The President International Hotel was gleaming with colors of artificial cuboids structure erupted all the way along the sides of the main pathway into the hotel. The fountains emitted bright and dazzy colorful waters into the large water chamber fitted underneath to collect the flowing waters. The thick and wide red carpet was shining Saturn, laid on both sides of the fountains which lead to the large performance hall where the Fashion Show for the year is going to be held in an hour shortly.
The hotel’s reception was swarming with people who exemplified style icons and fashion freaks. They were clad in apparels exclusively designed by designers who were big shots in the fashion designing industry. Not to mention about the press who were almost fluttering with microphone and cameras around the celebrities and the contestants in an anticipation to get few words out of their mouth which will feed their magazines and newspapers for another week.
Jeniffer came into the contestants’ chamber and settled in her seat. All the others were looking at her with eyes wide open like an owl. She was gorgeous; her face was neat and glossy. It looked as if she had been carved out of butter. Most of them were busy adjusting their hair strands and their makeup. Though it was an air conditioned room, pearls of sweat appeared in the faces of the girls. Jeniffer looked calm and composed. She did not stress herself looking at all others.
“Excuse me. I’m Kalpana Roy from Bhubaneswar”. Jeniffer took her eyes off from the magazine which she was reading and smiled with her cutest of her symmetrical pink lips coated with a light red lip gloss which suited her face and lips perfect.
“I’m Jeniffer. Jeniffer Mathews”
“Glad to know you. I haven’t seen you in any of the fashion fest. Is this the first time you are contesting for “Miss Beauty Queen of the year?”, Kalpana replied.
“Errr…No I’ve been contesting for various fashion fests in the south and this is the first time, I’ve come over to Mumbai for this contest.” Jeniffer gave a smiling reply.
“Oh I see. So how are you feeling right now?”
Jeniffer’s mobile emitted a sweet soft ringtone, to which she excused herself and attended the call outside the contestants’ chamber. Her long white gown covering her from the shoulder to the ground swept the floor as she walked away. Kalpana was looking at the direction she went away.
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The National Institute of Cancer located in the outskirts of Chennai was quite and calm. The roads by the side of the Institute seemed to be unmanned. There wasn’t a housefly or crow not even a cattle was found loitering in the campus. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon. Most of the hospital staffs had left for Lunch. There was a small pan shop outside the Institute which seemed to be busy with 4 people munching the pan and arguing about the immature political status of the country.
Ward no 114 was occupied by two women. One of them was admitted in the hospital a week back and the other one was the only friend who takes care of her. After detecting the cancer thing, her uncle and aunt left her in the Destitute Women House and they left the city in transfer. She was actually happy to be away from them as living with them was another hell.
Dr. Sharma removed his frameless specs and said to the duty nurse, “Her case was serious and she needs immediate treatment.”
“Doctor..But she is from destitute house. She can’t pay for the treatment” replied the nurse.
“But, she has been diagnosed a Basal Cell Carcinoma which is considered to be the basic type of skin cancer. Her face was greatly affected and visible patches of reddish brown layers have formed in the cheeks and forehead. It needs immediate attention. Otherwise it could lead to death slowly.” Said Dr. Sharma
“We need to contact the house for payment information. Once we get the details, we can start the treatment.” replied the Nurse.
“Well, a patient needs to be attended immediately. Please call the house and get the details”. Doctor ordered the nurse and left the room to attend the outpatients.
Inside Ward no 114,
“I know you that they will leave you soon. I expected this from them. After all, they are your close relations.”
“Yeah. But I didn’t know that they will leave me starving for care and affection. I did not expect anything from them. I was working and I was content with what I earned. But they were not happy seeing me happy.”
“I could sense this from the starting itself. Firstly they did not have any progeny of their own. Since your parents passed away in the air crash, they had to leave you under their care. Can’t they look after you as their own daughter?”
“That god only knows. They have a complex in their mind and they were jealous on my father’s well being and his fast growth.”
“Hmmm..”. Monal, her friend took a deep breath.
“My face has affected a lot due to allergy. The patches are burning and irritating….aaaahh… Please apply that ointment. It will douse the burns at least for some time.”
Monal applied the ointments on her face and her arms and legs. Monal knows that her friend is suffering from cancer. And the Doctor has informed her that due to the over dosage of medicines and the change in food habits, the skin is getting affected and she has been diagnosed a serious skin allergy.
“You know what Monal?..” She started. “I wanted to become a model and wanted to participate and win fashion titles. But this entire allergy has impeded my efforts to participate in any. “ Tears rolled down her cheeks.
By the time Jeniffer, came back to the contestants’ chamber, it was time for the show. So, all the contestants left the room towards the stage. The judges have arrived and they were in place.
All top sponsors like Westside, Kingfisher, Style Kandy, Grand Hyatt and Lifestyles and others were present and a separate bay has been allotted for the sponsors seating in the auditorium. Music tracks by famous artists including Rihanna, Miley Cirus, and Justin Timberlake were flowing into the ears like the musk fragrance of the auditorium room freshener.
All the contestants were nervous on what is going to happen in another few hours. All top ex beauty contestants and winners were present in the special seating zone. Industry’s top designers all over the world have come for the fashion fest.
Kalpana was telling to her makeup woman, “I’m quite nervous. I haven’t seen such a large crowd.”
“Is that you Kalpana, feeling so nervous? I’ve been with you since three years. In these times, I haven’t found you so nervous.”
“Yeah….but today somehow I feel nervous. Did you see Jeniffer?”
“Jeniffer? Who is that?”
“She is a new contestant. This is her first time it seems. But still she is calm and composed. She is free of tension. See there. How calm she is. She has a faith on her beauty. I can’t just imagine myself sitting like that. I’m afraid. She is beautiful too. She may win the title.”
“Kalpana madam, do not ponder over things like that and don’t stress yourself. I’ll see to it that you look like an angel.”
“Thanks a lot”, Kalpana said and looked at the other side where Jeniffer was sitting. She could feel the drop of sweat dripping down her cheeks in spite of being the air condition extremely high. She used the tissue paper as absorbent to dry that sweat off.
The show started in twenty minutes and the beauties started ramp walking in the stage one by one. Each of them was clad in apparels designed by expert costume designers and amateurs. Models started walking with heels extremely high and it appeared as if they are walking on toes. Mr. Siddharth Basu was the chief judge who was to interview the contestants on stage. Jeniffer came walking in the ramp. Suddenly all the on lookers started concentrating on her. She carried herself in utmost composure. Her body language was perfect. She came till the edge of the ramp towards the audience and walked back towards the stage and after two steps she turned back and gave a quick pause and then she continued her walk towards the back stage. The judges were impressed and they made few notes. Kalpana too attracted few of the audiences.
The ramp walking came to an end and it was the questioning session. Each of the contestants was called and they were asked questions. Points were awarded and judged by the knowledge, brevity, quick wittedness, Grooming, Intelligence, Correctness, Consistency and clarity.
Jeniffer was waiting for her turn. Kalpana went to her.
“Hi Jeniffer…You were awesome on stage. Someone is looking gorgeous.”, She broke the silence.
“Thank you very much. So when is your turn?”, Jeniffer asked.
“They asked me to wait. I’ll be called. So I have time”
“Very Good…You can relax then”, Jeniffer said.
“Yea actually that’s true. And hey you did not tell me where you are from, when we spoke before.”
Jeniffer thought for a moment. “Yeaah, you are right. I’m from Chennai”
“Glad to know you”, she smiled.
Announcement came from the audi, “Jeniffer Mathews from Chennai”
“My name is being called. I’ll get back to you later.”. Jeniffer said this and left the place in hurry. Kalpana felt something creepy about her. Whenever I wanted to talk to this girl, something or the other distracts the conversation. Last time it was her mobile and this time it was the announcement.
“Hello Miss Jeniffer. Welcome to this Elle 18 Fasion Fest contest for the Miss Beauty Queen of the year.”, Siddharth Basu continued in his loud audible voice.
The audiences were again delighted to see Jeniffer back in the stage. They were eagerly waiting to hear her voice and the answers with which she is going to convince Siddharth.
The ward nurse contacted the destitute house for informing the details about the treatment and to enquire about the payment. The house in charge informed the nurse that, they will let them know the details in the Hospital itself. They will be there in another two hours.
In the Doctor’s room,
“Hello Dr. Sharma. I’m Krishnamoorthy from the Destitute House. I’m here to discuss about the treatment which you are going to initiate for her. I looked into the treatment charges. We do not have enough funds to pay you for this treatment. I do not know what has to be done now for this.”
“What? I’m sorry Krishnamoorthy, I’m helpless here. I’ll not be able to do anything unless the payment comes. The therapist and the instrument cost cannot be paid by the hospital authorities. You can give ad in newspapers requesting kind donations or you can talk to her parents.”
“Parents? She doesn’t have one. She is dropped here in our house by her uncle and they left the city and we did not hear back from them. I’ll try giving ad in the newspapers. Thank You”
“Thank You Mr. Krishnamoorthy”, doctor bid adieu to the house in charge.
After 10 days, Inside Ward no 114,
“How are you feeling? Is the patches still burning?”, Monal enquired her friend
“Yea it’s still burning. I’m not able to withstand the burning sensation.”. Monal thought, it is already a month she has been admitted here. Are they going to start the treatment?
In the Doctors room.
“Doctor, she is suffering a lot for the past two days. Is the treatment started? You informed me that she will be transferred to special ward once the treatment starts. But she is still kept in general ward.”
“Yes Monal, the treatment is not yet started. I’ve not received complete funds. The house authorities were helpless; they were able to get only 20% of the amount. With that, I’ll not be able to start the treatment. Newspaper Ads haven’t fetched enough money. I have included the amount which you gave. Still I’m helpless. I should wait for some more days.”
“Attrocious !!!!!!!! This is inhumane. Someone is suffering from pain and can’t you take steps to prevent that at least. Keeping her in the medication doesn’t help in long run. Don’t the doctors have hearts? Are they so cruel and run behind money? Then why do you call this, a service? You are running a business and not Hospital….” Monal blurted out and she was in tears.
“Monal…I can understand your feelings but this is something I can’t do anything about it.”
“Monal retorted, “Do you know the consequence of this delay?”
“Yes I’m fully aware of this. She may have to put her life in stake. It is a sure way to death !” Sharma replied with heavy heart.
By the time he finished this. The saline bottle near the doctor’s room entrance crashed and fell down. The glass bottle broke into pieces spilling the saline water all over the floor.
Sharma looked towards the door encountering a sudden shock of seeing her near the door.
“Jenny!!!!!!!!” Monal shouted and stood up in an effort to comfort her. But she knew that all her efforts will go in vain.
“Don’t tell me anything. I heard everything. I do not want to suffer pain for long. I didn’t know I’m going to die soon doctor.” Saying this she ran away from the place and started moving towards the exit. Monal pushed the chair and followed Jenny. Sharma was too much horrified seeing all this and he too followed Monal to stop Jenny taking wrong decision at this time. Three of them were running hastily behind each other. As expected, they encountered a large open window along the corridor. By the time, they could reach for Jenny; she has climbed up the large window pane setting herself down to the ground from the 6th floor of the National Institute of Cancer.
Monal and Sharma stood still, motionless.
Siddharth was in his full flow. He was shooting questions to Jeniffer one by one and was happy to award points listening to the amazing answers from her.
“Who is the one who cannot be cheated?” This is Siddharth.
“Death” swiftly came the reply
“Who are the ones who can be relied on?”
“Name the one which cannot be withstood by anyone.”
“Something which you can keep on others and which shouldn’t be broken”
“Trust” This is Jeniffer
“OK, One thing which you cannot get back”
“OK One final question. In what way this title going to help you in your career?”
Jeniffer thought for a moment and replied, “I’ll achieve my life time dream of becoming a world renowned beauty Icon. This achievement will give me peace and it is the fruit of my hard work and my persistent determination to achieve this thing. I can explore further avenues in this area and can contribute things towards this fashion industry.”
“Wonderful. Thank you for your time. I’m glad on hearing your answers.”
Claps and hooting from the audience were obvious at that point of time. There was a cheering group which displayed a placard “Jenifer our Miss Beauty Queen of the year”.
She left the stage. “Kalpana Roy from Bhubaneshwar”, came the next call.
After an hour of interviewing, the fashion festival came to a successful end and the closing ceremony was in which Jeniffer was awarded the Miss Beauty Queen of the year award. A famous and successful bollywood heroine crowned her with the Beauty Crown.
A week later, the Fashion fest authorities decided to send in a surprise gift to the Contest Winner. An interview has been arranged with the Winner and the contest chief judge Mr. Siddharth Basu. For that, the authorities sent an invite letter to the address mentioned in the contestant details sheet. The invitation was returned back and the postman informed that there was no one in the name of Jeniffer in that address.
They were astonished to hear this from the postman. They informed Mr Basu that, the interview will be conducted next week as there was some problem in the delivery of the invitation. Siddharth then told that, he will give a surprise visit to her house. The postman would have been drunk.
“Ok then Mr Siddharth, here is the address and the phone number. Try your luck and let us know if she is ready for the interview tomorrow.”
“Thank you very much.”. He got the address, took his car and reached the place which was mentioned in the address chit. He couldn’t find any apartment in that locality. There was a destitute house which was found with the door number mentioned in the chit. He entered the house and enquired.
“I would like to meet Jeniffer”
An old man with long and loose pyjamas came out from his room and beckoned Siddharth inside.
“I’m the in charge of this destitute house. Which Jeniffer are you talking about?”
“What?!!!!!!…I’m talking about Miss Beauty Queen of the year Jeniffer Mathews.”
The old man thought for a moment and his eyes went opened wide. “Please wait a minute. I’ll come shortly.” Said the old man and disappeared into the house. Siddharth thought, how could this happen. She should have been belonged to a rich family in a decent locality. Let she be a normal middle class girl, but she should have been living in some decent house. Did I end up in a correct place? He came back to his senses when he heard a coughing sound nearing him.
“Are you talking about this girl?” The oldman showed a ledger dated some 30 years back, with the name written in blue ink pen – JENIFFER MATHEWS
“Yes. She is the one. I have her photo also.”. Siddharth took out the Fashion magazine and showed it to the old man.
Seeing the photo, the old man became horror-struck and his mouth went wide open. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“Do you have her contact number?” enquired the old man with the fear still in his eyes.
“Yes I do have. Here it is”.
The old man dialed the number. The ring went on and the call was connected.
“Hello. Krishnamoorthy here. May I know to whom I’m talking to?”
“Hello, this is Monal here” came the dull voice. Hearing this, the old man’s heart almost stopped. Can you please come over to the address which I am going to tell you now? I would like to talk to you about Jeniffer.”
Monal was horrified listening to the whole story and the information from Siddharth. She spoke with heavy heart…
“Jeniffer died thirty years back in the National Institute of Cancer. She was suffering from Skin Cancer and out of the sheer pain which she wasn’t able to withstand and the knowing the truth that the pain is out of cancer and not because of allergy she jumped from the 6th floor of the Institute and ended her life. The doctors were not in a position to end her pain. So she ended herself. She wanted to become a world renowned model and wanted to participate in the Fashion Contest and win titles. Hope she has achieved it today, what she wanted 30 years back. Please come with me”
All the three landed in Monal’s House and Siddharth was almost unconscious seeing the albums with Monal and Jeniffer. She had the same face. There was a fashion show organized in her college. Monal showed a photo of hers participating in the Competition. She was clad in the same white Apparel which she has been wearing when the Fashion fest held last week.
Siddharth couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Monal took them to the backyard of her house where she was cremated.
The Cemetery read
D/O Joseph Mathews
3rd August 1955 – 7th April 1979
REST IN PEACE
Her words still reverberated in his ears
“Who is the one who cannot be cheated?”
“OK, One thing which you cannot get back”
Jeniffer looked like angel in the cover of the fashion magazine.