam fine . Do I even look sick ? No but if you all keep reminding me then I will fall sick !! In fact just taking the medicine evderyday makes me feel like a patient . I am tired of taking it ; day in and day out and it is not nay of yiu who has to put up with all the trouble it causes . It is my legs that have these cramps ; my skin that becomes so sensitive . So many side effects – makes me feel so restless .
Stuti: Navin, but don’t you remember what the doctor said – as long as you take the medicine the counts will be under control other wise …..
Navin: oh please – Stuti ! Stop it !!!!

(The doorbell rings )

Stuti (walking towards to door and looking at Navin): Who can it be now ? Navin , this discussion is not over ok?
(Subir, Sushmita aur Sangeeta enter – they are FOM and good friends now with Stuti and Navin. They all greet each other and share pleasantries – Stuti is looking worried and keeps throwing anxious glances at Navin – the children are also quiet.)

Stuti: Sushmita di ! Subir da! Navin , remember ? We met at the Friends of Max Meeting? Oh ! How nice to see you indeed !!

Sushmita : We have some good news to share with you and wanted to come personally . Our daughter here is getting married . And you have to be there on that day to bless the couple?

Sangeeta : Hey, Samiran , what’s up ? No criket match today ?

Sushmita : Stuti di , is something the matter ? Did we come at the wrong time ? Navin too does not seem in his ususal form today ?

Stuti: Subir da now you please tell him . You are taking the medicine for so many years . He has become very irregular with his medicine and now says he will not have it anymore ; it is too troublesome a routine to follow he says .

(Stuti, Shushmita and the children move to the back and get seated. Subir and Navin stand in the foreground.)
Subir : Hey, did you not listen to what the doctor told us at the meeting Navin my boy?

Listen , I am on medication for the last five years and I have not even for a day missed a dose . Yes, of course there will be some side effects – which medicine has no side effects ? But that does not mean you will stop the drug? And these side effects are nothing compared to others . Oh we are lucky to get away with such simple ones I tell you.. Glivec my friend today is like Oxygen to us . You know what Glivec has done ? Converted out life threathenning disease to a chronic , manageable condition .

Navin: Subir da , this medicine and the daily routine reminds me everyday that I am sick – a cancer patient ! Do I look sick ? I do not even feel sick !!
Subir : Listen Navin, tell me something . Suppose a man who has high BP stops his medicine? Can he do that ?

Navin: High Blood Pressure ? Of course he cannot stop his medicine ? Hid BP will shoot up !!
Subir : Oh ? You think so ? Good ! But he also does not look sick Navin . And what about a diabetic person ? he does not appear sick at all , so why should he keep taking Insulin everyday eh? You don’t stop medication because there are side effects . You learn how to work around those side effects . Navin you are an intelligent man – come on !!

Sangeeta (coming forward towards to Navin): Navin da , Baba and Ma have been saying they are so happy to have found friends like you and Stuti di and you know what they keep ntelling me ? They tell me they have no worries at all about my wedding because you are there to help them with all the responsibilites . In fact Baba is so nervous already I think he wants yout o come and stay with us now till it is all over !!

Navin da promise me you will see that Baba does not worry himself sick over all tbie arrangements ? I have told both Ma and Baba that as long as Navin da and Stuti di are there to help them I am not worried . And Navin da , not only work ok? You have to dance at my wedding so be prepared .

Navin: Looks straight ahead and is deep in thought . He looks at Stuti and smiles.

OK – deal Sangita , here is a promise . I will do anything to dance at your wedding . and Stuti ? What colour saree will you wear ? You have to get me a matching Kurta – cannot let down your stylish standards.

(Stuti hugs him and the children also come up to them – Subir , Sushmita and Sangeeta also hold each other)

SCENE 2 – THAT EVENING in the DINING room

SUTRADHAR
OK Everyone , come on then ; one last visit to the Kumar household . Let’s see what is being served for dinner tonight ! Navin has his tablet next to his plate yes and he will now never forget its importance in his life. He considers Subir’s visit as nothing less than a directive from his God to wake up and take care of himself .

Pooja (holding a tablet and glass of water): Papa , lets go !! Here is your magic bullet and now no more excuses !
Navin: ok boss – jo hukkum sarkar !!

Pooja: Hurry up Papa my TV show is about to begin I must run !!

Samiran: Hey, NOOOO its time for Cricket highlights …Poojaaaa…

Pooja: Ma look at Samiran – he is hititng me

(Navin and Stuti just look at each other and smile )

All the cast comes on stage to sing Hum Honge Kamyaab .

Credits

      Concept & Story Line Subir Ranjan Sen
      Script & Direction Viji Venkatesh
      Production Design Deepa Venkatesh
      Staging Coordinators  Anshu Agarwal & Poonam Kankani

Acknowledgements

      Ayeshah Dadachanji TMF
      Anshu Agarwal FOM Kolata
      Rajat Mazumdar FOM Kolkata
      Cedric Mathew FOM Kolkata
      Tushar Kanti Ghosh FOM Kolkata
      Nirmesh Prakash FOM Mumbai
      Pramod George FOM Mumbai  
 

CHARACTERS  

Navin – Husband
Played by Navin Agarwal
.
A devoted husband and caring father , Navin is married to Anshu who has been on Glivec for over a year. His passion in life is to encourage their son Akshit’s promising tennis talent.  

Stuti – Wife
Played by Stuti Koner
.
Stuti has been on Glivec for the last four years and is one of the shining stars of the FOM Kolkota group. Volunteering her services to the Max India office in Mumbai , Stuti is the crucial link between the office and GIPAP recepients in the interiors of West Bengal  

Pooja – Daughter
Played by Pooja Kankani

Pooja Kankani is the the daughter of Neel and Poonam Kankani, FOM Kolkata core group volunteers. Pooja is a dancer par excellence and was the star of the first ever FOM meeting in Mumbai in 2005

Samiran – Son
Played by Samiran

Samiran Sen , like the character in the play,  is an avid fan of cricket and the internet. He is the son of Subir Ranjan and Sushmita Sen, both FOM Kolkata core group volunteers.

Dr Koner
Played by Subroto Koner

Subroto Koner lovingly called Professor by all teaches Chemistry in the University – kind, gentle and soft spoken he is the solid pillar of strength for his wife Stuti.

Neel – family friend
Played by Neel Kankani

Neel Kankani is one of the dynamic volunteers responsible for keeping the Kolkota FOM group active and inspired. He portrays in this play his real life role of a friend and mentor. He himself has been on Glivec for the last six years.

Dr Sheshadhari
Played by Ramanathan Sheshadhari

Ramanathan Sheshadhari, shy and soft-spoken, Shesh as we all know him has been on Glivec for the last five years. This real life engineer will surprise everyone in his avatar as Dr. Sheshadhari.

Subir da
Played by Subir Ranjan Sen

Subir Ranjan Sen , who conceptualised this play is playfully called Dr Subir da by the group in Kolkata On Givec for more than six years Subir da’s knowledge of all matters related to CML and its treatment and his eagerness to share with his peers has earned him the honorary medical title.  

Shushmita
Played by Sushmita Sen

Gracious and charming this Sushmita needs no public title  her home is open anytime for FOM Kolkata to meet in and her sweet smile enough welcome for the lucky visitor.

Sangeeta
Played by Sangeeta Sen

School and College topper , there is no exam that this young lady has not conquered. The apple of her father’s eyes , she has made him even prouder , if that can be possible with her plans of giving back to the community by equipping herself with the best degrees that education can offer  

Sutradhar (Narrator)
Played by Bharat Kaul

Bharat needs no introduction and is a well known and loved face in Bengali and Hindi theatre, television and films . He is an invaluable volunteer with Friends of Max

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