Shyam’s first attempt at short story writing remains incomplete for want of ideas. Readers are requested to use their creativity & complete the story.
Vaikuntha Lata and the “Battle of the Bulge”
“The Incomplete story”
Thambi Selvan was a very normal middle class gentleman taking care of his wife and two children with the salary he received as a clerk in a Government office in Chennai. Thrift was his main attribute, and he hardly had any expenses. He travelled mostly in Buses or local trains & carried his trademark four box tiffin carrier for lunch, with a plantain leaf tied to it. He used to find the coffee offered by others tastier than the one for which spent money. Hence he never spent money on Tea and Coffee.
However his thrift did not come in the way of his wife Janaki spending lavishly for pujas and other religious events in the house. At least once in a month, they used to have an elaborate religious ritual followed by a sumptuous lunch. The lunch prepared by Janaki used to be so tasty, that people used to look forward to an invitation from the Selvans.
Selvan’s evening journey back home from office would invariably have two stops. The Poo Kadai (flower shop). And the Vinayaga Kovil (Ganesh Temple).He knew the flowers would make Janaki happy, and that was the only thing she expected from Selvan. At the Vinayaga temple, he used to narrate the day’s happening to the lord. Most of the times, he felt that god listened to him and gave him sad-buddhi (noble thoughts) to be a better person the next day. But sometimes he felt that god was out of the calling area and his message may not have reached him. He used to console himself, “one vinayaga, and so many people to care off; an occasional network failure is understandable”. Suddenly a smile would come on his face at the weirdness of thinking.
Selvan was a very dotting father, very possessive, very supportive about his children. He was very lucky to have a girl Vaikuntha Lata (Vaiki) in her early twenties and a son Daivaguna (Daigi) five years younger than her. In spite of his not so healthy financial status, Selvan had ensured his children had good education from reputed Institutions. For this he had to borrow money from friends and the Bank. Vaiki had completed her MBA from a reputed B. School with good academics and bagged a job as an executive secretary to the Managing Director of a large Indian organization dealing in heavy equipments related to civil engineering and infrastructure. She was earning a decent salary, with which she could pay off the bank instalment.
For once everything seemed very rosy for Selvan including his financial position. But then, it was too good a situation to last long.
One day Selvan and Janaki decided to visit the Ganesh Temple in the nearby village to offer prayers to the lord. Their new found affluence allowed them to hire a cab for the journey. While returning from the temple, their vehicle met an unfortunate accident and both were killed on the spot.
Vaiki’s boss Ranjit Kapoor was a large hearted man, nice and considerate, and was of great help to her in coming out of the emotional stress. He was almost a father figure to her. In spite of her grief, Vaiki was very committed to her work and profession. She not only completed her tasks judiciously, she also contributed with creative ideas, which brought increased business, revenue, profits for the organisation.
Three years passed by...
Vaiki cleared all the loans and was just comfortable financially. Daigi also completed his graduation. Ranjit who had taken keen interest in Daigi’s education suggested he be sent to a foreign country for his MBA in an international B-School and offered him employment after completion of his education. Vaiki immediately accepted the suggestion and raised loans from her known sources, Ranjit also helped with his personal money, though he could not extend official loan to her. Thus Vaiki managed the finances without approaching a bank. With Ranjit’s influence, Daigi was admitted in a B-School of international repute in United States.
Vaiki’s hard work and dedication paid dividends. She was promoted with appropriate hike in her package. She was made the head of the Customer Relations Management Division. She had the responsibility to entertain important clients and close deals. She did this job meticulously. Her earnings and the responsibilities both increased with every deal she closed. She always walked the extra mile to please the customer, but ensured that her chastity remained intact. In spite of all these earnings too, she was finding sustaining her brother’s expenses in United States very difficult, but she always managed to ensure that her brother had the money when he needed. She freely discussed this with Ranjit, but even he could do very little.
And “The Battle of Bulge”…..
One day Ranjit suggested something so shocking that it would have taken the life out any ordinary women. But then, Vaiki was no ordinary women. She too was shocked, but only for moment. She regained her composure and said “OK but see that Daigi doesn’t come to know about it.” This was a service to the customers that affected her chastity. They had engaged call girls all these years, now Ranjit wanted her to extend this service to the customers and use the extra earnings to repay her loans.
Now while the purse kept bulging with every engagement, there was another “Battle of bulge” she had to fight. With the new responsibilities, she had to take to pills to keep herself safe. This resulted in bulging waistline. This was the “Battle of bulge” she had to constantly fight to maintain herself and look presentable. The over medication started telling on her health, which started going down. Seeing this Ranjit immediately shifted her from that job to a job where she did not have any connection with the customers. She just had to come to office work for few hours and return home. As the loans were all paid up, she had peace of mind also. Her health started improving.
Daigi completed his MBA with flying colours and on return was absorbed by Ranjit with a good salary and perks. Daigi was however shocked to see her sister’s health condition and came to know the reality through friends. He was so upset that he wanted his sister to resign her job and take rest at home improve her health, so that, he could marry her off to an understanding and broad minded Gentleman. Vaiki would have none of it; she wanted to work, as the work was no longer strenuous. Ranjit again mediated between the siblings and came with a solution acceptable to both, according to which Vaiki could stay at home and work on specific tasks entrusted to her and get paid as per task delivered.
After a sustained struggle for existence, that at one stage looked eternal, the siblings settled down to a peaceful and settled life. Vaiki used to take care of the household chores and at her convenience work on the projects assigned. Daigi worked very hard to contribute to the organization and his professional growth. Evenings they used to sit and chat endlessly about all the topics in the world, society, not so glorious past, and their parents. This also included an occasional tip or suggestion from the Vaiki to her younger brother.
Ranjit was impressed with Daigi dedication and slowly started entrusting him with larger responsibilities. One such responsibility put both Daigi speechless.
Ranjit came across a global tender that could make his organization richer by a few millions. This he thought Daigi with his modern management acumen could execute successfully. Daigi accepted the project with glee and got busy working on the financial & other aspects of the project. The bid was finally submitted in time. The first hurdle was crossed when their company was shortlisted among the top five organizations in the world, one of whom would eventually be awarded the project after technical inspection.
Date for technical inspection was fixed and one Mr. Rogers was to visit the organization. Ranjit asked Daigi to spare no effort or money to make Mr. Rogers happy in all aspects. For this an open ended budget was granted to Daigi with no audits or approvals. It took just a day for Daigi to prepare the plan, and next morning he was in Ranjit’s chambers to discuss it & take his approval.
One glance at the paper brought a nod in approval from Ranjit. It seemed that he was ok with both the budget and the plan.
“It is Ok” he said “You can take more money also if you need, but are you sure it will result in positive decision from Mr. Rogers??” he asked with an apprehensive look. “I am worried about the last item, will it bring desired results???” (Last item on the budget always used to entertainment.)
“Can we get people, who would not only entertain him, but be savvy enough to get the conversion?”
“I will get the best possible entertainer and conversion too.” Daigi said confidently.
Ranjit shook his head, still not convinced, “We need to get this deal, at any cost, we simply cannot afford to fail” he said a bit pensively.
Daigi was a bit perplexed, a bit confused. He had never seen Ranjit so desperate so inhibited. Ranjit he knew, was a very confident man, he never bothered about results. He believed in giving his best, he knew that in business you gain some lose some. Now this was not about some deal or one more deal. This would take his organization to the next level, “The upper crest” in business, reputation, turnover, and of course profits. No way could he lose it. All the competitors were equal, some even better, He knew, that, all things being equal, the last item on the list could give an edge to the organization.
There was total silence for some time. It appeared Ranjit wanted to say something, but somehow hesitated. Daigi not knowing what to do was aimlessly drawing circles on his note pad.
Slowly Ranjit raised his head and started slowly, “I have an idea Daigi, an idea that would get both entertainment and conversion”
The circles stopped suddenly on Daigi’s pad. He raised his head and was all attention & curious to listen to his boss.
Ranjit began slowly and hesitatingly, in an almost inaudible tone he asked.
“How about Vaiki for the last item”
Now readers, here is where my pen got stuck and story remained incomplete. I request the readers to use their creativity to complete the story.
I am now the audience, eagerly waiting for the intelligent inputs from the readers.