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SHE - Episode 6

Discussion in 'SHE - Serial Story' started by varalotti, May 31, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy
    Episode 6

    As soon as she woke up that morning Shalini had a sinking intuition that something was wrong. Seriously wrong. Tears welled up in her eyes for no reason. It was then her mobile phone rang.

    The maid working in the ground floor heard Shalini shrieking. “OH NO, NO, IT CANT BE.”

    Shalini’s worst fears were confirmed. Her father had died early in the morning. Her family doctor called her up from her father's house. Shiva was only 56.

    Shalini was staring at the large garlanded picture of her father placed in the main hall of their house. Ten days had passsed since her father died. The events of that most fateful day in her life ran like a flashback for the hundredth time.

    When she first heard the news Shalini was too shocked even to cry. She did not know how she reached her father’s place. The Doctor was waiting for her.

    “I got a call from your father at 5 in the morning. He complained of chest pain. I immediately asked the cook to get a barbiturate for him. I came rushing. Massive cardiac infraction. He was alive when I came here. He was talking to me. But before I could get the injection out of my bag he collapsed and passed away. It happened at <st1:time minute="2" hour="18">6:02</st1:time>.”

    Shalini asked in a broken voice.

    “What were his last words?”

    “He told me that he had donated his eyes. And that I should call up Aravind Eye Bank before it is too late.”

    “Have you called?”

    “Just wanted to have a word with you…”

    “Please call them right now.”

    The crowd was yet to come. Only the Doctor and Shalini were there. And she asked the question she dreaded to ask.

    “Was he a heart patient, Doctor?”

    “No. He was in perfect health. Looks like he had some shock yesterday. And it was too much for him.”

    Shalini felt a tug at her heartstrings. Was she responsible for his death? Did she give him that guilt trip which ultimately proved fatal for him?

    Tears started to flow as she remembered his last words to her.

    “You know I had been to the temple this evening after several years. Not been there since your mother died. And my only prayer to God was ‘If I had made a mistake in pushing Shalini to marry this guy, then I am in the wrong. Give me any punishment you like. But just leave my little girl alone.’

    “You know for the first time in my whole life I entered into a deal with God. I have vowed to God, ‘If my little girl becomes happy again, I will fast on Sundays and come to your temple every day.”

    Shalini broke down sobbing.

    By mid morning it appeared to Shalini that the whole city mourned her father’s death. Shiva’s body was kept in state in the main hall and hundreds of people respectfully filed past paying their last respects to him.

    Shalini’s tears had dried up. She sat in a chair near her father with a hand on his cold forehead. “Dad you gave me everything I wanted. But did I give you anything you wanted from me?”

    This haunting thought made her to sob silently by the side of her father’s lifeless form.

    She was puzzled to see a old man in his eighties being escorted to the hall. The old man placed a large rose garland at Shiva’s feet and stood there sobbing. Then his escort nodded at Shalini and said something to him.

    “Are you his daughter?”

    Shalini nodded.

    “I tell you, beti, even if my own son had died, I would not have grieved this much.”
    Shalini was moved.

    “I worked for your father. I retired 20 years back because of health problems. My sons let me down. My wife is dead. I came back to your father crying. He has been supporting me since then. What my sons failed to do for me, he did. A deadweight like me is still living, while a God like Shiva is dead. It’s an atrocious world, beti.”

    Shalini muffled her sobs.

    Around <st1:time minute="0" hour="12">noon</st1:time> some policemen arrived and regulated the traffic outside. Some were deployed in regulating the queue. Some of them making calls to the caterer; some were making arrangements for the funeral. Shalini was puzzled.

    Around 11 a person who appeared to be a high ranking police official came in. He was in his police uniform. He left his shoes in the verandah and tiptoed into the hall. He removed his cap and stood in silence at Shiva’s feet for a few minutes. Then someone handed over a large rose garland which he placed on Shiva.

    When he came to talk to Shalini his eyes were full.

    She recognised him as the State’s Director General of Police. She had seen his picture in newspapers.

    “Mrs.Shalini, I am sorry about your father’s death.”

    Shalini did not know what to say.
    Last edited: May 31, 2007
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  2. varalotti

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    Part 2!

    “You know Mrs. Shalini, I am what I am thanks only to your father. My elder brother worked for your Dad. That was 20 years ago. I had finished my degree and wanted to write the IAS exams.

    “I wanted to go to <st1:city><st1:place>Delhi</st1:place></st1:city> for the coaching classes. My brother could not afford the money. I was disappointed. One day I came to the office to fight with him. Somehow your father found out and on his own gave full assistance for my coaching classes.

    “I told him that I would like to treat that as a loan. He said, “Yes, it is a loan. But I’ll deem it repaid when you pass your IAS exams and then take care of your elder brother.”

    “This post, this uniform, everything is your Dad’s gift to me.”

    The DGP wiped his eyes and then talked to Shalini in an official tone.

    “Mrs. Shalini I am deploying the city’s police force to do the work here. Everything will be taken care of. You need not worry about anything. For all these people……”

    The DGP waved his hand to the policemen who were busy with some work or other.
    “Your word is the law.”

    “But Sir, that is not fair… please…”

    “No Mrs. Shalini permit me to pay my last respects to the man who gave me my life and my career. Please.”

    “But Sir, is it right to deploy the police force…”

    “No problem. You see, Mrs. Shalini last month a minister’s mother-in-law died. I was forced to deploy a much larger force. She was nothing but a well-connected money-bag. As a retribution to that sin, let my men do some work for a really good man. A man who has made difference to many lives. A complete man who lived a full life.”
    Shalini broke down once again.

    The DGP waited for her to calm down.

    As soon as she started to wipe her tears, he gave her nondescript card .

    “This is my personal number. Known only to very few. You can call me anytime. Whatever you want, consider it done. Now let me do my duty.”

    The DGP went away to bark instructions to his subordinates.

    Shalini was moved more by the stories poured out by rank outsiders than the tears shed by her father’s close friends and relatives.

    ‘Dad, I know for sure you are the best Dad in the world. I never knew that you also were the best human being while you lived.’

    This thought resulted in a violent sob which Shalini did not attempt to muffle.

    Rishi and the Captain were there before evening. They lent invaluable moral support to Shalini. They did not have much to do, as the police personnel were orgainsing everything – erecting a shamiana, providing seating arrangments, press coverage and even providing refreshments to the mourners.

    Shiva was consigned to flames in the electric crematorium the same evening. Rishi and his father were the first pall bearers, the police officer following. The old man walked a few steps and then had to feebly hand over his load.

    When Shalini told Rishi that she would like to be in her father’s place alone, for a few days to put things in order, he readily agreed.

    Shiva’s company lawyer visited her early next morning. Shalini who had not slept a wink the previous night was receiving visitors who came from afar to offer their condolences.

    The lawyer wanted some time with her privately to read the will and last testament of her father.

    There were no surprises in Shiva’s will. He had left everything to his little girl. But there were some moving statements.

    Shiva had mandated that no religious ceremonies or rituals be performed. But he requested Shalini, the sole executrix of the will that some acts of charity be done daily for ten days after his death, in such a way, that every day at least a hundred poor people were made happy.

    The second deviation was Shiva’s large consulting practice. Shalini, could, if she wanted , take over that and run the company.

    But if she was not going to run it, there was a request, that she should not sell the practice to anybody else. Instead she should consider gifting it to two of his most loyal and efficient employees who were named in the testament.

    Shalini opted for the second alternative. She instructed the lawyer to prepare the paperwork.

    She also retained some kind of control for the first ten years just to ensure that the chosen heirs ran the business on the same principles and morals set by Shiva.
    Last edited: May 31, 2007
  3. varalotti

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    Part 3!

    Shalini was sitting in her room in her father’s house. She spied a roll-top writing desk in the corner. She went to the desk and affectionately ran her long fingers over it.

    She felt like touching her father. Her father had made it specially for her when she was six, with a rolling cover to lock all her work and thoughts inside . For a six year old that was a big treat, almost an admission into adulthood, a feeling that she was entitled to her privacy, her freedom.

    At that time Shiva had more than 50 skilled carpenters working for him. But when it came to his little girl, he virtually carved the desk with his own hands. As if to pay homage to her father, her eyes involuntarily shed a tear-drop which fell on the centre of that rosewood desk.

    A little later in the day Shalini was woking with her father’s will. Good properties affording steady rental income, shares in blue-chip companies, bank deposits and cash balances, gold and diamond, cars – all running into crores of Rupes, all waiting to serve his little girl.

    As he closed her laptop with a sigh, she started preparing her life’s balance sheet.

    In the balance sheet what we own is listed on the right hand side, called the assets side. What we owe is on the left hand side, the liabilities side. Her assets were academic qualifications, rich professional experience, an enviable career-path and enormous personal wealth.

    Then what sat on the liabilities side? Her dysfunctional marriage?

    The financial statements of a business would also list the profits and losses made in the accounting period. Shalini now wondered whether she had her identity intact or if it be provided for as a loss? Before marriage her fiery identity was her great asset. Was that now lost in the marriage process?

    That was the story of many talented women in <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region>. The most pathetic story that came to her mind was that of her friend who qualified for the IAS but was not allowed to accept the post.

    Her husband had threatened to divorce her is she went ahead. Poor lady, she did not want her child to suffer. So she mercilessly killed the IAS Officer in her and the woman in her to give her child a peaceful life.

    Shalini loathed such people earlier. But now she was also in a similar state. Thankfully there was no child to bog her down.

    She made some crucial decisions in that defining moment.

    The next day Shalini made security arrangements in her father’s house and returned to her husband’s place. The Captain's house.

    Rishi was very kind. The Captain was even more courteous.

    Two days later Shalini resumed her work. She met her Managing Director and handed over her letter of resignation.

    “But Shalini, you can’t do this to me. This is our annual audit time. The Venture Capital people are coming next month.”

    “Sir, I am not quitting now. I just want to inform that my three-month-notice period starts from now. I will be here to complete this year’s audit and deal with the venture capitalists.”

    “Shalini, by any chance, if you are quitting because of that rat, Sundar, I assure you that he will be put in place in no time. If you insist I will even get rid of him. But please Shalini, the company cannot afford to lose a financial brain like you.”

    “Sir, I am flattered. I am not quitting because of Sundar, though I want you to put him in place for the good of the company. You know my father died. My life is in crossroads now and I am terribly confused as to which path I should take. I am afraid I cannot focus on my work. So please…. let me go…”

    The Managing Director spent the next one hour pleading with her to reconsider her decision. Shalini did not relent.

    When Shalini reached home around <st1:time minute="30" hour="19">half past seven</st1:time>, Rishi was waiting for her.

    “Let’s eat together, Shalini. Dad told me that you might be feeling lonely after your father’s death.”

    Had Rishi uttered the first sentence alone Shalini might have melted. The second sentence enraged her and she became even more firm in her earlier decision..

    Rishi was talking about many things. Shalini was amused by this sudden outburst of intimacy. She controlled her urge to check Rishi’s forehead – to ensure whether he was all right.

    “I have a question for you, Shal. Tell me in what way is this Friday important?”

    Shalini ventured a guess.

    “Are you going abroad? Or have you been promoted?”


    “Are you getting a new car?”

    “No. No.No. It is your birthday.”

    Shalini was impressed. She had totally forgotten.

    She vividly remembered her last birthday. Her father had greeted her first thing in the morning. They had lunch together. He had gifted her a brilliant pair of diamond solitaires.

    ‘Oh, Dad, how did you have the heart to leave your little girl alone in this cruel world?’

    Rishi and Captain had totally forgotten. Only late in the evening did Rishi remember and brought her an insipid gift.

    That memory served to harden her mind even more.

    “What do you want for your birthday?”

    Shalini tried not to be sarcastic. But failed.

    “Tell me your budget. Rs. 500/-?“

    “You are insulting me. This time it is going to be very special. So whatever you ask, I’ll give you. A brand new Honda Civic car? A sparkling Diamond necklace? An exquisite platinum jewellery set I found today in Prince Jewellery? Anything?”

    “Are you sure, there is no limit?”

    “Not at all. Ask and ye shall be given.”

    “You wont go back on your word?”

    “I promise, I wont. Tell me what do you want.”

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  4. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    to be frank i don't understand shal's mentality, why she is doing it???? Rishi is such a nice guy. For me it's not moving well:cry: . Sorry if i hurt Ur feelings.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
  5. ruchis

    ruchis New IL'ite

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    This story is going great!!! I can identify so much with Shal,I used to have same fiery spirit like hers but tamed it down in 8 years of married life.
    I hope she gets a divorce and finds her life back !!!!
  6. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    I guessed it was dad's turn to "pop off" this time. Only something so drastic would affect Shalini to the core. On the whole liked episode 6 . Very fast moving. For a minute there, i thought you were going the SUN TV serial way and going to write all the gory details of the funeral etc.... But thank god it was not so....( i don't know what it is with these serial makers that they have to show such stuff in gory detail and then that too it will be on a friday:bangcomp: ) Am not commenting about Siva's character , since it is no longer relevant. But i am trying to think what the " shocking news " was that instigated the massive cardiac arrest. Are you going to cover that in one of your later episodes? I do not believe it had anything to with the last phone conversation with shalini.

    The pace is definitely picking up and can't wait to read next weeks episode.

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  7. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    So dad too is no more:(
    I don't know if Shalini ever felt guilty about her mother's death? Now, if the burden of her father's demise too weighs her down, she will sure need all her gutsy self to pull out of her psychological mess. I cannot but wonder if the shock caused some damage to her mind that she wants a divorce from her husband?!
    But then, you have not divulged much about the problems Rishi has caused to their marraige, hence I am unable to decide this extreme reaction from Shalini. True, a too good a husband is also a difficult proposition. Yet, why did this marriage go so sour? All because of a military precision father in law? Sounds like a very weak reason to dissolve a marriage.
    Anyways, I am all tuned up to see what our heroine is going to unravel in the name of a fiery character. Best of luck to her, she seems to need it.

    3 people like this.
  8. vivbass

    vivbass Gold IL'ite

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    dear sridhar sir,
    pls don't mind for my comments. y in every episode therez always some negative ending,some sorrows for shalini. she should not go for divorce for small things,eventhough she is very straight forward girl,but i feel divorce is too much . i remembered the dialogues from revathi in mouna ragam film.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
  9. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    Hello Sridhar,

    Oh, My, god, did shal really ask for Divorce ?? so very sooon????
    I thought she's still dissecting her balance sheet of life...
    I don't think she is in the right frame of mind to take such an extreme step.
    any relationship needs two hands, two souls to work together - I really wonder what she expects out of life, out of her relationship, out of Rishi..........
    She needs to surrender herself to this relationship and then expect something from it but it doesn't look like she's anywhere near that point of giving.
    Shiva's death now leaves her all alone - divorce is the first decision she's going for and I'm very curious to see her further moves.

    I still feel Rishi's character is too difficult to gauge and leaves me wondering if he isn't a good husband / a good human...

    now the tension starts & it's going to catch us all toooo.
    all I want now is the next episode -----

    Shalini asking Divorce reminds me of the movie by Mani Rathnam - MOUNA RAAGAM. while discussing on birthday gift the hero Mohan asks Revathi what she wants as a gift and she utters "Divorce". Shalini seems to be making the same mistake.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2007
  10. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Re: Part 3!

    The 6th episode as a whole was very very touching.It brought tears to my eyes, especially when the people paid tributes to Shalini's father. One more thing that sent a chill down my spine was when Shalini said she wanted a "Divorce" at a time when her husband was trying to be most supportive to her. I still cannot fathom what was so bad about Rishi that made her say that. Was it his indifference to her sensitivities? I really don't know and can't guess. So I prefer to wait and watch and see if her move was justified in any way.
    On the whole this episode was not only moving but fast moving too.

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