A Tale of two Friends

 

[ This is the English translation of one of the Bangla plays that I had scripted and directed for the local Bangla school kids. The original source is Panchatantra, read more about it here. My attempt has been to keep the essence of the play instead of a word-by-word translation of the same. ]

[ Once upon a time, there were two friends who lived in the same city – Dharmabuddhi  (literal meaning ‘righteous-mind’) and Paapbuddhi (literal meaning ‘evil-mind’). Now, Paapbuddhi was not satisfied with his state of affairs and decides to use Dharmabuddhi’s skills to earn some money for himself. He goes to Dharmabudhhi’s house to discuss his plans. ]

Paapbuddhi: Brother, why don’t we go visit other cities for trade?! Together, we’ll make a great team. We can earn some wealth for ourselves as well as see new places. It’ll be wonderful!

Dharmabuddhi: Right, right! What a great proposal you have brought! In the scriptures, they say that the person who has not travelled to distant lands, who has not experienced various cultures, who has not been introduced to different cuisines or languages – he has not lived at all! Let’s make arrangements for our trip.

——

[ Soon they set out on their journey. They earn a lot of wealth in the course of their travel and when pleased with their earnings, they return home. As they near their city, Paapbuddhi speaks thus – ]

Paapbuddhi: My dear friend! I don’t think it is prudent to carry so much of our riches all at once inside the city. What if all our relatives start pestering us to fulfill their material needs or what if we get waylaid?!  Instead, let’s bury our treasure beneath that tree. We can always return whenever we need more and dig it out.

Dharmabuddhi: Absolutely! Oh what would I have done without a clever friend like you!

[ So they bury most of their hard-earned money and return home with only a nominal sum. ]

——

[ In the mean time, Paapbuddhi comes up with a treacherous plan. Let’s hear what it is. ]

Paapbuddhi: In the dark of the night, let me dig out all the treasure for myself! Ha ha ha!

[ Then, he goes to Dharmabuddhi’s house … ]

Paapbuddhi: Brother, I have a large family and the money I took has been spent already. Shall we go and retrieve the rest of our treasure?

Dharmabuddhi: Is that so? I’m sorry to hear that. Okay, let’s go then.

[ But, when they dig near the tree, there’s just nothing! Zilch. Paapbuddhi puts up a show and starts lamenting about the lost sum and soon a heated quarrel ensues. ]

Paapbuddhi: What’s this! No one else knew about our hidden treasure except you and me. It is you and only you who must have stolen our hard-earned money. Give me my money back, you scoundrel!

Dharmabuddhi: What are you blabbering about! I myself am taken aback and don’t understand what happened to our money.

Paapbuddhi: I’ll go to the king and I want justice!

——

Dharmabuddhi, Paapbuddhi: Salutations to you, Oh king!

King: Tell me, what’s your problem?

Paapbuddhi: Maharaj! We had hidden our hard-earned money beneath a tree in the jungle; but when we went later to recover it, it had vanished!  (Pointing to Dharmabuddhi) – There…there’s the thief!

Dharmabuddhi: I swear in the name of Ma Kali, Maharaj, I am not the thief; but he may very well be!

King: Quiet, quiet please! So, when not a soul except you two knew about the hidden treasure, let’s make the tree a witness and see for ourselves what it has to say.

——

[ So they all go to the tree in the forest to seek evidence. ]

King: O wise tree! I order you to tell us the truth – who, amongst the two, is the thief?

Tree: All of you, listen carefully – Dharmabudhhi is the thief!

Dharmabuddhi: What rubbish! Can a tree ever talk and that too all lies!? Okay, let me teach you a lesson. I’ll finish you off today once and for all.

[ He goes near the tree and sets it afire. A man comes out from behind the tree coughing and yelling and crying. ]

Man: Oh god! Pardon me. I had agreed to give false evidence at the behest of my son, Paapbuddhi. I now know there’s no peace in falsehood. Please forgive me.

King: Soldiers, put Paapbuddhi and his father behind the bars. Dharmabuddhi, you will be the sole possessor  of all the money you both had earned.

——

What we learn from this tale:

There reside, Dharmabuddhi – the righteous mind, and Paapbuddhi – the evil mind, within each of us. As human beings, it is in our power to listen to their voices. In the course of life, there may arise many circumstances in which the path shown by Paapbuddhi appears more enticing or becomes more convenient. That does not mean that the easiest thing to do is the right thing as well. In such situations, we should listen to the Dharmabuddhi within us because that’s what benefits all of us in the long run.

 

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