Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Short Fiction – THE MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR WHO SAVED MY MARRIAGE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Here is a story I wrote 3 years ago, in August 2011 : THE MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR WHO SAVED MY MARRIAGE

THE MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR WHO SAVED MY MARRIAGE 
Short Fiction Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

THE MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR WHO SAVED MY MARRIAGE 
(short fiction story by Vikram Karve)

“Thanks for the lift,” I said.

“Come on, it’s okay. The University is on the way to Hinjewadi,” he said.

“I never knew it rained so heavily in Pune. Luckily I met you on the flight. Otherwise I would have been stuck at the airport.”

“Coming to Pune for the first time?”

“No. But after a long time. I lived here more than twenty five years ago. I taught at the University.”

“Oh. So you were a Professor? No wonder you are so knowledgeable. I must say your research paper at the IEEE Conference was really impressive.”

“Thanks. It’s good they had the conference in Delhi. It gave me an opportunity to visit India after a long time. I have been so busy I could just make two hurried business trips to Bangalore and back and just could not make it to Pune.”

“So you are going to the University for delivering a lecture there on Signal Processing is it?”

“No. No. Actually I have come to Pune to meet a lady. I lost contact with her ever since I left Pune – you know those days there was no email, no internet, nothing, and I am quite poor at letter writing.”

“She works in the University?”

“No. She lives in a bungalow off Ganeskhind Road. It is near the University – I think I will be able to find it from there.”

“I doubt it. The whole place has changed. There are hardly any bungalows now – there are high rises and malls and multiplexes there now. You won’t even recognize the place. You’ve got her name, her address?”

“Yes,” I said, and gave him the piece of paper I had in my pocket. 

The man looked at the paper in a curious sort of way and asked me, “You want to meet her? After so many years?”

“Yes, I want to meet her to express my gratitude,” I said. “She saved my marriage.”

“She saved your marriage?” he asked, looking curious.

“Yes. Me and my wife – we were going to divorce – our differences had become irreconcilable – our relationship was beyond repair – it was an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. That’s what everybody said, all the marriage counsellors we consulted, our relatives, friends, everyone, till we met her. She was the best marriage counsellor we ever met. She saved our marriage. She is the one who advised us to leave all our unpleasant baggage behind and relocate to a new place and start a new life afresh. It worked. I have to meet her this time. God knows when I will come to India next. My wife has sent her a gift too – a diamond necklace.”

“Well, this lady does not live at this address anymore. She lives in Aundh,” the man said.

“How do you know? You know her?”

“Of course I know her. She is my wife,” he said matter-of-factly.

“What? But how can she be your wife?”

“She and her husband, I mean her ex-husband – they got divorced a few years ago. And after her divorce she married me.”

I did not say anything. I was dumbstruck. She, such a good marriage counsellor, had got divorced herself? I could not believe it.

“I know what you are thinking and what’s going on in your mind,” he said, “If she was such a good marriage counsellor who saved so many marriages then how could she not save her own marriage?”

“No…” I said incoherently.

“Why don’t you ask her that when you meet her?” he said.

“Meet her?”

“Of course. Aundh is on the way. I will take you to my home. I had told my wife that I would be driving straight to work from the airport but lets surprise her. I am sure she will remember you. You two can meet, talk about the good old days and I’ll try to finish off my work early and be back in time for lunch. And then we will drop you off at the airport for your evening flight.”

“No,” I said, “I better not meet her.”

“Come on, be a sport. Don’t tell me you don’t want to gift her the diamond necklace you have brought with you all the way from America. Come home and meet my wife. She will love to meet you.

“Okay, I agreed reluctantly.

“Good,” the man said to me with a smile. 

He was silent for some time. 

Then he turned towards me and said, “By the way, let me warn you – she has given up marriage counselling.”


EPILOGUE

DOES COUNSELLING WORK?

I heard a story from someone, maybe apocryphal, about a lady counsellor. 

She was counselling a man for his drinking problem. 

(The husband had been brought to the lady counsellor by his wife). 

I do not know whether the counselling worked or not but I was aghast to learn that the lady counsellor’s own husband was an alcoholic. 

Charity begins at home. 

If the lady was not able to “counsel” her own husband and cure him of his alcoholism, then, I wondered, how could she cure others?

If you have a personal problem like drinking or smoking, the best way is to solve it yourself. 

No one else can solve your problem better than you yourself. 

In these cases you just have to quit drinking or smoking. It is that simple. The solution is in your hands. 

Why do you need to go to a counsellor who will advise you to stop drinking or smoking? 

Why not do it yourself?

First you have to decide what is good for you and if you make up your mind to give up any habit you can do it yourself. 

I did it myself. 

I took a decision and I quit smoking and drinking forever, on the spot, there and then, in one day, and have never smoked tobacco or drank alcohol since. 

You can do it too. It works. You can take my word for it.

Similarly, if two persons have a mutual problem, is not best if they can solve it themselves without involving a third party? 

Take the case of marriage. 

I feel that it is best for the husband and wife to mutually resolve issues in the marital relationship rather than involve someone else. 

If the marital relationship between husband and wife gets so deteriorated that a third party needs to get involved in order for the couple to communicate, then the relationship is already dead in the water. 

When a relationship gets terribly demoralized by distrust, I feel that it is better to break up and terminate the relationship rather than try to patch it up, especially by third party intervention.

That’s why I sometimes wonder whether marriage counselling really works or is it just a gimmick? 

If marriage counselling is really so effective then why are there so many divorces? 

Why can’t we solve our problems ourselves? 

Why can't a husband and wife sort out their issues mutually themselves?

This is the message in my story on marriage counselling.

I sometimes wonder about the very concept of counselling, especially marriage counselling. 

Does counselling help? 

Who does it help more – the counselee or the counsellor? 

I think counselling actually helps the counsellor more than the counselee. 

Yes, sometimes therapy it helps the therapist more than the patient.  

Firstly, there are the benefits of ego massage (a sense of self-satisfaction for the counsellor at having “helped” someone).

But, more importantly, it is a fact that talking with someone who needs comforting sometimes makes your own troubles go away. 

That is why I think the lady whose own husband was an alcoholic derived solace from counselling other alcoholics

And like I described in the fiction short story above, maybe a person whose own marriage is unhappy may find vicarious relief by indulging in marriage counselling.

Dear Reader, Do you agree? 

What is your experience? 

Do you think counselling or therapy works? 

In which scenarios does counselling work and in which situations is therapy ineffective? 

Do comment and let us know your views.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in this 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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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


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