Monday, May 1, 2017

Seven Pages from the Diary of My Life

Seven Pages from the Diary of My Life
My Very Own Love Story 
Vikram Karve

I wrote this story around 4 years ago –  on my birthday  12 September 2013.

And  I posted the story on my blog.

I think it is one of my good stories. 

Surprisingly –  this story went unnoticed and unappreciated.

So –  I am posting my Birthday Story once more  for you to read. 

Do tell me if you like it. 

7 Pages from the Diary of My Life
My Very Own Love Story
Short Fiction

Seven Pages from the Diary of My Life – A Love Story by Vikram Karve

12 September 1977
Shivalik Hostel IIT Delhi

VIJAY  and  ME

It is our 21st Birthday.

Yes  we are both 21 years old today.

Vijay and Me were born on the same day.

Our hostel-mates brought a specially ordered birthday cake all the way from CP from the famous Wenger’s Bakery for Vijay and me  and we celebrated our birthday in our hostel canteen at tea time.

We have been celebrating our birthday together for the last 12 years – for 7 years in our boarding school at Lovedale near Ooty.

And then for 5 years here at IIT Delhi.

But  this is a special occasion for two reasons.

We are 21 years old.

And  this may be our last birthday together.

Who knows where we will be next year  after we finish our B. Tech. engineering course  and each of us go our own ways pursuing our own careers in the journey of our lives.

To celebrate this special occasion we decide to booze – for the first time in our lives.

So  we get a bottle of Whisky from the booze shop in Green Park.

And we get lots of Tandoori Chicken and Kebabs from the Essex Farms shop in Hauz Khas.

Then we sit on the terrace and drink and talk  reminisce about our childhood and the good times we had together.

By the time we kill the bottle of whisky  we are gloriously drunk.

In that glorious drunken state we make a promise to each other  Vijay and Me – we promise each other  that we will meet every year on the 12th of September to celebrate our birthdays together.

12 September 1978

VIJAY  and  ME

As promised  we meet on our birthday.

This is our first birthday after we passed out with our B.Tech. degrees.

Vijay comes down from Ahmedabad – where he is studying Management at the elite IIM-A.

I pick him up from the railway station  and I drive him down on my scooter to my room in the trainee hostel.

In the morning I show him my workplace – my impressive factory – and then my boss gives me the day off to celebrate my birthday.

We scooter down to heart of town  and we spend a few hours loafing, window-shopping and ogling at the PYTs strolling on Brigade Road and MG Road.

Later  after a few beers  we enjoy a “Cabaret” (our first) at a restaurant called “Three Aces”.

Emboldened by “Dutch Courage” fuelled by the alcohol in our veins  we want to do something more “adventurous”.

But  the moment I see those “sexy females” – I chicken out.

I do not want to admit that I am feeling scared.

So  I say that I am experiencing “pangs of conscience” in doing such “sinful” things.

Vijay instantly agrees. 

He looks relieved. 

I think  that like me – Vijay too is feeling anxious  and is “shit scared” about the whole sordid thing.

We beat a hasty retreat.

And so  we end our 22nd Birthday with our virtue unspoiled  and our virginity intact.

12 September 1982
Visakhapatnam (Vizag)


I really like Usha  Vijay’s brand new wife.

Usha is a plump, graceful girl with a very pretty face.

She has a sincere, friendly smile which radiates a charming innocence.

They were married just a month ago  and I could not attend their wedding as I was sent abroad for more than 3 years for advanced training and on-the-job work experience.

That is why I am so happy that I could keep our 12th September birthday date after a gap of four years. 

(We met last on 12 September 1978 in Bangalore, remember!)

They say that when a woman finds her way into a group of men friends  especially two close friends like Vijay and me  the friendship among men sometimes disintegrates.

But after meeting Usha  I know that is not going to happen.

Usha is a “back-home-type” small town girl.

She has a certain innocent charm about her.

Usha welcomes me into her home with honest warmth and genuine affection  and I instantly know that we are going to get along very well  and the bonds of my friendship with Vijay are going to be strengthened.

“How come you landed up in Vizag?” I ask Vijay.

“You have to prove yourself in the field before they take you to the company headquarters in Mumbai,” Vijay says.

Vijay has specialized in Marketing at IIM and has landed up a lucrative job at a famous FMCG company and he has been given the most challenging assignment.

Vijay cribs about Vizag being quite a boring place.

But his wife Usha says, “I wish we stay here. I love Visakhapatnam. It is such a nice place, the people are so good here and we are very happy here. I don’t want to go to big city like Mumbai.”

Vijay has taken the day off so we drive down the East Coast Road to Rishikonda Beach and swim in the sea.

Vijay keeps calling Usha to join us in the water for a swim but she seems quite shy.

Usha sits on the beach in her sari and watches Vijay and me enjoy ourselves frolicking in the cool blue water of the Bay of Bengal.

In the evening, Vijay and I sip chilled beer on the lush green lawns of the Waltair Club.

We both want Usha to come with us to the club, but Usha remains at home.

Usha tells us to enjoy ourselves but she insists that we come home for dinner as she will be cooking something special for the occasion.

Vijay starts talking about his newly wedded wife, “Sorry about Usha, yaar, she is quite a prudish type. Usha likes to remain home most of the time. She just does not want to go out anywhere. You saw how shy she was at the beach.”

“Hey, don’t say that. Usha is the best thing that happened to you. You are lucky to get such a good wife,” I say.

When we get home I am impressed by the awesome way in which Usha has decorated the house for our birthday.

Usha has baked a birthday cake for both of us.

We cut the freshly baked birthday cake and then all of us enjoy a sumptuous dinner.

For both of us, Vijay and me, it was a memorable birthday indeed.

Early next morning I say goodbye.

We promise to meet next year.

And then I catch the morning flight out of Vizag.

12 September 1984


Well  I could not make it last year  on the 12th of September 1983  as I was again sent abroad on a project  so we meet after a gap of 2 years.

Vijay has moved up the ladder pretty fast.

Just recently  he has been posted to the Head Office of his FMCG Company.

That is the beauty of being an IIM graduate – you move up very fast.

I wish that – like Vijay  I too had had taken the IIM route  instead of deciding to be a hard-core engineer  where you have to slog it out in the field  especially if you land up in “projects”.

I sit with Vijay’s wife Usha sipping tea in the balcony of their 3rd floor sea facing company flat on Marine Drive in Mumbai.

We watch the sunset – it is a spectacular sight – the interplay of colours in the sky and the sun is being swallowed by the placid blue waters of the Arabian Sea.

After the sun sets  the lights on the Queen’s Necklace come on – it looks fascinating.

The phone rings  and Usha goes inside to pick it up.

“You have a shower and get ready,” Usha says, “I’ll get ready too. Vijay said he’ll be here in half an hour – and we will go straightaway to the club.”

“Club? Why club? Let’s sit at home. You cook something simple. We’ll just sit and chat,” I say.

“Vijay said we’ll all go to the club,” Usha says with finality.

When Vijay arrives  there is a woman with him.

She looks beautiful, chic and very elegant.

Vijay introduces us to each other.

The woman’s name is Nisha  and she is Vijay’s colleague in his office. 

Nisha has an MBA in finance.

She was working abroad for some years.

Recently – Nisha has joined Vijay’s company as Finance Manager.

Vijay introduces Nisha as his office colleague.

But my sixth sense tells me that this woman Nisha is much more than a mere colleague.

Nisha goes in to freshen up.

“I hope you don’t mind if Nisha comes with us,” Vijay says to me.

“Of course I do mind if she comes with us,” I say, “we don’t want outsiders in our get-together, do we?”

“Let her come,” Usha pleads with me, “Poor thing. Nisha has just come back to India after getting out of a bad marriage. She has no one else in Mumbai  and Vijay is helping her settle down.”

“She’ll be good company,” Vijay says.

“I hope you are not trying to set me up with Nisha...?” I ask, tongue-in-cheek.

We start laughing  but suddenly Nisha comes in.

We drive to the club.

Usha sits beside Vijay in front.

Nisha sits with me in the rear of Vijay’s new Maruti 800 car.

Way back in 1984  a Maruti Car was a prized possession – and Vijay is one of the lucky guys to get a much sought after Maruti Car from the first lot.

The smallness of the car creates a forced intimacy between Nisha and me.

Nisha sits close to me  the aroma of her perfume is enticing  our bodies touch  and I feel aroused by her tantalizing sensuousness. 

Nisha is indeed a very alluring woman.

We sit by the sea  watching lights of ships at a distance in the darkness  and we enjoy our drinks in a most pleasant ambience.

We  Vijay and Me  we drink Scotch Whisky.

Nisha gets high on Martini  while Usha has fruit juice.

It is a lovely evening.

On the way back  we drop Nisha at a working women’s hostel in Colaba  her temporary home till she finds a good apartment.

“Poor thing – it must be tough for Nisha to live in a hostel. Vijay, you must find her a good apartment fast,” Usha says, as we drive towards Marine Drive.

“I am trying to get Nisha a flat near our office in Churchgate,” Vijay says.

We drive down to Chowpatty  and walk on the sands by the sea  eating ice cream – a delightful end to a pleasurable evening.

12 September 1987
New Delhi


Last time – 3 years ago  it was Vijay, Usha, Nisha and Me – four of us together.

Now – Usha is missing  and it is Vijay, Nisha and Me.

Yes  now Usha has gone  and in her place there is Nisha.

Vijay divorced Usha and married Nisha.

Then both of them  Nisha and Vijay  relocated abroad to America.

Now they both work in New York.

And me  after slogging for many years in the field  I have finally been posted to our Delhi office.

It is great to be back in Delhi, after so many years.

We spend a nostalgic day visiting all our haunts in IIT Delhi – our hostel rooms, the canteens, the classrooms – walk round the campus.

Then  we spend the evening in my bungalow in Saket  drinking late into the night.

Later  when we are alone  Vijay says to me, “I have looked after Usha well. I have bought her a luxurious 3 BHK flat in Pune  and I have given her plenty of money. Yes  I have given her so much money that she can live well …”

“Hey, Vijay, why are you telling me all this? It is your personal matter. Are you feeling guilty? Don’t feel guilty – just forget it – whatever happened, has happened  and it is past history now. So don’t feel sorry. Come on – it is well past midnight. You have a flight to catch tomorrow. Let’s go to sleep.” I say.

And we go to sleep.

12 September 1989

USHA  and  ME

“Are you sure Vijay is not coming?” Usha, my wife, asks me.

(Yes  Vijay’s ex-wife Usha and I got married in 1988)

I look at my wife Usha and say: “No. I rang up Vijay twice today  but he is making all sorts of excuses.

“Last year  Vijay was abroad on the 12th of September  but this time  he is in Mumbai on work  and he can surely make it – it’s just a 3 hour drive to Pune,” Usha says.

“Well  Usha – I really don’t know. Maybe  Vijay has got a guilty conscience for ditching you. Maybe  he can’t bear to see us together. Or maybe  Nisha has told him not to come...” I say.

“Okay, let’s celebrate your birthday – just you and me,” Usha says  and we go out for dinner.

12 September 2012
Khadakwasla near Pune


I sit with Vijay on the lawns of my farmhouse – and we sip our sundowners  as we watch the sun set behind the hills across the lake.

We meet after a gap of 25 years.

The last time Vijay and me got together was on 12 September 1987  in New Delhi  when Vijay had come with his new wife Nisha  after divorcing Usha.

Like me  I am sure he is thinking about the twists and turns in the journey of our lives.

I think of all the birthdays  the 12th of September  we have spent together.

It is like a merry-go-round of relationships.

First – it was VIJAY and ME.

Then  it was VIJAY USHA and ME.

After that  it was VIJAY USHA NISHA and ME.

Later  it was VIJAY NISHA and ME.

Even later  it was USHA and ME.

Now  it is USHA ME and VIJAY.

Yes, you guessed right – Nisha divorced Vijay  and now Vijay is all alone.

Next morning I drop Vijay to the Mumbai airport  and he catches the flight back home to America.


12 September 2013

USHA  ME  and  Vijay...???

I hope Vijay will come.

But  I know he will not come.

I could see it in his eyes last time.

Maybe Vijay will never come.

Maybe Vijay and I will never meet again.

So  maybe this birthday  the 12th of September 2013  and all my future birthdays  all the 12th’s of September  I will have to celebrate with my much married wife Usha.

Of course  it was thanks to Vijay  that I first met Usha  in Vizag  31 years ago  on 12 September 1982  when she was newly married to Vijay.

But – on every 12th of September  I will always wait for Vijay  who was born on the same day as I was born  on the exact date and year – as if he were my twin brother.

Dear Reader: 

Vijay did not come.

Yes – as you guessed – Vijay did not come on September 12, 2013.

He did not come the next year too – on September 12, 2014. 

And – he did not come the next year too – on September 12, 2015. 

Since then – he has not come. 

But – like always  on every 12th of September – I will wait for Vijay to come. 

Tell me – Dear Reader  Do you think Vijay will ever come...?

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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