Friday, July 31, 2015

THE PERFECT HUSBAND – Short Fiction Story

THE PERFECT HUSBAND
Short Fiction Story 
By 
VIKRAM KARVE

Pooja walked out of her marriage because she felt that her husband was a boring and dull man.

One morning – after her husband had left for work – Pooja packed her bags  called a Pune Mumbai Cab – sat in the taxi  and she went straight to her brother-in-law’s house in Mumbai.

Pooja loved her brother-in-law.

He was the man of her dreams.

He was a perfect husband.

Yes  for Pooja  her brother-in-law was her role model husband.

Actually  for Pooja  he was a double brother-in-law – he was her husband’s elder brother – and he was also Pooja’s sister’s husband.

It was a case of two sisters getting married to two brothers.

After seeing her elder sister married so happily to such a wonderful husband  Pooja had readily agreed to marry his younger brother when her sister had brought the proposal.

And what a big mistake she had made!

How could two brothers be so different?

Pooja’s husband turned out to be a most dull, dreary and uninspiring person – in short  he was a big bore.

In contrast  her brother-in-law was so much fun – he was the type of husband Pooja had always wanted – a fun-loving debonair gentleman.

Pooja’s sister was pleasantly surprised when her younger sister suddenly landed up at her place unannounced.  

But  when Pooja told her that she had walked out on her husband forever because she found him boring  her sister got worried  so she rang up Pooja’s husband  and told him that Pooja had come over to her place in Mumbai.

Pooja’s husband did not betray any emotion. 

He just told Pooja’s sister that it was okay – and that Pooja could come back to Pune whenever she wanted.

Pooja’s sister felt a bit uneasy and hoped all was well – though she knew that Pooja’s husband was a quiet reticent introvert.

But – still – Pooja’s sister sensed that something was wrong.

Pooja’s sister was wondering what to do – maybe she could ask her husband to talk to Pooja’s husband – after all  they were brothers  and her husband was the elder brother.

Meanwhile  knowing Pooja’s temperament  it would be best to remain silent for some time. 

So  they – Pooja and her elder sister  just sat and watched a movie on TV.

In the evening  Pooja’s brother-in-law arrived home from work.

He seemed delighted to see Pooja.

‘What a surprise?” he said to Pooja.

Then  he turned to his wife  Pooja’s sister  and he said, “I have got the cruise tickets.”

He took out a colourful folder from his briefcase  and he gave it to Pooja’s sister, “Everything is in there – the tickets, the programme, all details about the cruise ship.”

“Wow. Are you two going on a cruise ship?” Pooja said.

“Yes, this time we thought that we will take a different type of vacation,” Pooja’s brother-in-law said.

“How lucky you are,” Pooja said wistfully to her sister, “I haven’t had a single vacation since marriage – my husband doesn’t even take me to Mahableshwar or Goa. It is so boring sitting at home. He doesn’t want to go anywhere – not even to a movie.”

“Hey, Pooja – why don’t you come with us?” Pooja’s brother-in-law said.

“On a cruise ship...?” Pooja asked, in disbelief.

“We will have to ask her husband…” Pooja’s sister said.

“I will tell him …” Pooja’s brother-in-law said to his wife.

“But how can we take her? You said the cruise was fully booked,” Pooja’s sister said to her husband.

“I will try and manage something,” Pooja’s brother-in-law said.

Then he turned to Pooja  and he said, “You pack your bags for a fantastic holiday.”

“Thank you so much. I wish I had a husband like you,” Pooja said to her brother-in-law.

“Oh, come on Pooja  your husband is a very nice chap – my brother is a bit serious type  but let me tell you that he is very good guy,” Pooja’s brother-in-law said.

And so  Pooja went for a pleasure voyage on the magnificent cruise liner.

It was the best time of her life – the fun  the food  the entertainment – this was the kind of life she had always wanted to live.

Her sister and brother-in-law had a deluxe ocean view stateroom on the upper deck.

Because of the last minute booking  for Pooja – they could only manage a single bed cabin  deep down below on a lower deck.

Her cabin was not as luxurious as the stateroom  but Pooja was happy – she spent the whole day enjoying herself on the upper decks – swimming, sunbathing, playing games  then wining and dining  savouring exotic wines  and relishing delicious food  dancing at the nightclub  and then trying her luck in the casino – it was like a dream come true.

For Pooja – these 20 days had been the happiest days of her life – the 3 week long luxury cruise on the sea – the shore excursions  and sightseeing visits to exotic places.

On the last evening of the cruise  there was a big entertainment event – it was truly awesome – the spectacular cabaret  the groovy dancing  the bubbly champagne flowing freely  the mind-boggling array of fabulous delicacies  – Pooja had never seen anything like it before.

It was almost midnight  and Pooja was feeling high.

All the champagne drinking and dancing had put Pooja in high spirits.

Pooja felt a bit dizzy so she sat down on their table.

Her sister and brother-in-law were not there – they must be enjoying themselves somewhere – there were so many events going on the gigantic luxury cruise ship.

Pooja sipped more champagne  and as she drank more and more  she began to feel woozy.

Her head felt giddy  her stomach felt queasy  and Pooja felt as if she was going to vomit.

Pooja became anxious – she was terrified that she would make a fool of herself by throwing up here in front of everyone.

So  Pooja got up and started walking unsteadily towards the alleyway.

She felt there were two persons within her  as result of the baleful double personality that comes into being through drunkenness. 

The first persona acted as if without any brain at all  in a mechanical, vacant manner  and the second persona observed the first quite lucidly  but seemed entirely powerless to do anything.

In the alleyway  Pooja yanked open a door.

Though it was dark  Pooja could hazily make out that it was some sort of crew cabin. 

Hopefully  there would be a toilet where she could vomit out and throw up  and then freshen up.

In the darkness – Pooja searched for the light switch  and her hands found it near the door.

She flicked the switch  and the lights came on.

The astounding scene that Pooja saw instantly shook her out of her drunkenness  and shocked her so much  that she stood dumbfounded and dazed  totally stunned into a state of disbelief.

There was a woman. 

She was lying naked on the bunk. 

Garments of her dress were scattered all over the floor.

And there was a man.

He was half-clothed  his head buried in the naked woman’s hair  his arms around her  and the man and woman were in the throes of passion.

The man was her brother-in-law.

The woman was the cabaret dancer she had seen performing on stage in the evening.

Disturbed by the sudden switching on of the lights – the naked woman looked up at Pooja  and she shouted at Pooja: “Who the hell are you? Don’t you have any bloody manners? How dare you barge in like this? Don’t you know that you must knock before opening a door? Now shut the light and get out. And don’t forget to close the door.”

Pooja felt sick  very sick.

She could not believe what she saw. 

Dumbstruck  Pooja looked at the sordid scene before her.

Pooja felt awful.

Her brother-in-law – the man of her dreams – her role model  her ideal as a perfect husband – his image came crashing down  the whole thing was disgusting and nauseating.

Pooja’s head started to spin  her stomach started to churn – and she threw up  retching out her insides  and then she collapsed in a heap  wallowing in her own filthy vomit  and then – Pooja passed out, unconscious.

Next morning  they disembarked – and caught the evening flight to Mumbai.

It was early morning by the time they reached Mumbai – and almost immediately  Pooja caught a taxi to Pune – she was desperate to meet her husband.

By the time Pooja reached her home in Pune – it was afternoon.

Pooja tried to open the door-lock with her key – but the her key would not fit – it seemed that her husband had changed the lock on the door of their house.

Pooja knocked at her neighbour’s door.

Pooja’s neighbour – an old man – who was also the landlord – opened the door.

The old man seemed surprised to see Pooja – and he said to her, “What are you doing here? I thought you had gone abroad with your husband... 

“Abroad...?” Pooja asked  stunned.

“Your husband said that you both were migrating abroad – and you had gone ahead to Mumbai to your sister’s place to make preparations – and he would be picking you up on his way to Mumbai airport...

“When did he say all this...?”

“Why are you asking me all this? Don’t you know what your own husband does? Must be around 20 days ago – just after you left for Mumbai. It is surprising that you are asking me all this...”

“What about our luggage – the furniture – our belongings...?

“What luggage...? He took some bags with him – the rest of the stuff – and the furniture  he sold off...

“Sold off...?

“Yes – the second-hand dealer came and took everything – and – of course – your husband was kind enough to give me 3 months rent for not giving me notice – though – strictly – I could have demanded only one month’s rent...  the old man said.

“Are you saying that he has vacated the apartment...?

“Of course he vacated the house – he said that he was going abroad for a long time – maybe permanently...

“Permanently...?” Pooja mumbled mechanically – and her brain started to go blank – and she felt like a zombie.

Pooja does not clearly remember what she did for the next few hours.

Apparently – she was found wandering in a dazed state on the streets of Pune – and some good samaritan called the police – who tracked down her sister from her number in Pooja’s mobile phone.

Later – it became clear that Pooja’s husband had slam-dunked her – nice and proper.

Pooja’s husband had made all the preparations – kept a job offer open abroad – got all paperwork done and documents ready – closed the bank accounts – done everything discreetly  keeping Pooja totally in the dark – and – then – Pooja’s sudden going away without informing him – was the “tipping point – and – he quit his job in Pune – and he flew away forever – leaving Pooja high and dry.

Yes – Pooja’s husband has truly left Pooja high and dry”.

Her brother-in-law does not want her in his house any more – after that sordid episode on the cruise ship where Pooja had caught him in flagrante delicto” with the cabaret dancer.

Pooja’s sister has located Pooja’s husband – but she has not told Pooja – because Pooja’s husband has made it clear that he is not coming back – and he is not interested in Pooja any longer – and – at present – Pooja is in no mental state to bear this tragic news – since she has still not recovered from shock – and is under treatment at an institution – and – the doctors say  that Pooja is in no condition to bear any more distressing news or shocks – which may drive her crazy.

So – it turned out that – Pooja’s boring husband may have been dull  but he was not dumb at all...

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © 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.

Copyright Notice:
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.

I had written this story called ROLE MODEL HUSBAND almost 2 years ago in September 2013 and posted it online in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at urls http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/09/role-model-husband.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/the-man-of-her-dreams-her-role-model.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/02/the-woman-with-boring-husband-and.html 
This story had a happy ending which seemed a bit contrived. So I re-wrote this story with a new ending and posting it online again with a new title THE PERFECT HUSBAND

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