Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The War of A Million Years

Originally Published Feb 9, 2013


We have just premiered YUDH at NCPA Mumbai, and are on the verge of taking it to the other cities programmed on the tour – Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Bangalore, New Delhi and Chennai. The responses in Mumbai have astounded us; while we were confident on our new production’s appeal, we had not realized the extent to which it would affect the audience till we met with them after the show.

However, one question that seemed to be simmering in the minds of the press and the audience has been, ‘Is this story written to address the horrific incident of the rape of the young medical student in New Delhi? Is this a voice of protest against the issues of gender that exist in the country?’

Allow us to clarify. This story was written in April 2012, eight months before the rape incident in New Delhi. In fact by December, the production, as the audience of NCPA saw it, was ready to hit the stage. However, what disturbed us the most was that this story could be found relevant to the rape incident. If we performed it two years later, it would probably be relevant to some other similar and horrendous incident. In fact, at any point in time that we can think of, there seems to be always some incident that shakes our worlds, and leaves us wondering, the victim did not deserve this…what kind of divinity rules us that allowed this to occur. Will there ever be an end to this?

But that view is one perspective…that of the humans who have been given the freedom of choice and its consequences, whether we wanted it or not. The story of YUDH looks at these incidents from three perspectives, all of which could be equally true or untrue depending on what the viewer takes away from it.

Our earlier production, ‘Soul Cages’ was a cry of angst, a rant against the concept of heaven, as we know it. YUDH, despite all its angst, however is not a rant. It is an attempt to understand and find some rationality in what we all go through. In that sense, it is more of a journey of discovery than a protest.

Many, many people go through tragedies that they do not deserve at all. Yes, the rape incident at New Delhi shook us up, jaded as we may have been with such nightmarish tales that populate our news channels and papers at only too regular intervals. However, these travesties occur across genders, and across the world. Justice in human courts, as we learn it, seems reactive. It (sometimes) punishes the perpetrators. But has it really stopped these incidents from happening?

We are discovering for ourselves that ‘justice’ is a word being substituted for ‘punishment’. The word justice would seem to suggest that good people should never have to go through such travesties inflicted by other humans. But whether God or Satan understand justice the same way that we do, is the question that we think answers the ‘why’, that we as humans ask.

As one of the principle characters in YUDH says at one point, “I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I have no answers. Sometimes, we just accept that not everything has to have an answer.”