Friday, June 9, 2017

The Mission

THE MISSION 

PRETTY WOMAN IN A BRIGHT YELLOW DRESS
Short Fiction  A Romance
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Long back  12 years ago – sometime in the year 2005  there was a creative writing competition inviting Fiction Short Stories for Children.

I wrote this story for that competition. 

Though this is a story for children  I am sure you will enjoy reading it. 

Those days I lived in Mumbai.

If you live in Mumbai  I am sure you know that there is a sea-facing women’s hostel on Marine Drive near Charni Road Station.

I first visited this hostel in the 1970s to deliver some goodies to a girlfriend of a Navy shipmate. 

Many years later – I crossed the hostel every morning and evening on my jog-cum-walks from Churchgate to Chowpatty and back. 

Maybe that’s why this place features in many of my stories. 

But – remember – Dear Reader – that this story is pure fiction – totally apocryphal – and - there was no such pretty woman in bright yellow dress as described in the story.

Also remember – this story is set in Mumbai – circa 2005 – so – you will have to go back in time 12 years. 

And – the story is narrated by a young boy – who is not yet 12 years old. 

So – here is the story – suitably abridged and edited – for easy reading on a digital screen.

Tell me if you like the story... 

THE PRETTY WOMAN IN A BRIGHT YELLOW DRESS
(a story by Vikram Karve) 

“Wake up  I am sending you on a mission...” my father said, shaking me off my bed.
 
“Mission...!!!” I jumped out of bed and got ready in a jiffy.
 
My father is a detective  and  once in a while  he sends me on undercover assignments. 

My father is the only thing I have got in this world  after God took my mother away.
 
“Surveillance?” I asked, as we stood discreetly at the bus stop outside Taraporewala Aquarium on Marine Drive near the Charni Road Railway Station.
 
My father looked at me and said: 

“Yes. A simple tail-chase. Look to your right  keep your eyes focused on the gate of the working women’s hostel. A woman will come out soon. You follow her  shadow her  like a tail  but very discreetly  and the moment you lose her  ring me up on your mobile.”
 
Suddenly  a tall woman wearing a bright yellow dress appeared at the gate. 

My father gave me a nudge  and then he disappeared.
 
The woman walked towards Charni Road Station.

She crossed the over-bridge to platform No. 2  and then she waited for the train to Churchgate.

The woman got into the ladies compartment  and I followed her in.

Though I am a boy – I am still below 12 years of age  and – I am allowed to travel in the ladies compartment.

The woman in the bright yellow dress sat down  and I observed her  unseen  standing in the crowd. 

She must have been around 25  or probably in her late 20’s – maybe 30  but – she looked very lovely and youthful  and – with her smooth fair creamy complexion  she looked really smashing in the bright yellow dress.

She looked lovely – yes – she was really very pretty.

What was most striking about the woman was her huge expressive dancing eyes.
 
At Churchgate  she leisurely strolled down the platform  whilst everyone else rushed by.

She browsed at Wheeler’s bookstall  and then  she stopped at Tibbs  bought a Frankie  and walked towards the underground exit. 

I too love Frankies  so I quickly bought one too  and I followed her  careful not to be seen.

We both walked  me behind her  munching away  straight down the road towards Nariman Point  till she stopped at the Inox Multiplex.
 
Shit...!!! 

I hoped the woman wouldn’t go for an Adults movie. 

But  luckily  she bought a ticket for the movie Cats & Dogs 

So – I too bought a ticket – and I followed her in.
 
I really enjoyed the rest of my mission.

The lovely woman in bright yellow dress was quite a fun person  and she spent the day thoroughly enjoying herself  seeing the sights  browsing books at Flora Fountain  window shopping on Colaba Causeway – sampling street food  eating things I love to eat  doing the things I like to do.
 
It was smooth sailing. 

Then  the woman suddenly stepped into a beauty parlour.
 
Now  I needed backup.

So  I called up my father.

But – my father told me to abort the mission  and – he asked me to meet him at our usual favourite place in the vicinity – Stadium Restaurant next to Churchgate station.

“You want me to abort the mission...?” I protested.

“Yes – you abort the mission...” my father ordered me, “and – you come fast to Churchgate – our usual place – Stadium – I will tell you the reason when you get here…”

My father was waiting inside Stadium Restaurant.
 
He had chosen an inconspicuous table in the middle of the restaurant  and he sat facing the entrance.

I sat by his side  so I too could have a view of the entrance.

I told him everything.

He listened intently.
 
Suddenly  I saw the lovely woman in the bright yellow dress standing bold as brass at the entrance of the restaurant looking directly at us.

I felt a tremor of nervousness.

The ground slipped beneath my feet.

And  when I saw the woman coming directly towards our table  I slunk down  and I tried to hide in my chair  and I wished the earth would swallow me up.
 
My father smiled at the lovely woman in the bright yellow dress – and he said to her: 

“Hello, Nanda...”

I was stunned.
 
“Hello, Nanda...?” 

My father was saying to the woman: “Hello, Nanda...”

This was too much...!!!

I looked at my father  puzzled by his behaviour.

First my father sends me after this lovely woman in the bright yellow dress  on a tail-chase  shadowing her all day – and now – he says to her: Hello, Nanda...!!!
 
The lovely woman in the bright yellow dress – with dancing eyes – she sat down opposite me  on the seat next to my father.

She looked at me curiously.
 
“You two have met  haven’t you...?” father asked.  
 
“No  I don’t think we have met... the woman said  looking intently at me.
 
“No...? Are you sure...? Try to think. You must have seen him somewhere before...” my father said to the woman.

The woman looked at me – and she said to my father: 

“I am sure I have not seen him before. I never forget a face. This is the first time I am seeing him. He is cute  yes  your son is really cute...” 
 
My father winked at me in appreciation. 

I had successfully completed the surveillance mission without being spotted.
 
But  who was this woman  I wondered – who was this woman who my father had asked me to shadow whole day. 

S I asked my father: 

“Who is this Aunty...?”

The pretty woman in the bright yellow dress looked lovingly at me with her dancing eyes. 

And then  she said to me: 

“Don’t call me Aunty. I am going to be your new Mother...” 

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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

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