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She - Final Episode!

Discussion in 'SHE - Serial Story' started by varalotti, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    SHE
    A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy
    Episode 18

    Shalini had enrolled herself in Sharmaji’s Ashram near Sriperumpudur on the outskirts of Chennai. She had made it clear to Sharmaji that her enrolment was on trial basis with her retaining the option to call it quits anytime.

    Within a week Shalini started loving the routine and was fully immersed in her study. Time was flying. For the first time in several years, Shalini felt a peace in her mind which could not be easily described.

    She liked her field visits the most – the bi-weekly visit to orphanages, hospitals and the like. It was one thing to sit all alone and contemplate on the High Principle. And it was something totally different to see people in flesh and blood suffering and then offering them help, even if the help was just a few words of comfort.

    Seeing suffering all around her Shalini’s first instinct was to give her money away to all these people so that they will be happy. She remembered her father’s views on helping others by giving money. “Money is not a panacea for all ills. If we can solve the problems of our poor by money, they could have done it long back by distributing money along foodgrains in ration shops. It does not happen that way.”

    On that hot Friday afternoon Shalini was assigned to a group that was visiting a hospice for terminally ill patients. The difference between a hospital and hospice is this. People go to a hospital to get cured; but they go to a hospice to die peacefully. Patients in advanced stages of cancer, AIDS victims, children born with some congential illness who are about to die any time – a hospice is a sanctuary for these people.

    The hospice they visited that day was run by a missionary organisation. Shalini and five others from her Ashram got down from the vehicle and were taken to the Controller’s room.

    Shalini was passing the general ward of the hospice. She was shocked by what she saw. She could not believe her eyes. She went ahead to join her group. She then retraced her steps and saw that again.

    Yes. What she saw was true. But how? She ran down the hall to join others. Then on an impulse she came back to see the occupant of bed number 14. Then she ran up faster to join others in her team.

    They were to spend five hours in that hospice. Each were allotted three patients among whom they should apportion their time. Their brief: just talk to them. Hold their hands. Or do anything that might comfort a dying person.

    The others started their work, while Shalini asked for time and went into the Controller’s room. She told him with pleading eyes that she wanted to know all details about the patient in bed number 14.


    The Controller said in a sad voice.
    “A very unfortunate case. HIV Positive. But AIDS has not yet struck. Who knows, he may live for another ten or 15 years. With the kind of retro-viral drugs available now, he can live a near-normal life. The problem is that he has nobody.”

    “Please check your records Controller. Does he not have a father, a wife and children?”

    “No. A retired Captain from the army has had him admitted here. The Captain said that he is a distant relative and was working for him. He is paying quite a lot to keep him here.

    “Normally we do not admit this kind of people. Our rules allow only terminally ill patients to be admitted here. But the Captain paid us quite a lot of money and we just closed our eyes. In a way that man is a bonanza for us. Because of him, because of the money we got for him, we are providing another twenty patients, a decent life till they die.”

    If Shalini was shocked she did not show it on her face. But could not hide her emotions when she spoke. Her voice was almost choked.

    “Can you tell me Controller, when is the Captain likely to visit the man in bed number 14?”

    “That I can say for sure. He does everything with military precision. You see today is Thursday. He will be here on Saturdays and Wednesdays. He would come around three in the afternoon and stay here till late in the night. He has also requested me to locate a good orphanage for two children.”

    In spite of her best efforts, Shalini’s eyes became full. She took enormous efforts to muffle her sobs. After some time she told him in a emotionally drained voice,

    “I think I will be able to help you on that. Don’t tell anything to anyone. I will be here on Saturday.”

    As soon as Shalini reached the Ashram she contacted Sharmaji on his mobile and briefly explained her life-situation.

    “Go ahead, Shalini. What you have in mind is a thousand times better than the life of a sanyasin. May God Bless you.”

    Sharmaji’s words were soothing. She was released from the Ashram on Friday morning. She spent rest of the day contacting some persons and digging up more information on the occupant of bed number 14.

    She did not have a wink of sleep on Friday night.

    She got up early on Saturday. She stood before her father’s framed picture, the closest she had ever come to worshipping God. She was silently meditating on the options available before her. She took a decision and looked at her father’s smiling face.

    It appeared as if her father were talking to her in person.


    “You are right, dear. Go ahead. I am with you.”

    She wiped her tears and started preparing herself for the visit to the Hospice late in the afternoon.
     
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    In a hospice many patients come and go. Almost no one went back to their home. They all went to their permanent home up above. Death was constantly present in the building and would register its presence once in three or four days.

    On that fateful Saturday, two patients had died. One was a child who had lukemia and the other was a person in late sixties with an inoperable brain tumour. In both the cases death had been a relief to their suffering. As was the custom, all the other patients gathered around the mortal remains of those who died and were offering silent prayers.

    There were two visitors to the hospice on that day. One was a retired military captain who was waiting in the visitor’s lobby. The other was Shalini who was waiting in the Controller’s Room. She had come to the hospice around twelve and used these three hours to get a lot of work done.

    When the prayer for the departed was over, the visitors were let in. The Captain went straight to bed number 14. He had a basket of fruits in his hand.

    “How are you doing, my son?”

    Before the patient could muster himself to answer the question, a roar was heard from the other side of the room. The Captain and the patient turned to find who it was.

    “Wrong, Captain Ramnath, wrong. He is not your son.”

    The patient was shocked and did not speak. The captain identified the person but still asked the question to insult the intruder.

    “Who the hell are you, lady?”

    “Captain, I ask the same question of you. Who the hell are you to come and talk to this man?”

    “I am his father. He is my only son, Rishi.”

    “He was, Captain. But not now. The moment you disowned him, the moment you decided he is not fit enough to stay in your house, he ceased to be your son.”

    After seeing Rishi in that hospice on Thursday Shalini had contacted the live-in maid of the Captain’s house and had gathered the details.

    Rishi had gone to a remote place in <st1:place>South Tamilnadu</st1:place> for a repair work relating to a dam. He had had a fall from a height of ten feet and was admitted to the local hospital in that mofussil town.

    An emergency blood transfusion was called for. The mofussil hospital did not have facilties to screen the blood sample for HIV. So Rishi got tainted blood and HIV as a bonus.

    No one knew that until three months later. Rishi had acute stomach pain and an emergency surgery had to be done to remove his inflamed appendix. Post-surgery, a battery of tests were taken which revealed that Rishi was HIV positive.

    Rishi silently broke the news to his wife and father. The very next day his wife ran away from their home deserting not only her HIV husband but also her two children, for no fault of theirs.

    Captain was more afraid of the scandal than about the health and life of his only son. He did not want his son to live with him under the same roof.

    Captain sweet-talked Rishi into getting himself admitted at this hospice. He threw away a lot of money and had put his weight around to hide the fact that Rishi was HIV positive.

    Shalini was now in a belligrent mood. Rishi was speechless. Captain was fuming.

    “See this Captain. In the admission form you have described Rishi as “a distant relative.”

    Rishi was hurt and Captain could not withstand his son’s pointed stare.

    “You have not yet answered my question, who the hell are you? “

    “A mother, Captain, a mother. Of three children. And this is my eldest. See how cute he is.”

    Shalini went near rishi and ruffled his hair. A sob escaped Rishi’s mouth.

    Captain was furious now.

    “Don’t touch my son. You bitch, you ditched him. You deserted him. And now what right have you to touch him?”

    “Captain, your crime is no less. You also ditched him. You let him down. You booked him as your ‘distant relative.’”

    “Listen lady, you have already told us that you cannot live as Rishi’s wife.”

    “Yes, it was difficult to love Rishi as a husband as he was under your shadow and was your most obedient soldier. As a wife I had a lot of expectations and Rishi frustrated them all. So I left him.
     
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    “Now I have come back not as his wife or even his ex-wife. But as a mother. A mother never has any expectations. Rishi as a husband might have failed in my case. But as a son Rishi is too good. Which you should know better, because till two months back he was your son.”

    “You know bitch, that Rishi is now legally married to another woman and has children.”

    “I know, Captain. I also know that the good, orthodox, subservient, village girl, who worshipped her husband as pathi-parameshwar when the going was good, has now run away.

    “And I have come back on my own when disaster has struck. To be able to love an AIDS patient and to take care of him as my son, when there is no relationship subsisting between us, can be done only by a woman who has found her identity. I have found mine. “

    Captain turned over and started to walk out. Shalini called him.

    “Captain Ramnath, do you remember the last captainism you sent to me? I can never forget it till I die. “A woman is not complete until she becomes a mother.” I am now a complete woman. Just think what happened to that uneducated, complete woman who was living with Rishi all these years?”

    Captain was struck for words. Shalini ignored him and talked to Rishi.

    “Rishi, we are going to our home in an hour. I have completed all the formalities. You are going to live a normal, happy life with me and with those cuties, Aditya and Akshitha.

    “I will be the mother of all the three. You will have no care or worry in this world. You will get the best treatment that money can buy. I am pledging all my wealth for your treatment.”

    Captain left the room in a fit of anger. Shalini went near Rishi. He buried his face in Shalini’s chest and was sobbing for a long time. Shalini let him cry as long as he could. Then she slowly lifted his face and kissed him on his forehead. She now spoke with utmost conviction:

    “Rishi, I decided to leave you when my father told me about the choices in life. He told me that everything is a matter of choice and having chosen one thing I could easily change it later, though that would involve some real costs.

    “But he also told me that that one could never go out of a relationship but can only grow out of it. At that time I did not think about the second statement; but now I am constantly thinking of that. After living with so many men, after a string of relationships, I now feel that ones situation in life is like one’s class in the school.

    “The only way to get out of a class is to study well, pass the exams and go to the next class. I just ran out my class and so was forced to study in the same class in a lot of other schools.”

    After a long time Rishi spoke in a broken voice.

    “Shalini, let me not block your life. I can spend the rest of my life here. You are still young and good looking. Why should you waste your life on a dying man?”

    “I have had a good life Rishi. I had a string of relationships. I had happiness, pleasures and grief. Enough of them to last a hundred lifetimes. I was searching for my identiy in the wrong places.

    “Now only I have found it. As a mother, as a nurse and a person who is going to love without expecting anything in return. Please let me do that, Rishi.”

    Rishi tightened his grip on her hands and was sobbing uncontrollably. Shalini was affectionately patting on his back.

    They saw the setting sun through the hospice’s large French window. Shalini now had a feeling that the sun had just risen in her life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2007
  4. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,

    When I wrote The Haunted House in IL more than a year ago, I thought that gave me the maximum strain in crafting each episode. It was soon surpassed by the social serial The Beauty And the Brain which came out in March 2006.

    But nothing compared to writing SHE. I had to go deep into the working of a woman's mind. I had to dig every word, every event, every line from the depths of my heart. At one time especially when I was writing SHE 6, SHE 8, SHE11 and SHE 18, it became an obssession. God knows how many times I had shed tears over my lap top sitting all by myself in the night, with no one but Shalini for company.

    I have to record the value-add editing done by my friend. Many ILites helped me in building up the side-line incidents. A pm sent by an ILite was the basis of an incident much enjoyed by the other ladies.

    So SHE is real in the most profound sense of the term. But there were instances where I had to tread outside the accepted line of moral convention. I was charged, accused and blamed. But I was also appreciated and well-defended. But most important of all, I was understood. I could not ask for a greater blessing than that.

    I am a little defensive when it comes to my writings. So I might have used strong words while writing for my heroine. If those words had hurt any of you, I seek your pardon.

    The responses I received for this serial were authentic and very touching. Even more profound were the mails and pms that I received from the ladies comparing SHE to their personal quest for their identity.

    Thanks as a word nowhere comes near to expressing the gratitude in my heart. May all of you be blessed. May your lives be happy and hassle-free.

    I am leaving for US this week-end and will be coming back home only by end October. I will be in Seattle, WA during the period August 28th to October 18th and then will be going around the US for a week's time before I return to India.

    While I will be striving hard to keep in touch with IL with my bi-weekly meanderings, and I will be working hard to see that you are not able to feel the difference, I cannot make any firm commitment on that as there are a thousand variables out of my control.

    As I am leaving the Indian shores, after completing this rather too heavy serial, I request you to wish me, to bless me and pray that I should have a hassle-free journey and a fulfilling time over there.

    Regards,

     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2007
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  5. imemyself

    imemyself Senior IL'ite

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    Hi ,
    I am new to this forum by 2 weeks and i started reading 'SHE' yesterday.
    In the initial few episodes ,I could relate Shalini's character, a strong and smart lady but desperate for care and attention from her husband,to a lot of women whom i know and to an extent myself too!
    But as the story grew it gave a lot of twists and turns in cinematic style...
    And the ending was done beautifuly and I just want to mention a statement from ur story which really made me think.........

    The only way to get out of a class is to study well, pass the exams and go to the next class. I just ran out my class and so was forced to study in the same class in a lot of other schools.”

    The above statement has a lot of meaning attached to it when you compare it to the situation Shalini was during the intital stage and the same way when you compare it with the institution called 'Life' I guess many would be able to get answers that they were searching for!!!
    This statement made me re-think and analyse myself and I am sure the same would have been felt by the many who read this!
    Thanks for this wonderful story Varalotti!

    And wish you a very happy journey and god's blessing is always there with you!!!!

    Love,
    Jaya
     
  6. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,
    That was a wonderful curtain for 'She'! You really brought tears rolling down in the last episode. And certainly this was the most unexpected twist in the story though I got a cue when you made her stop at bed no.14.
    Like imemyself, I too loved the words-The only way to get out of a class is to study well, pass the exams and go to the next class. I just ran out my class and so was forced to study in the same class in a lot of other schools.” A wonderful way of expressing!
    And would you believe, three days back, I had visited one of my cousins who is suspected to be suffering from pancreatic tumour. I had rarely visited her during the good days but the moment I heard about her illness I was shattered. While talking to each other some bitter incidents of the past with some other relatives came up for discussion. I said, "People may ignore us when they are well off and during such times we need to maintain our self respect and dignity. If we were not wanted we should not force ourselves into a relationship" to which she replied,"But should we also be like them if we assume ourselves as better humans?" I said-"No, a time may come when they need our help. They may even shy away from contacting us during such a time because of their past misdeeds. But if we come to know about their sufferings even through a third person we should be the first one to run to give them a helping hand. And that is humanity and that is true love.
    Some how Shalini has also decided to bury her past after searching desperately for identity and now she is a happy woman.
    by the way, Hppy journey and may you your journey be comfortable and successful.
    Regards
    Malathi
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2007
  7. varasangam

    varasangam New IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,

    A great finale to a good story indeed!!it could not ended any other way!! the best line was regarding the class where SHE ran out of class........

    I can imagine your agony do justice to the character and at the same time Shalini finds her identity in being her mother!! Who knows she might find a beautiful relationship with Rishi again albeit different from all her previous relationships,that of pure companionship, friendship and pure love without any expectations.


    Kudos to you and wish you all the best for your trip and hope you have a successful, safe and fruitful trip.

    BonVoyage.

    Regards

    Vara
    :-D
     
  8. maya08

    maya08 Senior IL'ite

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    hi sir...

    congrats to you sir for ending the story with a beautiful touch.and i will say it again,it did have an unpredictable ending.

    this is a very profound statement sir.
    and it is definitely applicable in one's life.

    anyways,
    bon voyage sir
    have a good trip,and may god bless all your undertakings.


    cheers
     
  9. slp807

    slp807 Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar Sir,

    Very touching final episode! I loved reading SHE from the very first episode till the last one with much excitement.

    i once again wish you a very safe trip!
     
  10. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear varalotti,

    Very touching final episode. I am glad that you have found the identity of mother for Shalini which I was expecting. Showing Rishi as an AIDs victim was an unexpected turn. All in all an enjoyable reading. I would have been more glad if Shalini like a true altrusit had found the uneducated wife of Rishi and convinced her about Rishi's curable disease and united them. Instaed, you have shown Shalini as a selfish person and her degrading the uneducated second wife of Rishi ( I feel it is natural for an uneducated person to get panicked at the mention of AIDs since it is reagarded as a contagious disease and run away) is not in keeping with her high standards.

    Regards,

    TDU
     

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