Friday, January 12, 2024

The Visitor

 Short Fiction by Vikram Karve



Short Story by Vikram Karve


Around 4 years ago – in March 2020 – as COVID cases started rising in my neighbourhood – I shut down my consulting room in Mumbai – and I “escaped” to my farmhouse – just a day before lockdown was imposed.

One morning – a man came to see me at my farmhouse.

“Sorry for barging in like this without an appointment – I intentionally didn’t call – because – I felt you may refuse to see me…” he said.

He introduced himself – he was a business tycoon – he gave me his business card.

“How did you manage to come here…?” I asked him, “there is a lockdown…”

“I managed an e-pass…” he said.


(Well – for the “rich and famous” – normal rules don’t apply – and after reading his business card – it was evident that he was quite an influential man)


Then – he looked at me and spoke.

“I heard that you are “No.1” in your field – I desperately wanted to consult with you – so I have come…” he said.

 “There was no need to come all the way here – I am doing online consultations…” I said to him.

“I know – but this issue is sensitive – so – I wanted to discuss with you in person…” he said, “I will pay you whatever fees you want for your time…”

“Let’s go and sit outside on the lawns…” I said, “in these COVID days – it is better to talk in the open air – and we can maintain social distance – remove our masks – and talk freely…”


We sat down on the garden chairs on the lawn – with a table in between – quite a distance between us.

I removed my mask and I looked at him.

“Okay – tell me about your problem…” I said to him.

I started “audio record” on my smartphone – and kept my smartphone on the table in between us.

“Are you recording the conversation…?” he asked me.

“Yes…” I said, “it will help me later to analyse and make my notes…”

“Please don’t record our conversation…” he said, “I want it to be totally private…”

“Okay…” I said – and – I picked up the smartphone – I switched it off – and I kept it in my pocket.

“I have switched off my smartphone…” I said to him, “now you can speak freely…”

“My wife wants a divorce…” he said – coming to the point immediately.

“On what grounds…?” I asked him.

“She says that I am impotent…” he said.

“Are you…?” I asked him, “You’ve never had sex…?”

“Of course – I have had sex – in fact – I have had regular sex with my wife for the last 3 years since we got married…” he said.

“Then clearly – you are not impotent…” I said, “if you want – I will talk to your wife…”

“No. No. It’s not that – she says that I am the reason that we can’t have children…” the man said.

“Oh – so your wife is saying that you are sterile…” I said, “doesn’t she know the difference between impotence and infertility…?”

“I don’t know…” he said, “she wants me to get myself tested…”

“It is very simple…” I said, “you can get a sperm count test done – a semen analysis…”

“No – I don’t want to do it…” he said.

“You don’t want to get yourself tested…? Why…?” I asked him – curious.

“I am scared that the tests may come true…” he said.

“You are scared that the tests may come true…? Do you fear that you are infertile…?” I said to him.

“Yes…” he said – matter-of-factly.

“You must get rid of your fears – get the fertility tests done…” I said to him.

“No…” he said, “suppose the tests say that I am infertile – that I am sterile and can’t produce a child – it will be a humiliating “loss of face” for me…”

“Loss of face…?” I said – taken aback.

“Yes. We come from a business community – mine is a business marriage – I must be able to produce an heir…” he said – looking anxious.

“Wait…” I interrupted him, “what makes you think that it is you who is infertile – what about your wife – has she done fertility tests…?”

“She says that we should do the tests together…” he said.

“And – you don’t want to do the tests together because you feel nervous – that the tests would show that it is you who is sterile…” I said to him.

“Yes…” he said – with a nervous expression on his face.

“Why are you so worried…? It is not your fault if your sperm count happens to be low. There is no stigma attached to infertility nowadays…” I said to him.

“You don’t know my wife – she will publicly humiliate me – and – as I have already told you – she will divorce me – and her family – they will spread all sorts of rumours – and they will demand all sorts of things – I will be ruined – everyone will know that I am impotent and infertile – not “man enough” – and my reputation would be totally tarnished in my community…” he said – looking nervous and distressed.

“Okay…” I said in a consoling tone, “I can empathise with you – I will schedule a private test for you – let’s see the results – then we will decide what to do…”

“Test…? Here…?” he looked at me apprehensively.

“Not here – we will do the tests in Mumbai – but you don’t worry – I will be very discreet – your identity will be confidential and no one will know…” I said to him.

“Okay…” he said, “don’t call on the numbers on my card – I will give you my private number – we can connect via WhatsApp…” he said to me.

He gave me his private number – and – we connected on WhatsApp.

I walked with the man to his SUV parked on the road outside my farmhouse.

He smiled a goodbye to me – he got inside his SUV – and – he drove away.


I noticed that my neighbour was observing us – she was standing a few feet away on the road with her small daughter – a cute girl – around 6 or 7 years old.

My neighbour waved to me – and – she started walking towards me – with her daughter in tow.

I looked at the woman – she looked so chic – blue jeans, bright red tucked-in T-Shirt, fair creamy flawless complexion, jet black hair neatly tied in a bun – and – dark Ray-Ban sunglasses of the latest style.

She was a good-looking woman with smart feminine features – elegant – fashionable – chic – graceful – well-groomed.

She was “Kiwi-Indian” – an Indian settled in New Zealand.

She had come on a vacation to India with her daughter – to meet people – and now – she was stuck here – as all international flights were cancelled due to COVID Lockdown.

Instead of living with relatives in the city – she had come to live in the neighbouring farmhouse – which belonged to one of her friends.

Life was much better out here in the countryside – than in the crowded city – where you had to live cooped up in your house with all sorts of lockdown curfews and restrictions – living in fear – with “COVID Phobia” – whereas here – in the farmhouse expanse – it was much healthier and safer – and you could move around quite freely in the fresh air and natural environment.

Due to COVID social distancing – we hadn’t talked much – just a “hail-fellow-well-met” type of friendship – and a bit of “small talk”.

She smiled at me and spoke.

“You had a visitor…” she said to me – matter-of-factly.

“Yes…” I said to her.

“That man who visited you – is his name Avinash…?” she asked me.

I was quite surprised by her question – so – I just looked at her in silence curious – wondering what to say – but before I could speak – she interrupted me.

“Please don’t get me wrong…” she said in a beseeching voice, “I was totally surprised to see him here – luckily – he didn’t see me…”

“Do you know him…?” I asked her.

“Yes – once upon a time – I knew him very well – he is the father of my daughter…” she said to me – looking into my eyes.

And then – she glanced at her cute daughter.



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1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 
2. 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.
3. E&OE

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