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SHE - Episode 13

Discussion in 'SHE - Serial Story' started by varalotti, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    SHE
    A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy
    Episode 13


    Shalini wanted to broach the subject of permanence in their relationship to Raj. But she hesitated. What if Raj refused? Or what if he brushed her aside breezily in typical male fashion with a non commital, let's part as friends?

    She was reluctant to rock the boat which was sailing smoothly on the still waters of deep love aided by the favourable wind of understanding.

    Shalini continuously brooded over the matter of a committed relationship. She had even started rehearsing her proposal to Raj.

    They were in Shalini's house that night. Raj had just made love to her and Shalini was about to doze off in a satiated slumber when Raj whispered in her years: "Will you marry me, Shal?"

    Happiness exploded through each of her nerve-endings for the second time in an hour. She could not contain herself. The relief she felt in her heart was so full, so great, that she sprang up on Raj and smothered his face with her passionate kisses.

    In between those kisses she did not forget to say "yes" a hundred times. And like teenage lovers Raj and Shalini clung to each other tightly and spoke of one trivial matter after another till the wee hours of the morning.

    Raj left the place after breakfast. In her euphoria, Shalini could not do anything. She lounged in her bed dreaming of many things.

    She was not exactly sleeping; but she was in a state of bliss; a sense of peace filled up her mind and suddenly she felt that this world was a really wonderful place to live in.

    The events of the day seemed to reflect the happiness and tranquility of her mind.

    Around 12 noon her Blackberry flashed an unknown international number. She wanted to identify the caller but she could not as only the words "Call" flashed on her screen.
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    "Shalini" she identified herself apprehensively.

    "Oh…."
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    There was a woman at the other end. She sounded young and hesitant and stuck for words. Apart from saying 'Oh' a few times she did not say anything.

    Any other day Shalni would have either disconnected or shouted at her. But today Shalini was so patient that she decided to wait till the caller recovered from a temporary speech impairment.

    She asked with a smile, "May I know who is calling?"

    The caller's answer was totally unrelated to Shalini's question.

    "You know something, I am so happy today, that I don't know what to say."

    What happened to this world? This seemed to be one sweet and splendid day. Everybody was to drunk in happiness Shalini mused with a benevolent smile.

    After a long moment the caller managed herself and started to speak coherently.

    "I am very sorry…. How do I call you? Even that I do not know. But…"

    "First tell me your name."

    "Oh, I am sorry again. I'm Priya. Priya Bhansali. I am calling from Seattle. I am Raj Metha's daughter.

    "Oh.."

    Now it was Shalini's turn to remain speechless. Shalini did not know how to relate to this girl. Raj had talked about his son and daughter. The girl was elder. She was married to a software engineer and was happily settled in the US.

    Shalini was not clear how the girl would view her. She had learnt from her psychologist friend that girls tend to be more jealous of their father's women friends, at times even more than their mothers.

    "Hello.. hello….."

    Priya was hollering. She probably thought that the connection was shaky. Shalini noted that she had a strong North indian accent tinged with a Yankee twang.

    Shalini composed herself and responded.

    "Hello, let's first settle this issue. How should I address you?"

    Shalini did not know what to say.

    The girl continued enthusiastically.

    "Will you please consider my suggestion?"

    " "
    "When we two are alone all by ourselves, please let me call you Ma. You know my Mom died years ago. Ever since I never had the mind to call anybody else Ma. But as I hear my Dad talking about you, my mind is so full of love for you, that I want to call you the same way I called my Mom.

    “I wont do that in the presence of others. You know I have put on a lot of weight now, though I am hardly 22. I don't want people to think that you are old because a moti aurath calls you Ma."


    Shalini was moved. Clearing her throat she now spoke clearly, "I am very happy and proud, Priya. Call me Ma, anytime you want. I neither care about my age nor about people thinking about my age."

    "Ok, Ma. First things first. How am I going to thank you?"

    "For what?"

    "For giving so much happiness to my Dad. For making him young and vibrant again.For restoring a smile back in his voice and heart. You know, before you came into his life, I would hesitate to call him because he always sounded lonely and defeated. Now he is really bubbling with joy and I know you are the reason. I have never seen him this happy after my mother's death."

    Shalini had to take efforts to hide her tears.

    "And I am thrilled to hear that you are getting married soon. We have already decided to fly down to India for the occasion."

    "Thank you, Priya. I would really love to meet you"

    "You are most welcome, Ma."

    They spoke for another half an hour before Priya reluctantly disconnected.
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Part 2!

    Before the call came Shalini thought that that was the happiest time of her life and there was no way she could be happier. But the words of love coming from Raj's daughter proved her wrong.

    She thought she was going to burst of happiness. Suddenly she felt ready to talk to Raj about having a baby. Now she was sure that their child would be welcomed not only by raj, but also by his older children. A sudden sense of belonging and family strength enveloped her warmly like a cosy blanket on a cold night.

    Soon after that Raj called her. With a voice choked in ecstasy she talked about Priya's call.

    "How are you placed this evening, Shal? Can you drive down to the farm house, let's say, sevennish? We need to talk a lot."

    "Sure, Raj, sure. Will be there by seven."

    Raj's invitation to farmhouse meant only one thing. Celebration.

    Shalini wanted to take part in that whole heartedly. She also wanted to cook a special dinner for him. She decided the menu and drew a shopping list. And she went to shopping herself at her favourite boutique food-shop.

    The only discordant note of the day happened there. Shalini was standing in the queue before the billing counter when she felt a wizened hand on her shoulders.

    "Shalini Madam, how are you? Nice to see you after a long time."

    It was the live-in maid at the Captain's house. Shalini had always been kind to her and used to tip her generously every now and then.

    Shalini did not want to talk to her. She did not want to snoop on her ex-husband's house for sure. But when the maid started pouring out, she could not resist her temptation to listen to her.

    "Rishi saab always fights with his wife. That lady also fights. And you know, she fights like us, maids. Using foul language and calling names. Atrocious, Madam."

    Was Shalini happy hearing that? She was not very sure.

    The maid went on like that for the next ten minutes. Shalini noticed the time and told her that she had to go.

    What the maid said as she walked away disturbed Shalini a lot.

    "But Shalini Madam, the kids are lovely. Adhitya and Akshitha are the names. You simply lose your sense of time playing with them. I have never seen such nice kids, Madam."

    The maid walked away unconscious of the storm she had created in Shalini's mind. Shalini suddenly wanted to become a mother of lovely kids. But will that be possible, now, at this age? Raj was 45 plus, and she, 34.

    Why not? Now that I am happy, and Raj's happy, why not we raise a family now? Shalini made a mental note to talk to Raj about that in the evening.

    Shalini reached the farm house a few minutes to six, leaving her enough time to cook the special dinner she had been planning since morning. She had come to the farm house a few times before.

    She was always amazed at that sprawling structure which so perfectly jelled with lush greenery which surrounded it on all sides. Even the drive-way was green with imported Korean grass.

    It was evident that Raj had made the architect earn his fees the hard way. The house was a perfect circular structure whose outer walls were built in crude, unformed rocks, giving the house an appearance of a cave.

    Creepers sprang up on the stone walls from all sides making the viewer wonder whether the house naturally grew out from the field. She got down from the car and spent a minute taking in the beauty of the surroundings.

    She then walked straight into the kitchen. The cook was waiting for her, as she had already called him up about her arrival.
     
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Shal dear, I want to hear your plans the marriage."

    They were seated in comfortable rattan chairs in the small flower garden in the middle of the farm. Shalini was drinking in the beauty of a bed of dark red roses that was near her chair. Raj had come there around 7 and was now nursing a can of chilled Heineken.

    "Raj I would prefer a simple ceremony at a temple of your choice. Register the marriage and throw up a party for about a hundred friends."

    Raj thought for a while before responding to her.

    "Simple marriage is okay. Let's have a hundred guests for the marriage. And let the reception party be a big affair. I know Shal, that this city has not grown enough to understand live-ins.

    “We are still looked down as people living in sin. Many people are talking behind our backs. Not that I care, but let our reception be a massive PR exercise so that the society clears our names.

    "And Shal, I want you to go on a shopping spree. Buy the best of dresses, jewels, gadgets, whatever. Choose some excellent masseurs and beauty parlours and give your lovely body the best relaxing and beautifyting treatemnt.I am taking off two weeks from work. We'll spend most of the time shopping together."

    Shalini wanted to protest; but Raj signalled her to be quiet and continued.

    "Shopping is one of the genuine pleasures of having money, provided it is within one's means. I thought hard about giving a marriage gift to you. A diamond necklace, a painting, or a holiday in Venice...

    “Then I had a flash. Instead of all these I will give you an unlimited shopping budget. Please Shal, accept my gift. I know you are wealthy, and can easily afford to do the shopping with your money.

    “But I will be very happy if you shop with my money. I will give you an Add on credit card and a book of blank, signed cheque leaves. Use it to the hilt, dear. If you want more, I'll transfer money from my other accounts."

    Shalini was rendered speechless at this sudden munificence.

    "One lesson I have learnt in life is that money is not wealth. Money can be converted into wealth if you spend it in a way to give you happiness. And till that happens, money is just some electronic impulse lying in some central database in some bank. Having a nice place to live in, wearing the finest dresses and jewels, eating the finest foods, these are all the uses of wealth. So let's put my wealth to its best use."

    In that moment of love and happiness Shalini did not have the words to speak her mind. She actually wanted to tell him that they should raise a family. She also wanted to assure Raj, that she would see to it, that the child did not give raise to any complications.

    She would tell him that she would give her wealth to the child, while Raj could leave his to his two children. But she did not have the heart to talk about that when Raj was so caring and so generous. She knew that there would be other intimate occasions.

    Husbands fall into many classes, when it comes to their wives' shopping. Some do not mind their wives' shopping.

    Some just tolerate it; many just silently finance it, but physically keep away; some participate in shopping exercise only to ensure that their wives stay within the limits set by them; but invariably all are irritated deep down and only a few are capable of cleverly hiding their irritation and putting up a brave face.

    Raj Metha was a class in himself in that category. He not only actively participated in Shalini's shopping, but also enthusiastically supported her by finding out the best stores and deals.

    Shalini wanted to buy authentic Kancheepuram silk sarees. She decided to go to Kancheepuram for a day. Raj told her with an indulgent smile, that it was a mistaken view to which many a woman subscribed - to think that genuine Kancheepuram sarees are available only in Kancheepuram.

    "My contact there tells me that they do sell a lot of Aaranis and Dharmavarams there. If you don't mind, lady, I'll take you to my friend, a saree designer in T.Nagar. I shall mail him your picture and ask him to do a dozen designs fo you. We can then have the designs we choose converted into real sarees. Shall we go there this Monday?"

    Shalini was floored.She had never had the idea of customised sarees.

    "You deserve nothing less than a designer saree, dear."
    Raj declared with his typical flourish.

    That was another novel experience for her. The designer, a bearded lean man in his late forties, had designed ten sarees for her. He had an eclectic mix of traditional temple designs that were worn only by Queens.

    And he had modern sarees with crystal work done extensively on the pallu. Jacquards, light and shade, tissue silk,embroidery with pearls and golden thread- Shalini realised she was just a woman when she saw those exquisite sarees.

    Using computer graphics he had draped Shalini's photograph with the sarees designed by him.
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  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Shalini was spared from the eternal dilemma of a saree-shopper,

    "Yeah, this is gorgeous. But how will I look in this?" He had blown up her picture to life size and projected them on a screen using a LCD projector.

    The designer had factored in her height, weight and complexion into his designs.he had even designed the cholis for each. While for one it was a fully covered old fashioned blouse, for another he had an off shoulder piece that accentuated her lovely bone structure.

    Shalini was awestruck.

    Each saree was priced in the range of thirty to forty thousand rupees; but that included the design charges as well. Shalini did not know what to choose. The problem was actually in deciding what to reject. Raj solved the problem in his own way.

    "We'll take all the ten, Varadan. I don't want anybody else to wear the sarees designed for my lovely wife."

    Shalini's mind was so soaked in happiness that her thanks was barely audible.

    Raj's mastermind came out even more clearly when they wanted to shop for jewels. Shalini wanted to do that in T.Nagar where there were a few prominent names.

    "Those are not your class, dear. You get the best deals in jewels and diamonds and even the best designs, not in Chennai, but…"

    "In Mumbai."

    "Wrong; in Kumbakonam-Tanjore belt. I have a whole lot of friends there. I have already started talking to them. I have collected more than 100 pictures for various items of jewellery – bangles, necklaces, chains, bracelets, ear-rings, studs, nose-rings – you name it you have it. Why don't you take a look at them, Shal? We shall go over there this week-end to choose."

    They drove down to Kumbakonam on a Friday afternoon. They checked in to a resort on the outskirts of the ancient town around nine in the night.

    Shalini's happiness had been so full that there was a mild fear in the corner of her mind whether all these things are but a vivid dream happening on a hot summer night. And the dream might end any time.

    After a very light dinner served in their room, they went to sleep. They had a busy schedule the following morning – visiting the top six jewellers of the town to choose jewellery for Shalini's marriage.

    For the first time in years, especially since she had inserted the saucy ad in the glossy asking for a live in partner, Shalini’s mind was at ease. She felt safe to talk to Raj about starting a family.

    Above all, she finally felt vindicated. She knew that if Shiva had been alive now, he would have approved and also blessed her union with Raj and the controversial decisions she had made in her live in arrangements. Shalini felt that she had not betrayed her parents' honour and their upbringing. She had proved herself capable of making proper life decisions - ones they could be proud of.

    Shalini and Raj spoke about the happy life they were going to live together. Shalini wanted to open the subject of having a child; but still was not sure. Not that she was afraid; but she did not want Raj to feel even a mild discomfort on any account. She postponed the discussion to a later day, preferably after their marriage.

    Raj was talking about the marriage feast. Being a connoisseur of good food, he had alreadly finalised on the catering contractor and was now discussing the menu with Shalini. he had decided on setting up shamianas in the lawn, with each tent serving a different cuisine.

    As he was talking his voice became low, and suddenly it turned into a whisper. Shalini heard a sound of a small hiccup coming from him. Then there was silence. Total, complete,absolute silence, which lasted for a few minutes.

    Shalini's scream was heard two floors below.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2007
  5. kripa shankari

    kripa shankari New IL'ite

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    boss
    i knew the bombshell u were gonna drop
    u r really taking shal to the everest of happiness.
    and throwing her out without parachute bag.
    i think this is only the first missile and u hav further hurts planned her way.
    she becomes a different sort of a mum does she.
    good clue to rock my head amidst individual returns

    luv
    kripa
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2007
  6. varasangam

    varasangam New IL'ite

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    Only when I thought that Shalini's cup was full with happiness, Varalotti, you have indeed dropped a bombshell.....what could it be.....As I see that happiness is a bubble waiting to be burst in SHE' life.

    Good God! hope he does not die Sridhar, please don't kill him!!!!!what trials!! I guess that you are bringing all the facets of the reality of life in this story.

    The highlight of this episode for me was the analysis of the husbands accompanying their partners on the shopping sprees!! very well written and indeed how truee!

    Brilliant as always...enjoying and looking forward to reading the rest!!

    Best of regards,

    Vara:)
     
  7. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear varalotti,

    The story is going along the lines anticipated by me. Now, I feel that Mr.Raj Mehta will survive a heart attack putting him in a position not to oblige Shalini in her aspirations to raise a family. Meanwhile, Rishi and his second wife will get separated. Shalini will get married to Raj Mehta and adopt Rishi's kids and will settle in a family life. All is well that ends well.

    Regards,

    TDU
     
  8. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Oh! Don't start the 14th episode with a shocking news! Though there are a lot of the descriptions/ narrations which impressed me a lot and I do wish to quote, time does not seem to permit at this moment and I will be back after a few days to mention in detail about the words which I liked most.
    I wanted to convey that I have read She-13 and enjoyed reading it!
     
  9. maya08

    maya08 Senior IL'ite

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    oh dear...
    i knew it was all too good to be true...
    and then falls the bombshell!
    it was nice the way shalini would have her motherhood fulfilled through raj's daughter....that was really sweet...

    sir, you have really ended part 13 in a major suspense,
    seeing that this when her state of pure happiness gets burst with something unexpected....

    let's hope destiny will leave shalini something acceptable as well as hope to live for....

    but i must say that part 13 was a real joy to read due to the fact that she is actually experiencing all the things that a woman can only hope and dream of.

    regards
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
  10. SriVidya75

    SriVidya75 Platinum IL'ite

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    some how i think i too have expected that some thing is gonna happen to Raj after his daughter called iwth positive note...there is no hassle indeed right...but can we ever depend on shals destiny..seems like she still has to go through a lot of struggle...
     

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