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The Debut I

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Debut

    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy

    South’s greatest film star, the industry’s numero uno, Raj, returned home after working three shifts - which meant he had been working continuously for more than fourteen hours. He was physically tired but otherwise very happy and contented.

    He had delivered a stunning performance that day and the Director had predicted that what he did that day would be hailed as one of the greatest performances ever made on the celluloid. Raj had a way of his own. He did not ape the life styles of other filmi personalities. He treasured his family and loved his wife with all his heart, her frequent nagging notwithstanding.

    That explained his humorous response when his wife who was waiting for him, even at the cost of her sleep, almost caught hold of his collar.

    “Do you, by any chance, know, what’s happening in your own house? Or do you think what’s happening here is probably another shooting for a different movie?”

    “Hai, Lakshmi, that was a good one. I will surely remember to tell my dialogue writer to pick up those lines.”

    “Do you remember Mr. Reddy, that producer friend of yours who came last week for dinner?”

    “Oh, you mean the KR Studios owner? How can I ever forget him? He is a big shark in the film industry.”

    “That’s okay. I am not interested in that. But do you remember what he said about Preethi’s dance debut?”

    The moment Raj heard his daughter’s name mentioned his heart melted. To him his only daughter Preethi was everything. His love for his daughter did not bind her or hold her; but allowed her to be free on her own terms. He lavished his affection on her, no doubt. But Preethi was not surely a spoilt child, like most of the celebrities’ children.

    When everyone wanted her to study Film Direction or Acting, she flatly refused and did her Bachelors in Fine Arts. Raj did not interfere with her decision.

    Once she finished her degree she wanted to go deep into classical dancing, Raj encouraged her to do so. He also offered to bring in the best dance-master in the country to teach her at home. Preethi refused. Instead she joined a famous dance school in the city and had now blossomed into a beautiful dancer. Raj had seen her dancing and the perfection and grace in her movements never failed to bring tears to his eyes.

    Preethi never allowed her parents to talk to others about her dancing. But yesterday, before the big-banner producer, K.R.Reddy, Raj’s wife could not resist her temptation to boast about her daughter’s dancing skills. Reddy was basically a big budget man and he did not know how to think small. Lakshmi vividly recalled his generous offer:

    “Reddy offered to celebrate Preethi’s debut performance in a very grand scale. He told us that he would sponsor the programme. He would make the Chief Minister of the State to preside over it and virtually every film-world celebrity to attend the function. That would have been really great, isn’t it? I would have been a proud mother for the whole evening. Pictures in all magazines, hobnobbing with celebrities, Preethi could not ask for a better opening. Right?”

    “Right, Lakshmi. But Preethi wanted some more time to perfect her movements before the grand debut. I have told that to Mr. Reddy and the matter is over. Why are you re-opening the issue, my dear?”

    “Preethi said that she may require six more months to perfect herself. But you know what happened today? Preethi’s classmate phoned up. He told Preethi that he had organised for her debut in a small town in Orissa. And the debut is for ten students. All of them are going to dance in the same stage, one after the other. Preethi is just one among the ten. And Preethi readily agreed to the proposal. I am not happy with her activities, of late. You should…”

    “Wait, wait, wait. How the hell did you know about what the boy talked to Preethi over phone? Did you listen from the extension? Did you overhear the conversation, without her knowing it?”

    His wife did not answer. She just hung down her head.

    “Lakshmi, I have told you several times, don’t do that to Preethi. She is no longer a child. She is a fully-grown up woman. And you have absolutely no right to overhear her conversation. And if the mother herself does not trust her child, who else will? Your attitude is fundamentally wrong, Lakshmi. I know my daughter. She will never go astray.”

    “You are so naïve to think like that. Just mark my words. One day or other she is going to elope with that boy. Then only you will know about my foresight.

    Is it not pretty clear to you, even now? The girl refuses an offer for a grand debut where the entire spotlight will be on her and accepts to dance just one in a crowd of ten. What does that mean? Simple. They are using the debut as an excuse to get out of here and be together in some remote place. Who knows, they might not return. They will marry and settle down there. Now be a father and do your duty. I’ll call Preethi and you just ask her about her Orissa tour. Okay? She will not lie to you. But ask her in a stern voice. Preethi… Preeth.. Come here. Your dad wants to talk to you.”

    Preethi came there with a sullen face. She was clearly annoyed, Raj thought. The mother and daughter should have had a showdown early in the evening, Raj guessed.

    When Raj smiled at his daughter and affectionately placed his hand on her shoulders, she melted and smiled back at him.

    “This is not the time to fondle her. This is the time to question her about the affa..”

    Lakshmi did not utter that word fully, afraid that Raj might shout at her in the presence of her daughter.

    Preethi again wore an annoyed look and was eagerly looking at her father.

    “My dearest, are you eating enough? You have become very thin dear. Can I get you a big bowl of ice-cream, black-currant flavour, your favourite?”

    “Dad, let’s talk straight. Why don’t you follow mom’s instructions and ask me about my affair with that boy?”

    ...Contd in Part II below
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2005
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Debut II

    The Debut
    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy

    There was so much bitterness in her voice that Raj was deeply hurt. He told her with tear-laden eyes.

    “No Preeth. I surely trust you. When I trust you that question is redundant. And when I don’t trust you neither will I trust the answer you give. Either way the question is useless, my dear. And believe me, my dearest, I do trust you.”

    Lakshmi was not happy with this soft line of questioning. Preethi took the matter in her own hands.

    “Why, Dad, you have the right to question me. And I have the responsibility to answer you. So why don’t you ask me?”

    “It is more than enough for a father to know that his daughter is aware of her responsibilities. What else do I need to know? But if you want to say something to me, especially to clear this lady’s doubts, I am all ears.”

    “Dad I am not averse to your friend the big-producer Mr.Reddy. It was very kind of him to have made that magnanimous offer. I thought over it Dad. I knew he would organise my debut in a very grand scale.”

    “Then why the hell did you refuse that offer, you stupid girl?”

    Lakshmi shouted at Preethi.

    “Now Lakshmi, keep quiet. Don’t interfere in our conversation. And never be rude to the child. Okay? You continue, dear.”

    “But Dad, in that grandeur, in that massive celebration, no one will see me as dancer Preethi. I will be viewed as the daughter of a mega-star. Thousands of people may come for the performance. But none of them will be watching my dance. Whatever I do on the stage, they will smother me with words of praise, because I happen to be the only daughter of South’s greatest film star. Dad, you used to say quite often: the most important thing for an artist is her identity.

    In the great debut performance organised by Mr.Reddy, that will precisely be the thing I will lose.

    Yes, Dad, I’ll lose my identity as an individual and viewed as your appendage. I will be simply lost in the crowd of your admirers, Dad.

    But in the Orissa debut, proposed by my friend, none from the audience will know you. They won’t see me as somebody’s daugther. I understand that the small town in Orissa has a few hundred connoisseurs of good dance and music. They will impartially judge my performance and say it on my face, if it’sn’t good. Don’t you think that is the most important requirement for a budding dancer like me?”

    Raj was stunned by his daughter's words. The actor was shedding tears copiously without the aid of glycerine.

    Shabash, my girl, Shabash. I am very proud of you my dearest. And Lakshmi, today is the happiest day in my life. You know why? Before my daughter’s debut as a dancer, she has made her debut as an artist – and a really good one at that. An artist who treasures her identity is sure to become great some day or other. And my sweetest, I tell you, you are going to be the greatest dancer in the whole world.”

    Preethi whispered thanks in a choked voice amidst sobs.

    Raj wiped his tears and continued.

    “Preethi Darling, would you do me a favour? Just tell me where that place in Orissa is. Give me the date and time of your debut. Even if I have shooting on that day, I’ll cancel it and visit that place. I will come alone, dear. Not as Actor Raj but as a father. And if the audience appreciates your dancing, you know what I will do? I will just lift my head high and cry to the whole world, “I am Preethi’s father.” And that pride, even winning a dozen Oscars in a row – will not give me its equal. I’ll come dear.”

    “Daddy” Preethi flew into her Dad’s arms and started sobbing uncontrollably.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2005
  3. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    Head on her shoulders

    Preethi is a very balanced and levelheaded girl and knows that she has to prove her worth as a dancer. She rightly says that if she had accepted Reddy's offer, her father's fans/sycophants would have praised her to the skies and she wouldn't have had the opportunity to correct her mistakes and improve. Lakshmi is a pushy, ambitious mother. Agreed, that she wants a mega opening for her daughter - but she doesn't realise that a seed can thrive only if dispersed far away, not under the shade of a Banyan tree. Varalotti has brought out the father-daughter bond in a very understanding and touching manner. But the story seems to have ended abruptly. I was waiting to read about the dance programme in Orissa and its aftermath - ideas were running in my mind! Perhaps Preethi just played on her father's unconditional love and trust and later eloped or Lakshmi refused to talk to anyone at home because her wishes were thwarted...Or is there another climax contest in the offing?!
    Sharada
     
  4. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Sharada for the nice words!

    Thanks Sharada for brining out the very essence of the story in a few sentences. It is rare to find persons like Preethi nowadays. In fact this was the first story where I had named the main character, Preethi, which incidentally happens to be my daughter's name. I once saw a poster for the debut of Super Star Rajni's daughter. The poster kindled the story. If you have started thinking about the Orissa debut then I have succeeded in my mission in potentially disturbing the reader. Thanks once again, Sharada.
    sridhar
     
  5. ambika ananth

    ambika ananth Bronze IL'ite

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    A very good story..

    "A person who works with his hands is a labourer, a person who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman, and a person who works with his hands, brain and heart is an 'artist' !

    Shridhar, you conceived the character of Preeti so beautifully as an 'artist', one feels like having a daughter like her, very level-headed, responsible and with a disciplined approach to dance. She is a role model to present day youngsters who hanker after praises and adulation. But a mother's worry about her daughter is a natural issue, which you made it sound a little harsh. None-the-less, the father's role stands so impressive, we forget everything else. Understanding and trust are great binding factors between parents and children, and you succeeded fabulously in bringing out in a very smooth flowing story.
    Sometimes when the ending is left to the readers's imagination, it will have its own effect...they ruminate on the story and will visualize the end ...
    A very good story sridhar...
    Thanks
    ambika
     
  6. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    Star kids

    All kids of stars are brought up with a silver spoon in their mouths - and they get good launches, especially in the film industry. But some of them after the initial hoo-haa fall flat. It takes more than a starry background to succeed. I'm sure your daughter is as balanced as the Preethi in your story.
    Sharada
     
  7. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    Good One Sridhar...........

    Hello Sridhar,

    I’ve come across someone like this character, Preethi during my school days. She was much elder to me. Her name was Sudha – she was an intellectual and wanted to pursue her studies abroad. .

    But her Mother was only interested in getting her married off to a rich family. Sudha promised her Mom that if she fails she would listen to her MOm. Her Mom used to hope and pray that her daughter would fail or take less percentage so she wouldn’t go abroad for her higher studies.

    Never met her again but heard she topped the university and went abroad and settled very well.

    Sudha also had all the support of her Dad and they shared a beautiful relationship which was everyone’s envy…..

    Now, I think everyone would want to have a daughter like Preethi (Sudha)..

    Sridhar, as usual another beautiful story....

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2005
  8. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks a Ton, Ambika and Meena

    Ambika, an artist is happy only when people see the art in the same way he sees it. Tamil Film Director KB used to say that when people appreciate his Direction exactly in the same way he thought and planned that they would that would make doubly happy and that's the greatest reward a person could get. You have conferred that reward on me, Ambika. Agreed the mother's character is a little harsh. In fact when my wife read the story she was a little cross that the mother's character is portrayed like that (as preethi happens to be my daughter's name also). The best remark came from my sister who said:'sridhar, you are not as loving as the father portrayed in the story; nor your wife as harsh as you have picturised.'
    I wrote this story in a very short snippet form which was published in Tamil. I was not happy with the size of the story. Then wrote it in English which was published by Womans Era.Thanks for the nice words, Ambika.

    Meena, I am happy that the story kindled thoughts about someone in real life. In fact to me the greatest success a writer can aspire for is to make the reader identify with someone or something in her life. In the story Preethi behaves in that way precisely because her father has given her that much of freedom and more than anything else has that much of confidence in her. If we shower love on our children without holding them to us or binding them to our desires, I am sure, we will have a daughter like Preethi in every house. Thanks for the nice words, Meena.
    sridhar
     
  9. orion80

    orion80 Platinum IL'ite

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    Varlotti Sir,

    You might say that i am repeating again and again but i have the same thing to say "excellent story and narration" :bowdown

    This story sends out a strong message to people like Lakshmi (not me Big Laugh) if parents dont trust their children, then who will. But it is also the responsibility of the parents to make the children realise that freedom and responsibility come as a package. Else they will grow up to be spoilt brats

    Just my thoughts..:yes:

    -Lakshmi
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Lakhsmi,

    It is very kind of you to have revived a three year old thread, which then languished for want of views and fb.

    Great thoughts. If only Raj, Preethi's father had heard those lines,he would have asked his dialogue writer to pick them up for his next movie.

    thanks once again, Lakshmi.
    Lakshmi, did you by any chance read my new serial story? A LOVE STORY?
    Here's the link to the first episode. Read it when you feel like it.
    http://www.indusladies.com/forums/saturdays-with-varalotti/30922-a-love-story-episode-1-a.html
    regards,

     

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