Three Shades of Green has been written taking into consideration different perspectives of human life. The three stories 'Sandy and Pearl', 'A Fine Line' and 'Peetam' have different storylines about different protagonists set in different situations of human life. Underlying each story is a message, which is conveyed in a subtle manner throughout the stories. Critical issues, like female foeticide and dowry, have been taken up in the first story very beautifully. The second story talks about love, betrayal and a fine line between love and selfishness. The third story 'Peetam' talks about the immortality of the soul. Three Shades of Green is a beautiful presentation of feminist literature interspersed with wonderful emotions of the human mind; the characters are so real, that you would often mistake them for real life people. The challenges before two women, each confronted with a different problem, how a person in love crosses the fine line between love and selfishness and the invincibility of the human soul presented through use of simple language and a mature style makes all these stories worth reading.
Three Shades of Green is Manasa Rachapalli's debut work in fiction. After completing her graduation from Andhra Loyola College, Vijaywada with distinction marks, she did her post graduation in Zoology from Acharya Nagarjuna University, Andhra Pradesh. Currently working with Wipro Technologies, Hyderabad as Technical Writer, Manasa is also an active blogger and passionate about writing fiction and poetry. She has won first prize in Weekly Poetry Competition held by Deccan Chronicle and second prize in dance competition in Youth Festival 2002 organised by Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur. A multi-faceted personality, with vast experience in writing and copyediting, Manasa dreams of entering the league of established writers, who have contributed to the Global English Literature.
The next day, Mythili and Roopa gave a presentation of the project and everyone was pleased with their work. It was late evening before both the friends spent some time in the cafeteria, saying cheers with their coffee cups. Just then Akash came to their table and looking at Mythili, he said â€œCan I join you?â€ â€œAkash, please do sit. We donâ€™t know when we will meet again. This is our last day at this place.â€ Mythili seemed distant, but courteous.
Akash turned to Roopa who looked at him puzzled, â€œHi Roopa,â€ then he turned to Mythili, â€œI heard what happened yesterday. I guess you must be hurt. Donâ€™t feel bad about the trash he spoke.â€ â€œAbout that! I forgot. Just because he says something, it does not mean it is true. Anyhow, today is my last day of the project. I wonâ€™t be in this company â€“ at least for some time. I need to complete my masters before joining this company,â€ smiled Mythili. After an awkward pause, Akash questioned, â€œWe will still be friends, right?â€ At this question, Mythili looked away, â€œOf course!â€ She tried to look busy as if she wanted to find something in her bag. Looking at her uneasiness, Roopa said, â€œCome on, letâ€™s go Mythili. It is getting late.â€ Then she turned to Akash, â€œGood bye Akash, we had a good time. Bye, see you around.â€ â€œBye Roopa, sorry for teasing you so much.â€ Akash looked disappointed. â€œTease me! You are quite mistaken my friend. Bye.â€
Akash sat in his car thinking, he felt empty. The way Mythili answered, it seemed now they would never meet each other. He could not bear to think of it. â€˜She is my friend. How can I be happy without meeting her? I already miss her terribly.â€™ He looked right, where she generally waited for the bus. She stood there deeply lost in her own thoughts, â€˜She never looked so sad.â€™ He had to do something. He drove to that bus stop and called out for Mythili.
Mythili was surprised, â€œWhat happened? Why are you still here? Didnâ€™t you go home?â€ â€œGet into the car; I need to show you something.â€ â€œI am getting late Akash, I am sorry.â€ Mythili hated herself for saying that. â€œPlease, just this once. I want to show you something. I know you will really love what I am about to show you.â€ Akash looked at her pleadingly. Mythili smiled, â€œOk sir. But I need to be home by nine oâ€™clock. Or my sister will be cross with me.â€ Akash smiled, â€œDonâ€™t worry, you will be home exactly by 8:59 p.m. madam.â€ â€œReally! What is so special about what you are showing me?â€ She sat on the passenger seat.
Akash was delighted, he kicked on the accelerator and the car jumped forward. He drove coolly through the traffic and small roads with ease and Mythili felt him to be a totally different person while driving. She felt his passion for cars that he so often talked about. He loved driving. She felt Akash was his complete self while driving. It felt like second nature to him. In half an hour or so, just as the evening became calmer and duskier, they reached the outskirts of the city. Akash took a sharp turn and they were running along a mud road that Mythili felt sure was not known to many people. There was thick vegetation around and she could see no one as far as her view went. She turned to Akash, â€œWhat is this mysterious place? What do you want to show me?â€
Akash was concentrating on the road ahead to avoid bumps, but smiled, â€œYou will see, my lady.â€ Mythili always felt good when he treated her like a princess and called her â€˜my ladyâ€™. She felt excited as to what lied ahead. She felt like a pirate in search of some hidden treasure.
Akash stole glances at her once in a while; he felt Mythili was just like a kid. Everything was a big adventure for her. She felt everything was priceless as if she had been jailed her whole life and did not know anything about life. He could hardly resist being fond of her. She was like a princess locked in a dungeon. The moonlight from the windows fell on her cheeks and she really looked like a fairy. Her dark eyelashes were like a painterâ€™s brush strokes that moved swiftly whenever she blinked and she blinked so often. When he knew how she managed her life, her gym classes, her sisterâ€™s children, her education, he was impressed by her toughness even though she looked so vulnerable. He could not imagine what he would do without his parents and no money for his education. He respected her for he has never met anyone like that. He discovered a different side of himself, he began enjoying little things in life. He acknowledged his respect for his parents in simple things, his mother was very pleasantly surprised one day when he bought her some flowers just like that, her favourite Lilies. He even became obedient to his father, which pleased him immensely. Because of Mythili, he knew the importance of life, and its little things. He often questioned himself, did he love her? But he brushed the idea away. He did not think it was really so.
As they climbed a small hill, it was very dark. There were some fireflies here and there. There were those little noises from the beetles that called on each other. Mythili felt her fingers go cold. It was cold and she closed the window. Akash did the same. And then they reached the end of the road and the car stopped. Akash turned the engine off, â€œWe are here, come letâ€™s get out of the car.â€
Both of them got out and Akash took Mythiliâ€™s hand, this quickened her pulse. He covered her eyes and took her a little further. It was dark, but the small lights from the car guided them and there a big rock that was exactly like the benches in the parks. They settled there on the rock. Akash could feel Mythiliâ€™s warm breath on his forearm. â€œNow itâ€™s time for you to open your eyes my lady,â€ and he removed his hand from her eyes.
When Mythili opened her eyes, she thought she was in a wonderland. The whole city of Hyderabad, with all its fancy lights, was looking gorgeous and tiny. And on top of that, it was Deepavali and the firecrackers made the sky look colourful. The rockets went up and burst out into different shapes and colours, some burst as fountains and disappeared and some burst and twinkled in the sky for sometime in multicolour. Mythili clapped her hands, â€œItâ€™s so beautiful Akash. I never thought that such a place could even exist. Wow! It is so beautiful. I love it, I love it.â€
Akash watched her stand up and jump. She enjoyed it. He knew she would love this view, â€œI knew you would love it.â€ Mythili came back and sat beside him, â€œHow did you know about this place? I do not think many people know about this place.â€ She blinked.
â€œOh! That is a long story and it happened a long time ago. I was in intermediate and one day my dad and mom were out of town and by chance I got the keys of a car. I wanted to impress my girlfriend.â€ Akash was lost in the talk, but Mythiliâ€™s face suddenly became gloomy, her smile vanished. Akash continued, â€œSo I asked her to sneak out of the house and we drove out. I accidentally found this place while driving out with her and my friends and fooling around. I just fell in love with this place and thought my girl would also like this place. But do you know what she said when I brought her here?â€ Akash turned to look at Mythili and to his surprise, she burst into tears, â€œWhy what happened? You were laughing just now.â€
â€œNothing! So why did you bring me here? To tell me about your love life. You should have brought your girlfriend here. Why did you bring me here?â€ Mythili was irritated.
â€œAre you jealous or something?â€ Akash felt naughty. â€œWhy would I be? I am not your girlfriend or anything like that.â€ â€œHmmm! You need not be a girlfriend to be jealous you know, but you look cute when you are angry. I should make you angry more often.â€ â€œI am not cute.â€ â€œOh yes you are!â€ and on impulse Akash kissed her lips. Mythili jumped back, â€œYou have a girlfriend!â€
Akash felt it very amusing. He pulled Mythili closer to him, â€œNoâ€¦ that is what I was telling you. When I brought her here, she hated it and started complaining on and on what a crap of a place it was and it was enough for me to break that relation. She had no idea what beauty was. And that was a long time ago. I donâ€™t have a girlfriend now.â€
This seemed to cool down Mythili, she was feeling flustered and did not know what to do. She felt embarrassed and looked down, away from him. Akash lifted her chin, â€œI have never met a woman like you. I cannot think of anything else when you are standing in front of me. You are so beautiful in this moonlight, just like a fairy.â€ Mythili looked up into his eyes, she felt warm and she wanted to break all bonds. She wanted to be in his arms, feeling his body. His warm breath washed her face. She smiled, â€œI am sorry. I acted so inappropriately.â€
â€œMy lady, you have acted most appropriately till now. You truly are a princess,â€ he locked his hands around her, â€œI am sorry Seshadri said all those things to you. I knew how hurt you must be. So I thought this will cheer you up.â€ Mythili stood there like a stone. She did not know what to say or do. She did not know where all this was going. Then he removed his hands around her waist and caught her by her hands, â€œI am sorry Mythili, I kissed you. It was not my plan, cross my heart. You looked so beautiful and it was an impulse. I am sorry.â€ Akash was about to leave her hands when Mythili caught him and kissed him. Akash was surprised at her passion and kissed her back. None of them knew what they were doing. At that time, everything other than that moment seemed like an oblivion...
As they lay there in silence and now that each had come back to the reality, everything felt wrong. Every thought that came felt sinful, every word they wanted to say felt wrong. Like so many awkward pauses between a word and a deed, they paused looking away from each other. The sky was still lit with rocket crackers that were as bright as ever, if not more brighter. The bombs blasted everywhere in the city and both the hearts burst out with the fear of losing each other and both of them felt the heart beat so loud that they worried the other might hear it.