Monday, December 1, 2014

A SCANDALOUS DATE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

One of my recent short stories – I wrote this story last year, in February 2013.

Here is the story  revised, updated and abridged.

Do tell me if if you like the cheeky romance

A SCANDALOUS DATE
Cheeky Romance
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Pune. 10:30 AM. Monday. 01 December 2014.

A mobile cell phone vibrates on the office table. 

The cell phone is on silent mode.

The smart young woman executive looks at the display of her cell phone.

It is her mother-in-law calling.

At first the young woman is confused, then a bit worried.

She wonders why her mother-in-law is calling at this hour.

So the smart young woman picks up the mobile phone.

“Yes, Ma,” the young woman says.

“Am I speaking to Swati?” a male voice asks.

“Who is this?” the puzzled woman asks.

“Am I speaking to Swati?” the man repeats the question.

“Yes. I am Swati. But this is my mother-in-law’s number,” the young woman says.

“I know. I am speaking from Shanta’s phone. Your mother-in-law’s name is Shanta, isn’t it?” the man asks.

“Yes. Her name is Shanta. Where is she? Please give her the phone. Is something wrong?” the young woman says, getting worried.

“Don’t worry. Shanta is absolutely fine. She told me to call you up and tell you that she will not be able to pick up your son Aditya from school this afternoon. So you will have to pick him up. The school ends at 12:30 – so make sure you are there in time.”

“She won’t be able to pick Aditya up? Why? What happened? Where is she?” the anxious young woman asks.

“Don’t worry. Shanta is absolutely okay. She is here with me in ESquare Multiplex. We are going to see a movie – the 11 o’clock show. The movie may finish by 1 or maybe even 1:30. That’s why she won’t be able to make it to the school by 12:30,” the man says.

“Esquare? Movie? What’s all this? Who are you? You please give the phone to my mother-in-law right now. I want to talk to her,” the young woman says angrily.

“She has gone to the ladies toilet to freshen up. Anyway, I have passed on her message to you. Bye,” the man says.

“No, wait. Who are you?” the young woman asks, with desperation in her voice.

“I am Shanta’s boyfriend,” the man says, matter-of-factly.

“Is this some kind of sick joke? I will report …” the young woman shouts.

“Go ahead and report to whoever you want. I have nothing to fear. I have not kidnapped your mother-in-law. We are just watching a movie together. Can’t a girlfriend and boyfriend have a date?”

“Date? What nonsense are you talking?”

“Nonsense? Are you clueless? You do not know what is dating? Don’t tell me you have never gone on a date. How about that dinner date you have planned with your husband tonight? Amod, that’s his name, isn’t it? So you and Amod will be enjoying a romantic candlelight dinner and your mother-in-law will be looking after your kids at home like a nanny,” the man says.

“Please. Listen,” the young woman pleads.

“No. You listen. There is one more thing Shanta told me to tell you.”

“What?”

“You better be home when Anjali comes home from school. Her bus reaches at 3:30. And don’t forget to take Anjali for her skating practice at 5. And you will have to take Aditya for his Karate class at 4:30 sharp. I think you better take the day off. Make sure you leave your office at 11:30 so you reach Aditya’s school in time. It’s quite a long drive from Hinjewadi to Aundh and you know how bad the traffic is,” the man tells the young woman.

“Please stop this. I am very busy today. I have got an important meeting with a client at 12. Then there is a project review meeting at 3 and it will continue till late evening. I have to be in office. I just can’t come,” the young woman says.

“Then maybe you can tell your husband …”

“He works in Magarpatta. You know how far that is. And Amod told me that he has a very tight schedule today. We are both very busy at work. By the time we reach home in the evening it is past 7.”

“Ah, I almost forgot.”

“What?”

“You two better cancel that romantic candle light dinner date tonight.”

“Why?”

“Because, after the movie, we are going out for a lunch date, and then I am taking Shanta for a long drive to Lonavala. I want to show her all the spots, a romantic sunset and then we’ll be spending the evening at my farmhouse. I’ll drop her back at night. And don’t panic if she doesn’t come at night – if it gets too late we will sleepover at the farmhouse and I’ll drop her in the morning.”

“Are you crazy? How is that possible? Please give the phone to my mother-in-law the moment she comes. I want to talk to her,” the young woman says.

“No. I don’t think that is a good idea. Shanta is scared of you. You may bully her or emotionally blackmail her into cancelling all our plans. I don’t want Shanta to talk to you. So I am passing on her message. You better learn to look after your own kids yourself. Can’t you manage your own domestic affairs for even one day?” the man says.

“Listen. You please ask my mother-in-law to call me the moment she comes. I have to speak to her.” 

“No. I am switching of the phone. So don’t keep calling. We are going in for the movie now.”

“I have to talk to her. If you don’t let me speak to her I will come to ESquare …” the young woman threatens.

“Maybe we are not in ESquare. Maybe we are at Inox. Or City Pride. Or PVR. Or maybe we are somewhere else. It is just a red herring, so you don’t go on a wild goose chase trying to search for us. You just look after your children for today – and don’t worry – your mother-in-law is in safe hands with me and I will drop her home safe and sound,” the man says.

“Where is she? I want to …” the young woman called Swati says.

“Bye. Take Care...” the man says.

“Please …” a desperate Swati pleads.

But the man interrupts her, and he says, “Okay, Swati. Have a Nice Day. And remember to tell your husband that I am taking out his mother on a date.”

Then the man disconnects the mobile phone and switches it off.

The man has been speaking to Shanta’s daughter-in-law from Shanta’s cell phone.

So, the man gives the cell phone to Shanta sitting next to him in the car. 

Shanta puts her cell phone in her purse.

“You are very naughty,” Shanta says.

“Why?” the man asks.

“You told my daughter-in-law that we were in ESquare – she may land up there and search for me all over the multiplex…” Shanta says.

“Don’t worry – there is hardly any time, so she will go to the school first to pick her son. But if you are so worried, why don’t you send your daughter-in-law an SMS that you are going to Lonavala and will return in the morning?” the man says.

“Yes – I think I will do that,” Shanta says.

“But before you send the SMS, you too have to make a call,” the man says.

“Oh, yes,” Shanta says.

The the man takes out his own mobile phone from his pocket and searches for a number.

The man gives the cell phone to Shanta and he says to her: “Now you dial that number and speak to my daughter-in-law and tell her what I told you to say.

Shanta dials the number and starts speaking to the man’s daughter-in-law.

Meanwhile, the man starts the car and they drive towards Lonavala.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
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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