Monday, February 16, 2015


How a Happily Married Couple Ruined their Marriage
Fiction Short Story

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

The husband H was an Officer in the Army and had a transferable job.

The Army Officer’s Wife W was a homemaker.

After every two years  H would be transferred 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 6thH 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), suddenly 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, just before the crucial 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 – the Army Officer husband H left his family behind in Pune – and he went alone to his new place of posting and started living alone 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.

The wife W said to her husband H:

“After comparing with the other children I have seen how our children’s studies have 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 army officer husband was convinced by his wife’s arguments  and both husband H and wife W agreed on this long distance marriage lifestyle for the sake of their children’s’s education.

Then, 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 in the army because he was doing very well in his career and there was no scope for him to get a comparable job in Pune if he quit the army. 

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.

She topped the list and was awarded a scholarship for higher studies abroad.

Soon she was flourishing in America along with her doctor husband.

The son got into the best IIT.

He did well at IIT and then was off to the USA for higher studies.

After his studies, the son got an excellent well-paying job over there in the US, and soon he got married and he too settled down in America.

Now all this took quite a few years.

Meanwhile, during all these years, H took solace in drinking to get over his loneliness at those remote places.

Soon H became alcohol dependent due to his daily drinking.

By the time he retired, H 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.

His drinking increased day by day and gradually his dependence on alcohol increased to such an extent 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.

H did try going abroad with his wife W to live with their children.

But he found out that he was not welcome to stay for extended durations at either his daughter’s house or at his son’s place, especially because of his love for alcohol, as his heavy drinking bordering on alcoholism made him quite an embarrassment. 

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

On the other hand  their father was redundant since he hung around the whole day doing nothing useful. 

Also, because of his drunkenness and alcoholism, 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 alcoholism, 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”.

Abandoned by his wife and living all alone in India, in due course of time, the husband H drank himself to death.

A few years later, 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.

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 destroy your marriage.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Abridged and Updated Version of my earlier article 

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