Creative Comedy Project

Learning To Swim By Radha Menon

SCENE

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RANI, 17 enters wearing a colourfully patched denim jacket.



[A tent with a placard up against it. A DOG growls then barks.]



RANI: Been on a leash most of my life. But not anymore.

Weird place this. All these signs and people protesting-

I’d like to tell Dad where to stick it.

I’d park my bum on that plastic covered sofa in our front room with a sign- Girls have rights too. He’d go mental.

I don’t get why it’s out of bounds wrapped in stupid plastic like its an operating room, we could use that space- it’s empty most of the

time and we live like pigeons in a coop. I could use my own room instead of sharing with my stupid cousin-sisters Rina and Bina- they’re

obsessed with being white. You know what Bina told me yesterday?

“Unlike you, if Rina and me were given up as babies- just dropped off at London Bridge Hospital? We would of been adopted by proper

white parents and worn short skirts and have matching twin white boyfriends.”

Yeah? I said. You’d have a lot of explaining to do when you give birth to brown babies- your mother’s darker than night I said and Rina

started crying, she’s a wimp. Grow some scales will you? Stop blubbering your snot’s dripping on my bed. Bina calls Mum and then I’m

in shit. Yeah and now everything’s ten times worse that Daadaji’s visiting from India.

I’m not marrying that stick insect no matter what they say.

[LOOKS AT HER WATCH]

Dad hates tardiness, says it means you’ve got no respect for others’ time but Mum’s always late, hooked on Hindi soaps- never seen so

much rubbish but Mum loves them. Can’t get enough she’s addicted to those soapy bubbles, really tickle her- only time she ever laughs.

[IMITATES MUM’S SHRILL LAUGHTER.]

Bhagvan. Hai hai. Oh toba toba.

Then she sees me and her face clamps shut like a mousetrap. Besharam kuti put on more clothes.

Why can’t you be more like your cousin-sisters?

Wants me to wear my coat in summer like those two freaks scared of the sun. ‘Fair & Lovely’- losers.

I always wanted to swim. Standing at the edge of the sea with Mum.

Scared silly, watching Dad and my little brother play in the waves. Looked like a lot of fun… turning blue.

[LOOKS AT THE DOG]

Do you know where my boyfriend is?



[CHERRY enters with a mug of coffee.]



CHERRY: I see you’ve met Rigatoni.



RANI: You named your dog Rigatoni?



CHERRY: Sure did. She’s Italian.



RANI: Really?



CHERRY: No. You swallow everything you’re fed?



RANI: What?



CHERRY: Best dog in the world. I’m Cherry. Juiciest berry of the bunch.



RANI: Yeah fruity.



CHERRY: What’s your name kid?



RANI: Rani.



CHERRY: Meaning?



RANI: Queen.



CHERRY: Your majesty.



RANI: Yeah it’s a stupid name, don’t know why they called me queen only queen in this family’s my uncle and he’s locked in the closet

deadbolt and everything.


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