Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Inappropriate Love

INAPPROPRIATE LOVE
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Place: A Corporate Office in Mumbai

Dramatis Personae:

A Man
A Woman (His Ex-Wife)
Their Daughter (Pooja)
A Lady Office Colleague of the Man (Mala)

Inappropriate Love – A Story by Vikram Karve

The moment the man sees the woman – he shouts at her:

“What are you doing here…?”

“I came to see you…” the woman says.

“Why have you come to see me…? I told you very clearly that I don’t want to see your face for the rest of my life…”

“Even I don’t want to see your face – but – I desperately need your help…”

“Help…? You need my help…? What help…?”

“You will have to look after our daughter…”

“What…? You want me to look after Pooja…?”

“Yes. You will have to take care of our daughter Pooja from now on. I want her to live with you…”

“You want Pooja to live with me…?”

“Yes…”

“I just don’t understand. I still remember how viciously you fought the custody battle for Pooja – you called me a “dangerous” man – you said that our daughter’s life would be in danger if she lived with me – because I was a “violent brute” – and now – you want to leave our daughter with me…?”

“I made a mistake…”

“Your lawyer – he threatened me – that if I didn’t give up custody of our daughter – you would even file “domestic violence” and “dowry harassment” cases against me – and you would get me arrested…”

“I am sorry – he told me to do it…”

“You made all sorts of false allegations against me. You told them that I regularly beat up Pooja – you told them that Pooja won’t be safe with me…”

“Please…”

“By peddling all sorts of lies – you managed to win custody of our daughter – and worse – you even managed to curtail my visiting rights by projecting me as an “evil influence” …”

“I told you – what I did was very wrong – I am sorry…”

“And now – you want to hand over our daughter Pooja to me...?”

“Yes…”

“But why…? Why do you want Pooja to live with me…?”

“She is not safe in our house…”

“Pooja is not “safe” at your place…? What do you mean…?”

“My husband…”

“What about him…?”

“I suspect that he indulges in “inappropriate behaviour” with her…”

Inappropriate Behaviour…? What do you mean by “inappropriate behaviour”…?” 

“You know what I mean. Please don’t ask me anything…”

“No. You will have to tell me exactly what “inappropriate behaviour” your husband is doing to Pooja. Is he…?”

“Please. Please. Please. I don’t want to speak on this disgusting topic – otherwise I will break down. You please take Pooja with you. I beg you…”

“Bloody Pervert – Let’s go right now and report him to the police…”

“No. No. Please…”

“What do you mean “NO” – the filthy bugger is sexually abusing our daughter – he must be arrested and taught a lesson he won’t forget…”  

“I don’t have any proof…”

“What do you mean that you don’t have any proof…? You just said that he indulges in “inappropriate behaviour”…”

“I have not actually seen him…”

“You have never seen him doing anything wrong – like touching her inappropriately…?”

“No…”

“Then – how can you…?”

“I can see it in his eyes…”

“What…?”

“The way he looks at her – I can see the lechery in his eyes…”

“So – you just suspect that he has evil intentions…?”

“I know…”

“You know…? Did Pooja say anything…?”

“No – she is too small to understand these things…”

“So – are you just imagining all these things…?”

“No – my “motherly instinct” tells me that something is wrong…”

“Motherly instinct…? I really don’t know whether to believe you or not. Knowing your devious nature – I wonder whether you have some ulterior motive…”

“No. No. Please believe me. He is a filthy pervert. Our daughter Pooja is unsafe with him…”

“Well – when I saw him last – he certainly didn’t look like an obscene pervert – in fact – he looked like a suave gentleman – so refined and soft-spoken…”

“Yes – he looks like a polite gentleman – but – that’s from the outside – for the sake of society. From the inside – behind closed doors – he is a depraved disgusting sadist…” the woman says, and she breaks into tears.

“Did he do anything to you…?” the man asks the woman.

“I don’t want to talk about it. You just take our daughter Pooja away from him…”

“But how can you continue living with such a sadistic pervert…? Why don’t you leave him…?”

“How many husbands can I leave…? My first husband turned out to be an alcoholic – I left him. Then – my second husband – you – you were a “wife-beater”…”

“How dare you call me a “wife-beater”…? I beat you only once – and – you deserved it…”

“What do you mean “I deserved it”…?”

“You committed adultery – you betrayed my trust – you were unfaithful, disloyal – you were cheating on me – and I caught you red-handed in bed with that filthy swine – who is now your husband…”

“You thrashed us badly – violence is not justified…”

“What did you expect me to do in the situation…? I cannot tolerate betrayal of trust – and – you betrayed my trust…”

“Even if I was wrong – you shouldn’t have beaten me so badly…”

“I lost control of myself…” the man says.

The man pauses for a moment – he looks at the woman – and he says to her:

“Tell me one thing. How do you know that I won’t lose control of myself again…? That is why I am asking you again. At the custody hearing – you kept on saying that I am a “violent brute”. If that is so – why do you want to leave Pooja with me…?”

“Pooja will be safe with you. I know that you love her – you will care for her well – you will never harm her…”

“I don’t know about that. But – I can’t trust you. You have a devious and vindictive nature. My inner voice tells me that you have some ulterior motive…”

“Please – I beg you…”

“Tomorrow – you may say that I have kidnapped Pooja – and you will get me arrested…”

“Please – I promise you…”

“Ha Ha – a “promise” – and from a cheat like you…?”

“I will give you whatever you want in writing – I will sign any paper you want…”

“Okay – we’ll see – but – before that – tell me how did you know I would be here today…?”

“I know that you come to the Mumbai Head Office every month…”

“But – how did you know that I will be here today…? Have you got a spy in my office…? Who told you…?”

“I promised her that I will not tell you…”

“Mala…?”

“Yes. Mala told me. In fact – our daughter Pooja is sitting in her office…”

“What…? You have brought Pooja here…?”

“Yes – along with her bags…”

“You packed her bags and brought her here…?”

“You take Pooja with you to Delhi in the evening…”

“Are you crazy…?”

“Mala said that she will manage the air ticket on the same flight…”

“I am not talking about the air ticket. What have you told Pooja…? I doubt she even knows that I am her father. She was so small when you took her away.”

“I have told her about you…”

“You told Pooja that I am her father…?”

“No. I told her that you were an “Uncle” – I have shown her your picture – I have told her you are taking her on a holiday for a few days because I have to go abroad for a few days on work…”

“She doesn’t even know me. She won’t come with me…”

“She will come with you. In fact – she is quite excited about the flight journey and all the things you are going to show her in Delhi…”

“You are a wily scheming woman – aren’t you…? And – what about your husband – that filthy lecherous pervert…?”

“He is away on tour…”

“Have you told him that you are sending Pooja with me…?”

“No…”

“He knows you have custody. He may create trouble later…”

“He cannot do anything. She is my daughter – not his…”

“I am not very comfortable with all this…”

“I told you – I will sign whatever document you want – on “stamp paper” – anything you say…”

“I will talk to Mala – she is the legal…”

“I have already told Mala – she is preparing the papers for us to sign – she said she will get all the formalities done…”

“What…? Mala never told me all this…”

“Please. Don’t say anything to her. She is just trying to help…”

“I am really angry with Mala. She has no business to interfere in my personal life…”

“She is just trying to help. Please try to understand…”

“I still feel that you should leave your husband and live separately with Pooja. If you are short of money – I will try and help you out…”

“I can’t leave him…”

“Why can’t you leave him…? You divorced twice – do it once more. With your “talent” – I am sure you will easily find one more husband. Of course – with your luck – he may turn out to be even worse your previous husbands…”

“Please don’t be cruel…”

“You will have to tell me why you can’t leave this bloody filthy pervert…”

“I love him…”

“What…? You love him – that depraved sadist – the sick paedophile…”

“I can’t leave him. I don’t want to talk about him. You please take Pooja with you. Please – Pooja is your daughter – do you want something terrible to happen to her…? I beg you – please take Pooja with you…” the woman says – and she breaks down totally and collapses into the chair.

“You go and sit in Mala’s office. You are a cunning woman. I am still not sure of your motives. Let me think the whole thing over…” the man says.

The woman composes herself – and she says to the man:

“Please don’t take out your anger on Mala…”

“I need some time to think. You please go and sit in Mala’s office. I will come there and tell you my decision…”

The woman leaves.

The man sits in a chair – he closes his eyes – and thinks about the whole thing.

15 minutes later – his decision made – he picks up the intercom and calls Mala.

Mala picks up the intercom at the other end – and she says:

“Hello…”

The man says to Mala:

“Mala – please tell her to take Pooja and go away – I cannot look after Pooja…”

“You wife has already gone away…”

“She is not my wife…”

“Sorry. I mean your “ex-wife” – she has already gone away…”

“That’s good…”

“But – your daughter Pooja is here in my office…”

“What…?”

“Yes, Sir – your “ex-wife” – she left Pooja here with me – and she went away. She told me that you were taking her to Delhi with you. I have already booked Pooja’s ticket on your flight….”

“Who told you to do that…? I am not taking that girl with me…”

“Sir – your daughter is so cute – she is such a darling – I am bringing her to you – you will love her so much – I am sure you will take her with you…”

Three hours later – the small girl called Pooja – full of innocence – she sits with her father in the car – and they travel to the airport to catch the flight to Delhi. 

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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