Posts Tagged ‘single’

IS DIVORCE A “LOSE LOSE” SITUATION – ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – Short Fiction Story

May 19, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – A Lose Lose Situation.

IS DIVORCE A “LOSE LOSE” SITUATION – ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – Short Fiction Story

Link to my post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

I wrote this story 9 years ago, in the year 2007, and first posted it online on my creative writing blog in 2008 – here is the link: 
http://creative.sulekha.com/a-da…

This Story also features in my book COCKTAIL – my anthology of short stories about relationships published in 2011.

Read on ->

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN
A Long Short Story in Seven Parts 
Short Fiction 
By
VIKRAM KARVE 


EPILOGUE – IS DIVORCE A “LOSE LOSE” SITUATION?

I am sure you have heard the term “win-win” situation.

But have you heard of “lose-lose” situation.

Here is one of my fiction short stories which depicts a lose-lose situation.

Or does it?

Does the story convey the message I wanted to convey?

I really don’t know. 

You tell me the message you got from this story.

Dear Reader, do tell me your views.

Can such lose-lose situations be avoided?

Read on. 

Take your time.

It is a longish story – so if you want, you can read it in parts too. 

Recently I heard in the news that they are trying to make divorce easier. 

Is it really a good idea to make divorce easy and encourage it?

Everyone sympathises with the woman in a divorce.

But what about the man – and the children – does anybody care about them?

Do enjoy the story.

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN
(Fiction Short Story by Vikram Karve) 


PART 1  –  DAYBREAK  

“I’m going,” the man says.
 
“Don’t go. Please don’t go,” the woman says.
 
“Don’t go? What do you mean don’t go? You know I have to go.”
 
“You don’t have to go. You know you don’t have to go. Please. Please. Please don’t go. I beg you. Please don’t go!”
 
“Come on, Hema, be reasonable, and try to understand. You know I have to go. I promised him I would be there for his school’s Annual Day…”
 
“No, Ashok, No. You don’t go. His mother can go. He is staying with her, isn’t it? Let her look after him…”
 
“And I am his father!” the man says firmly, “I promised Varun I’ll be there and I have to be there!”
 
“You don’t love me! You still love them!”
 
“You know how much I love you, Hema,” the man says taking the woman in his arms, “But I love my son too. I have to go. Please don’t make it difficult for me…”
 
Tears begin to well up in the man’s eyes. The woman snuggles her face against his neck and grips him tightly.
 
“I’m scared,” she sobs.
 
“Scared? Why?”
 
“I don’t know. It’s the first time you are going to her after you two split…”
 
“Please, Hema. I am not going to her. I’m going to meet my son, for his school’s annual day, because Varun rang me up and made me promise that I would be there to see his performance on stage. I’ll meet Varun, attend the PTA meeting, I’ll talk to his teacher, see the concert and come straight back to you. I won’t even talk to Pooja, I promise,” the man called Ashok says to the woman nestling in his arms, “Don’t worry, Hema. You know it’s all over between Pooja and me, isn’t it? Maybe she won’t even come to the PTA meeting if she knows I’m coming, and even if she’s there I’m sure she too will avoid me as far as possible.”
 
The woman takes his hand, gently places it on her stomach, and whispers in the man’s ears, “Soon we will have our own son.”
 
“Yes,” the man says lovingly, caressing her stomach tenderly with his soft hand, “a son, and a daughter, whatever you want.”
 
They disentangle, then he holds her once more, pushes his face into her warm mouth, kisses her lovingly, and says, “Don’t worry, I’m all yours, and I promise I’ll be right back as fast as possible.”
 
A few moments later, the man sits in his car, wipes his face fresh with a cologne-scented tissue, starts the car, and drives off.
 
 
PART 2 – MORNING 
 
“My Daddy has come, my Daddy has come,” a boy shouts gleefully to his friends and rushes towards his father as he enters the school gate.
 
“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” the boy says delightedly and jumps into his father’s arms.
 
“Hey, Varun, you look so good in your school uniform,” the man says picking up and lovingly kissing his son on the cheek. Seeing his son’s genuine happiness and rapturous delight, the man feels glad that he has come. He warmly hugs his son and then gently sets him down.
 
“Come fast, Daddy,” the boy tugs at his father’s sleeve, “everyone is sitting in the class.”
 
“Mummy’s come?” the man asks cautiously.
 
“Yes, Yes, Daddy,” the boy says gleefully, “She’s sitting in the class, waiting for you.”
 
They, father and son, walk to the classroom, and at the door the man pauses, looks around, sees the mother of his son sitting alone on a bench on the other side of the classroom, so he begins to sit at the bench nearest to the door.
 
“No, No, Daddy, not here. Mummies and Daddies have to sit together,” the boy says doggedly, and pulls the man towards the woman, who is the boy’s mother.
 
As he walks towards her, the man looks at the woman, on paper still his wife. As he approaches, she looks up at him and gives him a smile of forced geniality. 
 
The boy rushes to his mother and exclaims exultantly, “See Mummy, Daddy has come; I told you he will come!”
 
The man and the woman contrive courteous smiles and exchange a few amiable words for the sake of their son, and for public show. It’s the first time the man, the woman, and their son are together as a family since they split a few months ago.
 
“Come on Mummy, make place for Daddy,” the boy says prodding his mother, and nudging his father onto the bench, and squeezing himself in between. The school double-bench is small, meant for two children, and for the three of them it’s a tight fit. His wife stares ahead, as he looks askance at her, over the head of their son, their common blood, who has connected them forever, whether they like it or not.
 
The man looks around the classroom. Happiest are the children whose both parents have come. Then there are those kids whose only one parent, mostly the mother, has come. And sitting lonely and forlorn, in the last row, are those unfortunate children for whom no one has come, no mother, no father, no one. It’s a pity, really sad. Parents matter a lot especially in boarding school, and the man feels sorry for the lonesome unlucky children.
 
The Class-Teacher, an elegant woman, probably in her thirties, briskly walks in, and instinctively everyone rises.
 
“Please be seated,” she says, and seats herself on the chair behind a table on the podium facing the class. The Class-Teacher explains the procedure for the PTA meeting – she’ll call out, one by one, in order of merit, the students’ names, who’ll collect their first term report card, show it to their parents, and then run off to the concert hall, while the parents discuss their child’s progress with the teacher, one by one.
 
“Varun Vaidya!” the teacher calls out the first name, and Varun squeezes out between his father’s legs and runs towards the teacher, the man is overwhelmed with pride as he realizes that his son has stood first in his class.
 
He swells with affection when Varun, his son, gleefully gives the report card to him, and as he opens it, he can sense the sensuous proximity of his wife’s body and smell the enchanting fragrance of her fruity perfume, as she unwittingly comes close to eagerly look at the report card, and he quivers with the spark of intimacy and feels the beginnings of the familiar stirrings within him. 
 
 
PART 3 – AFTERNOON 
 
Ashok realizes that their physical proximity, the intimacy, the touch of skin, has rekindled amorous memories and roused dormant desires in Pooja too, for she suddenly draws away from him and blushes in embarrassment. He wonders how people can suddenly cease to love a person they have once passionately loved so much and still desire.
 
“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya,” the teacher’s mellifluous voice jerks him from his reverie. He looks up at the charming young lady who has walked up to their desk and is lovingly ruffling Varun’s hair.
 
“Good Morning, Ma’am,” he says.
 
“Call me Nalini,” she says with a lovely smile, “Varun is really intelligent.”
 
“Like my Daddy– do you know he’s from IIT?”  The boy proudly tells his teacher.
 
“And your Mummy?” the teacher playfully asks the boy.
 
“She is also a genius. But only in computers – she is an IT pro, you know. But my daddy is real good, he knows everything,” the boy says, and the teacher laughs, turns to Varun and says, “You go run along to the hall and get ready for the concert.”
 
“I’m Muriel. Muriel the goat!” says Varun animatedly, and runs away.
 
“We are enacting a skit from George Orwell’s Animal Farm,” Varun’s teacher says, “You are very fortunate Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya. Varun is a very gifted child. He comes first in class and is so talented in extracurricular activities and good in sports too. You must be really proud of him.”
 
“Oh yes, we are really proud of him,” the man says, and notices that the attractive teacher looks into his eyes for that moment longer than polite courtesy. He averts his eyes towards his wife and her disdainful expression tells him that his wife has observed this too.
 
He feels his cell-phone silently vibrating in his pocket, excuses himself, and goes out of the classroom into the corridor outside.
 
“Yes, Hema,” he says softly into his mobile.
 
“Is it over?”
 
“We’ve got the report card. There’s a concert now.”
 
“Concert? The PTA is over, isn’t it? You come back now. There is no need to go to the concert.”
 
“Please, Hema. I have to go to the school concert. Varun is acting – playing an important part – I promised him I would be there to cheer him.”
 
“Promised him? What about the promise you made to me – that you would be back as soon as possible and then we’d go to the disc.”
 
“Of course we’re going out this evening. I’ll start straight after the concert and be with you in the afternoon, latest by four, for tea.”
 
“I’ll get your favourite pineapple pastries and patties from Gaylord.”
 
“You do that. And spend some time on Fashion Street and browsing books…” the man sees his wife come out of the classroom and walk towards him, so he hurriedly says, “Bye Hema, I’ve got to go now.”
 
“You be here by four, promise…”
 
“Of course, darling. I Promise,” he says and disconnects.
 
“The bank manager…” he tries to explain the call to his wife, but she isn’t interested and says, “The Headmaster wants to meet us.”
 
“Headmaster? Meet us? Why?”
 
“How should I know?” his wife Pooja says coldly.
 
Soon they are sitting in the regal office front of the distinguished looking Headmaster who welcomes them, “Your son has settled down very well in his first term, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya. In fact, Varun is our youngest boarder in the hostel. He’s brilliant in academics, proficient in all activities, sports, outdoors – a good all-rounder. ”
 
They nod, and the father’s chest swells with pride.
 
“Pardon me for being personal,” the Headmaster says, “I was wondering why you have sent such a young boy to boarding school? Especially when you live nearby in the same city.”
 
“I have shifted to Mumbai now.” Ashok says.
 
“Oh, I see. And you too, ma’am?”
 
“No,” Pooja answers, “I still live in Pune.”
 
“Aundh, isn’t it? The same address you’ve given us in the admission form?” the Headmaster says glancing at a paper in front of him.
 
“Yes. I stay in Aundh.”
 
“We’ve got a school bus coming from Aundh. If you want your son can be a day-scholar…”
 
“Thank you, Sir, but I have kept him in boarding as I work night shifts.”
 
“Night Shifts?”

“I work in ITES?”
 
“ITES?”
 
“Information Technology Enabled Services.”
 
“She works in a call centre,” Ashok interjects.
 
“I’m in a senior position in a BPO,” she retorts haughtily.
 
“Oh! That’s good,” the Headmaster says, and looks at both of them as if signalling the end of the interview.
 
“Sir…” Ashok hesitates.
 
“Yes? Please feel free Mr. Vaidya,” the Headmaster says.
 
“Sir, I thought I must tell you, we are separated.”
 
“Divorced?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“How much does the boy know?” the Headmaster asks Pooja.
 
“He knows. We try to be honest with him. We’ve just told him that since his father is in Mumbai and since I’ve to work night shifts, boarding school is the best for him,” Pooja says.
 
The Headmaster ponders and then says, “It may seem presumptuous of me to give you unsolicited advice, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya, but why don’t you try and patch up? At least for your boy’s sake, he’s so young and loving. At such a tender age children must continue to feel they are a part of a family. They need to feel loved, to belong and to be valued. I know how much your son loves you both. He’s so proud of his parents.”
 
“We’ll try,” Ashok says, and looks at his wife.

The Headmaster is telling them to  patch up and come back together – for Varun’s sake.

Ashok knows it is out of the question. 

Their relationship had become so suffocating, so demoralized by distrust, that it was better to break up than try to patch up. 

And now, in his life, there is Hema …
 
“We’ll try and work it out,” he hears his wife’s voice.
 
“I am sure you will – for your son’s sake. Thank you for coming, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya. I’m sure you’ll love to see your son’s acting skills in the concert,” the Headmaster says and rises, indicating that the interview is over.
 
Later, sitting in the auditorium, they watch their son enact the role of Muriel, the know-it-all Goat, in a scene adapted from Animal Farm, and Ashok’s heart swells with pride as he watches his son smartly enunciate the seven commandments with perfect diction.
 
After the concert, they stand outside, waiting for Varun, to take off his make-up and costume and join them. Ashok looks at his watch. It’s almost one, and he wonders whether he should stay for the parents’ lunch, or leave for Mumbai to make it on time by four after the three hour drive.
 
“You look as if you’re in a hurry,” his wife says.
 
“I’ve an appointment at four. He called up in the morning, remember, the bank manager…” he lies.
 
“Where?”
 
“Nariman Point.”
 
“Then why don’t you go now? You’ll barely make it.”
 
“I’m waiting for Varun.”
 
“Doesn’t matter. You go. I’ll tell him.”
 
He tries to control the anger rising within him and says firmly, “Listen, Pooja. Don’t try to eradicate me from your lives, at least from my son’s life.”
 
“I wish I could! Please Ashok, leave us alone. I didn’t ask you to come all the way from Mumbai today – I would have handled the PTA alone.”
 
“Varun rang me up. Made me promise I’d be here. I’m glad I came. He’s so happy, especially so delighted that I came to see him in the concert.”
 
“I’ll tell him not to disturb you in future.”
 
“No you don’t,” Ashok said firmly, “Varun is my son as much as yours.”
 
They stand in silence, a grotesque silence, and then he says, “I didn’t come only for Varun. I came to see you too!”
 
“See me?” the woman’s face is filled with ridicule, contempt and astonishment at the same time.
 
Suddenly they see Varun prancing in delight towards them and they put on smiles on their faces.
 
“You liked the concert?” he asks breathless.
 
“I loved your part. You were too good – isn’t it Mummy?” the man says.
 
“Yes. Varun is the best,” the woman says bending down and kissing her son on the cheek. Then she says, “Varun, Daddy has to go now. He has important work in Mumbai.”
 
“No,” protests Varun, and looks at his father and says, “No! No! No! First, we’ll all have lunch. And then the school fete.”
 
“School Fete?” they say in unison, and then the man says, “You didn’t tell me!”
 
“Surprise! Surprise! But Mummy, Daddy, we all have to go to the fete and enjoy.”
 
So they have lunch and go to the sports ground for the school fete – merry-go-round, roller-coaster, hoopla, games of skill and eats – they enjoy themselves thoroughly. Time flies. To the outside observer they seem to be the happiest family.
 
On the Giant Wheel Ashok and Pooja instinctively sit on different seats. Suddenly Ashok notices that his son looks hesitant, wary, confused, undecided as to which parent he should go to, sensing that he couldn’t choose one without displeasing the other. So Ashok quickly gets up and sits next to Pooja, and a visibly delighted Varun runs and jumps in between them.
 
As he gets off the giant wheel, Ashok notices his mobile ringing. He detaches himself from his son, looks at the caller id and speaks, “Yes. Hema.”
 
“What ‘Yes Hema’. Why aren’t you picking up the phone? Where are you? Have you crossed Chembur? I’ve been calling for the last five minutes – just see the missed calls.”
 
“I was on the Giant Wheel.”
 
“Giant Wheel?”
 
“We are at the school fete.”
 
“School Fete? You are still in Pune? You told me you’d be here by four!”
 
“I couldn’t help it. Varun was adamant. He didn’t let me go.”
 
“She’s there with you?”
 
“Who?”
 
“She…! You Stupid … She…! Your ex-wife. Is she there with you?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“You simpleton, can’t you see? She’s trying to get you back through your son!” Hema pauses, takes a breath, and pleads, “Ashok, you do one thing, just say good-bye to them and come back straight to me. Please. Please. Please. Don’t be with her. Please. Please…”
 
“Okay,” the man says and cuts off the cell-phone. Then he switches off his mobile.
 
“Daddy, Daddy, who was that?” the boy asks.
 
“Someone from the office,” the man says. He thinks for a moment, looks at his son, bends down and says, “Listen, Varun. I’ve got to get back to the office fast. Mummy will stay with you – be a good boy.”
 
“No, No, No! It’s only three o’clock . We can stay out till eight…” The boy sees his housemaster nearby and runs to him, “Sir, Sir, My Daddy has come all the way from Mumbai. Please can he take me out for dinner?”
 
“Of course you can go, Varun,” the kindly housemaster says to the boy, then looks at Ashok and says, “It’s the first time you’ve come, isn’t it? Okay, we’ll give Varun a night-out. Why don’t you take him home and drop him back tomorrow evening by six? Tomorrow is declared a holiday anyway!”
 
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” shouts an ecstatic Varun is delirious delight, “Let’s go to the dormitory, collect my stuff, and go out. I want to see a Movie, and then we’ll all go home.”


PART 4 – EVENING
 
So they, father, mother, and son, see a movie at the multiplex, then have a good time strolling and snacking on Main Street, and by the time they reach their home in Aundh it’s already seven in the evening.
 
Ashok stops his car below his erstwhile home in Aundh, where Pooja lives all by herself now.
 
“Okay, Varun, come give me a kiss and be a good boy.”
 
“No, Daddy, you’re not going from below. Let’s go up and have dinner. And then we’ll all sleep together and you go tomorrow morning.”
 
“Please, Varun, I have to go now,” the man says.
 
The boy looks at him, distraught, and the man gives a beseeching look to the woman, who smiles and says, “Okay. Come up and have a drink. You can take your books too – I’ve packed them for you.”
 
“Yea!” the boy exclaims in glee.
 
His wife’s invitation, the warming of her emotions, confuses and frightens him. He thinks of Hema waiting for him in Mumbai, what state she’d be in, frantically trying to reach him on his switched off cell-phone, feels a ominous sense of foreboding and tremors of trepidation. He is apprehensive, at the same time curious, and his son tugs at his shirt, so he goes up with them.
 
“I’ll freshen up and come,” the woman says to the man, “Make a drink for yourself – everything is in the same place.”
 
Varun, back home after three months, rushes into his room to see his things.
 
He opens the sideboard. The whiskey bottle is still there, exactly in the same place, but he notices the bottle is half empty. It was almost full when he had left – maybe she’s started having an occasional drink!
 
He sets everything on the dining table, and when she comes out, he picks up the whiskey bottle and asks her, “Shall I make you drink?”
 
“Me? Whiskey? You know I don’t touch alcohol, don’t you?” she says aghast.
 
“Sorry. Just asked…”
 
“You want soda? I’ll ring up the store to send it up.”
 
“I’ll have it with water.”
 
“Okay. Help yourself. I’ll quickly make you your favorite onion pakoras and fry some papads.”
 
He looks warmly at her, with nostalgia, and she looks back at him in the same way and goes into the kitchen.
 
Varun comes running out and soon he sits on the sofa, sipping his drink, cuddling his son sitting beside him, and they, father and son, watch TV together, and soon his son’s mother brings out the delicious snacks and they, the full family, all sit together and have a good time.
 
 
PART 5 – LATE EVENING  
 
Her cell-phone rings, she takes it out of her purse, looks at the screen, excuses herself, goes into her bedroom, closes the door, takes the call, and says, “Hi, Pramod.”
 
“What the hell is going on out there…?” Pramod’s angry voice booms through the wireless airways all the way from Delhi.
 
“Please Pramod, speak softly. There is someone here.”
 
“I know he is there,” Pramod shouts, “What’s wrong with you? I leave you alone for a few days and you invite him into your home.”
 
“Listen, Pramod, don’t get angry. Try to understand. He came for Varun’s Annual Day.”
 
“But what is he doing there in your house right now so late at night?”
 
“He’s come to drop Varun.”
 
“Drop Varun?”
 
“He’d taken him out from school for a movie…”
 
“Why did you let him?”
 
“What do you mean ‘Why did you let him?’ – Ashok is Varun’s father.”
 
“You shouldn’t have called him to Pune…”
 
“I didn’t call him – Varun rang him up and told him to be there for his School’s Annual Day.”
 
“Anyway, get rid of him fast. I told you that you two are supposed to stay separate for at least six months.”
 
“Please Pramod. We are living separately. He’s just dropped in on a visit – we are not cohabiting or anything.”
 
“Just stay away from him – he could cause trouble!”
 
“Trouble? What are you saying, Pramod? He’s just come to drop Varun.”
 
“Pooja, can’t you see? He’s using your son to get you back. He’s a nasty chap – he may even withdraw his mutual consent and then we’ll be back at square one.”
 
“Pramod, don’t imagine things. And please Pramod, we had our differences, but Ashok was never a nasty person. Just get the papers ready and I’ll get him to sign on the dotted line,” she pauses for a moment and asks angrily, “And tell me Pramod, who told you Ashok is here?”
 
“That doesn’t matter. Now you are mine. I have to look after you, your welfare.”
 
“Look after my welfare? You’re keeping tabs on me, Pramod?” Pooja says irately.
 
“Now, you listen to me Pooja. Just throw him out right now. He has no right to trespass…” Pramod orders her.
 
“Trespass? Pramod, remember this is his house too – in fact the house is still on his name.”
 
“Don’t argue!” Pramod commands peremptorily, “Just do what I say!”
 
A flood of fury rises inside Pooja and she snaps angrily, “You know why I split up with Ashok, don’t you? Because I felt suffocated in that relationship. And now you are doing the same thing!”
 
Tears well up in her eyes, trickle down her cheeks, her throat chokes, she breaks down and she begins to sob.
 
“I’m sorry, Pooja. Please don’t cry,” Pramod pleads, “You know how much I love you.”
 
“I love you too.”
 
“I’ll cut short my trip and be with you in Pune tomorrow evening.”
 
“It’s okay, finish your work first and then come.”
 
“Give Varun my love.”
 
“Okay, take care.”
 
“You also take care,” Pramod says and disconnects.
 
She stares into the darkness, at the sky, the stars in the distance and tries to compose herself.
 
In a while, Pooja comes into the drawing room. Ashok looks at her face. After her tears, her eyes shine in the bright light; the moisture from her unwiped tears solidified on her cheeks like dry glass.
 
“I’ll make us some dinner,” she says to him, “Let’s eat together.”
 
Totally taken aback, confused and startled, Ashok looks at his wife and says, “Thanks. But I’ve got to go.”
 
“Stay, Daddy! Please Stay,” pleads Varun.
 
“Daddy is staying for dinner,” Pooja says with mock firmness, and then looking at Ashok says, “Please. Stay. Have dinner with us. By the time you get back your cafeteria would have closed. You still stay in the bachelor’s hostel don’t you?”
 
“Yes,” he lies, “But I’ll be moving into flat soon.”
 
“That’s good. Where?”
 
“Churchgate. Near the office,” he says. Now that is not entirely untrue. Hema, with whom he has moved in, does indeed live near Churchgate!
 
“Churchgate! Wow! That’s really good for you. Food, Books, Films, Theatre, Art, Walks on Marine Drive – everything you like is nearby,” she says, “And Hey, now that you’re moving into a flat please take all your books. I’ve packed them up and kept them in the study.”
 
“Come Daddy, I’ll show you,” Varun jumps and pulls him into the study.
 
He looks around his former study and sees his books packed in cardboard boxes on the floor. The room has changed; except for his books there is nothing of him left in it.
 
He opens the wardrobe. There are some men’s clothes and a pair of shoes he has not seen before.
 
He is tempted to ask his son, but doesn’t ask. Varun has also come home after a three month spell, his first stint at boarding school.
 
He takes a towel, closes the cupboard, and goes into the bathroom to freshen up. The moment he comes out his son excitedly says, “Come Daddy, let’s help Mummy with the cooking.”
 
So they go to the kitchen and cook together – like they sometimes did in happier times.
 
Later they sit in their usual places at the small round dining table for dinner. It is the first time he, his wife and their son eat a meal together as a family since they had split three months ago. It is a happy meal, with much banter, primarily due the sheer joyfulness of their son, who is so happy that they are all together after a hiatus.
 
Then they sit together on the sofa, father, son, and mother, and watch her favorite soap on TV. Ashok notices how happy, natural and relaxed they all are. It is almost as if they have resumed living their old life once again. 
 
 
PART 6 – NIGHT 
 
Suddenly, Ashok remembers Hema, waiting for him in Mumbai, and says, “I’ve got to go”
 
“Stay here Daddy, please,” his son implores, tugging at his shirt.
 
“It’s late. Let Daddy go,” Pooja says to Varun, “Daddy will come to meet you in school soon.”
 
“He can’t. Parents are not allowed till the next term break. Please Mummy, let us all sleep here and tomorrow we can all go away,” Varun says emphatically to his mother, and pulls his father towards the bedroom, “Come Daddy, let’s all sleep in Mummy’s bed like before.”
 
“No, Varun, I have to go,” Ashok says with a lump in his throat, disentangles his hands, bends down, and kisses his son, “Varun, be a good boy. I’ll be back to see you soon.”
 
At the door he turns around and looks at Pooja, his ex-wife, and says, “Bye. Thanks. Take Care.”
 
“It’s good you came to see your son,” she remarks.
 
“I didn’t come only for the child,” he says overwhelmed by emotion, “I came to see you too.”
 
He sees tears start in her eyes, so he quickly turns and walks out of the door.


PART 7 – MIDNIGHT
 
The clock on Rajabai Tower is striking midnight as he parks his car below Hema’s flat. The lights are still on. He runs up the steps to the house and opens the door with his latchkey.
 
Hema is sitting on the sofa watching TV. She switches of the TV, rushes towards him and passionately kisses him. He kisses her back and recognizes the intoxicating sweet aroma of rum on her breath.
 
“You’ve been drinking. It’s not good for you,” he says.
 
“Promise me you will never go to there again,” she cries inconsolably, holding him tightly.
 
“Please, Hema. Try to understand. I don’t want to be eradicated from my son’s life.”
 
“No, Ashok. You promise me right now. You’ll never go there again. I don’t want you to ever meet them again.”
 
“But why?”
 
“I am in constant fear that you will leave me and go back to them. I’ve been dumped once and I don’t want to be ditched again, to be left high and dry,” 

Hema starts to weep, “I’m scared Ashok. I am really very frightened to be all alone, again!”
 
“Okay, Hema,” Ashok says gathering her in his arms, “I promise. I promise I’ll never go there again.”
 
“Kiss me,” Hema says.
 
He kisses her warm mouth, tastes the salty remains of her tears, which trickle down her cheeks onto her lips.
 
“Come,” she says, “it’s late. Let’s sleep.”
 
Ashok doesn’t have a dreamless sleep – he sees a dream – a dream he will never forget. 

He is drowning, struggling in the menacing dark fiery turbulent sea.

To his left – in the distance he sees Varun, his son, standing on a ship beckoning him desperately – and to his right – far away, standing on a desolate rock jutting out into the sea he sees Hema, his newfound love, waving, gesturing and calling him frantically.

Floods of conflicting emotions overwhelm him. 

In his dream – Ashok looks at his Varun – then he looks at Hema – and he finds himself imprisoned between the two.

His strength collapses, his spirit yields, and slowly he drowns, helplessly watching the terrifying angry black sea swallow him up and suck his body deep within into the Davy Jones’s Locker.
 
Jolted awake by the strange scary nightmare, Ashok breaks into cold sweat with a terrible fear. 

Ashok cannot sleep. 

He starts to think of his innocent adorable son Varun, imagining him sleeping soundly in his bed in Pune. 

The father in him agonizingly yearns and excruciatingly pines for his son, the pain in his heart becomes unbearable, and he wishes he could go right now, at this very moment, lovingly take his son in his arms and kiss his son goodnight, like he used to do.

He clearly recalls Varun’s words when he heard that his parents were going to split up and divorce.

Varun had said: “I don’t like it…” – and then the small boy began to cry.

He remembers the phone call Pooja did not want to take in his presence – maybe there is a new man in Pooja’s life. 

Pooja hasn’t told him anything about her new boyfriend – but then Ashok hasn’t told Pooja about Hema either.

And suppose Pooja remarries – then that guy would become Varun’s stepfather.

“Step-father…!” he shudders. 

No. 

If Pooja remarries he will get Varun to stay here with him.

Then he looks at his newfound love Hema, sleeping calmly beside him, and the beautiful serene expression on her pristine face. He gently places his hand on her forehead and lovingly caresses her hair. She warmly snuggles up to him, turns, puts her hand over his chest, and with a heightened sense of security continues her tranquil blissful sleep.

Will Hema accept Varun? 

No way! 

He remembers her tantrums in the morning, her insecurities – Hema is fearful that the “baggage” of his past, the “debris” of his broken marriage, will destroy their new relationship. 

A flood of emotion overwhelms him as he thinks about Hema. 

Poor thing. 

She’s just recovered from a terrible break up, and is holding on to him so tight – apprehensive, anxious, insecure…

Torn between his past and future – between the conflicting forces of his love for son and his love for the woman beside him – Ashok feels helpless and scared.

Ashok knows he has lost Pooja, his wife, forever.

Now he does not want to lose both his son Varun and his newfound love Hema.

Varun and Hema are the only two things he has in this world.

Ashok does wants both of them.

And he knows can’t have both of them together.

His life is a mess. 

Maybe he is responsible.

If only he had tried harder?

If only he had stayed on with Pooja in that suffocating relationship?

If only they had made more efforts to save their marriage, just for Varun’s sake.

If only he had…?

If only…? 

If only…?

It is of no use. 

One cannot go back in time and undo what has been done.

The more he thinks about it, the more helpless and hapless he feels, and soon his mind, his brain, starts spinning like a whirlwind.

In the whirlwind he sees all of them, Varun, Pooja and a new unknown face, Hema and himself, all of them being tossed around in disarray.

There is nothing Ashok can do about it – so he breaks down and begins to cry.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


I wrote this story 9 years ago, in the year 2007, and first posted it online on my creative writing blog in 2008 – and reposted the story a few times on popular demand – here are the links: 
http://creative.sulekha.com/a-da…
http://creative.sulekha.com/a-da…
http://creative.sulekha.com/my-f…

Link to my original posts in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

This Story also features in my book COCKTAIL – my anthology of short stories about relationships published in 2011.

HOW TO IMPRESS GIRLS and BOYS – Impression Management for Long Term Relationships

March 21, 2015

Original Post written by Me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve : HOW TO IMPRESS PEOPLE

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/how-to-impress-people.html.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT

HOW TO IMPRESS GIRLS and BOYS – Impression Management for Long Term Relationships

WORST IMPRESSION IS THE BEST IMPRESSION
Contrarian Wisdom
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Let me tell you an “apocryphal” story.

This happened 33 years ago – in March 1982 – in Pune.

A girl came to see a boy (for arranged marriage).

The girl was accompanied by her mother (the girl’s father, a Brigadier, was serving in a field area).

Normally – in Maharashtra – the boy goes to the girl’s home (for the customary “kande pohe program”).

But – in this case – the boy had requested the girl to come over to his rather Spartan home.

It was around 10 in the morning – the boy was alone at home – as the boy’s mother had gone for work.

The boy (a Naval Officer) had come to Pune on a week’s leave for “girl seeing” for arranged marriage.

Since the boy was not one of those refined “metrosexuals” – he had not “decked up” for the occasion – but he was dressed in a simple cotton white kurta-pyjama – and he was enjoying a smoke and reading a book – while waiting for the girl to arrive.

The girl and her mother arrived at 10:30.

“You are late,” the boy said, and he asked the girl and her mother to sit down.

The boy served Tea (which he had prepared himself).

Then – the boy lit a cigarette – and he said to the girl, “Let me tell you a bit about myself. As you can see – I smoke a lot. I drink regularly too – around 6 large pegs of rum daily – that is about half a bottle of rum every evening. My career prospects in the Navy are not very bright – I am certainly not ‘Admiral Material’. You are a ‘SODA’ – your father is a big shot in the Army – so you may be used to the comforts and facilities of army life – but in the Navy you get nothing – no batman (sahayak), no transport, no proper housing, no facilities – as you can see I am not a rich man – I just have a scooter – and I do not think I will be able to afford a car on the paltry salary we get in the Navy – you will have to live in some temporary make-shift  shanty – and you will have to do all the housework yourself…”

“You don’t get a house in the Navy…?” the girl asked.

“You do – but there is a huge shortage of married accommodation and the waiting period is 2 years – so by the time we get a proper house, it will be time for my transfer – and it is the same story in every new place – so you must be prepared for a nomadic existence shifting from one temporary accommodation to another…”

“What is ‘SODA’…?” the girl asked.

“Senior Officers’ Daughters’ Association – your Dad is a Brigadier so you are a SODA,” the boy said, “but let me tell you one thing – I am an honest, straightforward and outspoken officer – and so – your chances of becoming a member of SOWA are pretty bleak…”

“SOWA – Senior Officers’ Wives’ Association…!” the girl said.

The boy was happy to see that the girl was intelligent.

“You are very intelligent – and highly qualified – and all your good qualities are listed in your matrimonial profile – but I want to know one thing – and I want an honest answer,” the boy said to the girl.

“What…?” the girl asked.

“What are your faults…? Your bad qualities…? Your weaknesses…?” the boy asked.

“I cannot cook…” the girl began opening up – but her mother gave her a stern look – and the girl stopped speaking.

Observing the situation, the boy said to the girl, “Never mind – we will discuss all that in detail when we meet tomorrow…”

“We are meeting tomorrow…?” the girl asked.

“Why not…? After all, we are getting married – and I am here for a week – so we can go out together a few times – and get to know each other better…” the boy said, extinguishing his finished cigarette and lighting another cigarette.

The girl’s mother was getting increasingly uncomfortable at the way things were going, so she asked the boy, “You have a big beard – are you going to shave it off when you get married…?”

The boy looked at the girl’s mother, and he said to the middle-aged woman, “How does it matter to you whether I keep a beard or not…? Are you going to marry me…? Or is your daughter going to marry me…? But since you have asked – No – I am not going to shave off my beard – I like my beard – and a beard is the sign of a true Naval Officer – so I am going to keep my beard even after marriage – forever…”

The boy looked at the girl, and he said, “See – I told you that I drink heavily, I smoke, and that I have no future in the navy – very poor career prospects – and about the poor quality of life in the navy – but you just told me one thing – that you do not know how to cook – please tell me more about your other faults…”

“We have to go somewhere,” the girl’s mother interrupted – and she brought the ‘interview’ to an abrupt end.

In the evening, the girl’s mother made a ‘trunk-call’ to her Brigadier husband and she said, “What a terrible boy? He is himself saying that he drinks half a bottle a day, he smokes, and ….”

She told him everything.

“The boy said all that…?” the Brigadier asked.

“Yes – the boy hasn’t given us even one reason why we should get our daughter married to him.”

“Maybe that is the very reason why we should get our daughter married to him,” the astute Brigadier said.

The Brigadier met the boy – and he liked him – and so – the girl and boy got married.

The girl was expecting the worst.

But after marriage – the girl noticed the following ‘improvements’ in the boy:

1. Her husband did not drink 6 pegs of rum every evening – he drank around 3 or 4 pegs daily – and only rarely – at parties or with friends – did he drink 6 pegs or more.

2. He did not smoke much too – in fact – he smoked very few cigarettes – he preferred smoking his pipe.

3. She had been expecting to stay in a “jhuggi-jhopri” – but first they lived in the officers’ mess for some time – and then they shifted to quite a decent furnished apartment – which though small – the apartment was modern, comfortable, and located in the prime area of the city.

Though he was not an “angel” by any standards – her husband was not all that bad – as she had thought.

Much later – when she had given up all hope – her husband suddenly gave up drinking and smoking one day.

This happened 20 years after her marriage – and she had never imagined that her husband would give up alcohol and tobacco forever.

Of course – her husband has still not shaved off his majestic beard – but then she has got used to it now – after 33 years of married life.

After reading this “fairy-tale” – some persons may think that this is a true story – and they may even “recognize” some of the characters in this story – but let me emphasize that this is an apocryphal story – the characters do not exist and are purely imaginary – and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

What is important – is the MORAL OF THE STORY.

You must have heard the saying: “First Impression is the Best Impression”

But I say: “Worst Impression is the Best Impression”.

If you give your best impression during your first meeting with someone – then you have to live up to the image you have created.

On the other hand – if you give your worst impression during your first meeting – then there is always scope for improvement.

There are many aspects to your personality – the “Best Side” – the “Worst Side” – with shades of grey in between.

At your very first meeting – if you try and impress someone with your “Best Side” – you have projected your best image – and thus you have no scope for improvement.

In fact – you will get all stressed out keeping up appearances trying to live up to the hyped-up expectations you have created in the other person – and slowly the “veneer” will start peeling off – and the goody-goody façade will crumble.

Dear Reader – you just read the “happy ending” story above.

I know a story where exactly the opposite happened.

There was a girl from a civilian academic background (her parents were university professors).

They lived in a town where there was a large cantonment nearby.

Most of her schoolmates and friends were daughters of Army officers – and the girl was enamored by Army social life.

The girl got a proposal from a Naval Officer.

The girl was under the impression that the life of a Navy Wife was the same as the good life of an Army “Memsahib” which she had observed in the peacetime cantonment.

The Navy boy came to meet the girl.

Believing in the “First Impression is the Best Impression” dictum – the boy showed his “Best Side” – and he “boasted” a bit about himself – he painted a rosy picture of Navy life – instead of telling her the ground reality.

All this created a glorified image and high expectations in the newlywed girl.

But – after their honeymoon – when they reached Vizag – everything came crashing down.

The boy sailed off on his ship – leaving the girl to fend for herself – all alone – in their “B Type” hired house – at the other end of town – far away from the Naval Base.

Feeling totally isolated, the girl went into a depression – and summoned her parents – who came rushing to Vizag – to help their daughter settle down and tackle reality.

As their marriage progressed – the “first impression” that the boy had created by showing his “Best Side” – this rosy first impression started to slowly crumble away as his negative qualities began to emerge.

After many years of marriage – the girl still feels that the boy “cheated” her by portraying a goody-goody false impression of himself and hyped rosy image of Navy life.

My hypothesis of “Worst First Impression” worked in my Navy life too.

I was posted as faculty in a prestigious inter-service training establishment.

My boss was a Commodore from a landlubber branch who had never met me before.

However – my “spoken reputation” had somehow reached him via the grapevine.

For a month or so – I noticed that he was quite wary of me – he treated me coldly and he kept me at arm’s length.

Then – one evening – at a party – when he was feeling quite happy after a few drinks – he sidled up to me – and he said, “Actually – I have realized that you are quite a good officer…”

Taken aback, I said to him, “Come on, Sir – of course – I am a good officer – why did you think otherwise…?”

“I had heard so many wicked things about you – that you are a difficult officer – but I actually find you to be so good…” the Commodore said – and later – his wife told me that I was his favourite officer – and he trusted me the most among all officers.

So – Dear Reader – whenever you meet someone for the first time – for matchmaking – for dating – at the workplace – for any long term relationship – beware of the dictum: “First Impression is the Best Impression” – and don’t get too carried away trying to make the “best impression” – since you may find it difficult to live up to such a ‘perfect’ image in later life.

When you meet someone for the first time – never try to “impress” anyone – just be your natural self – in fact – show a bit of your darker side – so that there is always “scope for improvement” later.

And for those of you who are going in for an “arranged marriage” – when you meet your “prospective spouse” for the first time – the first question you must ask him (or her) is: “Tell be about your weaknesses and your faults…”

Remember: “Worst Impression is the Best Impression”.

There is always scope for improvement if you project your “worst” impression

But there is no scope for improvement if you project your “best” impression – in fact, there is always pressure to live up to the “perfect” image you have created – and ultimately, this mismatch will cause stress and distrust in your relationships.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Posted by Vikram Karve at 3/20/2015 04:16:00 PM

ARE NRI CHILDREN ASSETS or LIABILITIES?

January 3, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: NRI CHILDREN – ASSET or LIABILITY?.

Link to my original post in my academic and creative writing journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

NRI CHILDREN – ASSET or LIABILITY?
Short Fiction – An Apocryphal Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

My peer group comprises my classmates from school and college, my ex-navy and ex “fauji” military veteran buddies, and my friends, all in their late 50’s or early 60’s.

Whenever we meet, I realize that one notable fact pertaining to my peer group is that almost everyone has NRI children.

[I use the term NRI (Non Resident Indian) quite generically for all Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) settled abroad, including those who have adopted citizenships of their host countries]

At one such gathering, I met a friend – my school classmate.

She was an “NRI Mother” – or to put it correctly – she was the “mother of an NRI daughter”.

Her only child, a 27 year old married daughter, had settled down abroad in America with her husband.

“Nice to see you after a long time,” I said to my friend.

“Yes – I was abroad for almost one year – in the US,” she said.

“America? Wow!” I said.

“Last year, my daughter got pregnant – so she called me to America to look after her during her pregnancy days – and then, after her delivery, she wanted me to stay and look after the baby – so I stayed on there in the US for almost 6 months,” she said.

“Isn’t it our tradition that daughters come home, to their mother’s place, for their first delivery? Your daughter could have come here to Pune for her delivery,” I said.

“Are you crazy or something?” she asked.

“Why?”

“My daughter wanted her child to get US citizenship by birth. If the baby is born here in India, how will the baby get American citizenship?”

“Oh!” I said, “So you stayed there in America for 6 months after her delivery, did all the baby care, and then came back,” I said.

“Yes – but my daughter called me again for child-care “nanny” duties, till her baby was old enough for day-care, since she wanted to get back to work – it was important for her career that she started working as quickly as possible,” she said.

“So you went to America again?”

“Yes – for 6 months – till the baby was almost one year old,” she said.

“Oh – but now it is finally all over – and you’ll be staying here in Pune now…” I said.

“No – I am going again…” she said.

“You are going again to America…? Why…?”

“My daughter’s job is very hectic – so she wants me to do “nanny” duties and look after her child.”

“But your daughter’s child must be around one year old now – can’t the child be kept in a day-care centre?”

“I don’t know,” my friend said, “but my daughter insisted that I come because she wants her child to be looked after properly by me – so that the child imbibes our culture.”

“Culture…?” I said, astonished – and as I recovered my wits – I noticed that an old lady had walked over and joined us.

I knew the old lady – she was my friend’s mother.

I knew the old lady’s husband (my friend’s father) too.

My friend – their daughter – was their only child.

The old couple lived in a beautiful bungalow in the Lonavala – a picturesque hill station near Pune – and I had once visited them over there a few years ago.

I did not see the old lady’s husband around, so I asked the old lady, “How is uncle?”

“You don’t know…?” the old lady asked me.

“What…?”

“My husband died 3 months ago…” the old lady said.

“Oh – I am very sorry…”

“It’s okay – he was 84 years old – but he was absolutely fit till the last day. Though I miss him very much, one consolation is that he died when he was fit and healthy…” she said.

I did not say anything.

The old lady looked at me, and she said to me, “And by the way – I have shifted to an old age home…”

“Old Age Home…?” I asked, shocked.

“What to do…? I cannot live in that huge secluded bungalow all alone…” the old lady said.

“But why go to an old age home…? Why don’t you live with your daughter in Pune…?” I asked.

“Of course I would like to live with my daughter,” the old lady said, “given a choice, I certainly would not like to live in an old age home – but do I have a choice…?”

I did not say anything – I just kept looking at the old lady, not knowing what to say.

Seeing the confused look on my face, the old lady said, “Didn’t my daughter tell you? Her daughter, my granddaughter, has called her to America for babysitting and nanny duties – she will be away in America for 6 months – and then she may have to go back to America again and again – for the next delivery – and babysitting and nanny duties for the next child – so who is going to look after me here? I am 80 now – so it is better for me to live in an old age home…”

I looked at my friend, and wondered at her predicament.

On one side stood her recently widowed mother, pleading not to be sent to the old age home.

On the other side stood her daughter, beseeching her to come to America to take care of her baby.

She had a duty to look after her old widowed mother.

But she felt the strong pull of motherhood towards her daughter.

She was torn between her loyalty to her mother and her love for her daughter.

And in her case – her motherly love for the daughter had prevailed over her filial duty towards the mother.


EPILOGUE

Persons of my generation, in their 50’s and 60’s, who are parents of “NRI Children”, are in a Catch-22 situation.

They are expected to look after their parents, who may be in their 70’s and 80’s.

But their “NRI Children” also have “expectations” from them – especially from their mothers – during childbirth for “midwife” duties, and later, for baby care and surrogate parenting “nanny” duties.

That is why I often wonder:

Are “NRI Children” an asset or a liability?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


Posted by Vikram Karve at 1/03/2015 03:35:00 PM

EMOTIONAL EFFECT OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN – RUNNING AWAY – a Short Story by Vikram Karve

August 22, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: RUNNING AWAY.

Click the link above to read the original post in my creative writing journal

Also posted below for your convenience

RUNNING AWAY
Short Fiction Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
“Hello Sir,” she said.
In the suddenness of the moment, I did not recognize her.
But then she gave me her vivacious smile, her eyes danced, and I knew who she was.
She had been one of my brightest students – but then that was quite some time ago.
“Of course I recognize you,” I said, “How can I ever forget one of my best students? But it was so unexpected that I was confused for a moment; and you’ve grown up so much, and I too am getting old, you know.”
“No, Sir, you still look handsome, and as young as ever. I’m sure all the girls still have a crush on you, like we did!” she said naughtily.
I almost blushed, so to change the subject, I asked her, “What you doing here at the airport?”
“I’m going to New York,” she said, “my flight is delayed so I am just killing time.”
“My flight to Singapore is delayed too,” I said.
“Singapore?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m going for a conference,” I said.
“Oh,” she said.
For some moments no one spoke.
To break the silence, I said, “Let’s go to the coffee shop. We can sit and talk over there till our flights are announced.”
As we walked to the airport coffee shop, I thought of the girl walking beside me.
She had abruptly left our school three years ago, after completing her 9th Standard.
When we teachers expressed our surprise, the Principal of our school told us that her parents wanted to shift her to an elite boarding school, faraway in the hills.
We told the Principal that she was a brilliant scholar, one of our best students, who had the potential to top the 10th Board Exams, and she would surely bring laurels to our school by adorning the merit list. We also argued that, even from her point of view, it was not prudent to change her school and shift her just one year before the matriculation board examination.
The Principal told us that he had discussed all this with her parents, but they were adamant.
So, the bright young girl left our school and went away to the boarding school, and I did not see her, or hear of her, after that.
“Sir, do you know why I had to suddenly leave school?” she asked, as we sat down for coffee.
“No,” I said, “we were quite surprised.”
“My parents were getting divorced and they did not want me around, so they sent me away to the boarding school,” she said.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “that’s sad.”
“Yes,” she said, “it was really sad. I did not like it at all.”
Though I had met her parents once or twice perfunctorily at school functions, I did not know her parents that well. In fact, I did remember most of my students, but I hardly remembered their parents.
I sipped my coffee and did not say anything, waiting for her to speak.
“I just don’t know why they split,” she said, “we seemed to be such a happy family together.”
“They must have had their reasons,” I said.
“Well, I think I know at least one reason now,” she said.
I just looked at her, waiting for her to continue speaking.
“The moment the divorce was through, my dad got married to a woman half his age.”
“Half his age?” I asked, quite incredulous.
“Yes. The female was his student.”
“Student?”
“You know that my father is a Professor, don’t you?” she asked.
“Yes,” I lied.
“She was doing her Ph. D. under him. The wily female snatched him away from us. And it was his fault too – a married man with a family getting involved with woman so much younger than him.  It was terrible – a teacher and a student shamelessly getting married to each other. Just imagine how embarrassing it must have been for me and my mother.”
“Yes,” I said, trying to show empathy.
“And do you know what my mother does?”
“What?”
“Three months later, she too gets remarried to a jerk from her office,” she said, “I hate him – he’s such a crafty smooth-talking fake.”
She paused for a moment and said, “And can you imagine his audacity?”
“Audacity?”
“One day he politely told me that ‘they’ wanted more privacy so could I please go and stay with my own Dad for a while?”
“Don’t tell me…!”
“Yes. And you won’t believe this – my mother just kept quiet and said nothing.”
“So?”
“So I packed my bags and went over to my father’s place, but it was even worse over there.”
“Even worse?”
“Though she did not say so in so many words, my ‘step-mother’ made it quite clear that I was not very welcome – the vibes, you know those negative vibes – I could feel them every moment.”
“That’s sad.”
“So I spent the next two years of junior college, my 11th and 12th, shuttling between the two places like an unwanted badminton shuttle-cock,” she said, “then I made a deal.”
“A deal?”
“I told them I wanted to go abroad to America for my studies and wanted them to fund it,” she said.
She paused for a moment, had a sip of coffee, and then she said, “you know, all of them were so delighted to hear this. My Dad used his academic connections and went out of the way to get me admission to the best university, and everyone, my Mom, and even my so-called ‘step parents’, are all chipping in to finance my education abroad for as long as I want to study. They all are so happy to get me out of the way.”
“Oh, so that’s why you are going to the States?”
“Yes. I am running away. To a new life,” she said.
Suddenly, her flight was announced, and she got up to leave.
“Thanks for the coffee, Sir,” she said, “it was so nice meeting you.”
“I am sure we will meet again when you come back,” I said.
“I am not coming back, Sir. There is nothing left here for me to come back to. I am leaving behind the baggage of my past over here and I am moving on to begin a new life over there – and I am not going to look back,” she said.
“All the Best. Take Care,” I said.
“You too, Sir, Take Care,” she said, and walked away.
She did not look back.
 
VIKRAM KARVE 
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 fiction short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL 
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html


COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram KarveA creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram Karve has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@sify.com

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

 

PARENTING – BRINGING UP TEENAGERS – TIMO Model

June 20, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: PARENTING – BRINGING UP TEENAGERS.

Click the link above to read in my journal about the TIMO (Time Inclination Money Opportunity) Parenting Paradigm.

Article also posted below for your convenience

PARENTING – BRINGING UP TEENAGERS

PARENTING
BRINGING UP TEENAGERS
How to Spoil Your Children by Laissez-Faire Parenting Style
The Time, Inclination, Money, Opportunity Paradigm
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

At the outset, here is a quote from Norman F Dixon (emphasis mine). 
Please read each line carefully.

The values indicated by status-insecure parents are such that their children learn to put personal success and the acquisition of power above all else
They are taught to judge people for their usefulness rather than their likeableness. 
Their friends, and even future marriage partners, are selected and used in the service of personal advancementlove and affection take second place to knowing the right people. 
They are taught to eschew weakness and passivity, to respect authority, and todespise those who have not made the socio-economic grade
Success is equated with social esteem and material advantage, rather than with more spiritual values.

~ Norman F. Dixon

It seems to be the in thing today to have snobbish supercilious spoilt children.

I was a strict old-fashioned father, but looking around, I have realized that in today’s world, where materialistic desires and ostentation overshadow traditional values, my ascetic style of parenting is hopelessly outmoded and distinctly passé. This made me quite an unpopular parent as compared to my more liberal counterparts. And whether my orthodox parenting style had a desirable effect on my children – well it there for all to see, as my children are grown up responsible adults now. 

It is too late for me to change now, so let me pontificate a bit on the subject of Teenage Parenting what I did not do.

 
Apart from the conventional vices like drinking, smoking, drugs, gambling etc, all types of new and novel temptations and addictions like Internet, Gaming, TV, sex, compulsive spending and shopping, indulging in wild reckless behaviour, breaking the law and criminal thrills are on the rise and indeed becoming status symbols in some sections of society. 

Now-a-days there is plenty of choice available for those who want to “live it up”.

For children in today’s consumerist society there is no place for old-fashioned concepts like thrift and frugality and the dictum: be happy where you are and content with what you have seem irrelevant today where instant gratification seems to be the new mantra.


Conspicuous consumption, ostentation, flamboyance and expensive lifestyles are more important. Pamper your kids, pander to all their whims and fancies and they will love you; and, of course, in the long run they will ruin their own lives and cause you distress. 
 
If you want to spoil your children remember there are four cardinal factors or resources that help develop and nurture bad habits, addictions and anti-social behaviour: TIME, INCLINATION, OPPORTUNITY, MONEY. 
 
TIME

One must have time to indulge in whatever one’s pursuits, good or bad. So, if you want to spoil your children, don’t burden them with too many “mundane” things like studies, sports, hobbies etc. so that they have plenty of leisure time to live it up, develop new vices and pursue their temptations to their heart’s content. 
 
INCLINATION

This depends on your sense of values, home and family atmosphere, social environment, religious and cultural taboos, peer pressure, influence of school and friends. Are you inculcating the right values in your kids by your own actions?
 
I’ll give you a real life example.  

My friend’s son, age 15, lost his expensive mobile cell-phone forgetting it in a taxi due to his own carelessness and negligence. 

Instead of admonishing him, my friend bought him the latest, even more expensive and fancy cell-phone. 

Obviously the boy had no remorse, guilt or regret at losing the expensive gadget, and instead of feeling contrite and responsible, the teenager displayed a “couldn’t care” attitude. 

Certainly this teenager will never appreciate the value of money.

Can one even expect such actions of parents to inculcate the correct values of thrift, frugality and responsibility in their children?


If you drink, smoke, and party in front of your children, won’t they be inclined to do the same? Can you lecture your son not to smoke while holding a cigarette between your lips or tell him not to drink alcohol while holding a glass of whisky in your hands?

How about your friends, your kids’ friends, their behaviour, and the general atmosphere and culture around? Peer Pressure too plays an important role in developing a teenagers inclination. 


What are your own values? 

If you are going to “live it up”, flaunt your lifestyle, and be corrupt and dishonest, your kids will be inclined to do so too. 
 
OPPORTUNITY
You have the Time, you have the Inclination, but do you have the Opportunity to do what you want to do?

Suppose you want to drink alcohol, but there is prohibition in force? 

Or there exist religious, social, cultural taboos which do not give you the opportunity to drink? 
These restraining forces will inhibit you from drinking alcohol.

Opportunity to indulge in an activity is governed by external circumstances, rules and regulations, which either inhibits you, or makes it conducive for you, to do what you want to do.

Enforcement of Restrictions like No-Smoking Zones, Prohibition, No Entry into Bars and Pubs for Kids inhibits opportunity for children to start drinking at an early age. 

Parental Control is an important factor in restricting opportunity for children to indulge in undesirable activities or develop unwanted habits.

Or do you want to give your kids a laissez faire opportunity to do what they want…? 

Suit yourself, but don’t blame your children later.
MONEY 

If you want to spoil your children make sure you give them plenty of Money to splurge as they want and to spend as they please without any accountability.

“Vices” and profligate lifestyles are expensive


Give them the latest gadgets and gizmos, cars and bikes, pander to all their whims and fancies, and never ask them to account for their extravagant spending. Your children will “love” you for all this. Go ahead and make your children “happy” and irresponsible. 

You’ve open-mindedly given your kids the time, the inclination, and the opportunity, but finally it is the money that matters. Yes, it is money that helps your children sustain their vices and habits. 
Go ahead, give it a try, spoil your brats, and tell me if it works

But if you don’t want to spoil your teenager kids, you know what to do, don’t you?

Just remember the four key factors when bringing up your teenage children:


1. Monitor their Time 

2. Give them the proper Inclination in life 

3. Restrict their Opportunity for undesirable activities 

and, last but not the least, 

4. Keep a tight leash on their Money

Does this teenager parenting paradigm work for you…? Do comment and tell us your views. 


VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this article?
This is a story from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL – Stories About Relationships. 

I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html
COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@sify.com     


© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

IS MAKING DIVORCE EASIER A GOOD IDEA?

April 14, 2012

I read in the newspapers that they are making divorce easier.

But is this really a good idea?

Please read this story and tell us what you think.

Click the link below and read the story in my journal

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: PARTING GIFT – My Favourite Short Stories Part 95.

PARTING GIFT (a short story) by Vikram Karve

Is Making Divorce Easier a Good Idea? ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – My Favourite Short Stories Revisited Part 55

April 2, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – My Favourite Short Stories Revisited Part 55.

Is making divorce easier a good idea? For the woman? For the man?   And most importantly, for the child?

Please click the link above and read the story in my creative writing journal.

Regards

Vikram Karve

THE SURROGATE PARENTS

March 9, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: SURROGATE PARENTING.

Click the link above to read the story in my journal (also pasted below for your convenience)

SURROGATE PARENTING

“SURROGATE” PARENTING

Mr. and Mrs. X and the Baby  
Short Fiction Story  
By
VIKRAM KARVE
From my Creative Writing Archives:

A few days ago I visited an old Navy friend of mine who has recently become a grandfather. 

When I asked him why he was not seen anywhere anymore, he complained that he and his wife were stuck in the house 24/7 as they had to look after their six month old grandson since the baby’s parents, both IT Techies, were busy with their careers and the young parents did not have time to look after their own baby. So the grandparents had no choice but to become surrogate parents to their grandson.

I suddenly realized that a fiction story I had written a few years ago had come true. 

Yes, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.


Mr. and Mrs. X desperately wanted to have a baby.  

So they tried very hard to have a baby.  

Poor Mr. and Mrs. X, they tried and tried, put in a lot of effort, but they could not have a baby.

And as time flew, and the biological clock ticked away, Mr. and Mrs. X became more and more anxious, and so with resolute perseverance, they put everything at stake, made determined efforts, consulted the best doctors in town, spent huge amounts of money on the best and most sophisticated infertility treatments possible, tried all sorts of things, exoteric and esoteric, left no stone unturned, struggled and struggled, with dogged persistence, till, at long last, at the age of 35, Mrs. X conceived, and after a difficult, delicate, grueling, backbreaking, anxious, harrowing  pregnancy, she overcame all sorts of complications, and finally, after enduring for nine long months, successfully delivered a beautiful bonny baby.

Everyone was delighted – the parents, having proved their mettle, the doctors, on the success of their treatment, the grandparents that the family lineage was preserved, the soothsayers, the relatives, the friends – everybody. 

Three months later I happened to be in town and decided to visit Mr. and Mrs. X and their bonny baby.  

On the way, at the jewellers, I bought a gold ornament as a present for the bonny baby.  

I found my way to their classy house in an elite condominium located in the most posh and exclusive neighbourhood of the city.  

I felt a tinge of envy thinking about Mr. and Mrs. X, the young IT whiz kids, who could achieve such expensive luxuries and an ostentatious living style so early in life. 

The proud grandparents opened the door.  

The baby, on her grandmother’s lap, looked cute, very cute and cuddly.  

The baby’s parents, the young mother and father, were conspicuous by their absence.  

It was late evening and I had expected Mr. and Mrs. X to be at home, doting upon their adorable little baby, so curious I asked, “Where is the young mother?”

“At work,” the grandfather answered.

“Oh… the young mother is already back at work…? She’s back to work so fast…? Okay, doesn’t matter, I want to meet her, I am in no hurry so I’ll wait for her – she should be back home soon, isn’t it…?” I asked looking at the wall clock.

“No! No! She won’t be coming for at least six months now. She’s gone abroad, to the States, on an important project,” said the proud grandmother, cuddling and mothering the baby.

“And Mr. X, the proud father, he’ll be coming…” I asked.

“He’s in Singapore. He got a fantastic job offer the day the baby was born,” said the grandfather. 

“You know, the baby has proved real lucky for them. Her mother got promoted as project leader, a hefty raise and this foreign assignment and her father got this fabulous job offer in Singapore,” said the proud grandmother, cuddling the baby, who suddenly started to cry.

“It’s her feed-time,” the grandmother said, handing over the baby to the grandfather, and she went to the kitchen to warm up the baby’s milk.

“It’s good,” the grandfather said lovingly fondling the bonny baby, “for all these years when they were trying so hard to have this baby, they had put their careers on the back-burner; now that they have got their baby, they can focus on their careers once again.”

The grandmother came out with the milk bottle and began feeding the bonny baby while the doting grandfather lovingly looked on.

I looked at the grandparents – the surrogate parents. 

Then I looked at the baby – the light of their lives, their raison d’etretheir very reason for living and certainly the source of all their present happiness. 


VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
Did you like this story?

I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html

COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@sify.com      
vikramkarve@gmail.com

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

Who is the Woman with Cat Eyes? DON’T DELVE TOO MUCH – My Favourite Short Stories Part 77

December 19, 2011

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: DON’T DELVE TOO MUCH – My Favourite Short Stories Part 77.

Click the link above and read the short story in my creative writing journal

Regards

Vikram Karve

BADMINTON – MY FAVOURITE SHORT STORIES Revisited Part 14

December 6, 2011

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: BADMINTON – MY FAVOURITE SHORT STORIES Revisited Part 14.

Click the link above and read the story in my creative writing journal
Regards
Vikram Karve
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