Lakshmi had only one passion in life - to become an advertising model. She was a natural beauty – very tall with large eyes, long,thick hair and a very attractive face. Lakshmi was born as the eldest daughter of a middle class family. Her father sent her to a college in the nearby metro – something unusual in her otherwise orthodox family. Lakshmi stayed in the hostel and studied for a degree in Mass Communications. She did some smalltime modelling assignments on the side. She also attended a few expensive courses on modelling. Everyone assured her that she was born to be a model and that she had a tremendous future in that fiercely competitve profession. Meanwhile Lakshmi’s parents had started talking about her marriage. It was a foregone conclusion in the family that she should marry her cousin Shiva – her mother’s brother’s son – a rich landlord in his native village. Shiva was a typical feudal lord who led a lazy life given to pleasures. Wining and Womanising were his two great specialisations. Lakshmi shuddered at the very thought of being a doormat of a wife to such a worthless person. Lakshmi hesitantly told her parents about her passion and begged them to put off the marriage citing some reason or other. Her mother would not hear anything of that sort. Her marriage to Shiva had been fixed when she was six and Shiva was ten and there was no question of going back on the word given already. Lakshmi cried, refused to eat and threatened that she would kill herself if they went ahead with the marriage. Her father finally relented. He gave a practical solution – that they should agree on a time frame of one year. If within that time Lakshmi could secure at least one prestigious modelling assignment – she should appear in the TV - then the marriage would be put off. But if that did not happen she should agree for the marriage. Lakshmi’s mother also agreed to the deal. ‘One year is a lot of time’ – Lakshmi thought and agreed to the arrangement. Her father had even promised a small allowance to sustain her during that one year period. Lakshmi found her some lodgings as a paying guest in the nearby metropolis. She hired a professional photographer who prepared a wonderful album for her. Armed with that album Lakshmi went to one ad agency after another. Nothing clicked. It was a jungle out in the open. Nothing could be done unless you had the proper connections. Ten months flew by without Lakshmi making an inch of progress. Now Lakshmi was desperate. She had made up her mind to kill herself if she could not get the break she was looking for. It was at that time that Raj spotted her. Raj was a young Director of a large ad agency. Raj saw Lakshmi’s album and was immediately hooked by her naturally beautiful looks. After a preliminary interview and a make-up test Raj promised to sign her up for a major detergent compaign which was going to start within two weeks. Lakshmi was on Cloud Nine. She was going to sign her first modelling contract the next day. She was going to appear on TV within a month. She would win the deal she had made with her family. She would permanently escape from the clutches of Shiva – a womaniser and a drunkard. Raj called her in the evening for one more round of make-up test. Lakshmi rushed to the studio. Raj was alone. He did not mince words. He said straight on her face that unless she agreed to sleep with him she would not get the assignment. He told her that that was the industry standard and that he had slept with all the models in the field. He was not forcing her. She could take it or leave it. She would have an hour to decide. Lakshmi was rendered speechless. On the one side was the lurking danger of getting married to Shiva and living a life of eternal pain; on the other side was the lucrative modelling field but there was a huge price to be paid for that. Was the game worth the candle? She thought and thought……..and finally said ‘Yes’ to Raj. She reasoned to herself – that the alternatives were getting married to Shiva and killing herself. And both were almost the same. Do you approve of Lakshmi’s choice?