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The Bringer of Rain

Translated by Krishna Manavalli, Two Plays brings together two of the most celebrated stories from award-winning playwright Chandrasekhar Kambar.

The first play, The Bringer of Rain: Rishyashringya, tells the story of a village afflicted with a deadly famine eagerly awaits the arrival of the chieftain’s son, whose homecoming promises the return of rain.

The second play, Mahmoud Gawan, is set in the fifteenth-century Bahamani Sultanate, it follows Gawan’s rise to fame during a time of intense civil strife when empires routinely rose and fell.

Find a glimpse of the story in Kambar’s first play in the excerpt below!


From the play, ‘The Bringer of Rain: Rishyashringa’
Act I

SUTRADHARA: Brothers seated and brothers standing there!

We’re just raw youth, who came here

And right away got on to the stage.

The one who wrote our play is no seasoned



The ones who act are ignorant lads

If they slip up or go wrong,

Please don’t clap and laugh

And don’t try that gleeful double-whistle!

No, don’t even ask what kind of play this is!

If you don’t get it, don’t drag your chairs and


We make no claims to poetic finesse,

But with love, we give you our little message.

Just think that this play was born here

amidst us.

Bear with us for a bit, forgive the flaws.

And you, our elders here, we salute you again!


(He breaks a coconut in a ritual manner and throws the bits on both sides of the stage. By now, it is getting dark. Village entrance. On the right of the stage, you see a raised platform. Backstage, you see a crowd. The people in the crowd are not interested in the Prelude taking place on the fore-stage. With a vacant look in their eyes, they move slowly and gather around the platform once the Prelude is over. In the Prelude, the acting, dialogue and the manner should all follow the style of the traditional folk play


SUTRADHARA: How can I tell you of this? And how can I not?

Whatever I say, our words will sound

Like the clatter of broken pots and pans,

You miss the inner voice here, I know.

We say something, it means another thing—

True, there’s no rhyme or reason! But we can’t

walk away from this

We try to grasp ‘it’ in our words, grasp it and


We struggle hard, yet when we open our lips

We are saying something, and you are hearing

another thing.

Of course, you make sense of nothing!

Where did we start, and where did we end?

All right, enough of this rant, let’s get to


We’ll go on the stage to act, but the play isn’t


If you ask me, so what? Life’s a play too, right?

Our faces are the theatres where this drama


God, what a lot of the daily drama!

Starts in the morning and goes on till you go

to bed

What pretensions, what masks!

Oh, True God, I pray to you,

Make the inside and outside seamless and


But who knows, where, how, and in which

cave He is hiding!

Meanwhile, we talk, drink, eat and walk—

We don’t know who we are, do we?

Sometimes, when we bathe in the well—

We seem to recognize ourselves in the water.

And stretch our hands to touch it,

When we try to touch, it slips from our grasp,

When we try to grasp, it slithers from our


In the end, you just want to pinch your nose

and weep.

But weeping when you see a corpse is such an

old custom!

Anyway, what do we do now?

In the big mortar house, a huge tiger has

got in

There isn’t a drop of rain, there’s no crop in

the field.

The seeds we planted are burnt, the parched

earth is cracked,
With cracks like so many gaping mouths!
People’s faces look burnt, the green fields
have all gone dry.

Two Plays is a must-read for anyone wishing to dip a toe into the rich water of Kannada storytelling and folklore!

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