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DATING and MATING

May 18, 2009

DATING and MATING

 

[Short Fiction – A Love Story]

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

(Earlier I had posted this story in parts. Here is the full story. If you’ve read the parts, do enjoy the full story once more.)

 

I am busy working in my office on the morning of the First of April when my cell phone rings. It is Sudha, my next door neighbour, so I take the call. 

 

“Vijay, you lucky dog, your life is made,” Sudha says excitedly.

 

“Lucky Dog? Please, Sudha, I am busy,” I say, a trifle irritated.

 

“Don’t switch off your cell phone,” Sudha says, “you are going to get a very important phone call.”

 

“Important call?”

 

“From the hottest and most eligible woman in town,” Sudha says with exuberance, “She’s fallen head over heels for you, Vijay. She wants to date you.”

 

“Date me? Who’s this?”

 

“My boss.”

 

“Your boss?”

 

“Come on, Vijay, I told you, didn’t I, about the chic Miss Hoity Toity who joined last week…”

 

Suddenly it dawns on me and I say to Sudha, “Happy April Fools Day…”

 

“Hey, seriously, I swear it is not an April Fools’ Day prank. She is really going to ring you up…she desperately wants to meet you…”

 

“Desperately wants to meet me? I don’t even know her…haven’t even seen her…”

 

“But she’s seen you…”

 

“Seen me…where…?”

 

“Jogging around the Oval Maidan…I think she is stalking you…”

 

“Stalking me…?”

 

“She knows everything…your routine…where you stay…that you are my neighbour…so she called me to her office and asked for your mobile number.”

 

“I’ve told you not to give my number to anyone…”

 

“I told her…but she said it was very urgent…I think she wants to come over in the evening…”

 

“This evening…?… I am switching off my mobile…”

 

“No you don’t…You’ll like her…she is your type…”

 

“My Type?… What do you mean?…Sudha please…”

 

“Bye, Vijay…I don’t want to keep your mobile busy…She’ll be calling any time now…Remember, her name is Nisha…All the Best…” Sudha cuts off the phone.

 

As I wait for the mysterious lady’s call, let me tell you’re a bit about Sudha. 

 

Ever since she dumped me and married that suave, slimy, effeminate, ingratiating sissy Suhas, Sudha probably felt so guilt ridden that she had taken upon herself the responsibility for getting me married.

 

Sudha was my neighbour, the girl next door; my childhood friend, playmate, classmate, soul-mate, confidante and constant companion. I assumed we would get married but she suddenly fell for Suhas who she met at a training seminar.

 

I hated Suhas – he was one of those glib, smooth-talking, street-smart, slick characters that adorn the corporate world – a clean-shaven, soft-spoken, genteel, elegantly groomed metrosexual type with an almost feminine voice and carefully cultivated mannerisms as if he had been trained in a finishing school.

 

At first, I was devastated and could not understand why Sudha had betrayed me, but when Sudha gently explained to me that she always saw me as a friend and never as a husband, I understood and maintained cordial relations with her, though I loathed her husband who had shamelessly moved into her spacious apartment after relocating from Delhi to Mumbai.

 

Probably Sudha thought I had remained unmarried because of her (which may have been true to an extent) so in order to allay her guilt conscience she kept on setting up dates for me hoping for the best.

 

The ring of my cell-phone interrupts my train of thoughts.

 

“Mr. Vijay…?” asks a sweet mellifluous feminine voice.

 

“Yes,” I say my heartbeat slightly increasing.

 

“Nisha here,” she says, “Is it a good time to talk.”

 

“Of course,” I say.

 

“I want to meet you…Is it okay if I come over to your place this evening…”

 

My My My! She comes to the point pretty fast isn’t it?

 

“Today evening…?” I blurt out a bit incredulous.

 

“It’s a bit urgent,” she says.

 

“Sure. You are most welcome,” I stammer recovering my wits.

 

“Six-thirty…before you go for your jog…or later after you return…or maybe we can meet up at the Oval…”

 

I am truly stunned… this Nisha is indeed stalking me…meet up at the Oval…as brazen as that… I have never experienced such blatant propositioning…Tocsins sound in my brain…

 

“Mr. Vijay…” I hear Nisha’s soft voice in the cell-phone earpiece.

 

“Yes, Yes, six-thirty is absolutely fine…I’ll wait for you in my house…you know the place…” I stutter recovering my wits.

 

“Yes, I know your place,” Nisha says, “I’ll be there at six-thirty,” and she disconnects.

 

I go home early, shower, deodorize, groom, titivate, put on my best shirt and wait in eager anticipation for this mysterious woman who is coming onto me so heavily.

 

Precisely at six-fifteen the bell rings. 

 

I open the door.

 

“Hi, I’m Nisha,” the stunningly attractive woman in front of me says.

 

Sudha was right…Nisha is certainly very hot… oh yes, Nisha is indeed my type of woman.

 

“I’m sorry I’m a bit early, but I noticed you were in, saw your car below…”she says.

 

‘Noticed I was in’… My, My…She knows my car…about my daily jogs on the Oval…my routine…everything…she’s really hot on my trail…isn’t she?

 

I look at her. She comes closer towards me.

 

She looks and smells natural. No attempt to camouflage her raw steamy physical self behind a synthetic mask of make-up and artificial deodorants.

 

Her persona is tantalizingly inviting and temptingly desirable; her tight-fitting pink T-shirt tucked into hip hugging dark blue jeans accentuate the curves of her exquisite body and she radiates a captivating aura, an extraordinary magnetic attraction, I have never experienced before.

 

I cannot take my eyes off her, her gorgeous face, her beautiful eyes, her lush skin, so I feast my eyes on her, let my eyes travel all over her shapely body.

 

The frank admiration in my eyes wins a smile. She lets her eyes hold mine.

 

 “Aren’t you going to ask me to come in?” she smiles as if reading my mind.

 

“Oh, yes, sorry, please come in,” I say, embarrassed at having eyed her so openly.

 

I guide her to the sofa and sit as near her as politely possible.

 

We sit on the sofa. She looks terribly attractive, very very desirable.

 

Our closeness envelops us in a stimulating kind of intimacy.

 

Overwhelmed by passion I inch towards her.

 

She too comes closer.

 

I sense the beginnings of an experience I have dreamt about in my fantasies.

  

“Actually, I have come for mating,” she says.

 

“Mating…?” I exclaim instinctively, totally shocked, stunned beyond belief.

 

I look at her tremendously excited, yet frightened, baffled, perplexed, wondering what to do, how to make my move, as the improbability of the situation makes me slightly incredulous and bewildered

 

I notice her eyes search the drawing room, then she looks at the bedroom door, and asks, “Where is your daughter?”

 

“Daughter? I’m not married,” I say, completely taken aback.

 

“I know,” she says, “I’m talking about your lovely dog…or rather, bitch…” she laughs tongue-in-cheek.

 

“I’ve locked her inside. She is not very friendly.”

 

“I know. Hounds do not like strangers…but don’t worry…soon I won’t be a stranger…” Nisha says, gets up and begins walking towards the closed bedroom door.

 

“Please,” I say anxiously, “Angel is very ferocious and aggressive.”

 

“Angel…what a lovely name,” Nisha says, “I have been seeing you two jogging and playing at the Oval. That’s why I have come here…to see your beautiful hound Angel…” and then she opens the door.

 

Angel looks suspiciously as Nisha enters the bedroom and as she extends her hand towards her to pat her on the head, Angel growls at Nisha menacingly, her tail becomes stiff, and the hackles on her back stiffen, since, like most Caravan Hounds, she does not like to be touched or handled by anyone other than me, her master.

 

“Please…please…” I plead to Nisha, but she moves ahead undaunted and caresses Angel’s neck and suddenly there is a noticeable metamorphosis in the hound’s body language as the dog recognizes the true dog lover. All of a sudden Angel licks Nisha’s hand, wags her tail and jumps lovingly at Nisha who embraces her.

 

I am really surprised at the way Nisha is hugging and caressing Angel as not even the most ardent of dog lovers would dare to fondle and take liberties with a ferocious Caravan Hound.

 

“She’s ideal for Bruno. They’ll love each other,” Nisha says cuddling Angel.

 

“Bruno?”

 

“My handsome boy… I was desperately looking for a mate for Bruno…and then I saw her…they’re ideally suited…a perfect made for each other couple.”

 

“You’ve got a hound?”

 

“A Mudhol.”

 

“Mudhol?”

 

“Exactly like her.”

 

“But Angel is a Caravan Hound.”

 

“It’s the same…a Caravan Hound is the same as a Mudhol Hound …in fact, the actual name is Mudhol…”

 

“I don’t think so.”

 

“Bet?”

 

“Okay.”

 

 “Dinner at the place of my choice.”

 

 “Done.”

 

“Let’s go.”

 

“Where?”

 

“To my place.”

 

“To your place?”

 

“To meet Bruno…doesn’t Angel want to see him?”

 

“Of course… me too.”

 

And so, the three of us, Nisha, Angel and I, drove down to Nisha’s home on Malabar Hill. The moment we opened the door Bruno rushed to welcome Nisha…then gave Angel a tentative look…for an instant both the hounds stared menacingly at each other…Bruno gave a low growl…then extended his nose to scent…Angel melted…it was love at first sight.

 

Nisha won the bet…we surfed the internet…cross checked in libraries…she was right… Mudhol Hound is the same as Caravan Hound…but not the same as a Rampur, Rajapalyam or  Chippiparai Hound.

 

But that’s another story.

 

Here is what happened to our “Dating and Mating Story”. 

 

Angel and Bruno had a successful mating and Nisha and Bruno would visit my pregnant girl every day, and then, on D-Day,  Nisha stayed through the night to egg on Angel in her whelping.

 

Angel gave birth to four cute little puppies, and every day the “doggie” parents and “human” grandparents would spend hours doting on the little ones.

 

Since Nisha and I could not agree as to who should take which puppy we solved the problem by getting married – strictly a marriage of convenience – but Sudha, her aim achieved, tells me that Nisha and I are the most rocking couple madly in love.

 

And so now we all live together as one big happy family – ours, theirs, mine and hers.

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

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Derby – A Fiction Short Story by Vikram Karve

April 12, 2009

Click the link and read on my creative writing blog, my fiction short story DERBY:

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2009/04/derby.htm

Regards

Vikram Karve

THE EMAIL

December 29, 2008

The Email

 

[Short Fiction – A Love Story]

 

By

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

 

 

The moment I saw the email I did two things.

 

First I took a print-out of the mail, kept it in my purse and deleted the mail from my mailbox.

 

Then I called the airlines and booked my ticket on the next flight to India.  

 

The e-mail contained a name and an address. That’s all – just a name and an address.  

 

I cannot begin to describe the emotion I felt as I looked at the name.

 

I had so many questions to ask him – Unanswered questions that were haunting me for so many years.

 

It all began when my fiancé Anil suddenly broke off our engagement without any explanation.

  

“Why?” I asked him totally shocked.

   

“I can’t tell you,” he said.

   

“You can’t dump me just like this. I’ve done nothing wrong,” I pleaded heartbroken.

  

“I’m sorry, Rita. I can’t marry you,” he said trying to look away from my eyes.

 

“What do you mean you can’t marry me?” I shouted shaking him.

 

He didn’t say anything, just remained silent, averting his eyes.

  

“Is it someone else? What do you mean you can’t marry me? Actually you don’t want to marry me, isn’t it?”

 

“Okay, you can think what you like. I don’t want to marry you.”

 

“You have to give me an explanation. I am not going to accept being jilted like this.”

 

“You have to accept it. Don’t delve too much.”

 

“How dare you say ‘don’t delve too much’, you unscrupulous cheat?” I screamed in anger, taking hold of his collar.

 

“Cool down,” he said pushing me away. “It’s you who tried to cheat me.”

 

“I? Cheated you?” I said dumbfounded and furious.

  

“You shouldn’t have tried to hide things from me,” he accused.

 

“Hide what?” I asked.

 

“You never told me that you are an adopted child,” he said.

 

“What nonsense! Don’t talk rubbish. I’m not adopted!” I shouted in anger.

  

“You are.”

  

“Who told you?”

 

 “We got some matrimonial enquiries done.”

 

 “Matrimonial enquiry? You spied on me,” I accused him, “to blackmail me, to humiliate me? With all these lies!”

 

 “Don’t worry. No one else knows. It’s a reliable and discreet investigation agency.”

 

“It’s not true. I’m not adopted,” I said feeling shattered, numb, as if I had been pole-axed.

 

“Why don’t you ask your parents?” Anil said as he walked away from my life, leaving me heartbroken, desolate and shattered.

  

I never asked my parents, the only parents I knew. They were the one’s who loved me, gave me everything. I could not ask them; hurt them. I did not have the heart to. They did not say anything to me but I could see the sadness and a sense of guilt in their eyes, as they withered away having lost the will to live. I felt deeply anguished and helpless.

 

My parents loved me, meant everything to me, and we carried on our lives as if nothing had happened, and I lovingly cared and looked after them till their very end; but deep down I felt terribly betrayed.

 

Years passed. I relocated abroad past and immersed myself in my work. I tried to forget but I could never forget.

 

One day I could bear it no longer. I decided to find out. And now I had found out.

 

The investigation agency had done a good job. Confidential and discreet.

 

For the first time I knew the name of my actual father. My real father, my biological natural father.

 

And now I had to meet this man and ask him why he did it – abandon me to the world.

 

I landed at Delhi airport in the very early hours of the morning.

 

It was cold, the morning chill at once refreshing and invigorating, the driver drove fast and it took me six hours by taxi to reach the magnificent bungalow near Landour in Mussoorie.

 

I checked the nameplate and briskly walked inside, eager to see my real father for the first time.

 

There was a small crowd gathered in the porch.

 

“What’s happening?” I asked a man in the crowd.

 

“Bada Sahab is no more. He passed away this morning. He was so good to us,” he said with tears in his eyes.

 

I pushed my way through the crowd.

 

My father’s lifeless body was lying on a white sheet bedecked with flowers, ready for the last rites.

 

As I looked at his serene face, tears welled up in my eyes.

 

Suddenly I lost control of myself and cried inconsolably, “I have become an orphan. An orphan!”

 

“Me too!” a familiar voice said softly behind me.

 

I turned around and stared at Anil, my ex fiancé .

 

Anil looked into my eyes in awe.

 

Slowly comprehension began to dawn on us, Anil and me, and we kept looking into each other’s eyes.

 

In silence. A grotesque silence. A deafening silence. An illuminating silence. An enlightening silence.

 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE

 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

vikramkarve@sify.com

 

http://www.ryze.com/go/karve

   

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

 

ROMANCE – A Love Story

December 26, 2008
ROMANCE

By

VIKRAM KARVE

  

[Dear Reader, here is one of my earliest mushy love stories for you to read this festive season when romance is in the air. Do tell me if you liked it]

 

 

            HIS STORY

 

Sanjay stared blankly at the TV set, never so frightened, never so alone.  He couldn’t believe the news.  The plane had crashed.  There were no survivors.  His wife was dead.  This was one contingency that he had never reckoned with.

 

  Sanjay had spent a good deal of time worrying about what would happen to Shalini, if he had died.  In fact, he had always presumed, and even taken for granted, that he would die first and had accordingly planned meticulously and made elaborate and adequate financial provisions for her in case something should happen to him.

 

  But he had never for a moment considered what would happen to him if Shalini died.  She had been an integral part of him and he couldn’t even imagine living without her.  He felt emotionally shattered.  He wanted to cry but tears refused to come in his eyes and his throat felt dry.  He lapsed into a zombie-like state of shock.

 

            His recollections of the next few days were just vivid flashes in a void.  At first, in desperate hope he had rushed to the airport to check the passenger list, hoping that by some miracle she had not been on board.  Little realizing that it was he who had seen her off.  Then there were condolence visits, and the airlines insurance forms.  He didn’t want any money, or condolences.  He wanted his wife back.  Heartbroken with grief and a strange fear of loneliness, Sanjay had sunk into a state of suspended vacuum, devoid of cognizance.  

 

            As he gradually came into consciousness from his drunken stupor, Sanjay realized that he had lost control over his life.  He opened his eyes with trepidation.  Everything looked blurred.  Slowly things began to come a little more into focus.  He was in a train – lying down on the lower berth in a first class compartment.  On the opposite berth sat a family – a young man, his wife and their small daughter.  The man was looking at him in disgust, the wife with pity, and the daughter with fear.  Sanjay felt ashamed of himself and closed his eyes, in embarrassment, trying to escape from reality.  As he lay on the berth indulging in self-commiseration, Sanjay had the lonely realization that there is indeed a moment when a man has no friend.  There was no one to share his grief.  Wallowing in a mood of self-pity in his private self-created hell, Sanjay had developed acute social phobia.  He was afraid of meeting people, attending social gatherings.  He had internalized his feelings to such an extent that he had even become a victim of agoraphobia – a fear of being in open or public places.  It was a crippling illness.  He was scared of leaving his home, afraid of even going to his office and meeting his colleagues.  Sanjay was rapidly sinking into the depths of a loneliness induced melancholic depression – to the point of no return.  The end of the road was in sight.

 

            “The most important thing is the ability to loosen and get rid of something that is worrying you, and forget your sorrow,” advised Anand, Sanjay’s boss.  “Life must go on.  What you need is break, a change of scene.  There is a technical seminar in Chennai next week.  I am sending you to attend it.  It should be of professional interest to you – in fact, I have intimated the organizers that you shall be giving a lecture regarding the successful project you completed last year.  Get busy and banish your sorrow.”

 

            “It’s easy to mouth platitudes,” thought Sanjay.  He tried to prepare the lecture but could not concentrate.  He had been totally overcome by feelings of hopelessness and a sense of failure.  He had lost his self–confidence.  He looked at his watch – it was six o’clock in the evening; his train was at eight o’clock .  The thought of traveling, facing so many people at the seminar and delivering the lecture – all these induced a strange fear in him.  He was overcome by phobia.  In his frustration, for the first time in his life, he began to drink.  Trying to escape from reality, he drank quite a lot – almost the whole bottle of whisky.  He could vaguely remember Anand taking him to the railway station and helping him to the train.  Anand’s parting words had an ominous ring about them,  “It’s your last chance Sanjay.  To get hold of yourself.”

 

            Sanjay entered the auditorium and stood near the door, his eyes adjusting to the darkness.  Slowly things began to come into view.  He was late.  The seminar was already in progress.  The auditorium was small and compact.  It was shaped like a quadrant of a circle, with a raised podium in the central.  The rows of seats were arranged in the fashion of curved arcs, split radially in the centre by the aisle.  Each row was raised behind the one in front, in elevated steps, thereby affording each member of the audience a clear view, not only of the speaker, but also of each person sitting in the audience.  Sanjay sat down on a vacant seat in the last row and surveyed his surroundings.  His eyes had adjusted themselves to the subdued lighting and he could see clearly now.  Most of the participants appeared to be professionals, smartly dressed in formal suits, with a sprinkling of academics easily distinguishable by their patent attire of bush-shirts and sandals.  There was also small group of women, dressed in formal saris, sitting diagonally opposite across the aisle.

 

  As he surveyed the group, his eyes suddenly lit upon a stunningly attractive woman wearing a blue sari.  She was a real beauty.  She radiated an extraordinary sensuousness; of such a degree that Sanjay just could not take his eyes off her.  He felt as if his eyes had locked on to her face.  She exuded a captivating aura about her, which ravished his now hungry eyes.  He feasted his eyes on her lovely face.  She looked pristine – so fresh, so pure.  He was oblivious of his surroundings; he only had eyes for her.  Sanjay was in a haze of delight.  For the first time since his wife’s death did Sanjay feel completely relaxed; once again, he was in harmony with himself.

 

 At first, didn’t notice the lights being switched on.  He had been completely absorbed by her radiant sensuousness, almost in a trance.  As she got up from her seat, the woman turned and looked at him.  Their eyes met.  He hoped that his genuine adoration had not gone unnoticed.  She gave him a glance that could have meant anything.  No response.  He was disappointed.  But he was not going to give up so easily.

 

 He caught her eyes again, looking steadily and directly:  passionate admiration and yearning radiating from his eyes.  She held his gaze in a kind of challenge, there was a lengthy pause and then she smiled.  He felt relieved, and elated.  The frank admiration in his eyes had won him a smile.  Her large youthful eyes were now fastened on his.  There was a language in her eyes, which Sanjay could not fully fathom.  Happy and gay, her eyes conveyed a certain naïveté tinged with curiosity, possibly approval.  For Sanjay, it was a moment of supreme satisfaction.  He felt renewed and refreshed.  Suddenly, contact was broken as somebody blocked his line of sight.

 

  Everyone was walking towards the exit for the tea break.  Sanjay had now lost sight of her.  She had gone out for tea.  Sanjay kept sitting.  The auditorium was now empty.  He closed his eyes in introspection.  He felt calm and serene.  In his mind’s eye he could clearly visualize her exquisite face and magnetic eyes.  And her tantalizing smile – teasing, almost naughty.  Sanjay could not begin to describe the sensation.  She evoked in him.  Certainly it was pleasurable and had a soothing effect on his frayed nerves.  A much needed palliative.

 

            When Sanjay opened his eyes he noticed that the woman had shifted her seat and was sitting alone, across the aisle, much closer than before, affording a better view.  She was looking at him in a canny manner, and when he caught her eye, she quickly turned her gaze towards the podium.  Sanjay experienced an encouraging flush of self-confidence.  He got up from his seat, moved forward, and took up a strong tactical position.  He now had an unobstructed, clear view of her from the most favorable aspect.  He noticed that her eyes had been tracking him.  He looked into her eyes and smiled.  There was a conspiratorial look in her expressive eyes, at once inviting, and taunting.  She was teasing him with her eyes, as if her stimulus had evoked a response; or was it vice – versa.   

 

            Encouraged by her enthusiastic response, Sanjay indulged himself lavishly.  He made love to her with his eyes.  She responded with unrestrained zeal, genuine exhilaration pouring out of her eyes.  As their mutual visual interplay became intense, Sanjay was transported to an ecstatic state of supreme bliss.

 

            Mesmerized in her enchanting eyes, Sanjay was in a delightful trance, oblivious of his surroundings, forgetting his grief.  This immensely enjoyable experience had, at least momentarily, liberated him from his inner tyranny.

 

            As he walked back to his hotel in the evening Sanjay was bubbling with joy.  He experienced a unique state of awareness and self–confidence.  Renewed and invigorated, he felt on top of the world.  His lecture was scheduled the next day.  His would work hard and make it a success.  He had to do it, at least for her.

 

 She was his inspiration.  He felt confident.  He was going to give an impressive performance; make a lasting impression on her.  She would never forget him.  Luckily he had got his chance and he was going to make the most of it.  As his thoughts ran on, he felt charged with energy. Sanjay had bounced back into life again.  He felt buoyant, as though he had traveled through a long dark tunnel and, suddenly, burst out into the bright open countryside again. 

 

 

HER STORY

            Rajashree lay on her bed, sleep eluding her.  She was in a state of pleasurable excitation.  She felt good; on top of the world.  The day had passed in a haze of delight.  Rajashree had never imagined that such a seemingly trivial experience would give her so much pleasure and bring happiness into her life.  But this was no synthetic experience.  It had been genuine and real – had actually happened to her – and was profoundly affecting her.  She explored her own feelings, the stimulus of the welter of events and her response.   

 

            When she had first noticed the handsome, bearded man staring at her, she had uncomfortable but had resigned herself to his ogling – what she believed was a masculine propensity in Indian society.  Maybe he was just looking in her direction, since she was sitting with a group of women.  She decided to ignore it. In any case, she couldn’t do anything about it.  

 

But curiosity got the better of her.  After some time she looked in his direction through the corner of her eyes.  He was still looking at her.  She got confused.  “What was his motive?” she wondered.  Was he trying to seduce her?  She dare not smile back or appear too friendly lest he misinterpret it as a sign of easy availability.  Rajashree felt irritated at the invasion of her private space.  His visual intrusion was disturbing the equilibrium of her personal inner zone. 

 

            Suddenly the lights came on. As she got up she came into eye contact with him.  She tried to avoid his gaze.  But she could not avert the magnetic pull of his eyes.  She looked straight into his eyes, trying to project defiance.  But when she saw the genuine ardor and frank admiration in his eyes, her defenses broke down and she smiled.

 

            At the tea break, as she picked up a cup of tea, Rajashree searched for him.  He had not come out.  Rajashree sat down in a remote corner.  Sipping her tea, she explored her feelings.  The seemingly trivial encounter had definitely raised her spirits.  She felt good.  Fresh, buoyant and youthful, Rajashree was no clairvoyant to look into the province of Sanjay ’s mind, but she was curious to know the extent of his feelings.

 

            “What does he want from me? “ she wondered.  “Is he really attracted to me or is it my vicarious imagination titillating me?”

 

            Rajashree made a spontaneous decision, trusting her intuition.  If he was playing a game, she too would join in.  A bit of harmless flirtation never hurt anyone.  She went into the auditorium and sat on a vacant seat much closer to him.  She noticed that the man was sitting silently with his eyes closed, as if he were meditating.  Even as she was feeling a flush of disappointment, he suddenly opened his eyes.  The astonishment evident in his surprised eyes made her realize that she had been ogling at him unabashedly.  She quickly turned her eyes away in momentary sense of guilty embarrassment, and then recovered.

 

  He had shifted to a better position and was smiling at her.  She felt a tremor of anticipation at his positive response and teased him with her eyes.  She surrendered herself and her inhibitions to the mysterious rhythm of their spontaneous interaction and locked her eyes into his, radiating unconcealed feelings of joy.  As they made ethereal love to each other with their eyes, she experienced immense enjoyment and unparalleled pleasure.  It was the first genuine physical attraction she had felt for anyone since her bitter divorce.  It had been a long time ago, and not since then had the mere sight of a man aroused the womanhood in her to such an extent.

 

 

 

THEIR STORY


 

            Sanjay delivered the lecture with newfound verve, radiating self-confidence and professional competence. Rajashree was sitting in the first row.  From time to time, Sanjay looked at her.  She was directly concentrating on him; the language of her eyes clearly projecting approbation, assurance and encouragement.  Silently, she cheered him on.  She was Sanjay’s inspiration, his motivation and, at that moment, his raison d’etre.

 

            “As the applause died down, Sanjay sat down on the stage.  He looked at Rajashree.  She gave him a canny look of congratulation, got up from her seat and left the auditorium.  Sanjay, desperately wanted to follow her, but he was helpless.  The chairman was delivering the vote of thanks for him and Sanjay couldn’t possibly leave the stage.

 

 Time crawled.  Sanjay became anxious.   The chairman was going on and on with his long-winded speech.  Sanjay looked at his watch.  He realized that the chairman had spoken only for five minutes.  But these five minutes were the longest five minutes of Sanjay’s life.

 

  He was desperate to meet her; afraid he would lose her, forever.   She was the one bright spot in his present life.  He did not want to lose her.  In his frustration, he mentally cursed the speaker for taking so long.  Finally, he could take it no longer.  He excused himself and left the auditorium.

 

 Outside, he frantically searched for her.  But there was no joy – he drew a blank wherever he looked for her.  Sanjay was crestfallen.  His mind went blank.  Suddenly he felt a tap on his shoulder.  He turned around in anticipation.  He was disappointed.  It was some other woman – one of the seminar delegates.  Probably wanting to compliment him on his lecture.

 

            “Mr. Sanjay Kulkarni?” the woman delegate queried, her eyes arched.

 

            He nodded in affirmation.

 

            “A letter for you,” she said, giving him a synthetic smile; and before he could react, quietly walked away.

 

            Sanjay tore open the envelope and began to read the letter.  His pulse had quickened and it was only with difficulty that he could concentrate and focus his eyes.

 

            “Dear Mr. Kulkarni,” the letter began, “or shall I call you Sanjay? Don’t wonder how I have found out your name.  It was announced before your lecture.  I cannot express in words, or begin to describe, the sentiments and feelings you have evoked in me.  The language of our eyes was something that surpassed the language of words and speech.

 

  I want to cherish those wonderful moments – the sublime experience.  It was the one bright spot in my depressingly vapid life.  I never imagined that such a seemingly trivial occurrence would have such a profound influence on me.  The appreciation and love in your eyes aroused the dormant woman in me.  For years, after my bitter divorce, I had repressed my natural feelings, forgotten the simple joys of living.  

 

 I saw true love in your eyes and that is why I am afraid of meeting you.  I do not want our beautiful sublime relationship degenerate into something physical.  I feel as if I am caught between two fires – my sense of values and my emotions.  I am experiencing the conflict between the practical and poetic vision of life.  Our strange and brief encounter has awakened the womanhood in me.  I feel youthful and invigorated, but also lonely and vulnerable.  I have fallen in love with you.  That is why I am scared of facing you.  I am afraid I shall ruin everything by succumbing to temptation.  It may lead to something that we both may later regret.

 

            It may sound strange but the lively experience has also awakened the motherhood in me.  It may appear irrelevant and trivial, but it is true.  I had put my daughter in a boarding school in Ooty.  Maybe I wanted to shield her. Maybe I felt I had no time for her. Only my ambitions, my career mattered.  I had got my priorities wrong.  I was chasing rainbows. 

 

            Thanks again for the wonderful and enchanting experience.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  I now feel in harmony with myself; don’t want to hide from myself.

 

  I shall always remember this wonderful encounter and cherish the simple joys of living.  As we made love to each other with our eyes, it appeared as if I had journeyed inwards to explore my true feelings and discover myself.  It has been an enjoyable romance – for this once. Let’s keep it that way.

 

            With love and best wishes,

                                                Rajashree.”

 

 

                        Sanjay felt jubilant.  Rajashree had fallen in love with him.  He rushed to find the woman who had given him the letter.  Rajashree was staying in the guesthouse – about a mile away.  Sanjay was tired, exhausted, but he walked his fastest mile to the guesthouse.  He saw Rajashree standing at the entrance, a suitcase beside her.  As she saw him, she blushed with surprise.  She felt like a prisoner being caught while escaping.

 

 “Where are you going?” he asked her.

 

            Rajashree had recovered enough to smile back, “I am going to Ooty to meet my daughter in boarding school – to bring her home.”

 

            “I am coming with you,” said Sanjay, and he took Rajashree in his arms held her tightly and whispered in her ear, “From now on, we shall make our journey together.”

 

 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE  

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

 

 

 

 

[A Fiction Short Story]

A Pune Story

December 21, 2008

Click the link below and read on my creative writing blog:

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/12/spdp-at-vaishali.htm

Vikram Karve

A Mumbai Story

May 20, 2008

Click the link below to read a Mumbai story

 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/05/a-lazy-hot-afternoon-in-mumbai-a-leisurely-story.htm

 

All the Best

vikram Karve

A Short Story – A Dog’s Life

January 15, 2008

Please click on the link below and read the short story

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/01/a-dog-s-life.htm

Vikram Karve

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

THE AFFAIR by VIKRAM KARVE

September 30, 2007

Click the link below and read a fiction short story THE AFFAIR by Vikram Karve

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/09/the-affair.htm

If you like it do read my fiction on my creative writing blog

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

Regards

Vikram Karve

Life Process Outsourcing – LPO

September 30, 2007

Just click on the link below and read my story on LPO – Life Process Outsourcing:

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/09/life-process-outsourcing-pure-fiction.htm

Do read all my creative writing on my sulekha creative writing blog:

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

Regards

Vikram Karve

Book Review – The Importance of Living

September 18, 2007

BOOK REVIEW [A book that enriched my life and taught me the art of living]   Title: THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVINGAuthor: LIN YUTANGPublished: 1937 (New York, USA), Indian Edition: 1960 JAICO MumbaiISBN: 81-7224-829    There is one book you will never find in my bookcase – you will always find it by my bedside near my pillow. At night, just before I go to sleep, I open this book to any random page, and read on till I drift off to blissful idyllic sleep. The name of this book, which has had a profound defining effect on me, maybe even subconsciously shaped my philosophy of life, is called: The Importance of Living written in 1937 by the Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang.  But first, let me tell you a story, maybe apocryphal, about a scholar who had thoroughly studied the Bhagavad Gita for many years, considered himself an expert, traveled far and wide delivering discourses on the teachings of the Gita and was widely acknowledged as an authority on the subject. His ultimate desire was to deliver a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita at Benares, which was the sanctum sanctorum of learning. So he went to Benares, and impressed by the scholar’s erudition and fame, the King of Benares invited the scholar to deliver a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita in his court. All the wise men of Benares assembled to hear the Scholar, but just as he began to speak the King interrupted him and told him to read the Bhagavad Gita one more time in the evening and deliver his discourse the next day. The Scholar was furious but he had no choice but to comply with the king’s wishes. As he read the Bhagavad Gita with full concentration in the evening, he realized some new meanings and updated his speech accordingly. Next day the same thing happened – the moment the scholar began to speak the King interrupted him and told him to read the Gita once more and then come the next day to give his lecture. And again as the Scholar read the Gita he comprehended some new wisdom – something he hadn’t perceived before. So he incorporated his new findings and proceeded to deliver his talk. Again the same thing happened – the king interrupted him and told him to again read the Gita once more before he gave his discourse. And again the scholar discovered some new wisdom in the Gita. This cycle went on for days and days till the scholar realized how ignorant he was and how much more there was to learn from the Bhagavad Gita that he gave up the idea of delivering the discourse and decided to totally devote his entire efforts to the study of the Bhagavad Gita. Days passed, and suddenly one morning, when the scholar was deeply immersed in his study, the King went to the scholar’s house, sat before him with folded hands and requested the scholar to enlighten him about the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.  It’s the same with any great book. Every time you read it, something new emerges, and you realize you have so much more to learn from it. I have read The Importance of Living innumerable times, again and again, with renewed pleasure, and every time I read it I imbibe a special different philosophical flavor, and grasp new wisdom, which delves on all aspects of the art of living, and I have realized that there is more significance and value in Lin Yutang’s magnum opus than I am capable of appreciating. So let me not be as presumptuous as to attempt to evaluate this classic treatise – I’ll just try to gently pilot you along in random vignettes to give you a flavor of this delightful philosophical gem. Let’s open this delightful book to a few random pages, read some lines to give you glimpse into the wisdom on the art of living contained in this masterpiece. In the section on Leisure and Friendship are these words: “Only those who take leisurely what the people of the world are busy about can be busy about what the people of the world take leisurely”. Reflect on this, let these words perambulate in your mind for some time. There is nothing that man enjoys more than leisure. The highest value of time is when you are doing what you love and want to do. During leisure you are free to choose what you want to do and enjoy doing. Leisure enables you to realize the highest value of your time!  Tell me, why do you work? Is it for job satisfaction? Or is it to earn money so that you can enjoy satisfaction off the job? In fact, most of us work for our leisure, because there is nothing we enjoy more than leisure. Elaborating on a theory of leisure the book says: “Time is useful because it is not being used. Leisure is like unoccupied floor space in a room…it is that unoccupied space which makes a room habitable, as it is our leisure hours which make our life endurable”. Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise. Enunciating the distinction between Buddhism and Taoism: “The goal of the Buddhist is that he shall not want anything, while the goal of the Taoist is that he shall not be wanted at all”, the author describes the tremendous advantages of obscurity, and deduces that only he who is not wanted by the public can be a carefree individual. It is true isn’t it – only he who is a carefree individual can be a happy human being? Lin Yutang deliberates delightfully on his philosophical view: “Nothing matters to a man who says nothing matters”. “How are we to live? How shall we enjoy life, and who can best enjoy life?” The feast of life is before us; the only question is what appetite we have for it. The appetite is vital, not the feast. This delightful treatise gives us insights on how to develop, enhance and refine our appetites in order to enjoy various facets of living. The capacity for true enjoyment comes from an inner richness in a man who loves the simple ways of life. There is always plenty of life to enjoy for a man who is determined to enjoy it. You may find some of the author’s views a bit passé – “mere relationship between man and woman is not sufficient; the relationship must result in babies, or it is incomplete” or “woman reaches her noblest status only as a mother, and that wife who by choice refuses to become a mother… loses a great part of her dignity…and stands in danger of becoming a plaything” or “a natural man loves his children, but a cultured man loves his parents” or “The art of attaining happiness consists in keeping your pleasures mild” or “It is against the will of God to eat delicate food hastily, to pass gorgeous views hurriedly, to express deep sentiments superficially, to pass a beautiful day steeped on food and drink, and to enjoy your wealth steeped in luxuries” – think about it, reflect a bit, and you may detect a iota of authenticity in these nuggets. The book has fourteen chapters, embellished with epigrams, teaching stories, ancient wisdom and wit, on various aspects of the importance and enjoyment of living and once you start reading it this book is indeed so engrossing that it is truly unputdownable. The Importance of Loafing, The Enjoyment of the Home, Nature, Travel, Culture, The Arts of Thinking, Eating, Reading, Writing, Loving, Happiness – the range and variety of topics covered indeed make fascinating reading.  Reading is the greatest of all joys. Extolling the virtues and charm of reading, Lin Yutang says: “The man who has not the habit of reading is imprisoned in his immediate world…the reader is always carried away into a world of thought and reflection”, and on writing: “a writing is always better when it is one’s own, and a woman is always lovelier when she is somebody else’s wife”. “He who is afraid to use an ‘I’ in his writing will never make a good writer” and “anyone who reads a book with a sense of obligation does not understand the art of reading… to be thoroughly enjoyed, reading must be entirely spontaneous…you can leave the books that you don’t like alone, and let other people read them!” The best way to read The Importance of Living is to open any page and browse whatever appeals to you, randomly, in an unstructured and haphazard manner. Think of yourself as a traveler in the philosophical or spiritual domain. The essence of travel is to have no destination. A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going to; a perfect traveler does not know where he came from! A true traveler is always a vagabond – he travels to see nothing, to see nobody, with plenty of time and leisure, with the true motive to become lost and unknown.  Are you the ambitious competitive go-getter obsessed with an overpowering desire for achieving quick success – craving for power, wealth, fame, and the status and money-oriented aspects of life? Do you value material possessions more than peace of mind? Is external achievement more important than inner tranquility? If your answer to any of the questions is “Yes”, then please don’t bother to read this book now, as you may be too “busy” in your own competitive rat race of your own making and probably you don’t have any time to “waste” on anything that doesn’t give you something tangible in return – a solid material ROI (Return on Investment) for investing your valuable time and effort reading this book. But please don’t forget to read The Importance of Living after you’ve burned out, had a heart attack or suffered a nervous breakdown – when you’ll have plenty of time and, perhaps, the inclination, to reflect, contemplate, and delve more deeply upon the more intangible philosophical aspects of life – and ruminate on how you could have obviated that stressful burn-out, agonizing heart attack or traumatic nervous breakdown. Here’s Lin Yutang’s take: “Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.” If you are happy here and now, wherever you are, in whatever state you are, and you are truly content with what you have, you place living above thinking, and are interested in savoring the feast of life and its joys, then this witty philosophical treatise on the art of living in its entirety is the book for you. The Importance of Living presents an uncomplicated approach to living life to its fullest in today’s rapidly changing, fast paced, competitive, ambition dominated, money and status oriented, commercialized world, enabling each one of us to enjoy inner peace and happiness. Sometimes, it is a great pity to read a good book too early in life. The first impression is the one that counts. Young people should be careful in their reading, as old people in eating their food. They should not eat too much. They should chew it well.  Like you should eat gourmet food only when you are ready for it, you should read a good book only when you are ready for it. Mature wisdom cannot be appreciated until one becomes mature. But The Importance of Living is a book for all ages. Of 1937 vintage, an ancestor and precursor of modern “self-help” books, it is a delightful philosophical treatise, which advocates a humorous and vagabond attitude towards life and deals with a variety of topics encompassing the art of living. Is such a happy and carefree philosophy of life relevant today? Why don’t you give it a try and see for yourself! Slowly, relaxingly, thoroughly, peruse this classic masterpiece, absorb the witty wisdom, reflect, try out, practice and incorporate whatever appeals to you in your daily life, ruminate, experiment, enjoy yourself, have a laugh, change your lifestyle, enhance your quality of life, elevate your plane of living, and maybe your entire way of life may change forever.  Dear Reader, I commend this delightfully illuminating book. Though enunciated with a touch of humor, the thoughts are profound. Do get a copy of The Importance of Living and read it leisurely. I’m sure you will find a copy at your nearest bookstore or in your library. And don’t forget to tell us how you liked it, and did it change your life for the better.      

VIKRAM KARVE

 vikramkarve@sify.com vikramkarve@hotmail.com http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve http://www.ryze.com/go/karve    Book Review of THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING by LIN YUTANG[A book that enriched my life and taught me the art of living] Reviewed by VIKRAM KARVE