Married Bachelors


[a fiction short story] 










Married Bachelors are proliferating all around me. Come, walk around with me in my workplace and I’ll show you what I mean. 

Let’s meet the latest entrant to the Married Bachelors’ Club. 

“Congratulations,” I say. 

“Thank you, Sir,” says the smart upwardly mobile young man standing before me. 

“How was the wedding?” 




“Wow! Come to our place in the evening. We want to meet your brand new wife,” I say. 

“Sir, she hasn’t come.” 

“Hasn’t come?” 

“She is working in
Delhi, Sir.”

“Tell her to quit.” 

“Quit her job?” he looks at me as if I have said something blasphemous. 

“She can take a year or two off, can’t she? Come on, newly married couples like you must stay together; especially in a beautiful place like this. Now is the time, when you are fresh and young.”  

“She’s very career conscious, Sir,” he says proudly, “and this a very vital phase for her – she’s on the verge of a promotion, working on an important project.” 

And it was the same for the ambitious high flier go-getter standing in front of me. He too had “heights” to scale! From a true bachelor he had become a married-bachelor. Like his wife. And now endorsed with the hallmark of marriage, both of them, husband and wife, married bachelors, were free to focus their entire efforts on climbing their respective separate career ladders to “success” and fulfill their professional ambitions. She is married to her job; he is married to his job – and, of course, they are married to each other! 

Why do people marry? For togetherness and companionship, isn’t it? Then why do they stay separately by choice, especially in the formative exciting passionate early years of marriage? I just can’t fathom this paradox. 

And here is my colleague – a charming lady – a veteran married bachelor. [I prefer to call her a married bachelor rather than married spinster! If actresses can be called actors, why not refer to spinsters as bachelors?]. She’s not the overly ambitious type. She once told me that given a choice she’d give up her monotonous backbreaking job. Then why doesn’t she do it? She’s in the EMI trap. They’ve bought an exclusive penthouse flat in the classiest posh township in the city and a weekend bungalow in the hills. And they are so busy earning to pay off their loan EMIs, she grinding herself off here and he slogging it out at sea, that they sometimes wonder whether it was all worth it – sacrificing the best years of their lives for material comforts that they may become too old and worn out to enjoy. 

And here is a similar tale. Poor chap. He bought a house in Pune as he loved the place and comfortably settled down with his family. And then he got transferred. But the family won’t move out. They love the place, and have embellished their adorable abode with such loving care, that they can’t dream of giving it on rent either. They just don’t want to move out of their comfortable existence. So the poor man will have to spend the rest of his working life as a married bachelor. Once one has tasted and savored the fruits of family life, it is difficult to live alone – you can take my word for it! 

Now look at him. Why is he a married bachelor? 

“Children’s Education,” he says. 

“What’s wrong with the schools here?” 

“I don’t want to disturb them. I want them to get the best.” 

So husband and wife sacrifice their marital happiness for the sake of their darling children, who owing to their brilliant academic accomplishments are sure to fly off to better pastures, leaving behind the “married bachelors” [parents] to endure the remains of their marital lives as strangers in their empty nest.  

I wonder why these married bachelors prefer to live miserably in self-imposed desolation and loneliness. In our twenty five years of married life I have always endeavored to be together with my wife as much as feasible. I love the warm glow of the “much-married” feeling that comes after years of togetherness and friendship. 


Ah! At last, I see the lovey-dovey couple I’ve been noticing for weeks now. 

“Good to see a lovely married couple at the workplace,” I comment. 

“Hah! Married couple? Of course they are married. But not to each other,” pipes up the office jester. 

“What do you mean? I see them together everywhere. Can’t you see – there is that distinctive togetherness about them that spouses have.” 

“Oh yes. You can call them spouses – office spouses!” 

“Office Spouses?” 

“It’s the in thing, you know, especially among married bachelors as you call them – to have an office husband or an office wife.” 

“Married Bachelors! Office Spouses! What’s the world coming to? I’ve had enough for the day!” 


As I walk home with a spring in my step eager to meet my much-married darling wife, I know that love is linked to being physically near and being married means being together. 

If you don’t want to live together, why marry? 




Copyright 2007 Vikram Karve 








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