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Neighbours match steps to stage Tagore

All the puja days were fun but Saptami was the day I had been waiting for. It was the day my neighbours and I would perform Tagore’s dance drama Shapmochan at our Purbachal Cluster IX puja function.

My neighbour Ishita aunty had decided to put up the piece and we had been practising since September 20. I remember when the cast of the play was being decided, aunty, being the choreographer, chose to play the hero Aruneshwar. I had found it strange as she was a woman and would be playing the role of a prince. Her friend Sonel would play the heroine, Kamalika, and my friends and I got roles like Kamalika’s friends, Lord Indra and Indrani.

During practice, I learnt the story of Shapmochan — about two lovers in heaven. Sourosen, who plays the mridangam in Lord Indra’s court, falters on a beat. An enraged Indra banishes Sourosen and his wife Madhusree, played by me, to Earth. The rest of the play is about how they are reborn as King Aruneshwar and Kamalika, and come together.

Between my friends’ and my tuitions, Sonel aunty’s office and Ishita aunty’s chores, it was tough to find an hour when everyone would be free for rehearsal. Ishita aunty and my mother compiled Tagore songs like Aji dakhin dwar khola and Bajibe shokhi bashi bajibe and we also had to work on the lights and sound settings, special effects, costume and make-up.

Despite the stage fright, our performance was perfect. We were focussed and made no mistakes. I was delighted to hear the applause when the entire cast took a bow together before the audience at the end. All of us got prizes for our effort.

Later, after we all changed and went home, Ishita’s aunty’s husband was shocked as she still had the moustache on! He too has one. We had a big laugh when we heard this the next day.

— Sanhita Koley, Class VII, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan