Sunday, September 26, 2010

Playing Agony Aunt

Fiction Short Story

I like playing Agony Aunt.

It is good fun.

I love to talk. I am a good listener.

Listening to others’ troubles seems to make my own troubles go away.

I love to talk to anyone who wants to talk to me.

Yes, talking to someone who needs comforting seems to make my own troubles go away…!

So I am quite happy when Alka calls up, “Are you free today…? I want to speak to you…”

“Sure,” I say, “in the evening…?”

“After work…?”

“Okay…I’ll wait for you in Polka Dots…at seven…”

At seven I sit in the veranda of Polka Dots Café in Aundh sipping Iced Tea waiting for Alka to arrive.

There she is…Alka gets off her company bus which ferries her from her workplace in the IT Park at Hinjewadi to her chummery in Aundh …she spots me, waves, walks briskly and sits on the chair opposite me.

“Thanks for coming,” she says.

“You are welcome,” I say, “But first let’s order…then we’ll talk…”

We order…Fish and Chips for me and a Chicken Teriyaki for her…and then I say, “Tell me...what’s bothering you…?”

“Ashish…” she says, “he wants to do his MBA... ”

“That’s good…”

“I know… I have nothing against his doing MBA… but he wants to postpone our marriage…”


“We’ve been seeing each other for seven years now… we’ve been going around since our first year in engineering college…we’d decided to get married the moment we completed our B.Tech. and got a job…that was okay… I was getting much better offers but I joined the same company just to be with him… then he said let’s finish our training… then he said let the probation period be over… the he kept dilly dallying… every time I ask him let’s get married he says let’s wait, be secure in our careers… and now this MBA bug has bit him… I said let’s get married and you can do your MBA here in Pune… but he says no… he wants to go to IIM… concentrate on his CAT… then focus on his MBA studies and come on top of his class…”

The food arrives. We start eating. 

There is silence for a while and then Alka starts speaking, “How long can we continue like this…? I am almost twenty five now…so he’ll study for CAT for a year…then two more years of MBA…then he’ll say let me settle down in my new job… I feel very insecure in life by his indecision… Isn’t it high time we got married and settled down…?”

“I’ll speak to Ashish…” I say

That night I call Ashish over for a drink at our favourite watering hole in Baner. I talk about the conversation Alka had with me in Polka Dots and tell him that Alka’s afraid that he is going to dump her.

“Dump her…? What nonsense… I love her… I want to marry her… but how can I explain… I want to be secure before I marry…? Ashish says.

“Secure…?” I ask.

“You know that a mere B. Tech. isn’t enough these days – I barely managed to hold on to by job during the recession. I don’t feel secure in my job. I have to get an MBA… from a top-notch institute like IIM… get a good job… do well in my life. That’s why I want to focus on studying for CAT and marriage at this stage will disturb my focus on studies. I must get into an IIM... study hard… top the class... get the best job.... I am only twenty five now... there is plenty of time for marriage... I want to feel secure in my career before I make a commitment to marriage so that I can give the best to Alka and our would-be kids…”

So this is the basic dilemma:
“A girl wants to get married to feel secure.
A boy wants to be secure before getting married.”

Now, Dear Reader, please be so good as to tell me how to resolve this dilemma…

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.  
VIKRAM KARVE educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU and The Lawrence School Lovedale, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. His delicious foodie blogs have been compiled in a book "Appetite for a Stroll". Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 
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