SHE A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy Episode 10 Shalini chose an raw silk saree in jet black with a plain choli with straps that went well with the necklace and highlighted it. As she got into her car and fingered the jewel looking in the rear view mirror, she indulged in a wicked moment of imagining the shock on Jaggi’s face when he saw that necklace on her. Little did she know then that her shock would be much, much greater. Shalini was early for the year-end party. The CEO of the company and a few other executives had arrived early to greet everyone. The CEO welcomed Shalini warmly with a hug. Social graces were high since it was a light evening. Soon both the ladies were nursing a Mojito, talking shop. The CEO had her own share of problems. She was constantly hard pressed for time and was always in a frenzied state. No wonder she did not notice the expensive jewel adorning Shalini. The CEO went away to freshen her glass. Shalini instincively looked at the door. It swung open to let in Nandini, working in the PR Department of the company. The CEO was now walking towards Shalini with her drink. Nandini was also walking towards Shalini. When Nandini was fifteen feet away, turning her head the other side and greeting a colleague, Shalini understood what was happening and she immediately retreated. Yes, Nandini was wearing that Rs. 158000 necklace. Shalini ran to the ladies rest room unable to hold tears of betrayal and humiliation. Nandini was an unusually tall woman – 5’ 10”. With a well endowed body she was a dream girl to the men in the office. To the women and the men not smitten by Nandini colleagues`, she was an eye sore. The ladies had secretly nicknamed her the Office Vamp, OV. There would be a hardly a private meeting of women in the office in which OV’s dress sense, or the obscene lack of it would not be discussed. OV would come dressed in a tight fitting jeans and a tighter-fitting T-shirt distracting men and irritating women. Office dress code seemed to be non-existent for Nandini. OV was sadly challenged on the brains side, but she had enough street smartness to know where her endowments lay and how to use them to her advantage. The PR Manager used her as a bait to get things done with Government Departments. When the company had problems with the Central Excise Department, OV was despatched along with some Accounts Personnel. Her presence did make a difference and soon the matter was disposed in company’s favour. OV had earned her salary, playing a modern day corporate Menaka. In the absolute privacy of the rest room Shalini could not help wondering, “But how come my Jaggi, my dear Jaggi, fell prey to her charms?” She tried to console herself. ‘May be she had bought an identical piece herself.’ But then she remembered the words of the jeweller. ‘Madam, we have sold only two pieces of this exquisite necklace. And both are with you.’ Shalini’s mind warned her that she was racing to ill founded conclusions. Her intellect replied sarcastically that it did not require a genius to make out that two and two would equal four in this case. Anyhow Shalini wanted to get to the bottom of the issue before taking any decision. She wanted the bare truth before she decided. She dabbed her tears, touched up her mascara and walked out of the rest room feigning a smile. There was more of pain than feigned happiness in it. A forced smile strains the mind a lot more than outright crying. Shalini felt the strain. She was of course careful enough to take off her necklace and place it safely in her hand bag.