Themis: Goddess of Justice. She is a middle aged woman, wearing a long skirt and top with a pussy bow. She is lanky. Both her hands are half bandaged or she can wear wrist guards. She has Greek goddess hair either in a twist or a braid. She is confident, cynical, prejudiced, slightly arrogant, maintains a straight posture and sits with her legs crossed.
PR: A woman who is older than Themis. She is dressed professionally according to her designation. She carries a folder with justice symbol on it. She is a bit fidgety and a bit cowering in posture next to the goddess. She maintains a lower tone of voice while addressing the goddess. It is apparent she is intimidated by Themis.
Shanta: A young woman. She is wearing a Bohemian top or long sleeved tunic with exotic patterns, jeans hand accessories and her hair can be short or layered. She is sloppy in her posture, scratches her bits and sucks on a toothpick. She also carries a smart phone, earphone and she keeps tinkering with them. She comes across as someone trying to mimic a lot of trends so the end result is not linear. She is also wearing a pink woolen hat with two kitten ears best known as pussy hat. The hat became a symbol of Women's March on Washington on January 21 this year as a reaction to Donald Trump’s presidency. She holds a second pussy hat, a gift for Themis.
[Themis sits on a bar stool in the center stage with the spotlight on her. PR stands right next to her. Shanta stands at a distance outside the arch of the spotlight]
Then I went stone silent. Oh how quaint! Me go stand in the middle of a courtyard. Especially in Bangladesh of all places! Have we not done enough of those - conservatives I mean? I am given a blind fold and the usual in both hands. Well well! Nothing more is needed then I guess. These people have a goddess who has ten hands! Pftt. Bless me Zeus you old fool. It is not easy being Themis in the 21st century let alone being one in a country where they hate you. However, I am not sure if my boobs are pointy enough. By the way, I don’t have a problem that I am wearing a sari in this gig. Only make sure the pedestal isn’t too high. These folks get embarrassed pretty easily and they get violent at whatever the hell embarrasses them. I mean if I am too high up there and nothing to look at when they peek from down there that would surely get some nerves rattled. Nothing to see underneath! Yet dare you exhibit woman! Such a funny lot. I swear the way they blame women for their hard-on is as pathetic as Prince Charles using a stool in his stamp pictures with Princess Diana. Let me tell you, in a month, there will be plenty of betel juice spit. I prefer pigeons' shit rather. When will I ever get a break from this business of upholding justice and what not. Such a nuisance. They got to decide what I am to wear, how tall I am to be, how plump the boobs, the hair style … not to mention all this heavy sword and scale carrying mess. I don’t mind all that being justice stuff and what not. But really! This is too much. If thousands of years have passed and I still got to stand here to remind you what justice stands for, seriously, I don’t think this lot will ever get it!
PR: Ah, well, dear venerated goddess, we are having you bare-footed in this one.
Themis: Why are the feet important?
PR: Artistic decision … presumably …
Themis: And one more item bared for these men to get their hackles raised over. Who thought of it? Artist fellows. Couldn’t they simply stick to their clouds and not rain in my parade!
PR: Well, truthfully that is culturally sensitive. People go bare-footed …
Themis: Oh … women too? Interesting.
PR: Mostly the poor.
Themis: And that doesn’t offend?
PR: What? Poverty? Surprisingly, no.
Themis: I meant the fleshy part. But they get quite angry at anything bared in public. So they got no homeless people on the street I am guessing?
PR: Plenty, my lady. Overcrowded sidewalks.
Themis: But that is public display! That doesn’t make people march and throw stones at the rich?
PR: So far … not in this century …nor in the past few I am guessing.
Themis: But that is absurd! You mean there are beggars and what not.
PR: Street children, migrants, homeless, jobless people … but the good thing is, development is highly praised!
Themis: And there is no riot? There is no uproar? There is no one pulling anyone down from anywhere … yet my feet might be a problem?
PR: Arms … too. They are kind of bared … and uplifted … you know how it goes with heavy breasts … my lady, with all due respect …
Themis: I am not going.
PR: Your Highness! That is impossible! The statue has already been erected!
Themis: No way! Tell them to tear it down! I am not setting foot in that place. These lunatics will start believing I am a real goddess or something and there might be birth of a cult or labour union.
PR: That … is not the scenario … pardon my confusion … is that why you are …
Themis: Saying NO! no! If these people are that irrational that a statue makes them boiling mad but hungry children don’t, then they have all the makings of those cults. Brrr… so cold-hearted!
PR: Um … thousands apologies Your Highness but we don’t think we can get out of this one. And besides here is someone who definitely can change your mind I am sure. Here is a millennial from that part of the world.
[Shanta steps in the spot]
Shanta: Dear Themis! I am Shanta from Dhaka. Hi!
Themis: Themis …
PR: She is so sweet!
Themis: Wait … did she just utter my name … no madam … no goddess … just Themis? Just like that? No fear … for a god? …
Shanta: Here is a hat for you! Nice to meet you woman! Do put it on!
PR: Hehe … she is … friendly
Shanta: Oh do put it on! I have made it myself! A pussy hat!
Themis: My what?
PR: This is that women’s march …
Shanta: Yes! Yes! The women’s march! And President of America wanted to grab a pussy! I think he is a cat lover.
Themis: And … a pink one
PR: Ehm, she is quite delightful.
Shanta: No seriously! Put it on! Put it on!
Themis: [at PR] And you still think I am going to stand in that courtyard?
Shanta: Oh you have to! We girls are looking forward to it! A woman standing in the centre of the Supreme Court! OMG! Selfie time!
PR: [at Shanta] May be we should not push the great goddess of justice about the hat for the time being …
Shanta: Wait! Hold on! Can I click click? My BF would be soooo jealous!
Themis: Get her out of here!
Shanta: Hold on! Am I missing something? You almost sounded like my teacher there …
Themis: Listen here little girl. Take your hat and take yourself and go back to that pathetic land of yours. Don’t come and bother me with your shallow, idiotic nonsense. I am not going.
PR: May be we should postpone …
Shanta: Hold your horses lady! What is going on here? Did you just say you are not going? Why is that?
PR: Let me explain …
Shanta: Yo! Let the old woman speak! Or do you do that for her too? I am not going to go into the part where she insulted my world! But hell I want to know why you won’t wear this hat?
Themis: The nerve! Why should I wear that hat? I won’t wear that hat! In that country of yours over seventy million women live in a space the size of Iowa! Do you know how many are educated? You don’t! Get away from me!
Shanta: Yeah, we don’t have full literacy in good old BD. But what has that got to do with it? 42% of women voted for the man who wanted to grab a pussy so hats could be made! How’s your education?
Themis: I am telling you I won’t wear it! They just cut off Michele Obama’s Let Girls Learn programme out of spite! Don't you dare come near me!
Shanta: You sure the ones who wear that hat wanted to cut off that programme? You sure you are on the right side?
Themis: You sure are proud of this this … hat of yours. I bet I can tell you exactly what went down at this party …
PR: March …
Themis: Hoopla … there were singing, there were dancing, there were placards Aha! Aha! And there were some celebrity women on stage whose shoes can feed a village of yours for a year. Not to mention speeches … tell me I am wrong. Say it. And what did you all do afterwards? What did you change? Who remembers you little girl? You are nothing. A nobody.
Shanta: Yeah. I think I have heard all of this before. And guess what … it wasn’t from a woman. You know why you are going to put this hat on? I bet you don’t! I bet you know all the reasons why you shouldn’t! But I bet you got no idea why you should. I will tell you the reason. It’s because it ain't easy. It ain't easy to wear this hat. It makes you different. Yet part of many. It isn’t everyone’s fizzy drink.
Themis: [to PR] Did that make any sense?
PR: May be she meant to say cup of tea …
Themis: And what do you know? The two leaders of this land – both of them – are women. And I am the one who is getting mobbed for being one. Get me out! I don’t want to get stuck in this fiasco! They might throw rocks and drag me on the street and what not! And you say these are holy people. You sure? Heck nothing has changed in thousands of years! What kind of nonsense is this? Why would you still get mad at things that apparently hold no meaning? I mean if I had any meaning then there would be no need for me to stand at the Supreme Court and remind everyone of that meaning after all these civilisations. And if I don’t have any meaning how am I so offensive? So if I can unsettle you, doesn’t that mean you really believe in justice? And if you believe in justice, why would you get mad at my presence there? Unless it’s something you don’t want to be reminded of …
Shanta: Exactly! Yo lady! Isn’t the one who offends more powerful than the one who gets offended? Ain't you, being a woman that you are, standing with justice is more offensive because you got that power? Isn’t this hat powerful because it offends? So what more reason do you need? Can’t you see the demand for you to be removed is because you are Greek wearing sari in Bangladesh? One more nut job having problem with immigrants? Don’t you wanna protest?
Themis: What … are you saying they are already demanding my removal?
PR: Ehm, well … the situation is … ehm … there is a demand and a few hundred people demonstrated … a little … or more … against your presence …
Themis: Few hundred … you mean thousands??
Shanta: Put on the hat girrrl! And prrrr … haters be haters. But we got the power. We being mean and angry scare them. We being scared and cowardly empower them. Let us put on the hat ma lady! Even if it means nothing now but it still is a beginning! Girls unite!
Themis: Give me a reason why that won’t tip my scale.
Shanta: Think of it this way. You are objecting to put on the hat or to go stand in that courtyard because you feel their action is unreasonable and absurd. They ain't got no problem being absurd. So what is unthinkable to you is a reality to them. So why not do the thing that is unthinkable to them? Then our chance to win becomes a reality! Like the election!
PR: Shall I fix the hat for you my lady?
Themis: Make sure I hold the sword upside down. Nothing upsets the men like a saggy…
PR: Symbol! You mean symbol!
Themis: [to Shanta] Hmm … what do you get out of all this? Don’t tell me it is all philanthropic because that is nonsense.
Shanta: Girl! You get to be a woman wearing a pussy hat in the middle of the god damn supreme court and old men go hiding their crotch! That is spectacular! Why do you ask for reasons? Not everything got to have a subtitle.
Shanta: Tweet! Tweet!
Urmi Masud is a poet, fiction writer and playwright.