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SHE - Episode 3

Discussion in 'SHE - Serial Story' started by varalotti, May 11, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    SHE
    A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy

    Episode 3

    Shalini’s unfettered and rebellious spirit thrived and flourished under her father’s upbringing. Shiva indulged her to be herself at all times. His intervention for course-correction was non-intrusive yet effective

    Her mother, on the other hand, was love personified in its purest form. She went out of the way to make life pleasant for Shalini.

    She took tailoring as her pastime only to ensure that Shalini had the best dresses which she designed herself. Their household had a a retinue of domestic staff and two cooks-one for Indian and the other for Continental cusine.

    But Lakshmi would prepare food herself and serve her husband and daughter with her own hands. She would not even let the staff see the family eating together.

    While Shalini showered love on her mother too, her independent nature did not allow her to permit her mother interfere with her own affairs. Much against her mother’s wishes she signed up for the prestigious, and notorious (if you consider the pass percentage) CA course.

    Shalini signed the deed of apprenticeship with a senior chartered accountant in the city. At that time there were not many women doing the course. In the office Shalini apprenticed there was only one other lady apprentice.

    Within days of starting her apprenticeship Shalini learnt the nuances of the trade. The work done at her office bore little or no relevance to the subjects she had to study for the CA exams.

    At the office they prepared or assisted in preparing the tax returns of small and medium scale enterprises, visited some medium-sized companies for audit and once in a year visited some public sector banks and insurance companies for their year-end audit.

    That way her work in the office served only to hinder her studies. It tired her early and when she returned exhausted at 7 in the evening she would not have the mind to study even a line. Shalini was restless until her senior apprentices told her to relax and defer preparing for the exams till the last three months, her period of study-leave.

    But that turned out to be too intensive an effort even for a determined girl like Shalini. She cleared the First Level exams in flying colours. The final exam which would make her a fullfledged professional was really a hard nut to crack.

    The study leave for the final, qualifying exam was about to start.

    Shalini’s mother had been to a cocktail. When a friend enquired about Shalini, she casually mentioned that she was taking the CA Final Examinations that November.

    The friend spoke fifteen minutes non-stop about the CA exams. Her son had been flunking the exams continuously for the past three years. The friend, to justify her son’s failure, told Shalini’s mother that the pass percentage in CA Final Exam was less than 3%.

    A candidate could have been academically brilliant all her life. But still that did not guarantee any success in the Final Examinations.

    Lakshmi was devastated. Not that she was worried about Shalini becoming a Chartered Accountant. But given Shalini’s temperament she was afraid that the silly girl might take the failure to her heart.

    As soon as she returned home after the party she summoned Shalini to her room. Shalini’s eyes were red. She was sleeping only 5 hours in the night. Placing a hand on her daughter’s shoulders she narrated what her friend had told her in the party. Shalini confirmed that with a smile.

    “But Shalini… why should you suffer like this if you are not sure of the result?”

    “Ma, I am pretty sure of my result. I am working hard. I have not omitted any part of the syllabus. If in spite of all this if the exam is going to be tough for me, then it is going to be tough for all the 10000 and odd candidates who are going to write the exam with me. They can’t simply fail all the candidates, right?”

    Lakshmi was not convinced.

    “Do you remember that Tamil film we all went to see last month?”

    Lakshmi nodded.

    “In that film there is a cranky character who actually is the villain. But there’s one quality about him which I like the most. You see he is a race driver. And just to ensure that he drives fast enough, he sets a time bomb to himself.

    “The bomb is set to go off at the end of the target time he sets for himself. Suppose he wants to cover a distance in 7 minutes, he sets the bomb to explode at the end of the 7the minute.

    “When he drives having one eye on the bomb-time and one eye on the car’s odometer, he is bound to do his best. After all it is a question of life and death, you know?”

    Now Lakshmi was really horrified.

    “Ma, let me tell you another example. You know the Oscar Winning Director James Cameroon who directed The Titanic. He did the editing for that film. He used to stick a razor blade to the computer in which he did the editing. When asked about it he told the press, “If the film sucks, I’ll use that to finish my life.”

    “What the hell are you saying, you devil?”

    Shalini’s mother shouted pathetically.

    “Please be calm. I am not going to do anything silly like that. But I want to tell you that my determination is no less.”

    Perhaps Shalinis mother knew something intuitively. Perhaps she had a premonition that something was going to be seriously wrong. Very soon.
     
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Shalini’s hand phone rang again. Thinking that it would be that silly COO of her company she picked up the phone with irritation but was thrilled to see her father’s number.

    “Shalu.. my pet, how are you dear?”

    Shivas voice never failed to melt Shalini.

    “Dad, what a pleasant surprise! I am fine. When did you come back from <st1:country-region><st1:place>Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region>?”

    “Yesterday night. When I came home it was almost <st1:time minute="0" hour="0">midnight</st1:time>. Are you in your office? Am I disturbing you?”

    “Not at all Dad. I am home.”

    “Any problem, dear?”

    “No Papa. Not in a mood to go.”

    “So if you are free, how about a date with your Dad? My executive lunch appointment with a client got cancelled just now. I have a table booked for two in Sheraton. If you are game, I’ll pick you up around <st1:time minute="30" hour="12">half past twelve</st1:time>.”

    Shalini hesitated. She had lied to her father-in-law that she was sick. But she was sure her father would definitely manage the situation.

    “Great Papa. I’ll be waiting for you. But I have a small problem here…”
    Shalini told about the lie she had handed out to her fater-in-law.
    “I will talk to the Captain. I will take care of him. Meet you soon, dear.”

    Shalini disconnected. The enthusiasm in her father’s voice was contagious. That vitality belonged only to those people who love what they do for a living.

    Shalini started ransacking her wardrobe for appropriate attire. She did not want to wear the starched cotton saree which was still lying on the bed in a heap. She choose a pair of cool cream, linen slacks and a lime green kurti set with tiny pearls to go along with that.

    She looked at the time. There was more than an hour left.

    Her memories drifted again to her past.

    Shalini wrote all the papers in the CA Final examinations in one go, a very rare feat in itself. And she retained her fiery identity even while undergoing the arduous process of writing the examinations. Her exams would start at 10.

    But she would get up only around seven or half-past. Shalini’s mother would get tensed up. But Shalini had clearly forbidden her not to wake her up. And she would not study anything on the exam day.


    Shalini’s mother was sure that she would flunk her exams and she feared that the head strong girl would do something silly. After the exams were over Shalini had to continue to work in the office to complete the remaining period of her apprenticeship.

    CA results were due on that day. Lakshmi was more tense than any of the candidates who wrote the exam. She woke up early in the morning and walked to the <st1:place><st1:placename>Ganesa</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>Temple</st1:placetype></st1:place> four kilometres away. All the while only one prayer was in her mind. “O Lord, please spare my little girl. Take my life instead, but she should clear her exams. Please….”

    When Lakshmi returned home the phone was ringing. She virtually ran to pick the cordless instrument.

    “My name is Krishnasamy, Shalini’s boss. Chartered Accountant.”

    “Tell me Sir, any problem? CA results have come?”

    “They have. May I know to whom I am talking to?”

    “Shalini’s mother, Lakshmi.”

    “Mrs.Lakhsmi, please control yourself. You know very well that the pass percentage in CA is abysmal.”

    “Can you please tell me what happened to Shalini?”

    “There is nothing to worry over failure. After all Shailni can write her next exams this May. And I am sure with a little more preparation she would clear them. So..”

    “WILL YOU PLEASE TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED?”

    “I am sorry, Mrs. Lakshmi. I called up my contact in the CA Institute’s Office in <st1:city><st1:place>Delhi</st1:place></st1:city>. He says that Shalini’s number does not appear in either of the groups she has appeared for.”

    “Meaning…”

    “Shalini has failed in both the groups. I need not tell you Madam, but Shalini is a little, what shall I say, adamant. So please be with her. Tell her not to worry. “

    But Lakshmi had already disconnected.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2007
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Lakshmi ran to Shalini’s room. Shalini had just woken up. She was brushing her teeth. As soon as he came ouf of her bathroom Lakshmi hugged her daughter tight.
    Shalini was perplexed.

    “Ma, what happened? Have they announced the results already? My friends called?”

    “Shaloo, Shal dear, you are my life. You are our only daughter.”

    Shalini did not understand the sudden outburst of love.

    “Ma tell me what happened.”

    With a trembling voice Lakshmi told her about the call she got from her Senior. Contrary to her expectations Shalini was not shocked.

    “Is that so? Ok can you please get me my tea? I am going to the local Chapter of our CA Institute.”

    “What for, Shalini?”

    “To confirm the result. “

    “What if your Senior said is true….”

    “I will burn down the whole building, Ma.”

    “My God.”

    “A place where inequity happens is to be destroyed. I had prepared well and had written well. If they had flunked me, then the Institute does not deserve to exist any longer.”

    Lakhsmi’s face went pale. Nevertheless she brought tea to her daughter. Unfortunately Shiva was not in the country at that time. Lakshmi badly wanted to talk to him even if that meant an expensive ISD call. But she could not reach him.

    When Shalini dressed up and got ready to go, Lakshmi was also ready.

    “Shaloo, I can’t bear the tension. Can I come along with you?”

    “Ma, I am not a kid going to see my SSLC results. In a few hours from now your daugther will be a professional. So please stay home and wait for my call. Keep some sweets handy. I want you to be the first person to give me sweets, Ok?”

    Even that positive note did not calm Lakshmi’s frayed nerves.
    .
    Shalini committed a grave mistake of not taking her mother along. For had she done so, her mother would have been spared. But destiny had other plans.

    It took Shalini more than fortyfive minutes to reach the office of the Local Chapter of the Institute. There was a festive mood over there. Normally CA results are welcomed with a stunned silence. What was the reason for such a celebration, Shalini mused.

    As soon as Shalini entered the large conference hall the students shouted at her. A burly co-apprentice came running to Shalini and lifted her up in the air. Another girl came running to her with a large garland.

    It took more than five minutes for Shalini to realise what had happened. She had not only passed the CA exams all in one go but had been placed first in the country. Since getting an All-India’s First Rank meant a singular honour for the whole city, the students were in a joyful mood, though many of them had failed.

    Shalini was rendered speechless. Her Senior’s contact in the Institute’s office in <st1:city><st1:place>Delhi</st1:place></st1:city> had bungled the whole affair. That was a wrong information.

    Suddenly she remembered her mother's anxiety. She extricated herself from the clutches of her admirers and phoned her. There was no response. Shalini felt a distinct pain in her heart. She knew something was amiss.

    She thanked her admirers, promising them a large treat later in the day and rushed home.

    She was shocked to see a crowd outside her house.

    She walked in shivering only to see the lifeless form of her mother lying in the drawing room. Lakshmi could not bear her little princess suffering. She could not afford to see her daughter fail, and then do something silly.

    Her loving heart had broken down during those crucial minutes Shalini took to confirm the results.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
    MSNR likes this.
  4. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    dear sridhar,
    in all our busy life sometime we lose out on our dear ones, though you could give what shalini needed but u could not give her the one that would be great along with her result, her mother, any way i salute the woman that she was worried abt her little one's future, and shiva is becoming more and more alluring character, waiting to see how he handles the father in law....regards sunkan
     
  5. Monsi

    Monsi Bronze IL'ite

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    Hello Sridhar,
    I am a new joinee in IndusLadies. I have read 2 of your stories (The price and the Haunted House) till now and yes the previous 2 episodes of SHE. I must admit that I am already addicted to reading your stories. They are so finely written. Every story and its characters are so very well narrated. Cant wait to read the next episode of SHE. I am sitting in the office and reading the stories.. hmm well hope the boss is not looking :tongue . Gotta go back to work now :bangcomp:
     
  6. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    You cant do that.....you can let her mother die....that too Tomorrow being MOTHER'S DAY!:cry:

    But the story has picked up and it was racy too.....but i still wish you had spared the mother......now how will that affect Shalini.....she will not be able to rejoice at her success , when her loving mom is no more.....
    And as usual when Fathers/ husbands, are needed they are never there ....i wonder why?:tongue
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Sundari!

    Dear Sundari,
    Thanks again for being the first to comment on SHE. It does happen in our lives that at times we gain onething and lose another. Though Shalini is not to be blamed for her mother's death, there is likely to be some residuary guilt in her. Had she taken her mother along, who knows, her mother might be saved.
    But Shalini has a life to live and she has to march on. She might face.... (no, no, that will be telling something of the future episodes).
    Let's all wait to see, how Shiva handles his Military Sambandhi.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Hello Monsi,

    Welcome aboard IL, Monsi. This is a great site and you will never regret your decision to join this world-wide community. I am happy to see that you like my writings. Getting a compliment like this is a reward, we writers always cherish.

    Please continue to read this story and let me know what you think about each character. As the story develops, it will heat up and will become more controversial.
    Let's just now keep our fingers crossed.
    Thanks once again Monsi for your kind response.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sudha,
    I am sorry, I did not notice the mother's day. Any how I wrote this episode two weeks back and at that time I was not aware of the Mother's day.
    A mother's death will definitely affect a character like Shalini. We are going to see in detail how did it affect in the future episodes.
    Happy to note that you find the episode racy. I write almost double the length of a normal episode and then cut by half to make it run fast.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  10. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    The 3 rd episode was fast moving indeed. But ... did you have to kill the mother off :icon_frown: :icon_frown: ??? I don't know some how the mom comes across as a lady with a weak heart ( which i could not digest, given the fact that she herself was a teacher isn't it, and to be a teacher, one has to have a strong mind, heart etc...)
    Also curious to find out if Shalini has any of her mom's traits in her. So far it looks like she is out and out an Daddys girl.

    Vandhana
     

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