Short Fiction – A Romance
Last evening, there was a sudden thunderstorm in Pune, unexpected windy rain, yes, a heavy shower, and, caught unawares, while I stood drenched under a bus shelter in Aundh, I remembered this story I had written some time back. So here it is, Dear Reader – do tell me if you liked it.
The monsoon has finally arrived in Pune. It is the first day of the monsoon, but it’s been raining incessantly all morning.
Ideally, at 10 o’clock in the morning on a working day, I should have been safely ensconced in my office, but today I sit in the driving seat of my car, slowly negotiating my way in the torrential rain, for I have an important appointment to keep.
Suddenly I see Avinash, half drenched, shivering under the bus-stop at Aundh, trying to protect himself from the pouring rain.
He sees me too. Our eyes meet. I don’t know who is more surprised at this unexpected encounter – he or me.
At first instinct, I just feel like ignoring him and driving away.
But then my humanitarian side takes over, so I stop the car near him, lean across, open the door and beckon him to get inside.
He seems hesitant, “Thanks, but I’ll take an auto – I am going to Deccan…”
“Come on Avinash, get in fast or you’ll get wet – you won’t get a rickshaw in this rain – I too am going towards Deccan Gymkhana – I’ll drop you on the way.”
He gets in and for a while we drive in silence.
“It’s been five years,” he says.
“Yes,” I say, “Quite a surprise, seeing you here in Pune…”
“Yes. I just came in from Mumbai by the Volvo bus, got down at Parihar Chowk… and you…what are you doing in Pune?”
“I relocated here six months ago…you still in the States...?”
“Yes. But maybe I’ll come back…”
“Homesick...? Or is the recession still not over…?”
“So you’ve come to look for a job in Pune…?”
“It’s actually something else…a family matter…”
“Family matter…? In Pune…?”
“My wife is from Pune…”
“Wife…? You remarried…?
“Yes…two years ago…”
“And I didn’t even know…!”
“We decided…didn’t we…to move on…go off on our different ways…not look back…”
“Yes…we lost track of each other completely…”
“That was good…isn’t it…for both of us…”
“And you…? You married again…?”
“Yes…soon after you left for the States after our divorce…”
“On the rebound…?”
“Maybe…” I laugh.
Avinash has not changed…the way he says these devastatingly rude things in such a naïve innocent way.
We are nearing the Pune University circle so I ask, “Where is your wife’s house...? I’ll take the road accordingly…”
“It’s okay…just drop me wherever you can…”
“Come on…tell me…see how much it is raining…you want me to take Senapati Bapat Road…or drive straight ahead…to Fergusson College Road…or Jangli Maharaj Road…?”
“It’s okay…you go wherever you want to go in Deccan…I’ll get off there…”
“Oh…so you don’t want to show me your wife’s house…” I say, tongue in cheek.
“No…No…it’s not that…I am going somewhere else…to the Family Court…”
“To the Family Court…? I ask, taken aback.
“Yes,” he says, “it’s beyond Deccan, past Lakdi Pul…near Alaka…”
“I know where the family court is…” I say, “I hope you are not…”
“Yes…first it was the Family Court in Mumbai with you…and now…” he stops, as tears well up in his eyes.
“I too am going to the Family Court…” I say, sensing a lump in my throat.
“What…?” he looks at me, startled.
“I am divorcing my husband…today is the final hearing…hopefully…”
I slow down, stop the car near the pavement past E-Square. I wipe my eyes with tissue and hold the tissue box towards Avinash. He too wipes his eyes.
“Maybe we should have stayed together, tried to make our marriage work,” I say.
“Yes…it all happened so fast …maybe we were too hasty, too impatient, too headstrong…”
“Yes…we could have tried to make it work…”
“I think we sought the easy way out. We were too young and unrealistic, immature…impetuous…volatile…”
“Yes… ours was a tempestuous stormy relationship…a terrible marriage…but there is one thing…”
“With you I could be myself…no mask, no pretence, no forced geniality…”
“Me too…with you I could truly be myself…no contrived feelings, no holding back…I could never be like that with anyone else…with her too…the way could naturally be with you…you know I think we were made for each other…”
“Maybe we should give it a try…one more time…make things work…”
“You’re serious…?” he asks with a curious look in his eyes.
“Yes, Avinash. Let’s empty our cups and start afresh. Like you said, I too think we are made for each other.”
“Okay, but there is one thing…”
“Is it allowed to marry the same person twice…?
“I think so...I’ll ask my divorce lawyer…she will know…”
“Yes…I’ll confirm at the Family Court too…”
“One more thing…”
“This time…No Expectations, No Disappointments, Happy Marriage…”
“Yes,” I say lovingly putting my hand on his: “No Expectations…No Disappointments…Happy Marriage…”
Suddenly I notice that it has stopped raining and the sun is peeping through the clouds.
I feel good.
I start the car and we drive on towards the Family Court…to erase the second chapter of our marital lives forever and to begin rewriting the unfinished inchoate first chapter our relationship afresh.
Maybe we can have a Monsoon Wedding.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
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., all rights reserved.
Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To know more please click the links below:
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About Vikram Karve
A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel. 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. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.
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