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SHE - Episode 16

Discussion in 'SHE - Serial Story' started by varalotti, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    SHE
    A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy
    Episode 16

    Feeling totally betrayed by his wife’s infidelity, Shylender was about to leap to death from the deserted cliff. Microseconds before he jumped, a hand fell on his shoulders. Swami Sadbrahma Shivacharya.

    Swamiji did not appear shocked. There was a benign smile on his face which told him that he knew that this would happen.

    “Please follow me, Son.”

    Dr.Shylender followed Sadbrhama Shivacharya like an errant school boy following his Master. They walked for more than a mile to reach Swamiji’s dwelling. It was was a simple, neat hut with the majestic <st1:place>Western Ghats</st1:place> as the backdrop.

    The moment they were inside he fell at Swamiji’s feet and was sobbing. Swamiji let him cry as long as he could.

    “Beta, you are chosen by God. Can the God’s favourite child attempt the shameful act of suicide?”

    Amidst sobs, Shylender narrated what happened to him. Swamiji listened to him with rapt attention. Then he closed his eyes and was silent for the next ten minutes, the longest ten minutes in Shylender’s life. When Swamiji opened his eyes there was an unusual calm in his face.

    “My son, I can understand your pain, though I am far removed from the ways of the world. I am also a human being like you, no better than you. I can’t even think of offering you any solution right now. I can only say killing oneself can never be the solution. It only shifts the whole problem to an even more inconvenient plane.”

    Shylender was standing like a statue drinking in Swamiji’s words.

    “Please listen to me. What I may suggest may not be a panacea for all your ills. But something tells me that if you work in this direction somewhere down the line, may be within two weeks, two years or two hundred lifetimes, you may find yourself again. Son, will you do exactly as I say?”

    “Swamiji, as of now I have nobody else in the world and have nowhere else to go. You will have to show me the way.”

    “Shylender Beta, very few people have served the people as you have done. Still Beta, it is one thing to serve the whole humanity in general and another thing to help one person in distress, especially if that person is not known to you, and not related to you. That to me is the supreme form of service. That should be your agenda, my son.”

    “But tell me Swamiji, whom should I help and what kind of help it is?”

    “I am not God, Shyl, to see everything before it happens. Now tell me who is your closest friend ?”

    Shylender thought for a while and told about his friend who was working for the <st1:place><st1:placename>Government</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>Hospital</st1:placetype></st1:place> in Kumbakonam.

    Kumar and Shyl went to the same school and the same <st1:place><st1:placename>Medical</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>College</st1:placetype></st1:place>. Shylender and Kumar would always meet on the New Year’s day either at Kumbakonam or <st1:city><st1:place>Coimbatore</st1:place></st1:city> to exchange notes about their lives.

    It was not the romantic “eating in the same plate, sleeping in the same bed” friendship. But it was a good, healthy relationship in which there were no expectations and therefore no frustrations. When one was professionally or personally stressed out, he invariably called the other and they would chat for an hour.

    A good friend and a good coversation with him even now tops the list of all the stressbusters available in the market today.

    Swamiji closed his eyes and was thinking. Though Swamiji vehemently denied his clairvoyant powers, Shylender knew that he was standing before a soul, who knew the past, the present and the future. He was waiting for Swamiji’s command.

    “Beta, I will take care of this medical camp. You leave this place early in the morning. You will reach your friend’s place in the evening. While in Kumbakonam you will have to practise a meditation technique I am going to teach you now.”

    Meditation, prayer, religion and worship – Shylender’s bland smile betrayed his exasperation and utter disappointment.

    “No, Shyl, it is not what you think. I am not going to ask you to repeat a mantra, to tell God’s name, or focus your thoughts on a burning candle or any other esoteric ********. My meditation is simple.

    “It is extreme awareness. Not of any particular thing, God’s image or anything extraneous to you. I call this the meditation of alertness or mindfullness. It is just being full of your mind always at all times. Even if you swat a fly, do it with all your mind, body and soul.

    “Do any act even if it is sipping your coffee or answering the nature’s call, do it with your fullest consciousness. While in that state you are likely to hear within seven days from today, that somebody is in deep trouble, something which cannot be solved just by money, but only by your dedicated service to that person.

    “Approach the person and offer your help. And don’t expect anything from that person. That person’s problem should become your problem. And when you save that person from trouble, your path will be made clear to you. God bless you.”

    Shylender was about to leave.

    “You stay with me here in this hut tonight. I will wake you up at five. You need to leave this place before the sun raises.”

    Shylender obeyed.

    Betrayal by a loved one inflicts a pain which is far more acute even than the loss of a loved one. Shylender found it difficult to concentrate on anything. He could not sleep that night in Swamiji’s hut.

    He was woken up at <st1:time minute="0" hour="5">5 AM</st1:time>. Shylender prostrated at Swamiji’s feet and took leave of him. Swamiji walked with him to his car. Shylender was surprised to see a man sitting in the driver’s seat.

    Swamiji smiled.

    “A friend, Beta. He will drive you to your destination. I don’t think you can drive in this state of mind. God bless you.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2007
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Kumar welcomed his friend who had almost lost his bearings. Kumar’s wife had gone to her parent’s place with their children. So the friends could freely talk to each other.

    Kumar was complaining to Shyl that because of some bureaucratic vengeance he had been assigned autopsy duties for two months.

    Autopsy was something which any Doctor hated except very few who had investigative minds or loved to move closely with the enforcement arm of the law. Kumar hated it with all his heart. To him it was like reverting to his college days where they used to cut, open and stitch the cadavers for gaining knowledge and experience in surgery and anatomy.

    Added to that there were lots of forms to fill up and the hassle of attending court hearings as a prosecution witness.

    Two days later Shyl and Kumar were having dinner at their favourite vegetarian joint near the <st1:place><st1:placeName>Sarangapani</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Temple</st1:placeType></st1:place>.

    Shylender’s mind was drifting for the millionth time to the scene he saw on that fateful day – his wife in the arms of another man. Then he remembered Swamiji’s words. He brought back his mind to the present and started focussing on the surroundings.

    Out of the blue Kumar blurted.

    “This lady is going to be in deep trouble.”

    Yes, he was referring to Shalini. And he told Shylender about the plans of the police to arrest that lady early next morning. Shylender almost pounced on his friend, abandoned his dinner and tried to find out how to reach Shalini.
    The rest was history.

    So, Shal, you were a kind of salvation for me.”
    Shylender could guess what Shalini thought from her facial expressions.

    “Shalini, let me be frank. I like you very much. Your courage, your determination and your brains – I admire them all. You are also very beautiful. Had I met you before my marriage I would have fallen head over heels in love with you. But this betrayal of my wife has left my mind deeply scarred.

    I am not fit to enter into any relationship now. Allow me to go my way.”

    Shalini smiled. It was neither an expression of grief nor one of happiness. It was just bland. Shylender continued.

    “Swamiji is God Himself. For two days after the judgment came in your case I got an offer letter from an international organisation to work as a volunteer in <st1:place>Africa</st1:place>. I am leaving <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region> next week. I may not come back.”

    “ “
    “Shalini, we are almost in the same boat. Each one of us is alone. We have lost our partners, one way or the other. Don’t be put down by what the world says. There is no life in this world which can fit the line, “they lived happily ever after.” The line belongs to fairy tales and it is better it stays there.

    “We get into all types of complications when we try to seek the meaning of that line in real life. You are a strong woman. Go on with your search. You may not have a happy life; but at the end you will look back on the path walked by you with pride. You are sacrificing happiness for the sake of fulfilment. And never forget fulfilment is the only lasting form of happiness.”

    Shalini was there in the airport to see off Dr.Shylender. Shylender refused to accept anything from her. Finally Shalini almost begged him to allow her to upgrade his economy class ticket into business class.

    “You made my life’s journey easy, Shyl. Let me at least make your journey to <st1:place>Africa</st1:place> easy. Please let me do it.”

    Shylender agreed.
     
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Shalini returned to an empty nest again. She was free now. For the fourth time in her life she was free to choose anything from the full menu card of life. She would be thirty six in another five months.

    What was she going to do? Advertise for another live-in relationship? No way. She was tired and exhausted. She was not just once-bitten to be twice shy. She was bitten several times to be shy for ever and ever.

    At the same time she did not want to live the life of a recluse cut off from all human relationships. She did not have the mind to work again.

    She started going out to clubs, to cultural gatherings, music performances and the theatres. Going out to places, in her case, was not an attempt to numb her mind to the lonely life which it appeared, she was destined forever. She was still open to relationships; but was not ready to take the plunge as she had been doing in the past.

    She did meet a lot of interesting people. Of them, two people stood out.

    The first was a very young music Director whom she met in a film premiere. Raja was a very creative person and there was quite a lot of music in him. His melodies were very soft and his re-recording was of very distinct quality. He was also a good conversationalist and given his talents did not have even a trace of arrogance.

    Shalini and Raja went steady for a while. But Shalini kept the relationship at a purely platonic level. They never got more intimate than shaking hands.

    One day Raja was talking about the present state of film industry in the South. He was explaining all the malpractices which even he had to adopt as part of survival.

    All music directors owned recording theatres. So when the producer booked them for music, they had to book their own theatres. They charged something like Rs.10000 for a recording session of about two hours.

    Music Directors know how to run up the theatre rent by messing up with the appointments of playback singers. In a two hour session they can easily record three or even four songs. But they saw to it that only one song was recorded by deliberately asking the second singer to come late for recording.

    He talked about the rampant promiscuity in the industry. Raja sheepishly admitted of having slept with Kollywood’s number one heroine. And several times with small time actresses and wannabe singers. Like any other male he wanted to boast of his conquests to his new-found lady friend. Shalini was not impressed.

    Shalini got away from him slowly and after a while severed all connections with him.

    The next person who interested her was a fifty year old Vedanta Scholar. Shalini’s acquainttance took her along to his lecture. Sharma was an acclaimed exponent of Vedanta. His lectures on Gita was as great a crowd puller as a multi-starrer Kollywood movie.

    That day’s lecture was on Karma Yoga, where Lord Krishna explains one’s work as the way of salvation. Sharma’s flow of English words, his wide learning which made him quote from literature across the world, made the two hours fly.

    Shalini’s friend took her to the green room to introduce her to Sharma. Clad in a safron kurthi, Sharma looked handsome in his own way. His face betrayed the knowledge he had gathered over long years.

    Shalini congratulated him on his flawless delivery. He was pleased. He also invited her to his Vedanta classes which he held every morning at his house.

    Sharma was an interesting person to converse with. He had a phenomenal memory and was blessed with an intelligence to be able quote from various sources, whenever they discussed something.

    Shalini spent hours on end discussing with him various aspects of life. She also told him about her life so far. One day Sharma told her just like that,

    “Shalini, why don’t you join my Ashram and become a sanyasin? The trials and tribulations you have gone through have prepared you for the highest life of a yogin. If you are ready, I will initiate you on this new moon day, which is just four days away. You will never have a moment of grief after that. You will be giving yourself to God.”

    Shalini was lost in thought.
     
  4. Ushakrishnan64

    Ushakrishnan64 Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    How many twists and turns can you give within just a few pages? Incredible story teller.
    No...no..no..Shal's personality does not fit to become a yogin. She has a very strong personality. I cannot imagine her in ochre garb.
    Sridhar..do you hear my loud screams? hahahha
    Regards
    USHA
     
  5. maya08

    maya08 Senior IL'ite

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    hi sir....just read the episode 16.

    well....as much as she has gone through so many obstacles in life, she doesnt deserve to be a yogi, in the sense that why should she have to endure more hardship? isnt it enough after the ordeals she has gone through? due to her personality and how she has been brought by her father, she is a vibrant young woman who still has a full life ahead of her. so, there is no necessity for her to even contemplate such a life.....

    sir, i have a question...or make that some questions. :) throughout the series, why is it that her main quest in life is to get settled in life with a man?
    isnt there more life than just settling down in a relationship, sir?

    surely she can pursue other interests to fulfill her life and make make it more meaningful without making the 'must-have-a-man' goal as the main target?
    forgive me for being rather harsh and please dont mistake me to be a feminist, which i am not anyway.
    im just curious to know why has this been her pursuit all the while?
    is it because she wants to prove herself to the captain?
    but then again, she doesnt even need to prove herself to anyone to show what a capable woman she is...

    take care sir
    as much as i have disagreements, i still cant wait for the next episode....:mrgreen:

    cheers
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Usha,
    This story has to have so many twists and turns as it talks about a woman who has gone in search of identity.
    You are right, Shalini, is too strong a personality to don the ochre robes. But at the moment she is in a state of confusion. And who knows, she might take a wrong decision. But please do remember that Destiny is sitting on the side lines and watching the show. It wont let her go one way or other. So let's just wait and see.
    regards,
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Maya,

    Well, Maya, you and I know for sure that she can't be a yogin. But remember we are not in the train. We are by the side rails and are just watching the train moving on its tracks.

    But at this moment she is in a troubled state. Let's just imagine her current situation. The man who loved her with all his heart has been brutally murdered. She was thrown from the heights of happiness to depths of despair. And as if that was not enough she was accused of murdering her future husband. Fortunately there was a man who was with her in all these troubles and saved her. And that man is leaving her all of a sudden.

    She is now suddenly and mercilessly alone. Not that she cannot manage her life alone. But you know this sudden vaccuum has got strange effects on her psyche.

    sir, i have a question...or make that some questions. :) throughout the series, why is it that her main quest in life is to get settled in life with a man?
    isnt there more life than just settling down in a relationship, sir?

    surely she can pursue other interests to fulfill her life and make make it more meaningful without making the 'must-have-a-man' goal as the main target?
    forgive me for being rather harsh and please dont mistake me to be a feminist, which i am not anyway.
    im just curious to know why has this been her pursuit all the while?
    is it because she wants to prove herself to the captain?

    I like the way you phrased your question and worded your criticism. It is not a harsh criticism but a provocative thought. I am going to lapse into a long explanation and Maya, you will have to indulge me in this.

    As a writer my focus has mainly been on women. Their rights, their equality with men and the kind of atrocities committed on them and how to deal with such atrocities. But I am also a human being who has been inhabiting this planet for close to half a century. One thing I have found out is that it is not given to most of us, about 99% of us, to live a life of solitude.
    Feminists attack the proposition given in Manu Dharma. Manu says that a woman can never be alone. When she is young she is under her father's care. After her marriage she is under her husband's care. And in her old age she has to be in her son's care. They all say this is ********. Yes, I do agree.
    But I personally feel that Manu has just said one part. Or the later male chauvinists deleted the other part. The other part is this
    A man always needs the company of a woman. While young, he needs a mother. And sisters. And when he grows up and gets married, he has his wife. In his old age he needs his daughter's love and affection.

    I will go one step ahead and say that throughout his life a man needs the company of a woman, be it mother, sister, lover, friend, wife, daughter, whatever.

    Having said that now I can venture to say that basically we have not been created to live alone. In as much a woman needs a man, a man also needs a woman. For my own part I can go on record saying that my life has been enriched by my many women friends. Physically with none of these women I have not gone closer than shaking hands. But mentally we have shared our life's problems and have exchanged notes frequently. The beauty is that I have not seen some of my close women friends. Some, I see once in a blue moon. But still the friendship continues. I can proudly confess that I can live without women - call it dependence or sheer inferirority or whatever.

    So I created Shalini in my image in the opposite sex as far as this attribute is concerned.

    But Maya, mine is not the last word. Do come back with your views on this.

    Love,
     
  8. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    I feel that it is worth to wait for the fbs before I post one. More than your story 'She' I enjoy the feedbacks. Not that I like your story less. The fbs give me an opportunity to know different people's outlook towards life and relationships which has always interested me. I learn that both Usha and Maya do not want Shalini to become a yogin. As to your statement -"I will go one step ahead and say that throughout his life a man needs the company of a woman, be it mother, sister, lover, friend, wife, daughter, whatever.", I fully agree with that.Be it a man or a woman, it is difficult to live a life alone. Humans by nature are social animals.
    And yes definetely, I too feel Manu has just said one part. Or the later male chauvinists deleted the other part. The other pa rt is this
    A man always needs the company of a woman. While young, he needs a mother. And sisters. And when he grows up and gets married, he has his wife. In his old age he needs his daughter's love and affection.
    But due to social norms thrust upon women by society in the past or because of Nature itself coming to the protection of women, they are more strong willed than men when it comes to being forced to remain single. There is a very vague chance that such a woman goes astray or feels miserable. Yes, she may feel insecure quite often but never disillusioned.
    The 'Ardhanaareeshwarar' must have been conceptualised to show the interdependence of man and woman which, sadly has been misterpreted by the westerners.
    Now, coming back to 'She' I want to reiterate my stand that I took in Episode http://www.indusladies.com/forums/saturdays-with-varalotti/9091-she-episode-10-a-2.html#post84680
    This is for the benefit of people who may have missed out on that post.
    And eagerly waiting to see whether Shalini fits into any of my category or something totally different which I have missed out on.
    Regards,
    Malathi
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2007
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Malathi,

    Yesterday we were invited by an ardent fan of mine. We went there at 6 in the evening and had a really nice evening there. My fan, a bank employee (Indian Bank) who has opted for VRS is in her early fifties while her husband is turning 60 today. When I asked her point blank, what did she want to discuss regarding my writings, she told me that I write well. But what she could not understand was that why I go on giving only the name Malathi to almost all my heroines. (For about 5 years I did that. I do not know the reason). I could not answer her. She then asked my wife the same question. Probably wanted to know whether a girl by name Malathi is in my life. My wife pleaded ignorance in such a way that all doubts got transferred to me.

    I could only tell her that at times a writer gets hooked to a particular name without attaching any form to it. Malathis of my stories have been good women, jealous women, mean women and at times self-effacing great women. So there is no rhyme or reason for that.

    Since you share that name I thought this would interest you.

    One thing I like about your post is this that you have opted to quote those lines which I loved writing. I do not know about other people; but without relationships I would shrivel, wither and die. I have had a good many women-friends who have confided their troubles in me and in whom I have confided mine. And these relationships have defined me as a man and refined me as a writer. It is to these women I owe my women-centric stories and articles.
    Malathi, your post has planted some new ideas in me. For details refer the next post.
    regards,
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,

    I have an idea regarding SHE. SHE will end in the next two weeks. After that I plan to start a discussion board on SHE.
    I am going to take up all the decision-making points for Shalini. For instance the first such point is agreeing to marry Rishi. Second, was deciding not to have a child. Third was divorcing Rishi. Fourth, living with Jaggi. Goes on like this.

    We will have a thread on each of these points and discuss the pros and cons of decision taken by Shalini. Then we can arrive at the best possible decision and then take the story along in that way. At the end of the discussion I want to write, no, rewrite SHE.

    I want to know what do you think on this idea.
    With Love,

     

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