Friday, November 12, 2010

Maithreyi's window

Maithreyi’s Window

Everyday morning after prayers (song sequence dedicated to Krishna in Ananda Bhairavi) , Maithreyi opens the window in her bedroom – the window opens into tomorrow which the princess sees through it today. Maithreyi is able to see in clear detail for some time , what will happen tomorrow and then the image fades away to show the present. Maithreyi then closes the window and goes about doing her chores that help her in dealing with tomorrow.

This is established during a Diwali/Baisakhi festival – the princess opens the window one day and sees the town celebrating Diwali/Baisakhi which is 28 days away and praising the king and queen of Mithila for their just and fair rule of the kingdom where riches abound, there are no class differences, there is abundant food( lot of green crops and orchards), rivers are flowing musically, butterflies in the sunshine and picturesque landscapes with deer, cows, elephants etc live in harmony. There is a lot of wealth in all homes, there are no thieves and there is a lot of love in general. The Diwali/Baisakhi theme of festivities, goodies, sweets, celebrations, clothes, jewels, music and dance, crackers, visual spectacles of lights and sound should be created in a very grand manner to capture the scale of festivities and the way the people enjoyed and lived life in Mithila then. A truly visual splendor needs to be created for these sequences.

Scene elaborates on the lives of the farmers, the artisans, the army, the businessmen and the women and children all of whom are happy and trust each other and live harmoniously. Visuals need to be created for each shot. Period costume, lighting, language, etc to be captured clearly in overhead and wide span shots as well as street camera rolls. Daylight and night shots visuals to be captured showing day life and night peace.

Through the window, the princess sees a handsome young prince in grand and fighter attire on horseback winning over the people in her city through his bravery, charm, wit and ability to protect. Maithreyi meets him on the streets and he wins her over with his charm and abilities (need to create some brave scenes with a sword fights, tactics, fantastic dialogues – (can add a song sequence after that) Maithreyi falls in love with the prince and makes him promise that he will come to her palace and ask her parents for her hand in marriage. He agrees to come in the morning after prayers and breakfast. Then the image fades away from her window and the window shows ‘today’ and Maithreyi closes it and goes about her duties of tending to flowers, learning music, having elaborate scented showers and learning yoga and warfare. In ‘today’ Maithreyi falls in love more and more with her prince reminiscing about his antics that Maithreyi saw in through the window and is eagerly awaiting to see in flesh and blood the next day when he will come and ask for her hand in marriage the way Maithreyi saw through the window.

The reader comes out through the window and looks at the palace from outside it from a birds eye view of the palace which is spectacular – the minister’s voice is heard explaining a case in hearing and the camera pans into the grand and ornate Durbar. In the durbar is seen the King holding court and the minister is in the process of explaining the case to him for which he needs to decide a solution.

The King of Mithila –( Lalu Alex ) rules Mithila with his wife (Shobhana)in a grand manner. Court scenes show fair decisions being taken by the king to govern the kingdom justly. His wife nearby reassuringly supports his decision because of his wisdom. Maithreyi even participates when the king seeks her opinions on a particular difficult decision regarding a business deal (Maithreyi quotes a scene from the Mahabharatha when SriKrishna decided to favour the righteous even though the decision would have been perceived as a wrong action – Bhagvad Gita. This is to highlight those big decisions should be for the general good of the public and not for just public acceptance (and votes). The wise decision thus taken will ensure there is general good overall and there is harmony in the longer term.( the story where the king establishes his wisdom and makes the right decision needs to be created – the prosecutor and defense in this case will be powerful characters who will become part of the story in the window ). Dialogues need to be loaded and clearly rendered to establish the characters personality and righteousness or the absence of it clearly.

The plot :

The king has a sister who has two sons – One is a good guy and the other isn’t. They both want to be the successor to the King as the king has only a daughter and is unmarried and doesn’t seem to be interested in marriage as far as everyone knows. They do not see her as a threat as there is no prince charming come to steal their rightful throne away from them. They are jovial with the princess and also try to convince her that they love her so much where as they don’t and are planning to kill her and her prince if Maithreyi gets married. The minister who is a loyalist is by her side and knows the evil ides of the cousins and protects the princess from them to ensure the kingdom remains with her after her parent’s time.

Veerabhadran and Ananthabhadran could be the two sides of the argument with Ananthabhadran as the negative and Veerabhadran as the positive. The minister would be Thilakan who with his sharp tongue and wit establishes justice for the king and demonstrates his undying loyalty until death. He is the eye and ear of the King and is trusted by all in the kingdom. The Vaidyan takes care of the health of the king and queen and is befriended by the cousins to overthrow the king. The Vaidyan is comic and provides amusement as the comedian in the movie. Since he is the Palace Vaidyan and has access to the health secrets of all in the palace and has unrestricted access to all, is also privy to information about all in the palace and can pit one against the other to have general good merry which he claims is the objective of good life – to be merry and happy. He is recruited by Ananthabhadran to kill the king and queen and become the successor. The senapathy comes to know of this and informs the king who asks the minister to investigate and establish the truth. The minister engages in a detailed Q&A with all parties to establish the truth and gets to know that if he teamed up with Ananthabhadran and kills Veerabhadran, he will continue to be minister and be more powerful as he is the link of continuity of law in the kingdom. He teams up with the Vaidyan who has also been assigned by Ananthabhadran to finish off the king , queen and Veerabhadran. One night after drugging everyone, they enter the Kings chamber to kill them and find them missing. Veerabhadran walks into the chamber and finds them with poison and knives. They plead for their lives and blame Ananthabhadran for asking them to murder the king and queen. Ananthabhadran acts shocked and supports Veerabhadran and encourages him to imprison the minister and Vaidyan. He immediately orders the senapaty to capture and arrest the vaidyan and the minister promptly does so. Dungeon scene - where Thilakan and Jagathy mastermind an escape and gets away in disguise after killing the senapathy and Ananthabhadran.

The king hears of this from Veerabhadran and mourns their loss but however praises Veerabhadran for doing the best for the kingdom and promises to marry the princess to him on her 18th birthday. The princess in the meantime goes through the motions of the mourning of her cousin and then gets shocked to know her impending marriage with Veerabhadran. Veerabhadran in turn is dreaming to marry her and become the prince.

The princess has her own plans though – Maithreyi wants to be the princess and rule the kingdom and not be wife of Veerabhadran . Maithreyi befriends the vaidyan and the manthri in hiding in a different kingdom in disguise as a village belle and convinces them to join her in her plan in return for their earlier positions of palace Vaidyan and Manthri. But fate had a different plan for her that Maithreyi would not be able to change even if Maithreyi knew it – and Maithreyi came to know it.

Maithreyi wakes up the next day amidst great thunder and lightning - the closed window opens in the lighting in the middle of the night unlike its morning openings . Through that Maithreyi sees the darkest hour of her life. Maithreyi sees that Maithreyi is running through a forest chased by some men on horseback. Maithreyi is running and running until Maithreyi reaches the palace which Maithreyi finds is deserted. The manthri and the Vaidyan stop her with swords from entering the palace and tells her Maithreyi will be killed. Maithreyi turns around to run for life and is stopped by the handsome prince Maithreyi dreamt about getting married to during Diwali/Baisakhi. He comes forward to attack her and in a split second Maithreyi jumps to the side and picks up a sword lying there and beheads the prince. Maithreyi then turns around and chases the Vaidyan and the Manthri and kills them too. Maithreyi then goes on to establish herself as the Empress of Mythila. Unquestioned and unparalleled. The reader moves back to the present and sees the princess in the room now shivering from what Maithreyi has seen. Maithreyi knows that this will be her fate the next day. Maithreyi is in turmoil over why the prince tries to kill her and how the Mantri and the Vaidyan also turned against her and Maithreyi collapses unconscious.

The reader moves to the open window and moves out – into the world of the morrow !! Veerabhadran is seen to have developed into evil after being promised the kingdom and marries the princess and imprisons the king and queen. He then terrorizes the people and plunders the wealth of the kingdom away on gambling, wine and women. He loses his ability to fight and all his wealth. Then a prince from a neighboring kingdom comes attacking to conquer Mythila and imprisons Veerabhadran and conquers Mithila. He then plans to kill the princess and proceeds to kill her when Maithreyi jumps away and beheads him instead. The camera then goes back through the same window into the palace and the window shuts close. The princess awakens from her unconsciousness in the morning and remembers the happenings of the night. Maithreyi is dazed and confused and then slowly goes to the window to open it and see what lies in store. The window opens and what Maithreyi sees is a grand procession – one led by a prince who comes to the palace asking for her hand in marriage. Maithreyi is confused why the window is showing this as Maithreyi had already killed the prince the previous day! Maithreyi shuts it close and after thinking about it , dismisses it as something Maithreyi can’t figure out.

Maithreyi gets dressed and goes out into her wonderful kingdom and is met by a lovely prince with whom Maithreyi falls in love. Maithreyi returns back to her palace with confused emotions knowing that Maithreyi had seen a procession this morning of her prince coming to marry her and also seen herself killing the prince. Maithreyi panics and runs out to the palace hall to see her parents and the mantra and everyone there are looking at her with smiles – the Vaidyan announces that Maithreyi get ready and comes back to the hall. Maithreyi gets back into her chamber and comes back in resplendence to be proposed by the prince, exactly on Diwali day - the way Maithreyi had seen on her first instance through the window 28 nights ago! Maithreyi is scared and astoniMaithreyid ad confused with what’s going on and realizes that what Maithreyi had seen of killing the prince was yet to happen and will happen in 28 days and what Maithreyi had seen of her marriage was indeed happening. The prince steps forward and amidst blessings from all wears the mangal sutra around her neck and takes her around the agni pradakshinam in the bond of marriage. Maithreyi detaches away from the celebrations and runs to her chamber and throws open the window - and sees that the prince was searching for her the princess and his newly wedded wife – the window had stopped showing her the future! It was just like any other widow – just a window to the other side.

As Maithreyi settles in and accepts that the window has lost its ability to show her tomorrow and tells others in the place that it is now a normal window and Maithreyi will be able to lead a peaceful life without knowing what is in store for her tomorrow. Maithreyi wows to take good care of her family and her kingdom and send everyone away in readiness for her first night with her newly married prince. In the bedroom a new story unfolds. The prince tells her that Maithreyi was stupid to have believed him in the first place. He laughs and tells her that Maithreyi was going to be killed and this was planned by the Manthri and Vaidyan who had come to him for help when they fled from their kingdom. They had hatched the plan to kill everyone and claim the kingdom – hearing this Maithreyi runs out of the room and runs away into the garden – Maithreyi is chased by the prince and the scene Maithreyi had seen through the window is recreated. Maithreyi jumps up and kills the prince as Maithreyi had seen – all the while going through the emotions of having loved him, betrayed by him and having to kill him to save herself from death. Maithreyi then turns around and with a determined look walks to the window and opens it – feeling better control over her destiny, having become the Empress of Mithila Maithreyi feels Maithreyi is invincible now – un conquerable and has the power of seeing tomorrow and commanding her fate to show her a better tomorrow. Her arrogance and transformation from a light eyed , lovely princess in love to a tyrannic warring conquerer, thirsty for blood and conquest is visible in her face, her ody language and her demeanor. The window opens and what Maithreyi sees her shocks her - Maithreyi sees her dead body being taken in procession for cremation to a river side. In shock Maithreyi closes the window and turns around and is stuck by a knife on her throat. The camera pans to show a laughing Veerabhadran who had thrown the knife telling her to die so that he can rule the kingdom. Maithreyi fights death and pulls out the knife and lunges at him in an attempt to kill him. He steps aside and Maithreyi falls down with the knife held in such a position that it enters her heart – and Maithreyi dies.

A shaken Veerabhadran picks himself up from where he had fallen while trying to escape her and walks over to her. After closing her eyes he looks up at the window and walks over to it in an attempt to let some light in. He slowly opens the window and - what he sees shocks him. !!! He turns around to the right at the reader and a loud scream is heard in the background.

The story of maithreyi’s window will continue – this time as Veerabhadran’s window in an even more exciting avatar.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


As I ease out of my gate onto the lane that leads to the main road , a racing and screaming car belches its horn loudly from behind my car forcing me to slam my pedal hurtling the car towards another passing car . I turn around to see the driver of the car holding onto the wheel for dear life probably trying to remember if he has paid his cars insurance and his life insurance premium! I turn around to see all passing cars shouting profanity at me for not playing by the rules!

No one wears seatbelts – guess the car companies will stop making them as cost reduction initiative. Roads will never improve and travel speeds will never increase either. I lower my windows and get a blast of loud honking from all passing vehicles, grunting diesel engine trucks and buses and the blaring music from the hi-fi of many a passing vehicle. I promptly pull up my window.

I shift into gear and was about to accelerate forward when the most irritating thing on Bangalore roads come up towards my car – the inevitable speed breaker! I barely see it and the car goes over it shaking everything in the car including me and making me wonder if it was a speed breaker or a back breaker!

A vegetable shopkeeper throws the day’s junk from his shop out onto the street. Some of it splashes on my windshield and the rest go under the wheel. I set my wiper on to clean the window and spray the remnants off my window with moderate success. A lady at the balcony of the 2nd floor apartment right above the car on the road chooses this opportune moment to empty her bucket of washed clothes waste water onto the road and on to the top of my car. The water washes over my car leaving soapy suds all over the car and some grime and color. My car looks like it is emerging out of Eastman colour bollywood movie.

I recover and try to keep the car on course. A yellow tin box of a school bus comes dangerously rattling and passes my car, almost kissing the rearview mirrors. Four squealing school kids in their pretty school uniforms dart from the sidewalk across the front of my car to the school bus that had screeched to a halt. They boarded with great merry .I could hear them singing. I slammed the brakes to avoid the children and the car squealed to a stop, tyres burning and spitting smoke. I had just managed to stop short of murder!I could see the yellow bus on the rearview mirror, rattling away from me further and further .

I was still in the lane, I notice another another speed breaker and slow down. This one is a mountain. It certainly broke my speed and my back. I wondered what else it breaks! My car climbs the mountain and rolls of its side to be encountered with a big fat brown cow glaring at me straight on with every intention or ramming into the windscreen. I punch on the horn and the car lets out a loud honk. The cow is unperturbed. It stands its ground. I halt. No amount of honking makes any difference. Then after a few dangerous lolls of its tusks near my windscreen, the bovine being moves away and turns around. I catch a glimpse of its grinning teeth and wait for it to turn away before I restart the car that had switched off after idling for a while , and move on. My day and the journey to work had just begun. I turn on the stereo and the familiar RJ starts chattering again like she was the most happiest person on earth. I hope it is a good day.


I enjoy driving. I enjoy the feel engine drumming out the power of a hundred horses from its belly pushing the metallic beast forward in a glorious war with the tarmac raising my adrenaline a few notches high on the rare occasion when I get to slam the pedals to the floor and let the beautiful metallic beast cut its way through wind, water and sun.

I enjoy this experience of being cocooned inside the little luxury of the air-conditioned, soundproofed, unpolluted environs of my car, listening to my favourite tunes or to the sexy voiced favourite RJ chattering away as if this was the most happiest moment of her life always. I enjoy the smooth way the car smoothes over the city’s numerous speed bumps, pot holes and eases through the maze of sulphur spewing , grunting and coughing diesel guzzlers whose respect for other vehicles stand next only to India’s respect for Pakistan.

I enjoy the various insights I gain in life by merely driving from home to work and back. The sheer experience it provides one with in life that reminds us of the animals we are at the basic level is such a humbling experience in itself.

I slide in behind the wheel of the car in the yellow boxed darker than hell parking lot at the basement. The security guard doubling as the car wash guy car had left the wipers up to make the car pretend that it has taken a wash. The guard must be poor, or must be lazy, I muse. I put the gears into reverse and almost hit a pillar. My car inches eases out of the little yellow boxed parking space allotted for my car and brushes at the mirror of my neighbours vehicles which is parked as if we were sharing parking lots. Is the builder’s greed bigger than my neighbor’s insensitivity, I muse. By the time the car’s rolling out of the main door of my apartment complex I have gained immense insights into human life that I wouldn’t have gained through penance at the Himalayas. More on my next post – the great pleasures of driving in Bangalore.