Friction Can Be A Good Thing, by Tulika Kumar

The friction caused by what we know clashing with what we don't can be a wonderful thing.

My parents immigrated to America many years ago when trying to find Indian vegetables and spices in the grocery store was an exercise in disappointment, Indian restaurants were scarce, and calling home to hear a familiar voice was incredibly expensive. Whatever the motivation for the move it is seldom easy to uproot yourself from what you know and love.

Abhi Sheth and Abhijeet Rane rehearsing a scene from
The Banerjees are Coming. Photo: Shreya Tewari
Some who migrate isolate themselves from the unfamiliar as much as possible, living in a self imposed cocoon of sorts. Some are quite eager to assimilate and happily take up the new hairstyles and world views. All who immigrate have their sense of what is right or proper or moral challenged at some point. Like Anupama in The Palm Reader it may be a questioning of your expected role in life. Or like Jagdish in The Banerjees Are Coming it may be an act of defiance by a child who seems to have strayed far into unknown territory. But though it may not feel so in the short term these frictions can be wonderful things! For such challenges to what we believe can help us grow as people and cultures and as humanity in general.

I love the banyan tree as a metaphor for growth - the throwing down of new roots to strengthen the tree as a whole. To me growth entails a change of some kind, a facing of something new. I decided to leave a career in software a few years back. It was work that brought me a nice income and all the comforts that come with that but it was work done without any passion. I took the plunge and quit the software world to pursue something I had an intense desire to try - writing. With no background in writing but plenty of love I wrote this play. It has been an amazing and incredibly fulfilling journey through the playwriting process - from writing to workshops and staged readings to a full production. I hope this play is the first of many.

I thank you for coming out to see The Banyan Tree and for supporting local theater. And I encourage you to throw down roots in what is new to you.

Tulika Kumar