Sunday, June 18, 2017

Infatuation – Romance – Love : A Story

Fiction Short Story

Here is an “ancient story from my creative writing archives. 

I wrote this story before the advent of internet – for the print medium – so I have suitably abridged, updated and edited for easy reading on the digital screen.

Yes – I wrote this old fashioned romance long back  more than 25 years ago – in the early 1990– so you may find the writing style a bit archaic and amateurish.

Dear Reader: 

Indulge me  please read the story  and do tell me if you liked it.



Jayashree entered my life the moment I saw her photograph on Sanjay’s desk. 

And – she my life changed forever.

Till that moment  I had never wanted anything belonging to anyone else.

I stared transfixed at her photo  enthralled  captivated by her beauty.

“Sir  this is Jayashree  my wife...!” Sanjay said, getting up from the swivel chair.

He picked up the framed photograph  and he showed it to me.

I took Jayashree’s picture in my hand and looked intently at her  totally mesmerized.

What a stunning beauty she was...! 

Never before had the mere sight of a picture of a woman aroused such strong passions in me  and a yearning desire – to this extent.

Sanjay was talking something  but it did not register.

I hastily said: “Cute...!” – for I believe that thoughts can transmit themselves if they are strong enough!

I thought Sanjay seemed just a trifle taken aback at hearing me say the word: “Cute...!”

But – he smiled  and he pulled out a photo-album from the drawer. 

He began showing me the photographs and started describing his home  his family  his wedding  his honeymoon  the wonderful days Jayashree and he had spent together in Goa.

I took the album from him and looked at a photograph of Jayashree in a bathing suit which was so revealing that she might as well have worn nothing, but she conveyed such innocence that it was obvious that she had no inkling of this.

She looked ravishing. Yes, she was absolutely breathtaking. Her breasts were boldly outlined under the flimsy fabric and she radiated a tantalizing sensuousness with such fervour that I could not take my eyes off her.

“Cute...” I uttered instinctively  and unthinkingly  once again  and I bit my lip. 

It was the wrong word  but Sanjay didn’t seem to mind. 

He didn’t even seem to be listening.

Dear Reader  before I proceed further with my story  let me tell you something about myself.

My name is Vijay – Captain Vijay. 

At the time of this story  I was the Master of a Merchant Ship  an Oil Tanker. 

Sanjay was my Chief Officer – my second-in-command.

He had joined recently  and it was our first sailing together. 

I had not met him earlier  but in due course  he proved to be an excellent Chief Mate. 

He was young  just 30  but he ran the ship efficiently  and I liked him for his good qualities.

There was something in his eyes that I could not fathom  but I shut my mind to it.

It’s extraordinary how close you can be to a man  and still know nothing about him. 

Sometimes I wondered whether he was much more naïve than he looked  or  was he a lot more shrewder than I thought...?

“Captain  may I ask you a personal question...? Sanjay asked me one evening  the first time we went ashore.

“Sure...” I said.

“Captain  I was wondering  why didn’t you get married so far...?” Sanjay said with childlike candour.

I sipped my drink – I smiled  and  I said to him: 

“I don’t really know. Maybe  I am not marriage-material.”

“So you tried to get married...?”


“You loved someone...?”

I didn’t answer.

And – as I thought about it  I felt depressed. 

Life was passing me by. 

I looked around the restaurant. 

The atmosphere was gloomy-dark and quiet. 

It was late  almost midnight.

Sanjay offered me a cigarette. 

His hands were unsteady. 

He seemed to be quite drunk. 

As we smoked  he lapsed into silence – his eyes closed.

When he opened his eyes  I observed a strange metamorphosis in his expression. 

He looked crestfallen  close to tears.

Suddenly  Sanjay blurted out: 

“I wish I had never got married.”

With those few words  Sanjay had bared the secret of his marriage.

I attempted to smoothen my startled look into a grin.

I was ashamed to find that  inwardly  I was glad to hear of his misfortune.

I wondered how could I desire and yearn for Jayashree to this extent  without ever having met her in flesh and blood  merely by seeing her photograph.

But  it is true. 

My heart ached – whenever I thought of her. 


We sailed from Madras (Chennai) port next morning  and – we headed for Singapore

It was the monsoon season  and – the sea was rough. 

As the voyage progressed  the weather swiftly deteriorated. 

The ship rolled and pitched feverishly  tossed about by the angry waves.

As we neared the Strait of Malacca  I began to experience a queer sensation  a strange foreboding. 

Though I was moulded in a profession where intellect habitually meets danger  I felt restless and apprehensive. 

I had felt and fought occasional fear before – but this was different – a premonition – a nameless type of fright  a strange feeling of dread and uneasiness.

I tried my best to dispel my fear  thrust away the strange feelings. 

But  all my efforts to get rid of my fear failed. 

The nagging uneasiness persisted and soon took charge of me. 

It was so dark that I couldn’t even see our ship’s forecastle. 

The incessant rain and treacherous sea created an eerie atmosphere. 

I was close to panic as we negotiated the treacherous and hazardous waters of the Strait.

As I stared into the pitch blackness which shrouded the hour moments before the breaking of dawn  a strange tocsin began sounding in my brain. 

It sounded a warning I could not fathom.

The ship was pitching violently. 

I felt sick with fear  and I stood gasping for air  clutching the telegraph. 

I had to get outside  into the fresh air  or I’d suffocate.

As I groped my way along the rail in the bridge-wing  I heard a shrill voice behind me: 

“Don’t go away, Captain...! Please stay. I can’t handle it alone. I can’t. Please, Sir. Don’t go...!”

I turned around. 

It was Sanjay. 

He looked at me beseechingly  with terror and fright in his eyes.

It penetrated to me in flash of revelation what I had done.

I had transmitted my own fear into my crew. 

Sanjay was the Chief Officer. 

For him  to confess in front of the crew  that he could not handle it  brought home to me the fact of how desperate he was.

I had to take control at once.

“You are not supposed to handle it as long as I am around...” I shouted, “Go down to your cabin and catch up on your sleep. I don’t want useless passengers on my ship’s bridge. You just get out of here.”

The moment those words left my mouth  I instantly regretted what I had said  but it was too late now. 

Sanjay was close to tears  humiliated in front of the crew. 

He shamefacedly left the bridge  and went down to his cabin.

Suddenly  a searchlight was switched on, dead ahead. 

Instinctively  I shouted an order to the helmsman to swing the ship across across to starboard. 

I crossed my fingers  desperately praying to avoid a collision. 

It was a near-miss  but the searchlight kept following our sheer to starboard.

I was angry now. 

I stopped the engines  I picked up the loudhailer  I rushed out the bridge-wing  I leaned over  and I shouted at the boat below: 

“You stupid fools. Are you crazy...? What the hell do you think you are doing...?”

“We are in distress...” a voice answered from the boat below, “Please throw us a rope.”

I called the Boatswain (Bosun).

I told him to throw over the monkey-ladder.

“Be careful  and report quickly...” I told the Bosun and the crew.

10 minutes must have passed  but  there was no report from the Bosun. 

The silence was disquieting, ominous. 

I decided to go down to the deck. 

Before I could move  four men entered the bridge. 

They were wearing hoods. 

As I started at the nozzle of a carbine pointed at me  comprehensive dawned on me pretty fast. 

This was piracy on the high seas. 

Incredible  but true. 

I had never imagined it would happen to me. 

Undecided as to my next move  I stood there feeling far from heroic. 

There was no question of resistance. 

After all  this was a merchant ship  a tanker  not a man-o’-war” warship

Saving the lives of the crew was of paramount importance. 

The man pointing the carbine at me said softly to me: 

“Captain – we are taking over. Don’t try anything foolish. Tell the crew.”

Suddenly  there was deep shuddering sound followed by a deafening roar. 

The ship rose – as if she was being pushed up on top of a steep quivering hill.

And then – she slithered down its slope. 

There was a resounding thud – followed by reverberating screeching vibrations. 

We had run aground.

Suddenly  the ship lurched wildly  throwing everyone off-balance. 

Sanjay suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

He made a running dive  and he grabbed the carbine from the pirate. 

It happened too quickly  and so unexpectedly  that I was totally dumbstruck. 

Everyone seemed to have opened fire. 

Bullets wildly started the bridge. 

There was pandemonium  as crew members joined the melee  grappling with the pirates. 

I hit the deck and froze.

I don’t know who pulled me up  but by then  everything was calm and quiet. 

“The pirates have been overpowered,” said the Boatswain, “But the Chief Officer...”

I followed his gaze. 

Sanjay lay on the deck  in a pool of blood. 

I knelt down beside him. 

Sanjay’s face was vacant  but he tried to focus his eyes on me  whimpering: 

“Jayashree, Jayashree, Jayashree ...” 

I shook him  he tried to get up  but he slumped back – Sanjay was dead...!


6 months later I knocked on a door.

There was long wait. 

Then  Jayashree opened the door.

Her gorgeously stunning dazzling face took my breath away.

She was even more beautiful than her photographs.

Dressed in white sari  she looked so proud in her grief  that I felt embarrassed. 

I had myself not yet recovered from the shock of Sanjay’s sudden death.

I said awkwardly to her: 

“I am Captain Vijay.”

Jayashree looked directly into my eyes  and she said to me: 

“So I see.” 

Her dark eyes were hostile.

“I am sorry about what happened. Sanjay was a brave man  and we are all proud to have known him...” I said to her.

My words sounded insincere  and I felt acutely uncomfortable.

“Proud...!!!” she exclaimed, her magnificent eyes flashing, “Some people might feel grateful – especially the person whose life he saved.”

I was stunned by the sting of her bitterness. 

Never before had I felt such a burning shame – the shame of being held responsible for someone’s death.

I looked at Jayashree helplessly  pleading innocence.

But  it was of no use. 

It was hopeless now to try and explain. 

The hurt was deep  and I had to let it go in silence.

Jayashree excused herself,

She turned  and  she went inside.

It was then that I remembered the real reason for my visit.

I wanted to hand over what remained of Sanjay’s personal effects – the unfinished letter  his diary  the framed photograph. 

I would give her the letter first. 

Then – probably  she would understand the real reason for Sanjay’s reckless bravery – his suicidal heroics  and – his desperate concern about proving his masculinity.

When Jayashree returned  she was composed. 

I gave her Sanjay’s unfinished letter.

She took the letter in her dainty hands  and she started reading it.

As she silently read on  I saw tears well up in her eyes.

I do not know whether I did the right thing by giving her Sanjay’s unfinished letter.

Maybe – it would have been wiser to destroy the letter and the diary.

It would have been better to leave things unspoken and unhealed.

But  I had thought it would be better to exorcise the sense of guilt and shame.

Better for me. 

Better for Jayashree. 

Good for both of us.

It was not easy  but we both had to come to terms with ourselves.

Jayashree finished reading the letter.

Then – she looked at me.

She had a cold look in her eyes.

I looked at Jayashree  deep into her intoxicating eyes.

Jayashree looked into my eyes too.

We looked into each other  transfixed  in silence  a deafening silence.

And suddenly  Jayashree’s frozen eyes melted  and she smiled.

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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