Monday, January 30, 2012

FLIRTATION SEDUCTION ABORTION - My Favourite Short Stories Revisited Part 41

My Favourite Short Stories Revisited Part 41
Fiction Short Story – A Breezy Romance

From my Creative Writing Archives: 

Dear Reader,

I spent six of the best years of my life in Mumbai. 

I was very lucky - I lived in a beautiful heritage building called Empress Court opposite the Oval.

Every morning I woke up sharp at six to the chimes of the majestic clock on the University of Mumbai Rajabai Tower and I would be off to Marine Drive for my brisk morning jog cum walk from Churchgate to Chowpatty and back right upto land's end at Nariman Point. This was for physical exercise.

In the evenings, after dinner, and on Sunday afternoons, I would browse books in the Oxford Bookstore next door. 

I can never forget the many delightful hours I spent browsing books in the comfort of Oxford Book Store on those elegant orange rocking chairs, refreshing myself with delicious cups of invigorating teas in the Cha-Bar. 

My wife would keep an eye on me (to ensure I was browsing books only) from our second floor balcony in Empress Court as I sat in a rocking chair enjoying  my reading. 

Whenever I got time I would go across to Oxford and enjoy my moments there - the staff was very courteous and encouraged browsing. 

After relocating to Pune, the one thing I miss is Oxford Bookstore, the tranquil ambiance and the wonderful time I spent there among books.  

As a remembrance, I set this story (which I wrote sometime in 2006 I think) in the Oxford Book Store and the surroundings.

I have written many short stories but Flirtation Seduction Abortion remains one of my all time favourites.

I am sure you will love this breezy romance - the story of a bored housewife and her exciting adventure. Read on ...

What do you do if a man looks at you with frank admiration in his eyes – in an insistent suggestive sort of way that is worth a thousand compliments...?
Nothing...! You do absolutely nothing. Because you are a thoroughly bored “happily” married thirty year old housewife sitting comfortably in your favourite rocking chair, browsing through Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care, at the Oxford Bookstore at Churchgate in Mumbai.
So you just look down, act as if you have not noticed, and try to read.
But you cannot read – the words just don’t focus in front of you. You think of the man, his lingering look, his eyes curiously languid, yet inviting – it’s the first time someone looked at you in such a flattering way for a long long time.
You feel a tinge of excitement.

Maybe something is going to happen. Something exciting, something dangerously exciting is going to happen to you. At long last.

Something that you have been secretly wanting to happen, and thought would never ever happen.
Or maybe it’s nothing.

Just your imagination playing tricks.

So just to check. Once. Only once. You quickly look up – a fleeting glance.
He is still looking at you – not furtively, but brazenly, almost unashamedly, with waves of yearning flowing out of his eyes. He looks a decisive, hot-blooded and masculine man with his smart beard and piercing eyes.
You feel a flush inside. A shiver. A tremor. A tremor of trepidation – mixed with excitement. You cannot define how you feel – but it feels good. He looks at you. You look back at him in return. He begins to smile. You quickly look down and bury yourself into the pages in front of you and pretend to read.
But it’s no use. You can sense his unseen eyes locked onto you, burning into you, travelling all over your body and lingering exactly where they shouldn’t – just like a laser beam.
And now, he knows that you know.
So what do you do...? 

Best is not to react – just accept the fact of being looked at – ignore him. Keep on pretending to read.
Oh, No...! That may be dangerous. He may get ideas. You never know these types. He may think you are game. 

But are you game for some fun...? Or aren’t you...?
Why not play on... have some fun... flirt a bit... see what happens.

Why not have a little excitement to liven up your boring life a bit.

So you take a deep breath, brace yourself and start a dangerous flirtation game.
You look up from your book, pan your gaze slowly across the bookstore, looking at everything – the shelves of books, the people, the cha-bar, the sales counter - and finally, like a dog that has circled its bowl of food long enough, you look directly at him.
Eyes meet. His and yours. Yours and his. His appraising eyes look into yours. And then his eyes travel down and look at the book in your hands.
You spontaneously follow his gaze, and look down at the book in your hands – Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care – most inappropriate for what you have in mind. You quickly put it away into the rack, run your eyes across the shelf and pick up ‘The Art of Seduction’.
You turn the pages – nothing registers – so you look up at him almost seeking approbation.
He smiles – a wry canny smile – as if he knows something you don’t. And suddenly he gets up from the chair, keeps the magazine he is holding back in the rack and begins walking towards you.
Your heart stops – you want to disappear, but he is already standing in front of you.
“Good morning Anita,” he says. “I’m Sen. Dilip Sen.”
Anita...? You are not Anita. Seems to be a case of mistaken identity – but you are curious, and in a playful mood, so you say, “Oh, Hello Mr. Sen. You are late.”
“Late...? No,” he says looking at his watch, a confused look on his face. “The RV is correct - as planned.”
“Rendezvous... ”
Now you are really curious. 

“Why don’t you pull that stool and sit,” you say to the man.
“Not here. Let’s go to the cha-bar. We can talk in peace there,” he says.
“Okay,” You replace the book in its place in the shelf, get up and walk towards the cha-bar.
The cha-bar – the tea lounge – it’s the best thing about Oxford Bookstore. An ideal place to relax, browse, or have a quiet flirtatious chat over a cup of exquisite tea.
As you sip, savouring the fragrance and relishing the rich flavour of premium Darjeeling Tea, you feel a shiver of anticipation. It’s your first time. You wonder what’s going to happen next.
“Well done. Let’s recap,” he says pulling out a pocket diary.
Well done? Recap? You wonder what this is all about. The man seems to be crazy. But you keep your wits about, and to calm down you say to yourself, “Relax. Just keep quiet and go along.”
And to Mr. Sen, you say confidently, “Okay. Sure. Let’s recap.”
Step 1,” he says looking into the diary in front of him, “you and I independently arrive at the previously agreed upon rendezvous. Your choice is excellent – this bookstore – easy to wait, observe and not be noticed. We just blended in. Much better cover than a railway station, park or restaurant. And the book you chose – Baby and Child Care - easily discernible – so aptly chosen. Perfect for your cover. Looked so natural in your hands.”
“Do I look pregnant...?” you snap at him.
“No. No. I am sorry. I didn’t mean it that way,” he says, taken aback, “You look lovely. But the book – it suited your cover – as a bored housewife.”
Cover...? A bored housewife...? What’s he talking...?

That’s what you are, aren’t you...?

Husband busy working, kids at school, and you – a bored housewife... bored to death with nothing to do.
“I’m not bored,” you tease him with your eyes... you flatter him by looking steadily at him without letting your eyes stray.
Step 2 – making eye contact. We could be a bit more discreet next time, isn’t it...?” he says smiling into your eyes.
Discreet...? Next time...? What’s going on...? Who’s this guy...?
Step 3 – the signal. Change of book. Okay. But ‘The Art of Seduction’...?” he looks perplexed, “try something more sober – in line with your cover…..”
He goes on and on but you aren’t listening. 

You just look at him. A man who looks like a man. Solid, strong, decisive but vulnerable.

You fantasize.

Your imagination begins to run wild.

You feel his touch – he has put his hand in your arm. His touch is electric.

A shiver of anticipation rises within you.

Suddenly he is shaking you.

You snap back to reality.
“Okay Anita. Let’s get on with the tradecraft,” he says, in an almost imperative tone.
“Yes. And make sure you don’t grow a tail.”
“Tail...? “
“Yes,” he says, “Be careful. Maybe you’ve already grown a tail – check it out and shake it off.”
“Grown a tail...?” unknowingly you move your hand over your behind to check and instinctively shake your bottom.
“Not there...!” he reprimands, in a voice a teacher uses to scold a careless student.
“Have you forgotten everything – counter surveillance protocol...?”
“Countersurveillance protocol...?” you ask credulous.
“Come on Anita. Snap out of it. Be alert. They told me you were a seasoned detective. Now get on with your mission. We can't afford to abort the mission now...”
Detective...? Mission...? What’s he talking about...?
Oh my God...! Fear starts rising within you. It’s getting dangerous. This is for real... it's no longer fun. It’s time to run.
“Excuse me,” you say, quickly get up and start walking towards the exit. You sense he is following you. So the moment you get out of the bookstore, you deliberately avoid going to your car but walk in the opposite direction towards the Oval.
The Clock on Rajabai Tower is striking twelve – it is twelve noon.
You look back over your shoulder. Dilip Sen is following you.

You break into a run, still looking back, and suddenly bang into someone.

Oh, My God...! It’s Nalini – your gossipy neighbour.
“What happened...?” Nalini asks, steadying you up.
“Nothing,” you say.
“Hey. Why did you abort...?” Dilip Sen asks, catching up with you, his hand clutching your arm.
“Abort...? Did you say 'Abort'...?” exclaims Nalini, her eyebrows arched, a mischievous glint in her eyes... she looks at him and then at me and with an incredulous look in her eyes she says to me in astonishment, "... you... abortion...?"
You look at Nalini. Then at Dilip Sen. And then at Nalini again.
Nalini’s roving eyes travel all over you, look meaningfully at Dilip Sen, for that significant moment her eyes focus on his hand holding yours, taking in everything, till her gaze settles down pointedly looking at where it shouldn’t.
Everything seems frozen in silence - a terrible silence, a deafening silence, a grotesque silence.
You look at Nalini, her changing expression.

Nalini looks at you with envious awe. 
And you see something mischievously wicked in her large radiating eyes.
You know you are sunk.

Yes, you are truly sunk. Lock, Stock and Barrel. Up the Gum Tree, as they say.

You break out into laughter. That’s the only sane thing left to do. Life isn’t going to be boring any longer.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
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?
This is a story from my recently published anthology COCKTAIL - I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in COCKTAIL

To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below: ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll

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 and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 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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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


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