Thursday, September 18, 2014



Short Fiction

From my Creative Writing Archives:

I wrote this story long ago, more than 15 years ago, during the days of the first Information Technology (IT) Boom in the end 1990s, which transformed Pune from a laid back salubrious Pensioners Paradise to a bustling cosmopolitan metro.

This is one of my favorite stories  A small girls tale, narrated in her own words...


It all started when God took my baby brother away. 

Poor poor baby brother...

God took him away even before he was born...

And Mamma was never the same again.

She changed forever. 

We were so happy then... before God took my baby brother away...

A happy family  My Papa, my Mamma, my loving Granny and cute little Me.

We all lived in a cute little house in a place called Madiwale Colony in Sadashiv Peth in Pune.

In the morning Papa caught the company bus to his factory in Pimpri and Mamma walked me down to my school nearby on Bajirao Road.

And the evenings we all went to the Talyatla Ganpati temple in Saras Baug, played on the lush green lawns, and if Papa was in a good mood he would treat me to a yummy Bhel prepared by the man with the huge flowing beard at the Kalpana Bhel stall at Tilak Road crossing on the way back. 

On Sundays we would go to Laxmi Road for shopping, Misal at Santosh Bhavan, Amba ice cream at Ganu Shinde and, maybe, a Marathi movie at Prabhat, Vijay or Bhanuvilas. 

And once in a while, Papa would take us on his Bajaj scooter to Camp, or a ride on the Jangli Maharaj Road, or to picnic spots like Khadakvasla and Katraj lakes, or up Sinhagarh Fort, and once we even went all the way to Lonavala; Papa, Mamma and me, all riding on our beloved and hardy scooter. 

It was a good life, and we were happy and content.

Two things are a must for a happy home.

First, you must love your home, and you must always want to go home because your home is the best place in the world for you

And second, your home must love you, your home must want you to come home, beckon you, yes, your home must welcome you and wait for you to come back, be happy when you come back and want you you to live inside it.

Our cute little house in Sadashiv Peth with all the loving people in living in it was indeed a happy home. 

And I had lots of friends all around. 

One day they all said Mamma was going to have a baby.

Being a girl myself, I wanted a baby sister to play with, but Granny scolded me and said it must be a baby brother, so I said okay – I would manage with a baby brother. 

And suddenly one day, when Mamma’s tummy was bloating quite a bit, they rushed her to hospital, and God took my unborn baby brother away.

Yes, God took my unborn baby brother away. 

It was at this moment that Mamma changed forever. 

I sat beside Mamma in the hospital and consoled her, “Don’t worry. God will send another baby brother.” 

And on hearing this Mamma started crying.

She said she would never have a baby again and I was her only baby.

My mamma looked pale and she had a sad look in her eyes for many days even after leaving hospital.

And most of the time she would sit alone brooding by the window or moping all alone in her room. 

“She’ll go crazy sitting in the house all day. Your wife must do something...!” everyone said.

But Papa was adamant: “Who will look after the house, my mother, my daughter...?” he asked. 

“Don’t worry, I’ll manage everything,” Granny said.

So Mamma joined a Computer class nearby.

And soon she started becoming normal and happy again.

“She is a natural programmer,” my mamma’s teachers praised her.

And when she finished the course, my mamma was offered a good job in a top IT software firm. 

“No way,” said Papa, “I am the breadwinner. I don’t want my wife to work. I want her to look after the house.” 

“MCP... MCP...” everyone said to Papa.

I did not know what MCP meant, but it made Papa very angry. 

“Let her work. I’ll manage the house,” Granny said. 

“Don’t worry, Papa. Please let Mamma work. I am a big girl now and I can look after myself. I’ll study regularly and come first,” I promised.

And so, Mamma started working.

And when she brought her first pay cheque and gave it to Papa.

My Papa did not take the cheque.

Instead, he said proudly: “I will be the last person to touch my wife’s money. I would rather starve than live off my wife.”

So my Mamma gave the money to Granny.

And Papa did not say a thing, he just sulked for days.

Life was hectic now.

Mamma got up very early, cooked the food, did the housework, got ready and then both Papa and Mamma caught their respective company buses to their faraway workplaces – he went to his factory in Pimpri and she went to the IT Park at Hinjewadi.

And after that Granny made me ready and I walked down Bajirao Road to my school. 

One day my Mamma’s boss came home with Mamma.

He said the company wanted to send Mamma abroad to America to work onsite on a project.

My Mamma’s boss had come home to convince Papa to let her go to America.

I thought that Papa would argue, and I hoped he would not let Mamma go to America.

But surprisingly my Papa meekly agreed, probably thinking it was futile to argue, and Mamma went away to America for three months.

Then there was an IT boom.

IT... IT... everywhere...

That was a turning point in our lives.

Mamma started doing better and better, becoming more and more successful, doing more and more projects, earning more and more money.

Papa felt jealous that she was earning more than him, so he took VRS and started a business. 

I don't know what he exactly did but his business was something to do with software and hardware.

My Papa got so busy that he came home late in the evenings.

Now, he had no time for me, but his business seemed to be doing quite well. 

And then a competition started between my Papa and my Mamma.

And soon they both were making so much money that, one day, they said that Sadashiv Peth wasn’t a good enough place to live in any longer, as it did not befit their new found status...!

So we moved to a luxury apartment in a fancy township in a posh suburb of Pune, and I was put in a famous elite school known more for its snob appeal than academic accomplishments and studies.

Our new house was in a beautiful colony, far away from the city, with landscaped gardens, clubhouse, swimming pool, gym, and so many facilities.

It was so luxurious, and people living there so highbrow and snobbish, that Granny and I were miserable.

“It’s like a 5 star prison,” my Granny would say.

She was right in one way.

For the whole day when we all were away she was trapped inside with nothing to but watch soaps on cable TV in airconditioned comfort.

I too missed our cute old house in Sadashiv Peth, the Bhel, the trips to Saras Baug and Laxmi Road and, most of all, my earlier friends who were so friendly unlike the snobbish people here.

Oh yes, this was indeed a better house.

But our cute old place in Sadashiv Peth was certainly a better home.

But Granny and me – we managed somehow, as Mamma increased her trips abroad to America, and Papa was busy expanding his flourishing business.

And one day, suddenly, God took Granny away.

Mamma was abroad in America on an important project and she just could not come home immediately.

She came back after one month.

And then for days and days Papa and Mamma kept discussing something.

I sensed that they were discussing about me because whenever I would come they would keep quiet or change the topic.

And tomorrow morning, I am off to an elite boarding school in Panchgani. 

I do not know whether what has happened is good or bad, or what is going to happen in future.

But one thing is sure: 
If God had not taken my baby brother away, I would not be going to boarding school

Yes, If God hadn’t taken my baby brother away, I wouldn’t be going to boarding school.

Copyright © 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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