(a short story)by






“She can take the flat, but I want custody of my son,” the man says emphatically to the marriage counselor in the family court. 

“No way,” shouts the woman, “he can keep his flat, his money, everything. I don’t want anything from him. I just want my son.” 

The marriage counselor looks at the eight-year-old boy and asks him lovingly, “Adi, tell me, what do you want?” 

“I want both of them,” the boy, whose name is Aditya, who everyone lovingly calls Adi, says softly, perplexed by the situation. 

“I think you both should give it a last try, at least for your son’s sake,” the counselor says to the couple.  

“No. I’ve had enough. It’s over. We can’t stay with this man!” the woman says. 

“We?” the man asks incredulously, “Well you are most welcome to go wherever you want, but Adi is staying with me. I’m his father!”  

“And I’m his mother! Listen,” the woman pleads anxiously to the man, “I don’t want anything from you – maintenance, alimony, nothing! Just give me Adi. I can’t live without him!” 

“He’s my son too. I love him and can’t live without him too!” the man says. 

“See,” the counselor says, “You both love your son so much! I still think you should try to reconcile.” 

“No. I want out,” the woman says. 

“Me too!” the man says. 

“Okay, let’s go in,” the counselor says, shrugging her shoulders, “Since you two have agreed on everything else, the judge will probably ask you the same things I asked you, ask the child, and then, considering the child’s age, let him stay with his mother and grant the father visiting rights.” 

“This whole system is biased in favor of women! I can look after Adi much better than her,” the man says angrily. 

“My foot!” the woman says, “You’ll ruin his life. It’s better he remains away from your influence!”   

“Please don’t fight inside,” the counselor advises, “You want an amicable mutual consent separation, isn’t it?” 


 And so, they separate.  




The separation period over, they assemble in the family court for their divorce. 

“I want to tell you something,” the woman says to the man. 

“What?” the man asks. 

 “Well I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve been seeing someone.” 

“And you want to get married to him?” 


“That’s great. Go ahead. Good Luck to you!” the man says, “and who is the lucky guy?” 

“A childhood friend. Now he lives in the States, is here on a vacation.” 

“So you’re off to the States?” 

“Yes. Once all this is through.” 

“Good for you.” 

“It’s about Adi…” the woman says awkwardly. 


“I want to leave him with you. As a parting gift.” 

“Parting Gift?” the man asks dumbfounded. 

“We thought we should begin life afresh. Without the baggage of the past.” 

“Baggage of the past? How dare you? Adi is your son!” the man says angrily. 

“And yours too!” the woman says, “He needs a father. Especially now.” 

The man says nothing. There is silence. And then he speaks, “A friend of mine has just moved in with me. Actually she’s more than a friend. She’s going to live in with me for some time,  to get to know each other better, and then we’ll decide. I don’t think it’s the right time for Adi to stay with me.” 


And so the man and the woman found their new life-partners and lived happily ever after, and their darling son Adi was packed off to boarding school. No one wanted his “custody” any longer and he was “free”. Such are the travesties of life! 





Copyright 2007 Vikram Karve

















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