EXT. BIHAR - DAY (DAWN, SUMMER, MID-1980)
Heat that has mass. That rises off the parched earth inshimmering waves. After a moment, we see what appear tobe figures coming out of the haze, one by one. A familywith their few belongings: HASARI PAL, 33, his wife,
ALOKA, 28, and their children, daughter, AMRITA, 13,
sons MANOOJ and SHAMBU, 11 and 9; HASARI'S MOTHER and
FATHER. They embark toward the night, the rising sunbehind them.
EXT. ROADSIDE - BUS STOP - DAY (DAWN)
Hasari's Father passes a gourd of precious water. Hasari
serves the children first. Shambu gulps entirely toomuch, the others forcing him to stop by a unified forceof will. Embarrassed, he passes the cup to his brother,
who sips, as does his sister. Aloka barely wets herlips, insisting on leaving the last drops for Hasari.
And now, a rooster tail of dust rises up behind theapproaching bus and the old parents bid farewell to theirson's family. There is an intense sadness at leavingthe land and Hasari's Mother clings to him...
I'll send money soon.
His Mother nods, as Hasari erupts in a small cough which,
by habit, he suppresses. His Mother crushes Aloka to
Don't let the children out of yoursight. Not for a moment.
Now the children. She wants to keep them here even asthe old man touches her, reminding her she must let them
Help your parents. Don't fightwith each other. And, Manooj,
stay away from the cinema, do youhear?
Shambu, his eyes big as saucers, whispers to hisgrandma...
I don't want to go. There are bad
men with long knives who stealchildren.
That does it:
Hasari's Mother dissolves in tears, but
the old man nevertheless unlooses her insistently fromthe children. Aloka and the children get on the bus asthe old man embraces his son.
A man's journey to the end of hisobligations is a very long road.
Yours begins here.
EXT. ROADSIDE/INT. BUS - DAY
There's not an empty inch inside the little vehicle or
on top. The passengers are silent. A woman breast feeds
a baby. Several passengers fan themselves. Many sleep.
The Pals squeeze wearily into the rear seat.
(to his neighbor)
Our farm has died, so we are
moving to Calcutta to become rich!
Hasari and Aloka look at each other: If only it were thepursuit of wealth and not survival. The woman understands.
And now the BUS GRINDS forward and the Pals look
back. Hasari coughs, suppresses it... as silence falls.
The elder Pals stand huddled together in the dust and wesee, nestled behind a boulder at the roadside, a tiny,
blue flower -- beautiful and fragile, but like all thingsalive, determined to live... and we hear the sound of a
DOZEN VOICES CHANTING a quiet mantra in unison as we -
INT. ASHRAM - ANOTHER FLOWER - DAY
This flower floats gently in a bowl of water. The TITLES
END as we PULL BACK SLOWLY to reveal a dozen Anglos,
several Indians, and one Kenyan seated cross-leggedbefore an aging Yogi, who's quietly urging the supplicants
to find "their light, allow your white light tofill your spirit's eye." Above, ceiling fans move theair.
As we PAN the group, we see that everyone has his/hereyes closed in earnest meditation... until we COME TO anAmerican, MAX LOEB, 29, who pops open first his right eye-- looks to his right and left -- closes his right eyeand opens his left eye -- looks left and right... andthen, instead of continuing the mantra and the search forhis white light, expels a stream of air through hispursed lips, making a vibrating, flatulent sound, oneindicative of sizeable frustration and dismissal.