Saturday, August 27, 2016

Love Trap – An Intriguing Romance

This afternoon we had a twitter discussion on the plots of my stories – and – one of my friends asked me to write a story on a certain theme. 

That – I will do so in due course. 

And while thinking about it – I suddenly remembered a story I had written more than 6 years ago. 

This story features in my COCKTAIL – my book of short stories on relationships. 

So – let me delve deep into my Creative Writing Archives – and – pull out this love story for you to read. 

I wrote this piece of short fiction more than 9 years ago  in the year 2007. 

I remember that I wrote this love story in one sitting. 

Do tell me if you like it.



LOVE TRAP
Short Fiction  An Intriguing Romance

By
VIKRAM KARVE

 


I look at myself in the full-length mirror.

I like what I see.

Yes. 

I am beautiful. 

Very beautiful. 

I am very, very beautiful indeed.

No doubt about it. 

I always was a great beauty. 

They say that a beautiful woman often has a tragic life.

Does tragedy always come from being a great beauty...?

I don’t know whether this is universally true 
 but certainly  I have had a very tragic life. 

But  I will not tell you too much about it right now and spoil my mood.  

Now  I will look into the mirror and admire myself, my exquisite body.

Not many women close to 40 can stand in front of a mirror with so much pride and assurance. 

I look like a woman in full bloom. 

I admire my perfect body.

fall in love with my own body. 

Like Narcissus.

Suddenly  I experience a tremor of anxiety  as I see the first signs of the process of ageing. 

Infinitesimal. 

Almost indiscernible. 

But indisputable.

Two small furrows on my forehead.

The slight coarsening of the skin below the eyes.

The almost unnoticeable heaviness of the abdomen with its suggestion of fold.

I can easily cover them up. 

With make-up. 

And  the right dress. 

But – for how long can I wear a mask...?

Time is running out for me. 

Sameer is my last chance. 

I am already regretting the lost opportunity – that I had put the matter so lightly the last time we had met  and before that. 

Tonight is my probably my last chance. 

I have to go in for the kill.

Love Trap. 

What a phrase to use.

But that’s exactly what I’m going to do. 

I am going to ensnare Sameer in my Love Trap – and then – move in for the kill. 

Like a predator.

For the first time in my life  I will use my beauty to my advantage  not to be taken advantage of – like it happened all these years.

I was just 19 
 a fresh graduate wondering what to do in life  when my elder sister Nisha died in childbirth  leaving behind a newborn girl  and a young heartbroken husband, Ashok.

Nisha’s husband Ashok was totally devastated.

So – w my mother and I  we went to stay with Ashok in Mumbai – to nurse the baby girl – and to help Ashok recover from the tragedy. 

After a few months we named the baby Smita – as she was a cheerful smiling baby.

From time to time 
– especially on weekends – my father – who was still working at that time –he would come over from Pune – and I could see that he was getting quite irritable – having to stay separated from his long-married wife – though he didn’t say it in so many words.

One day Ashok proposed to me. 

Actually – he asked my mother for my hand in marriage.

My mother was overjoyed. 

She put lovingly her hand on my arm – looked into my eyes – and said: “Ashok loves you and wants to marry you. He’s still young, only 27. He needs a wife. And – Smita needs a mother.”

“Yes, Smita needs a mother,” I said, tightly holding the baby – wondering what would happen to the small baby if Ashok remarried someone else – who would be a stepmother to Smita – and maybe she may have antagonistic feelings towards her.

My mother spoke to my father. 

He agreed. 

To him – it seemed quite a logical thing to do – and maybe – he was relieved that my mother – his much-married wife would be coming back to live with him.

So – I got married to Ashok.

And – I put on hold all my immediate dreams of higher studies and a career.

How should I describe my marriage...?

No expectations, no disappointments, no role-ambiguity, a cordial relationship, a happy family, a blissful marriage – at least from the outside.

Children...? 

Our children  i.e. Ashok’s and mine. 

It just didn’t happen. 

With Nisha’s death – a little something in him had died. 

He must have loved her very much – too intensely.

I accepted the situation with grace.

I tried to focus on being a good wife and a doting mother. 

As Smita grew older – Ashok encouraged me to study – do my MBA – and start a career.

Ashok was married to his job. 

Things were fine – till one evening Ashok came home looking distraught – and – he broke the news that he had been passed over for promotion.

Ashok was shattered. 

He had worked sincerely, slogged hard.

He given his life for his career. 

And now – he had failed in is career.

He had remained loyal to his company without getting loyalty in return. 

He felt terribly betrayed. 

For Ashok – after Nisha had gone – his career meant everything.

He just couldn't take it – being sidelined in his career – having to work under his erstwhile juniors.

He just could not cope with this setback – so he tried to find solace in alcohol.

Within months he slipped into the abyss of alcoholism.

From a workaholic 
– he became an alcoholic.

Day by day he became more and more bitter and cynical.

And then – one day – my world disintegrated.

Ashok died in a car accident 
– while driving home drunk.

I wish he had died in some better way.

So after eight years of marriage – at the age of 27 – I found myself with an 8 year old Smita – the light of my life. 

I was single – but I was not helpless – as I was doing quite well in my career as a bank executive. 

12 years passed.

And now – Smita is 20 – already working in my bank – and doing her MBA in the evenings. 

She is earning while she is learning – and I am so proud of her.

And then – I fell in love – for the first time in my life. 

Let me tell you about it.

I still remember the day Sameer breezed into my office announcing that he would be working with me: “Hi, Nalini – I am Sameer – your new Deputy...” he announced superciliously – sitting down and lighting a cigarette.

“Put off that cigarette!” I shouted, “And don’t you dare come into my office unless I call you.

“Hey, Sweetie – you look red hot sexy when you are angry. My wife is going to be really jealous when I tell her how stunning my boss is...” Sameer said, laughing mischievously.

“She won’t – when you tell her that your boss is a 35 year old widow with a college going daughter...” I retorted in anger – and I stormed out of my office to protest against Sameer’s appointment – for which I had not been consulted.

“Sameer is a genius,” my boss said, “the directors head-hunted him and managed to lure him over from our biggest rival with great difficulty. He’s going to rejuvenate your department…”

I got the message. 

This new man was a threat – and – if I wasn’t careful – it wouldn’t be surprising if he leap-frogged over me – or – even eased me out of my job. 

I walked back to my office.

Sameer was waiting in my office.

“I am sorry Ma’am – I didn’t know the culture was so formal out here...” Sameer was contrite when I returned, “I’ll maintain decorum in future.”

“It’s okay,” I said – and I began to tell Sameer about our work.

Sameer was extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, supportive, open, sincere, affable and great to work with – but initially – I kept my distance – and I treated him with forced geniality – tinged with wariness.

Gradually – I got to know more about him – and his personal life.

We became close friends only during his painful divorce – the seeds of which seemed to have been sown much earlier – and maybe – that was the reason why he had relocated to Mumbai – to separate from his wife who stayed on in Delhi. 

During those depressing days – I often lent him my shoulder to cry on.

It was inevitable that we fell in love. 

We were lonely buddies with a thirst for life – soul-mates – attracted to each other – “office-spouses” – who now needed to become real spouses.

Normally a man is supposed to make the first move.

So – I waited for Sameer to propose to me – but maybe he was shy – being 7 years my junior. 

Now – I realized that I had waited long enough – for him to propose to me.

Maybe – he too had waited long enough – for me to propose to him.

And – I shuddered to think – suppose I lost him...

Oh My God – it would be so terrible...

I was already 39 years old.

Sameer was my last chance – he was my only love.

Soon – my daughter Smita would get married – and – she would go away – and – I would be all alone.

I did not want to live the rest of my life like a loveless lonely maid – a forlorn spinster – with nothing to look forward to on life.

Yes  time was running out for me. 

Sameer was my last chance. 

I had to act fast. 

Yes – I had to talk to him today.  

I looked at the wall-clock.

7:30 PM.

Sameer would he here any time now to take me out for dinner.

Normally we take Smita out with us too 
– but tonight – I had insisted that only the two of us – Sameer and me – only we two would go – and surprisingly – Smita did not protest.

I put on the final touches of make-up – then generously dabbed on my favourite perfume.

The door-bell rang. 

“Mummy, Sameer is here...” I heard Smita yelling.

I gave myself a final look in the mirror. 

I looked really gorgeous. 

Yes – I looked truly stunning – dressed to kill. 

I couldn’t have titivated better than this.

“Wow!” Smita said – looking at me with delightful surprise in her eyes, “You look dashing!”

Sameer looked at me mesmerized. 

I could see that he was attracted to me.

He desperately tried to stop his eyes from roaming all over my body – especially to those places where it would be considered naughty.

“Hey, what’s with you two...? Aren’t you going to go out fast and let me enjoy my TV and popcorn...?” Smita teased.

Soon – Sameer and Me – we were driving on Marine Drive towards our favourite restaurant – the best place for an unhurried romantic dinner.

“It’s a beautiful evening. Let’s sit by the sea,” Sameer said spontaneously, slowing down the car.

“I’d love to...” I said.

We sat close to each other on the parapet, facing the placid waters of the Arabian Sea, the lights of the ships in the distance, the twinkling stars in the clear sky above us, the sea breeze blowing in our faces, pure and refreshing.

“I want to say something…” Sameer hesitated.

“Say it!” I urged him.

“I wanted to ask…” he faltered.

“Ask. Please ask me,” I beseeched him.

Sameer looked at me – into my eyes – and he said to me: “I want ask your permission to marry Smita. We love each other. We want to get married. I told her to tell you but Smita said I must ask you. She’ll do as you say. I promise I’ll keep her happy…”

Sameer kept on speaking. 

Yes – Sameer kept on speaking – but – his words did not register – as my mind had gone blank.

I could see his lips moving – but I could not hear his words. 


I kept staring at Sameer  my mind blank  as if I had become a Zombie – as if I was a living corpse... 

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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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is an abridged and revised re-post of my story LOVE TRAP written by me more than 9 years ago in the year 2007 and published in my book COCKTAIL. This story was posted online by me earlier a number of times in my various creative writing blogs at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/a-beautiful-woman-often-has-a-tragic-life_81543_blog  and  http://creative.sulekha.com/love-trap_73693_blog and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/06/cougar-on-hunt.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/11/setting-love-trap.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/03/blog-fiction-story-no-14-love-entrapment.html  etc

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