Journey to Mount Kailash
This play was staged in Pune shortly after the millennium and then again, a few years later, at Osho Risk in Denmark. It is not a musical – no songs and dances in this one! Just a straightforward theatrical drama. Inspiration for the theme came from a real life situation in Kathmandu, years earlier, in which an English-born sannyasin, an experienced traveller and restaurant owner, was raided and busted by the Nepalese police, while in possession of a statue concealing a large amount of heroin. The man was innocent. He had agreed to look after the statue for a woman with whom he was enjoying a casual affair, but when she and her accomplices left for a trip to India, the police raided his restaurant, seized the statue and its contents, and arrested him. He was then in the desperate position of having to prove his innocence from within the jail, which he did by luring the woman back to Nepal and arranging a rendezvous where the police were waiting to arrest her. Adapting the story for a play, I created the restaurant owner as a woman, called Terrie, and the drug dealer as a man, called Sean. The statue now contained a valuable jewel from the King of Nepal’s collection, not drugs. I invented another female character, a world-weary hippie called Gopi, who is also present in the restaurant during the police raid, and is also taken to jail as a suspect. So, the drama is set: the two women, both innocent, must somehow persuade the police chief, Inspector Sharma, to allow them to set a trap for Sean, so they can expose him and get him arrested in their place. I really like this play and I think it would make an excellent movie. The drama pivots around the intense and deepening developing relationship between the two women, as they struggle to free themselves, and the challenges they face inside the jail. By the way, you may be wondering: where does Mount Kailash come in? At the outset of the play, Terrie agrees to accompany her friend Jeff on a trek to Kailash, even though she is aware of a Hindu saying: “to decide to go is to decide to change your life”. Sure enough, as soon as Terrie agrees to go, her life changes dramatically and she finds herself in jail. The action takes place in the late Nineties, during the reign of King Birendra, prior to his assassination in 2001. This gives the philosophically-minded Inspector Sharma the opportunity to make sarcastic comments about calls for more democracy in Nepal, and paves the way for his totally unexpected way of resolving the case.