Rooftops in the day
Narrator: The fights and then running to the roof is the daily routine for the trio of friends. They fight and laugh and pull each other’s legs throughout the day. But the night is the time when the roofs are really empty and it becomes their highway of fun for a while. One such day... not so long ago when the lockdown due to the Coronavirus was still in place.
Titli: Why do you always behave so badly all the time? I am leaving and will never come back ever.
Narrator: Another fight starts the day for Titli and again she goes looking for her friends. Things seem quiet in Tammy’s home which is closer and she drums up the signal on the roof.
Tammy: I have finished four questions. Can I take a break, please?
Tammy Father: Yes I heard the drumming on the roof too. Sit down and finish the work first.
Narrator: Tammy looks up to the roof and gives the middle finger sign to no one in general.
Titli (thinking): Tammy is stuck as usual. Let me see if Upla is there.
Upla Mother: I only expect you to help me a little sometimes with the work at home. Is it too much to ask?
Upla Mother: All you do is roam around all day and night.
Upla: Mom I am busy.
Upla Mother: That mobile is an evil thing. It is the reason for all your problems. It has taught you bad things. I will burn it one day. You wait and watch.
Upla Father: Yes, break everything in the house. Nothing costs anything. First your son and now you. I am sitting here to provide all the time. You people just break everything. The Lord shall provide.
Upla Mother: Ask your son that... both of you are of no use. I have to do all the work while you guys just sit around.
Upla: Now what have I done?
Upla Mother: Nothing... What have you done? What do you do anyway? I keep asking you for one thing only. One thing... and you cannot do that even. That is what happens when you marry the wrong person.
Titli (thinking): Wrong time here too.
Narrator: Alone and hungry, Titli is hugely depressed with her life, and of these fights every day. In a fit of rage, she decides to go to the drain that flows in the middle of Shahdara and maybe take her own life.
Titli: Better to die than keep living such a crazy life. I am sick of being shouted at and beaten every day.
Narrator: And a lot of other depressing thoughts about her life in general and about society at large, she reaches the drain in Shahdara to take her life.
Titli: Yuck. This not only smells awful, but it also looks bad too. Do I really want to die in this shit? Till I drown, I shall have to endure this stench. Is that a blob of shit in it. Yuck... I need a cleaner way to die.
Narrator: She spies something in the water of that drain.
Titli: That paper seems out of place. What is it doing here? It looks as if it is made of gold. How can it shine so bright?
Titli: I can jump on the side of the drain and pick up this gold page or try another way?
Titli: I cannot jump into this. I would rather take a cup of water and stick my nose in it. Clean water. There has to be another way.
Titli: That stick looks long enough. I can try to pick up the page with it. If it drops, it will go away in the drain. C’est la vie.
Narrator: She picks up a long stick lying there and slowly balances the page on it to bring it out of the filth.
Titli: Using that stick was a good idea. I am safe and the gold page is almost within reach.
Titli: What are you?
Golden Page: I am a page from Prajapati’s book of creation.
Titli (thinking): Did the page just speak or have these noxious gases done their number on me already?
Titli: So you just spoke to me? A page? Who is Prajapati?
Golden Page: I am not a page. I am THE PAGE. I contain all of the skills needed in this world. And Prajapati is Lord Brahma who is the source of all knowledge.
Titli: A single page and all skills of the world? Hmm... interesting. So you can teach me any skill?
Golden Page: Yes I can. All you need to do is speak the name of the skill you want to learn and then concentrate on the word while you touch me.
Titli: This is so cool. I have to show this to my friends.
Titli (thinking): I might be crazy but this is soo cool. If the fumes don’t work later then I can always sell it and make a bit of money.