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The Investigation

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    The Investigation Part I

    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy


    The Chief of the private security bureau could not guess what kind of assignment the plain-looking woman was going to entrust to him. Soon after the names were exchanged the lady blurted out:

    “Investigation. A thorough investigation is what I want. And that too right now.”

    “Sure. But we need to know the full background before we can accept the assignment. Please don’t hold back any information from us.”

    Rekha started to talk. Nobody forced her to become the second wife of Bollywood’s super-hero Raj. When he proposed to her, she was only confused. She sought her best friend Asha’s counsel.

    "See this picture Rekha. She is your hero's first wife. See the figure. Can you hope to hold a candle to this gorgeous creature? She is Bollywood’s top heroine. Worth several crores. Do you think any man in his senses would divorce this woman to marry someone like you? I am not clear about his intentions."

    Rekha looked at her puny body and unattractive face and decided to say a firm no to Raj.

    But when Raj held her hands in the semi darkness of Hotel Taj and whispered sweet nothings to her and asked her hand in marriage Rekha simply melted and buried her face in his shoulders. Some thing in his eyes and the way he talked broke through all the defences that Rekha had built around her. She was married to Raj the next week.

    Rekha then talked about the present crisis. She repeated every word in the gossip column of the weekly she held in her hand:

    ‘This bird has reliable news that Raj has renewed his connections with his ex, the sexy heroine. What else could he do? His last two movies were flops and he is reeling in debt. Perhaps he thinks that by going again with his first wife he could get back the luck of his olden days! We only pity the hero's present wife, a simple looking simpleton who is just a housewife - that is - his wife only when he is in the house!'

    Though it was extraneous for the investigation Rekha could not help expressing her fears. Suppose Raj makes up with his ex-wife Neha and decide to unite again in life, leaving Rekha in the lurch! She will have sufficient money, no doubt. But she will have to remain alone for the rest of her life? For who will marry an average woman like her and that too after knowing that a celebrity like Raj had divorced her?

    What Rekha said was only one side of the story. The other side could come only from Raj. And had he been present there, his version would have been completely different:

    Raj was tired of the dazzling beauties of the film-world and was looking for a homely girl when his eyes chanced upon Rekha. Her plain looks and her feminine pride in not falling for his looks attracted him.

    After marriage Raj poured all his love and affection on Rekha. On the wedding night Raj gifted her a sparkling diamond necklace. They had an exotic honeymoon at Switzerland. For a while Rekha was smothered in love and costly presents.

    Raj used to come home for supper everyday. They would eat together talking about the happenings of the day. Raj would enquire about her day making her feel that her day as a housewife was as important as his as a film star.

    After dinner Raj would hold Rekha’s hands and continue to talk about so many things in life; the book he had read recently, the story which he was shooting at present, the whims of his Director and so on. He would also listen to whatever Rekha had to say.

    The trouble started when Raj offered to take Rekha along for outdoor shootings. Rekha who had nothing to do in the mornings insisted on visiting the shooting spot and there lied the problem. She was not used to the ways of the tinsel world. She could not bear to see the heroine holding her husband tight and kissing him right on his lips. Nor could she tolerate the women artists holding Raj’s hand while talking to him. She could not digest the filmi- style of relationships where the glamorous heroines greeted Raj by kissing him even though they were off-camera.

    When they were left alone Raj would take pains to explain:

    "Rekha, Bollywood is a world in itself having its own rules. This is a field where men and women work together in close contact, day and night. Given the circumstances nobody is above board. I don’t say I am pure. I have had so many women in the past. But those days are all over. Today even if the bikini-clad heroine is lying on my lap I don't feel a thing, because I am so used to it and it’s part of my job. But you might find it odd. If you are uncomfortable you need not come to the spot, dear. "

    "Then you can freely fool around with those buxom creatures. That's what you want, right?"

    Raj would smile in exasperation.
     
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  2. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Investigation Part II

    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy

    “MadamI get the picture. Now to the brass tacks. Investigating a celebrity like Raj is a risky assignment. But we shall do it for you. We have to trail him round the clock for at least a month to gather solid evidence. It will cost you around one and a half lakhs payable in advance.”

    Rekha thought over the payment. She did not have that much of cash. Any withdrawal from the bank might raise some eyebrows. Rekha looked at the necklace Raj had gifted her on her wedding night.

    “I shall remit the payment in a day or two.”

    A month flew by.

    “Ma’am, our boys have done a fine job. They have been shadowing Raj and his ex-wife Neha for the past one-month and have recorded whatever went between them. And here’s the evidence.”

    The Chief ceremoniously handed over a box containing a number of audio-cassettes, a pile of papers and photographs to Rekha.

    Rekha did not have the courage to listen to those nasty things all by herself. She called her friend Asha to be by her side. She had already told her about the investigation and the sale of her necklace.

    Rekha inserted the first cassette into the system. She sunk into the sofa by Asha’s side and waited for the inevitable.

    “Raj dear, Neha here. The date is confirmed. Coming Wednesday. But I want you to be here on Monday morning itself. And the four days we should have only for ourselves..."

    "Neha.... I have not told Rekha yet...How..."

    "C'mon Raj. We are in the cine world. Do we need a dialogue writer to invent reasons and excuses? Just tell her you have an outdoor schedule at Lonavala for four days. "

    Rekha was shattered. The conversation showed the power Raj's ex still had over him. And this man... what happened to him? Why such a meek response? Rekha was prepared for the worst. Asha was fuming.

    The next to come was a face to face talk between the two. There was huskiness in Neha's voice suggesting extreme intimacy between the two.

    "Raj, my dearest, you know the greatest blunder I committed in my life was losing you. You can never find a greater fool than me in this world."

    “Neha, it is already midnight. Why don’t you sleep now? We have a lot to do tomorrow."

    “No Raj, if I miss this opportunity I might not get another. Those days I was very proud of my beauty. And that pride made me insensitive to your soft and tender love. It was much later did I realise that I was surrounded by people who had one eye on my body and another on my money."

    "Neha, don't exert yourself too much. We can talk tomorrow. Now please close your eyes and try to get some sleep, dear."

    "Raj, when we were honeymooning in Darjeeling you used to sing a song. Will you please sing that again, one last time for me?"

    Raj started to sing:

    "Mere samne vaali kidukee me

    Ek chandh ka tukada rahtha hai..."

    rendering was so emotional that Rekha could not resist her tears. She also thought, 'You rascal your love for Neha is still deep. Why the hell did you marry me? To wreck my life?’

    Rekha pressed the stop button ejected out the cassette and inserted another.

    It opened with Neha’s words. But this time the tone was different.

    "Raj, everything is finished. My beauty, my glamour, my career, my stardom, my image - sab kuch katham. Why should I live, tell me? God has punished me. A proud woman always ends up like this."

    Rekha could hear Neha sobbing. 'What was she saying? Why should her career end now? What happened to her beauty?' The answers came soon.
     
  3. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Investigation Part III

    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy


    “Neha it is really sad that this should happen at the prime of your career. To lose your breasts to cancer when you are hardly thirty is really a cruel twist of fate. But don't look at it as a punishment for your pride. As school children grow up to go to college one day, so you have grown up from a glamorous star to a matured woman. You have been on the top. You have earned in crores. It’s now time to climb down and look for your soul mate. With all the riches you have, you can live a prosperous life, Neha. You have had the rare blessing of quitting the show when the going is still good. What more can you ask for?"

    "Raj, had you not been with me during this crisis hour I would have killed myself. But I am a horrible creature, Raj. I have never tried to understand your love. I have been vain and selfish all along."

    Raj did not speak. The silence that followed Neha’s words was pregnant with a lot of meanings. Rekha was weeping silently. Asha was looking the other side probably to hide her tears.

    After a while Neha re-opened the conversation.

    "Raj, I do not know the art of talking in soft words. You are an expert in it. But I know only to talk business like a Bollywood producer. So let me put it my way. Will you hear me out, Raj?"

    "Sure."

    “Raj I have been enquiring about you. I know that all your recent movies were failures and that you are in deep financial trouble. Many youngsters have come into the field and you are no longer the super hero which you once were. And your wife! She suspects your fidelity and has been nagging you constantly about this actress and that actress."

    Rekha was shocked. How did she know?

    “How long are you going to live like this, Raj? With the mounting debts and a nagging wife? I have a simple solution for you. I will sell some of my properties and clear off your loans. I will also finance all your new ventures so that you can regain your place in Bollywood. But in return for all these I want you and only you. Nothing else. I don't mind even if you do not legally divorce your wife. You should come to live with me. Let us not marry. It is enough if you hold my hands and talk to me for an hour every day. The rest of the day you are free to be with any one you like. You take all my properties. I shall transfer them to you. But please, please Raj; accept me as your slave. Will you?"

    Rekha anxiously waited for her husband's response to that difficult-to-refuse offer. Words came out loud and clear from Raj.

    "Neha, I can sense your desperation. But it is too late, dear. Even after we were divorced I waited for two full years in the hope that you will come back to me one day. But you didn't. But now things have changed. Another woman has entered into my life. I can't say I am very happy with my wife. But Rekha is basically a very nice person. The problem with her is she can’t understand the ways of our cine world. That's her only weakness. And she loves me so much that she cannot bear to see another woman touching me even if it is just for acting. But I am sure; sooner or later she will accept the realities and reciprocate the love I have for her. Neha, when you called me in your crisis, I decided to come not as your ex-husband but just as your old friend. I saw you only as a child deprived of its favourite toy and rushed to you to wipe your tears. I have never crossed the line of friendship. Even then I feel guilty that I have come without informing Rekha.

    Neha, many times in our lives, we are rendered mercilessly alone and that too especially when we are facing the toughest problems in our lives. We cannot look for allies in the battlefield of life always. At times we have to fight alone. I think both of us are in such a situation right now. For me, the failure of my movies, mounting debts and a wife who cannot understand. And you - in spite of your massive wealth - are alone without a true friend or a real relationship. Suppose you and I unite again both my problems and your problems will vanish. And there will be happiness all around for both of us. But you know the price I have to pay for that? Rekha's life. She will be crushed in the process. I have to stab her in the back and give her a sentence of life long loneliness. Now that is the worst betrayal, Neha. I won't do that even at the threat of my life. I tell you even if I am not able to solve my financial problems at all even if I am not able to make Rekha understand me till my death even then I will be with Rekha only. “

    Even Asha could not fully muffle her sobs. Rekha was crying shamelessly. The metallic voice of Raj continued on the tape.

    “And you Neha, find out a partner for yourself so that at least the rest of your life becomes meaningful. That is the best solution for you. Let this be our last meeting. Don't even try to talk to me over phone. Rekha will be hurt. I wish you a speedy recovery and a good fulfilling life thereafter. Good bye, Neha."

    Rekha could distinctly hear the sound of steps walking away and the sobs of Neha.

    Rekha stopped the cassette. She was sobbing uncontrollably. Her dear friend had no words to console her. She thought letting her cry would be the best therapy for her. After a while she spoke.

    “I am ashamed of you Rekha. Having lived with Raj for two years you have not understood him. See the price you have paid for your suspicion. You have lost the diamond necklace, your wedding gift."

    Rekha wiped the tears off and spoke firmly.

    "So what? What if I lost the Diamond necklace? I still have a priceless diamond worth a million times more than the necklace I sold. I mean my Raj. He alone is sufficient for me. Even if we lose all our wealth and are reduced to begging in the street I will be the happiest woman in the world begging food for my dearest Raj. I am prepared for anything, anything, just to live with that great man."

    Rekha was so overwhelmed with emotions that she broke down.
     
  4. Nila

    Nila New IL'ite

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    Interesting to read, Varalotti.

    Many times we easily comment about filmstars, not only about how they perform but also about their personal life. But very rarely we get to know how much they lose in their personal life in exchange to the name and fame they gain!!
     
  5. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, Nila

    Thanks a lot, Nila. Many of my stories happen in the filmi-world. But I have chosen to show the stars as someone with flesh and blood and more importantly heart. Most of us do not hesitate to condemn the film-stars for their lack of character, promiscuity and way-ward life. We forget for a moment, Nila, their circumstances. They have to work day and night closely with the members of the opposite sex. It is very difficult to be perfectly moral in this setting. One raider I always pose to the normal 9to 5 office goers is this. Given the same set of circumstances as a film actor or actress, you will be more immoral, more vile than they are.
    I am very happy, Nila, that you took the right message of the story to appreciate me. Thanks a ton for your nice words.
    varalotti,
    sridhar
     
  6. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Nice Snippet Varalotti!

    VEry touching. We see so many Rekhas and Nehas in our real life.But a person like Raj is a rare piece of gem and lets hope more such Raj's Exist in our society! Nice story Varalotti!


    regards,
    Purnima
    (ps - i have written the review of Zahir in writing skills thread. PLs let me know your opinions on the same)
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Purnima!

    Dear Purnima,
    thanks for the nice words about an old story of mine. I did read your review of Zahir. Nice job. I have to just read it once more and then give my view. You are doing a great job, Purnima, Keep it up.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  8. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Yippeeee i passed my exam!

    Your words were soo nice. Now i am waiting for my marks(?). Thank you very mucb varalotti,you dont know how nice you have made me feel!

    Purnima
    (ps - eagerly awaiting your formal comments!)
     
  9. vashini

    vashini Bronze IL'ite

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    Thank God! I would have miss it!

    Dearest Sridhar,

    What can I say about it Sridhar. As usual your story always touches my heart and lunges me with lovely sentiments. Your words will always make me continue reading without having a break until the story ends. And the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">high point</st1:place></st1:City> of your stories is besides giving beautiful stories you also pass on the emotions, messages and moral values to your readers. Not only making them judge the situation you also make them live as the character of the stories itself. The proof for this, you can just read what other readers write on their feedback and me myself who have bear the same feelings as others. And I can’t deny honoring thoughtful opinions, ideas and judgments that you provide through the stories. For example your ‘Love Letter’ has brought a very good message. I solute and admire your courage to bring out the issue of loneliness faced by a woman whose husband is aboard. (I will talk about it in detail in my later feedback to it). And as a woman, I would like to pay tribute to you for that (No chance for a woman to daringly bring out the issue but now you has conveyed their feelings to the society on their behalf. exp: to the males).
    Now, let me move on to “The Investigation”. In a husband and wife relationship trust is the main key that keeps holding them together. When the trust shakes even a bit that’s it, troubles will dive and no peace or love retains between the couple. The investigation carried out by Rekha has broken the rule of ‘trusting each other’ in a husband and wife relationship. Let me reveal my judgment on her as she is the main character this sory. First the negative point, she has doubt on her husband and carry out an investigation which lead her to lose her wedding gift. In my opinion it would be better if she straight forwardly discuss the matter with Raj and doesn’t bring outsiders into the matter. When she can discuss the problem with her best friend Asha, why not with Raj. Even thought Raj knows nothing about the investigation but just imagine how hurtful he will be when he came to know bout it. But the good thing regarding her act is, it is better to clear the doubt and live happily rather then living with the doubts. I really like the statement made by her at the end of the story.

    "So what? What if I lost the Diamond necklace? I still have a priceless diamond worth a million times more than the necklace I sold. I mean my Raj. He alone is sufficient for me. Even if we lose all our wealth and are reduced to begging in the street I will be the happiest woman in the world begging food for my dearest Raj. I am prepared for anything, anything, just to live with that great man."


    What she said is right. Nothing wrong if she lost the diamond that won’t give any meaning or happiness to her when she lost her husband due to the silly doubt she had.
    I also feel that we can’t blame her for doubting her husband. What can she do? She is not in acting field like Raj to understand the rules of the ground. And moreover Raj’s creates the situation to doubt him by meeting her ex without Rekha’s knowledge.

    Happy Raj made the right decision to stay with Rekha. That shows the real love he has for Rekha. Things like this can be avoided if husband and wife love and understand each other well. They should discuss with each other to solve any problems occur. Thanks Sridhar for passing me the story if not I would have miss such a wonderful story.

    Love,
    Vashini
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Re: Thank God! I would have miss it!

    Dear, dear Vaashini,
    Your words move me to tears. Writers are very brittle artists and they have to thrive only on the good words they hear about their work.
    I am not replying to your fb, word by word. It was so wholesome that I enjoyed it by reading it again and again. In those days (2001-2005) I was regularly writing for Womens Era. I should have published some 100 stories in that period. The Investigation is one of them.
    Only a few hours back I was talking to my publisher (about my new book). (His name Sethu Chokalingam, and from him I designed my character Sethuramalingam in ALS, Arun's publisher)
    I had sent in my preface for the new book. He was quite ecstatic about the preface and told me that he was printing it without even changing a word.
    Believe me Vaashini when I read your fb, my happiness was no less.
    Encouraged by your fb, I am now planning to make this into a fullfledged Tamil novel.
    Thanks once again.
    love,
    sridhar
     

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