Saturday, September 24, 2016

One Last Time – A Love Story

ONE LAST TIME
A Love Story
Short Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Circa 1977
Mumbai (then called Bombay)

“I want to see her one last time…”

“No…”

“Please…”

“No…”

“I really loved her – I still love her…”

“It is called “lust” – not “love”…”

“Even she loves me…”

“Are you crazy…? Can a woman like her love anyone…?”

“I love her. She loves me. We both love each other – our love is a “two-way” love – mutual love…”

“Ha Ha – it was more like “Mutual Lust”…”

“Please don’t say that. Our relationship was above that level – it was love – our friendship was based on a deep love for each other…”

“Ha Ha – “Friendship based on Deep Love” – are you kidding…? You two were just “friends with benefits” – that’s all…”
                                                                                
“That’s not true – “friends with benefits” – how can you say that…? You have not understood the depth of our relationship – our love for each other…”

“Depth of your Relationship…? Love…? Bloody bullshit…!!! It was a simple “quid pro quo” – she gave you what you wanted – you gave her what she wanted – you both got what you wanted – a simple “tradeoff” – and now – the “transaction” is over – and – both of you can move on and go your own ways…”

“Still – I am feeling so guilty that I am dumped her – just like that – “use and throw”…”

“Don’t feel guilty. You haven’t “dumped her” – because – she was wasn’t yours in the first place – and – you said it right – “use and throw” – she’s just a “fleet auxiliary” – and that’s what “fleet auxiliaries” are meant for – you “use and throw” them – and – that’s what they do to us also, isn’t it – they too “use and throw” us – you “use and throw” her – and – she does the same to you – that’s how it works. However – let me tell you one thing – you are still yearning for her – but – for all you know – she may have already found someone else – and – maybe – she is having a “good time” with her new lover right now…”

“Never – she will never do that – she will always love me…”

“Are you crazy…? I told you – she is just a frivolous “fleet auxiliary”…”


AN EXPLANATORY DIGRESSION (for Readers not familiar with Navy Jargon)

Let me digress a bit and tell you the difference between Fleet Auxiliary and “Fleet Auxiliary”

Fleet Auxiliary 

The former Fleet Auxiliary is a support ship – like an oil tanker, a supply vessel, a tug, a depot ship or a hospital ship – a vessel which supports the main fleet.

“Fleet Auxiliary” (in quotation marks)

The latter “Fleet Auxiliary” is a moniker – a sobriquet – a nickname – given to a girl – who – like auxiliaries – “supports” the men who man the Fleet – by giving them a “good time” – and – helping them quench their carnal passions.

This story is about this second type of “Fleet Auxiliary”.

With a “Fleet Auxiliary” – it is a “no-strings-attached” relationship.

Of course – there may be a bit of “give-and-take” – a sort of “barter” or “tradeoff” – for example – where the “Fleet Auxiliary” enjoys the best imported food and drink on board ships – courtesy her “host” – she gets to drink the best booze – and – she gets some precious gifts like an expensive perfume or some exquisite Swiss chocolates – as a “quid pro quo” – in return for her “favours”...

Let me tell you – that in those “Golden Socialist Days” of the “License Quota Permit Raj” – when prized and coveted foreign goodies were not available in the domestic market – and we in the Navy got them duty-free on board ships – a Naval Officer was quite high up on the social ladder.

Regrettably – the advent of liberalization and globalization changed everything – and nowadays – a Naval Officer is no longer the “crème de la crème” of society anymore – because today – money determines your status – and – businessmen, entrepreneurs and celebrities are the new role models.

And – as far as “fleet auxiliaries” are concerned – it looks like they have disappeared from the fleet – and found greener pastures – because – when I asked a young “Subbie” about it a few days ago – he seemed totally clueless – in fact – he did not even know what the term “fleet auxiliary” meant in Navy slang.

DIGRESSION OVER – STORY CONTINUES...


“Please – before I go on leave – I want to see her one last time…”

“No – it’s 7 o’clock now – let’s have a couple of drinks and dinner – then – I’ll tell the OOD to send a sailor to call a taxi – and – you will go straight to Bombay VT (now called Mumbai CST) – and – you will catch the night passenger to Pune…”

“I have to see her one last time – to explain…”

“Explain what…? You met her for the final time last week – didn’t you – before we sailed out…? Haven’t you called off the relationship – didn’t you tell her that it’s all over…? Haven’t you said your final “good-bye”…? By the way – I hope you haven’t you told her that you are going home on leave to see a girl for marriage…”

“Yes – I told her – I told her everything about the girl – I even showed her the photo of the girl I am going to see in Pune…”

“Are you crazy…? What was the need to tell her about your prospective bride…? And tell me – what was her reaction – what did she say…?”

“She was very upset – she started crying – she told me that she probably thought that we would have a long-term relationship…”

“Bloody hell – she is trying to emotionally blackmail you and trap you into marriage – do you realize that repercussions of getting married to a “fleet auxiliary”…?”

“But – I love her…”

“You idiot – try to understand her “game” – your bloody “fleet auxiliary” – she’s been in the business for 10 years now – since our XO’s time…”

“What…?”

“Yes – a few days ago – when our XO saw her with you – he told me that – when they were “Subbies” – one of his course-mates was going around with her…”

“That’s not possible…”

“Of course it is very much possible – you may be only 24 years old – but she is at least 30 – and – she must be going around since she was 20 – and – 10 years back – our XO was a “Subbie” – isn’t it…? You fool – she must have had at least 10 lovers – and – she will have a few more – before – she is “over the hill”…”

“I never asked her about her earlier affairs – but – she categorically told me – that – with me – it was different. She said – she told me – that – she really loved me – and – even if I dumped her – she would not have any more relationships – and – she would always love me forever…”

“Can’t you see…? She knows that she is “over the hill”. She has realized that her days as a “fleet auxiliary” are numbered – so – she is trying to emotionally blackmail you into marrying her…”

“I don’t know – I am feeling terribly confused – I want to go and meet her right now – just for “one last time”…”

“NO – absolutely NO – you are not going to meet her “one last time” – you are going straight to the station to catch the train to Pune. Then – in Pune – you are going to see the girl – I am sure you will like each other – if not – I am sure your parents have lined up some more girls – so – you see the girls – and – you will get engaged to a nice “back-home-type” girl in your one month’s leave – and – when you come back to the ship after your leave – I want to see an engagement ring on your finger – do you understand…?”

“But…?”

“No “ifs and buts” – and – let me tell you what I am going to do – I will talk to the Captain – we will pull some strings – and we will get you transferred to some ship in Vizag – so – the moment you come back from leave after a month – we will have your farewell PLD – and – you will be off to Vizag – “out of sight – out of mind” – that’s the best way for you to forget your “fleet auxiliary” – and – hopefully – you will be engaged by then – so – you can move on and begin a new life with your fiancée…”  

“Please… I have to go… Right now…”

“Go…? Right now…? It’s only 7:30 – and – your train is at 11:30…”

“I have to see her “one last time”…”

“But – you saw her “one last time” before we sailed out a week ago – isn’t it…?”

“I am going to meet her tonight. She will be expecting me – I told her that I would have one last dinner with her tonight – before I leave for Pune…”

“You told her…? When…? We just returned from sailing this morning…”

“In the morning – the moment we secured alongside – I called her up in her office from the shore telephone…”

“You fool…”

“I couldn’t help it – I told her I wanted to meet her “one last time” – she said “okay” – she suggested that we have a farewell dinner at our favourite restaurant in Churchgate – and ice cream at the parlour nearby – and then – after our “final goodbye” – and – we could part on a “sweet note”…”

“No… You don’t go…”

“I have to go. She will be waiting for me at 8 o’clock. Please drop me on your bike at Churchgate – I just have one bag. After dinner – I’ll take a cab to VT…”

EPILOGUE 

I tried by best to dissuade my friend from meeting his “fleet auxiliary” for “one last time”.

But – he was adamant.

So – I dropped him outside the famous restaurant at Churchgate where he was having his “last rendezvous” with his “fleet auxiliary”.

My friend said “thanks” to me – and – he started walking towards the restaurant carrying his bag in his right hand.

I should have gone back to the ship – but – I was overcome by an urge to have a look inside – to see whether the “fleet auxiliary” was waiting for him.

I parked my bike – and – I followed him to the entrance of the restaurant.

When my friend saw me following him – he said: “You can go back…”

“I just want to see whether she has come – if she is there – I will say “Hi” to her and vamoose – but – if she is not there – you can treat me to dinner – and – I will drop you at VT…”

We entered the restaurant.

She was there.

Yes – my friend’s “fleet auxiliary” was waiting for him.

But – she wasn’t alone.

Sitting next to the “fleet auxiliary” there was a girl.

They were sitting side by side on the same table – the “fleet auxiliary” and the girl – looking at the entrance – as if waiting for my friend to arrive.

I recognized the girl sitting with the “fleet auxiliary”.

It was the same girl in the photo – yes – it was the girl in the photo that my friend had showed me – the very same girl he was going to see in Pune – his “prospective bride”… 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories 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.
 
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