Blood on the Boulder!


I wrote this playscript for my students. It has a bit of suspense as we all know children love to be thrilled. But, while writing for children, we must keep in mind that we should avoid too much negativity.

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Four friends, Som, Sakshi, Meena and Abhi are spending their summer vacation in a small hilly town of Uttarakhand with their parents. The children are of age 12-14 and are close friends. They love wandering around the hillslopes in the morning and afternoon.

Place: A hilly area
Time: 8.40 am

Sakshi: It’s quite cold today morning. Isn’t it?
Som: Yes, Mom told me not to go too far as there is a prediction of rain in the afternoon.
Sakhshi: Oh, come on. It’s only about 8.30. Let’s go to the small wooden bridge. I love watching the thin stream of water flowing below.
Meena: I’ve heard that small streams become devastating during the monsoon here.
Abhi: Yeah, it’s common in these areas.
Sakshi: (impatiently) Okay let’s start.

The four kids start walking on the hilly road.

Abhi: Guys, I heard the other day driver Ramadheen saying that there’s a shortcut to the stream through the woods. It takes only half an hour to reach there. We can try that…
Meena: But do you actually know the route?
Abhi: No…but…
Sakshi: Come on, we will find it out. If the locals use it, it surely has prominent trails. It’ll save our time.
Som: (cheerfully) It’ll be a sort of adventure. Let’s turn right and enter the wood.

The children, on entering the wood, could detect a thin trail through the tall coniferous trees. The shortcut seems to be a steep one and, they were breathing heavily after climbing uphill for about 10 minutes.

Sakshi: (panting) I think I should sit on that large boulder for a minute.
Som: Me too. I’m sweating even in this weather.
Meena: (exasperated) I tried to caution you but… don’t know how long we have to walk…

(Meena attempts to sit on the boulder first but instantly gives out a muffled cry. Her friends become surprised)

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Sakshi: What’s that, Meena? Now you are acting dramatically!
Meena: (points out to the corner of the boulder) Look there, isn’t it blood?
Meena: Oh my God! It seems so! Quite an amount! The grass has become red there….
Som: (in a serious tone) Do you think some unwanted incident has happened here?
Abhi: Someone, or maybe, more than one person was here just before we arrived. The wood at this time of the day looks like a God-forsaken place with nobody around. Maybe…maybe…someone tried to hurt his opponent?
Som: You mean, tried to kill?
Sakshi: I think we must inform our parents.
Som: Wait, what’s that lying over there?

(The four kids find a torn slipper lying a few metres away. The other pair, as they search for a minute, is under a tree a little far away. Among the stand of trees, they could detect a man walking quickly with a big rucksack)Β 

Som: He is the man. Let’s follow!

(They start following the man surreptitiously. The man, after a few minutes, keeps the rucksack under a tree and goes further down)

Abhi: He is not here. Let’s find out what’s there inside the bag. We might get some evidence of his crime.

(As they are busy unzipping the bag, a loud voice from the back makes them freeze in fear)

Man: (angrily) Hey little brats, what are you doing here? Why have you opened my bag?

(They are at loss of words. Finally, Som speaks up.)

Som: (Stammers) We..we…thought…it..it’s just lying here.
Man: Really? Then why you were following me? Did you think I’m carrying something valuable and wanted to rob me? Spill the beans, NOW!

Abhi: (sharply) Where are your slippers, Sir?
Man: My slippers!
Abhi: Yes! You left them up there. Probably, you were in too much hurry to stop and pick up the torn pair. Afterall, you were running away!
Man: (very surprisingly) Me? Running away? From whom or what?
Sakshi: After you’ve wounded someone on a boulder. The blood is still there.

(The man now starts laughing hysterically. The kids, flummoxed, watch his actions)

Man: Oh! You children, it’s not your fault at all. Actually, I’m a painter and I came here early in the morning to have a good view of the trees around. I started working on my canvas but somehow the red colour spoiled everything. It spread all over. I got very disappointed and was returning while one of my slippers gave away adding insult to my injury. I left the other pair up there angrily. This is not my day anyway… everything went wrong. Even you thought that I’m a killer or something like that!!

He opens his rucksack and brings out his brushes, canvas and other colours with a huge smile on his face.

Meena: We are so sorry. We just spoiled your day even more.

Man: Well, not at all. On the other hand, you have made my day bright again. You can call me Asish Uncle. Let’s go down and enjoy some tea. I know a small shop near the wooden bridge.

The five of them start moving downward chatting and laughing.Β 

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34 responses to “Blood on the Boulder!

  1. Mani, as always fascinating to read your stories and anecdotes you keep bringing out in between your series of poems and those intriguing few liners on beautiful pictures that you capture. This story of yours is strikingly simple and profoundly gripping, and the choice of words and the way you have crafted the scenes are perfectly apt. I was also visualizing the worst and was fathoming out the contours of reactions and how you will handle the end with such deadly scene in front of children. With your master stroke you played your beautiful cards and the red color did the trick and the basket of painter’s kit made the canvas literally full…

    I agree Mani, never easy to craft story for children, and it is not just handling the complexity of any plot but also the choice of words and the way the paragraph and sentences needs to be subtly framed and systematically phased so as not to break the flow and at the same time give the compact form that such short story need.

    Thanks for such a delightful story.
    And it is monsoon time and I am sure your hand must be itching to write and eyes must be twitching to capture the natures’ drama and we are all waiting for your rendezvous with rainy season.
    πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Nihar. Yes, truly I find writing for children most challenging. I’ve written a few in Bengali but it’s not an easy job.

      Haha…yes, you are right. Monsoon is in full swing and I’m enjoying it. Will surely write something… πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Mani writing for children is not a child’s play and it needs the hard nut to crack to get the soft side of the writing for the tender mind. Writing in mother tongue is where the thoughts get the most natural flow and there is a subtle feeling that comes when we read a story in our mother tongue…unfortunately our primary language have got rattled with the onslaught of the foreign invader, and the English is in the commanding position.
        Looking forward to your oodles of wisdom dropping from the cloudy sky…
        πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course ,my macabre mind was envisioning some unfathomable horror! Lol. Artists can seem like a guilty bunch with their crimson paint. Enchanting, Mani! How sweet to know you’re a teacher. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those kids sound very adventurous and good thing it was just a painter in the end. When we are younger, our imagination runs wild so easily. What will be bad will be bad and what us good will be very good πŸ˜‚ Lovely short story. Very engaging ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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