Benign Flame: Saga of Love (Enriched Edition) (Part 3, page 2 of 6)


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Part 3

However, the searching look she espied in the male eyes thrilled her in her vitals. As she tried to visualize herself through their perception, her body, in her own eyes, acquired a new dimension. The more she became mentally closer to the opposite sex; all the more she distanced herself from the boys. Sandhya, on the other hand, proved to be a cool customer known to unnerve the dashers. While her glamour gave her a rare aura that overawed the boys, her father’s position only confounded their confidence. Nevertheless, Chandrika, who by then was in B. Com., pre final, helped them in their initiation into the campus life.

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When Chandrika got her degree and Roopa was through her Intermediate with flying colors, what with the recalcitrant Raju too seemed to mend his wayward ways, for the Ramaiahs it seemed time flew as if it developed wings. However, proving that good things won’t last forever came the jolt as Roopa revealed the cards that she so closely held to her chest all along.

“Do you know what it takes to be doctor?” said a surprised Ramaiah.

“Know I’ve topped the class,” she said naively.

“But sadly, we’re short of means,” he said helplessly.

“Naanna, I’m craving to be a doctor,” she said.

“Sorry dear, it’s impossible,” he dismissed her in despair and left in dilemma for the Post Office

‘How I took it for granted!’ Roopa wondered all day; maybe when one is obsessed with a singular aspect of a situation, the attendant issues fail to get the focus they deserve.’

When a distraught Roopa approached her mother pleading for her support, affected by her daughter’s passion, Janaki promised to persuade Ramaiah. While Roopa hoped for a miracle as the condemned would to escape the noose, however, on Ramaiah’s return, she avoided him like the one who tends to hide himself from the one commended for the favor. When Ramaiah sent for her, after what appeared to be an eternity for her, she went up to him with her heart in her mouth.

“Now I recall that night on the train when you were just nine,” he said, patting her head as she squatted beside his easy chair. “Though I was pleased with your ambition then, I never imagined you could be nursing it so vigorously. If not, I would’ve cautioned you in time.”

“Naanna, it became my obsession, I’ll be miserable otherwise,” she sank into his lap.

“You know we’re lower middle-class now,” he seemed to give an account of his helplessness. “The lands are all gone and I’m going to retire soon. Agreed there is some money in the bank but it would barely meet your dowries and your brother’s higher studies. This house, of course, is for your brother lest he should curse me for having left him nothing to inherit. As for your mother and I, the pension should see us through.”

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