The Following is a street play written to be performed for the illiterate poor people of Vaitarna where I was posted for my rural posting…..it turned out to be the first Marathi play I participated in and was quite significant because “Mala Marathi yet nahi” – I don’t know Marathi.
A day in Vaitarna Government School
Teacher – Mohit – Present Mam
Salman – Present Mam
Katrina – “Mam she is absent”,says someone.
Deepika – Present Mam
Kareena – Present Mam
Ranbeer – “Mam he is absent”,says someone.
John – “Mam he is absent”,says someone.
After all attendance is taken….
Teacher – Does anyone of you know why Katrina, John and Ranbir are absent since last 2-3 days ?
Mohit – Mam, John has gone to his masi Bipasha’s house…..Ranbir and Katrina are down with high fever.
Teacher – What ? Did they go to some doctor ?
Mohit – No Mam, their mummy says ‘sardi hai’ (its cold), they will be fine in sometime.
Teacher – Cold for 3 days…. Children,today we will study not from the books but I will teach you all something for your good….You can tell it to your parents, neighbors…but I want full participation from you all….Ok ?
All students together – Yes mam.
Teacher – Good….Mohit, now you tell me, why do we get fever ?
Mohit – Teacher, if we take bath in cold water, if it is cold weather outside and we are not wearing full clothes, or we don’t dry our head after taking bath…..we get fever.
Teacher – Yes, you are partly right…..anybody else ?
Salman – (Raising hands and jumping to show off ) Mam, I had heard that most mosquitoes cause fever.
Teacher – Yes, very good Salman, this is what I wanted to hear.Children, since we stay in a village with lots of greenery around, there are many mosquitoes that live close to our household…..Today we are going to discuss about them and how we fall ill because of them..Are you all interested to know ?
All students together showing interest – Yes Mam.
Teacher – Deepika, Do you know how do we get malaria ?
Deepika – Mam, through mosquitoes.
Teacher – Very good…..now you tell me what other illnesses can mosquitoes cause ?
Students don’t know..
Teacher – No one ? Alright….listen carefully.At night, when you don’t put mosquito repellents and you go to sleep, mosquitoes will slowly come through your window…It knows where it can find sweet sweet blood…..so it will come, bite you and suck your blood to have a stomach full grand meal.
All Students – Ohhhhhh….
Teacher – Now if Mohit’s blood is sweeter than Deepika’s, what will the mosquito do ?….It will inject Deepika’s blood in Mohit and drink Mohit’s blood…..Now if Deepika is suffering from malaria or any other disease, wont Mohit also get it ??
All students – hmmmmm and laughing on Mohit and Deepika.
Kareena – Mam, which all diseases can be transferred through a mosquito bite ?
Teacher – not 1 but many…..malaria, filaria, dengue, chikankunya…….many more.
Mohit – Mam, how will be know if we have the fever caused by cold or fever from mosquito ?
Teacher – Very good question…..In fever caused due to cold, actually the symptoms are mild grade fever, headache, weakness…..but in fever caused by mosquitoes, we have major symptoms like very high fever, chills, severe body ache, vomiting, extreme weakness, joint pain, rashes, don’t feel like eating anything….Is it all not a reason to worry ?
All students – hmmmmmmm…
Teacher – So children, tell me what should you do when you have such symptoms ? Do you wait or……
All students together – We should go to a doctor……
Teacher – Very good everyone.
Salman – Teacher, where do mosquitoes hide ? I don’t see them in day time….Also where they lay eggs, on flowers like butterflies ?
Teacher – No child….Mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water….any water collection….in your plant pot, useless tyre, box, ponds….Now do you all understand why we get most fevers during monsoon ?
All students – Yes Mam…
Deepika – Teacher, where do they go during day time ?
Teacher – They usually hide in store rooms, behind hung clothes, in bushes…anywhere they can hide and play Hide n’ seek.
All students laughing.
Deepika – Mam, water is very important in day to day life..how can we prevent breeding ?
Teacher – Very simple….you should not allow stagnant water to accumulate near your homes….Make sure you have neat environment and cleanliness at your home and outside…In big ponds, people put some kerosene oil which forms a layer on the surface of water and eggs don’t get proper air for their growth…..and you all know ? there is a fish called Gambusia which eats mosquitoes children….
All students – Oh….
Teacher – So children, what did you all learn today ?
Mohit – About how we should not take fever lightly….do to a doctor immediately and take proper medicines….
Teacher – So will you all go home and tell your parents and neighbors about what you all learnt today ?
All students – Yes Mam…
The bell rings, all students get up to show respect to their teacher……
Teacher – Next time, we will again talk on something educational like today…..and all of you will also tell me what you told at home….Thank you class.