Thursday, February 14, 2013

14 FEBRUARY 2013 - Happy Valentine’s Day

14 February 2013
A Short Story

Pune. 10:30 AM. Thursday. 14 February 2013.

A mobile cell phone vibrates on the office table. It is on silent mode.

The smart young woman executive looks at the display of her cell phone.

It is her mother-in-law calling.

At first the young woman is confused, then a bit worried.

She wonders why her mother-in-law is calling at this hour.

So the smart young woman picks up the mobile phone.

“Yes, Ma,” the young woman says.

“Am I speaking to Swati?” a male voice asks.

“Who is this?” the puzzled woman asks.

“Am I speaking to Swati?” the man repeats the question.

“Yes. I am Swati. But this is my mother-in-law’s number.”

“I know. I am speaking from Shanta’s phone. Your mother-in-law’s name is Shanta, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Her name is Shanta. Where is she? Please give her the phone. Is something wrong?”

“Don’t worry. Shanta is absolutely fine. She told me to call you up and tell you that she won’t be picking up your son Aditya from school this afternoon so you will have to pick him up. The school ends at 12:30 so make sure you are there in time.”

“She won’t be able to pick Aditya up … why … what happened … where is she …?”

“Don’t worry. Shanta is absolutely okay. She is here with me at the ESquare Multiplex. We are going to see a movie – the 11 o’clock show. The movie may finish by 1 or maybe even 1:30. That’s why she won’t be able to make it to the school by 12:30.”

“Esquare? Movie? What’s all this? Who are you? You please give my mother-in-law the phone. I want to talk to her.”

“She has gone to the ladies toilet to freshen up. Anyway I have passed on her message to you. Bye.”

“No, wait. Who are you?”

“I am Shanta’s boyfriend.”

“Is this some kind of sick joke? I will report …”

“Go ahead and report to whoever you want. I have nothing to fear. I have not kidnapped your mother-in-law. We are just watching a movie together. Can’t a girlfriend and boyfriend have a date on Valentine’s Day?”

“Date? Valentine’s Day? What nonsense are you talking?”

“Nonsense? Today is the 14th of February, isn’t it? And don’t tell me you have forgotten about that Valentine’s Day date you have planned with your husband? Amod, that’s his name, isn’t it? So you and Amod will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a romantic candlelight dinner and your mother-in-law will be looking after your kids at home like a nanny,” the man says, and then, as if remembering something, he adds, “Ah. I almost forgot. There is one more thing Shanta told me to tell you.”


“You better be home when Anjali comes home from school. Her bus reaches at 3:30. And don’t forget to take Anjali for her skating practice at 5. And you will have to take Aditya for his Karate class at 4 too. I think you better take the day off. Make sure you leave your office at 11:30 so you reach Aditya’s school in time. It’s quite a long drive from Hinjewadi to Aundh and you know how bad the traffic is.”

“Please stop this. I am very busy today. I have got an important meeting with a client at 12. Then there is a project review meeting at 3 and it will continue till late evening. I have to be in office. I just can’t come.”

“Then maybe you can tell your husband …”

“He works in Magarpatta. You know how far that is. And Amod told me that he has a very tight schedule today. We are both very busy at work. By the time we reach home in the evening it is past 7.”

“Ah, I almost forgot.”


“You two better cancel that romantic candle light dinner tonight.”


“Because, after the movie, we are going out for a lunch date, and then I am taking Shanta for a long drive to Lonavala. I want to show her all the spots, a romantic sunset and then we’ll be spending the evening at my farmhouse. I’ll drop her back at night. And don’t panic if she doesn’t come at night – if it gets too late we will sleepover at the farmhouse and I’ll drop her in the morning.”

“Are you crazy? How is that possible? Please give the phone to my mother-in-law the moment she comes. I want to talk to her.”

“No. I don’t think that is a good idea. Shanta is scared of you. You may bully her or emotionally blackmail her into cancelling all our plans. I don’t want Shanta to talk to you. So I am passing on her message. You better learn to look after your own kids. And manage your own domestic affairs. At least for one day.”

“Listen. You please ask my mother-in-law to call me the moment she comes. I have to speak to her.”  

“No. I am switching of the phone. So don’t keep calling. We are going in for the movie now.”

“I have to talk to her. If you don’t let me speak to her I will come to ESquare …”

“Maybe we are not in ESquare. Maybe we are at Inox. Or City Pride. Or maybe we are somewhere else. It is just a red herring, so don’t go on a wild goose chase. You just look after your children for today – and don’t worry – your mother-in-law is in safe hands with me and I will drop her home safe and sound.”

“Where is she? I want to …”

“Bye. Take Care.”

“Please …” a desperate Swati pleads.

But the man interrupts her and says, “Swati, have a Happy Valentine’s Day – tell your husband also.”

And then the man switches off the mobile phone.

He gives the cell phone to Shanta sitting next to him in the car. She puts the phone in her purse.

For some time they sit in silence in the parked car.

Then the man takes out his mobile phone from his pocket and searches for a number.

The man gives the cell phone to Shanta and he says to her: “Now you dial that number and speak to my daughter-in-law and tell her what I told you to say. Then we will plan how to spend our Valentine’s Day.”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
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.

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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 and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) 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 an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and 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  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve 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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Deepa Duraisamy said...

Loved it! Was classic. With a serious post I might have wondered if the entire setup was only the DIL or a mutual arrangement, but with this story and the humor interlaced :D It was too good! Especially the ending!

Deepa Duraisamy said...

PS: If you have moderation turned on and anyway reject/approve comments, then a request to please turn of word verification. It's very bothersome to genuine commenters. If you need to, you can even turn off Anonymous commenting - that way you avoid spammers too!

ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ/ Ashwini said...

That is a sweet one. Actually right now a days the grandmoms and grandads have become nanny's for the working couple who want to be free of their duties towards their kids.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Deepa,
I am glad you liked the story.
I did turn off word verification but was inundated with spam (including from non-anonymous users).
I just don't know what to do.
Any tips?

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Thanks Ashwini . Yes, grandparents have become de facto nannies (but then, "nannies" have a life too)

Pranita said...

Loved it!!! Very well narrated even... Happy Valentine's to u ! :)

Bhumika said...

Why call just their DILs, why not their sons!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Bhumika - Good Point. Maybe it is because women communicate better.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Pranita:
I am glad you liked the story. Thanks for the wishes. I hope you had a good valentine's day.