Scene 1

NARRATOR: There was once a great king whose name was Uttanpada. He had two sons, Dhruva and Uttama. Uttama’s mother was Suruchi, and Dhruva’s mother was Suniti. Suruchi happened to be the favourite wife of Uttanpada. Naturally, her son Uttama became Uttanpada’s favourite son.

(King Uttanpada’s palace. The King is seated on his golden throne. Around him is a vast audience. Suruchi’s son, Uttama, comes and sits on his father’s lap. Uttanpada begins to caress him. Seeing this from a distance, Dhruva comes running to sit on his father’s lap, too. But he is caught and held back by his stepmother, Suruchi.)

SURUCHI: Dhruva, stop! You are such a fool! Don’t you know that you are Suniti’s son and not mine? How dare you approach your father? It is only my son who is permitted to sit on his lap. You must never dare to approach your father for kindness, affection or love. Only my son, Uttama, will have everything that your father has and is. You stay away from the King, Dhruva. I give you a last warning.

(King Uttanpada is totally indifferent to the situation. The audience is terribly shocked. Dhruva begins shedding bitter tears.)

SURUCHI: Dhruva, now get away from here. I don’t want to see you any more. You must know that it is my Uttama who is going to inherit his father’s regal throne and not you! Never! Go and stay with your mother and don’t come here. Don’t bother us!