Saturday, May 7, 2016

Woman With Cat Eyes – A Story

WOMAN WITH CAT EYES 
Fiction Short Story 
By 
VIKRAM KARVE 

Last week  I started writing a short story – a simple romance.

Then – I had to rush off owing to certain contingencies

When I returned home after a few days – and – I tried to continue the story – I hit the writer’s block. 

Earlier – when I wrote “non-creative articles and professional/research papers etc – I never faced this problem – and – I could start off writing from where I had left off. 

But – for me – creative writing is quite a different kettle of fish – and – I take time to get into the mood.

So – while I get into the mood to complete the romantic love story – let me delve deep into my Creative Writing Archives – and pull out this rather old fashioned fiction short story written by me more than 22 years ago, sometime in the early 1990s, updated and abridged. 

Yes – I wrote this story for a print magazine sometime in the early 1990 more than 22 years ago  and  it still remains one of my all time favourite stories. 

The story is set in the Nilgiris – and is narrated in first person by a girl  as she travels on the blue “toy-train” of the Nilgiri Blue Mountain Railway. 

It is a rather old fashioned fiction short story in the leisurely style of the pre-internet days  when people read stories in magazines in print  before the advent of online reading.
Yes  it is a longish story  like the short fiction of the good old days  so please take your time and read it leisurely.
I trust you will like the story.
Dear Reader:
Do tell me if you liked the story.
I will look forward to your feedback and comments.
WOMAN WITH CAT EYES – A Story By VIKRAM KARVE
                The moment I see Muthu  the office-boy  standing at the door of the classroom  I feel a familiar fear.
   I close my eyes and try to concentrate on Ms Bhalla – who is reading aloud – with dramatic effect  Ruskin Bond’s story ‘The Woman on Platform 8’. 
   It’s a moving story about a brief encounter between a woman and a motherless boy.
             I love short stories – especially Ruskin Bond – and Ms. Bhalla is my favourite teacher. 
             But it’s no use. 
             I can’t hear a word she is saying.
             I open my eyes. 
             Ms. Bhalla is in a world of her own  reading away  book in her left hand and making gestures with her right. 
             She hasn't noticed Muthu  or the fact that almost everyone in the class are looking at him and not at her. 
             So thoroughly is Ms. Bhalla absorbed in herself – and so totally is she oblivious of her surroundings  that no one dares to disturb her.
           “………..I watched her until she was lost in the milling crowd...” Ms Bhalla ends the story with a flourish – and – she looks at us triumphantly – only to discover that most of her students are looking towards the door. 
              Her expression starts changing.
              Before Ms. Bhalla gets angry – someone says, “It is Muthu, ma’am.”
              Ms. Bhalla glares at poor Muthu – who sheepishly walks into the classroom.
              Muthu gives Ms. Bhalla the chit he is holding in his hand.
              I look down into my notebook trying to keep my mind blank – but – even without seeing – I know that Ms. Bhalla is looking at me. 
              “Shanta, go to the principal’s office,” Ms. Bhalla says, “and take your bag with you.”
              Take my bag with me? 
              I feel scared, anxious. 
              I hope it’s not too serious.
             “He must have had a big binge this time,” I hear Rita’s voice behind me. 
             Tears start to well up in my eyes. 
             Rita is from such a happy family. 
             Why is she so mean and nasty?
             I am about to break down – when I feel Lata’s reassuring hand on my wrist. 
             Lata says, “Let’s go, Shanta. I’ll bring your bag.”
             We walk through the silent corridors. 
             Our school is located in one of those ancient castle type buildings – cold, dark and gloomy.
              “I shouldn’t have left him alone last night,” I say.
              “I feel so sad for uncle,” Lata says.
              “Whenever I’m there with him – he’s okay and controls himself. He loves me so much. I’m the only one he’s got in this world - after my Mummy died...” I say.
              “He was improving so much – and – he looked so good last weekend,” Lata says.
              Lata is my true friend who I can open my heart to. 
              The others - they watch from a distance. 
              Most look at me with pity – and – a few like Rita look with an evil delight at my misfortune.
             “Something must have happened yesterday,” I say, “I wish I had gone home last night. It’s in the evenings that he needs me the most.”
             “Shanta – do you want me to come with you?” Lata asks.
              “Yes,” I say. 
              I really need some moral support. 
              I am tired of facing the cruel world all alone. 
              I can’t bear it any longer.
              Ms. David, our class-teacher, is standing outside the Principal’s office. 
              I follow her inside.
              I nervously enter the Principal’s office. 
              The Principal, Mrs. Nathan, is talking to a lady sitting opposite her. 
              Noticing me, the Principal says, “Ah, Shanta. Your Father is not well again. He’s admitted in the clinic again. You take the 10 o’clock shuttle. And you call me up on phone if you want anything.”
             “Can I go with her?” Lata asks.
             “You go back to class,” the Principal says sternly to Lata, “you’ve got a mathematics test at 10 o’clock – haven’t you?”
             “Please Miss – let me go with Shanta,” Lata pleads with Ms. David – our class teacher – but Ms. David says: “Lata you are in the 9th standard now. Be serious about your studies. And today afternoon is the basketball final. How can you be absent?”
             I feel pain in the interiors of my mind. 
             No one ever tells me to be serious about my studies – or even in sports.
             Lata gives me my school-bag – and she leaves quickly.
             Mrs. Nathan takes off her glasses and looks at me. 
             There is compassion in her eyes. 
            “Be brave, Shanta,” she says, “This is Ms. Pushpa – an ex-student of our school.”
            “Good morning, ma’am,” I say.
            “Hello, Shanta.” Ms. Pushpa says, “I’m also taking the train to Coonoor. We’ll travel together.”
             As we leave the principal’s office – I can feel the piercing looks of pity burning into me. 
             The teachers, the staff, even the gardener. 
             Everyone knows. 
             And – they know that I know that they know. 
             Morose faces creased with lines of compassion. 
             The atmosphere of pity. 
             The deafening silence. 
             It’s grotesque, terrible. I just want to get away from the place. These people - they just don’t understand that I want empathy; not sympathy.
            I walk with Ms. Pushpa taking the short-cut to Lovedale railway station. 
            It’s cold, damp – and – the smell of eucalyptus fills my nostrils. 
            A typical winter morning in the Nilgiris.
            I look at Ms. Pushpa. 
            She looks so chic. 
            Blue jeans, bright red pullover, fair creamy flawless complexion, jet-black hair neatly tied in a bun – and – dark Ray-Ban sunglasses of the latest style. 
            A good-looking woman with smart feminine features – Elegant – Fashionable – Well Groomed.
            We walk in silence. 
            I wait for her to start the conversation. 
            I don’t know how much she knows.
            “You’re in Rose House’ – aren’t you?” she asks looking at the crest on my blazer.
            Polite conversation. 
            Asking a question to which you already know the answer! 
           “Yes ma’am,” I answer.
           “I too was in Rose House’...” she says.
           “When did you pass out, ma’am?” I ask.
           “1971,” she says.
            I do a quick mental calculation. 
            In 1971 – suppose she was 16. 
            Now – in 1991 – she must be in her mid-thirties – 35 – or – 36 – maybe. 
            Ms. Puspha certainly looks young for her age. 
            And – she is very beautiful – so gorgeous – so chic – that I want to be like her when I grow up.
             We cross the tracks and reach the solitary platform of the lovely yet lonely Lovedale railway station.
            “Let me buy your ticket. You’re going to Coonoor aren’t you?” Ms. Pushpa asks.
            “Thank you ma’am. I’ve got a season ticket,” I say.
            “Season ticket?” she asks, looking surprised.
            “I’m a day scholar, ma’am. I travel every day from Coonoor,” I say.
             “Oh! In our time it was strictly a boarding school,” she says.
             “Even now it is a boarding school, ma’am,” I say, “But I’ve got special permission. My father doesn’t keep well. I have to look after him.”           
             “Oh...” Ms. Pushpa says – and she walks towards the deserted booking window.
              Lovedale is the most picturesque railway station on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway – but today – it looks gloomy, desolate.
    One has to be happy inside for things to look beautiful outside.
              She returns with her ticket.
              We sit on the solitary bench on the lonely platform of Lovedale railway station.
              “Where do you stay ma’am?” I ask.
              “Bangalore,” she says. “You’ve been there?”
              “Yes”
              “Often?”
              “Only once. We went to Bangalore last month. For my father’s treatment,” I say.           
               She asks the question I am waiting for: “Shanta. Tell me. Your father? What’s wrong with him? What’s he suffering from?”
               I have never really understood why people ask me this question to which I suspect they already know the answer. 
               Each probably has their own reason. 
               Curiosity – lip-sympathy – genuine concern – sadistic pleasure! 
               At first – I used to feel embarrassed – I used to try to cover up – try to mask the situation – and give all sorts of explanations. 
               But now I have learnt that it is best to be blunt and straightforward.
              “He is an alcoholic,” I say.
               Most people shut up after this. 
               Or – change the topic of conversation. 
               But – Ms. Pushpa pursues the topic and says: “It must be terrible living with him. He must be getting violent?”            
              “No,” I say trying to suppress my emotion. “With me – my Papa is very gentle. He loves me a lot.”
              Tears well up in my eyes – and – my nose feels heavy. 
              I take out my handkerchief. 
              I feel her comforting arm around my shoulder and know her concern is genuine.
              Suddenly the station bell rings – I hear the whistle – and the Blue Coloured Mountain “Toy Train” streams into the platform. 
               They still use steam engines here on the Nilgiri mountain railway.
     The train is almost empty. 
     It’s off-season – and – there are no tourists. 
     In any case this train is never crowded  as it returns to Coonoor after transporting all the office-goers to Ooty.
              We sit opposite each other in an empty compartment. 
              She still hasn’t taken off her dark sunglasses even though it is overcast.
              It begins to drizzle.
              She looks at her watch. 
              I look at mine. 
              10 AM. 
              Half-an-hour’s journey to Coonoor.
             “You came today morning, ma’am?” I ask.
             “No. Last evening. I stayed with Monica David. Your class teacher. We were classmates.”
              What a difference! 
              Miss David is so schoolmarmish. 
              And Ms. Pushpa is so mod and chic and gorgeous.
    But – I better be careful what I say. 
    After all – classmates are classmates.
             The train begins its journey – and soon – Ketti valley comes into view.
             “There used to be orchards down there. Now there are buildings,” she says.
             “You’ve come after a long time?” I ask.
             “Yes. It’s been almost 18 years. I am returning here the first time since I passed out,” she says.
             “For some work? Children’s admission?”
             “No, No,” she bursts out laughing, “I’m Single. Happily Unmarried.”
             “I’m sorry,” I say, contrite.
             “Come on, Shanta. It’s Okay,” she says. “I’ve come for some work in Coonoor. Just visited the school for old times’ sake.”
            “You must come during Founder’s day. You’ll meet everyone,” I say.
            “Yes,” she says. “All these years I was abroad. America, Singapore, Manila, Europe. Now that I’m in Bangalore – I’ll definitely make it.”
             “You work?” I ask.
             “Yes. In an MNC...” she says.
             Ms. Pushpa must be an MBA from a top Business School. 
             Like IIM. 
             Or maybe even Harvard or Wharton. 
             I wish I could be like her – Independent – Smart – Elegant – Successful. 
             I certainly have the talent. 
             But what about Papa? 
             Who will look after him?
             I try not to think of the future. 
             It all looks so bleak, uncertain. 
             Better not think of it. 
             I don’t even know what awaits me at the clinic. 
             Is is just a few minutes more before we reach Coonoor. 
             It’s unbearable – yes – the tension is unbearable. 
             Why do I have to go through all this?
             Ms. Pushpa is looking out of the window. 
             It’s grey and cold. 
             Dark clouds. 
             But she still wears her dark sunglasses. 
             She hasn’t taken them off even once.
             Suddenly we enter the Ketti tunnel. 
             It’s pitch dark. 
             The smell of steam and smoke. 
             It’s warm. 
             Comforting. 
             I close my eyes.
             The train whistles. 
             The train slows down. 
             I open my eyes. 
             Ms. Pushpa is still wearing dark glasses. 
             Maybe she too has something to hide. 
              And me...? 
             The thing that I want to hide – everyone knows about it – but they make a pretence of not knowing – at least in my presence.
             The train stops at Ketti. 
             On the platform there is a group of girls, my age. 
            They are in a jovial mood – giggling, eyes dancing, faces beaming, so carefree and happy. 
             Their happiness hurts me deep down in my heart.
            The girls don’t get in. 
            Dressed in track-suits – and Ketti Valley School Blazers – they are probably waiting for the “UP” train to Ooty which crosses here. 
             They must be going to our school in Lovedale for the basketball match.
             A girl with a familiar face walks up to me with her friend – whose face is not familiar – and – I am meeting her for the first time.
             “You are not playing?” the girl with the familiar face asks.
             “No,” I say.
             “I wish we knew. We wouldn’t have gone so early to practice,” she says.
             “Who’s captaining?” her friend asks.
              “Lata maybe. I don’t know,” I say.
              “Where are you going?”
              “Coonoor.”
              “Coonoor?”
              “My father is in hospital. He’s not well.”
              “Oh! Hope he gets well soon. Okay bye.”
              The girls walk away – they are whispering to each other. 
               And – I hear the hushed voice of the girl who I have met for the first time: “Poor thing.”
               “Poor thing.” 
               The words pierce through my heart. 
               “Poor thing.” 
               The words echo in the interiors of my mind. 
               “Poor thing!” “Poor thing!” “Poor thing!” 
                The resonance is deafening. 
                I feel as if I am going mad. 
                I sense Ms. Pushpa’s hand on mine. 
                A slight pressure. 
                Comforting.
              The “UP” train going up to Ooty comes – the girls get in – and – the train leaves towards Lovedale.
              Our engine’s whistle shrieks – and – our train starts moving. 
              Outside it starts to rain. 
              We close the windows. 
              The smallness of the compartment forces us into a strange intimacy.
             “I’ll come with you to the hospital,” Ms. Pushpa says.
             I know she means well, but nowadays I hate to depend on the kindness of strangers; so I reply, “Thank you ma’am, but I’ll manage. I’m used to it.”
             “Is your father often like this?” she asks.
              Why is she asking me all this? 
              It seems genuine compassion. 
             Or – maybe she has her own troubles – and – talking to even more troubled people like me – probably makes her own troubles go away.
             I decide to tell her everything in one go.  
            “When I am there – Papa is okay. He controls himself. He loves me more than his drink. Last night I stayed at the hostel to study for a test. And he must have felt lonely and hit the bottle. I shouldn’t have left him alone. After Mummy’s gone – I am the only one he’s got – and – he’s the only one I’ve got.” I pause, and I say, “He was improving so much. Something must have happened last evening. Something disturbing! He must have got upset – he must have got really badly upset.”
              “I’m so sorry,” she says. 
               Her tone is apologetic – as if she were responsible in some way.
              “Why should you feel sorry, ma’am. It’s my fate. I’ve to just find out what’s upset him. And see it doesn’t happen again. Maybe somebody visited him and passed some hurting remark. He’s very sensitive.”
              Her expression changes slightly. 
              She winces. 
             “Does he tell you everything?” she asks.
             “Of course he tells me everything,” I say, “There are no secrets between us. I’m his best friend.”
              “I wish I could help you in some way,” she says.
              I don’t say anything. 
              I close my eyes. 
              What a fool I have been.
              I have told her everything. 
              But – I know nothing about her. 
              I do not even know the colour of her eyes – since Ms. Pushpa has been wearing her sunglasses throughout the journey.
              I wonder why she hasn’t taken off her dark sunglasses even once – though it is quite misty and darkish.
     How cleverly she’s manipulated the conversation. 
     Maybe people who are happy and successful – they feel good when they listen to other people’s sorrows.
              I feel stifled. 
              I open my eyes and look out of the window. 
              A shrill whistle – and we pass through a gorge. 
              Noise, steam, smoke – and suddenly it becomes sunny – and the train begins to slow down. 
             “We’ve reached,” I say. 
             We get down on the platform at Coonoor.
             “I’ll come with you,” she says.           
             “Thanks. But it’s okay. I’ll go by myself.”
             “Sure?”
             “I’m sure, thanks,” I say.   
             Ms. Pushpa takes off her dark sunglasses and she looks at me. 
             I see her eyes for the first time. 
             A shiver passes through me as I look into her eyes. 
             Her eyes are greenish-grey. 
             She’s got “cat-eyes”  dazzling “cat eyes” – exactly like mine. 
             Yes  her eyes are exactly like my eyes  greenish-grey “cat eyes”.
    I stare into her eyes mesmerized – as if I am looking into my own eyes.
             Suddenly  she takes me in her arms  and hugs me in a tight embrace.
             Stunned  I struggle  feeling acutely uncomfortable.
             She releases me  and  I just stand there  feeling numb, confused.
             The whistle shrieks. 
             I come to my senses. 
             I look up at her. 
             Her eyes are red – and tears flow down her cheeks.
             Suddenly she puts on her sunglasses – she turns  and she walks away.
             As I walk towards the hospital I think about my brief encounter with Ms. Pushpa – and her rather strange behaviour. 
             It’s certainly not one of those “hail-fellow–well-met” types of time-pass conversations between co-passengers. 
             But suddenly she’s gone  and I don’t know anything about her. 
             She hasn’t even given me her card, address, phone, nothing. 
             It all happened so fast. 
             But I will never forget Ms. Pushpa.
             I will always remember her greenish-grey “cat eyes” – yes – cat-eyes  dazzling cat eyes. Exactly like mine. Yes  her eyes are exactly like my eyes - greenish-grey “cat eyes”.
             I walk down the road.
             I reach the clinic. 
             Well laid-out. 
             Neat. 
             Spick and span. 
             Anesthetic smell. 
             An air of discipline. 
             I walk through the corridor. 
             I know where to go.
             “Yes?” a voice says from behind.
             I turn around. 
             It’s a matron. 
             I have never seen her before. 
             Her eyes are hard, pitiless.
             I tell her who I am. 
             Her expression changes. 
             Lines of compassion begin to crease her face. 
             But still  her face has something terrible written on it.
             I smile. 
             I have learnt to smile even when I feel like weeping.
             I enter the room. 
             Papa is lying on the solitary bed. 
             He looks okay. 
             His eyes are closed.
            “Papa,” I say softly.
             He opens his eyes. 
             “Shanta! Come to me,” he says. 
             I rush to his bed. 
             My Papa hugs me tightly and says to me: “Don’t go Shanta. Don’t leave me and go away...” 
             Then he starts crying.
             “Don’t cry papa. I’ll always be with you. I’ll never leave you alone again,” I say, tears rolling down my checks.
             We both cry copiously. 
             Time stands still. 
             I sense the presence of people in the room. 
             Apart from the matron  there is the comforting face of Dr. Ghosh  and – there is a young doctor in white coat  stethoscope around his neck.
             “Can I take him home?” I ask Dr. Ghosh.
             “Of course  you can take him home,” Dr. Ghosh says.” He’s okay now.”
             “But sir,” the young doctor protests, “The patient is still hallucinating….”
             “It’s okay,” Dr. Ghosh interrupts giving him a sharp look, “Shanta knows how to look after him – she will look after him like a mother. Isn’t it Shanta...?”
             “Yes,” I say.           
             Papa gives him sheepish look. 
             That’s what I like about Dr. Ghosh – the way he gets his message across. 
             There is no need for him to reprimand Papa – especially in front of me. 
             My Papa’s own remorse is his own worst reprimand.
             We talk in silence. I don’t ask him anything. He’ll tell me when he wants to.
            “You’re hungry?” he asks.
            “Yes,” I say. It’s almost noon.
             Soon  we sit at the Garden Restaurant overlooking Sim’s Park. 
             He takes his hands out of the overcoat pockets  and – he picks up the menu card.  
             His hands tremble. 
             DT. 
             Delirium Tremens. 
             Withdrawal symptoms. 
             Papa must have had a prolonged bout of drinking last night. 
             I know what to do – just in case – because  I don’t want him to turn cold turkey’. 
            “Papa  you order the food,” I say.
            Then  I pick up my school bag and briskly walk across the road to the wine shop. 
            On seeing me – the liquor shop owner puts a small bottle of brandy in a brown paper bag – and – he gives it to me. 
             I put in my school bag. 
             No words are exchanged. 
             No permit is required. 
             It doesn’t matter that I’m a 14 year old schoolgirl. 
             He knows. 
             Everyone knows. 
             Pity. 
             Compassion.
             But I know that unseen eyes that I cannot see – will see me  and  tongues that I cannot hear  will wag.
             The silence. 
             It’s grotesque. 
             Deafening. 
             Unbearable.
             As I give him a 100 Rupee note  the liquor shop owner asks me: “Saab - I hope he’s okay.”
             I nod. 
             I don’t seem to have a private life anymore. 
             Unsolicited sympathy is a burden that I find difficult to carry nowadays. 
             I walk back to the garden restaurant.
             Papa has ordered Chinese food. 
             My favourite. 
             Papa has a nip of brandy – he drinks straight from the bottle.
             His hands become steady. 
             We start eating.
            “She wants to take you away from me,” Papa says.
             “Who wants take me away? I don’t understand,” I say perplexed.
             “Yes. She is going to take you away. She came last evening.”
             “Who?”
             “Your mother.”
             I feel a strange sensation in my stomach. 
             The food becomes tasteless in my mouth. 
              It seems he’s reached the final stage. 
              Hallucinations. 
              Loneliness. 
              Driving him insane. 
              Papa is seeing images of mummy now. 
              Has he reached the point of no return..? 
              Fear drills into my vitals.
             “Please Papa. Mummy is dead. You’re hallucinating again...” I say.
             “She came last evening. She wanted your custody.”
             “Custody? What are you talking?”
             “Yes. She wants to take you away from me.”
             “Who?”
             “Your birthmother.”
             “Birthmother?”
             “Yes.”
             “But Mummy?”
             “Don’t delve too much...” my Papa says to me. 
             I do not pursue the topic further. 
             But – after we finish eating – my Papa tells me everything – yes – he tells me everything.
             In the evening – we sit on the lawns of the club waiting for my birthmother. 
             I feel like a volcano about to erupt. 
             Papa sits with his head in his hands – he looks nervous, scared. 
             Dr. Ghosh looks away into the distance  as if he’s in our group  but not a part of it. 
             I wonder what is his role in all this.
             And  opposite me is that hideous woman with suspiciously black hair  Mrs. Murthy  the social worker from the child welfare department.
             Social work indeed! 
             Removing adopted children from happy homes – and then  forcibly returning the children to their biological parents who had abandoned them in the first place.
             And – this so-called ‘birthmother’ of mine...? 
             I hate her without even knowing her. 
             First she abandons me. 
             And then  after 14 long years  she emerges from nowhere with an overflowing love and concern for me. 
             “My Papa is a dangerous man...” she decides. 
             So – it is unsafe for me to live with him. 
             Hence  she wants to take me away into the unknown.
             “Don’t worry,” Mrs. Murthy, the social worker, says,” Everything will be okay.”
             Yes. 
             Everything will be okay. 
             Papa will land up in an asylum. 
             I will be condemned to spend the rest of my life with a woman I hate. 
             Our lives will be ruined. 
             Great social service will be done. 
             Yes. 
             Everything will be okay.
             Papa is silent. 
             He is scared. 
             Papa has been warmed by Dr. Ghosh. 
             No outbursts. 
             It will only worsen the case.
             And me. 
             I’m only a minor. 
             They will decide what is good for me. 
             Of course they’ll take my views into consideration. 
             I can see my world disintegrating in front of me.
             We sit in silence. 
             6:30 PM
             7 PM
             The longest half-hour of my life.
             “She said she’ll be here at 6:30 PM sharp,” Mrs. Murthy says, “I’ll check up.” 
             Mrs. Murthy gets up from her chair. 
             She walks to the reception.
             We wait. 
             And gradually  a depressing and frightening darkness envelopes us.
             Mrs. Murthy returns. 
             There’s urgency in her step. 
            “I rang up the hotel,” Mrs. Murthy says, “It’s strange. She checked out in the afternoon. She hired a taxi to Bangalore. It’s funny. She hasn’t even bothered to leave a message for me.” 
             Mrs. Murthy looks disappointed Mrs. Murthy and she says angrily: “After all the trouble I have taken. She just goes away without even informing me. She promised that she would be here at 6:30 sharp.”
             Looking perturbed  Mrs. Murthy leaves  promising to check up and let us know.
             After she leaves  Dr. Ghosh says to my father, “Come on. Let’s have a drink.”
             “No,” my Papa says,” I don’t need a drink.”
             “Sure?”
             “Absolutely sure.”
             We take leave of Dr. Ghosh and begin walking home.
             “Papa?”
             “Yes.”
             “Tell me one thing about my ‘birthmother’  Does she have ‘cat-eyes’  greenish-grey? Is she a woman with cat-eyes? Are her eyes just like my eyes? Tell me  Papa – please tell me  Does my ‘birthmother’ have cat eyes just like me...?”
             “Don’t delve too much!” Papa says lovingly  as he puts his protective arm around me  and we walk together into the enveloping darkness.
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 is a revised and abridged version of my fiction story DON'T DELVE TOO MUCH written by me Vikram Karve more than 22 years ago in 1994 with the title DON'T DELVE TOO MUCH and posted by me online earlier a number of times in my creative writing blogs including at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/don-t-delve-too-much-by-vikram-karve_31359_blog  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/a-short-story-by-vikram-karve-dont-delve-too-much/  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/10/lovedale-stories-cat-eyes.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/05/dont-delve-too-much-my-favourite-short.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/08/the-mysterious-beauty-with-cat-eyes.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/dont-delve-too-much-love-story.html etc 
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