Sunday, January 5, 2014

A STORY OF SEVEN BIRTHDAYS - September 12

SEPTEMBER 12 - A Story of 7 Birthdays

I wrote this story on my birthday 12 September 2013 and posted it on my blog.

I think it is one of my good stories. 

Surprisingly, it went unnoticed.

So I am posting it once more for your to read. 

Do tell me if you like it.

SEPTEMBER 12
Pages from the Diary of My Life
My Love Story
Short Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This story is a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB:
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.


SEPTEMBER 12 - a Love Story by Vikram Karve


12 September 1977
Shivalik Hostel IIT Delhi

VIJAY  and  ME

It is our 21st Birthday.

Yes, we are both 21 years old today.

Vijay and I were born on the same day.

Our hostel-mates brought a specially ordered birthday cake all the way from CP from the famous Wenger’s Bakery for Vijay and me, and we celebrated our birthday in our hostel canteen at tea time.

We have been celebrating our birthday together for the last 12 years – for 7 years in our boarding school at Lovedale near Ooty and then for 5 years here at IIT Delhi.

But this is a special occasion for two reasons.

We are 21 years old.

And this may be our last birthday together as who knows where we will be next year, after we finish our B. Tech. engineering course and each of us go our own ways pursuing our own careers in the journey of our lives.

To celebrate this special occasion we decide to booze – for the first time in our lives.

So we get a bottle of Whisky from the booze shop in Green Park and lots of Tandoori Chicken and Kababs from Essex Farms in Hauz Khas.

Then we sit on the terrace and drink and talk, reminisce about our childhood and the good times we had together.

By the time we kill the bottle of whisky, we are gloriously drunk.

In that glorious drunken state we make a promise to each other - we promise each other that we will meet every year on the 12th of September to celebrate our birthdays together.


12 September 1978
Bangalore

VIJAY  and  ME

As promised we meet on our birthday.

This is our first birthday after we passed out with our B.Tech. degrees.

Vijay comes down from Ahmedabad where he is doing his Management at the elite IIM.

I pick him up from the station and we drive down on my scooter to my room in the trainee hostel.

In the morning I show him my workplace – my impressive factory – and then my boss gives me the day off to celebrate my birthday.

We scooter down to heart of town and spend a few hours loafing, window-shopping and ogling at the PYTs strolling on Brigade Road and MG Road, and later, after a few beers, we enjoy a “Cabaret” (our first) at a restaurant called “Three Aces”.

Emboldened by “Dutch Courage” fuelled by the alcohol in our veins we want to do something more “adventurous”.

But I chicken out once I see those “sexy females”.

To Vijay, I do not admit that I am scared, but I say that I have pangs of conscience in doing such “sinful” things.

Vijay instantly agrees. He looks relieved. I think he too is feeling anxious about the whole sordid thing.

So we beat a hasty retreat and end our 22nd Birthday with our virtue unspoiled and our virginity intact.


12 September 1982
Visakhapatnam (Vizag)

VIJAY  USHA  and  ME

I really like Usha, Vijay’s brand new wife.

She is a plump, graceful girl with a very pretty face and a sincere, friendly smile which radiates a charming innocence.

They were married just a month ago and I couldn’t attend their wedding as I was abroad for over three years.

That is why I am so happy that I could keep our 12th September birthday date after a gap of four years (we met last on 12 September 1978 in Bangalore, remember!)

They say that when a woman finds her way into a group of men friends, especially two close friends like Vijay and me, the friendship among men sometimes disintegrates.

But after meeting Usha, I know that is not going to happen.

Usha is a “back-home-type” small town girl and has a certain innocent charm about her.

She welcomes me into her home with such honest warmth and genuine affection that I know we are going to get along very well and the bonds of my friendship with Vijay are going to be strengthened.

“How come you landed up in Vizag?” I ask Vijay.

“You have to prove yourself in the field before they take you to the company headquarters in Mumbai,” Vijay says.

Vijay has specialized in Marketing at IIM and has landed up a lucrative job at a famous FMCG company and has been given the most challenging assignment.

Vijay cribs about Vizag being quite a boring place.

But his wife Usha says, “I wish we stay here. I love Visakhapatnam. It is such a nice place, the people are so good here and we are very happy here. I don’t want to go to big city like Mumbai.”

Vijay has taken the day off so we drive down the east coast road to Rishikonda Beach and swim in the sea.

Vijay keeps calling Usha to join us in the water for a swim but she seems quite shy.

Usha sits on the beach in her sari and watches us enjoy ourselves frolicking in the cool blue water of the Bay of Bengal.

In the evening, Vijay and I sip chilled beer on the lush green lawns of the Waltair Club.

We both insist to Usha that she come along with us to the club, but Usha remains at home.

Usha tells us to enjoy ourselves but she insists that we come home for dinner as she will be cooking something special for the occasion.

Vijay starts talking about his newly wedded wife, “Sorry about Usha, yaar, she is quite a prudish type. She just doesn’t want to go out anywhere. You saw how shy she was at the beach.”

“Hey, don’t say that. She is the best thing that happened to you. You are lucky to get such a good wife,” I say.

When we get home I am impressed by the awesome way in which Usha has decorated the house for our birthday.

Usha has baked a birthday cake for both of us.

We cut the freshly baked birthday cake and then all of us enjoy a sumptuous dinner.

For both of us, Vijay and I, it was a memorable birthday indeed.

Early next morning I say goodbye, we promise to meet next year, and then I catch the morning flight out of Vizag.


12 September 1984
Mumbai

VIJAY  USHA  NISHA  and  ME

Well, I could not make it last year, on the 12th of September 1983, as I was abroad on a project, so we meet after a gap of 2 years.

Vijay has moved up the ladder pretty fast.

Just recently, he has been posted to the Head Office of his FMCG Company.

That is the beauty of being an IIM graduate – you move up very fast.

I wish I too had had taken the IIM route instead of deciding to be a hard-core engineer where you have to slog it out in the field, especially if you land up in “projects”.

I sit with Vijay’s wife Usha sipping tea in the balcony of their 3rd floor sea facing company flat on Marine Drive.

We watch the sunset – it is a spectacular sight – the interplay of colours in the sky and the sun is being swallowed by the placid blue waters of the Arabian Sea.

After the sun sets, the lights on the Queen’s Necklace come on – it looks fascinating.

The phone rings and Usha goes inside to pick it up.

“You have a shower and get ready,” Usha says, “I’ll get ready too. Vijay said he’ll be here in half an hour and we will go straightaway to the club.”

“Club? Why club? Let’s sit at home. You cook something simple. We’ll just sit and chat,” I say.

“Vijay said we’ll all go to the club,” Usha says with finality.

When Vijay arrives, there is a woman with him.

She looks beautiful, chic and very elegant.

Vijay introduces us to each other.

The woman’s name is Nisha and she is Vijay’s colleague in his office. She has an MBA in finance, was working abroad for some years, and has now joined his company as finance manager.

But my sixth sense tells me that this woman Nisha is much more than a mere colleague.

Nisha goes in to freshen up.

“I hope you don’t mind if Nisha comes with us,” Vijay says to me.

“Of course I mind,” I say, “we don’t want outsiders in our get-together, do we?”

“Let her come,” Usha pleads with me, “Poor thing. Nisha has just come back to India after getting out of a bad marriage. She has no one else in Mumbai and Vijay is helping her settle down.”

“She’ll be good company,” Vijay says.

“I hope you are not trying to set me up with her?” I ask, tongue-in-cheek.

We start laughing, but suddenly Nisha comes in.

We drive to the club.

Usha sits beside Vijay in front, and Nisha sits with me in the rear of Vijay’s new Maruti 800 car – a prized possession, as he is one of the lucky guys to get a much sought after Maruti Car from the first lot.

The smallness of the car creates a forced intimacy between Nisha and me.

Nisha sits close to me, the aroma of her perfume is enticing, our bodies touch and I feel aroused by her tantalizing sensuousness. Nisha is indeed a very alluring woman.

We sit by the sea, watching lights of ships at a distance in the darkness, and enjoy our drinks in a most pleasant ambience.

We, Vijay and I, drink Scotch Whisky; Nisha gets high on Martini, while Usha has fruit juice.

It is a lovely evening.

On the way back, we drop Nisha at the working women’s hostel in Colaba, her temporary home till she finds a good apartment.

“Poor thing – it must be tough for her to live in a hostel. Vijay, you must find her a good place fast,” Usha says as we drive towards Marine Drive.

“I’m trying to get her a flat near our office in Churchgate,” Vijay says.

We drive down to Chowpatty and walk on the sands by the sea eating ice cream – a delightful end to a pleasurable evening.


12 September 1987
New Delhi

VIJAY  NISHA  and  ME

Last time it was Vijay Usha Nisha and Me.

Now Usha is missing and it is Vijay Nisha and Me.

Yes, now Usha has gone and in her place there is Nisha.

Vijay divorced Usha and married Nisha.

Then both of them, Nisha and Vijay, relocated abroad and they now work in New York.

And me, after slogging for years in the field, I have finally been posted to our Delhi office.

It is great to be back in Delhi, after so many years.

We spend a nostalgic day visiting all our haunts in IIT – our hostel rooms, the canteens, the classrooms – walk round the campus.

Then, we spend the evening in my bungalow in Saket, drinking late into the night.

Later, when we are alone, Vijay says to me, “I have looked after Usha well. I have bought her a flat in Pune and given her plenty of money, yes, I have given her so much that she can live well …”

“Hey, Vijay, why are you telling me all this? It is your personal matter. Are you feeling guilty? Don’t – just forget it – what happened, has happened, it’s past history now. So don’t feel sorry. Come on – it’s well past midnight. You have a flight to catch tomorrow. Let’s go to sleep.” I say, and we go to sleep.


12 September 1989
Pune

USHA  and  ME

“Are you sure Vijay is not coming?” Usha, my wife, asks me.

(Yes, Vijay’s ex-wife Usha and I got married in 1988)

I look at my wife Usha and say: “No. I rang up Vijay twice today but he is making all sorts of excuses.

“Last year, he was abroad on the 12th of September, but this time he is in Mumbai on work and he can surely make it – it’s just a 3 hour drive to Pune,” Usha says.

“Well, I really don’t know. Maybe Vijay has got a guilty conscience for ditching you. Maybe he can’t bear to see us together. Or maybe Nisha has told him not to come,” I say.

“Okay, let’s celebrate your birthday – just you and me,” Usha says, and we go out for dinner.


12 September 2012
Khadakwasla near Pune

USHA  ME  and  VIJAY

Vijay and I sit on the lawns of my farmhouse sipping our sundowners as we watch the sun set behind the hills across the lake.

We meet after a gap of 25 years.

Like me, I am sure he is thinking about the twists and turns in the journey of our lives.

I think of the birthdays, the 12th of September, we have spent together.

It is like a merry-go-round.

First it was VIJAY and ME.

Then, it was VIJAY USHA and ME.

After that it was VIJAY USHA NISHA and ME.

Later, it was VIJAY NISHA and ME.

Even later, it was USHA and ME.

Now, it is USHA ME and VIJAY.

Yes, you guessed right – Nisha divorced Vijay and he is all alone.

Next morning I drop Vijay to the Mumbai airport and he catches the flight back home to America.


EPILOGUE

12 September 2013
Pune

USHA  ME  and  ?

I hope Vijay will come.

But I know he will not come.

I could see it in his eyes last time.

Maybe Vijay will never come.

Maybe Vijay and I will never meet again.

So, maybe this birthday, the 12th of September 2013, and all my future birthdays, all the 12th’s of September, I will have to celebrate with my much married wife, Usha.

But on every 12th of September I will always wait for Vijay, who was born on the same day, on the exact date, as me.

VIKRAM KARVE 
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB:
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

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) 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 an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and 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  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram 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 and blogging. Vikram Karve 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
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Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com and vikramwamankarve@gmail.com
Twitter: @vikramkarve
      
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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