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Meet me in Maroon

“You’ve got to have a bad guy!” This practical advice was passed to me by one of my favourite sannyasin actors of those days, Veeten, and then, a few days later, someone else suggested that I should make this bad guy a vampire. The year was 1997 and I had a vague idea about writing a musical that focused on the first few weeks of the “sannyasin season” in Pune. Perhaps I should explain that the Osho Meditation Resort is open all year round, but, back then, in the late Nineties, there was a noticeable surge in numbers around November, when many sannyasins chose to escape from the cold European winter. They came to enjoy the meditative energy field in Pune, staying for anything between a few weeks to six months. So, following the two suggestions, noted above, I hit on the outlandish idea of introducing a bad guy who was space vampire, by the name of Van Goren the Vulcan. This, of course, added an element of pure fantasy to the play, so I was juggling with two dimensions at once: the ordinary, down-to-earth life of sannyasins gathering in Pune, and a threat to the planet from a space alien. The musical opens in Pune, with old friends greeting each other and looking forward to the winter season. But then the scene switches to Washington DC, where President Adam Kozinsky is campaigning for re-election. To his astonishment, a spaceship arrives on the White House lawn, with Van Goren’s assistant announcing that the vampire has come to occupy the planet and all human beings must either leave or die. It turns out that Planet Earth is being operated as a commercial tourist planet, rented out by the Galactic Ownership Department (G.O.D.). Previously, it had been rented to the biblical characters of Adam and Eve for one year, but they got stuck in a time warp and were forced to stay, multiplying and populating the earth. Now Van Goren, the new tenant, is demanding his rights. Since the US President happens to be called Adam, and his wife is called Eve, he conveniently blames them for the mess. At first, the politically minded president suspects this might be a hoax by the Republicans to sabotage his election chances, but gradually he realizes it is real. Meanwhile, Jessica, one of Van Goren’s agents, is posing as a sannyasin in Pune and trying to discover the whereabouts of the “key of life” which is crucial to the new rental agreement. Without this precious key, this tourist planet is designed to automatically self-destruct at the end of the old lease. To complicate matters further, Billy, the US President’s son, has also arrived in Pune and is meditating at the resort, while a love triangle involving Jessica is creating romantic problems for everyone concerned. In a nutshell, it all comes to a climax in Pune, with the arrival of the space vampire and the presidential couple, who, along with the sannyasins, are all trying to save Planet Earth from imminent destruction. At the very last moment, the key of life is found and the planet is saved. Van Goren agrees to extend the lease for the humans for another galactic year (one thousand earth years) and everyone…as they say… lives happily ever after.
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