Sunday, May 19, 2013


A Creaking Gate Hangs Long
Short Fiction – a Slice of Life Story

“I am fed up with my father-in-law,” Meera says to me.

“Come on, Meera. It is not the poor man’s fault that he had a heart attack,” I say.

“It’s not that.”

“Then what is it?”

“This is his third heart attack.”

“Oh. That’s why you are worried for him.

“I am not worried for him. I am worried about us.”

“What … ?”

Suddenly Meera’s mobile phone rings.

She looks at the display of her cell phone.

Meera excuses herself and walks out of the office to take the call.

Ten minutes later Meera returns to office.

She looks very tense.

So I ask her, “I hope your father-in-law is okay?”

“The doctors say he will survive. He is still in the ICU, but he is getting better. He is breathing properly and has even started talking now. My husband is in the hospital with him.”

“That’s good. From the look on your face I thought there was some bad news.”

“There is very bad news.”

“Bad news? What?”

“My husband said that my father-in-law is hesitating to sign the will.”


“My father-in-law still hasn’t made a will.”

“He hasn’t made his will?”

“Yes. Just imagine what will happen if had he dies. We will lose everything.”

“You will lose everything? How?”

“My father-in-law is a self-made man. All his property is self-earned; the huge bungalow on Prabhat Road where we live is built by him. Everyone has their eyes on our bungalow.”

“Yes. It is prime property. It must be worth a few crores.”

“Just imagine. We, my husband and I, sacrificed everything. My husband and I stayed back in India so that we could look after him. We could have also gone to America like his other children. When the old man is alive they don’t bother about him and we have to do everything for him. But the moment he dies they will be all here to claim their pound of flesh, like vultures.”


“Of course. The last time she was here, I came to know that my husband’s sister was in discrete talks with a builder for redeveloping the bungalow in exchange for a flat – I hate greedy NRIs like her – they ditch the country, they abandon their parents, and go abroad to have a good life, but they still want to have a flat in Pune.”

“That’s really unfair. If you have looked after the old man all your life then you must get the bungalow. Why don’t you talk to your father-in-law?”

“We have. Every time we ask him, he says he is going to give his bungalow and all his property to us. He says he has told everyone. But he refuses to put it in writing, in black and white.”


“Yes. We have asked him so many times to make a will, but he refuses every time.”


“He is superstitious.”


“Yes. He says that he has a gut-feeling that the moment he makes a will, he may die.”

“How silly?”

“And he has had three heart attacks till now. This time it was really bad. They say that a creaking gate hangs long but the way his health is failing I don’t think it is going to be very long …”

“Yes. This time you must convince him to write his will when he comes home from hospital.”

“Till he comes back from hospital? What is the guarantee that he will come back? I am not going to wait that long. I am going to get it signed by him right now. ”

“Right now? What do you mean?”

“I told you, didn’t I? My husband has taken the papers to hospital?”

“The hospital?”

“Yes. I have got a proper will drafted by a lawyer. I have sent the will with my husband to the hospital. I have given an ultimatum to my husband to make sure my father-in-law signs the will today. I have even asked the lawyer to go there as a witness. The moment my father signs the will, the lawyer will get signatures of witnesses and he’ll go and get the will registered. I have warned my husband that he should come home only after all this is done. I told him I will not allow him to enter unless he shows me the signed will.”


“Now all my husband has to do is get the old man’s signature. I have warned my husband that there will be hell to pay if he fails to get his father’s signature on the will. This time I am serious. I have told my husband that if my father-in-law refuses to sign the will, we are going to walk out of his house and go to live elsewhere. Let the old man’s other children come here and look after him – they all want a share in his property, isn’t it – then let them come here and share some responsibility as well … ”

Suddenly I see the head of our boss popping into our office.

First she looks at Meera and gives her a polite smile.

Then she looks at me and says, “Smita, can you please come out for a moment?”

I follow my boss into the lobby. 

When we are alone, the boss says to me, “There is some bad news for Meera.”

“Her father-in-law?”

“No. Her husband. Meera’s husband had a massive heart attack and died on the spot.”

What a tragedy of fate.

Meera’s father-in-law came home hale and hearty.

Meera’s husband died in the hospital.

And do you know what was the tragic irony?

For many years, Meera had kept nagging her father-in-law to make a will.

But Meera’s husband had not made a will.

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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Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013. 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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Unknown said...

Fantastic story, Loved it

Pages off Life

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Rupertt Wind - Thanks. I am glad you liked the story

Unknown said...

Good one sir, I read most of your stories and blogs of you. Very interesting. thanks again

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Mahesh - Thanks. I am glad you liked this story

Richa Singh said...

The read was not only perfectly paced but also enchanting and like always the ends to your stories leave reader for long to think :)


Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Richa
Thanks for your nice words.
Well, let me tell you one thing - I have learnt more about the philosophy of the art of living from fiction stories than from moral lectures and sermons.