The Guardian (A Play)

By Pranav Garg

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Act I 

Scene I: A Classroom 

(It was afternoon. School had ended. A teacher and a student had stayed back in the class. The teacher was scolding the student. Shivam enters, slow and nervous, with his father.) 

Teacher (to student)– Ram, you were given a warning earlier and still you brought your phone to school. Are you some special child? Do you think the rules are different for you?   

Ram– No ma’am, I swear I brought it by mistake. 

Teacher– No Ram. You will get your phone back only when your parents come to meet me. Now go home. 

(Ram walks out of the class. Shivam and his father move to the front and sit before the teacher’s desk.) 

Shivam’s Father– Ma’am, my son told me you wished to speak to me about him?  

Teacher– Yes Mr. Sharma. Shivam’s performance is getting really very poor. I can’t believe what has happened to him. He used to be such a good child. But nowadays he does not pay attention in classes, does not study and remains absent most of the time. (To Shivam) What happened to you dear? Is everything alright?  

(Shivam looks down.) 

Shivam’s Father– Ma’am actually there is some problem going on in the family since the past few months. I believe that is what is affecting him this way. But I assure you I will be more careful about Shivam now. I will not let it trouble him any longer. 

Teacher–Please take care of Shivam sir. He used to be so brilliant. But now all teachers are concerned about him. Please make sure his studies are not affected because of the problem.  

Shivam’s Father– Yes ma’am. I will certainly take care of that. Thank you so much for your concern.  

(Shivam and his father begin to leave, but his father trips and stumbles towards the desk. The teacher’s water bottle falls down and spills water on the floor.) 

Shivam’s Father– Oh I am so sorry! 

Teacher– It’s okay! It’s okay! I got it! (Picks up the bottle) 

Shivam’s Father– Alright then Ma’am, good day!  

Teacher– Good day to you too sir!  

(Shivam and his father walk out of the class as the teacher starts checking a pile of notebooks.) 


Scene II: A secluded alley outside the school 

(Shivam and his father enter.) 

Shivam– Man! That was lucky! I had been so worried. Thank God she didn’t scold me. 

Shivam’s Father– Yeah bro! But you owe me a treat. 

(Shivam’s father removes the fake beard and moustache. It was Shivam’s friend Sahil, posing as his father.) 

Shivam– Sure thing bro! By the way, look what I have got here.  

(Shivam takes a phone out of his pocket.) 

Sahil– What! Bro it’s that guy Ram’s phone! How did you get it?  

Shivam (grinning)– When you stumbled and dropped the bottle, I quickly slipped it into my pocket. Poor Ram is gonna be looking for his phone all over the school now.  

Sahil– What are you going to do with it though? 

Shivam– Get some stuff in exchange for it. Not really your concern. Let’s get going now.  (They both leave.) 


(Four days later) 

Scene III: Shivam’s Room 

(Shivam is speaking on the phone, walking back and forth. He looks tensed and fidgety.)  

Shivam– Come on Rahul, please! Just do this one favour for me. You are my best friend, right?  

Rahul– Yes Shivam but– 

Shivam– Please man, just this one time. Please lend me some money. I swear I will return it in a few days. 

Rahul– I already gave you what little I had saved bro. I don’t have anything left even for myself!  

(Shivam cuts the phone and throws it on his bed in frustration. He sits down in a corner. He puts his face in his hands and brings his knees to his chest. Minutes pass. Suddenly, his phone starts ringing. He walks to it and picks it up.) 

Rahul– Hey Shivam, it’s me, Rahul. (Sighs) Look, I don’t have any money, but there is this watch I had bought which I planned to give you on your birthday. You can give it back to the shop and have the money. That’s all I can do for you.  

Shivam (relieved)– Okay, I will come and take it from you.  (Shivam hangs up the call and exits the room.) 


Act II 

Scene I: An old warehouse 

(It is late after sunset. Most warehouse employees have left. Only a few are still here, standing in a corner. Shivam enters and walks to them.) 

Shivam (desperately)—Sir! Please help me out sir. I need cocaine. Urgently. Please sir help me out! 

Employee 1—Hey! Don’t you know that you are not supposed to come here directly? Deal with your agent only. 

Shivam—No sir please help me out! I need the thing urgently. I want it! The agent is near my school, which is very far from here. I can’t wait until tomorrow to meet him. Please sir, I want cocaine fast! 

Employee 1—Fine. Come downstairs. And remember! Never come here directly before 9pm. You were lucky that most of the employees are on holiday today. Otherwise you would be having the beating of your life from us right now. 

Employee 2—Yeah kid. We work in secret here. You gotta have some sense! 

Employee 1—Now come with us. The cocaine stock is downstairs. 

(Shivam and the employees exit.) 


Scene II: The warehouse, downstairs 

(An empty room. Shivam and the employees enter.) Shivam—Here sir, this is the money. 

Employee 1 (taking the money)—This is not enough. 

Shivam—What! Earlier I used to get 3 doses in this much. How can you say it’s less? 

Employee 1—Rules of the game man. Higher the demand, higher the price. Give us more money. 

(Another employee enters, out of breath and aghast.) Employee 3—RUN! RUN! It’s the police. They are coming in! 

Employee 2—The kid sold us out! 

Shivam (thunderstruck)—What! NO! I didn’t do anything! 

Employee 2—LIAR! 

Employee 1—Whatever! We can’t leave him behind. You two, grab him! 

(They advance towards Shivam and grab his arms. The employee takes something out of his pocket just as everything goes dark.) 


Scene III: A Dark Corridor 

(A police constable is walking with a flashlight. His walkie-talkie buzzes.) 

Inspector (from walkie-talkie)—Raamsharan! What’s your status? 

Constable—Sir, I am currently in a dark corridor. It seems like the drug dealers took the lights out and escaped. I am just checking around the rooms to see if anybody is hiding here.  

(He walks into a room and stumbles upon something, the flashlight slips out of his hand. He steadies himself and recovers the flashlight.) 

Oh my god…! Sir! There is a boy here. He is lying on the floor. (He bends down to check his breathing. Then touches his wrist to check his pulse.) He is alive sir! 

Inspector—Wait with him there. The medics are on the way. 


Act III 

Scene I—A hospital room, the next morning 

(Shivam is lying on a bed. He slowly gains consciousness and looks around. A nurse sees him and walks out of the room. She comes back with a doctor.) 

Doctor—Hello Shivam. How are you feeling? 

Shivam– Where am I? What’s going on? 

Doctor– Shivam you were found at the old warehouse near the port last night. You had been injected with a heavy overdose of drugs. But thankfully, the police found you and brought you here on time. We got most of the drugs out of your system. You can relax now, the worse is over. And also, some people outside are here to see you. Would you like to meet them? (Shivam nods) Great! Sister, please ask them to come in. 

(The nurse goes out and comes back with Shivam’s parents, the Police Inspector and an old man.  

Shivam’s parents come to him first. After meeting with them, Shivam looks at the Inspector.) Shivam– Thank you for saving my life sir. 

Inspector– No son, you should be thanking this gentleman here (he motions towards the old man). 

Old Man– No my dear, no. The only person who deserves your thanks is your friend. When you came to my shop to return that watch yesterday, I found a note inside its box. Your friend had suspected that you were addicted to drugs and that you were going to get drugs with the money I gave you. He requested me to follow you secretly. My own son had once fallen into the trap of drug addiction, so I decided to try and save your life. I saw you get into the old warehouse. It was a rumor among the business circles that drugs were smuggled from there. So I immediately called the police and then they found you. You are here thanks to your friend. 

Shivam– Rahul… (starts crying). 


(Nine months later) 

Scene II– School cafeteria  

(Shivam is sitting with Kusum on a table. They are leaning over a math notebook.) Shivam– Substituting cos 2x to 1-sin²x in the denominator, you’ll get the answer as 1. 

Kusum– Oh yeah… Thank you Shivam. You do it so easily! 

Shivam (blushing)– Oh come on! Its no big deal.  

Kusum– From now, after every class, I’ll bring my doubts to you. I really like the way you explain things. (Gets up and starts to leave) Thanks once again! 

Shivam– Welcome! 

(Kusum exits. Rahul comes and sits in the vacant chair.) 

Rahul– Oho topper boy! You come first in class and all girls start coming with their doubts to you! Looks like somebody is getting famous… 

Shivam– Thanks to you man! It’s all thanks to you… 

By Pranav Garg

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