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Another Lakshmi, Another World, Another Story!

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    This is another Lakshmi...a different story

    Lakshmi married Aravind when she was just twenty. Her education was upto tenth grade in her village school. Aravind owned a small shop and they lived happily for a while. But then Aravind had an ambition – to become a Cinema Director.

    Soon Aravind and Lakshmi moved over to Chennai, the film-capital of the South. Aravind did not want to do any other work and spent all his waking hours looking for a chance in movies. Meanwhile they had two children – a boy and a girl.

    The responsibility of running the house fell on Lakhsmi. Lakshmi, like any other wife had enormous confidence in her husband’s talents and went out of the way to support him. She did odd jobs around, worked as a part-time nurse, ayah and maid and provided for the family.

    Aravind did not earn anything. Lakshmi did not mind. She even gave money to Aravind quite often so that he can go around the studios looking for work.

    At last Aravind got a break. He joined a famous Director as his Assistant and learnt more about the tricky trade. In a few years he was given a chance to direct a movie which was a big hit. He never looked back. He was booked for a dozen movies and the whole family was bathing in luxuries for a while.

    When Lakshmi thought that she can now sit back and enjoy life, she was in for a rude shock. Aravind got too intimate with a buxom heroine and announced his decision to live with her. Lakshmi, because of all the hardwork and responsibilities, looked much older than her real age and was no match for the sexy heroine who spent all day in beautifying herself.

    Of course Lakhsmi was not on the street. But nothing in life is more painful than ingratitude and when that comes from someone close to you, well, there could not be a greater hell.

    She had enough money to live a normal middle-class life. She reconciled herself to the harsh realities of life and started focussing on her two children. She brought them up nicely and with some difficulty could provide education upto their school-final level. Now the elder son was ready to go for a professional course. He wanted to do engineering. Lakshmi did not have that kind of money.

    Lakshmi’s mother was living with her at that time. When Lakshmi was worried about the cost of her son’s education, there was good news. Aravind was now exasperated with the sexy heroine and he wanted to re-unite with Lakshmi and his sons. Lakshmi discussed the matter with her mother.

    “It’s a godsend Lakhsmi. Don’t even think about it. Welcome him home. You see afterall men are men. We womenfolk should just grin and bear it. You should accept him, if not for your sake, for the sake of your children. Your son can go to the Engineering college. And your daughter can dream of a decent marriage.”

    Lakshmi accepted Aravind in a confused state of mind. Aravind was however a completely reformed man. He cried and was even ready to fall at Lakshmi’s feet for the wrongs he had committed. He told her that he was now a changed mand and promised on his children’s lives that he would never go astray hereafter.

    That night, after the re-union festivities were over Aravind and Lakshmi had some time to themselves.

    Aravind held Lakshmi’s hands and said, “Lakshmi, I have given you a lot of pain. But in spite of all that you were true to me. I don’t deserve you, dear.”

    For a second there was a glee in Lakshmi’s eyes. She hugged her husband and said in a very clear voice.

    “You also should forgive me. I was not always true to you. When you were away I had an affair with my cousin. Loneliness was killing me. I was simply driven to that. But it was over soon. My mind is very clear now. That was the reason I could easily forgive you.”

    Aravind was furious now.

    “You slut! How dare you confess your affair to me! Do you think I am such an idiot to be cuckolded? I have had enough. You are destined to suffer alone for the rest of your life. Go to hell.”

    Aravind walked out of the house and marriage again. Lakshmi was unruffled. For what she said was a blatant lie.

    Her mother was furious.

    “You selfish girl, you have ruined your children’s lives. Even if you had had an affair you should have kept quiet. I know you were true to your husband,. But why did you lie to him, when he had come to you as a changed man? See your children are suffering for your crime.”

    “Ma, my identity is more important than my children. I was ready to forgive him for his affair. I wanted to know whether he was matured enough to accept an affair from my side. What I said was a lie. But it brought out his true colours.

    He thinks I am a doormat which will accept anything. I wanted to tell him that I am a human being with feelings and emotions. If my children suffer it’s not because they are my children, but because they were fathered by a crook who had no scruples.”

    (This is another Lakshmi. Another World. Another Story. Is this a true story or fiction? That question is irrelevant. But do you agree with Lakshmi?)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2005
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  2. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    Double standards

    This story reflects the double standards that most men have. For years Lakshmi withstood the humiliation of knowing that her husband was with another woman. And the society knew about it too. He must have caused her immense hurt by flaunting his relationship. Lakshmi was testing him when she disclosed her alleged affair. His reaction shows how rigid and narrow his thinking is. As a woman I empathise with her tremendous self-respect and a need for an identity. Still I feel that for the sake of her children's education and future aspirations she should have continued with the charade of welcoming him back. She should have walked out after her son had landed a good job. Frankly, I think this Lakshmi is a fool!
    Sharada Prahladrao
     
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  3. jyoti

    jyoti New IL'ite

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    I fully agree with Lakshmi!

    I fully agree with what this Lakshmi did and I admire her too.

    Though she was ready to accept her husband back inspite of his affair, she still holds for herself an identity and self-respect. Good that she tested this crooked man that brought out his colors.

    Sharada, I disagree a bit with your views. I don't think she should have lived a false life even for the sake of her children. Then there would be no difference between her and her husband by attitude.

    I'm sure this Lakshmi, who wants an identity for herself, will give her best to get a good education for her children. Later, the children will be very proud to have such a great mother who gave them the kind of life which was left uncared by their crook father!
     
  4. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    That Was A great response, Sharadha!

    Sharadha, what you say is perfectly true. She should have put up a show first and then finally should have deserted her husband when her son had grown up and her daughter is married. In that way, your powerful words, 'This Lakshmi is a fool' is true.
    But at times when we are in the heat of anger, of being humiliated, of seeing double standards right before our eyes, we lose our ability to make cool calculations and just act on the spur of the moment. Lakshmi was deeply hurt when she knew that when she was ready to forgive her husband, he was not. Her affair might be a bluff; but the double-standards are painfully true. Very few can calculate cooly in that moment. In my assessment many would have just kept quiet and would not have talked about the affair, even if they had one.
    Do you know the famous Silappadhikaram story (that is one of the five great epics in Tamil). One side story goes like this. The hero Kovalan deserts his wife and lives with a beautiful dancer Madhavi. Spring had come . Kovalan and Madhavi were sitting in a romantic ambience. Kovalan was teasing her dancer-lover describing about a fictional affair he was having with some other woman. Madhavi thought Kovalan was in a playful mood and she also describes a fictional affair she was having with another young man. Immediately Kovalan becomes furious, deserts the dancer and goes running for his wife. His wife happily accepts him. Whenever I read this part for the story my blood used to boil. Now according to the story Madhavi was a prostitute and after Kovalan came to her she was very true to him as if he were her husband. Considering this what Kovalan did is unpardonable.
    I want more comments from your side on this.
    sridhar
     
  5. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    A Refreshingly Different Viewpoint,Jyoti

    Jyoti, your views are refreshingly different. You have rightly pointed out that a son of a mother who values her identity more than her security or her son's education, is sure to give real education to her son. And the son, if he has inherited more of her mother's genes is sure to be proud of his mother.
    It's because most women need security and comfort more than identity and self-respect, that men tread on their hearts and destroy their identities.
    Jyoti, that was a very nice and a very important angle to view, Lakshmi.
    sridhar
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2005
  6. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    Let's continue!

    The discussion is becoming interesting. Jyoti, I understand your perspective. Sitting in the luxury of our homes, amidst broadminded (no pun intended!) it is expected of us to talk about a strong sense of self and identity. But finally it all boils down to economics. Life for Lakshmi has been one long struggle - why should her children also be denied material happiness? As it is they have never known a father's love - I believe that they should take what they can from him and then move on with their lives. Suck the blood of a bloodsucker! By sacrificing her youth, what did Lakshmi get? It's all very well to say that the children will admire and respect Lakshmi and emerge stronger for it - but why should they face daily struggles for that? In any case, I'm sure the children will have scant respect for their father; and any step the mother takes will be accepted. I think it's perfectly and morally right to cheat a cheat!
    Sridhar, I have not read the epic, but I know the story as I've seen the ballet. Men going astray and then returning to their wives is nothing new. It's still happening even in Bollywood! Perhaps I'm going off on a tangent - but women should become self-reliant and realise that their existence doesn't hinge on how their husbands treat them.
    Sharada Prahladrao
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    It's getting interesting!

    Sharadha, while I primarily agree with Lakshmi and also with Jyoti, you do have a very valuable point. Women should learn ways of deception at least to deceive their cheating husbands. And I know many women like that. I read this story sometime ago. A woman, in her late twenties, 3 years after the marriage, sees her doctor- husband in a compromising position with a nurse. The woman runs home , thinks about it a lot and then decides not to broach the topic to her errant husband. Then after her children are educated and married off, she goes off to her friend's house and sends a divorce notice to her husband. The scandal is so much that the husband is shattered. He literally begs his wife to return. But the wife is very firm.
    There are women like that. But seeing ingratitude and insincerity at such close quarters, at the top-heat of mental agitation, how many women can scheme things like that?
    In a way if women stop worrying about their security, then things start to happen. Ultimately our security is only from within. No one or nothing outside -a good parent, a caring spouse, a government job, lot of money - can give us the real security. This thought is from Richard Bach.
    The argument gets interesting by the hour. So Jyoti and Sharadha, let's continue
    sridhar
     
  8. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    errant husband

    When you have an errant husband it hits a woman's self-esteem and she wonders what she is lacking. At this point there should be support for her - from family and friends to make her realise that she is stronger and a more capable person than she gives herself credit for. After that she should begin planning and taking decisions for herself and her children. When depressed she should think about her errant husband and her reaction if he decides to return to the family fold. Keeping her and her children's interests uppermost she should have a suitable plan of action. In the heat of the moment I know that it's hard to be careful and calculating - but in such situations it is always better to take your time to react. So if you have a clearcut plan of action it will be easier to implement.
    Sridhar, there must be many Lakshmis around us - like the real life incident you highlighted. By deceiving they are not sinking to their spouse's level - they are only using the same weapon. That's why the concluding part of your story has evoked such a vociferous response from me!
    Sharada Prahladrao
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Vociferous Response was what I wanted

    Sharadha, the whole idea of giving these small but perturbing incidents as snippets is to evoke vociferous responses. If not a vociferous response, I am sure there will surely be 'vociferous' thinking in the mind (if that usage is permissible). I pray God that a Lakhsmi-like situation should not happen to any of the sweet ladies who are the members of this lovely forum. But if something like that happens to their friends/relatives, they should be able to give sane counsel. The snippet is intended to trigger thinking and I am now confident, that with your vociferous responses, the trigger has been activated.
    Basically I do agree that deceiving a deceptive husband is not deception. (sorry for the rhetoric). But only a small minority of the ladies have all the choices open to them and still a smaller minority can think with cool calculativeness given an explosive situation like that.
    Your way of putting things across is admirable. It makes one long for more and more arguments from your side.
    sridhar
     
  10. ambika ananth

    ambika ananth Bronze IL'ite

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    I don't agree with Lakshmi at all...

    What ever her past sacrifices were, when it really mattered Lakshmi acted in a most hasty and foolish way. Her one statement my identity is more important than my children.” Proves her lop sided priorities, which are as dangerous as her husband’s double standards. When a woman who failed as a wife, fails as a mother too, what identity as a woman she can boast of? Particularly from a mother’s point of view, she fails miserably. The other negative aspect of her character is her wrong perception that ‘children born of a father who is crook, must and should suffer ( “If my children suffer it’s not because they are my children, but because they were fathered by a crook who had no scruples.”) why can’t she think about a mother’s contribution to shape her children’s future and welfare ? how many children with criminals as fathers have not come out as winners and positive contributors to society , thanks to their mothers ! Lakshmi forgets her own responsibility, in trying to make her children better individuals than their crook of a father by her sheer bullheadedness and devil may care attitude when it really mattered, and deprives them of a good secure future. If forgiving her husband and not playing pranks with him like what she did, ensures a secure future for her children, she better do it. But she is foolish enough to put her children’s future at stake thinking that “her ( non-existent ) identity is more important then her children’.

    Errant husbands are rampant, but not errant mothers !particularly when the 'wife' in Lakshmi is dead and gone long back and only ' mother' in her is existent , she better view things from that perspective. Anyway the man-wife relationship between them has taken a great beating, she should try to salvage the best role in her life, that of a mother.


    This seems like an anti-feminist attitude, but I don’t agree with Lakshmi at all…

    ambika
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2005

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