Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Sucker Punch - Short Fiction - A Romance

THE SUCKER PUNCH  
Fiction Short Story  
By  
VIKRAM KARVE
 
 
From my Creative Writing Archives - Short Fiction - A Romance 
 
 
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.

A 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 was 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 – 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, merged with his bigger firm, who decided to transfer the Pune operations to the main facility at Gurgaon, near Delhi , and sell off the Pune office, its vast real estate and 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.
 
Alka could have come with me to Gurgaon.

But she didn’t want to give up her job, where she was doing extremely well, and more importantly she didn’t want to leave our dream home in Aundh which we had painstakingly adorned and embellished so lovingly, that locking it up and not staying it would be a pity, selling it or 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 I couldn’t even dream of getting the position and pay I was being offered in Gurgaon.

Maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, my wife earning more than me here in Pune had irked my male ego, and now, once I went to Gurgaon, I would be way ahead of her, both salary 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.

It didn’t happen suddenly. It was no 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 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 was as lonely as I.

We started having a passionate affair and fell in love with each other – I still don’t 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...!
 
And then one day, out of the blue, suddenly, Alka landed up, confronted me, I confessed, we got divorced through mutual consent, and I married Anita.
 
Three years later we 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 the panic set it.
 
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’ll 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, and he 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.
 
 
   
THE SUCKER PUNCH
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
 
VIKRAM KARVE 
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
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 educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU and The Lawrence School Lovedale, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. His delicious foodie blogs have been compiled in a book "Appetite for a Stroll". Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog - http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com
Academic Journal Vikram Karve – http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile of Vikram Karve - http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve 
Email: vikramkarve@sify.com
Foodie Book: Appetite for a Stroll  
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