Different Shades of Success

Different Shades of Success

This play was written for a school play. It was enacted on stage and won the first prize for the school’s Best House Play competition.

Scene 1

The boys’ house

 

Naveen, a 12-year-old boy, walks into the house with a football in his hand. His mother immediately comes out of the kitchen on hearing him.

MOTHER:

Naveen, how many times have I told you not to play ball in the house? And how long have you been gone? You went at 9. It is five hours now.

NAVEEN:

Ma, it’s okay. There was a practice for our tournament this week.

MOTHER:

Tournament? And what about your exam? You have your Units coming up on Monday, don’t you? Have you finished studying?

Naveen’s brother, Kishore, 15-year-old, walks in from his room. He has a bag slung over his shoulders.

MOTHER:

Look at your brother, Naveen! He just returned from school and now he is ready to leave for his classes. While you wasted away half your day, he was studying throughout. Why don’t you learn from him?

NAVEEN:

But I love football! I am good at it.

MOTHER:

Football? Will it pay you in future? Why don’t you say something, Kishore’s father?

The boys’ father is sitting on the sofa looking at something on his cellphone. He looks up at the sudden mention.

FATHER:

Yes, Naveen, football doesn’t pay you. You must listen to your mother.

NAVEEN:

But, father… I…

FATHER:

Keep it as a hobby. But if you don’t learn, what’s the use of it? You will be kicking balls on the street. See how that neighbor’s son studies. Excellent in every subject. And your own brother Kishore? Why don’t you take some inspiration from them?

MOTHER:

Now go and change. And leave for your tuition class in five minutes. We are not paying for nothing.

FATHER:

Yes, yes… listen to your mother.

 

Scene 2

The boys’ house

Mother and father are in the room. Father is watching a match on TV and mother is on the phone. She disconnects the phone and looks at Father.

MOTHER:

You see that? I have been telling you hundreds of times to take some time out and teach your son. Now his tuition teacher had called.

FATHER:

Tuition teacher? Whose, Kishore’s?

MOTHER:

Why will Kishore’s teacher call? He has never scored less than 90 percent in any exam. It was about your wayward son, Naveen. He has again failed in all subjects at school. He hasn’t told at home yet, but she found out from his friends.

FATHER:

Failed in all subjects? That’s bad.

MOTHER:

Yes. And do something about it.

FATHER:

I will. I mean, I should. By the way, you remember that Ramesh is coming home tonight, don’t you?

MOTHER:

Yes. I’ll make the preparations for him right away.

 

 

Scene 3

The boys’ house — evening at the dinner table

 

There is a guest, Ramesh. He is the boys’ uncle.

RAMESH:

Brother, why is Naveen not at the table with us? By the way, the food was wonderful!

FATHER:

What do I tell you, Ramesh! That boy is wasting away his life. He is in the Grade 8 now, and he is getting bad remarks everywhere. Just today we found out that he has failed in all the subjects at his Units. He needs to be punished so that he understands.

RAMESH:

But, brother, we all know that he has other talents. He is more into sports rather than studies. Is that a bad thing? Look at Sachin Tendulkar or Saina Nehwal…

FATHER:

They are one in a million, Ramesh. It doesn’t happen with everyone. Anyway, he needs to learn a lesson. Let him go hungry for a couple of nights and he will understand. I am embarrassed every time I come across Dr. Rudransh in the lift. He always tells me about his son’s great achievements, and I have nothing to speak about Naveen. Of course, Kishore here is a wonderful boy, but the doctor knows where it hurts. He asks me specifically about Naveen.

MOTHER:

He’s lazy, that’s what. It’s not that he cannot study. Both of us were good students at school. Kishore is too. Then what’s the problem with him?

RAMESH:

I understand everything that you say, and it does seem to be a problem. Do you mind if I go and talk to Naveen for a bit? Is he in his room?

FATHER:

Yes. Go, if you please. But he’s not having dinner till his marks improve, and that’s final.

 

 

Scene 4

The boys’ house a few days later — morning

 

Mother is frantic. Just then, Naveen enters the house.

MOTHER:

NAVEEN! Where have you been? I called up at the tuition teacher’s house and she says you haven’t been attending for a month! But you go regularly. Tell me, where do you go?

NAVEEN:

(mumbles something)

MOTHER:

(comes closer to Naveen and boxes his ears) Where have you been going? Tell me, you boy! Why are you doing this? Do you want me to fall sick?

FATHER:

(comes forward and frees Naveen) Have you fallen into some bad company, Naveen?

KISHORE:

Father, I saw him one day. He was walking ahead on the street and going into the garden.

FATHER:

Garden? Really?

KISHORE:

Yes, father. There were other boys there, all his friends. I am sure he goes there to play. They have all the things. He does not need to take anything from home.

MOTHER:

Is that what you have been doing? Do you know how much the tuition costs? Have you been playing around?

NAVEEN:

It’s not what you think.

MOTHER:

Then what is it? (she holds her head with her hand and slumps on the sofa). Oh my God! What will this boy do? Tomorrow his terminal exam starts. What will he do? He’s just going to fail again.

FATHER:

Calm down, Lakshmi. It will be all right.

MOTHER:

No, it won’t. This boy will kill me one day.

With great anger, Naveen huffs away into his room. We hear his door close with a bang.

 

Scene 5

The principal’s cabin

 

Father and mother are sitting outside.

MOTHER:

Why has the principal called us? I don’t see any other parents here. Has Naveen done so badly in the terminal? Are they suspending him? Or… oh my God! Expelling him?

FATHER:

Keep quiet, Lakshmi. Don’t get hysterical.

They are called inside. They walk in and are directed by the principal to sit on the chairs.

PRINCIPAL:

This is unbelievable, really!

FATHER:

What is it, sir?

PRINCIPAL:

About your son, Naveen. I just cannot believe it.

FATHER:

Please tell us, sir. We cannot take the suspense any longer.

PRINCIPAL:

Naveen has ranked third in his division. How is that even possible?

MOTHER:

What! Are you sure it is the same Naveen?

PRINCIPAL:

You can rest assured it is, madam. Everyone at school knows Naveen well. Look at his result here. A grade in every subject, and even A+ in two. Did you change his tuition teacher or something?

MOTHER:

No. (she looks at the result disbelievingly). But how is this… I mean, we were so angry with him all these weeks that we didn’t even teach him this time. And he only spent his time playing away.

PRINCIPAL:

No, he hasn’t cheated or anything if you suspect that. Our supervisors are very strict. This has really happened. Your boy is indeed bright. But there’s something more.

FATHER:

(cannot control his happiness) What, sir? What?

PRINCIPAL:

Naveen has been selected by the State Football Association for special training. We will need your permission, of course. Once you permit, we can send him for this special training camp in the city for seven days. They are giving him a sports scholarship.

FATHER:

Really?

PRINCIPAL:

Yes. And national level champions will coach him. Everyone who goes there has a bright future. Think about it, and reply soon.

FATHER:

There’s nothing to think, sir! Let him go, of course.

PRINCIPAL:

All right, then. And now I am sure, there will be celebrations at home.

 

Scene 6

The boys’ home — evening

Ramesh is present. They are all at the dinner table.

FATHER:

I just cannot believe how this happened.

RAMESH:

You underestimate a lot of things, brother.

FATHER:

What do you mean?

RAMESH:

(winks at Naveen) Shall we tell them our little secret, Naveen? Okay. So, that day when you kept him away from dinner, I had a heart-to-heart talk with him. Naveen wouldn’t tell me anything at first, but then he told me how he was really hurt by your constant scolding (looks at mother) and your constant comparing him to others (looks at father). He told me how he could not study even with the tuition teacher because she neglected him for being a rotten apple. That’s when I told him to come over to my place and I would teach him. That’s what he has been doing the past month.

FATHER:

What? Really? Then why not tell us?

RAMESH:

Because you would only discourage him further. We wanted to do it and show you. And we have proved, haven’t we?

MOTHER:

(reluctantly) Yes. I think we were wrong.

RAMESH:

Parents often tend to compare between their children, like you do with Kishore and Naveen here. Kishore is bright, but Naveen is bright too. Everyone doesn’t shine in the same way; you need to polish them differently. Since the way you treated Kishore worked, you tried the same approach with Naveen, but he’s different. He needs more understanding. And don’t forget; he’s a sportsman at heart. You mustn’t forget that.

FATHER:

It’s so nice of you to have helped him, Ramesh.

RAMESH:

My pleasure! And I am sure there’s going to be no looking back for Naveen from now on.

Naveen looks into his dinner plate, avoiding everyone’s attention on him. There’s a smile on his lips.

 

END