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The Monsoon Dialogues

19 October 2008

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SCENE 1

(A small office in Chennai, India, in mid-October 2008. Four desks in one half of a room, two each facing the opposite walls. Clutter of books and papers piled on each desk threaten to topple to the floor. Two ex-patriot staff members named EX-PAT B. and CHRISTINE face the left wall. Two Indian staff members named H. and THE BULLY face the right wall. There is a faint sound of rain and thunder in the background. CHRISTINE, hunched over her computer keyboard, suddenly stretches, listens for a second, and turns to THE BULLY.)

CHRISTINE
Wow, so this is what the monsoon is like? All this rain, eh?

THE BULLY
(Still facing computer)
Uh-huh.

CHRISTINE
(Rolling her chair across the aisle between H. and THE BULLY)
Man, I didn’t realize until this moment how much I would have missed the experience of monsoon if it hadn’t happened while I was here.
(Pauses to listen to rain)
But does it ever rain more than this? I mean, the streets aren’t even flooded. I was told there would be flooding.

THE BULLY
(Turns head toward CHRISTINE with quizzical look)
What? Why would you ask that?

CHRISTINE
Well, I heard that in Kolkata it rains so much the streets flood to your thighs. That’s serious rain. This is just rainy rain. So when’s that gonna happen here?

THE BULLY
(Silently glares at CHRISTINE)

CHRISTINE
(Rolls back to desk and wiggles computer mouse to wake up monitor)
So if it happens here, you know, the streets flooding and I hope it does, and I’m already gone, you’ll take a picture for me, right?

THE BULLY
(Stands up to leave office)
Let me go somewhere else and come when you aren’t being crazy anymore.

END SCENE

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SCENE 2

(On the traffic-clogged streets of Chennai, mid-morning on a weekday. CHRISTINE sits in the back seat of a small white Indica, driven by HIRED DRIVER. Loud, pouring rain hammers against the roof and windows of the car. CHRISTINE scans the street outside the passenger-side window. Suddenly, she gives a small shout and frantically waves as HIRED DRIVER honks the horn even more than usual. The back passenger-side door opens and an Indian lawyer, ADVOCATE A., jumps into the back seat, drops a sopping wet, broken umbrella and ruined paper bag barely covering sopping wet black court robe on the seat between her and CHRISTINE, and slams the car door.)

ADVOCATE A.
(Turning toward CHRISTINE)
What took you so long? I’ve been waiting at this bus stand for an hour!

CHRISTINE
Um, it’s raining… a lot. Traffic was so bad, we were passed by three small donkeys on the way here.

(ADVOCATE A. turns to HIRED DRIVER and shouts instructions in Tamil. The car pulls away from the bus stand and back into the inching traffic.)

CHRISTINE
(Stares out the window beside her and sighs)
I just love sitting in a car when it’s pouring outside. It’s so peaceful to me – raging weather outside, warm and cozy inside.

(ADVOCATE A. turns to CHRISTINE, looking askance, and whops CHRISTINE with her soaking wet dupatta.)

END SCENE

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SCENE 3

(Back in the small Indian office, weekday afternoon. EX-PAT B. and CHRISTINE are the only ones in the scene with H.’s and THE BULLY’s desks empty. Thundering rain continues in the background.)

EX-PAT B.
(Looking up from her desk and toward a window out of sight)
Oh my, look at the rain out there. It is seriously raining. It is that serious.

CHRISTINE
(Visibly excited to be distracted from her work by another conversation about the rain)
Oh yeah, tell me about. Very serious.

EX-PAT B.
(A little concerned)
I hope it stops soon. I forgot my rain suit today. Every day this week, I brought my rain suit and haven’t needed it. And today, of course, I left it at home.

CHRISTINE
Why’d you go and do something like that?

EX-PAT B.
It was so sunny outside this morning.

CHRISTINE
(shaking her head in a pitying way)
Rookie mistake, B., rookie mistake. Honestly, I expected more from you, being an India veteran and all.

EX-PAT B.
(Distraught)
But I just wanted to believe the lies! They were so beautiful, the lies!

(CHRISTINE reluctantly turns back to her computer, still shaking her head and smirking about her colleague’s misfortune until she remembers her bright yellow rain jacket is also sitting on her bed at home.)

CHRISTINE
Oh crap!

EX-PAT B.
HA HA!

END SCENE

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SCENE 4

(A large kitchen with bounteous counter space and cabinets in Chennai, India, on a Sunday morning, 11 a.m., in October 2008. CHRISTINE stands in the middle of the kitchen, staring absent-mindedly out the window over the sink at the pouring rain. She is wearing a long skirt and nice top, and her hair is freshly washed. Espresso is brewing on the stove-top on her left. FLATMATE S. enters kitchen and comes over to stand next to CHRISTINE.)

FLATMATE S.
(Staring also at the pouring rain)
Man, it is pouring outside.

CHRISTINE
(Still staring)
Yeah, and I was so planning to go to church today. Look at me, I put on a skirt and even washed my hair.

FLATMATE S.
Bummer.
(Walks to stove to turn off burner brewing coffee)
But you wouldn’t get an auto for less than 100 rupees in rain like this.

CHRISTINE
Ain’t that the truth.

(FLATMATE S. pours some espresso into a mug with some milk and returns to stare out the window with CHRISTINE, who has not moved at all and seems transfixed by the rain in front of her.)

FLATMATE S.
So we still on for brunch at The Park at noon?

CHRISTINE
Oh yeah, totally. Would not miss it.

END SCENE

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dana permalink
    19 October 2008 7:10 pm

    will the monsoon dialogues be showing in chicago anytime? (i never get to be the first one to post!)

  2. Mom permalink
    24 October 2008 4:21 pm

    We’re having a monsoon in Atlanta today too. Okay, it’s only a light rain, but relatively speaking it’s a monsoon because rain has been a rare event around here the last few years. I’ve been staring out the window at it now for hours.

  3. D.A.D. permalink
    24 October 2008 7:55 pm

    That’s become a big problem, Mom’s staring out the window for hours. I’m not sure what dialogue she’s having…

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