Friday, March 11, 2016

The Feminist Who Loved Me

Short Fiction Story

THE FEMINIST” WHO LOVED ME – Fiction Short Story by Vikram Karve 


“Hey – will you please pick me up from ‘XXX’ Bookstore on your way back from office…?” my wife said over the phone.

“Okay – but I can only come after 6 o’clock…” I said.

“No hurry – I am going for a book launch – it starts at 5:30 – it will go on till 6:30 at least…” she said.

I reached the bookstore around 6:15 in the evening.

There was quite a crowd for the book launch.

At the entrance of the bookstore – there was a big poster of the book being launched.

The title of the book was: GENDER EQUALITY IN MARRIAGE.

The moment I saw the photo of the author – my heart skipped a beat.

It was the ‘Feminist’ – my college classmate – Rita.

I walked to the book-launch area – and I quietly sat down on a vacant chair in the last row.

The ‘Feminist’ was speaking about her book – and as I expected – she was delivering a diatribe against men in general and the patriarchal system in particular.

I could see my wife in the first row – listening attentively – lapping up every word.

After finishing her tirade against the masculine gender – the ‘Feminist’ began waxing eloquent about marital abuse and domestic violence – and she exhorted women not to tolerate any dominating behaviour from their husbands – “there was no need for women to suffer an abusive marriage” she emphasized – and then she explained various legal remedies available to women who suffer abuse at the hands of their husbands.

At the end of her speech – after concluding her bitter rant against all men in general and husbands in particular – the ‘Feminist’ looked in my direction – and she gave me a smile of recognition.

Then – after her book was launched by a ‘VIP’ – the ‘Feminist’ was whisked away by the organizers to autograph copies of her book.

I walked to my wife – and I said to her: “Come on – let’s go.”

“How can we go now?” my wife protested.

“Why? The book launch is over?” I said.

“I want an autographed copy of her book…” my wife said.

“You want to buy this useless book…?”

“How can you call this book useless…?”

“Anyway – I just heard her bigoted views – I don’t want you to read such inflammatory books…?”


“Yes – such provocative books will only spoil our marriage…”

“Now I know – you are one of those ‘MCP’ husbands she was talking about…”

“What nonsense…”

“Till now you have managed to subjugate me – but now – I will read what is written in the book – and I will teach you a lesson…” my wife said.

My wife joined the queue to get an autographed copy of the book.

I saw that the publishers had organized ‘high tea’ in the rear section of the bookstore where the book launch had taken place – so I walked there and poured myself a cup of tea – then I sat down on a table enjoying my tea.

After a few minutes – my wife came with a copy of the book in her hands – she was ecstatic as she showed me the autograph of the ‘Feminist’ – who had written my wife’s name with a message: “Wish you a ‘gender equal’ marriage”.

“See – she has already started corrupting you with her prejudiced views – even before you read the book,” I said to me wife.

“Hi Arun – may I join you,” a feminine voice said from above.

I recognized the voice at once – and I felt a tremor of discomfort.

I looked up at the ‘Feminist’ and said: “Oh – Hi Rita – of course – please join us.”

The ‘Feminist’ (Rita) pulled a chair and sat down to my left – with my wife to her left – opposite me.

I cannot describe the expression on my wife’s face – to put it mildly – she looked ‘amazed’.

The ‘Feminist’ looked at me and said: “So – Arun – ‘long time no see’ – I was quite surprised to see you here – sitting in the last row – listening to my talk…”

“Actually – I came to pick up my wife – she had come for your book launch…” I said.

“Oh – yes…” the ‘Feminist’ said looking at my wife.

Then – the ‘Feminist’ looked at me and said: “Arun – won’t you introduce your wife to me…?”

I introduced them.

My wife smiled at the ‘Feminist’ and asked her: “You know my husband…?”

“Of course I know him – we were classmates in college…” the ‘Feminist’ said.

“Really…?” my wife said, surprised.

“Of course - Arun and I had a real good time together in college – we were the best of friends – inseparable buddies – in fact – I even proposed to him…” the ‘Feminist’ said to my wife.

“You proposed marriage to Arun…?” my flabbergasted wife asked the ‘Feminist’.

“Of course – I wanted to marry Arun – but he turned down my marriage proposal – didn’t Arun tell you about me…?” the ‘Feminist’ said to my wife.

Suddenly – a man appeared – looked at the ‘Feminist’ – and gestured towards his watch.

“Oh – I have to go for a TV interview…” the ‘Feminist’ said.

The ‘Feminist’ got up from her seat – looked at my wife – and smiled: “It was so nice meeting you – do watch my interview at 8 about my book on TV…” the ‘Feminist’ said to my wife, mentioning a news channel.

Then – the ‘Feminist’ looked at me and said: “Arun – it was great meeting you after so many years…”

I smiled at her and said: “Yes – all the best…”

After the ‘Feminist’ had walked away – my wife asked me: “You didn’t even ask her for her mobile number…”

“Why should I ask her for her mobile number…?” I said.

“Don’t you want to rekindle your ‘old flame’ – your first love…?” my wife teased.

“You shut up – it was nothing like that – we were just classmates…”

“Oh – but she proposed to you – she wanted to marry you – and the way she was looking at you – it is clear that she is still in love with you…”

“But – I was never in love with her…”


“Because she is a ‘masculine’ woman…” I said.

“What nonsense – she looks quite ‘feminine’ to me – in fact – she is a very beautiful woman…” my wife said.

“I was not talking about her looks – it is about her strong views…” I said.

I wanted to end this conversation – so I got up from my chair – and said to my wife: “Let’s go home…”

In the car – my wife started off again about the ‘Feminist’.

“Why didn’t you marry her…?” my wife asked me.

“Because I was scared of her…”

“Scared?  You are twice her size…”

“I was not scared of her physically – I was scared of her views…”


“She is a man-hater…”

“Oh – she does not like men – surprising – she does not look ‘that type’…”

“What do you mean by ‘that type’…?”

“You know – ‘that type’ – there were a few girls in our college hostel – they did not like boys – they preferred… – you know what I mean – ‘that type’…?

“No – No – No – I did not mean it that way – she is not ‘that type’ – tell me – if she was ‘that type’ – would she have proposed marriage to me...?”

“Oh yes – you are right – that means she likes men…”

“On the contrary – she hates men…”

“But – she liked you…”

“She may have personally liked me – but in general – she is a ‘feminist’ – in fact – she is a man hater – a ‘misandrist’ who is strongly prejudiced against men – and I did not want a wife who hates men…”

“I hate you…” my wife said.

Luckily – we reached home – and I was happy to end this rather irksome conversation.

Later – I saw that my wife was glued to the TV watching the ‘Feminist’ spew venom against the masculine gender in general – with a special diatribe against husbands in particular – as she discussed various aspects of her book.

At night – in bed – I observed my wife avidly reading her autographed copy of the book on ‘Gender Equality in Marriage’ written by the ‘Feminist’. 


After reading the book written by my ‘Feminist’ friend – from the next morning onwards – there was a visible change in my wife’s attitude and demeanor – my wife started asserting herself – putting into practice some the principles written in the Feminist’s book.

From time to time – my wife would watch the ‘Feminist’ on TV debates – and after every such debate – my wife would become more aggressive – demanding ‘gender equality’ in marriage – and the upshot was that I was soon reduced to being a “homemaker” (in addition to being the “breadwinner”).

A few weeks later – one evening – while we were shopping in a posh locality – my wife suddenly said: “Look Look – look there…”

I looked in the direction my wife was pointing.

Across the road – I saw the ‘Feminist’ – Rita. 


Yes – it was Rita – the ‘Feminist’.

Rita had got out of a car and was walking towards a building – and then – she entered the building.

“She probably lives here – let’s go and meet her…” my wife said excitedly.

“Are you crazy…? We can’t just barge in like that…” I protested.

“Of course you can – after all – you were her first love…” my wife said.

“Please stop it – I don’t want to meet her – as it is she has been a bad influence on you…” I said.

“Bad influence…?”

“Yes – just by reading her book – you have made my life hell. Just imagine what will happen if you actually start meeting her…? She has already ‘liberated’ you enough – I don’t want her to ‘liberate’ you any further. That is why I do not want you to meet her – she is a bad influence and will corrupt you totally…” I said.

“I am going…” my wife said – and she crossed the road – and walked towards the building.

I had no choice but to follow her.

My wife was looking at the board in the foyer.

Suddenly – she located the Feminist’s name and exclaimed: “Ah – there – ‘Rita ….’ – 3rd Floor – see – the flat is her name – looks like she did not get married…”

We went up by the lift – and rang the doorbell.

The door did not open for some time.

“Let’s go – no one is opening the door…” I said.

In response – my wife pressed the doorbell for a long time.

“Who is it…?” a male voice said from inside.

“Rita’s friend…” my wife said.

The door opened.

A man was standing in the door.

From the stink of whisky from his breath and body – and from his disheveled appearance – I realized that he was drunk.

“Let’s go…” I said to my wife.

But – my wife asked the man, “We have come to meet Rita – she lives here – doesn’t she…?”

The man said: “Yes – Rita lives here – I am Rita’s husband – but who are you…?”

I told the man my name.

The drunken man thought for a moment – and then exclaimed loudly: “Oh – so you are her lover boy – her college sweetheart – and you have started seeing her again – haven’t you? Reviving your ‘old flame’ – eh…?”

I was rendered speechless.

My wife gave me a deadly look.

I recovered my wits – and I said to the man: “That is not true – we were just classmates.”

“Well – I am not too sure – but – anyway – come in – let’s see what Rita has to say…” the man said.

Then – the man staggered drunkenly towards the bedroom shouting: “Rita…Rita – look who has come to see you…?”

We – my wife and I – stood in the doorway.

The drunken man went inside the bedroom.

And when he emerged – I saw that he was dragging Rita roughly by the arm.

I was shocked to see Rita.

Her face was swollen up and bruised – her lip was cut and bleeding – it was evident that Rita had been badly beaten up and brutally battered by her husband.

Her body – her clothes – had all the tell-tale signs of violent physical abuse.

“I gave her a nice thrashing just now…” the Rita’s husband boasted, “do you know why…? Do you know why…?”

And then – suddenly – Rita’s husband started slapping Rita on the face…

“You stop it – or I will call the police…” I shouted.

Then – I walked to the Rita’s husband – drew myself up to my full height – and said to him in a loud voice: “You leave her and go inside your bedroom – otherwise I will thrash the hell out of you and hand you over to the police…”

Sensing that I intended to carry out my threat – and realizing that in this situation – discretion was better than “valour” – the man let go of Rita’s arm – and walked away into the bedroom.

“Let’s take her to a doctor…” I said to my wife.

“No – No…” Rita protested, “I don’t want to go to a doctor – I will manage myself – you please go…”

“You look after her…” I said to my wife, “I will call the police…”

“Call the police…? Are you crazy…?” Rita shouted at me.

“Why…?” I asked.

“If you call the police – the whole world will come to know. Do you want me to make me a laughing-stock in society…? Rita said, with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong with you…?” I said.

“Please – Please – Please just leave me alone and go away – this is my personal matter – and I do not want you meddling in my personal affairs – I do not want you to make matters worse – please – I beg you – please leave me alone and go away…” Rita desperately pleaded to me.

“But…? How can I leave you like this…?” I said.

“Don’t worry – these things keep happening – I have got used to it - everything will be okay in the morning – he will make up to me and things will be fine – you don’t worry – everything will be fine – but you please go – you please don’t make things worse for me – please leave me alone and go…” Rita begged me.

“I still feel…” I said.

“Arun – you promise me one thing…” Rita said.


“Promise me that you will not tell anyone about this – if the world comes to know  my reputation will be ruined – please – I beg you  Arun – you promise me – you promise me that you will not tell anyone…” Rita said to me – her voice full of anxiety.

“I promise…” I said to Rita.

And then – with great reluctance – we left her house.

Later – at night – when we were in bed – my wife said to me: “Shall I say something…?”

“Of course. What do want to say…?” I asked my wife.

My wife said to me: “You should have married Rita – then all this would not have happened.”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story 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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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a updated re-post of my story titled THE FEMINIST posted online earlier by me Vikram Karve on this blog on July 6, 2015 at url:  and revised and reposted at urls:  and   and

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