Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Luckiest Woman Alive - Part II

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Lavanya had been married for over five years when she discovered she was pregnant.  Not in a long time had she felt such joy – the kind you want to share with the rest of the world, the kind that makes you want to shout from rooftops and your heart suddenly feels inadequate to contain it.   They had been trying for years but in vain and Harsh had started getting impatient.  She had almost started dreading her monthly ritual of shedding eggs, his look of disappointment – as if it was her damn fault!  When the lab reports confirmed her worst fears, Harsh threw a massive fit.  What an irony, a man who sported his virility like a badge of honour had sperm so weak that they couldn’t even finish the race.   

Whether it was medical science, their persistence or simply a miracle, Lavanya would never know, nor did she care.  All she knew was she had a life blossoming inside her.  Someone who she could call her own... on whom she could lavish all her unspent emotions...  She wanted to fill that void in her heart with love, she wanted to heal and God knows how long she had waited for that.  

Lavanya was in the second trimester of her pregnancy, when she got that strange phone call.  First silence and then sounds of sobbing at the other end of the phone – not the soft, sniffling one but a gut wrenching one – the type that fills your heart with dread.   She was Sumita, PR officer in Vardhaman industries.  Harsh had been sexually assaulting her for months...he would call her to his office, take her out for official dinners, insist she accompany him for out-of-town tours.  First it was fear of losing her job and then shame that had stopped her from discussing it with anyone but now she’d had enough!  Could Lavanya help her out?
Strangely Lavanya took the news rather calmly – she felt neither anger nor loathing for her husband.  She had never loved him to feel let down.  


October 3, 1998 – The news channels were in a tizzy, they were busy airing the sleazy sex tape of Harsh’s hairy naked ass stooped over an unidentified girl. All they could hear was sounds of heavy breathing and her cries of protest.  Harsh Vardhan, scion of Vardhaman empire – sought after by the rich and the powerful, a respectable member of the high society whose meteoric rise in the business world was stuff that legends are made of – was in reality a scumbag.   What a colossal shame!

Next morning there was complete mayhem outside the Vardhan bungalow, with the otherwise peaceful lane chock-a- block with media vans, reporters scurrying around like excited mice and women’s rights groups shouting slogans lustily.  When a member of the staff ventured out to take the dogs out for a walk, news reporters pounced on him like thirsty bloodhounds.  

For the first time in his life, Harsh had become a prisoner in his own house.  But he was far from feeling repentant.  On the contrary he was fuming – livid at the media’s intrusive ways, annoyed that his close friends had not risen to his support.   He was angry at everyone but himself – typical!  

Lavanya surprised him with composure and it was at her suggestion he called a press conference.  That evening, it was not Harsh Vardhan but his wife who appeared before the sea of reporters and the sounds of frenzied flashbulbs.  With her noticeable baby bump and misty eyes, she cut a touching picture as she took to the dais.  I know for a fact that my husband is innocent.  This is a conspiracy by his rivals to bring him down and we will not let them get away with it! I have information that the CD was doctored in a lab in Patiala and will soon furnish proof.  Our legal experts have already filed a defamation case against channels for airing the offending footage.  And I humbly request you all from refraining from salacious speculations about my husband’s character.

But before the reporters could sit down to compose the fresh breaking news for the day, they had a shocker waiting for them.  Harsh Vardhan had just been admitted to Vedanta’s Intensive Care Unit after his wife found him unconscious in his study room: he had suffered a near-fatal paralytic attack.  

When he was finally discharged from the hospital, his daughter Smridha was a bonny baby of nine months.  Harsh didn’t even have facial expressions to articulate his joy – all he could do was caress his only child with his eyes.  Paralysis had rendered his limbs and vocal chords useless and doctors had expressed very little hope of his recovery.  Harsh Vardhan had the rest of his life to sit and stare from his wheelchair. 

13 years later it was from his wheelchair he was seeing his wife collect Business Network’s Indian of the Year award, 2011.  Ever since she had taken over Vardhaman enterprise, their turnover had escalated from 65 to 2000 crores.  But it was with her social activism that she had endeared herself to the nation – reaching out to thousands of oppressed women, providing them with education and financial assistance to be independent.  Today as she went up to the stage to collect the award, she looked radiant.   It’s because of my husband’s unflinching support and my daughter’s love, I am what I am.  Tonight I feel like the luckiest woman alive.  As she finished to a thunderous applause, Smridha ran up to her and encircled her with her arms, her eyes filled with love and pride.  But, it was the woman who hugged Lavanya warmly that sent a cold chill down Harsh’s heart – wasn’t it that bitch, Sumita?  

Even after all these years, Harsh hasn’t been able to get rid of that niggling doubt.  Lavanya had poured him a peaty single malt to celebrate that successful press conference.  It did taste unusually smoky and smelt slightly odd. And, then he had blacked out.....






72 comments:

  1. :-))
    I don't know what to say..:-/
    This looks like a cocktail of all my favorite flavors. Thriller, given-up-Woman-who-became-lucky-to-flourish-in-her-Life's-Aim, John F Kennady's death(history-which is my fav flavor)

    :-)

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  2. Purba,Lavanya reminded me of Mohammad Ali the famous boxer who it is said 'floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee'!Brilliant read!

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  3. Straight out of those Balaji serials... Disappointed ! :(

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  4. Just read the prequel and now this. I am hoping there's another sequel waiting!
    Aaah so spicy!Paani paani! You could actually hand the plot over to Balaji Telefilms or something.
    Loving it! :D

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  5. Wow.. That was brilliant! It sent a chill down my spine too. :|

    Nice Story Purba, you've ruled the roost on the story space too.

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  6. Ah, sounded like one of those women centric movies-i could almost picture the sequences in my head-
    hello, Bollywood...we have a great story here for you to take up!:-)

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  7. Good narration...but somehow the end seemed obvious...as someone above said, it was a bit melodramatic (well, not as much as Balaji serials though :))...an alternative ending could have been a brave tell-all press conference...why would a woman of substance, like the protagonist, protect her husband publicly and poison him in private? The significance of daughter's birth could have been highlighted a bit more..
    My apologies for the criticism, but I am a big fan of your blog and hope you take it as a constructive feedback!

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  8. Quite brilliant, Antirayix. Just something...but I won't say it here on the blog.
    Revenge really is a dish best served cold and brewed over a slow flame or in this case "on the rocks". :)

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  9. am stunned....just read the prequel today morning and was eagerly waiting for "what lies next?".....superb!!

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  10. Thriller! Lovely narration, unexpected end. Give us more of such beautiful stories Purba!

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  11. Hmmmm.
    Not quite the way I expected it to go. Part 1 and the initial bit of Part 2 held so much promise...in some other direction perhaps.

    But the twist (w.r.t. Lavanya) was what you wanted to impress upon, I guess. In that sense, a good attempt.

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  12. More than the story I loved the narrative...the fluidity of prose which chronicles Harsh and Lavanya's story.

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  13. I kind of lose sympathy for the heroine here :) . Instead of extricating herself and doing the right thing and getting a divorce, she turns into a machiavellian schemer...

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  14. Purba, I don't write it often and don't write it for everybody ...but you are the God(dess) of story writing!

    this cut a chill down me. it was way too awesome and i am not going to comment on the ways taken and the ways not taken. because for a moment , this post doesn't not preach, it is not based on the citadels of dictum. it is a mundane story of many such 'luckiest women' alive. it a story of what happens, and what has a greater (more natural) probability of following after that happens!

    superb Purba ma'am!

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  15. That was some slick fiction. Next time, how about some *more* suspense?

    (I've been reading Roald Dahl's short stories and they are really out of this world - in a scary way!)

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  16. Purba,I have to tell this, you made me redraft my age old unpublished short story.. :-) I will be publishing the first part, your feedback will make me happy :-)

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  17. Bhavana-> Kennedy's death?

    Rahul -> That was the intent, to give her a shade of gray :)

    Prosejeet-> Sorry to disappoint you but I have never watched a Balaji serial in my life ::D

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  18. Enchanta...LOL! spicy was not the intent.

    Pzes...Looking at the polarized opinions, I am not too sure :)

    Suruchi-> Nahiiiiin....

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  19. Prateek...Before I begin to disagree with what you have to say, let me take a moment and admire your comment - a textbook example of constructive criticism :) Much appreciate it.


    * Have a brave, tell all conference and she ends up spending the rest of her life in jail? What happens to her daughter!

    Lavanya got an opportunity to seek a way out of the mess called her marriage and she grabbed with both her hands. And the birth of her child acted as a catalyst.

    Akanksha... :D

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  20. Snow Leopard....Ha...nasha har gham bhula deta hai!

    AM...Thrilled that you liked the plot.

    Cloud Nine...Not sure about the beautiful pasrt..heheh

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  21. Vijitha...I like how she thinks on my behalf. I certainly didn't want her to come across as a wimp :)

    Alka...Trust you to always look at the positive.

    Bhagwad...You are not expected to - she is supposed to leave the reader puzzled.

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  22. A grain of sand...Even though I don't know you personally, you are one the fews who understands what I am trying to say.

    I hope I never disappoint you with my writing, you are too precious to lose.

    Kartikay...I wish I could spook the socks off you ..LOL

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  23. Bhavana...It took me over six months to muster the courage to publish a story. Do let me know when you post yours.

    Aneeta...:(

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  24. Do unto others (maybe a bit more) what they do unto you. A twist in tale I expected, but this is Spice! Awesome :)

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  25. Beautiful, specially the twist at the very end of it. Expecting more...( or at least enough for the book :) )

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  26. Very nice story, with a twist in the tale at the end. But I am sure you can do better :). Was very Jeffery Archer like really.

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  27. Ambika...There are no absolute rights and wrongs in this world :)

    Suman...Hahah...of that I'm not sure

    Richa...I am hoping I can :)

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  28. I like happy endings and I like bad people being punished :)
    Liked it :)
    Now waiting for another one :)

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  29. first of all its a great masala story ...and its playing with the common public sentiments, that the husband is punished for what he did and the lady like a Phoenix born out of her ashes.....but the things to remember here are that..
    1) having extra maritial sex isn't that big of a crime that a person deserves to sit on a wheel chair for his lifetime.
    2)success isn't pufff... what crazy life she would have led working on bussiness and raising her baby.

    but nywas great read...

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  30. Alka took my words out of my fingers. *sulk sulk*. the narrative is too good and you should continue writing more in this genre. Maybe a real thriller? You certainly know how to build the tension and tempo. Go for it!

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  31. Purvi..Glad you did:)

    A guilty conscience ...Why don't you you read part I first.

    And are you trying to suggest that married women with kids cannot have a successful business empire?

    Zephyr...The kind of polarized opinions I am getting, I could certainly do with some encouragement:)

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  32. Purba, Kennedy's death because, if Kennedy would not have been killed, then he would had been caught in sex scandals with lady sexy spies from communist China and NAzi Germany. So his death saved him. This story is somewhat similar..
    This infusion of drug is familiar to thrillers :-)

    I will be publishing my short story soon..I had drafted it in 2009 :-)

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  33. Don't waste your talent, Purba. With a little more time and effort you could've turned this into a novel. Lovely tale and the little sting in the tail - ouch!

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  34. Bhavana...Had he been the President now, the media would not have let him survive.

    Curry Spice...Heheh

    K M...I am still testing waters...and not everyone took that sting kindly..LOL

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  35. Aha! Did I say you copied it from them? I just couldn't miss the yawn inducing resemblance with those idiotic serials (and a few Bolly flicks too).
    No alarms. I am still very much in love with your blog!! (as if you care :P )

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  36. How the story ends and how the characters shape-up is the writers prerogative and you did justice to your plot.
    I liked the pace of the story.Enjoyed:)

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  37. Purba,
    Thanks for appreciating the criticism and taking it all in a stride.
    I know a story is author's brainchild and not up for debates, but just a last bit pf clarification..
    The press conference I was referring to was the one in which she defended her husband..."That evening, it was not Harsh Vardhan but his wife who appeared before the sea of reporters and the sounds of frenzied flashbulbs. With her noticeable baby bump and misty eyes, she cut a touching picture as she took to the dais"....My version was that in this press conference she herself would reveal the wrong doings of her husband (without poisoning him at any point)...of course, it would still be dramatic, but then that's life! :)

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  38. Purba,

    I waited for the story to end before saying anything. On first part, it shows how parents of a girl get blinded by their own ambitions, thus killing dreams of the girl. The ending showed how she finally could muster up courage to get her due place. How I wish girls do not have to suffer like her! Your narration has been superb keeping one glued with interest as to what next.

    Take care

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  39. Like Prateek Mathur,i too wish she had been more forthcoming in the press conference & the cad suffered a heart attack as a consequence-but this is just a wish.I am no story teller & you do it wonderfully!

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  40. a Bollywood style drama flick... loved the novel ending :)

    Weakest LINK

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  41. Prosenjeet ->A woman is smart enough to turn tables on her husband and she makes you yawn?

    Sharmila...So glad you did :)

    Prateek...Ahh now I get it. But I didn't want my character to be all goody-goody :)

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  42. Jack...Thank you for the appreciation.

    Indu...Appreciate your suggestion :)

    Rachit...Ahh..thanks a lot.

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  43. Excellently told, lovely use of words, emotions.
    But theres something I never understood, why a woman would like to bring in a child in this world when she knws her marriage is not working, her husband is a jerk of a man, would he be any better as a father? Why was she so happy when she found out about her pregnency.

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  44. Thatz why we keep saying it over n over again.
    Don't underestimate the power of a woman ....

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  45. Purba,
    I read both the parts in one sitting. So the writing style is definitely good enough to make people read through. But...

    As I finished the story, I felt tad disappointed. The ending was bit over the top. If she had walked out or told the world about her husband, it would have been OK. But making her a successful businessperson etc... lowers the quality of story a notch.

    But definitely a good read.

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  46. Purba khatam to nahi hua na ?? aur hai na.. pata nahi humara dil hai ki hole wala tank.. bharta hi nahi :D :D :D

    read both the parts and loved it :) :)... I have a small token of love for you on my blog...not that u need it :P :P but just my way of saying I love you <3 <3 <3

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  47. I wish she had paralysed him instead.

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  48. Hey Purba,thanks for following my blog.Yes,we take time to recognize our own contribution to our problem-rightly has it been said"Know thyself".

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  49. Nope. The have-seen-before feel made me uninterested. And by the way, I don't think one's smartness is decided by their gender. A woman is capable of doing a lot many things and as you put it in your last comment 'smart enough to turn tables on her husband' is itself degrading women and speaking in favor of a patriarchal society. Think about it :)

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  50. Pooja....Initially she's not exactly a strong woman - intelligent yes but definitely not a woman of substance. That's precisely why she gets married to him despite reservations and puts up with the abuse.

    The birth of her child gives her hope.

    Rituparna...Exactly!

    Sairam...Appreciate your feedback.

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  51. Sukupedia...Buss..kaafi logon ko hajaam nahin hua :p

    Indu...Your blog is very different for all the right reasons :)

    Prosenjeet..It is impossible keep up with your arguements - I give up :)

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  52. Good One, Balaji comments are little too much :P Nice blog!

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  53. Kofy...And that's what she does!

    Tarun..Thank you for the breather.

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  54. OMG I want that 'something' she spiked his single malt with. I mean just in case I get married to an abusive, perverted, chauvinistic cad of a man....that thing can certainly come in handy in order to paralyze him for the rest of his life. Well-written!

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  55. This is so different from your usual posts. I am in awe. You are a writer of varied talents. I like. :-) And I KNOW you know I liked this post and the first part. This is totally my kinda thing. :-)

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  56. i am not gonna say i loved that... because this story is on a much higher level than i can even praise...

    Weh i read the first part i was like ok.. its going the same way as some other stories. but there were some places which tugged me and kept saying, nai its different... u proved me so wrong in the second part...

    This story is awesome... Simple, fast, and great thoughts... WOW.. what a character yaar...

    With so much lost, she made all of it her own.. her determination paid off... i loved it... thats the absolute least i can say... because its much more than that... the ambition, the rise of the character.... its just too awesome :)

    Loved it :)

    Take care and keep writing..........

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  57. Yay!! I shall take that as a complement :D

    ( By the way, I shall be very very grateful if you drop in your insights on my blog and spend a little more time than you did the last time. I guess you can spare this much for a not-yet-notable newbie who looks up to you )

    Pro Pulse

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  58. Lucky or not..smart, she sure is :)

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  59. Samadrita...Will have Lavanya get in touch with you :p

    Zeba....And I got my share of brickbats and bouquets.

    Thousif Raza...Glad that you did not give up on me and my story. Like a reader said, never underestimate the power of a woman :)

    Ana_treek...Yea...the switch bitch!

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  60. Purba, very well written as always. It was a nice ending, but you could almost see something like that coming. Lavanya's eerily quiet composure itself suggested she had something planned.

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  61. Well written, long... but I read both parts. Sounds like a true story. Well portrayed emotions.

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  62. Too good. "Phata-phati". Thoroughly enjoied it. Its one thing to imagine a story, but it takes a lot of skill to phrase it so articulately. And you have mastered it Purba.

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  63. Too Good dear. Well done. You know I love watching serials because of suspense, thrill,Twist etc. and your story had all that.

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  64. Dark Knight....Yep..she's a smart cookie.

    Anupama...Nope, just a figment of my imagination :)

    Gautam....Delighted that you liked the yarn I managed to spin :)

    eCBSE...Yours is a useful site, will be checking it out.

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  65. Loved it absolutely!!

    Wish some other women take a leaf out of it and realise their individual potential rather than cry their fates out!!

    Lovely!! Wish it could really be spotted by some Production house.

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  66. I knew she had more meat and that she would hit back. Glad that she did not disappoint :).

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  67. beautiful twist given to the tale. Made him worse than an ass.
    penning excellence to the ultimate.

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  68. Purba.. Have you seen the new channel LIFE OK? There is a show on that channel called "Dil se Di Dua: Saubhagyavati Bhav?"

    A week after I read both these parts of the story written by you...I saw this show. And it is exactly showing the story of the girl you wrote about. Seems like you have written the script of the show too. See it please. :-)

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  69. Wowww purba what a lovely narration:)

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