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The Scandal

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Scandal – Part I

    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy




    Ma, the whole village is aflame with the scandal! All about Dad and Kamala! And you look as if nothing has happened!”

    “What’s the matter?”

    “Are you really this much ignorant, or are you just kidding?”

    “Raghu first tell me what the scandal is all about?”

    “Ma, you know Dad left home yesterday evening. Has not returned yet. You really don’t know where did he stay last night, what was he doing all the time?”

    “He got a message yesterday afternoon that Kamala was serious and was about to die. You know who Kamala is? Yes, one of the practitioners of the oldest profession. A prostitute of yesteryears!

    “As soon as Dad heard the news he ran to her house. I thought innocently, that he being a Priest is rushing to do his duty to the lady’s soul at the moment of death.

    “But you know what he did? He held the dying woman in his lap, administered the ritual of final abandonment, usually given to a person born of the highest class and allowed her to die peacefully. Even that is pardonable.

    “After her death he called other priests and with their help did the last rites for that lady. He lit the funeral pyre and did every thing, which only a husband can do to his deceased wife.

    “The great Sharmaji himself lighting the funeral pyre of a village whore! My God, what a scandal! The entire village is now talking about it. They say that Dad had had a secret life with her. I am dying of shame. And here you are planning the evening’s menu!”

    “Look here Raghu, to me whatever your father does is right. That’s all.”

    Raghu heard the distinctive knocks on the main door.

    “Your husband has returned after a hard day at the cremation ground. Go and receive him. And that’s what doormats like you will do!”

    Lakshmi ignored her son’s insults and ran to the door. Sharma stood there with a hard face.

    “Please be here for a moment. I will bring some hot water for you.”

    Sharma was silent.

    Lakshmi ran to the bathroom to fetch the water. Sharma squatted on the floor near the main door while Lakshmi gently poured the water on him. That was the usual custom whenever Sharma returned home after officiating as a priest at a funeral.

    “I have got more hot water for you in the bathroom. Have a nice bath. Food is ready. Do you want anything else?”

    Sharma shook his head and walked in.

    Sharma was lying on his bed, deeply immersed in thought. Soon Lakshmi joined him. She started massaging Sharma’s legs.

    Sharma rose with a start.

    “Lakshmi, my dearest, won’t you ask something about it? The entire village is laughing at me and my connections with Kamala.

    You are the only person in the whole world who has the right to ask about that. If any one else asks, my answer is ‘Go to hell!’.

    “Listen, you are welcome to say that if it will comfort you. But if I can trust you only after hearing your explanation, our forty years of married life bears no meaning.”

    Sharmaji’s eyes were full with tears. He grabbed his wife’s hands with his. There was silence for a while before Sharma started the narration.

    “Yes, Lakshmi, I did the last rites of Kamala as her husband. But believe me Lakhsmi there was nothing between us. What I did was just an expression of gratitude.”

    Sharma’s father was the village purohit. He not only trained his son in priestly duties, but provided him with secular education as well.

    The period was late fifties. Sharma had completed SSC and was waiting for a job.

    Those were the heydays of Kamala, a shapely buxom woman who was flourishing in the oldest profession. All the big shots of the surrounding villages were Kamala’s customers.

    Kamala was shunned by the society. When people met her on the road, they will turn their faces to the other side or try hard to suppress a giggle. Some even spat on the road when they saw her.

    The young Sharma never understood the logic. The people were all respects for the rich men who were Kamala’s customers; but to Kamala they had nothing but contempt and humiliation. If what Kamala did was wrong then the rich men should also be shunned with equal fervour. Sharma could not understand the chauvinistic society.

    Once when he was returning from the temple, he saw Kamala seated on the steps of the village tank, all alone, immersed in thought. Her beautiful eyes were a cesspool of grief on that day. Sharma’s heart went out to her. There was no one around. Sharma boldly went to her and sat by her side.

    “Here, take this sweet. Whatever problems you have, they will simply go away. May you be blessed.”

    Kamala saw the loving face of a young priest and soon burst out crying.

    “Sharmaji, I have been treated as an outcaste by every one in the village. But you talk to me as if I am a human being with a mind and heart. In fact you are the first man ever to do so. May you and your family live happily for a thousand years!”

    No more words were exchanged between them. But both felt comfortable in each other’s company. Kamala did not want to share her problems with the youngish looking priest. But she no doubt got solace from his sitting by her side.

    Sharma stood up after a while smiled at her and left the place.


    Check-out Part II...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2005
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  2. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Scandal – Part II

    The Scandal – Part II

    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy

    As soon as Sharma got a job as a cashier in a big company in the nearby town, he married Lakshmi. Sharma lived in the village and commuted to his office by bus daily. Six months into the marriage, Sharma was in a grave crisis.

    Sharma’s Manager misappropriated the office cash and cleverly shifted the blame to Sharma. An Officer came from the Head Office of the company in Delhi to investigate the affair. He grilled the Manager and Sharma for four days before showing his true colours.

    “Mr.Sharma, looks like you are also to blame, in the sense you were a little careless. But something tells me that the Manager has stolen the money. Everything depends on my report. Whosoever I accuse will be dismissed and handed over to police for criminal action.

    That crook – the manager – has offered me enormous money and is ready to give whatever I ask for. But I don’t want to go to his side. At the same time I don’t want to favour you without getting anything from you.”

    “But Sir, I don’t have any money. I am the only son of a village purohit.”

    “Who wants money Sharmaji? You see …. You see…..I have a taste for good females. I hear that you are newly married. If you just let me stay in your house for a night, I hope you understand the message……”

    Sharma got wild and threw the file on the officer’s face and ran out.

    Not knowing what to do he went to the village tank and was squatting on its steps, fully immersed in grief.

    It was pretty late in the night when Kamala spotted Sharma on the same place where their earlier meeting had taken place.

    “Sharmaji, like what you said the other day, here’s sweet. Whatever worries you have will simply go away. Please take this. May you be blessed.”

    Sharma saw the proffered sweet and burst out sobbing. Kamala affectionately placed her hand on his shoulder.

    Sharma told everything to her, down to the last detail of the officer’s outrageous demand.

    “I don’t mind losing the job, Kamala. I have never been enamoured by that job. If I am arrested, there cannot be a greater dishonour to our family. I will have to kill myself. There is no other way out.”

    Sharma started to sob again.

    “Just sitting here and crying won’t solve your problem. That blackguard is going to nail you. That’s for sure. Now I have a suggestion. Come closer.”

    Sharma jumped up in shock on hearing her idea.

    “No, Kamala. This is even more horrible than that.”

    “Sharmaji, think practically. My profession is prostitution. I don’t see any difference in the customers I entertain. Just send a word to that crook that you are ready to receive him. Give my house address as yours.

    Tell him not to ask any one else. You be in my house when he comes and introduce me as your wife. I’ll take care of the rest.”

    Sharma reluctantly agreed to the plan.

    Late in the night the investigating officer left Kamala’s house with a sheepish grin after shaking hands with Sharma.

    Sharma ran home and asked his wife Lakshmi to give all the jewellery she had in the house. Lakshmi obliged without as much as uttering a word.

    Sharma ran to Kamala’s house again. He placed the bag containing the jewellery at her feet and prostrated before her.

    “Kamala, to me you are none other than the Goddess I am worshipping every day. Please take this offering from this poor devotee. Whatever I give, say or do will not be equal to one-millionth of what you did for me.”

    “What is this Sharmaji? Please get up. You are a well-read religious brahmin and you are falling at the feet of a whore. Get up, I say.”

    “I salute your greatness, Kamala.”

    “Sharmaji, it’s I who should thank you. Till now my body has been used only as an outlet for the vulgar passions of morally depraved men. But today it was used to help a good man. My life has not been lived in vain, Sharmaji.”

    “Kamala, you must accept these jewels. Otherwise I won’t leave the place.”

    “Relax Sharmaji. Jewels, I have in plenty. If you insist on giving me something, allow me to name that. If you say you can’t give that, I’ll understand.”

    “Whatever it is, even if it’s my life, it’s yours”.

    “I have lived a life of shame. I have been rich, famous, prosperous and even happy at times. But I have never been honourable in this life. Honour is what I want from you.”

    “But Kamala how can I give that to you?”

    “You can, Sharmaji. But not now. When I die you should come to see me. You should give me a decent funeral and you should personally light my funeral pyre. What a husband does to his dead wife, you should do to me. Will you do that?”

    “Kamala, I swear on the honour of my wife, which you saved by your noble act, that if I am alive when you die, I will definitely do that.”

    “That’s enough Sharmaji. I will die happily. May you and your family be blessed with everything.”

    The investigating officer cleared Sharma of all charges. Sharma resigned his job and became a full-time purohit.

    “Lakshmi, do you think what I did was wrong? Is it wrong to honour one’s promise given to a person who protected the family’s honour? Tell me Lakshmi, did I do anything wrong?”

    Lakshmi was in tears and could not bring herself to speak anything.

    Raghu entered the room and fell at his father’s feet.

    “Father, will you please forgive this foolish son of yours, who, not knowing your greatness, joined the villagers in ridiculing you? I am proud to be your son, Dad.

    As a retribution, I promise, Dad, that I will perform the annual ceremony in honour of Kamala, in the same manner a son would do to his deceased mother.

    Will you forgive me Dad?”

    Sharma stood up and hugged his son. He wanted to say so many things; but he could only sob on his son’s shoulders.
     
    4 people like this.
  3. sharika

    sharika Senior IL'ite

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    Nice!!!!
    I really enjoyed it.
    Thanx!!!!
    :):):)
     
  4. sheeba

    sheeba Junior IL'ite

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    Awesome stories

    Hello Varalotti,
    I started reading your other story 'The Scar' seeing the rating and reviews by the ladies here. That story was so touching, that I got tempted to read this one 'The Scandal' too.

    Made me feel good being a woman on reading about such kind hearted, lovable and self-less women!
     
  5. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks a ton, Sheeba. I am very happy that my story has touched the hearts of some of the most well-meaning in the world. I would be posting a story once in ten days. All stories are focused on women and children. Please do read them and give your comments.
    I am also posting some tidbits in the Snippets section. Do read them also.
    regards,
    varalotti
     
  6. orion80

    orion80 Platinum IL'ite

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    Very touching.. Varlotti sir :bowdown

    Kamala: Has a heart of gold... shows that great people are discovered in most unexpected places and circumstances
    Lakshmi: I am stunned by her dedication and devotion to her husband and the way she believed and stood by him
    Sharma: Hats off to the person who kept his word at any cost

    Suddenly i am at a loss for words.. considering that i am a chatterbox... bonk
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks a lot, Lakshmi. The tributes you have paid to my characters is quite moving.
    thanks once again.
    love,
    sridhar
     
  8. anukvs

    anukvs Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Varalotti,

    A touching n amazing story. Am choking and almost in the brim of tears.

    Hats off to you.

    anu
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Anu,
    thanks a lot. The story was written 3 years ago. It was published in a Tamil news magazine.
    thanks for the fb, anu.
    sridhar

     
  10. anushakmurthy

    anushakmurthy New IL'ite

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    There are still a lot of good people with good intentions though they are deprived of a normal life with good self esteem which most of us look forward to.
    I have seen my servant once talk about one such person in real life, who makes sure other women who she deals with or seeks her help are morally good though she doesnt have a great character herself.

    The moral is... no matter whatever you go through in life, if there is a chance for you to help someone, go ahead and do it by putting aside your worries.

    I also liked Lakshmi's character...i wonder how women could be without questioning their husband especially when she know he visisted a prostitute's house though she is blinded to the other side of the story...strange...but appreciate her for the space she has given her husband and trust she has in him.


    Thanks again for one more good story.

    Cheers!
    -Anusha
     

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