SHE A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy Episode 7 “You are insulting me. This time it is going to be very special. So name it and I will make sure it is yours. A brand new Honda Civic car? A sparkling diamond necklace? The gorgeous platinum jewellery set I spotted in Prince Jewellery? Tell me,”Rishi was earnest and eager to hear Shalini name her desire. “Absolutely sure, there is no limit?” “Not at all. Ask and ye shall be given.” “And you wont go back on your word?” “I promise, I will not. Tell me what do you want,”Rishi sounded like an expectant school boy. “Divorce.” Rishi froze. Then he managed a sheepish laugh, which had more of stupidity than amusement in it. “Come on, Shal, don’t play games like this. Silly girl, you almost gave me a heart attack.” Shalini replied with a bemused smile. “ No games, Rishi. I am not playing any games. Our marriage is well past all that. I know and more than me you know that. I meant what I said.” “Shal, sweetheart..” “Rishi, you asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told you.” Rishi could not bear this pointless dailogue any more. “What the hell are you talking, you perverted bitch?” “Language, Rishi, language. Is it written in any divine or diabolic dictionary that divorce is a form of perversion? What does the feminine gender of the canine species have to do with divorce?” Rishi snapped and started shouting. He called her names. The ruckus he created brought the Captain stomping down to the dining table. “What is happening here?” Shalini was in a belligerent mood. She addressed her father-in-law sarcastically with a cruel smile. “Uncle, you need to court-martial your faithful foot soldier. He is spoiling the discipline of this camp.” “Dad, Shalini wants to divorce me,”Rishi sounded like a little boy whose lunch had been snatched by the school bully. The Captain looked askance at her. “Well, Uncle, my dear husband promised to get me any gift I want for my birthday. And I wanted a divorce.” “What the hell are you talking you stupid girl?” “You are wrong Uncle. Asking for divorce is not stupid. Living through the façade of this marriage is.” “So..” “I don’t want a war. Let’s have a ceasefire now. I am negotiating the peace treaty. Let’s part as friends.” “My God! This will create a huge a scandal !” “If the state of our marriage is known to the world, it will be a worse scandal.” “Please listen, Shalini. We can talk things out. There is no need for this extreme step.” “No Uncle, I have only one life to live. And I don’t want to waste it on a failing marriage.” “You know Shalini that divorce is a long drawn legal process. Expensive too.” “Well, wrong information on both counts. If both parties file for a mutual consent divorce under Section 12B of the Hindu Marriages Act, we can get the decree in 6 months.” “Oh, you have already done your homework.” “I am a chartered accountant, uncle. I never make a statement without doing my homework.” “What if we refuse to sign the papers? What if we are do not agree for the mutual consent divorce? What the hell can you do, Mrs. Shalini?” “Listen Captain Ramnath. If you do not agree then I might have to file a complaint at the All Women Police Station inside the Commissioner’s Office. I will allege dowry harrassment. You two , father and son, will be arrested immediately. The enquiry and all will be much later. “But before that your colour pictures will be there in all the papers. “Then I will file a suit for divorce. I will cite two major grounds – one my husband’s sexual impotence, and my father-in-law trying to misbehave with me. The case will go on for three years. The tabloids will have a field day. Then Rishi will have to stay unmarried for the rest of his life. And that will be the worst scandal you can ever have in your life. “But if you two consent, we can part as friends. Then you can spread stories about me. That I was a characterless girl, an immoral bitch, an arrogant woman. You can keep Rishi’s name and character intact and get a brand new wife for him. The choice is yours.” “But Shalini I wont let you go out of this house. I will kill you.” Rishi shouted at Shalini. Shalini’s pointed stare frightened him from doing anything. Captain shouted at his son. “Rishi will you keep quiet? “What are your plans, tell us.” “Very simple. I am leaving this house right now. All of us will meet at <st1:time minute="0" hour="11">11 AM</st1:time> tomorrow morning in my lawyers chambers. Here is the address. The papers are already drawn. We will sign the papers, shake hands and then go about our ways. “But if you do not turn up tomorrow, the day after tomorrow my divorce petition will be filed. That is also ready, just in case. Have your pick.” “Dad, she has lost her mind. Her father’s death has affected her. How can we let a mentally ill person go out of our house? Help me Dad, let’s put her in a room and then call the psychiatrist.” Shalini laughed heartily. “Rishi, I knew that you would attempt something foolish like that. That’s why I called the Director General Of Police – incidentally a close friend of Daddy – and asked him to send a police vehicle with escort to take me back from my marital home. Now do you hear the siren? Yes, it has come.” The father and the son hastily moved away from her.