Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Do you think marriage counselling works? 
Here is a story I wrote recently, sometime last year - my take on the concept of counselling.
Read on and tell me if you like the story.

Short Fiction – A Story

“Thanks for the lift.”

“Come on, it’s okay. The University is on the way to Hinjewadi.”

“I never knew it rained so heavily in Pune. Luckily I met you on the flight. Otherwise I would have been stuck at the airport.”

“Coming to Pune for the first time?”

“No. But after a long time. I lived here more than twenty five years ago. I taught at the University.”

“Oh. So you were a Professor? No wonder you are so knowledgeable. I must say your research paper at the IEEE Conference was really impressive.”

“Thanks. It’s good they had the conference in Delhi. It gave me an opportunity to visitIndia after a long time. I have been so busy I could just make two hurried business trips to Bangalore and back and just couldn’t make it to Pune.”

“So you are going to the University for delivering a lecture there on Signal Processing is it?”

“No. No. Actually I have come to Pune to meet a lady. I lost contact with her ever since I left Pune – you know those days there was no email, no internet, nothing, and I am quite poor at letter writing.”

“She works in the University?”

“No. She lives in a bungalow off Ganeskhind Road. It is near the University – I think I will be able to find it from there.”

“I doubt it. The whole place has changed. There are hardly any bungalows now – there are high rises and malls and multiplexes there now. You won’t even recognize the place. You’ve got her name, her address?”

“Yes,” I said, and gave him the piece of paper I had in my pocket. The man looked at the paper in a curious sort of way and asked me, “You want to meet her? After so many years?”

“Yes, I want to meet her to express my gratitude,” I said. “She saved my marriage.”

“She saved your marriage?”

“Yes. Me and my wife – we were going to divorce – our differences had become irreconcilable – our relationship was beyond repair – it was an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. That’s what everybody said, all the marriage counsellors we consulted, our relatives, friends, everyone, till we met her. She was the best marriage counsellor we ever met. She saved our marriage. She is the one who advised us to leave all our unpleasant baggage behind and relocate to a new place and start a new life afresh. It worked. I have to meet her this time. God knows when I will come to India next. My wife has sent her a gift too – a diamond necklace.”

“Well, this lady does not live at this address anymore. She lives in Aundh,” the man said.

“How do you know? You know her?”

“Of course I know her. She is my wife,” he said matter-of-factly.

“What? But how…?”

“She and her husband, I mean her ex-husband – they got divorced a few years ago. And after her divorce she married me.”

I did not say anything. I was dumbstruck.

“I know what you are thinking and what’s going on in your mind,” he said, “Such a good marriage counsellor who saved so many marriages – how could she not save her own marriage?”

“No…” I said incoherently.

“Why don’t you ask her that when you meet her?” he said.

“Meet her?”

“Of course. Aundh is on the way. I will drop you home. I had told my wife that I would be driving straight to work from the airport but let's surprise her. I am sure she will remember you. You two can meet, talk about the good old days and I’ll try to finish off my work early and be back in time for lunch. And then we will drop you off at the airport for your evening flight.”

“No,” I said, “I better not meet her.”

“Come on, be a sport. Don’t tell me you don’t want to gift her the diamond necklace you have brought with you all the way from America. She will love to meet you. But by the way, let me warn you – she has given up marriage counselling.”


I heard a story from someone, maybe apocryphal, about a lady counsellor. 

She was counselling a man for his drinking problem. (The husband had been brought to the counsellor by his wife). 

I do not know whether the counselling worked or not but I was aghast to hear that the counsellor’s own husband was an alcoholic. 

Charity begins at home. 

If the lady was not able to “counsel” her own husband and cure him of his alcoholism then how could she cure others?

If you have a personal problem like drinking or smoking, the best way is to solve it yourself. 

No one else can solve your problem better than you yourself. 

In these cases you just have to quit drinking or smoking. It is that simple. The solution is in your hands. 

You do not need to go to a counsellor who will advise you to stop drinking or smoking. 

First you have to decide what is good for you and if you make up your mind to give up any habit you can do it yourself. 

I did it myself. 

I took a decision and I quit smoking and drinking forever, on the spot, there and then, in one day, and have never smoked tobacco or drank alcohol since. 

You can do it too. It works. You can take my word for it.

Similarly if two persons have a mutual problem it is best that they solve it themselves without involving a third party. 

Take the case of marriage. 

I feel that it is best for the husband and wife to mutually resolve issues in the marital relationship rather than involve someone else. 

If the marital relationship between husband and wife gets so deteriorated that a third party needs to get involved in order for the couple to communicate, then the relationship is already dead in the water. 

When a relationship gets terribly demoralized by distrust, I feel that it is better to break up and sever the relationship rather than try to patch it up, especially by third party intervention.

That’s why I sometimes wonder whether marriage counselling really works or is it just a gimmick? 

If marriage counselling is really so effective then why are there so many divorces? 

Why can’t we solve our problems ourselves? 

Why can't a husband and wife sort out their issues mutually themselves?

This is the message in my story on marriage counselling.

I sometimes wonder about the very concept of counselling, especially marriage counselling. 

Does counselling help? 

Who does it help more – the counselee or the counsellor? 

I think counselling actually helps the counsellor more than the counselee.  

Apart from ego massage (a sense of self-satisfaction for the counsellor at having “helped” someone), it is a fact that talking with someone who needs comforting sometimes makes your own troubles go away. 

That is why I think the lady whose own husband was an alcoholic derived solace from counselling other alcoholics

And maybe a person whose own marriage is unhappy may find vicarious relief by indulging in marriage counselling.

Dear Reader, Do you agree? 

What is your experience? 

Do you think counselling works? 

In which scenarios does it work and where does it not? 

Do comment and let us know your views.

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?
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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 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.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
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Email: vikramkarve@sify.com      

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Sonal said...

hello Mr. Karve, I disagree with the fact that Marriage Counselling will not help anybody. I have not got a first-hand experience by God's grace but I can see where it can be helpful. I think it is the same reason why people see shrinks, sometimes it is not disstrust between a couple but lack of proper communication if someone can point it out to you in a co-ordinated fashion, I think the point might reach home. I firmly believe even if the relationship is dead it is worth giving this last door a try, it might just work...

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Sonal - Thank you for your views. You do have a point about counselling.
The story was written from the marriage counselor's point of view. What I was trying to say in the story is that "you must know yourself before knowing others - heal thyself before advising others".
As far as counselling is concerned I fully agree with you must take help to give a last try to a breaking relationship.
Thank you for your comments which have added value to my blog.