TEA TELL TALE
TEA TELL TALE
Best Short Script
Tales of a distressed classical singer on the brink of suicide and that of his unknown savior unravel over a cup of tea. But who lives finally to tell the tea tell tale is a different tale altogether.
AJEYA SHANKAR, a world famous classical Indian singer in his late 60's relaxes listening to his own spiritual songs in his apartment by the sea. Early dawn when the sun hasn't risen yet, he walks with his 14-year-old grandson KARTIK towards the sea beach. Kartik desires that his grandad live with Kartik's parents, all together at Pune which Ajeya is not every inclined to. Meanwhile, Ajeya finds in his post box an airmail from an Irish lady expressing her gratitude for Ajeya since the intensity of his songs have helped overcome her lost suicidal son from depression. Kartik gets intrigued by the notion of suicide and starts enquiring about it from his grandfather, apparently moved by the letter.
Ajeya besides the seashore begins to narrate the story of one RUDRA who as a kid wanted to be a classical singer amidst his own poverty and though supported by his father has little support from his mother who wanted him to earn. When Rudra's father dies, he is now forced to look for odd jobs until his life crashes as a young toddler when his mother too dies. Taunted and criticized by all and sundry over the next few years for trying his luck at singing, a 30-year-old devastated Rudra now jumps from a cliff. An UNKNOWN MAN jumps after him and saves Rudra from the flowing river beneath.
Later at night, in the cottage of the Unknown Man, the man offers Rudra a cup of tea and provokes him to tell his tea tell tale ('chai pe charcha' in Hindi). Rudra is taken aback when the man calmly tells him that the tea is poisoned. Their conversation slowly revolve on the ideas of suicide bordering almost on the frontiers of mysticism when finally Rudra drinks the cup of tea. A giddy Rudra passes off.
While a curious Kartik is intrigued about various aspects of suicide, Ajeya continues the story of Rudra who gets up on a crowded bus the next morning only to find the Unknown Man behind him inside the bus. The Unknown Man suddenly throws a shocked Rudra forcefully out of the bus on the road. Meanwhile, an intelligent Kartik realizes that his granddad is none other than Rudra!
Ajeya reveals that the Unknown Man had purposefully bought a cottage opposite the cliff as it was a suicide point for many. He had saved 97 people at the cliff and was even awarded by the local government for that. Ajeya recalls with goosebumps how after he (Rudra) was thrown from the bus by the Unknown Man, the bus exploded killing all! The police handover a letter addressed to Rudra recovered from the cottage to Rudra. The Unknown Man in his letter states that he wanted to kill and die but his cottage taught him to live and listen to the tea tell tales of 97. His own parents were killed in the past by Kashmiri militants and his brothers by the army. Realizing that the hunter and the hunted are equally damaged from the 97 tea tell tales, he would now end his life not in a whimper but with a bang. It is eerily revealed by the police that unknowingly, he had also killed 97 people inside the bus!
A lighter Ajeya and his intrigued grandson are returning back when Kartik again pleads his granddad to stay with them at Pune. The grandad nods his head in denial. Instead, he offers Kartik a cup of tea which surprises Kartik as he isn't old enough to have tea. Ajeya smilingly says "The grandfather plants and raises the tea bushes, the father harvests the tea and his son drinks the tea...all have their own tea tell tales". He caresses Kartik's hairs smilingly and now says "Tell your dad, we are both coming to Pune". As an excited grandson jumps in joy embracing a tearful grandfather, the sun just rises above the horizon. A promising new dawn.