The Fruitcake Special

After a long spell of drought, I thought of reviving my dying blog with some content, even though it was written like three years ago! This is the first ever script that I wrote (The second ever can be found here). Though it is adapted from one of my favourite short stories, The Fruitcake Special by Frank Brennan (You can read it here), it is very special to me because a winning short film was shot based on it! (Watch it here).

Scene 1

(Ananya is a geeky scientist who works in Awasthi Cosmetics in New Delhi, India. She is trying to concort a new perfume.)

Ananya (staring at a dark solution in a test tube): Damn, it is so difficult to prepare a good perfume.

(She looks at the female chemist working beside her who has a flower stuck to her hair.)

Ananya: Flowers and fruits are passé. Hundreds of floral perfumes are launched every year. Mr Awasthi at least expects something new and different, if not revolutionary. What more can I put in this solution?

(She picks up the test tube and sees her reflection onto it. A delivery man comes and delivers a parcel.)

Ananya: Parcel from Aunt Mahi. How nice of her!

(She opens it. It is a fruit cake. She takes a bite and likes it. While eating, she suddenly throws a tiny bit into the perfume out of curiosity. At the same time, another chemist comes to her for some work. She becomes busy with him and hence, she does not notice that the solution is frothing. The frothing stops as soon as she turns back. She checks the smell of the perfume and finds it to be okay but nothing great.)

Ananya (staring dejectedly at the test tube again): How can I give something like this to Mr Awasthi? After all, I am chemist and my job is to make perfumes in a proper way. If I told him how I made this one, he would tell me not to be a silly girl. Later, he would probably make a joke about it to his friends at the golf club.

(She takes the mixture into a small bottle and keeps it in her hand bag.)

Scene 2

(Ananya bumps into Mr. Awasthi who is seen entering the lab.)

Mr. Awasthi: Ananya!

Ananya (confused and nervous): Yes, Mr Awasthi…

Mr. Awasthi: You are looking terrific today! Mmm…what’s that lovely smell? It’s like fresh bread and flowers and sunshine all mixed together with…. I don’t know – is it you, Ananya?

(Ananya stares blankly at Mr. Awasthi.)

Mr. Awasthi (loudly): Yes, it is you!

(Other chemists turn towards them.)

Ananya (embarrassingly muttering to herself): Damn, what has happened to Mr. Awasthi? Why suddenly he is talking to me like that?

(Suddenly Mr. Awasthi comes closer to Ananya.)

Mr. Awasthi: You know Ananya I‘ve never really noticed it before…I can’t think why…but you are really a beautiful woman.

Ananya (dazed): Mr. Awasthi. I….

Mr. Awasthi: No, it’s true. I must see you outside this dull factory. Will you have dinner with me tonight?

Ananya: Well, I…

Mr. Awasthi: That’s great! La Meridian at eight. See you then.

Scene 3

(Ananya is getting ready for her date. She is wearing her best black dress.)

Ananya (speaking to herself): I still have no clue as to why Mr. Awasthi behaved towards me in that way today. I doubt whether he even knew that I worked in his company. Maybe he noticed the perfume I was wearing. He has a very good nose for perfume!

(Ananya takes the perfume bottle and puts lots and lots of it.)

Ananya (fantasying): Oh, I just wish the perfume does its trick just like the way it did in the morning!

Scene 4

(Ananya goes to an expensive French restaurant where Mr. Awasthi is waiting for her.)

Mr. Awasthi (hesitatingly): Hello Ananya! look nice. Umm..yeah nice dress.

(Mr. Awasthi tries to hard not to look directly at Ananya and keeps on fidgeting in his seat.)

Ananya (sensing something wrong): Thank you Mr Awasthi.

(She stares disbelievingly at him and wonders why he is so polite and quiet. She even tries to smell her to check on her perfume.)

Mr. Awasthi (with a serious face): Look Ananya…about today, at the factory. I don’t know why I behaved like that.

Ananya: I thought it was because you found me attractive. And because you liked my perfume!

Mr. Awasthi (not listening to Ananya): “You see, if we can see this as a reward for all your hard work at the factory. After all, you are one of our best chemists. It’s the least I can do to show how much I value your efforts. Have this meal on me. I’ll pay for it!

Ananya (getting up from her seat with a frustrated look): Excuse me for a moment, Mr. Awasthi.

Scene 5

(Ananya goes to the ladies’ washroom. She is extremely annoyed and feels like breaking the washroom mirror.)

Ananya (speaking aloud to herself): Why, why, why my didn’t perfume work! In the morning, it had affected him so much. Perhaps I put less quantity, even for his expert nose! Let me drown myself in that perfume!

(She decides to put lot more. But she realizes that she already finished it. She finds the tiny bottle of her own perfume and puts that on without much thought.)

Scene 6

(As she walks back to the table, Ananya bumps into a waiter. The waiter stops and looks at Ananya stupidly. He suddenly remembers he has a job to do and walks on but knocks down a table. Ananya gets irritated. She reaches the table and as soon as Mr. Awasthi turns to look at her, he gapes.)

Mr. Awasthi: At last you are back – I missed you! I have been in a terrible dream and I just woke up.

Ananya (confused): A dream, Mr Awasthi?

Mr. Awasthi: Call me Dhruv, darling… Yes, I dreamt I was being awful to you, treating you as if you were just someone who worked for me. The truth is that you mean so much more than that to me. I am crazy about you, darling.

(Sabina, Mr. Awasthi’s latest girlfriend, enters and finds her boyfriend with Ananya.)

Sabina: Dhruv! Is that you? What you doing here? And who is this girl?

Mr. Awasthi: She is Ananya, my true love.

(Ananya is horrified and Sabina is shocked. Suddenly the waiter joins.)

Waiter (sings): O Sole Mia, O Sole Mia Dil Tujko Diya Pyaar Tujhse Kiya!

(Dhruv hits the waiter and Sabina hits Dhruv in the face. A fight develops. Ananya runs away.)

Scene 7

(Ananya goes to meet Aunt Mahi.)

Ananya: How did you bake the fruitcake? I want to know.

Aunt Mahi: I have known you since you were born and you have never baked a cake in your life. Now you want to know how to bake a fruit cake. What’s going on?

Ananya: Nothing, Aunt Mahi. I just thought the cake was delicious and wondered if I could bake one too. There’s no harm in it, is there?

(Aunt Mahi smiles at Ananya and Ananya realises that Aunt Mahi knows she is lying.)

Ananya: “Oh, please Aunt Mahi, I really need to know. I promise as soon as you tell me I will tell you the reason behind me asking for it.”

Aunt Mahi: “Well, my dear, hate to tell you this but I didn’t make the cake. I bought it.”

Ananya: You bought it? Where did you buy it?

Aunt Mahi: From a little place in the market, the open air that takes place twice a week in the park. There was an old lady who said she used to bake them for her husbands. She had seven of them, would you believe?

Ananya (to herself): No doubt in that!

Aunt Mahi: Did you say anything?

Ananya: Nothing! Did she say what she put in them?

Aunt Mahi: Only that she put in a “special something” that she grew herself. She wouldn’t say what. You know that I am thinking about finding a husband for you. In fact, the old lady knew it too. I don’t know how but she knew it. Anyways, she told me to give her fruitcake to you and your problems would be over. I didn’t believe what she said; nevertheless I used to buy the fruitcakes because they were delicious.

Ananya: Can we see this old lady to ask her about it?

Aunt Mahi: She died last week – I went to her funeral. She was supposedly hundred years old. There were lot of strangers there, not from around here, all speaking in some kind of strange way. They seemed to think she was important, though nobody ever took much notice of her around here.

Ananya: Except you, Aunt Mahi.

Aunt Mahi: Well, you know how I can’t mind my own business!

Scene 8

(Ananya goes to office to meet Mr Awasthi. Mr. Awasthi is sitting behind the desk with a large black eye. Standing next to him, smiling and wearing dark shades and a hat, is Sabina. She has her arm around his shoulder.)

Mr. Awasthi: I hope you are well now, Ananya.

Ananya: Yes, thank you, Mr. Awasthi. I hope you are well yourself.

Mr. Awasthi (with a little smile): My eye hurts a bit…your waiter could hit hard! Anyways for the matter of my strange behaviour towards you…I can’t explain what affected me. I mean a man like myself and a woman like…I mean…

(He looks towards Sabina.)

Sabina: He means that a rich and a handsome guy like him could not possibly fall in love with anybody like you when he has a beautiful girl like me. Isn’t that right, Dhruv?

Mr. Awasthi: You express it so well, darling!

Sabina: So Dhruv wants you to accept a bit of money to make up for any disappointments you have had, then you can go back to making perfumes at the factory again. Right, Dhruv?

Mr. Awasthi (to Sabina): Absolutely, darling! (turning to Ananya) Well, Ananya, I hope that has helped to…er…clear things up a little. I am sorry there had to be this, er, confusion. I hope this has sorted things out between us.

(Sabina starts laughing. Ananya gets incensed.)

Ananya: Well, Mr Dhruv Awasthi, perhaps you can use your famous expert nose to sort this out, too!

(She takes the fruitcake perfume bottle and throws it onto Sabina.)

Ananya: Take that and him too, horrible woman!

(Ananya leaves the office.)

Scene 9

(A baking shop named the Fruit Cake Special which is run by Ananya and her waiter husband.)

The End

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