It Never Used to be Like This


Act I, Scene I
Teenage Boy
Setting: A boy about the age of 16 or 17, is sitting on a barrel outside of the fields of his hut in his village, contemplating work, while other people work behind him. The sounds of laughter fill the air along with grunts of hard work. The people in the background are having fun while doing the chores that need to be done.

I don’t know
     [looks back to the fields]
... I mean, it’s awesome!
     [huge grin on his face.]
There’s these new movies, I can totally relate to them. Like there’s action, and suspense and there’s shooting... everything that a teenage boy would want I think.
     [face goes from excited and he’s moving his hand to gesture shooting, then as soon as he says “i think” his face forms an enigma... trying to think what other boys would want to be doing.]
I mean I do scrounge up as much money as I could to go see them.
     [it would seem that his facial expressions would match this sentence by saying hes compensating for his words, since hes said that he doesn’t know what other “normal” teenage boys think of, hes compensating by saying that he can get the money if he needed it.]
I wouldn’t really know what another boy my age would think of those movies... this is the first time I’m really out on my own.
     [looks to the sky, then back down again]
I get to escape Ladakh,
     [grins to himself and shakes his head in astonishment.]
and experience the world on my own.
     [Holds hands out palms facing up.]
     [points to the ground]
is something that a lot of kids my age would want to do back on the farms and village, but its like a dream
     [puts his hands on his head and grabs his hair in a swift, but excitedly shaky motion]
that I
     [points to himself]
get to go out and live it!
     [Expression goes from excited to uneasy, but tries to hold a smile, and twitches a smile instead.] My family isn’t the richest family in the village.
     [slowly shakes his head.]
All I used to do was help my family in the fields,
     [voice gets a little higher.]
but now, I’m allowed to go out more and see the world. Even though my clothes
     [nods his head in acknowledgement of the fact that his clothes are beat up.]
are a little tattered, its not like they won’t let me into the theater
     [thinks about if they didnt allow him in, but then shakes off the thought, and smiles],
but hey, every one's clothes are worn... we ALL used to do hard work. Thank
     [emphasizes god]
GOD for these movies and all these other activities to do in town now, that way I don’t have to do all this work with my family anymore, and then maybe I won’t be judged when I go into town...
     [thinks about the popular life for a few seconds.]
     [stutters on I’ll]
I- I’l- I’ll -I’LL have the good clothes, and I’LL be popular, then, I’LL have a phone...
     [points to himself when he says I’LL]
I think that I’ll be on my way to get that phone now... MOM?!
     [gets ready to go...]
Yeah, I’ll be back later! Yeah, yeah, 10:00, I know. Bye. Uh-huh yeah, sure, I will. Love you too...
     [says whatever under his breath]
Whatever. I- I gotta go.

Act I, Scene 2
Husband in Marketplace
Setting: A man is walking up to a kiosk-like stand made of wood in the middle of a crowded city village that is on a slanted hill in a particularly muddy area, where the owner is yelling out about his new merchandise. There are villagers milling around. The man looks uneasy and his looking around frantically and paranoid like. He reaches the man, sticks his hands in his pockets and starts to rock back and forth on both his feet. He takes his right hand and scratches his hair. He begins to speak as he holds out his hand towards the man palm up. The owner stops yelling as the man neared and puts on his “business face” to sell his merchandise. He puts his elbow to the table and puts his fist to his chin. The owner plasters a sly smile on his face and raises his eyebrows welcoming the new customer, which makes the man rattled.

Hi err, do... do you have any, uh... cellphones in stock..? Oh? Oh, you don’t?
     [puzzled look on his face]
Any, uh... any at all?
Hmm. Well,
     [speaks slowly but loudly, likes he’s talking to a slower person]
DO you
     [points to his head and continues to do that for a few seconds]
know of any other place that would carry them?
     [pauses to hear the man’s response]
     [his smile reaches across his face]
So, do you know where its at? Well, can you tell me?...
     [his expression goes blank]
What? Really? That far?
     [starts to mutter to himself...]
Okay, well I have my family, and I need to give them water. But, I really want this phone... errr. They need my support. I need to be there. Is having a phone really this important? My brain says yes, but my heart says no. I’m torn between my wants and my needs. I want a phone, but I need to be with my family. This is so frustrating ! I see all these people with phones... It’s not fair. I want one too. What do you mean by that? What do you mean ‘by what’, you just said to me that life wasn’t fair... what did you mean by that? Nothing? I beg to differ! All I wanted to do was to get a phone. Oh, I need to calm down? Really, hmm, whatever happened to the customer is always right?... You don’t know!? Even this TEENAGER has one! Ugh, I’m sorry, things haven’t been good on the farm... Can you...? Just let me know when the next shipment comes in... You will? Thanks... What else do you have? Really? Well for what movies? Okay, I’ll take one... 2,000 rupees? That’s steep! How about 1,500, thats about as much as I can afford. Okay, 1,750. Thats good. Thanks, have a nice day.

Act I, Scene 3
Older Wise Woman
Setting: Stirring a pot in her hut with her left hand on her hip... She’s looking out of her window at the boy sitting on a barrel.

It never used to be like this.
     [shakes her head at the boy]
In my day, this
     [points to the boy who is getting up and shouts to his mother]
would have never happened...
     [the mother in the next room responds]
I have never seen today’s children acting like such... such... ANIMALS in my life!

They’re shunning their responsibilities, disrespecting parents!!! ...They’re becoming... Westerners.
     [says westerners with a hiss.]
I was brought up in a time where children respected their parents, and listened to them, they never didn’t listen.
     [counts these on her fingers]
They did their chores, tended to the animals, and never went out to town. But now,
     [points to the ground]
that’s all out the window
     [moves her arm around her ].
All they want to do these days is they all want to go to town, and gallivant around
     [does a silly dance],
doing stupid and dangerous things that can. Get. Them. HURT.

It never used to be like this

I tell them. I do. I always do. But do they listen? No, they don’t. Now, I have no idea what my kids kids are doing. My poor babies, all alone. Granted, they are in their teens, but they have no idea. NO idea... They have absolutely no ideas of the dangers out there in the real world. They might think its all fun and games at first, but wait until they’re hungry, or tired, and want a place to sleep, or need money. Where are they going to go? Home. Here. Back with their family.

Home is safe... It’s safe here. Nothing happens. We keep to ourselves, and we’re quiet. We don’t bother anyone... its a safe place to be. But... it’s their choice. And we’ll take them back.

It never used to be like this.

All they do now is talk on their phones. They snub their responsibilities to talk to their “friends”.
Do you want to know who their friends are? Me, us, the people here...
I’m telling you, its different now.
It never used to be like this.