Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Drive in the Rain – Short Fiction – A Love Story

A DRIVE IN THE RAIN
Short Fiction  A Love Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

After a long wait  Pune had its first rains this year.
 
This reminded me of a romance story I had written a few years ago  A DRIVE IN THE RAIN 

I wrote story this story 10 years ago in the year 2006 on a rainy afternoon  after I got drenched in the rain while walking in Aundh in the morning.

Read on ...

A DRIVE IN THE RAIN – A Love Story 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  because 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.

Avinash 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 car door  and I beckon him to get inside.

Avinash seems hesitant – and he says: “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 – and – I too am going towards Deccan Gymkhana – I’ll drop you on the way...” I say to him.

Avinash gets in – and  he sits beside me in the front passenger seat.

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...?” he asks me.

“I relocated to Pune six months ago...” I say.

Oh. So you live in Pune now...? Avinash says.

“And you...? Do you still live in America...?” I ask him.

“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...” Avinash says.

“Family matter...? In Pune...?” I ask him.

“My wife is from Pune...”

“Wife...? You remarried...?

“Yes. Two years ago.”

“And  I didn’t even know! You didn’t even bother to inform me...” I say angrily.

“We decided  didn’t we...? Do you remember...? We decided to move on in life. To go off on our different ways and not look back at our relationship...” 

“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. I got married too – soon after you left for America after our divorce.”

“On the rebound...?”

“Maybe!” I said, laughing.

Avinash has not changed. 

He still has the knack of saying these devastatingly rude things in such a naïve innocent way.

Soon  we are near the Pune University circle.

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. Just see how heavily it is raining. Do 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 drive to 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 Alka Cinema.”

“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  and I see 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 say.

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

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

He too wipes his eyes.

“Maybe we should have stayed together – we should have 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.”

“Are you 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 – I lovingly put my hand on his and say: “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  we will 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.

Copyright Notice:
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This story was written by me 10 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 and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/06/a-drive-in-rain-monsoon-romance.html
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