Anirudh Vyas, Age 12, loves writing, especially plays and participating in drama at school. His best subjects are Maths, History, and Science. He is very talkative and curious about life and things. At present he is taking part in 'Space programme' from his school with the National Space Centre in Leicester. His hobbies are writing of course, swimming, music, astronomy and likes to help with cooking. Hates bugs, especially spiders and wants to keep his room and house sparkling clean so no bugs are allowed to breed. His favourite food is pizzas and Spinach paneer curry. His favourite fruit is mangos. His favourite pudding is Cheesecake and Shrikand [Indian sweet made with Yoghurt). He is vegetarian and a Hindu. Favourite colour is blue and supports Arsenal Football Club. One elder brother and lots of cousins whom he is very fond of. His motto is 'Don't be an obstacle to others, help as much as you can but don't get taken for a foolish ride.
The Sweet Seller
A Diwali Tale
Written by Anirudh Vyas with Meena Vyas
[The Copywright remains with the Authors as named above. Any reproduction for commercial gain is strictly forbidden)
ROLES: Narrators 1–4, Mohanbhai, Old man, (Customers), (Children), (Goddess Laxmi)
NOTES: Place the NARRATORS 1 and 2 , on the left - 3 and 4 on the right for the audience to see clearly.
NARRATOR 1: Many centuries ago, in a small town called Gondal there lived an Indian sweet maker and seller called Mohanbhai, who was as honest as he could be.
NARRATOR 4: Each morning, he checked, measured and balanced his scales before opening his shop. He gave his customers just what they paid for—not more, and not less.
NARRATOR 2: Mohanbhai’s shop was always busy, because people trusted him. He made delicious Indian sweets and was a popular sweet maker. Around Diwali time the shop always got busier than on normal days. Diwali is celebrated by all Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.
NARRATOR 3: At Diwali time every year, people flocked to the sweet maker’s shop to buy his finest sweets such as Barfi, Penda, Gulab Jamuns and many others.
NARRATOR 1: Made of different flavours and colours, iced in red, pink, green or white, they looked delicious.
NARRATOR 4: He was tall and thin, with a big tilak on his forehead, a choti at the back and always in a dhoti.
NARRATOR 2: One Diwali morning, when Mohanbhai was getting ready for business, the door of his shop suddenly flew open.
NARRATOR 3: An old man walked in, wrapped in a long shawl.
OLD MAN: I have come for a dozen of your delicious and colourful sweets.
NARRATOR 1: Taking a box, Mohanbhai counted out twelve different sweets – Barfi, Penda, Jalebi, Gulab Jambu, Phul Khaja, Kaju Katri, Halva, Mohanthal, Ghari, Mitha Sata, Ghughagra, Bondi ladoo. He started to wrap them, but the Old man reached out and stopped him.
OLD MAN: I asked for a dozen. You have given me only twelve.
MOHANBHAI: Aare Bhai, everyone knows that a dozen means twelve.
OLD MAN: But I say a dozen means thirteen. So give me one extra.
NARRATOR 4: Mohanbhai was not a stupid man to bear madness from an old man.
MOHANBHAI: Aare Bhai, my customers get just what they pay for—not more, and not less.
OLD MAN: Then you can keep your sweets you stingy person.
NARRATOR 2: The old man turned to go, but stopped at the door.
OLD MAN: Mohanbhai! You may be honest but you have a small heart and a small tight fist. Your penny-pinching will not get you far. If you give one extra God will give 10 times more. You will fall and learn a hard lesson, so learn to count again.
MOHANBHAI: Oh phoo! As if you can teach me how to count!
NARRATOR 3: The old man left the shop.
NARRATOR 1: Everything started going wrong in Mohanbhai’s sweet shop, from that day onwards.
NARRATOR 4: His sweets became too sweet or he forgot to add sugar to make his sweets.
NARRATOR 2: Some of his sweets rotted away.
NARRATOR 3: Some of his sweets became smelly.
NARRATOR 1: Some of his sweets looked horrible and revolting.
NARRATOR 4: His customers soon noticed the difference. Before long, most of them stopped coming. They went to other sweet maker’s shops.
MOHANBHAI: (to himself) That Old man has cursed and bewitched me and my sweets. Being honest is no good as people forget you too soon.
NARRATOR 2: A year passed.
NARRATOR 3: Mohanbhai grew poorer and poorer.
NARRATOR 1: Since he sold little, he cooked little, and his shelves were nearly empty. His last few customers slipped away.
NARRATOR 4: Finally, on the day before the next Diwali Day, not one customer came to Mohanbhai’s shop.
NARRATOR 2: At the end of the day, Mohanbhai sat alone, sad and poor, staring at his unsold sweets.
MOHANBHAI: I wish the goddess Laxmi could do a miracle and help me now.
NARRATOR 3: Then he closed his shop and went sadly to his home and bed. He and his family did not celebrate Diwali as they had become poor.
NARRATOR 1: That night, Mohanbhai had a dream. He was a boy again. He was in a crowd of happy children. And there in the middle of them was the goddess Laxmi herself.
NARRATOR 4: The Goddess Laxmi was standing in the centre of a lotus with money pouring out of her hands in blessing. She was filling baskets with money and gifts. Goddess Laxmi poured out money and gifts, one after another, and handed them to all the children.
NARRATOR 2: Mohanbhai noticed something weird and wonderful. No matter how many presents Goddess Laxmi gave out, there was always more to offer
NARRATOR 3: The more people took from the baskets, the more the baskets seem to hold.
NARRATOR 1: Then Goddess Laxmi turne to Mohanbhai and handed him a gift. When Mohanbhai looked at the gift it was one of his own sweets!
NARRATOR 4: Mohanbhai looked up to thank her, but he saw that it was not the Goddess Laxmi standing there anymore.
NARRATOR 2: Smiling down at him was the Old man with the long shawl.
NARRATOR 3: Mohanbhai awoke with a start. The stars were shinning and twinkling brightly through his half closed curtains. Mohanbhai lay on his bed thinking hard.
MOHANBHAI: I always give my customers just what they pay for—not more, and not less. Maybe I should start to give more, like the old man asked?
NARRATOR 1: The next morning, on Diwali Day, Mohanbhai rose early.
NARRATOR 4: He made his sweets with prayers, care and in all colours as before.
NARRATOR 2: He flavoured them with essences such as mango, vanilla, and rose. Cut the shapes of all the sweets he made.
NARRATOR 3: He iced them in red and white to make them look nice and tasty.
NARRATOR 1: And the sweets were better then any he had made before.
NARRATOR 4: Mohanbhai had just finished, when the door flew open and in the Old man with the long shawl.
OLD MAN: I have come for a dozen of your Sweets.
NARRATOR 2: In great excitement, Mohanbhai counted out twelve sweets—
NARRATOR 3: And one extra.
MOHANBHAI: In my shop, from now on, a dozen means thirteen.
OLD MAN: (smiling) You have learned your lesson well and learned to count again, and you will be rewarded.
NARRATOR 1: The old man paid for the sweets and went out. But as the door swung shut, Mohanbhai’s eyes seemed to play a trick on him.
NARRATOR 4: He thought he glimpsed a beautiful woman in a red saree, with long hair and many hands, walking out with the sound of sweet bells, just like the Goddess Laxmi in his dreams.
NARRATOR 2: As the Old man had predicted, Mohanbhai was rewarded. When people heard he gave thirteen when asked for a dozen, he had more customers than ever.
NARRATOR 3: Mohanbhai grew very rich again. Then the other sweet makers in town began doing the same.
NARRATOR 1: From there, the practice spread to other towns, and at all the other Indian shops.
NARRATOR 2: A custom common over many centuries.
NARRATOR 3: And alive in some places to this day.
NARRATOR 1: Some shop people also give free sweets to eat and welcome you as you enter their shop. By doing this they hope to get your best wishes for, health, wealth, good luck, prosperity and peace.
ALL THE NARRATORS AND DRAMA PLAYERS
We wish you all a happy Diwali and New Year with lots of health, wealth, good luck, prosperity and peace.