Sunday, January 9, 2011

STING IN THE TAIL - Short Fiction - A Love Story

Fiction Short Story

From my Creative Writing Archives: A Story I wrote long ago. 
          “I am an uncomplicated and transparent man. I have no taste for sham, tact or pretension. Never do I feel it necessary to be guarded, to conceal, to try to impress, to feel tense, to watch my words or actions, to suppress or repress my emotions,” I shouted in anger at Shalini, “I express my emotions spontaneously and overtly. I can’t fake my emotions for the sake of so-called social graces. If this, according to your stupid mother-in-law, is crude, uncultured and unrefined behaviour – so be it. I couldn’t give a tinker’s damn.” 
          I saw tears start in Shalini’s eyes and was instantly sorry. She suddenly looked small, weak and vulnerable; her defences shattered. I looked at her and felt a strange attraction towards her. Her very powerlessness and vulnerability were the essence of her sexual appeal. 
          “No wonder he didn’t get promoted,” taunted Shalini’s mother-in-law. She looked at my wife and said, “You must teach your husband some manners if you want him to go up in life. Look at my son. He knows the ways of the world. He is so soft-spoken and refined.” 
          The comparison was a doubly bitter pill for me to swallow. While I was going through a bad patch in my career, Shalini’s husband was doing really well as a Captain of a Ship, the youngest Master, in a foreign shipping line. 
          I walked out of my house and sat down on a bench in the nearby park. I lit a cigarette and closed my eyes trying to calm down. My thoughts ran on. It was chiefly my wife’s fault. She was too good natured. It was one of those invitations which she makes so readily and spontaneously; and regrets later. Shalini’s flat was being renovated and my wife had invited them to stay for a week. And today was only the first day. 
          Though we stayed in the same town, I did not visit Shalini often. She stayed with her mother-in-law. Her husband was away sailing most of the time.  
I did not get along with them. There was a mismatch in our sense of values. I hated their patronizing attitude, sweet-talk and double standards. Shalini’s mother-in-law was the worst of them all. Always giving unsolicited advice and trying to make me conform to her perception of ideal behaviour. I refused to be stereotyped. I was happy to be myself, with all my so-called faults and frailties. I valued my originality, my own uniqueness. I was no imitator or clone. And now this hag had the temerity to instigate my wife against me. And that too in my own house. 
          I saw Shalini walking towards me. She had no personality of her own. The only thing she did was hang around her mother-in-law and nod her head in agreement and indulge in mutual admiration praising sessions – the ideal daughter-in-law and the ideal mother-in-law. It was disgusting. The old woman had probably sent her to give me a moral lecture. They had succeeded in brain washing my wife. I was the only one remaining. I was not going to give them the opportunity.  
          Before Shalini could speak, I said, “Sit down. Have you got a piece of paper?” 
          She opened her purse and gave me a small pocket-diary. I took out my pen and wrote: 
                   “A servile status and a vicarious life, so typical of a domesticated lonely wife.” 
          She read the words and she gave me a glance that could have meant anything. I was surprised that she was not offended. She put the pocket-book in her purse and got up to leave. I delivered my parting shot, “She who trims herself to suit everybody will soon whittle herself away.” 
          As Shalini walked away, I watched the subtle, sensual rhythm of her hips. I felt aroused. I laughed to myself. There was no point in chasing rainbows. What I needed now was a good stiff drink. 
          I returned home around midnight. I was not drunk but feeling good. I opened the door with the spare key I always carried in my pocket. It was dark inside the house. I did not switch on the lights. No point in disturbing everybody. I felt like having a smoke. I tiptoed the balcony. As I negotiated my way in the darkness I could sense that someone was following me I could guess who she was. I stopped in tracks and turned around. Shalini put her arms around me and held me in a passionate embrace. I tried to restrain myself. But I had not bargained for the sheer sensual power of the encounter. She was radiating an extraordinary sensuousness of a degree I had never experienced before. I caught her hair, pulled her face towards mine and we were engulfed in a wave of sensuality when someone switched on the lights. 
          I disengaged from Shalini and looked at my wife.  
“Don’t be late next time,” I said, tongue-in-check.  
Shalini’s mother-in-law looked stunned. 
          My wife walked up to Shalini and gave her a tight slap. She was angry. After all, Shalini was her younger sister. 
          I never saw Shalini again. But I did come across her mother-in-law once in the market. I even waved out to her. She scrupulously avoided me.

Fiction Short Story

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

VIKRAM KARVE educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU, The Lawrence School Lovedale, and Bishop's School Pune, 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 -
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good story, but I'm kinda baffled about the sting in the tail. I guess the fact that Shalini suddenly embraced the protagonist is the sting in the tail as well as the fact that she was the protagonist's wife's sister, but these plot twists have no relevance to the main plot. Also, there are no hints of these plot twists beforehand, so it just seems kinda random. "Shalini was the protagonist's sister-in-law? So what?" was my honest reaction when I finished reading.