Meera Devidayal

A Fisherwoman wears a sari in-between her legs and carries a blue plastic bucket on her head; the painter has a blue square on hers. They enter the stage through the wings framed with pink fluorescent tape.

The curtain rises to the sound of a storm and heavy rainfall. A strong wind blows over the stage. The cyclorama can show a river in spate—beyond the dully lit stage. The roaring river will provide the background effect throughout this scene. The roar will reduce for people to be heard, but will rise again to thunderous violence. Maghai stands on stage , toka (a headgear woven out of bamboo splits) on head, watching the Charsa in flood.
MAGHAI. What a beautiful wench, and you call her a whore!
PHULMANI. And why not? All the water, all the load of water that she puts on show now, why does the whore keep it hidden throughout April and May, the summer months? Your Charsa is mighty jealous of women. I dig and dig with my bare hands, and for me she has only a trickle. And the way you yearn for her, does she care for you? If she did,, she would have held a little store of water in her breast. And then I would have had to toil less.
MAGHAI. OK, OK, I’ll tell her.
PHULMANI. Are you drunk or what?
MAGHAI. I’m drunk, not with booze, but with water. At the sight of water I get flushed, with my blood beating the madal.
PHULMANI. (with a sigh). We went hungry in our youth too. But then when it went dark with the monsoon we’d sit at home and talk and talk…
From: Mahasweta Devi, “Water,” trans. by Samik Bandyopadhyay, in Five Plays (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1999), pp. 123-4.