Sunday, June 5, 2016

Have You Made Your Will...?

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 old 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 he 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 has not made a will bequeathing his property.”

“He hasn’t made his will?”

“Yes. My father-in-law has not made a will. Just imagine what will happen if 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 – we 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 my husband’s sister was here  I came to know that she 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 that he has told everyone about this. 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 before he dies.”

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

“Why wait 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 the will 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 will 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 of looking after him as well … ”

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

Our boss looks at Meera and gives Meera a polite smile.

Then our boss 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? He died?”

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

What a tragedy of fate.

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

Meera’s young husband died in the hospital.

And do you know what was the tragic irony?

For many years – Meera had been asking her father-in-law to make a will.

But Meera’s own husband had not made a will.

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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