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SHE - Episode 11

Discussion in 'SHE - Serial Story' started by varalotti, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    SHE
    A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy
    Episode 11


    As Shalini was driving on the East Coast Road drowned in thoughts, out of the blue,a young girl jumped in front of her car. Shalini reflexively applied the brakes and the vehicle ground to a screeching halt. Still Shalini could hear a dull thud- the alarming sound of the car’s fenders hitting something hard.

    Shalini panicked out of the vehicle only to see a girl lying in a pool of blood. She froze, her hands felt clammy and her head reeled more than ever that day.

    Shalini bent down to check on the victim. The victim was a lean and wiry young girl, with a crew cut. She was wearing a tight fitting pair of Levis and a blue flannel shirt that seemed to conceal her curves.

    The girl betrayed no signs of life whatsoever. But Shalini was not one to give up. Not on this girl, not on anything. She had a well- stocked first aid kit in her car and had undergone minimal, casualty first aid training. But she was not sure of handling a case of head injury.

    She was not even sure of lifting the girl to the car all by herself, without causing more damage.

    She tried to stop the vehicles that whizzed by. None cared enough to stop. Either they were in a hurry or they did not want the hassle of having to wait in the grim corridors of a hospital or a police station or a court house.

    Then she remembered. She emptied the contents of her Gucci handbag on the car seat. There among the scientific calculator, the tissue wad, the ballpens, the lip gloss, the odd tampon, her parents' photo, she found what she was searching for. She fished out the non-decript card given by the Director General of Police.

    She tersely explained her situation to him in very few words and sought his help to save the young lady who was still unconscious and limp.In another ten minutes, a state of the art ambulance and a police vehicle arrived on the spot. Without the sirens blaring and the lights blazing. Amazing, what some influence could achieve.

    Shalini’s money-power and the DGP’s influence ensured a lot of silence, and that the best medical attention was rendered to the girl. The girl regained consciousness three days and two complicated surgeries later. As soon as she was out of danger, a maxillo facial surgeon and a plastic surgeon teamed up to reconstruct her face.

    Shalini did not want to abuse her influence with the law. She called the DGP to tell him that she wanted the law to take its own course. The DGP told her that he would not have had it any other way himself .

    He told her that the jurisdictional police officer would interrogate the victim and ensure that the truth was established . Based on the victim's statement, appropriate legal action would be taken against Shalini.

    And so, it was a huge surprise and relief to all the law-abiding citizens and officers, when the girl gave her statement that Shalini was not to be blamed for any lapse in driving. The 'victim' claimed that she had been so embittered with life that she wanted to kill herself.

    Shalini was released from the case while an attempt to commit suicide was booked on that hapless girl. Shalini stood as surety for her and saw to it that she did not go to prison directly from the hospital. Shalini invited her to her house. She also took the responsibility of defending her case.

    Shalini was tactful and sensitive to leave the girl to her own pensive moods and thoughts, as long as the legal and medical complications dragged on. The girl was moved by Shalini’s care and attention.

    It was also a pleasant feeling for Shalini to have somebody to care for, someone to love, and something to live for. She enjoyed her project, the presence of the young girl in her house.

    The thought of having another heart beat in the house made her look forward to coming back home.After parting with Jaggi and after resigning that job, Shalini felt terribly lonely and the girl was an interesting diverson.

    Weeks later, Shalini and her protege were sitting in the garden, sipping warm tea, when Shalini asked the girl,

    “Latha, you can refuse to answer my question. I just want to know whether I can do anything about it, anything at all to help. Why did you try to kill yourself?”

    Latha sighed and started a long narration.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 2!

    Latha was born the eldest daughter of a rich businessman. She had just finished her Bachelors in Engineering. Given her outgoing personality, excellent grades and command over English, she landed a plum software job.

    It was there that she met Natasha. Natasha was her Team Leader in the company. She was from Pune and elder to Latha by two years. She liked Latha and the enthusiasm with which she did her tasks.They soon became thick friends. When they were not working they would either be in Latha’s house or in Natasha’s apartment.

    A friendship started between them that soon outgrew the professional relationship they had. And soon, the friendship evolved into a companionship that was far stronger and entrancing than the frienship they had. Than any other relationship that either of them had ever had.

    When Latha’s parents broached the subject of marriage, she vehemently opposed it. She told them that she wanted to work for two or three years. That was a reason devised by her head. Her heart alone knew the real reason: she could not bear to be away from Natasha.

    Latha could never forget that evening. They were discussing some coding procedures in Latha’s room. It started raining and then pouring. Natasha could not go out and drive back to her apartment in the city.

    She had to crash overnight. As the friends were chatting pointlessly, they discovered one thing – neither of them were fascinated by men. At first it was just a casual fact finding. It did not matter any more than that.

    As the lights were switched off, they traipsed the nebulous line of friendship and companionship, and their relationship rose to a deeper and more intimate level .

    That was a night that changed their lives permanently. Not just their lives, but the lives of many others too. They discovered that they had a different orientation.

    They were riding on the crest of a wave of passion, when suddenly their secret was unravelled by Latha’s mother.To her, it was a matter of great shame and graver scandal.

    Latha was devastated by the words that her mother hurled against her. She even threatened to hand over her daughter to police for “acts of perversion.”

    For good measure Latha was kept locked up in her room. The windows were barred and thick,dark curtains were hung to minimise any contact or sunlight entering the room.

    Food was regularly served three times a day. Latha was not allowed any kind of contact with the outside world. She was not allowed to watch the TV or read the papers or even surf the internet.

    For some bizzare reason, a few wierd poojas were conducted by some sleazy looking fake Swamis who claimed that they could cure Latha of her madness, while leering away at her curves all the time. Even a small time psychiatrist was summoned in all secrecy into the house to give her some counselling.

    After a gruelling and confusing week of treatment and solitary confinement, Latha somehow managed to escape from the house. But with no money in hand, certificates, ID cards, debit cards and car keys locked up in her house, she was overwhelmed by the outside world.

    She tried to contact Natasha, but could not reach her. She was sure that she would be caught by her parents and handed over to the police. She had decided to kill herself and had walked all the way to the East Coast Road on the fateful day to leap before Shalini’s car. In all her grief, this was the one good deed that she did. To herself.
     
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  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 3!

    Shalini let out an audible gasp. It was one thing to read about same-sex relationships, see some pictures on the internet, or take a moral stand on the issue.

    It is a totally different thing to see a live person in flesh and blood who had that orientation. Shalini was lost in thought for a while.

    For one more time her father came to her rescue.

    When Shalini was doing her first year in college her father brought her an unusual gift from Far East.

    “Shalumma, this time I got a clock for you.”

    Shalini’s face fell. After all, she had about a dozen table clocks, alarms and wrist watches to go with each of her dresses. She knew all about the value of time.

    Shiva read his little girl’s mind.

    “That is not just a clock. It is a lesson in life.”

    At 16, Shalini could not understand her father's words.

    “Open the packing and tell me what you see.”

    The clock looked like any other average,normal, regular clock. But Shalini was surprised to see the clock-face.

    “Dad, you have got the wrong clock. I am sure its defective. You see the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. should be to the right of 12. In this clock it is to the left.”

    Shiva lauged.

    “Aha, there you are! Let us not jump to judgments Shalumma. The clock is different but not defective. It is a quartz clock and the crystal-movement moves two power fifteen times, that is 32768 times, every second, as in any other quartz clock. And it maintains perfect time.”

    “But Dad, the numbers are all wrong.”

    “Who told you that the numbers that you have been seeing till now are right? That is one kind of arrangement and this is another. Now tell me the time from the clock?”

    “It is 6 30.”

    “See, you are still able to read the time. But you feel a little odd about this clock. Quite understandable. For hundreds of years, the numerals in a clock have been arranged in a particular fashion. In fact that arrangement gave raise to the word clock-wise and anti-clock wise. So this is an anti-clock-wise clock. But it still shows time and is no less a clock.”

    “I get it.”

    “In the same way you will meet some people in the world who might not conform to the conventional pattern. That doesn’t make them defective. It only makes them different. And so long as they do their work, as the clock tells the time, we have no business to mess up with them. We should not only live but also let them live.

    Now in Latha, Shalini was now seeing a live, human anti-clockwise clock. Thanks to her father, she now had the right attitude. It was not one of condescension, not even of compassion, but of understanding.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 4!

    Latha, I admire your candour. First never, ever be ashamed of yourself. It is your life and you have every right to live it in your terms. As long as what you do is not hurtful to others, no one has any business to interfere with what you do in your life.”

    “Like you, I am also kind of lost in my search for my identity. But at least in your case I can clearly see the way ahead. Give me some time, girl. But you need to promise me that you will never attempt anything foolish any more.”

    Latha expected some kind of reprimand , some preaching, some well-meant kindness, or a round of advice. She never dreamed that another human being in this world would understand her as anyone else than a pervert. So when she heard Shalini’s words, she buried her face in Shalini's lap and burst into tears.

    Latha’s problems made Shalini forget her loneliness for the next three months. She Googled the name of a woman psychologist, who specialised and counselled on same-sex relationships. She took Latha to her. After six bi-weekly sessions with her, Latha became lively again. She even started smiling and talking happily. Shalini was pleased.

    The next process was the most difficult. To meet with the parents of the girls. Shalini flew to Pune to meet Natasha’s parents. They were shocked, to say the least. But after a few days of persuasion they ultimately relented. They realised that it was more practical to relent and accept, than decry and denounce.

    Latha’s parents were a lot tougher. What their girl had done was nothing short of a scandal. Shalini told them that if they did not consent, Latha was sure to kill herself.

    She made it clear to them if Latha was to be married to a man against her will, the marriage would fail eventually and Latha would return home devastated, condemned to live the life of a single woman for the rest of her life.And there was a good chance that history would repeat itself. She might probably have a affair with a woman again, or attempt suicide again. Latha's parents finally saw sense.

    Finally they said that Latha was free to live the life of her chossing in any place other than that city. They would tell the outside world that Latha was working somewhere up north. And that she would have no connection to that family. Latha accepted the deal with a heavy heart.

    The Latha-Natasha marriage was one of the earliest same-sex marriages under the newly amended law in India. Shalini was there at the Registrar’s office to sign as a witness. Shalini gifted the Rs.158000 necklace to Latha on the occasion.

    Shalini returned to an empty home after seeing off Latha and Natasha at the airport. They were flying to Mumbai where they had landed in good jobs and were about to start their lives afresh there.



    In a way Shalini admired Latha. She did not succumb to the parental pressures to live a conventional life. Like Shalini, Latha was also in search of her identity.

    But any day, Latha’s search was far more furious than Shalini’s. Latha was determined to the point of desperation. She was prepared to even lose her life. She remembered a line in Eric Segal’s novel where a Professor character spoke of Homer’s epic, Odyssey.

    The hero of the epic, Odysseus, is offered a life in heavan by a georgeous nymph. That meant that he would be eternally young and could have that girl for all time to come. But still he rejects that offer to go back to earth, to his middle-aged wife, Penelope. He was after all not interested in living for ever, not even living young for ever.

    “Here’s the quintessential message of Odyssey. Odysseus forsakes immortality for identity.”

    Yes, ultimately one’s identity was more important than one’s life. And only when one kept her identity intact would one be capable of authentic love.

    Ironically by risking her life, Latha had found its meaning. Her search for her identity had had a very happy ending. Will my search also have a similar ending, Shalini mused.

    She was idly browsing a womans magazine. She always checked out the personal ads section of that magazine, as that always revealed a lot about people.

    There was a catchy ad in a box:

    “Wanted female companion of any age for a handsome man of 50 - healthy, well-placed and without commitments. Respond to….”

    Well, Shalini was not going to respond to that weird advertisement. But she had something weirder in her mind.
     
  5. Monsi

    Monsi Bronze IL'ite

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    Aha :-D this is what i was lookin' for ! An absolutely unexpected turn in the story. Thank you Sir. I have at last regained my interest in the story.
    Now I am back on board to accompany Shalini in her journey to find the meaning and purpose of her life and her identity.
     
  6. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Re: Part 4!

    A lot of turns and twists to the story, adding more and more of the latest developments around the globe! It seems you will make us all silent spectators to the happenings of the world around us by yuor convincing ways.We are preparing ourselves to become saints stand as a simple witness as prescribed in the upanishads! Any way I would prefer to wait for other comments and see how the others take it! I will join again in this thread!
     
  7. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    Good to see that Shalini did not sit and brood over Jaggi or his unfaithfulness. She found somebody else to take care off and at the same time help this girl, find her identity and life! Hats off for the new addition and quickly getting it over with! Now Shalini can renew her search for her identity....lets hope she finds true Love!(Whatever that is!?!):icon_frown:
    I just want to add that we have this Anti clockwise clock at home and the new meaning abt accepting People and Life you have given, using this clock as an eg, was unique and i will also start quoting you, whenever people comment on this clock in our dining area!:2thumbsup:
     
  8. Rashi

    Rashi New IL'ite

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    That was a nice story. I really liked the "anti-clock clock".
    All our lives we follow the rules in the name of tradition and culture and never question them. Its all good if nobody is hurt. But, sometimes we do have to see things differently.


    For Tamildownunder:
    Sorry, I don't agree with you. First of all, you make assumption that their relationship is going to get sour soon. Well, nobody knows how it will turn out. And unfortunately, if it does get worn out, why can't they bring the charm back with "adjustments" and "sacrifices" as in any other hetero-sexual relationships.
    Nothing bad is going to happen to the society with gay marriages/relationships. We the people make these societies, if corrupt politicians, criminals and bad people didn't harm the so called society why would this be any different. Today, there is an article on CNN.com regarding the widows in India. Here is the link,
    Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die - CNN.com

    You can see how the "beauty of Indian culture" treats widows in today's world.

    Just my two cents,
    Rashi
     
  9. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    At last Sridhar,

    I am slowly understanding why you had prepared us with all those warning messages even before the story started of!
    So, I get it, you are exposing your IL’ites to all the so called ‘alternative’ life styles of today that seem to exist everywhere in the world.
    Those of us who live abroad are somewhat hardened against such nouveau living culture. Think I mentioned earlier somewhere that the whole neighborhood where my daughter lives in Philly is occupied by very good looking and successful ‘pairs’ of men! Know some young people in Germany, personally, who prefer the same gender partnership. All is well, I too accept them and do not think they are evil or bad.
    Here, it is portrayed in our own culture, all your characters are Indians and in India. I can just about imagine the uproar such relationships will cause.
    There are already a few who are quite visible and open about their inclinations, specially in the ad, fashion and cinema world of India. But if it had to happen within the family or friends, I can only imagine the heartache it would cause all around and the public shunning them. Why, we see our own Tamildownunder once again protesting clear and loud!
    But, BUT…Life goes on. So does evolution. Everything is subject to change. We have to go with times. No use protesting and making misery of everyone’s lives, including our own.
    TDU, I know you mean well. Just because you believe strongly in the age old culture, it does not mean that it is the strongest or the best. If you look closely, our own culture too has evolved with times. I do not behave like the wife my great grandmother was. Whatever will be will be. Hence, will I advocate it to my children or anyone… no. I too live the way I want and will want my dear ones to live like me, that is, if it all were only up to me! When it does not work out like that, I should at least see to it that I do not hurt them for not following my wishes. As long as they don’t cause hurt to anyone by their deeds, it is their own look out.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->PS: Malathijagan…..you took the easy way out eh??! Now out with your thoughts ma’m:)
    Rashi, nice fb, I am glad that you are not afraid to air your views.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Sorry Sridhar…didn’t mean to do your job…couldn’t help:) A word about your comparison- the anti-clock wise- too good:)
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    L, Kamla
     
  10. Rashi

    Rashi New IL'ite

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    Dear TDU,
    Society will be healthy only if the people making that society accepts everybody as they are. Just because somebody doesn't agree with you, doesn't mean that their mind is corrupted.
    As Kamla mentioned, our culture too has evolved with time or now we won't be here all educated and getting the opportunity to express our views.
    The politicians and celebrities market wrong ideas about homosexuals. We are all human beings and have the right to be happy and if having same sex partners make them happy so be it.

    BTW, if everyone starts thinking like me, the world would be a better place to live
    :-D

    Rashi
     

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