Theatre In Motion  

Chariganga

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Chariganga

Review

The story is set by the Ganges tributary, Chariganga, in the dilapidated ancestral home of Gyanendra. Though once a reputed, globally well-known figure, Gyanendra now is a man of limited material resources. He lives in a house which is falling apart and his meager income comes from the family estate.

This internationally renowned scientist once engaged himself in working around the complex tapestry of the medieval science ‘alchemy’ in the pursuit of unveiling universal mysteries. In order to understand the mind of the Creator, reveal the essence behind creation, he carried out strange experiments, some even involving mind-altering drugs. Hence, he moved away from the mainstream of scientific research and eventually was compelled to stop his work and give up his position in an English University.

Gyanendra’s forefathers were aristocratic zamindars. After he was forced to leave his University in the west, Gyanendra returned to his dilapidated ancestral home in Chariganga where the determined scientist resumed his life as an alchemist. However, unlike in England, where he had supportive similar-minded scholars, experimenting in Chariganga was difficult as he had no subjects on whom he could administer the ‘mind-altering’ drugs to monitor their effects. Who would agree to willfully take the drugs (knowing they might inflict disastrous effects) which could potentially give him/her a taste of the divine intellect?

There was only one who could become a consort of Gyanendra in this quest for truth – Manimala, his wife. For fear of having to stop his work, he coaxed his wife Manimala, his companion for years, to be the subject and take the drug for the sake of continuing the experiment. This resulted in disaster.

At this time in the story, this broken man walks alone at night amidst the ruins of his laboratory. Fire, the central element to the practice of Alchemy, to the process of transformation; ironically is now the most fearful element in the Alchemist’s life. Meghamala, his only child, appears in darkness only to make her father responsible for her mother’s death. Is she really his daughter, or the visions of a guilt-ridden mind? The only other being who visits him is Gopeshwar, the aged caretaker of this wreck of a man and his home. He lights his evening lamp, and makes provisions of his two basic meals of the day. But why is Gopeshwar here? Is he in hiding too…is he on the run like his master?

Like the Ganges tributary Chariganga, have these two men left Life’s current and digressed against the flow in search of Truth?


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