Shweta, an eighth-class student, is chit-chatting with her friend in the school bus; they choose to stand by an empty seat.
The bus’s engine crackles and starts running as the driver takes his seat. The boys standing near the back door are talking loudly. With more and more students boarding the bus, it becomes a happy noisy site.
Shweta is searchingly looking at the back door while pretending to be fully engrossed in the conversation.
INT. SCHOOL BUS – DAY
A boy enters the school bus from the back door; his friends address him as ‘Raghu’; they immediately start discussing something.
Shweta’s eyes are now fixed at Raghu; she even stops pretending to listen to what her friend is saying. Funnily, her friend doesn’t notice.
Raghu, while listening to his chirpy friends, turns to look at Shweta just for a second and then turns back again.
Shweta, with a tinge of anger in her eyes, glares at Raghu. This time her friend also notices it. The bus grunts and sluggishly starts moving.
Raghu turns to see her again and when he does, right at that moment, Shweta quickly switches her place with her confused friend.
Taking Shweta’s side, the bus swayed to take a turn on the road, giving this switch a rhythmic touch.
Shweta, with her back towards Raghu, now can’t see him but is smiling as if she has somehow defeated Raghu in a game.
Raghu, somewhat baffled, stares at Shweta in the background and we hear a voice –
INTERIOR – MAIDS ROOM, CHAPMAN HOUSE – MORNING Lyn (thin,30+) and Sally (chubby,30+) are drying wet hair of a golden terrier with a hairdryer. The terrier does not like it.
LYN (ANXIOUSLY) Looks like Bowie or not? SALLY Looks golden, Bowie was golden. I am telling you Mrs. Chapman won’t even notice…. LYN (INTERRUPTS) Shut up Sally! We have lost her dog, her Baby Bowie and that too on his birthday. SALLY (AMUSINGLY) Hah! Old Mrs. Chapman will go nuts again if she…. LYN Shut up will you! Thanks to Carlos, he brought this dog. SALLY (IRRITATINGLY) Yeah, yeah! All we had to do was colour his hair with my hair colour.
Carlos (Fat,40+), Mrs Chapman’s Chauffeur, comes in their room at this point.
CARLOS (GRINNING) (LOOKS AT THE DOG) Bloody hell! She looks like Bowie now. LYN AND SALLY She? CARLOS Yeah! She’s my neighbour’s… they call her Emily or Mily, something like that.
LYN Listen Carlos, try to find Bowie, he couldn’t have gone far… we can’t hide this from Mrs. Chapman for too long.
INTERIOR – THE LOBBY, CHAPMAN HOUSE – MORNING Mrs. Chapman (70+, white hair, elegantly dressed) is holding and caressing the dog.
MRS. CHAPMAN Why is his hair still wet? And he smells awful. What soap did you use? LYN AND SALLY Mrs. Chapman…. MRS. CHAPMAN (HANDING THE DOG BACK TO LYN) Give him a bath again, and hurry up, the party will start soon. (TO THE DOG) Baby Bowie would not like to smell bad on his birthday, right? Right Bowie? (TO LYN AND SALLY) Don’t forget the white bow!
EXTERIOR – LAWN, CHAPMAN HOUSE – DAY The lawn is beautifully decorated, the theme is golden and white, tables are set and the giant white cake looks too good to eat. Other servants are seen running here and there.
After half an hour, the guests start arriving and Mrs. Chapman, holding the duplicate Bowie in her arms like a baby, greet them one by one. Her high-class friends have brought bouquets and gifts for Baby Bowie. The golden-haired dog with a white bow complements the party’s theme.
Everyone is standing around the table, singing; it is time for the birthday dog to cut the cake. Mrs. Chapman is holding the dog who is irritated and is trying to free itself.
MRS. CHAPMAN Aw! Baby Bowie is too excited for the birthday song to end.
People in the party laugh in chorus. Mrs. Chapman tries her best to hold the dog in her arms.
MRS. CHAPMAN (MAINTAINING THE SMILE) (CONT’D) Baby Bowie, manners please! You are 3 years old now. Big boy!
Everyone laughs again. The dog whines.
MRS. CHAPMAN (CONT’D) I think Baby Bowie wants all of us to enjoy the cake as soon…. (THE DOG JUMPS) B-O-W-I-E! Ah!
The dog lands straight on the delicious white cake and then runs across the table, spoiling everything, jumps down and runs away. Mrs. Chapman is in a shock; almost all the guests first burst into laughter and then suddenly suppress it and copy Mrs. Chapman’s expressions.
EXTERIOR – LAWN, CHAPMAN HOUSE – DAY The party is over, most of the guests have left, two ladies have stayed back to console Mrs. Chapman who is drunk and looks extremely depressed.
MRS CHAPMAN (SITTING ON THE DESERTED GRAND TABLE) How could Bowie do this to me? Why?
Mrs. Chapman’s friends look at each other, they don’t know what to say.
MRS. CHAPMAN Why Bowie? How could you leave me too? (TALKING TO HERSELF IN WHISPERS) How…? Leave me… for a waitress?
At this point Lyn and Sally approaches Mrs. Chapman to tell her the truth, as Carlos has brought the real Bowie back.
LYN Mrs. Chapman, we found Baby Bowie… Carlos found him… we wanted to tell you… before the party… but…. MRS. CHAPMAN (DRUNK) Bowie!
Looks at the dog in Sally’s arms and then takes him. She makes him sit on the table and starts caressing him.
CUT TO CLOSE UP:
Standing to a side, Carlos whispers to Lyn and Sally –
CARLOS Did you tell her? LYN She is drunk…. SALLY (LAUGHINGLY) Good for us! LYN Shut up Sally! CARLOS Where is my neighbour’s dog? LYN She ran away… Oh! We completely forgot. CARLOS What?
While the three of them are talking to each other, Bowie starts barking. They then see that the other Bowie (Emily) has come back and both the dogs are barking at each other.
Coming out of depression, Mrs. Chapman now looks irritated.
MRS. CHAPMAN (SHOUTS) Shut up Bowie!
Bowie runs to and fro on the table and barks at Emily who keeps running around, barking back at Bowie. Mrs. Chapman again shouts at Bowie on top of her voice; Carlos runs after Emily.
CARLOS (NOT TOO LOUDLY) Emily! Mily! Emily!
Both the dogs are barking angrily at each other. Sally can’t control her laughter.
LYN (ANGRILY) What is wrong with you? SALLY (LAUGHINGLY) Don’t you get it? Mrs. Chapman’s first name is Emily. And old Mr. Chapman’s nick name was…. LYN Bowie!
Carlos repeatedly calls out the name ‘Emily’ and finally gets hold of her. Both the dogs are still barking at each other. Mrs. Chapman loses her senses and starts shouting loudly.
MRS. CHAPMAN Shut up! Stupid dog! Shut up! Damn with your birthday party and damn with you all. Bowie, are you happy now? Happy! You have spoiled everything once again.
LYN Oh! I think we should call Dr. Mathew.
As Lyn rushes inside to call the doctor.
SALLY (AMUSINGLY) Hey! I didn’t wish Bowie.
Mrs. Chapman’s two friends, totally confused, finally leave.
Carlos takes Emily away and Sally runs to protect Bowie from Mrs. Chapman who, in her rage, is now attacking him with the cutlery.
Keep walking! Walking? Together! Together?/
For a bright future – said the leader,/
Sitting comfortably on the throne.
A storyteller, following the ancient tradition of cave chroniclers, standing in vrikshasana (the tree pose) on a hill top (it is sunny, but windy), breathing in and out stories (relishing it all, but at times overwhelmed), declares animatedly that she will continue to – tell stories, share rare story gems, and connect with the pacy universe while also keeping the website ad-free.
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