Thursday, June 11, 2015

A DRIVE IN THE RAIN – Monsoon Romance

MONSOON ROMANCE
A Drive in the Rain
Short Fiction - A Romantic Love Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:
After a long wait, it has started raining in Pune and it looks like the monsoon has finally arrived. 
Looking at the rain reminds me of a monsoon romance story I had written a few years ago  - A DRIVE IN THE RAIN 
I wrote story this story in the year 2006 on a monsoon day after I got drenched in the rain while walking in Aundh.
Read on ...

A DRIVE IN THE RAIN – Monsoon Romance by Vikram Karve

The monsoon has finally arrived in Pune. 

It is the first day of the monsoon, but it’s been raining incessantly all morning.

Ideally, at 10 o’clock in the morning on a working day, I should have been safely ensconced in my office.

But today I sit in the driving seat of my car, slowly negotiating my way in the torrential rain, for I have an important appointment to keep.

Suddenly I see Avinash, half drenched, shivering under the bus-stop at Aundh, trying to protect himself from the pouring rain.

He sees me too. 

Our eyes meet. 

I wonder who is more surprised at this unexpected encounter - He or Me?

At first instinct, I just feel like ignoring him and driving away.

But then my humanitarian side takes over, so I stop the car near him, lean across, open the door and beckon him to get inside.

He seems hesitant, “Thanks, but I’ll take an auto-rickshaw – I am going to Deccan.

“Come on Avinash, get in fast or you’ll get wet – you won’t get a rickshaw in this rain – I too am going towards Deccan Gymkhana – I’ll drop you on the way.”

He gets in and for a while we drive in silence.

“It’s been five years,” he says.

“Yes,” I say, “Quite a surprise, seeing you here in Pune.”

“Yes. I just came in from Mumbai by the Volvo bus and got down at Parihar Chowk. And you? What are you doing in Pune?”

“I relocated here six months ago.

Oh. 

You still in the States?”

“Yes. But maybe I’ll come back.”

“Homesick? Or is the recession still not over?”

“Not really”

“So you’ve come to look for a job in Pune?”

“It’s actually something else. A family matter.”

“Family matter? In Pune?”

“My wife is from Pune.”

“Wife? You remarried?

“Yes. Two years ago.”

“And I didn’t even know!”

“We decided. Didn’t we? Remember we decided to move on in life. To go off on our different ways and not look back.”

“Yes. We lost track of each other completely.”

“That was good. Isn’t it? For both of us?”

“Yes.”

“And you? You married again?”

“Yes. Soon after you left for the States after our divorce.”

“On the rebound?”

“Maybe!” I laugh.

Avinash has not changed. The way he says these devastatingly rude things in such a naïve innocent way.

Soon we are near the Pune University circle.

So I ask him: “Where is your wife’s house? I’ll take the road accordingly.”

“It’s okay. Just drop me wherever convenient to you.”

“Come on. Tell me. See how much it is raining. You want me to go via Senapati Bapat Road? Or do you want me to drive straight ahead - via Fergusson College Road or should I drive on to Jangli Maharaj Road?”

“It’s okay. You go wherever you want to go in Deccan. I’ll get off there.”

“Oh. So you don’t want to show me your wife’s house?” I say, tongue in cheek.

“No. No. It’s not that. I am going somewhere else. Actually, I am going to the Family Court.”

“To the Family Court? I ask, taken aback.

“Yes,” he says, “it’s beyond Deccan, past Lakdi Pul, near Alaka.”

“I know where the family court is ...” I say, “I hope you are not ...

“Yes. First it was the Family Court in Mumbai with you. And now…” he stops, as tears well up in his eyes.

“I too am going to the Family Court,” I say, sensing a lump in my throat.

“What?” he looks at me, startled.

“I am divorcing my husband. Today is the final hearing. Hopefully!”

I slow down, stop the car near the pavement past E-Square. 

I wipe my eyes with tissue and hold the tissue box towards Avinash. 

He too wipes his eyes.

“Maybe we should have stayed together, tried to make our marriage work,” I say.

“Yes. It all happened so fast. Maybe we were too hasty, too impatient, too headstrong.”

“Yes. We could have tried to make it work”

“I think we sought the easy way out. We were too young and unrealistic, immature…impetuous…volatile…”

“Yes. Ours was a tempestuous stormy relationship. A terrible marriage. But there is one thing.”

“What?”

“With you I could be myself - no mask, no pretence, no forced geniality.”

“Me too. With you I could truly be myself. No contrived feelings, no holding back. I could never be like that with anyone else. With her too. The way I could naturally be with you. You know - I think we were made for each other.”

“Maybe we should give it a try. One more time. And try to make things work.”

“You’re serious?” he asks with a curious look in his eyes.

“Yes, Avinash. Let’s empty our cups and start afresh. Like you said, I too think we are made for each other.”

“Okay, but there is one thing.”

“What?”

“Is it allowed to marry the same person twice? Can we get married to each other again?

“I don’t know, but I think it is okay. I’ll ask my divorce lawyer. She will know,”

“Yes. I’ll confirm at the Family Court too”

“One more thing.”

“Now what?”

“This time, we will have No Expectations, No Disappointments and a Happy Marriage.”

“Yes,” I say lovingly putting my hand on his: “No Expectations, No Disappointments, Happy Marriage”

Suddenly I notice that it has stopped raining and the sun is peeking through the clouds.

I feel good.

I start the car and we drive on towards the Family Court.

Now we will try to erase the second chapter of our marital lives forever.

And begin rewriting afresh the unfinished first chapter our inchoate relationship.

Maybe we can have a Monsoon Wedding.

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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This story was written by me 9 years ago in 2006 and also posted online earlier on my creative writing blogs a number of times including at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/05/monsoon-wedding.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/monsoon-story-drive-in-rain.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/05/monsoon.html 
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