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HE - Episode 4

Discussion in 'HE - Serial Story' started by varalotti, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    HE

    A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy


    Episode 4


    Timeline B


    I have a policy of tipping the staff right in the beginning. So please accept this from me.”

    Sharada was flashing a thousand Rupee-note in her hand when she said that.

    Sethu saw Mythili sitting there at the other end of the room with a long face.

    “I too have a policy, Ma’am, of not accepting tips from those I have not yet learnt to respect.”

    Sethu cast a pointed glance at Mythili. Sharadha did not know what to do. Sethu walked out of the room.

    Mythili jumped from her seat.

    “Sharada this is too much. I wanted you to punish him for his impertinence. You offered him money. That blackguard threw it back on your face. Come let’s talk to the Manager. I want this arrogant fool out of the hotel right away.”

    Sharada failed in her attempt to pacify her. Mythili was Sharada’s distant relative. She had had a role to play in moulding Sharada’s career in dance. Sharada had to give in to her insolent demand.

    They were directed to Nalini’s cabin. Mythili did not allow Sharada to talk. She poured out her grievance against Sethu. Nalini looked at Sharada straight in her eyes and asked her,

    “Madam, do you like to make this an issue? Do you really want to prefer a complaint against Sethu?”

    Sharada looked at Mythili with pleading eyes. Mythili was adamant.

    “Yes. We do.”

    Nalini’s face fell.

    “Ok, Madam, as you please. I will have to call in Sethu now. Whatever you want to say against him, you will have to do it only in his presence.”

    When Sharada saw Sethu’s elegant form, her heart fluttered. Why on earth should somebody have something against this nice man, Sharada mused.

    But Mythili was hell-bent on getting Sethu out of her way. She spoke vehemently against Sethu for the next ten minutes.

    “Do you have anything to say against this, Sethu?”

    Sharada and Mythili turned sidewards to look at Sethu. He remained calm. He had a smile on his face, something similar to an indulgent smile on a parent’s face while attending on a fussy kid.

    “Nothing, Ma’am.”

    “Ok, Miss Mythili, I want to know whether Sethu was rude in refusing your request?”

    “No he wasn’t. But I want to say that his mere refusal was rude.”

    “Think like this Miss Mythili. Let’s say somebody has invited you to their house to teach music to their child. While waiting for the child to come, suppose the lady of the house asks you to clean the bathroom, what will you do?”

    Mythili was now cornered. But some animals when cornered exhibit a greater degree
    of ferocity.

    “But still I insist that Sethu should apologise to me. Otherwise we won’t have the dance programme today.”

    Nalini felt hurt. She looked pointedly at Sharada and spoke.

    “Madam, I think this is an emotional blackmail. Had this come from any other guest, I would not have given a damn to it. But you, Madam, the one and only Sharada Balakrishnan, is different.

    “I was moved to tears this morning, when 50 Americans stood in queue to greet you. You are part of our national heritage. And before my country’s pride, my self-esteem is nothing.

    “But even then I can’t ask this man to apologise. Because you see, the fault is squarely with me.

    “Do you know that Mr.Sethuraman is an acclaimed expert on body massage and Ayurveda Therapy? Do you know that his Master declared that he is fit to run his Ashram as its head? And yet for some personal reasons he is here with us?

    “And I out of my foolishness, deputed him as your contact person. I find nothing wrong in his actions. But if you insist that only an apology can make you dance, I will apologise, Madam. I will apologise for the grave error of deputing an expert like Sethu to do small chores for you. I am ready to fall at your feet and apologise.”

    “No, Madam. No.” Sethu shouted.

    “Your apologising to these people…” Sethu was so overwhelmed with emotions, that he could not even speak for a while. “… can happen only over my dead body. For your sake, Ma’am, I can swallow my pride and fall at the feet of this lady.”

    It was the primordial ferocity of a son protecting his mother’s dignity.

    There was a charged silence in the room which even Mythili did not want to disturb for a while.

    “But even then….” Mythili resumed her arguments.

    “Shut up Mythili. Enough is enough.”

    Sharada shouted at her. The expression in Sharada’s face frightened Mythili.

    Sharada now looked lovingly at Nalini.

    “Do you mind, if I call you, Nalini?”

    “Absolutely not, Madam.”

    “And please do call me Sharada.”

    Nalini was speechless.

    “I am moved by what I saw here, Nalini. I am now sure of one thing. If someone has to apologise, it’s me. I should not have listened to Mythili.

    “I think that even my offering tips to Mr.Sethuraman was a kind of rudeness. I just wanted to exhibit my money-power and buy him over. It was wrong.

    “Mr.Sethuraman, I am sorry for what this lady did and what I did. Please forgive us. One more request, Mr.Sethu, please continue to be our contact person till we stay in this hotel. We assure you that we will treat you with the dignity you deserve.”

    Sharada folded her hands towards Nalini and Sethu. She then quickly walked out of the room. Mythili virtually ran behind her.

    “I’m not done with him yet.” Mythili hissed.

    “What did you say?” Sharada asked her.

    “Nothing.”

    Mythili was now like a wounded tiger who badly wanted a revenge.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 2!

    Part 2!


    Timeline B

    An hour later Mythili buzzed for Sethu. Sharada was with her.

    Sethu came with a smile. “Yes, Ma’am, what can I do for you?”

    “Mr.Sethuraman, I hear from your GM that you are an expert in body-massage. You see I have been having a sort of vague body-pain for the last two days. Can you please give me a full body massage?”

    ‘When the arrogant bastard gives me a massage, I will make a scene that he misbehaved with me. It is difficult to disprove such a charge.’

    “By all means, Ma’am. Today Miss Kanchana is in charge of the ladies section. If you can come with me to the Health Club, I will see to that Ms. Kanchana herself attends on you.”

    “But Mr.Sethuraman, I want you, the expert, to do that.”

    “I’m sorry, Ma’am. As a matter of policy I don’t attend to ladies.”

    “In many star hotels I have seen ladies attending to men and men attending to ladies. Why is it different here?”

    “No, Ma’am. It is not the hotel’s policy. It is my personal policy. Ms. Kanchana attends to men too. Can we go to the health club now?”

    “No. I have changed my mind.”

    “It’s okay, Ma’am.”

    Sharada was lost in admiration for Sethu. Mythili was still fuming.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 3!

    Part 3!




    Timeline B



    The mid-morning symposium started on time. The subject was “Enjoying Indian Classical Dance.”

    A suite on the fifth floor of the hotel had been converted into a mini conference hall. It had a capacity of about 100 and was packed. The entire American Group was there.

    After a couple of good speeches, Sharada rose to give her concluding remarks. She told that to appreciate classical dance, especially something like Bharata Natyam, one has to acquire the taste.

    “Any one can enjoy a Mills & Boon romance novel. But only very few can appreciate Gone With The Wind, though it is also a sort of romance novel.

    “Anybody can enjoy the hip-gyrations that go under the name of dance in the modern Indian movie. But only a selected few can enjoy pure, classical bharata natyam..

    “It is not given to many to enjoy Shakespeare. The privilege goes to a chosen few who have worked hard to refine their tastes.”

    The session became even more livelier when the floor was opened to questions.

    “I still can’t agree with your pantheism, worshipping many gods. We believe in one god.”

    It was an American woman in her fifties.

    Sharada was now in her element. Her years of training in dance and her study of the nrtya-shastras had given her a deep spiritual inclination. She had a thorough grounding in the Indian scriptures.

    “Madam, you believe that there is only one God. We believe that there is only God. The tall mountains, the vast sea, the green fields, the butterfly, the birds, the animals, even the earthworm, the filth, good, evil, beauty, ugliness, you, me, the men and women – everything is nothing but God.

    “’Eesavaashyam Idham Sarvam’ ‘Whatever is there is only God’, our scriptures roar.”

    Sharada was distracted by a single man clapping. Sethu. It took some time for the Americans to understand her words and join Sethu in applauding her.

    For reasons she could not fathom, Sethu’s applause gave indescribable happiness to Sharada.

    After she apologised to Nalini and Sethu, Sharada felt that a heavy burden had been lifted from her heart. And now seeing that Sethu was enjoying her speech made her drunk with happiness.

    May be she got down from the podium in that drunken state, and therefore missed a step. She fell flat on the carpeted floor.

    Several people ran to her. They tried to lift her up. When Sharada tried to straigthen her legs she felt a shooting pain on her knees. Her scream echoed against the walls of that mini chamber.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 4!

    Part 4!


    Timeline B


    Nalini threw her weight around and had summoned the city’s best ortho specialist to see Sharada. Sharada was in a state of acute pain. The fall had resulted in a severe cramp in her right leg.

    She could not stretch it. Every time the Doctor attempted to do that Sharada screamed in pain.
    >
    The Doctor did what best he could to salvage his professional reputation. He prescribed a dose of antibiotics, painkillers and sedatives.

    Nalini was in a state of shock.

    “Doctor, she has a dance performance at 6 pm today. Can she…”

    “Are you kidding? She cant even stretch her legs. If she is able to stand on her legs by tomorrow evening that will be a medical miracle. Dancing.. forget it. She has to be in bed for six weeks.”

    When the news spread to the American team they were terribly upset. Nalini offered them a free sight seeing trip to the city or a dinner by the pool side, or whatever they wanted, to compensate for their loss.

    The American lady who asked Sharada about many gods, spoke for the entire group.

    “We don’t want any enjoyment when SB is in pain. We are going to pray for her. God is everything and everywhere. He’s sure to help her.

    Nalini held her hands tightly with tear drops suspended in her eyes.

    When Nalini returned to her room, she was surprised to see Sethu waiting for her.

    “Sethu, you can take the rest of the day off. There is not going to be any programme in the evening. She can’t dance.”

    “Ma’am, my master has taught me about these cramps and sprains. If it is okay with you, let me try ….”

    Nalini almost slapped herself on her head. ‘How the hell did I forget the local expert?’ she thought.

    Nalini almost dragged Sethu to Sharada’s suite. Mythili was happily attending on Sharada.

    She had a wicked pleasure in the cancellation of the programme. She could later quote that it was her curse that led to all these.

    Sharada smiled at Nalini and Sethu.

    “Madam, I’m sorry, Sharada, in our confusion we all forgot our local expert, Sethu. He is an expert on removing cramps. He would like to help you, if you permit.”

    Mythili was waiting for this chance to pounce upon Sethu.

    “No he can’t do it. The cramp is on her knee. How can another male see it? It’s against our culture. No, I wont allow that.”

    “Don’t be silly Mythili. The Doctor was seeing my bare knee for half an hour and you didn’t object. I think you know that the Doctor was a male.”

    Nalini turned the other side to suppress her smile. Sethu just hung down his head.

    “And Mr.Sethuraman, you told me that it is against your personal policy to attend on ladies. I think you know that Sharada is also a lady.”

    Sethu’s smile was benign.

    “I know that, Ma’am. I’m not giviing a regular massage to her. I have come here for treatment. Now I am like the Doctor. Our system of treatment may be different. But that does not make me less of a Doctor.”

    “Well said, Sethu.” Sharada shouted in joy.

    “Any help you want, let me know, Sethu.” Nalini told him as she started to go out of the room.

    “Madam, can you please ask Ms. Kanchana to be with me?”

    “I’ll do that, Sethu. Thanks a lot.”

    Mythili started to walk out of the room along with Nalini. Sethu called her back.

    “Ma’am please stay here.”

    “You want me to assist you?” Mythili asked sarcastically.

    “No, I don’t want any assistance.”

    “Then why did you call, Ms. Kanchana?”

    “This is a delicate operation. I want a witness for my side. I know you will never speak for me.”

    Sharada chuckled. Mythili frowned.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
  5. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 5!

    Part 5!



    Timeline B



    As soon as Kanchana came in Sethu started his work. He first sat on the floor in lotus posture and prayed to his Master and God.

    By the time he finished his prayer Kanchana had arranged Sharada’s saree in such a way that only the affected part of Sharada’s knee was visible. She had also placed a chair by her bed for Sethu to sit.

    Sethu sat down and took some oil that Kanchana had brought and let the oil drip on the affected part. When Sethu’s hands first felt Sharada’s knee, she shivered.

    ‘What’s happening to me? When the Doctor examined the knee, I didn’t feel a thing. No it’s wrong. ’

    She composed herself and started chanting Soundarya Lahari.

    Sethu looked as if he were in a state of trance. For him it was not a beautiful lady lying in bed with her knees exposed. For him it was just a complex system of nerves, veins, arteries and pressure points. His deft hands were searching for the precise location of the cramp.

    Varmakkalai has no equivalent in the West. An expert in that art has such an intimate knowledge of the human body, that he knows the originating point of a cramp or a sprain.

    People who normally give first aid to cramp-victims by rubbing Iodex or other creams, concentrate on the point of pain. But an expert like Sethu knew where the pain originated and where its control switch existed. His hands were looking for that.

    As his hands went near that point of origin, Sharada felt a greater degree of pain. Her chanting became louder. Sethu was now able to feel the exact point. He closed his eyes for a moment and applied the right amount of pressure at that point.

    “Amm........a.............” Sharada screamed in pain. Then she became unconscious.

    Sethu stood up. Kanchana adjusted Sharada’s saree. Mythili was looking askance at Sethu.

    “Kanchana, gently wake her up and give her some warm water. She should be fine.”

    Sharada woke up as if from a dream. She sipped the warm water. Suddenly she felt an immense relief in her leg. She was now able to stretch it, fold it and stretch it again.

    Sharada looked at Sethu. She was looking for words to thank him. But did not find even one. But the expression on her face did the job of a hundred million words.

    She knew she could dance in the evening.

    With tears in her eyes, she folded her hands towards Sethu. Sethu reciprocated the gesture and walked out of the room.

    Kanchana picked up the phone to convey the good news to Nalini.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
  6. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 6!

    Part 6!

    Timeline B


    The evening dance programme was in the Banquet Hall of Le Meridian. There were 500 people in the hall. And about a hundred were standing on the periphery.

    Nalini found out the American woman who asked about many gods.

    “Madam, your prayers have been answered.”

    “Oh, it is not just our prayers. It’s Sharada’s devotion and her art. She is God’s pet child, you know.”

    The stage was set and the programme was about to start.

    The leader of the American Group walked on to the stage with a king-size rose garland in his hands.

    He took the microphone and spoke:

    “Friends, this is our way of worshipping the art in this great artist Sharada Balakrishnan. I request her to please accept this garland as a gift from her American fans.”

    There was a huge round of applause.

    Sharada walked into the stage. She was now dressed for her first item. She was draped in a bright yellow silk dress.

    She had a light make up on her face which emphasised her large eyes and sharp nose set in a perfectly round face. Her hair was made into a long plait with shining ornaments on it.

    The dress, the make-up and the hair arrangement fully brought out the woman in her. Her feminine grace filled up the entire space.

    The American was waiting for her to accept the garland. Sharada went to the microphone.

    “I am touched and moved by your kind gift. When you stood in line to welcome me this morning, I felt like having won a great Award. And now this beautiful garland makes me feel at the top of the world.

    “But Friends, there is one person, who deserves this honour more than me. It was that person who gave my dance back to me. When the Doctor condemned me to bed for six weeks, this man cured me in six minutes and it is only because of him, that I am able to dance for you today.

    So please permit me to invite that person on stage and accept this honour from you. He is Mr.Sethuraman.”

    The applause was deafening this time.

    Nalini was sitting in the corner of the front row. Sethu was standing by her side. As soon as he heard his name announced, he tried to move away. But Nalini grabbed him by his arm and commanded him to go to the stage.

    Meanwhile Sharada was explaining what Sethu did to cure her. When Sethu walked on the stage and the American garlanded him, the audience gave a standing ovation.

    All the eyes that looked at Sethu were full of love and admiration. Except of course an odd pair which belonged to a man in the last row. And there was nothing in those eyes except jealousy, hatred and evil. The man’s name was Balakrishnan.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
  7. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    :clap:clap:clap:clap My standing ovation to you Sridhar.

    A very gripping episode . I just loved the scene of putting the " sour puss" in place!!

    Wow Shakespeare, Gone with the wind, all masterpieces in your master piece.
    I loved the way you brought out the topic of " god in everything". Being an ardent believer in alternate medicine, the way you weaved our ways of Natural healing in the story was good.

    All in all a great episode.. Ok will start the count down to next week.

    Hey may be We should ask Malathy to put a count down time ball A la the New years time crystal ball in New York. One for you. Some special ticker...

    Vandhana
     
  8. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sridhar,

    I join Vandhana in applause! HE is really gripping and the characters are all so real and true to life. Sethuraman comes alive in your description of him. Nalini, Sharada and even Mythili are characters straight out of life. Mythili makes me smile! Yes, there are many Mythilis around us, always looking for trouble or to cause trouble.
    Mythili was now cornered. But some animals when cornered exhibit a greater degree of ferocity. ............
    How true!
    Eesavaashyam Idham Sarvam; Varmakkalai..............
    Nice quotes and references. Learning some new terms, thanks to you:)
    Well, this episode was worth its wait. HE is surely appealing and I await the next episode with much pleasure.
    But then, you have really tricked us this time. By doing two timelines, you are making us wait for not one, but two weeks!!
    A clever writer indeed!:cheers

    L, Kamla
     
  9. imemyself

    imemyself Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    I felt a sense of deja vu when each time you gave victory to Sethu over the prying eyes of Mythili.

    Mythili was now cornered. But some animals when cornered exhibit a greater degree of ferocity

    I extremely liked the way you have given this symbolic example!

    Mr.Sethuraman, I hear from your GM that you are an expert in body-massage. You see I have been having a sort of vague body-pain for the last two days. Can you please give me a full body massage?”
    <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />
    ‘When the arrogant bastard gives me a massage, I will make a scene that he misbehaved with me. It is difficult to disprove such a charge.


    What do I say here Sridhar!! You have given here the typical trait a woman(A woman here refers to the those that fall in the category of Mythili- a self centred arrogant,high class woman) will resort to get her say done and go to any extreme to take revenge!


    And not to mention all the minute details to which u have given importance like a suite beong converted into a conference hall!

    Your writing is really instilling the craving for the next episode to pop up soon but what to do...we got to wait for a week!!

    Love,
    Jaya
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sridhar,
    I simply admire the way, your imagination as a story-teller takes wings and flies far and wide.
    I liked the setence
    It was the primordial ferocity of a son protecting his mother’s dignity.
    That is very true !

    You write
    “Any one can enjoy a Mills & Boon romance novel. But only very few can appreciate Gone With The Wind "

    The same way, I would comment
    Anyone can write from puranas, but to quote
    "esavaashyam Idham Sarvam’ ‘Whatever is there is only God’, our scriptures roar.”
    it needs a learned mind. I admire your range, Sridhar !

    By way of academic information, I wish to make a mention that a specialised branch called Sports Physiotherapy, comes very close to varmakalai. I am saying this from my personal experience recently.

    So, just as there is a "villi", there is a "villain" as well !
    Besh, besh, sariyana potti !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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