SECOND PRIZE: TANISHA KEJRIWAL

‘Shakespeare of Your Times – Creative Writing Competition’ at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya held on 06 February 2017

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(Bassanio is a young man who lives in New York. He wants to impress a girl named Portia by taking her to Venice, but has no money to do so. Therefore, he approaches a financier named Shylock, and names his best friend, Antonio, as a guarantor. Antonio owns an Internet company, through which he makes a lot of money.)

Scene 1: Bassanio meets Shylock

(Bassanio, in the desperate need for money, approaches Shylock, a shrewd and manipulative financier.)

Bassanio: Hello, Shylock. I have come to ask you a favor.

Shylock: Go on.

Bassanio: Would you lend me ten thousand dollars? I will repay you, and Antonio will be my guarantor.

Shylock: Ten thousand dollars? (suspiciously) Fine, I will give you the money. But I am curious, what do you need this money for?

Bassanio: I want to take Portia to Venice. Portia is a beautiful young girl, and her father, who is a business baron, is looking out for an intelligent and hardworking young man for his daughter.

Shylock: I see. I will give you the money, but on one condition. If you don’t manage to repay me in two months, I will marry Portia.

Bassanio: (reluctantly) That is an odd request, but I am sure that Antonio will not let me down. I accept your condition.

(Bassanio and Portia have a fantastic time at Venice, and Bassanio proposes to Portia.)

Two months later…

Scene 2: A bombshell

(Bassanio is happily sitting at home, when he receives a call from his best friend, Antonio)

Antonio: (Panting) Bassanio! My company–My company–My company lost all its credibility! Someone hacked into our account! It’s one of those cyber attacks!

Bassanio: Wait – How did this happen! How are we going to repay Shylock!? He will marry my fiancée!

Antonio: We don’t have much time.

Bassanio: I can ask Portia to help. She works at an agency that deals with Internet crimes.

Antonio: Yes, please do that.

Bassanio: Okay, I’ll call her.

(Bassanio dials another number on his phone.)

Bassanio: Hi Portia. You know about that deal I made with Shylock, right?

Portia: Yes, what about it?

Bassanio: Well, Antonio’s company got attacked, and we don’t know what to do. Could you find out who was behind the attack?

Portia: I could try.

Bassanio: Great! Please try your best – we don’t want to face the consequences of not repaying Shylock.

Portia: Okay. I’ll get straight into it.

Scene 3: At court

(A few days later, it was finally time for the case to be resolved. Bassanio and Antonio had not been able to repay the money to Shylock.)

Shylock: Sir, these two men have not been able to repay me my loan. Therefore, I should get justice, and marry Bassanio’s fiancée, Portia.

Judge: Wait. I must hear the two men before granting you justice.

Bassanio: We are guilty, sir.

Judge: Okay, then. Shylock-

(Portia runs into the court)

Portia: Wait! Don’t give anyone anything. (Looks at Shylock) The quality of mercy is not strained. It drops onto the world like gentle rain does. It blesses both the giver and the receiver. If you insist on pure justice, however, the court will give it.

(Looks at the judge) It is not he who should get justice, but Bassanio and Antonio. They couldn’t repay the money because someone hacked into Antonio’s company. The one who did that was, in fact, Shylock.

Shylock: I did not!

Portia: Let me finish, Shylock. I have proof. The attacks were done through your account. But please do tell us, why did you attack Antonio?

Shylock: Fine, I am guilty. But I did it because of my daughter. She is in love with Antonio. But Antonio is not suitable for her. He is a Christian and I disapprove of him. He deserved whatever happened. I did not want my daughter to marry him and thus hacked his website.

Judge: Shylock, since you are guilty of a bigger crime, you shall not be permitted to marry Portia. You shall reimburse all the business losses that Antonio’s company has incurred with a public apology to reinstate his goodwill and reputation.

Shylock: This is so unfair!

Judge: You have to pay for your sins and wrongdoing.

(Everyone leaves the court)

Scene 4: The wedding

(Bassanio and Portia are getting married. So are Antonio and Shylock’s daughter, Jessica.)

Bassanio (To Portia): Portia, if it wasn’t for your incredible work, you would be here married to this cheat, Shylock, instead of to me.

Portia: It was all worth it, Bassanio.

Bassanio: It was. (looks at Antonio) Thank you, Antonio.

Antonio: It was all worth it.

Portia: Come on, let’s go meet the guests.

(They all exit)