Thursday, June 6, 2013




H and W were a happily married couple with two children – a daughter and a son.

H had a transferable job and W was a homemaker.

Every two years, H would be transferred to anywhere in the length and breadth of India, and the family would pack its bags and relocate.

The children would keep changing schools.

When his daughter was in the 8th and his son in the 6th, H was posted to Pune and he put his children in the best school in town.

Two years later, when his daughter entered the 10th class (and his son began his 8th), H was transferred to a remote place in the “up-country”.

Their daughter was doing very well in her studies, her school was first-rate, and the ambitious mother did not want to shift her to some mediocre school in a moffusil town in a backward state, especially in her 10th class, at the end of which were the all-important board exams.

The husband agreed that it was much better if the daughter’s education was not disrupted at this stage and it would be much better if she gave her board exams in Pune. 

So, H left his family behind in Pune and went alone to his new place of posting and started living there as a “married bachelor”.

This proved to be a wise move.

His daughter topped the Board Exams and secured a top place in the merit list. 

She got admission to the best college in Pune.

His daughter wanted to study medicine and become a doctor.

So it was decided that during her 11th and 12th she would simultaneously prepare for various medical entrance examinations for which there were excellent coaching classes in Pune.

H wanted to put his daughter in a hostel and move with his wife and son to his place of posting in the upcountry.

But his wife refused point blank and the wife W said to her husband H:

“After comparing with the other children I have seen how our children’s studies suffered due to our frequent moves and relocation due to your transferable job. Yes, their studies are suffering due to your frequent transfers.
It is a very competitive world and I want to be here with my daughter to look after her and motivate her and supervise her studies for the medical entrance test which is very tough. Our daughter requires my personal attention so she can focus on her studies.
Besides our son is now in his 8th standard.
His teachers say he is a potential IIT candidate. 

I want him to complete his schooling here in Pune and not in some godforsaken place. 

I must stay here in Pune for the sake of our children’s education.
This frequent relocation puts our children at a great disadvantage as compared to their classmates who remain in the same school.
I want them to have stability.
I want the best for them – there are so many facilities for education here in Pune. 

If you can manage it, you try for a transfer to Pune, otherwise you keep on moving wherever they send you but I will stay with the children here in Pune.”

The wife W convinced husband H to take a loan and buy a house in Pune, which he did.

His wife even asked him to quit his job, which he did not. 

He did not quit his job because he was doing very well in his career and there was no scope for him to get a comparable job in Pune in his field of specialization. 

Plus, he had the home loan EMIs to pay off too.

And so, for the sake of their children, they sacrificed their married life and gave up their conjugal happiness and started a “long distance marriage” as “married bachelors”.

Both their children did brilliantly.

The daughter got into a top medical college, topped the list, was awarded a scholarship for higher studies abroad and soon was flourishing in America along with her doctor husband.

The son got into the best IIT and then was off to the USA for higher studies, got an excellent well-paying job over there, and soon he got married and he too settled down in America.

Now all this took quite a few years.

Meanwhile, H took solace in drinking to get over his loneliness at those remote places and, by the time he retired, had almost become an alcoholic.

I have seen that once a man gets used to the joys of married life, it becomes difficult for him to live alone without his wife. 

He feels starved of connubial companionship.

So he either strays and seeks comfort in the arms of strangers.

Or he tries to drown his frustrations in alcohol.

H loved his wife and children. 

He did not want to jeopardize his marriage by being unfaithful and having an extra marital affair.

So he took the second option of drowning his loneliness in alcohol. 

He increasingly began to seek solace for his lonesomeness in alcohol and his drinking increased day by day and gradually his dependence on alcohol became so much that he began slipping into the abyss of alcoholism.

One day, in view of his drinking problem and increasing alcohol dependence, H was politely asked to put in his papers and go home with his pension.

His life did not improve once he retired and came back to his wife.

H realized that his wife W went abroad for long periods of time to USA, sometimes for many months, for doing “nanny” duties for their daughter and son in America, as baby after baby after baby was born, to her daughter and daughter-in-law. 

She went to America quite frequently and would be away for months together, leaving H all alone in India.

Now, after retirement, with nothing to do, H felt even more lonely when his wife went away.

So H started drinking even more.

He did try going abroad with his wife but found out that he was not welcome to stay for extended durations at either his daughter’s or his son’s place, especially because of his love for Bacchus as his heavy drinking had made him quite an embarrassment. 

As far as his children were concerned, their mother W was indispensable because she did the useful nanny duties, cooking and housework.

On the other hand, their father H was redundant since he hung around the whole day doing nothing useful. Also, because of his heavy drinking he was becoming quite a nuisance.
So the children wanted their mother W to stay with them in America, but they wanted their father H to go away back to India. 

For H, it was a strange irony – it was his wife and children who were the root cause of his drinking problem and it was they who were now rejecting him for the same thing!

So H returned back home to stay in India.

His wife W would shuttle between India and America as required by her children.

In fact, she would spend more time with both her children in America than with her husband in India.

One day, disgusted with her husband’s drinking, his wife W decided to permanently relocate to America to her son’s place.

The son and his wife were delighted that W was coming to live in their place.

They both worked long hours, they had three small children (a girl and boy twins) and they were finding it difficult to manage the three kids.

Now, with the arrival of W, they had a “nanny” as well as a full time “maid”.

In due course, the husband H drank himself to death.

A few years later, when W grew old and became quite weak and frail. 

Now she was not of much use to her son or daughter since their children had grown up. 

Besides she was becoming a liability because of her old age.

So they sent W to spend the rest of her life in a “retirement community” – an euphemism for an “old age home”.

A sad end to the story of a happily married couple who sacrificed marital bliss for the sake of their children.

The forlorn dejected husband drank himself to death.

And the widowed wife spent the rest of her lonely life in an old age home.

She was abandoned by the very children for whom she had abandoned her husband and sacrificed her marriage.

A cruel irony indeed.


Your kids do not come first. 

Your marriage comes first. 

Always give your spouse priority over your children.

Children are the best thing that happen in a marriage.

But, sometimes, if your priorities are not right, your children can also ruin your marriage.

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 book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013 all rights reserved

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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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Mahesh said...

This story bites just as reality bites

Unknown said...

I know this happens in reality but who is responsible for this? Children are taught from the childhood to take their parents for granted, aren't they? And who teaches them all these things? In west, parents do keep their children with a babysitter to go out alone? Do Indian parents do that? I think until parents see the light of day, things will remain the same.

Deepak S Avasare said...

Nice story. Quite realistic.

Bai and Batli are not the only two choices available when you are away from your wife alone. H should have found some hobby / constructive thing.

Also at stage he should have considered

Your "Career" does not come first.
Your marriage comes first.

It is actually a triangle - marriage - kids and career. At different stage in life different side / corner is important. Eventually, when you balance all, you will live a well formed life.


Deepak S Avasare said...

Thanks for putting this online. Great read.