Scene 1 We open in a bedroom shared by two young sisters. A colorful wallpaper adorns the walls, a big bunk bed lies in the middle of the stage. Other typical bedroom items: a desk and a chair, a bean bag, a book shelf and a guitar lie around the room. MYRA, the older sister, is in her pyjamas. She is sitting on the lower bunk and smiling at her phone, texting someone eagerly. TIA, the younger sister, is wearing a nightie with two pigtails. She enters the room, startling MYRA. MYRA stops smiling but continues looking at her phone, feigning indifference. TIA walks towards the bunk bed. She tries to peek behind MYRA’s phone, but MYRA quickly hides the screen, frowning at TIA. TIA innocently climbs up to the top bunk and lies down.
(groaning softly) Tia, you forgot to switch the light off again!
(facepalms, whispers softly) Oh, shoot.
MYRA stands and switches off the lights, leaving the stage in darkness, save a single spotlight for the bunk bed. She lies down again on the lower bunk, still texting.
Di, uh, you remember the movie we watched yesterday?
(distracted by her texting, giggling) The one with the super cute hero? Yeah, I do.
The sound of a text notification makes MYRA smile again.
(very nervously) Um, where the big guy, uh, gave a kiss to the girl, and, uh, told her he loves her? And then they got married with a really big cake?
(still distracted) Yes, they were in love, Ti. And that’s why they married each other.
(nervously, but with curiosity) Were mama and papa also like them? Did papa love mama and make her happy? Did they also go to the snowy place to dance and have fun? And is that why they got married?
MYRA, realizing what TIA is asking, falls speechless. The sound of her text notification punctuates the awkward silence. She sits ups and stands on her tiptoes, trying to look at TIA (who's on the upper bunk) with concern. She puts her hand on TIA's hand.
Because now... they just fight with each other, or talk about office, or ask me if Ms. Pam gave me a sticker. They have never hugged each other. They don’t even-
(interrupting her but speaking softly, trying to console her) Hey, hey, Ti, you’re just nine, but you think so much! Mama and papa... they're fine. It’s just… the movie we saw… the girl and the boy, it was just a story. That wasn’t real!
(getting excited, feigning optimism) Mama was as happy as the girl and papa was like the big boy. But they didn’t go to the mountains and dance because they didn’t know each other before getting married. So… [beat] they never got a chance to do the fun stuff. See, Nana and Dada were friends, and they married off mama and papa.
(after a second, quietly) Mama and papa didn’t love each other?
(realizing that she made it worse, sighs) Ti, in our country, the girl’s parents decide who she marries. And the boy’s parents too. They don’t love each other, but that’s only in the beginning. After some time, they start understanding each other, and… start living together.
[Pause] Also, don't you have to go to school tomorrow? It’s so late, go to sleep or won't wake up!
TIA doesn’t respond, but her eyes remain open. After a few minutes, MYRA silently pulls the covers over TIA and slowly moves away so as to not make any noise. She grabs her phone and goes to one end of the stage, the farthest point of the bedroom. Then, she dials a number and holds the phone to her ear. We see that TIA sits up slightly, trying to eavesdrop.
(speaking into the phone in a very soft whisper)
Hey… sorry I couldn’t call before.
[Pause] She listens intently, blushing slightly, and playing with her hair. So, um, what are you doing?
[Pause] Oh, I was just talking to Ti… she was asking about our parents.
[Pause] No, no, she doesn’t know… it’s just that, I’m scared that I won’t be able to hide it for much longer, you know? I told her about arranged marriages today, and I’m already regretting it. How do I tell her that this is how our marriages are? Loveless, and, dull, and sad. I've been reading up on loveless marriages. The people who are stuck in one - their desires slowly die within them.
[A long pause] When they last fought, Mum told me that she had never felt like a woman. They’re perfect to us, you know? They have been living together for twenty-two years, and they’ve accepted it. But together - they’ve never been in love. They’ve never had that, that… spark!
[Pause] I just... I don't want to deny the concept of love for her.
Several seconds pass, MYRA continues listening while pacing around. Tia is now sitting up straight, clutching her pillow. MYRA blushes intensely. She coughs slightly.
Hey, I like you too. Maybe, just maybe, the world would be better to us. Good night.
MYRA looks longingly at her phone, when TIA confidently throws the pillow at MYRA. Completely startled, MYRA looks at TIA, wondering if she heard anything. TIA grins at her excitedly, revealing a missing tooth.
(very excitedly) You’re the girl in the movie! You’re in love!
END OF SCENE
Di is an Indian colloquial term for an elder sister.