Story No. 9
Fiction Short Story
From my Creative Writing Archives
Short Fiction - A Passionate Love Story I wrote a few years ago ...
It all started when my wife discovered that I was having an affair.
She flew down to Delhi by the first available flight and confronted me.
Guilt ridden, I confessed the truth.
She asked for divorce.
Under the circumstances she was fully justified.
Also, I had fallen genuinely in love with Anita.
One year later, Alka and I were formally divorced by mutual consent and I married Anita.
Actually it all started because we bought that luxurious 3 BHK apartment in that posh township in Aundh.
We should have been happy and content staying in our cosy little rented apartment in the heart of Pune but the lure of owning one’s own dream house, that too in a high-falutin locality, was too strong a desire to withstand, and everyone said that the way real estate was shooting up, it was a life-time chance and fantastic investment too.
Buying the house meant two things.
First, my wife Alka had to start working again to help pay the housing loan EMIs.
Second, we had to postpone our immediate plans for a second child, a companion for our three year old daughter Sneha.
Everything was fine.
Our work life and our family life – in fact, despite the hiatus she had taken to have the baby, my wife was doing very well, and thanks to the IT boom, she got fast promotions and even her salary had become more than mine.
Then one day, suddenly, my firm was acquired by some wise guy in the States, who merged our firm with his bigger firm and decided to transfer the Pune operations to the main facility at Gurgaon, near Delhi, and sell off the Pune office, its vast real estate which was prime property and the firm's extensive assets for an exorbitant sum of money and make a huge profit.
It made business sense too, having everything in one place.
Though I had to relocate to Gurgaon, it was with a big promotion and huge pay hike.
Alka could have come with me to Gurgaon.
But she didn’t want to give up her job in Pune, where she was doing extremely well, and more importantly she didn’t want to leave our dream home in Aundh which we had painstakingly designed, decorated, adorned and embellished so lovingly, that locking it up and not living in our own beautiful house would be a pity and selling it or renting it out would be sacrilege.
And Sneha, our darling daughter, was so well settled, doing so well in her excellent school just opposite our house, so engrossed with her friends, her creative hobby classes, her games, her routine, everything, that it would be cruel to dislocate her joyful and happy life.
I could have changed my job and stayed on in Pune too.
But here I couldn’t even dream of getting the high position and pay hike I was being offered in Gurgaon.
Maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, it had irked my male ego that my wife earning more than me here in Pune, and now, once I went to Gurgaon, I would be way ahead of her, both salary-wise and position-wise.
Tell me, which husband likes to be inferior to his wife?
Or maybe, we both were in competition with each other.
So we began this long distance marriage.
Meeting whenever could, planning family vacations to exotic locations, trying to spend “quality time” together – but as everyone knows this is all a façade, a masquerade that all actors in a long distance relationship go through, enact, perform, for the others’ sake, maybe to soothe one’s own guilt.
And then it happened - the affair with my colleague Anita.
It did not happen suddenly.
It was not a sudden spur of the moment one-night-stand.
It was a full-fledged love affair.
It happened slowly and surely, as it probably happens to most lovelorn couples suffering the void of a long distance marriage.
It all started as a harmless workplace friendship.
Then a bit of light-hearted flirting, a hint of flippant romance.
As time passed we became closer and closer, spent more and more time together, at work and off work, and our relationship blossomed.
It was silly of me to assume that I could keep my friendship with an attractive single woman like Anita purely platonic, for she too was as lonely as I was.
We started having a passionate affair and fell in love with each other – I still don’t know which happened first.
It was just a matter of time before rumours reached Alka’s ears.
The way Anita and me were brazenly at it, I wonder how it took so much time for Alka to find out.
And then one day, out of the blue, suddenly, Alka landed up in Gurgaon and confronted me.
Alka asked for a divorce.
So Alka and I got divorced through mutual consent.
And I married Anita.
Three years later Anita and I sat anxiously in the clinic.
We sat in the clinic because Anita hadn’t been able to conceive a baby.
For the first year of our marriage we planned not to have a baby, focussed on our careers, enjoyed ourselves.
The next year, we were carefree, let nature take its own course, and left it to chance.
The third year, we desperately tried to have a baby, as Anita had crossed thirty.
And as time passed, disappointment turned into anxiety, and then panic set in.
And so we sat in the clinic waiting for the doctor.
“There’s good news for you,” the doctor said to Anita reading the reports.
“I’m okay...?” asked Anita excitedly.
“Absolutely okay...!” the doctor said to Anita, “you are fully fit to have a baby.”
“Then what’s wrong? Why can’t she conceive?” I asked.
“The problem is with you, Sir,” the doctor said to me, “you are sterile.”
“What…?” I shouted dumbfounded.
“But he is so good …” Anita exclaimed incredulously.
“Wait…Wait…Just wait a minute...” the doctor said to Anita, “I’m sure he is good. But please try to understand – there is a difference between impotence and sterility…”
“What nonsense...?” I said angrily, “I am not sterile or anything. Let me tell you that I am fully virile. I have a daughter from my earlier marriage. This is my second marriage. I have got a daughter from my first marriage.”
“You have a daughter from your first marriage? That is just not possible,” the doctor said emphatically, “You could never have fathered a child in your entire life ... you have congenital, incurable, permanent ... come inside ... I’ll explain it to you in detail ...”
“Then who fathered my daughter...?” I screamed hysterically, my brain spinning crazily like a vortex.
“That’s for you to find out...” the doctor said dispassionately, and he continued speaking, but I could not discern a word of what he was saying as my mind went blank in an abyss of silence, a deafening silence, and I continued to stare at him like a zombie.