Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Do You Know What is the Opposite of Love...?

Fiction Short Story

Let me delve into my Creative Writing Archives and pull out a Love Story with a Difference.
This is one of my early stories about relationships.

I wrote this story more than 12 years ago  in the year 2004/2005 – and I posted it on my creative writing blog and fiction websites in April/May 2006.

This Story THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE features in my book of short stories COCKTAIL

Here is the story – abridged and revised  for you to read.

Dear Reader: Do tell me if you like this story...


A cell-phone rings at 9 o’clock in the morning in an apartment in Aundh – a posh neighbourhood of Pune. 

The husband picks up his mobile phone and puts it to his ear.

Then – he pauses for a moment as if hearing something.

And then  the man says into the mobile phone: “Don’t worry  I will be there on time...” 

Then  the husband switches off the mobile phone  and keeps it in his pocket.  

He then shouts to his wife, who is in the kitchen: “I am going out for some work. I will be back around 1:30 or 2 o’clock for lunch...” 
“Where are you going...? You have taken leave today. Let’s go shopping – and then  we will go for lunch and a movie...” the wife says to her husband.
“Please. Not today. I have taken leave just for this important thing...” the husband pleads with his wife.

“Important thing…? What important thing…? Where are you going…?” the wife persists.   

The husband does not want to tell his wife anything.

But now  the husband knows that he has no choice but to tell her something. 

He knows his wife’s nature so well.

She will not rest till she finds out. 

She will nag him to death until he tells her.   

So  he decides to tell her the bare minimum.

“I am going to the Family Court...” he says. 
“Family Court…? Why…?” his wife shrieks in amazement.
“A divorce case...” the husband says nonchalantly.
“Divorce case…? You are filing a divorce case against me…? You are trying to divorce me behind my back…?” the wife yells hysterically.
“Will you please be quiet and listen…? It’s not us. Pooja has asked me to come for the hearing...” 
“Pooja…? Who is this Pooja…?”  

“You have met her. She is my colleague at work.”
“Oh – so it is that Pooja…!!! I knew you always had a soft corner for her...” 
“It is her final divorce hearing today  and she has called me...”
“Divorce case…? Pooja…? She called you…? How are you involved…? I hope the divorce is not because of you…? I knew you would do something stupid. You are so gullible – you must have got trapped by her – you must have fallen victim to her charms  she must have seduced you – and now  you are in trouble – and you are being summoned by courts. Respectable persons never see the insides of a court in their entire lives...!!!” 
“Will you please keep quiet…? You just go on and on…!!! Pooja has called me to the family court just to give her emotional support...” 
“Emotional support…? From you…? So this Pooja needs emotional support from you…? Why you…? Tell me – why you…? I knew there was some hanky-panky going on. I am coming with you. I will not leave you alone with her. Can’t you see what she’s up to…?” 
“Please calm down and don’t jump to conclusions. Pooja is just a colleague going through a rough patch. As a friend  I have to help her out – I have to show her a bit of kindness and compassion – that’s all…”  

“Compassion…? Compassion my foot…!!! This compassion may soon turn into passion…!!!” the wife says sarcastically.

“Compassion – Passion – What are you saying...?” the exasperated husband asks.

“What am I saying...? You have the audacity to ask me what I am saying...? Let me tell you one thing. Drying a divorcee’s tears is one of the most dangerous pastimes for a man  especially a married man…!!!” the wife says emphatically. 

“Pastime…? I am not going there for amusement. I am going just to help out a colleague…”   

“Oh, yes. An attractive colleague in distress, isn’t it...? And – our Knight in Shining Armour is rushing to her rescue…!!!”  

“Okay. Why don’t you come along and see for yourself...?” the husband says, exasperated.
The moment the husband utters those words  he instantly regrets it  but it is too late. 

His wife has already picked up her purse  and she is heading towards the door. 
“Why are they divorcing…?” the wife asks, as they are driving in their car from their house in Aundh towards the Family Court in Pune City. 

“It’s divorce by mutual consent...”
Mutual consent…? What nonsense…! There must be some other reason.”

“No. They have just cordially agreed to separate...” 
“Cordially agreed to separate…? If they can agree to separate  why can’t they agree to stay together…?
“I don’t know. Why don’t you ask Pooja that…!!!” the husband says, irritated.

“Of course I will ask her. And  I will give a piece of my mind to her husband too  and I will tell him to stop harassing his wife...”

“Please – I beg you – for heaven’s sake – please don’t say anything stupid and embarrassing to them over there. He is not harassing her. They are parting amicably as friends. I told you  it is an amicable divorce by mutual consent...”  

“What nonsense…? Amicable divorce by mutual consent…? There is no such thing as amicable divorce…!” the wife says, matter-of-factly.
“What do you mean that there is no such thing as amicable divorce...? Nowadays  so many people have amicable divorces and part as friends...”
“Nonsense…! It’s all nonsense  a cover up. Amicable Divorce is a big lie – Amicable Divorce is an Oxymoron...”
“Amicable Divorce is an Oxymoron…? What are you saying...?” 
“Yes. Tell me  how can divorce be amicable...?

“What do you mean...? 

If their marriage is really so amicable  why divorce in the first place...? If they can divorce and remain friends  I am sure they can remain married and be friends  isn’t it...?” the wife argues.
“I don’t know. Please lets talk something else...” the husband says.
“I am sure there is something fishy  some hanky panky...” 
“Will you please keep quiet and let me drive the car in peace…?” 
“This Pooja – what is her husband’s name…?”
“See  Pooja and Abhishek  even their names are compatible...” the wife says.

The husband remains silent.

Then the wife looks at her husband and says: I am certain that there must be some adultery and infidelity involved. This Abhishek must be having an extra-marital affair. Or – it must be Pooja. Yes it is her. I am sure she is having an affair…!” 
“Don’t be stupid. Pooja is not like that...”
“How do you know…?”
“I know her for so many years now. Pooja is quite close to me. She has told me everything…”
“Close to you…? Pooja is close to you…? Oh, My God…! I hope it is not you…? Are you and Pooja...?” the wife looks at her husband suspiciously.
“Me…? Will you please shut up…? I told you it is mutual incompatibility…!!!” the husband says.
“Mutual Incompatibility my foot…!!! 

What do you mean...?

Let me tell you there is no one in this world who is more mutually incompatible than you and me…! We are totally incompatible with each other. But – are we divorcing each other…?” the wife asks her husband.
“Why don’t we get divorced…? At least I will get some peace and respite from your constant nagging…” the husband says.
“Ah – now I know – you want to divorce me so you can marry that damsel in distress Pooja. You wicked fellow  so that is your plan...? Ha...Ha...!!! But – you have got a hope in heaven…!!! I will cling on to you till my dying day. And then  I will follow you as a ghost  and – after you die – I will even follow you to heaven – I will never leave you till eternity…” the wife says.

They drive in silence for a while.

Then  the wife asks: Has she – this Pooja who is divorcing her husband – has she got any children…?”
“Yes. Pooja has two children. A boy and a girl. In school…”
“Poor kids. What will happen to them…?” 
“The children will go off to a boarding school for a while  till Pooja settles down...” 
“It’s funny. They have got children  and they are divorcing. We don’t have any children  but we are carrying on together enduring our marriage…!” 

"Yes...” the husband says, “I really wonder…? We constantly fight  but we stay together. And  they have such a cordial relationship  but they want to separate…” 
“Marriage is not supposed to be cordial and cold...” the wife says lovingly, snuggling up affectionately to her long-married husband.
“I have realized one thing...” says the husband dotingly, hugging his much-married wife. 

“The opposite of love is not hate – the opposite of love is indifference...”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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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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