Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mushy Romance – Love at Second Sight

NEW HORIZONS 
Love at Second Sight
A Mushy Romance Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Here is one of my early pieces of amateurish writing  a love story I wrote long ago  in the 1990’s  abridged, edited and updated – for your perusal.

Do tell me what you think of this rather Mushy Romance” ...


NEW HORIZONS – A Love Story by Vikram Karve


Part 1 – DEPARTURE

As he wished her Good Night, and said good bye, Arun Rao was already regretting that he had put the matter so lightly.

He was forty-three, on the threshold of middle age, and terribly weary of his lingering bachelorhood. 

Sadhana could be his last chance.  

As the boat pulled ashore, Sadhana looked at the imposing figure of Arun Rao standing on the deck of the huge ship recede into the darkness.

She waved a good-bye, feeling in her heart the very same sentiment, the same churning of emotions, which Arun was experiencing at that very moment.

For Sadhana, it had been a long time since she had been attracted towards a man. 

And she had sensed tender warmth in Arun’s behaviour towards her.

She had been very curious to see his ship – a massive oil tanker – and how he lived. 

Arun had even taken her to his cabin – a privileged excursion into an exclusively masculine word. 

It was impressive. 

Nothing can be as neatly arranged as a sailor’s cabin.

But Sadhana was depressed by its neatness and organization. 

This was the home of a self-sufficient man. 

He hardly needed a wife.

Her son, Sunil, was talking animatedly to a sailor who was pointing out the various lights on the ships at anchorage. 

Sunil had been full of excitement and had thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Arun’s ship. 

Sunil was ten years old and needed a father figure – a real man. 

Her son Sunil seemed to have liked Arun, and they had got along well, with Arun patiently answering Sunil’s numerous questions.

She wondered why Arun had treated them so lavishly and given them such expensive presents – especially that marvelous exclusive perfume he had insisted she try on there and then.

Sadhana was sure Arun had fallen in love with her.

She sensed that he wanted to marry her.

But why had he hesitated? 

Was it because of her son, Sunil? 


Part 2 – COMMISERATION    

On the ship – Captain Arun Rao lay down on his bunk and closed his eyes in self-commiseration. 

It was only too easy to remain a bachelor in the Merchant Navy – and  after the early susceptible years  it became easier still. 

The insularity of ship-borne life suited a bachelor. 

But now  after meeting Sadhana and Sunil  Arun did feel keenly the lack of a family.

He knew he should have asked her  but he had remained tongue-tied – afraid of rejection – waiting for Sadhana to make the first move. 

But  how could she make the first move...? 

After all – she was quite a shy woman. 

And there was Sunil, her son. 

Maybe Sadhana had doubts whether her son Sunil would accept Arun as a father...?

Arun wished he had asked Sadhana directly and frankly. 

It was the fear of rebuff  and maybe his ego  that had come in the way. 

He had to move fast. 

He had to act now  before it was too late.

Tomorrow was his last day in harbour. 

And then  he would sail away  far away from Sadhana’s life  for a long time  maybe forever. 

Arun took out his cell-phone  and he dialed his sister’s number.

In fact it was in his sister’s house that he had met Sadhana for the first time  just two days ago. 

While Arun was talking to his sister on the phone – Sadhana and her son Sunil were travelling in the boat from the anchorage towards Mumbai harbour.

As the boat approached the wharf  Sadhana turned around  and looked at ship’s lights dotting the sea, trying to locate and discern Arun’s ship. 

In the enveloping darkness  it was impossible to make out his ship.

She felt the same sensation one feels at the end of a happy dream  when one is jolted to reality. 

It was over.

Tomorrow Arun would sail away from her life  forever. 

And – she would be back in her routine as a teacher and single mother.

She was so lost in her thoughts  that it was only when she felt Sunil tugging at her hand that she noticed that the ferry boat was already berthed alongside.

They disembarked on the jetty.

“I wish we could sail with Uncle Arun,” Sunil said, “He is so nice.”

“We can’t sail on his ship,” Sadhana said, “It is not allowed. And what about your school? Merchant Navy ships sail for days together, across the seas, round the world.”

“We can go during the summer holidays,” Sunil interjected, “Uncle said that families are allowed on board for short periods.”
         
“But we are not his family,” Sadhana said.

“Then why don’t you marry him?” Sunil blurted out.

The directness of her son’s question rendered Sadhana dumbstruck. 

She looked at her son incredulously. 

Even he had understood  and accepted.

Now  she would have to act fast  for her sake, for her son’s sake.

She had to talk to Arun quickly. 

Time was running out. 

Sadhana was tempted to ring him up there and then on his mobile.

But she restrained herself – this had to be done delicately.


Part 3 – RENDEZVOUS

Sadhana hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take her to the house of Priti, Arun’s sister, where Sadhana had first met Arun. 

She had met Arun at Priti’s son’s birthday party. 

Sadhana generally never attended any parties after she had been so cruelly widowed. 

But Priti’s son was a classmate of Sunil’s. 

He was her ex-pupil too. 

And – Priti’s husband Praveen had been a colleague of her late husband. 

They had insisted that she come for the birthday party. 

And – she just could not refuse.

It was during the party  as Sadhana drifted towards the balcony for some fresh air  that she had noticed Arun  standing in the balcony  all alone by himself  lost in his thoughts  in a corner. 

He wore a lonely and rather perplexed expression  as though he were at the party – but not a member of it. 

His height and his beard  which was almost entirely grey  made him prominent. 

He looked a decisive, hot-tempered and dangerous man  with his broad square face, heavy-lidded eyes, and majestic beard. 

But  he also looked vulnerable.

“That’s my elder brother,” Priti said following Sadhana’s gaze, “Come  I will introduce him to you.”

They were introduced. 

Probably  Priti had told Arun about Sadhana – because he didn’t ask the inevitable questions about her late husband. 

Nor did he express the superficial pity and lip sympathy – those empty platitudes she had become so used to.

Arun simply said: “At least you have got your son to keep you company. But I am all alone.”

“I am sorry,” Sadhana said, I didn’t know you were also…”

“No. No...” interrupted Arun, “I am just a bachelor. One of those men who looks before he leaps – and never leaps.” 

Arun smiled  and he said, “And now  it is too late to get married. It looks like I will be a confirmed lifelong bachelor. I have learnt to live with myself  and I know how to live a life without a wife.”

They talked.

Sadhana found that Arun was easy to talk to.

And soon  she began experiencing a sense of release  and a rare feeling of elation.

In these moods there was so such to say  and the words simply came tumbling out.

She told him everything. 

She told him about her husband  his sudden unexpected death  about her son Sunil  and how she was struggling along the lonely road of life.

She noticed that Arun didn’t express the usual response of pity, sympathy, or patronizing attitude. 

He listened with his disarming smile  and from time to time egged her on. 

She unburdened herself. 

Arun also felt good. 

He realized that it was comforting to converse with someone who needed comforting.

They would have gone on and on  but her son Sunil interrupted them: “Mummy  aren’t you going to eat something?”

Young Sunil was fascinated when he knew that Arun was a Merchant Navy Captain – the Master of a Ship. 

Arun had invited them on board to see the ship the next day.

Though  at first  Sadhana was reluctant  she could not refuse  seeing Sunil’s enthusiasm. 

Besides it was a Sunday.

She accepted Arun’s invitation. 

For her son’s sake. 

Maybe for her sake too?

“We’d love to come,” Sadhana said, “It would be nice to do something different on a Sunday for a change.”

She flattered Arun by looking steadily at him without letting her eyes stray. 

Sadhana wore a simple off-white sari with a brooch pinned on her right shoulder. 

Her forehead was too broad, and her nose too long, for her to be called a beauty  but when he looked at her  Arun Rao experienced that delightful giddy feeling of achievement  that same lift of the spirit  that you feel when you conquer a high mountain peak and see the breathtaking view of the expanse below you.


Part 4  NEW HORIZONS

As the taxi reached Priti’s house  Sadhana began having second thoughts.

There is a time to make thing happen.

And – there is a time to let things happen.

Sadhana decided to let things happen  take their natural course  relying on her instinct.
         
Priti gave Sadhana a canny look when she opened the door. 

“Come in,” Priti said, “I am so happy for both of you.”

“What…?” Sadhana said confused.

“Arun just called …” Priti said teasingly.

Sadhana blushed  and she said: “Priti, I want to meet him before he sails off. I don’t want to lose him.”

Don’t get impatient,” Priti said putting her arm around Sadhana affectionately, “Arun’s ship is sailing tomorrow evening. But he is on his way right now in the ship’s boat. He felt too shy to speak to you so he is getting a letter for me to deliver personally to you.”

“Letter? He’s proposing through a letter? What an old fashioned chap?” Praveen (Priti’s husband) exclaimed, appearing as if from nowhere. 

Then Praveen looked at them and said, “This old fogey Arun needs some shock treatment. Hurry up. Let’s surprise him at the jetty. I’ll take out the car.”

Arun got off the boat and walked up the steps of the jetty.

Suddenly  he unexpectedly saw Sadhana.

His heart thumped giddily with the glee of a man who anxiously yearns for his beloved and suddenly finds her a thousand times more beautiful than he imagined.

He could not control the rising force of the latent bottled up love within  neither could she. 

Oblivious of the surroundings  they ran towards each other and embraced tightly.

Warm and secure in his arms, Sadhana, once again, felt tender, cherished and loved. 

After an age when her heart had been frozen  she was going to begin her life anew.

Shadows lengthened  it started getting dark  Sadhana and Arun looked at the horizon and watched the glorious spectacle of sunset. 

They watched the fantastic metamorphosis at sunset  the orange sun being gobbled up the calm blue sea  crimson petals dancing in the sky  twilight enveloping – romance was in the air.

Arun and Sadhana held each other tightly  looked at the distant horizon  and thought of the happy life of togetherness that lay ahead.

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.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is a revised and abridged version of my story NEW HORIZONS written by me in the 1990's and First Posted Online by me 
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