Monday, January 15, 2018

Ulka and Alka - A Flirty Romance

A few days ago – at a get-together – I met a lady called ULKA 

At the same get-together – I met a young lady – she told me her name was ALKA 

Ha Ha – ULKA and ALKA...!!! 

This reminded me of a story that I had written around 14 years ago  in the year 2004 – after a visit to Hyderabad.

I hope this flirty love story will cheer you up on this dull Monday afternoon.

Do comment and tell me if you like this rather amateurish romance.

Have a great week ahead.

And Hey  Dear Reader – please remember that I wrote this story 14 years ago  in the year 2004  when online e-ticketing was not prevalent – and you bought Air Tickets from a Travel Agency. 

Read on...

Short Fiction - A Flirty Romance

“Ulka. It’s Ulka – I will spell it out for you  U  L  K  A – that’s my name  not Alka...” screamed the furious lady.
“I’m sorry Ma’am. It’s just a small mistake...” the ticketing clerk, a young girl, said apologetically.
“Small mistake...? You spell my name wrongly – and you call it a small mistake...?” the beautiful lady fumed.
“I must have heard wrongly on the phone...”
“It’s carelessness. Anyway – you change the ticket...”
The ticketing clerk took the ticket from the lady.

Then – with her pen the ticketing clerk overwrote U in place of the A – thereby  changing Alka to Ulka.
“What nonsense is this...?” the lady flared up – she looked livid.
“How does it matter, Ma’am...? It’s just a minor change of spelling. Besides – your surname is spelt correctly.”
“What...? Minor change...? How dare you call it a “minor change...? You need an attitudinal change...!”
“Excuse me, Ma’am...!”
“What do you mean excuse me...? You just cancel this ticket – and you issue a new one with my correct name.”
“You will have to pay cancellation charges if you cancel the ticket...”
“Cancellation charges...? What nonsense...! Why should I pay...? It is your mistake. You think I am a fool...?” the lady shouted  beginning to lose control of herself..
Till this moment  I was just watching from the sidelines.

But now  it was time for me to intervene.
“What’s the matter...?” I asked the ticketing girl.
“She is creating a big fuss over a minor issue...” the ticketing girl said to me.
“Big fuss...! You change my name and you say that it is a minor issue...? Suppose the plane crashes – what happens to the insurance...? You are incompetent. I will have you fired from your job...! Who is the “Top Man over here...?” the lady said, trembling with fury.
“Excuse me, Madam...” I said, “May I help you...?”
“I want to see the “Top Man in this office...” the lady shouted. 

Her enormous brown velvety eyes were flaming  her flawlessly smooth cheeks flushed  her slender upturned nose luminous, almost translucent – her deliciously juicy lips quivering. 

In her anger – she looked devastatingly beautiful .
“I am the “Top Man here...” I said to her.

Then  I turned to the ticketing clerk  and  I said firmly: 

“Issue a fresh ticket with the proper name. Don’t make any mistakes...!”
“But, Sir...?”
“Just do what I say. Do you understand...!!!” I snapped at the hapless ticketing girl.

Then  I turned to the angry lady  and I said politely to her: 

“Ma’am  please come to my cabin.”
After a glass of water  a freshen up – and a cup of coffee  she was a composed and appeared a bit contrite. 

With the fresh ticket with her correct name on the table in front of her  the beautiful lady said to me: 

“I am sorry for creating a scene  but I get very upset when I am called Alka instead of Ulka. My name is Ulka – and – I do not like to be called Alka....
“I can understand...” I said. “One’s name is important – and people do get touchy if there is a mistake. But then  Alka and Ulka  both names suit you.”
“What do you mean...?” she asked, confused.
“Well – Alka means a girl with curly hair. Just like you...!”
She blushed  and she asked me: 

“And Ulka...? What does Ulka mean...?
“Well  Ulka means a meteor  a star falling on the earth from the heavens, fire, a torch – or a firebrand...”
“Are you telling me that I am a hothead firebrand...? O– do I look like a meteor...?” she smiled mischievously. 

The ice had broken. 

Her anger had melted.
“Well  Alka and Ulka. They sound so similar that one can easily confuse Ulka with Alka which is a more common name...” I said.
“I know. But – because of this Alka-Ulka slip-up – I have paid a heavy price for it...” she said.

And then – Ulka began to tell me her story. 

I am easy to talk to  and her words came tumbling out.
“Around 10 years ago  when I was in my final year at college  a boy saw me in our college canteen – and he fell head over heels in love with me...” she said.
“Wow...!” I said.
“He was so desperate  that after we had left  he asked a waiter my name  and the stupid waiter made the same mistake – instead of telling the boy that my name was Ulka – the waiter told the boy that my name was Alka...”
“But the boy was in your college, isn’t it...?”
“No. No. I never noticed him. He must have been one of those rich types just hanging out in our college – to ogle at girls. He had fallen so madly in love with me – that he tried to find out my address from our college office.”
“Then what happened...?”

“I told you – instead to telling the boy my correct name ‘Ulka’ – the waiter told the Boy that my name was Alka...

“Oh...!” I said, waiting for Ulka to continue her story.
Ulka looked at me and said: 

“So the Boy went to the college office and he asked for Alka – and unfortunately there was an Alka in my class  so they gave him Alka’s address...

“A goof up...?”

“Now listen to this...” Ulka said, “the Boy takes the address  and then the guy goes to his parents – he gives them the address  and he tells his parents them to meet Alka’s parents and ask for her hand in marriage.”
“And then...?”
“They saw each other  the Boy and Alka. The Boy realized his goof-up – and he told Alka – he described me accurately to her  the Boy told Alka that he had fallen for me – not her. But then – Alka is smart  very smart. She wasn't going to let go of such a prize catch. I don’t know what she did. Maybe she told him there was no one like me in her college  or maybe she lied to him that I was from some other college  or some such yarn  but she must have sure worked on him with all her wily charms  and finally – they did get married. And now  Alka is having a ball of a time loaded in dough  as the wife of a wealthy businessman  while I slog it out all alone like a slave  day in and day out...”
“You never met the boy after that...?”
“No. In fact  I have never met him in my life. I don’t even know how he looks...

“How is that possible...? 

I told you that I did not notice that the boy was looking at me in the college canteen. He was looking at me – but I did not know that he was looking at me – there was so much rush in the canteen and I was sitting with my group of girls  so I didn’t even seen the boy looking at me...


“In fact – till yesterday  I did not even know all this story that I told you just now...” Ulka said.
“You did know all this till yesterday...? Then how did you come to know...?” I asked.
“Well  Alka told me...” she said.
“What...? Alka...? Here. In Hyderabad...?”
“I ran into Alka at Abids last evening. At the jewellery shop. I was just looking at a string of pearls. Too expensive for me. But Alka bought a lovely pearl necklace and an exquisite diamond studded watch.”
“A diamond studded watch...?”
“Yes – just imagine – I couldn’t even afford one pearl necklace – but Alka bought a pearl necklace and an expensive diamond studded men’s watch too. I am sure that Alka’s husband must be rich  she must be loaded with money...”
“And then...?”

“I noticed that she was staring at me – so I smiled back. Then  Alka came towards me and introduced herself  I am Alka...  then  she told me that she had recognised me – and she asked me: “Your name is Ulka  isn’t it?...

“Really...? She directly asked you whether you were Ulka...? And then what happened...?”
“Yes. Then Alka took me out to dinner in a restaurant. Do you remember that I told you that the Boy had told her everything about the Alka-Ulka name goof-up  well the Boy had accurately described me to her. Alka teased me that her husband still remembers me...”
“Really...? Didn’t Alka” invite you home...? To meet her husband...?” I asked
“I asked her to take me to her home. I told her that I wanted to meet her husband – the Boy who had fallen for me in our college canteen – the Boy who I had never seen. But – she made up some excuses. Maybe – Alka is scared of letting her husband meeting me. After all  a man’s first love always has an enduring place in his heart...”
“That’s really sad...!” 
“Yes. Just one small Alka-Ulka goof-up – and look at the consequences. She is glowing in matrimony in the lap of luxury  and me – lonely in the abyss  all alone...”
“All alone...? You did not marry...?”
“Well  I just don’t seem to like any boy – maybe  I still haven’t got over that Boy, I guess...!” Ulka said.

I paused for a moment.

Then  I looked into Ulka’s eyes  and I said: 

“Well  let me tell you – that – what you are imagining – it may not be true...”
“What do you mean...?” Ulka asked, looking a bit confused.
Alka’s husband  the Boy who fell head over heels in love with you – he is not a hot-shot businessman. Alka’s husband is just the owner of a modest travel agency...” I said.
“Do you know him...? Do you know Alka’s husband...?” Ulka asked me.
“Of course I know him. That Boy is me. I am Alka’s husband...” I said.
She froze. 

Then – she melted. 

And then – she broke into a smile. 

We – Ulka and Me – we looked wistfully into each other’s eyes in silence for a long long time.
After Ulka left my office  there were just two thoughts perambulating in my mind.
Firstly  I wondered what life would have been like if had I married Ulka.
Secondly  I wondered why my wife Alka was hiding things from me.

My darling wife Alka had gleefully shown me the lovely pearl necklace – the moment I reached home last night. 

I wondered why she had not told me about the exquisite diamond studded men’s watch – which she had bought along with the pearl necklace – at Abids last evening...? 

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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