Saturday, April 14, 2012

PARTING GIFT - My Favourite Short Stories Part 95

My Favourite Short Stories Part 95

From my Creative Writing Archives: 
The first story of my short fiction collection COCKTAIL - stories about relationships.

“She can take the flat, but I want custody of my son,” the man says emphatically to the marriage counselor in the family court.

“No way,” shouts the woman, “he can keep his flat, his money, everything. I don’t want anything from him. I just want my son.”

The marriage counselor looks at the eight-year-old boy Aditya and asks him lovingly, “Aditya, tell me, what do you want?”

“I want both of them,” Aditya says softly, perplexed by the situation.

“Both of them?” the counselor asks, looking a bit puzzled.

“Yes,” the boy says emphatically, “I want both my mummy and my daddy.”

“I think you both should give it a last try, at least for your son’s sake,” the counselor says to the warring couple.

“No. I’ve had enough. It’s over. We can’t stay with this man!” the woman says.

“We?” the man asks incredulously, “What do you mean ‘we’? Well you are most welcome to go wherever you want, but Aditya is staying with me. I am his father!”

“And I am his mother!” the woman pleads anxiously to the man, “Listen, I don’t want anything from you – maintenance, alimony, nothing! Just give me my son. I can’t live without him!”

“He’s my son too. I love him and I can’t live without him too!” the man says.

“See,” the counselor appeals to the man and the woman, “You both love your son so much. I still think you should try to reconcile.”

“No. I want out,” the woman says.

“Me too!” the man says.

“Okay, let’s go in,” the counselor says, shrugging her shoulders, “Since you two have agreed on everything else, the judge will probably ask you the same things I asked you. She may also talk to the child, and then, considering your child’s age, she may let him stay with his mother and grant the father visiting rights.”

“This whole system is biased in favor of women! I can look after my son much better than her,” the man says angrily.

“My foot!” the woman says, “You’ll ruin his life. It is better he remains away from your influence!”

“Please don’t fight inside,” the counselor advises, “You want an amicable mutual consent separation, don't you?”

And so, the man and the woman separate. The first cardinal step towards the death of their marital relationship.

Since their son Aditya is a small boy, he goes with his mother.

After the six month long separation period is over, the man and woman assemble in the family court for their divorce.

“I want to tell you something,” the woman says to the man.

“What?” the man asks.

“Well I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve been seeing someone.”

“And you want to get married to him?”


“That’s great. Go ahead. Good Luck to you!” the man says, “and who is the lucky guy?”

“He is a childhood friend. Now he lives in the States and is here on a vacation.”

“So you’re getting remarried and going off to the United States of America?”

“Yes. Once all this divorce business is through.”

“Good for you,” says the man.

“It’s about Aditya…” says the woman awkwardly.

“Aditya? What about Aditya?” asks the man.

“I want to leave him with you. As a gesture of goodwill. Let’s say as a parting gift.”

“Goodwill? Parting Gift?” asks the man, dumbfounded.

“We - my fiance and I - we thought we should begin life afresh, without the baggage of the past.”

“You call our son the baggage of the past? How dare you? Aditya is your son!” says the man angrily.

“Aditya is your son too!” says the woman, “He needs a father. Especially now.”

“You’ve told Aditya?” asks the man.

“No,” the woman answers.

The man says nothing.

There is silence. 

And then the man hesitantly says to the woman, “A friend of mine has just moved in with me. Actually she’s more than a friend. She’s going to live in with me for some time, so that we get to know each other better, a trial live-in relationship, and then we’ll decide whether to get married. I don’t think it’s the right time for Aditya to stay with me. I think you better keep Aditya with you, as a parting gift from me!”

Strange are the ways of life.

First the parents fought bitterly for the custody of their beloved son and now no one, neither his mother nor his father, wants to keep him any longer.

And so the man and the woman each found their new life-partners and lived happily ever after” and their unwanted darling son Aditya was packed off to boarding school to live in a hostel. Neither his mother nor his father wanted him as a “parting gift”. 

Sad, isn’t it, when hapless children become pawns in marital conflicts and innocent victims of broken marriages. 

I feel that children are important stakeholders in a marriage. (The husband and the wife are not the only stakeholders). 

I read in the newspapers that they want to make divorce easier. Is this step not detrimental to children? Shouldn't children have a say in the matter?

What are your views? Please comment and tell us what you think.

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 a story from my anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL - stories about relationships, comprising 27 short stories which I am sure you will like. 
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
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
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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.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


compassion9981 said...

Definitely,if u have a child, hes not just a responsibility but also a major part of your life now.
Abandoning the poor kid like this has already gotten him down. Asking more from him to say would be equal to burning him alive.
Every child should be vital to his parents, its not just the parents who play a role but also the child who has emotions and does matter..

Moral : Think twice before you do something wrong. Atleast for the sake of your as to say "child's" future.

Indian Home Maker said...

Divorces in real life are a little different, generally it takes a lot for a couple to seek divorce. In most cases I know of, there is reluctance to seek divorce even when the child is traumatised and even when there is violence. I have read emails/comments from children of mothers who did not divorce and they feel guilty for the 'sacrifices' that were made for them but also feel angry that they were not given more peaceful childhoods (with divorce or separation).

Most women who write in asking for advise from blog readers are unwilling to divorce even when they are very unhappy, financially self reliant and sometimes supporting their spouse - once they have children they are even more unwilling to seek divorce.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

IHM - You do have a point. Children tend to keep marriages together.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ compassion : I agree