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EXT. DELHI STREET
On one street in Old Delhi, among the jumble of streets
that run up from the railway station through the old
bazaar, filled with beggars, hawkers, street traders,
shopkeepers, and the cheapest class of travellers,
backpackers and junkies, sits the Raj hotel. Mughal
architecture, a folly of minarets and domes with a film-set
facade, painted egg-shell blue and softly lit at night by
hidden lights. Its romantic exterior belies its squalid
interior - five floors of the barest smallest rooms divided
by hardboard partitions.
INT. SMALL HOTEL ROOM - DUSK
In one of these rooms, on the third storey, overlooking the
street but set back behind a parapet so the street is not
visible from the window, sits Frank Terk, a 55 year-old
American, a veteran traveller, an original hippy, almost a
Beat, a man who's never found a place to call home. He's
large-built with broad shoulders and arms but with fat
around his midriff - the body of a man with large
appetites. Frank is sat on the floor, cross-legged, wearing
grey woollen socks and a locally made outfit that resembles
a pair of pink pyjamas. The only other place to sit in the
room is on the single bed, which is occupied by a young
English couple, boy and girl in their late teens or early
twenties. This is their first time in Asia and Frank has
invited them back to his hotel to share his dope and listen
to his worldly-wise conversation.
(drawing on a small
Now not every guru is a real
guru. The trick is to spot who's
REAL and who is PHONY. And it's
not always easy. Now, when I
first came to India, way back in
1969, before you kids were born,
I guess, no-one knew the first
thing about Eastern religion and
they all came flooding over here
looking for en-light-en-ment. And
I'm sorry to say that a lot of
them did not get what they were
looking for. Oh, no.
(passes the pipe to the
You guys are pretty young, aren't
you? What are you? 18? 19?
Well it scares the shit out of
you the first time, no doubt
about it but, hell, you get used
to it after a while. They're just
people, the Indians. Can't trust
em as far as you can throw em but
they're great people - got more
God in their lives than all my
fellow Americans put together.
(laughing to himself)
Sorry, it just amuses me when I
look around and see all these
people living on the streets, on
a rupee a day, washing and
dressing on the pavement, and boy
are they happy. You can see it in
their eyes - they know they're in
eternity, living right there in
the godhead. But when I go home,
home to A-mer-ica, I see all
these rich people, all these fat
rich people driving around in
their fat automobiles, chasing
possessions and money - and they
can never get enough, but they
carry on trying, oh do they carry
on trying - when I see all these
fat rich people, it's obvious how
fucked up they are. I mean, all
of them. They're all totally
fucking whacked. It's a fact - I
can't prove it scientifically but
I know it's true, it's a known
Frank draws on his pipe. The English girl shifts a little
uncomfortably. Her boyfriend is listening in a stoned
How often do you go back to
Oh, not often. You know, all
those fucking doctors and stuff,
messing with your goddamn soul.
Think they know better than you
about everything but let them
live on the road for a few weeks
and see how they survive. Any
dumb fuck can survive working in
an institution then going to play
golf after work and laugh about
their poor basket-weaving
patients. They make me puke.
Did you work in a hospital then?
(laughing to himself
Hell no! I was in one for a short
while, getting the old brain-pan
cleaned up. Let me tell you
(raising his voice)
If you live in America and you
don't have a job and you don't
have credit, and you would rather
live in a shack by the river than
work for some cock-sucking boss
in a global corporation until
they're ready to pension you off
when it's too late to actually
live the life they've robbed you
of, you will be certified insane
and locked up for the good of
your health. For the good of
their health, you understand, not
yours, just to keep you out the
way so that you don't pollute
their little materialist dream.
That's what it's all about.
That's why they need so many head
doctors because there are so many
people who can't or won't
conform. So they lock you up,
fill you full of drugs and stick
wires in your head to stop you
twitching. I mean they fucking
electrocute you to stop you
twitching, can you believe that.
They mut-i-late you.
A 5-second silence.
I'd much rather be out here, on
the road. Everything is what it
seems and you know where you
stand. Okay, it can be dangerous.
It can be fucking dangerous. Have
you been robbed? I've been
robbed, beaten up. There are some
bad people here, mostly fucked up
Westerners, junkies strung out
and alienated, suffering from
culture shock. They just don't
know how to blend in. Yes, sir,
there are some - very - bad -
(a beat - Frank thinks)
Anything could happen to anyone
out here. Take you for example.
Does anyone know where you are
now? How long before someone
would miss you? One week? One
month? Two months? Think about
it. People go missing all the
time. Life is cheap out here. Did
you hear about the Scottish guy?
He ripped off some dealers and
went missing. Nobody noticed for
three months then his sister came
over and started looking for him.
Turns out they'd beaten him then
thrown him in front of a bus to
make it look like an accident. No
papers, no identity, just another
hippy casualty. His sister found
out about it when she took his
photo to the police. She had to
pay them three thousand rupees
bakshish just to get his body
released. Your average Indian
policeman certainly likes his
kickback. No more than your
average LAPD but then again, your
Indian cop doesn't drag black
people out of cars and beat them
It's getting dark. I think we
Already? You've only been here
half an hour.
We have to walk to our hotel.
Which one is it?
It's called the Red...
(she thinks better of
I can't remember.
It's not very clever to not know
the name of your hotel in
Well, I know where it is from
here, you just...
No, you think you know. These
streets look very different after
dark. You could get lost. I
wouldn't want that to happen to
you. You're so young.
(waking up, nervously)
No, I think she's right, we'd
Why don't you guys stay here. I
can sleep on the floor, just
here, I'm used to that, and you
can have my bed. I'm sure you can
both get in there.
Uh, no, that's okay thanks. We
need to get back. We have to be
up early tomorrow, we're going to
Agra and then to Kerala.
You said you were staying in
Delhi for a week...
We were, but...
And now you say you're going
I think India is getting under
your skin. You've heard of going
loco, aint you? Sometimes it just
gets too damn weird out here -
the strange languages, the people
always looking at you,
approaching you, the clutching
children, the crippled and the
dying, the mutilated beggars.
And sometimes, some people,
normally people who think this is
all a game, they start to go
under, start to weaken, fray
around the edges, get a bit of
paranoia, suddenly want to go
home, suddenly want to get up and
and looking them in the
But it's so fucking dis-court-e
ous, so fucking rude. These good
people invite you to their land,
let you come and abuse their
culture of which you know nothing
about, and then you just want to
float on the surface and enjoy
yourself while all around you
there are people suffering and
dying. When someone invites you
to their house, you do - not -
just - get - up - and leave!
No, we have to go because...
If you guys want to fuck, don't
mind me. I mean, if that's why
you don't want to stay, because
you want to get it on, don't mind
me. I'm a very broad minded
fellah. There's not a lot you can
teach me. I was there in the
sixties, everyone was fucking
freely then. That was before
AIDS, before the great McGuffin
came along, before the CIA
released it from their labs to
put a stop to good honest un-in
looking down, then
No, I really would appreciate it
if you stayed. I have some more
stash. It's opiated black. Nice
and mellow with a spacy edge,
picked it up in Pakistan, this
side of the Khyber Pass, bandit
country, guns everywhere, get a
man killed for twenty dollars,
(singing gently an
"O, bandeliero, with your
flashing cutlass eye, don't
forget me as time goes by. As
time goes by." Are you staying
No, we do have to go tomorrow,
"Oh, we do have to go tomorrow."
You fucking English are so damned
polite. Don't forget it was the
English that crippled this proud
nation in the name of imperial
grandeur. You're lucky they don't
rip you from limb to limb when
you walk out on that street. In
fact, I think I may have to
accompany you so that you get
back to the mystery hotel in
No, that's okay. We can find it.
Thanks for the smoke, and maybe
we'll see you around when we come
back to Delhi.
Well, you know where I live.
You stay here all the time?
Not all the time. Some of the
time I travel around, getting to
know the Indians. I go see my
guru, up in the hills.
They are now all standing and the English girl has
collected her bag and is wrapping a very thin cotton wrap
around her shoulders. Frank looks at her.
(pointing to the pattern
on her wrap)
Do you know what that symbol
(looking down at
The one that looks like a long
tailed monkey wearing a Fez.
Om, um, aah! Not its name, its
meaning. What it REALLY means,
not what the books tell you it
It means love. L. O. V. E. Not
Hollywood love, or Bollywood
love. Not the love of Jesus H
Christ and all his disciples. Not
the love of money or the love of
life. Not the love of man for his
mate - man and woman, man and
man, woman and woman. Not the
love that dares not speak its
name. Not the love that launched
a thousand songs. No - that
symbol that you wear so casually
around your shoulders symbolizes
Love with a capital O. The love
at the start of everything, when
the universe was just an egg, the
boundless love of the universe
that we discover when we wake up
Are you in illusion?
Look. Thanks for your time. We'd
The English couple begin to make for the door but as they
do so, there is a loud knock on it and they step aside to
let Frank answer it.
(under his breath)
Who the fuck is that now?
Frank opens the door. At the door is the Indian hotel
owner, aged about 50, glossy black hair greying at the
temples, and his son, early twenties, very dark skin with
disfiguring on the cheeks, the scars resulting from some
serious skin complaint that has now cleared up.
Mr Terk. You have not paid your
bill for three weeks now. You
said you would pay last week and
I let you stay but now this week
you don't pay again. You pay now?
Frank's manner has changed completely. His aggressive
confidence is replaced with hand-wringing deference.
(nodding and bowing,
with his hands in a
Yes, baba, I know, thank you
baba. I will have your money. I
have your money, but not here. I
have to go and get it. A friend
owes me your money. I lent it to
him and now he must give it back
to me so I can give it to you.
You will get your money,
Mr Tony? He is a bad man. I do
not want that man coming to my
hotel. I will fetch the police
again and they will take him
No not Mr Tony, baba. Another
man. A man who owes me some
money. A rich man. A rich
American who lives at the hotel
You are going to the hotel Hilton
Yes. I go now and bring you your
If you do not pay me, you have to
leave tomorrow. You cannot stay
But where would I go?
I don't know. I know you must go
if you don't pay. Everyone must
pay, even Americans.
Yes. Everyone must pay. Why do
you stay so long? Everyone else
stays for one week or two weeks,
but you are always here. Why do
I'm very grateful to you for
letting me stay. I will pay you.
I'm staying because I love your
country and I want to learn about
your religion, about Brahma,
Krishna, Vishnu, all the other
gods. India is an old country,
But you still must pay.
Yes. Tomorrow. I will have money.
And pay you. Baba, thankyou,
Okay. Tomorrow you come to me at
my desk at nine. You must pay
what you owe me and one month
more if you want to stay.
Not one month. I cannot do that,
baba. I cannot have that much
No. Because you do not pay, you
have to pay in front. Then you
can stay. Otherwise, you must
Yes. You must leave.
The hotel owner and his son walk away.
(looking at his feet, in
Fucking Indians. You just can't
trust them. They know, they know
me ... regular, I'm always here
... Jesus, they just don't
(suddenly snapping out,
becoming bright, big
You see? Exactly what I was
telling you about the Indians.
You have to know how to deal with
them and be aware of everything.
'The highway is for gamblers' my
friends. You have to be a
survivor. You have to have love
in your heart and then God will
look after you. You have to love
everyone, even the people who
offend and provoke you. They are
sent to assist you towards
enlightenment. Charity is the
root of everything but sometimes
I think the Indians themselves
have forgotten that - they need
to be shown it again by us
because we know what charity
means, we have to.
As they are about to leave the room, they all look around
to see if they have forgotten anything. There is virtually
nothing in it - a half-unpacked rucksack, an ashtray, a
pipe, a ragged paperback edition of the Bhagavad Gita, with
commentary, Henry David Thoreau's 'Walden', a ripped-open
airmail letter, a half-written postcard. They leave the
room and Frank padlocks the door.
EXT. DELHI STREET - NIGHT
The bazaar is still busy. Although there are no street
lights, it is lit by the lights that flare from the
shopfronts. There are still beggars by the side of the
road, calling out to the foreigners as they pass. Frank and
the English couple walk along the pavement, avoiding the
shop keepers and the beggars.
It seems like a different place
at night. It's weird. You
suddenly realise how far away
from home you are. Don't you ever
get lonely Frank?
Frank doesn't answer. They all keep walking. The English
couple recognise the turning towards their hotel.
OK. We're heading this way.
I'll follow you.
Makes no difference to me anyway.
I've nowhere to go. I'm just
I thought you had to go to the
Nah. There's no American guy.
What will you do? How will you
Love. I'll pay in love. Love is
its own reward. If you love
everyone, God will love you and
you will survive. Love everyone,
even the beggars, pick someone
out and give them your love.
They turn into an almost empty street. The English couple
are trying to walk away from him when they notice a
mutilated beggar lying beside the road. He looks about 15
or 16. He has no arms or legs and has been left lying on a
blanket with a money pot on his bare chest. He raises his
head a little, smiles. He calls them and asks for money.
Frank stops. Looks at the boy beggar. Takes three steps
The English couple stop, shocked for a second,
instinctively grab hold of each other, then shout goodbye,
using Frank's pause as an opportunity to escape.
Frank stands in the almost empty street, looking at the
beggar. He turns his head and sees right through the
English couple who are walking away fast. A smile crosses
Frank walks right up to the beggar. He bends down and
touches his bare skin.
Little man, little man, what have
they done to you? They have
mutilated you. Your parents never
loved you did they? That's why
they did this to you. But God
loves you. God loves everyone.
And I love you.
The beggar is smiling in a scared way. He doesn't
understand what is being said.
That's why I'm going to take you
with me. I'm going to show you my
love. And put an end to this for
Frank bends down and wraps the blanket completely around
the trunk of the beggar, covering his whole body and head.
The beggar, alarmed, shakes his head from side to side and
starts to cry out. Frank, stands up, holds the blanket
tight around the face and mouth of the boy underneath,
stifling his cries.
Shhh, shhh, little man. You are
coming with me. I will look after
you and love you. You will never
be alone again.
Frank squeezes the now-silent bundle to his broad chest and
walks back down the road, repeating, "You're coming with
me, little man. You will never be alone again."
INT. FRANK'S HOTEL ROOM - TEN MINUTES LATER
The inert body of the beggar is lying on top of Frank's
bed, his open eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. Frank is
sitting on the floor next to the bed, stroking the dead
body, mumbling: "They mutilated you. No-one loved you. God
loves you. They mutilated you..."
A loud banging on the door. Indian speech. More banging.
Frank goes silent but continues stroking the body. The
hotel owner shouts, "Mr Terk. The police are here. They
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