Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MISTAKES ARE PORTALS OF DISCOVERY

MISTAKES ARE PORTALS OF DISCOVERY
Lessons I Learnt in Life
Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This happened around 21 years ago when we lived in the beautiful verdant campus of the erstwhile IAT (now called DIAT Deemed University) in the hills of Girinagar overlooking the serene cool blue waters of Khadakwasla Lake near Pune, with the mighty Sinhagad Fort towering above as a sentinel .

We lived in a typical MES accommodation – ground plus one storey with garages in between, four houses in a block.

Each house had a separate overhead water tank on top of the building and separate servant quarters behind the block .

We lived on the ground floor, and our neighbours who lived on the top floor above us were a young couple with a small kid.

Once there was along weekend – four days off – two days Diwali holidays followed by Saturday and Sunday.

Our neighbours, who lived above us, decided to spend the long weekend in Mumbai with their relatives.

In contrast, a sizeable number of relatives had decided to visit us to celebrate Diwali and spend the weekend in the picturesque surroundings on Girinagar and do some sightseeing and trekking, climb up the Sinhagad Fort and picnic at the Panshet and Varasgaon Dams and stroll on the “beach” on the Khadakvasla lakeside.

The whole gang of relatives arrived early in the morning on the first day of Diwali.

We were enjoying ourselves, the children bursting crackers, and my wife got down to making preparations for a festival feast for all of us and we were looking forward to a delicious sumptuous lunch.

Suddenly, my wife came out and told me that the taps had run dry and she said that water was not coming anywhere in the house.

This was surprising, since there was an abundance of water in Girinagar and we had never faced any water problem.

I rang up the pump house who confirmed that they had duly pumped water for three hours in the morning as per schedule and there was no reason for a water shortage. They suggested that I have a look at my water tank on the roof and if there was any plumbing or piping problem they would send someone to rectify the fault.

I climbed up on the roof and was aghast to see that my water tank was bone dry. The lid had been taken off and the walls of the water tank had been freshly painted.

My neighbour’s water tank was full of water.

I came down and started enquiring when my servant told me that she had seen our neighbour’s servant on the roof early in the morning.

I called the neighbour’s servant.

He said that before leaving for Mumbai, my neighbour had given him instructions to shut the inlet valve, drain the water tank, clean it up, dry it, and then apply a coat of paint, let it dry for two days, and then open the valve so that the water tank would be full by the time they came back.

He was contrite and admitted that, by mistake, he had emptied and painted my water tank instead of my neighbour’s water tank.

He had mistakenly assumed that my water tank was my neighbour’s water tank. That is why he had drained out all the water, closed the inlet valve, dried the water tank, and then cleaned and painted it.

My neighbour’s servant profusely apologised and said he was sorry, but I was furious – because of this man’s stupidity we were going to have a water problem when there were so many guests in the house.

I lost my temper and started shouting angrily at the man, giving him a severe tongue-lashing as the man shivered in fright, when I suddenly noticed his small son watching the proceedings.

The young boy trembled with fear and he had an expression of dread written all over his innocent face as he watched his father being publicly scolded and humiliated.

I could not bear to see this heart-rending expression on the young boy’s face so I stopped my invective tirade, told the man to go away, and went into my room to cool off. 

That day I made a decision.

I resolved that I would never admonish anyone in front of their children or family.

Parents are heroes to their children and the worst thing you can do is to humiliate parents (father or mother) in front of their children.

Similarly, it can be very demoralizing for a manager, or any employee, to be reprimanded by the boss in front of his juniors and subordinates.

I was in a profession where being “goody-goody” and “soft spoken” did not work in all cases and occasionally you had to shout at people and reprimand them in order to get the desired results, but I ensured that whenever I gave a tongue-lashing to someone, I did so in private, by calling him aside separately to give him a dressing down.

Also, I tried my best to criticize the action and to ensure that I did not insult the person by making derogatory personal remarks about him.

I scrupulously tried my best to follow the dictum: “Praise in Public but Admonish in Private”.

I did lose my temper and yell at people in public sometimes, but I immediately made amends by apologising on the spot or at the earliest opportunity.

We all make mistakes.

But the trick lies in realizing your mistake when you commit one, learn from your mistake, take corrective action and make sure you do not repeat the same mistake again.

Experience enables you to recognize a mistake.

As Cicero said: Any man can make a mistake, but only a fool will continue in repeating it.

Mistakes are your best teachers.

Mistakes are lessons of wisdom.

And as James Joyce said: Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life.

I have tried my best to learn from my mistakes and endeavoured to ensure that I do not repeat them.

In some cases I have succeeded, in some it is still an ongoing process.

As Tryon Edwards put it: Some of best lessons we ever learn, we learn from our mistakes and failures. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future.

I will end with a quote by Wang Yang-Ming:

The sages do not consider that making no mistake is a blessing. They believe rather that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and to continually make a new man of himself

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
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Disclaimer:
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.

MY LOVE AFFAIR AND THE SUCKER PUNCH

MY LOVE AFFAIR AND THE SUCKER PUNCH  
Fiction Short Story  
By  
VIKRAM KARVE
 
From my Creative Writing Archives:

A Passionate Love Story I wrote 6 years ago, in the year 2008.

Do tell me if you liked the love story. 

SUCKER PUNCH  Short Fiction Story by Vikram Karve
 
Part 1
 
It all started when my wife discovered that I was having an affair. 

She flew down to Delhi by the first available flight and confronted me.

Guilt ridden, I confessed the truth. 

She asked for divorce. 

I agreed. 

Under the circumstances she was fully justified. 

Also, I had fallen genuinely in love with Anita. 

One year later, Alka and I were formally divorced by mutual consent and I married Anita.
 
Actually it all started because we bought that luxurious 3 BHK apartment in that posh township in Aundh. 

We should have been happy and content staying in our cosy little rented apartment in the heart of Pune.

But the lure of owning one’s own dream house, that too in a high-falutin locality, was too strong a desire to withstand.

And everyone said that the way real estate prices were shooting up, it was a life-time chance and fantastic investment too.
 
Buying the house meant two things. 

First, my wife Alka had to start working again to help pay the housing loan EMIs. 

Second, we had to postpone our immediate plans for a second child, a companion for our three year old daughter Sneha.
 
Everything was fine. 

Our work life and our family life was going on fine – in fact, despite the hiatus she had taken to have the baby, my wife was doing very well, and thanks to the IT boom, she got fast promotions and even her salary had become more than mine.
 
Then one day, suddenly, my firm was acquired by some wise guy in the States, who merged our firm with his bigger firm and decided to transfer the Pune operations to the main facility at Gurgaon, near Delhi.

The new owner decided to sell off the Pune office, its vast real estate which was prime property, and also sell the firm’s extensive assets for an exorbitant sum of money and make a huge profit. 

It made business sense too, having everything in one place. 

Though I had to relocate to Gurgaon, it was with a big promotion and huge pay hike.
 
My wife Alka could have come with me to Gurgaon. 

But she did not want to give up her job in Pune, where she was doing extremely well.

More importantly she did not want to leave our dream home in Aundh which we had painstakingly designed, decorated, adorned and embellished so lovingly.

Locking up our Pune home and not living in our own beautiful house would be a pity.

Selling our beloved house was unimaginable.

Renting it out would be sacrilege. 

And Sneha, our darling daughter, was so well settled, doing so well in her excellent school just opposite our house, so engrossed with her friends, her creative hobby classes, her games, her routine, everything, that it would be cruel to dislocate her joyful and happy life.
 
I could have changed my job and stayed on in Pune too. 

But here, in Pune, at that point of time, I could not even dream of getting the high position and pay hike I was being offered in Gurgaon after my firms takeover by the new American firm. 

Maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, it had irked my male ego that my wife was earning more than me here in Pune.

Now, once I went to Gurgaon, I would be way ahead of her, both salary-wise and position-wise. 

Tell me, which husband likes to be inferior to his wife?
 
Or maybe, we both were in competition with each other.
 
So we began this long distance marriage. 

Meeting whenever could, planning family vacations to exotic locations, trying to spend “quality time” together – but as everyone knows this is all a façade, a masquerade that all actors in a long distance relationship go through, enact, perform, for the others’ sake, maybe to soothe one’s own guilt.
 
And then it happened  the affair with my colleague Anita. 

The affair did not happen suddenly. 

It was not a sudden spur of the moment “one-night-stand”

It was a full-fledged love affair. 

It happened slowly and surely, as it probably happens to most lovelorn couples suffering the void of a long distance marriage.
 
It all started as a harmless workplace friendship. 

Then there was a bit of light-hearted flirting, a hint of flippant romance. 

As time passed we became closer and closer, spent more and more time together, at work and off work, and our relationship blossomed.
 
It was silly of me to assume that I could keep my friendship with an attractive single woman like Anita purely platonic, for she too was as lonely as I was. 

We started having a passionate affair and fell in love with each other – I still do not know which happened first.
 
It was just a matter of time before rumours reached Alka’s ears. 

The way Anita and me were brazenly at it, I wonder how it took so much time for Alka to find out.
 
And then one day, out of the blue, suddenly, Alka landed up in Gurgaon and confronted me. 

I confessed, Alka asked for a divorce, so Alka and I got divorced through mutual consent, and I married Anita.
 

Part 2

Three years later Anita and I sat anxiously in the clinic. 

We sat in the clinic because Anita hadn’t been able to conceive a baby.
 
For the first year of our marriage we planned not to have a baby, focussed on our careers, enjoyed ourselves.
 
The next year, we were carefree, let nature take its own course, and left it to chance.
 
The third year, we desperately tried to have a baby, as Anita had crossed thirty. 

And as time passed, disappointment turned into anxiety, and then panic set in.
 
And so we sat in the clinic waiting for the doctor.
 
“There’s good news for you,” the doctor said to Anita reading the reports.
 
“I’m okay...?” asked Anita excitedly.
 
“Absolutely okay...!” the doctor said to Anita, “you are fully fit to have a baby.”
 
“Then what’s wrong? Why can’t she conceive?” I asked.
 
“The problem is with you, Sir,” the doctor said to me, “you are sterile.”
 
“What…?” I shouted dumbfounded.
 
“But he is so good …” Anita exclaimed incredulously.
 
“Wait…Wait…Just wait a minute...” the doctor said to Anita, “I’m sure he is good. But please try to understand – there is a difference between impotence and sterility…”
 
“What nonsense...?” I said angrily, “I am not sterile or anything... Let me tell you that I am fully virile. I have a daughter from my earlier marriage.”
 
“Not possible,” the doctor said emphatically, “You could never have fathered a child in your entire life…you have congenital, incurable, permanent…come inside…I will explain it in detail…”
 
“Then who fathered my daughter...?” I screamed hysterically, my brain spinning crazily like a vortex.
 
“That’s for you to find out...” the doctor said dispassionately.

The doctor continued speaking, but I could not discern a word of what he was saying as my mind went blank in an abyss of silence, a deafening silence, and I continued to stare at him like a zombie. 

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)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

SUPER WOMAN – Story of a Multi-Faceted Multi-Tasking Modern Woman

Are you a Super Woman? 

Are you a woman who is performing multiple roles – a wife, a mother, a career woman, a friend, and so many more? 

From my Creative Writing Archives, here is a poem I wrote long back which I feel every “super  woman”  who multitasks must read, and so must every man who has a relationship with a multifaceted multitasking modern woman.

SUPER WOMAN
Story of a Multi-Faceted Multi-Tasking Modern Woman
A Poem 
By
VIKRAM KARVE
 

Super Woman, everyone said.

Super Competent, her appreciative employers said.

Super Reliable, her impressed clients said.

Super Talented, her professional peers said.

Super Boss, her devoted subordinates said.

Super Bitch, her jealous frustrated loser colleagues said.

Super Shrewd, her business rivals said.

Super Fit, her fitness freak buddies at her gym said.

Super Sexy, her admirers said.

Super Lover, her lovers said.

Super Achiever, her teachers and professors said.

Super Parent, her children’s teachers said.

Super Friend, all her acquaintances said.

Super Daughter, her parents and in-laws said.

Super Wife, her husband said.

Super Mom, her children said 

(But secretly her children wished that their mother stayed home like their grandmother, who was always there for them)


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:
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.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

3 in 1 Love Story – His Story, Her Story, Their Story

A THREE IN ONE LOVE STORY
His Story, Her Story, Their Story
Short Fiction  Mushy Romance
By
VIKRAM KARVE


From my Creative Writing Archives: 

One of my earliest old fashioned love stories  a mushy romance. 
I wrote this story around 25 years ago, in the early 1990s. 
Do tell me if you like it.
  
HIS STORY
 
Sanjay stared blankly at the TV set, never so frightened, never so alone.  He could not believe the news.  The plane had crashed.  There were no survivors.  His wife was dead.  This was one contingency that he had never reckoned with.
 
  Sanjay had spent a good deal of time worrying about what would happen to Shalini, if he had died.  In fact, he had always presumed, and even taken for granted, that he would die first and had accordingly planned meticulously and made elaborate and adequate financial provisions for her in case something should happen to him.
 
  But he had never for a moment considered what would happen to him if Shalini died.  She had been an integral part of him, He could not even imagine living without her.  He felt emotionally shattered. He wanted to cry but tears refused to come in his eyes and his throat felt dry.  He lapsed into a zombie-like state of shock.
 
            His recollections of the next few days were just vivid flashes in a void.  At first, in desperate hope he had rushed to the airport to check the passenger list, hoping that by some miracle she had not been on board.  Little realizing that it was he who had seen her off.  Then there were condolence visits, and the airlines insurance forms.  He did not want any money, or condolences.  He wanted his wife back.  Heartbroken with grief and a strange fear of loneliness, Sanjay had sunk into a state of suspended vacuum, devoid of cognizance.  
 
            As he gradually came into consciousness from his drunken stupor, Sanjay realized that he had lost control over his life.  He opened his eyes with trepidation.  Everything looked blurred.  Slowly things began to come a little more into focus.  He was in a train – lying down on the lower berth in a first class compartment.  On the opposite berth sat a family – a young man, his wife and their small daughter.  The man was looking at him in disgust, the wife with pity, and the daughter with fear.  Sanjay felt ashamed of himself and closed his eyes, in embarrassment, trying to escape from reality.  As he lay on the berth indulging in self-commiseration, Sanjay had the lonely realization that there is indeed a moment when a man has no friend.  There was no one to share his grief.  Wallowing in a mood of self-pity in his private self-created hell, Sanjay had developed acute social phobia.  He was afraid of meeting people, attending social gatherings.  He had internalized his feelings to such an extent that he had even become a victim of agoraphobia - a fear of being in open or public places.  It was a crippling illness.  He was scared of leaving his home, afraid of even going to his office and meeting his colleagues.  Sanjay was rapidly sinking into the depths of a loneliness induced melancholic depression – to the point of no return.  The end of the road was in sight.
 
            “The most important thing is the ability to loosen and get rid of something that is worrying you, and forget your sorrow,” advised Anand, Sanjay’s boss.  “Life must go on.  What you need is break, a change of scene.  There is a technical seminar in Chennai next week.  I am sending you to attend it.  It should be of professional interest to you – in fact, I have intimated the organizers that you shall be giving a lecture regarding the successful project you completed last year.  Get busy and banish your sorrow.”
 
            “It’s easy to mouth platitudes,” thought Sanjay.  He tried to prepare the lecture but could not concentrate.  He had been totally overcome by feelings of hopelessness and a sense of failure.  He had lost his self–confidence.  He looked at his watch – it was six o’clock in the evening; his train was at eight o’clock .  The thought of traveling, facing so many people at the seminar and delivering the lecture – all these induced a strange fear in him.  He was overcome by phobia.  In his frustration, for the first time in his life, he began to drink.  Trying to escape from reality, he drank quite a lot – almost the whole bottle of whisky.  He could vaguely remember Anand taking him to the railway station and helping him to the train.  Anand’s parting words had an ominous ring about them,  “It’s your last chance Sanjay.  To get hold of yourself.”
 
            Sanjay entered the auditorium and stood near the door, his eyes adjusting to the darkness.  Slowly things began to come into view.  He was late.  The seminar was already in progress.  The auditorium was small and compact.  It was shaped like a quadrant of a circle, with a raised podium in the central.  The rows of seats were arranged in the fashion of curved arcs, split radially in the centre by the aisle.  Each row was raised behind the one in front, in elevated steps, thereby affording each member of the audience a clear view, not only of the speaker, but also of each person sitting in the audience.  Sanjay sat down on a vacant seat in the last row and surveyed his surroundings.  His eyes had adjusted themselves to the subdued lighting and he could see clearly now.  Most of the participants appeared to be professionals, smartly dressed in formal suits, with a sprinkling of academics easily distinguishable by their patent attire of bush-shirts and sandals.  There was also small group of women, dressed in formal saris, sitting diagonally opposite across the aisle.
 
  As he surveyed the group, his eyes suddenly lit upon a stunningly attractive woman wearing a blue sari.  She was a real beauty.  She radiated an extraordinary sensuousness; of such a degree that Sanjay just could not take his eyes off her.  He felt as if his eyes had locked on to her face.  She exuded a captivating aura about her, which ravished his now hungry eyes.  He feasted his eyes on her lovely face. She looked pristine – so fresh, so pure.  He was oblivious of his surroundings; he only had eyes for her.  Sanjay was in a haze of delight. For the first time since his wife’s death did Sanjay feel completely relaxed; once again, he was in harmony with himself.
 
 At first, didn’t notice the lights being switched on.  He had been completely absorbed by her radiant sensuousness, almost in a trance. As she got up from her seat, the woman turned and looked at him. Their eyes met.  He hoped that his genuine adoration had not gone unnoticed.  She gave him a glance that could have meant anything.  No response.  He was disappointed.  But he was not going to give up so easily.
 
 He caught her eyes again, looking steadily and directly: passionate admiration and yearning radiating from his eyes.  She held his gaze in a kind of challenge, there was a lengthy pause and then she smiled.  He felt relieved, and elated.  The frank admiration in his eyes had won him a smile.  Her large youthful eyes were now fastened on his.  There was a language in her eyes, which Sanjay could not fully fathom.  Happy and gay, her eyes conveyed a certain naïveté tinged with curiosity, possibly approval.  For Sanjay, it was a moment of supreme satisfaction.  He felt renewed and refreshed.  Suddenly, contact was broken as somebody blocked his line of sight.
 
  Everyone was walking towards the exit for the tea break. Sanjay had now lost sight of her.  She had gone out for tea.  Sanjay kept sitting.  The auditorium was now empty.  He closed his eyes in introspection.  He felt calm and serene.  In his mind’s eye he could clearly visualize her exquisite face and magnetic eyes.  And her tantalizing smile – teasing, almost naughty.  Sanjay could not begin to describe the sensation.  She evoked in him.  Certainly it was pleasurable and had a soothing effect on his frayed nerves.  A much needed palliative.
 
            When Sanjay opened his eyes he noticed that the woman had shifted her seat and was sitting alone, across the aisle, much closer than before, affording a better view.  She was looking at him in a canny manner, and when he caught her eye, she quickly turned her gaze towards the podium.  Sanjay experienced an encouraging flush of self-confidence.  He got up from his seat, moved forward, and took up a strong tactical position.  He now had an unobstructed, clear view of her from the most favorable aspect.  He noticed that her eyes had been tracking him.  He looked into her eyes and smiled.  There was a conspiratorial look in her expressive eyes, at once inviting, and taunting.  She was teasing him with her eyes, as if her stimulus had evoked a response; or was it vice – versa.   
 
            Encouraged by her enthusiastic response, Sanjay indulged himself lavishly.  He made love to her with his eyes.  She responded with unrestrained zeal, genuine exhilaration pouring out of her eyes.  As their mutual visual interplay became intense, Sanjay was transported to an ecstatic state of supreme bliss.
 
            Mesmerized in her enchanting eyes, Sanjay was in a delightful trance, oblivious of his surroundings, forgetting his grief.  This immensely enjoyable experience had, at least momentarily, liberated him from his inner tyranny.
 
            As he walked back to his hotel in the evening Sanjay was bubbling with joy.  He experienced a unique state of awareness and self–confidence.  Renewed and invigorated, he felt on top of the world. His lecture was scheduled the next day.  His would work hard and make it a success.  He had to do it, at least for her.
 
 She was his inspiration.  He felt confident.  He was going to give an impressive performance; make a lasting impression on her.  She would never forget him.  Luckily he had got his chance and he was going to make the most of it.  As his thoughts ran on, he felt charged with energy. Sanjay had bounced back into life again.  He felt buoyant, as though he had traveled through a long dark tunnel and, suddenly, burst out into the bright open countryside again.
 
 
HER STORY


            Rajashree lay on her bed, sleep eluding her.  She was in a state of pleasurable excitation.  She felt good. She felt on top of the world.  The day had passed in a haze of delight.  Rajashree had never imagined that such a seemingly trivial experience would give her so much pleasure and bring happiness into her life.  But this was no synthetic experience.  It had been genuine and real – had actually happened to her – and was profoundly affecting her.  She explored her own feelings, the stimulus of the welter of events and her response.   
 
            When she had first noticed the handsome, bearded man staring at her, she had uncomfortable but had resigned herself to his ogling – what she believed was a masculine propensity in Indian society.  Maybe he was just looking in her direction, since she was sitting with a group of women.  She decided to ignore it. In any case, she couldn’t do anything about it.  
 
But curiosity got the better of her.  After some time she looked in his direction through the corner of her eyes.  He was still looking at her. She got confused.  “What was his motive?” she wondered.  Was he trying to seduce her?  She dare not smile back or appear too friendly lest he misinterpret it as a sign of easy availability.  Rajashree felt irritated at the invasion of her private space.  His visual intrusion was disturbing the equilibrium of her personal inner zone. 
 
            Suddenly the lights came on. As she got up she came into eye contact with him.  She tried to avoid his gaze.  But she could not avert the magnetic pull of his eyes.  She looked straight into his eyes, trying to project defiance.  But when she saw the genuine ardor and frank admiration in his eyes, her defenses broke down and she smiled.
 
            At the tea break, as she picked up a cup of tea, Rajashree searched for him.  He had not come out.  Rajashree sat down in a remote corner.  Sipping her tea, she explored her feelings.  The seemingly trivial encounter had definitely raised her spirits.  She felt good.  Fresh, buoyant and youthful, Rajashree was no clairvoyant to look into the province of Sanjay ’s mind, but she was curious to know the extent of his feelings.
 
            “What does he want from me? “ she wondered.  “Is he really attracted to me or is it my vicarious imagination titillating me?”
 
            Rajashree made a spontaneous decision, trusting her intuition.  If he was playing a game, she too would join in.  A bit of harmless flirtation never hurt anyone.  She went into the auditorium and sat on a vacant seat much closer to him.  She noticed that the man was sitting silently with his eyes closed, as if he were meditating.  Even as she was feeling a flush of disappointment, he suddenly opened his eyes.  The astonishment evident in his surprised eyes made her realize that she had been ogling at him unabashedly.  She quickly turned her eyes away in momentary sense of guilty embarrassment, and then recovered.
 
  He had shifted to a better position and was smiling at her.  She felt a tremor of anticipation at his positive response and teased him with her eyes.  She surrendered herself and her inhibitions to the mysterious rhythm of their spontaneous interaction and locked her eyes into his, radiating unconcealed feelings of joy.  As they made ethereal love to each other with their eyes, she experienced immense enjoyment and unparalleled pleasure.  It was the first genuine physical attraction she had felt for anyone since her bitter divorce.  It had been a long time ago, and not since then had the mere sight of a man aroused the womanhood in her to such an extent.
 


THEIR STORY

 
            Sanjay delivered the lecture with new-found verve, radiating self-confidence and professional competence. Rajashree was sitting in the first row.  From time to time, Sanjay looked at her.  She was directly concentrating on him; the language of her eyes clearly projecting approbation, assurance and encouragement.  Silently, she cheered him on.  She was Sanjay’s inspiration, his motivation and, at that moment, his raison d’etre.
 
            “As the applause died down, Sanjay sat down on the stage.  He looked at Rajashree.  She gave him a canny look of congratulation, got up from her seat and left the auditorium.  Sanjay, desperately wanted to follow her, but he was helpless.  The chairman was delivering the vote of thanks for him and Sanjay couldn’t possibly leave the stage.
 
 Time crawled.  Sanjay became anxious.   The chairman was going on and on with his long-winded speech.  Sanjay looked at his watch.  He realized that the chairman had spoken only for five minutes. But these five minutes were the longest five minutes of Sanjay’s life.
 
  He was desperate to meet her; afraid he would lose her, forever.   She was the one bright spot in his present life.  He did not want to lose her.  In his frustration, he mentally cursed the speaker for taking so long.  Finally, he could take it no longer.  He excused himself and left the auditorium.
 
 Outside, he frantically searched for her.  But there was no joy – he drew a blank wherever he looked for her.  Sanjay was crestfallen. His mind went blank.  Suddenly he felt a tap on his shoulder.  He turned around in anticipation.  He was disappointed.  It was some other woman – one of the seminar delegates.  Probably wanting to compliment him on his lecture.
 
            “Mr. Sanjay Kulkarni?” the woman delegate queried, her eyes arched.
 
            He nodded in affirmation.
 
            “A letter for you,” she said, giving him a synthetic smile; and before he could react, quietly walked away.
 
            Sanjay tore open the envelope and began to read the letter.  His pulse had quickened and it was only with difficulty that he could concentrate and focus his eyes.
 
            “Dear Mr. Kulkarni,” the letter began, “or shall I call you Sanjay? Don’t wonder how I have found out your name.  It was announced before your lecture.  I cannot express in words, or begin to describe, the sentiments and feelings you have evoked in me.  The language of our eyes was something that surpassed the language of words and speech.
 
  I want to cherish those wonderful moments - the sublime experience.  It was the one bright spot in my depressingly vapid life.  I never imagined that such a seemingly trivial occurrence would have such a profound influence on me.  The appreciation and love in your eyes aroused the dormant woman in me.  For years, after my bitter divorce, I had repressed my natural feelings, forgotten the simple joys of living.  
 
 I saw true love in your eyes and that is why I am afraid of meeting you.  I do not want our beautiful sublime relationship degenerate into something physical.  I feel as if I am caught between two fires – my sense of values and my emotions.  I am experiencing the conflict between the practical and poetic vision of life.  Our strange and brief encounter has awakened the womanhood in me.  I feel youthful and invigorated, but also lonely and vulnerable.  I have fallen in love with you.  That is why I am scared of facing you.  I am afraid I shall ruin everything by succumbing to temptation.  It may lead to something that we both may later regret.
 
            It may sound strange but the lively experience has also awakened the motherhood in me.  It may appear irrelevant and trivial, but it is true.  I had put my daughter in a boarding school in Ooty.  Maybe I wanted to shield her. Maybe I felt I had no time for her. Only my ambitions, my career mattered.  I had got my priorities wrong.  I was chasing rainbows. 
 
            Thanks again for the wonderful and enchanting experience.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  I now feel in harmony with myself; don’t want to hide from myself.
 
  I shall always remember this wonderful encounter and cherish the simple joys of living.  As we made love to each other with our eyes, it appeared as if I had journeyed inwards to explore my true feelings and discover myself.  It has been an enjoyable romance – a romance I will cherish in my memories forever. Let’s keep it that way.
 
            With love and best wishes,
            Rajashree.”
 
 
                        Sanjay felt jubilant.  Rajashree had fallen in love with him. He rushed to find the woman who had given him the letter.  Rajashree was staying in the guesthouse – about a mile away.  Sanjay was tired, exhausted, but he walked his fastest mile to the guesthouse.  He saw Rajashree standing at the entrance, a suitcase beside her.  As she saw him, she blushed with surprise.  She felt like a prisoner being caught while escaping.
 
 “Where are you going?” he asked her.
 
            Rajashree had recovered enough to smile back, “I am going to Ooty to meet my daughter in boarding school – to bring her home.”
 
            “I am coming with you,” said Sanjay, and he took Rajashree in his arms held her tightly and whispered in her ear, “From now on, we shall make our journey together.”

VIKRAM KARVE
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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.

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