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The Pretty Woman in the Bright Yellow Dress

June 8, 2019

THE PRETTY WOMAN IN THE BRIGHT YELLOW DRESS

Short Fiction – A Romance By Vikram Karve

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Long back – almost 15 years ago – sometime in the year 2005 – there was a creative writing competition inviting Fiction Short Stories for Children.

I wrote this story for that competition. 

Though this is a story for children – I am sure you will enjoy reading it. 

Those days I lived in Mumbai.

If you live in Mumbai – I am sure you know that there is a sea-facing women’s hostel on Marine Drive near Charni Road Station.

I first visited this hostel in the 1970’s to deliver some goodies to a girlfriend of a Navy shipmate. 

Many years later – I crossed the hostel every morning and evening on my jog-cum-walks from Churchgate to Chowpatty and back. 

Maybe that’s why this place features in many of my stories. 

But – remember – Dear Reader – that this story is pure fiction – totally apocryphal – and – there was no such “pretty woman in a bright yellow dress” as described in the story.

Also remember – this story is set in Mumbai – circa 2005 – so – you will have to go back in time almost 15 years. 

And – the story is narrated by a young boy – who is not yet 12 years old. 

So – here is the story – suitably abridged and edited – for easy reading on a digital screen.

Tell me if you like the story… 

THE PRETTY WOMAN IN THE BRIGHT YELLOW DRESS 

“Wake up – I am sending you on a mission…” my father said, shaking me off my bed.

“Mission…!!!” I jumped out of bed and got ready in a jiffy.

My father is a detective – and – once in a while – he sends me on undercover assignments.

My father is the only thing I have got in this world – after God took my mother away.

“Surveillance…?” I asked, as we stood discreetly at the bus stop outside Taraporewala Aquarium on Marine Drive near the Charni Road Railway Station.

My father looked at me – and he said to me:

“Yes. A simple “tail-chase”. Look to your right – keep your eyes focused on the gate of the working women’s hostel. A woman will come out soon. You follow her – shadow her – like a tail – but very discreetly – and the moment you lose her – ring me up on your mobile.”

Suddenly – a tall woman wearing a bright yellow dress appeared at the gate.

My father gave me a nudge – and then he disappeared.

The woman walked towards Charni Road Station.

She crossed the over-bridge to platform No. 2 – and then she waited for the train to Churchgate.

The woman got into the ladies compartment – and I followed her in.

Though I am a boy – I am still below 12 years of age – and – I am allowed to travel in the ladies compartment.

The woman in the bright yellow dress sat down – and I observed her – unseen – standing in the crowd.

She must have been around 25 – or probably in her late 20’s – maybe 30 – but – she looked very lovely and youthful – and – with her smooth fair creamy complexion – she looked really smashing in the bright yellow dress.

She looked lovely – yes – she was really very pretty.

What was most striking about the woman was her huge expressive dancing eyes.

At Churchgate – she leisurely strolled down the platform – whilst everyone else rushed by.

She browsed at Wheeler’s bookstall – and then – she stopped at Tibbs – bought a “Frankie” – and walked towards the underground exit.

I too love “Frankies” – so I quickly bought one too – and I followed her – careful not to be seen.

We both walked – me behind her – munching away – straight down the road towards Nariman Point – till she stopped at the Inox Multiplex.

Shit…!!!

I hoped the woman wouldn’t go for an Adults movie.

But – luckily – she bought a ticket for the movie “Cats & Dogs” 

So – I too bought a ticket – and I followed her in.

I really enjoyed the rest of my mission.

The lovely woman in bright yellow dress was quite a fun person – and she spent the day thoroughly enjoying herself – seeing the sights – browsing books at Flora Fountain – window shopping on Colaba Causeway – sampling street food – eating things I love to eat – doing the things I like to do.

It was smooth sailing.

Then – the woman suddenly stepped into a beauty parlour.

Now – I needed backup.

So – I called up my father.

But – my father told me to abort the mission – and – he asked me to meet him at our usual favourite place in the vicinity – Stadium Restaurant next to Churchgate station.

“You want me to abort the mission…?” I protested.

“Yes – you abort the mission…” my father ordered me, “and – you come fast to Churchgate – our usual place – Stadium Restaurant – I will tell you the reason when you get here…”

My father was waiting inside Stadium Restaurant.

He had chosen an inconspicuous table in the middle of the restaurant – and he sat facing the entrance.

I sat by his side – so I too could have a view of the entrance.

I told him everything.

He listened intently.

Suddenly – I saw the lovely woman in the bright yellow dress standing bold as brass at the entrance of the restaurant looking directly at us.

I felt a tremor of nervousness.

The ground slipped beneath my feet.

And – when I saw the woman coming directly towards our table – I slunk down – and I tried to hide in my chair – and I wished the earth would swallow me up.

My father smiled at the lovely woman in the bright yellow dress – and he said to her: “Hello, Nanda…”

I was stunned.

“Hello, Nanda…?” 

My father was saying to the woman: “Hello, Nanda…”

This was too much…!!!

I looked at my father – puzzled by his behaviour.

First my father sends me after this lovely woman in the bright yellow dress – on a “tail-chase” – shadowing her all day – and now – he says to her: “Hello, Nanda”…!!!

The lovely woman in the bright yellow dress – with dancing eyes – she sat down opposite me – on the seat next to my father.

She looked at me curiously.

“You two have met – haven’t you…?” father asked.

“No – I don’t think we have met…” the woman said – looking intently at me.

“No…? Are you sure…? Try to think. You must have seen him somewhere before…” my father said to the woman.

The woman looked at me – and she said to my father:

“I am sure I have not seen him before. I never forget a face. This is the first time I am seeing him. He is cute – yes – your son is really cute…”

My father winked at me in appreciation.

I had successfully completed the surveillance mission without being spotted.

But – who was this woman – I wondered – who was this woman who my father had asked me to shadow whole day.

So – I asked my father:

“Who is this Aunty…?”

The pretty woman in the bright yellow dress looked lovingly at me with her dancing eyes.

And then – she said to me:

“Don’t call me Aunty. I am going to be your new Mother…”

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

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.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This story was written by me Vikram Karve around 15 years ago in the year 2005 during my glorious Mumbai days and posted online by me earlier in my creative writing blogs a number of times including at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/don-t-call-me-aunty_81844_blog and https://karvefiction.wordpress.com/tag/leisure/  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/10/mission-accomplished.html  and  http://creative.sulekha.com/the-beautiful-woman-with-dancing-eyes_66415_blog  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/woman-in-yellow.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/09/the-woman-from-charni-road.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/05/tail-chase-to-churchgate.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/woman-in-yellow.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/07/the-lovely-woman-in-bright-yellow-dress.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/the-pretty-woman-in-bright-yellow-dress.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-mission.html etc

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Great Short Stories of the World – A Review

August 3, 2015

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1222659.Great_Short_Stories_Of_The_World&#8221; style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”Great Short Stories Of The World” border=”0″ src=”https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1394411984m/1222659.jpg&#8221; /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1222659.Great_Short_Stories_Of_The_World”>Great Short Stories Of The World</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3353821.Reader_s_Digest_Association”>Reader’s Digest Association</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1353143763″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />

I feel that his anthology of short fiction is a must for the bookcase of every creative writer – and essential reading for every person who loves literature – especially short fiction.<br>The book features a selection of 71 short stories from accomplished creative writers of the world – duly translated in English where required.<br>Each story is unique, conveys a powerful message, and is a lesson in creative writing.<br>I first read this book in 1991 and these stories introduced me to many authors I had not read before – which gave me the motivation to explore their writings.<br>I pull out this book from my bookcase very often – open a random page – and read a story – yes – the stories can be savoured again and again – and every time you read them – you feel an epiphany.<br>Do read the stories in “Great Short Stories of the World” – it will be a fulfilling experience.

<br/><br/>
<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/3341108-vikram-karve”>View all my reviews</a>

THE SOLDIER – a short story

January 10, 2013
THE SOLDIER
A Short Story
by
VIKRAM KARVE

Original Post Link on my Academic and Creative Writing Journal
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-pen-is-mightier-than-sword.html

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD

Short Fiction – A Soldier’s Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
 
The Soldier sat on the footpath near the gate of the Accounts Office.
 
Abe Langde … Hat Wahan Se (Hey you one-legged cripple … Move from there)” a street-food cart vendor said, “Yeh Meri Jagah Hai (This is my place).”
 
The soldier winced.
 
Then he looked down at his amputated leg.
 
Yes, he was indeed a cripple, a langda.
 
When he had joined the army he had two strong legs.
 
And now he had just one leg and one stump.
 
He picked up his crutch, pushed his body up and slowly hobbled a few steps away and was about to sit under a shady canopy near the street corner when a traffic policeman shouted, “Ae Bhikari … Wahan Mat Baith (Hey Beggar … don’t sit there).”
 
Main Bhikari Nahin Hoon … Main Fauji Hoon (I am not a beggar … I am a soldier),” protested the soldier.
 
Phir Border Pe Ja Kar Lad (Then go and fight on the border),” the policeman said with sarcasm.
 
Wahi to kar raha tha (That is what I was doing),” the soldier mumbled to himself.
 
As the soldier tottered on the street on his crutches he talked to himself. He had been a fool to be brave. He should have played safe. At least he wouldn’t have lost his leg. And he wouldn’t have been discharged from the army as medically unfit.
 
Now he was being made to run from pillar to post for his disability pension because just because some clerk had “misplaced” his documents.
 
The soldier was exasperated.
 
In the army he was expected to do everything promptly and properly in double-quick time.
 
But these civilians were just not bothered.
 
First the paperwork was delayed due to red tape.
 
Then there were some careless typographical errors in his papers and his documents had to be sent back for the necessary corrections.
 
And now his papers had been misplaced.
 
It was sad.
 
Nobody was bothered about his plight.
 
The civilian babus comfortably cocooned in their secure 9 to 5 five-day-week jobs were slack and indifferent and did not give a damn for the soldiers they were meant to serve.
 
Civilians expected soldiers to be loyal unto the grave without offering loyalty in return.
 
“What is the big deal if you lost a leg?” one cruel clerk had remarked mockingly, “You soldiers are paid to fight. And if you die, or get wounded, it is a part of your job. You knew the risks before you joined, didn’t you? If you wanted to live a safe life why did you become a soldier? You should have become a chaprassi (peon) like your friend.”
 
Tears rolled down the soldier’s cheek as he thought of this.
 
Others were not so cruel and heartless, but their sympathy was tinged with scorn.
 
Indeed, he should have become a chaprassi like his friend who was now helping him get his disability pension.
 
Both he and his friend had been selected for the post of peon in a government office.
 
But he had been a fool – he told everyone that it was below his dignity to work as achaprassi and then he went to recruitment rally and joined the army as a soldier.
 
He made fun of his friend who took up the job of a peon and boasted with bloated pride about being a soldier.
 
And now the tables had turned and the peon was having the last laugh on the soldier.
 
The peon was secure in his job while the soldier was out on the street, crippled for life and begging for his pension.
 
And now his friend wasn’t even called a chaprassi – they had upgraded all Class-4 to Class-3 and his friend was now designated as “assistant”.
 
His friend would retire at the age of 60 after a safe, secure, easy, tension-free career without any transfers or hardships.
 
And if he got disabled they wouldn’t throw him out.
 
And if he died, his wife or son or daughter would get a job in his place.
 
Nothing like that for the soldier. He had to fend for himself.
 
The soldier felt disheartened.
 
He looked at his amputated leg and deeply regretted his decision to join the army.
 
Indeed he had made a mistake.
 
He would have been much better off as a peon or in some other civilian job.
 
The soldier also felt a sense of guilt that he had made fun of his friend.
 
Today he was at his friend’s mercy.
 
The soldier had to live on the kindness of the man he had once ridiculed and scoffed at.
 
It was a terrible feeling.
 
It was more than six months as he anxiously waited for his pension and dues.
 
His friend had given the soldier, and his family, shelter and food. And now he was trying to help him out by running around from office to office using the “peon network” to trace the misplaced papers.
 
The soldier felt sorry for his hapless wife.
 
She was at the mercy of his friend’s wife who openly derided her and made her displeasure quite clear by making scathing comments about the soldier, his wife and their children and kept on carping about how they were sponging on her hospitality like parasites.
 
The soldier’s wife hated his friend’s wife but she had to suffer the humiliation in silence and bear the daily insults – it was terrible to be at the mercy of someone who detested you.
 
Today the friend had asked the soldier to stand outside the gate and gone into the accounts office alone.
 
He had gone in alone because last time the soldier had spoilt everything by refusing to a pay a bribe to the accounts officer.
 
The soldier had even threatened the accounts officer that he would report the matter.
 
The accounts officer was furious: “Go and report. Nothing will happen. Now I will see to it that your papers are not traced until you die. What do you bloody soldiers think? That you can threaten us? This is not the army. This is the accounts office. Haven’t you heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword – now I will show you.”
 
Today his friend had gone inside to negotiate.
 
The clerks had told him not to bring the soldier inside the office as the egoistic accounts officer may get furious on seeing the soldier and everything will be spoilt.
 
Once everything was “settled”, they would try and trace the “misplaced” documents and he could take them out to obtain the soldier’s signature and resubmit the papers for clearance of the disability pension.
 
The soldier waited anxiously in the hot sun for his friend to come out. Angry thoughts buzzed in his mind.
 
“Ungrateful, corrupt people – all these civilians,” the soldier muttered to himself, “we sacrifice our life and limb for their sake and they humiliate us, even ask me to pay a bribe to get my own disability pension.”
 
“Patriotism, heroism, idealism – no one bothers about these things anymore. I made a mistake by joining the army,” he mumbled to himself, “I made a bigger mistake trying to be brave. What was the point of showing courage, initiative, daring and going beyond the call of duty to nab those guys? How does it matter if a few sneak in? Out here in the city, who is bothered about these things anyway? They don’t even know what is happening out there. Had I looked the other way no one would have known and I would not be a one-legged cripple – a langda. And even then, I wish they had shot me in the head and I had died. That would have been better”.
 
The soldier thought of his wife, his children, the bleak future awaiting them.
 
How long would they have to be dependent on the mercy of his friend and his loath wife?
 
He felt sad, very sad, as depressing thoughts of despondency and hopelessness perambulated in his brain.
 
He wondered whether his disability pension problem would be solved today.
 
It was taking long – his friend had gone in at 10 and it was almost 12 noon now.
 
The sweltering summer sun was hot and the soldier felt parched and weak.
 
He had drunk just a cup of tea since they started their journey to the accounts office in the city by bus from their friend’s home in the distant suburbs early in the morning.
 
Suddenly the soldier felt faint, so he walked towards the compound wall of the accounts office, took support and slid down to sit on his haunches.
 
At 12:30 his friend emerged from the gates of the accounts office. He was happy – the bribe had been paid, the documents had been promptly traced. Now all he had to do was get the soldier’s signature on the papers and he had been assured that the soldier’s disability pension and all his dues would be given within a month.
 
He began to look around for the soldier and saw him sitting strangely, propped against the wall.
 
The soldier’s eyes were closed and it seemed that he had fallen asleep.
 
Something seemed amiss, so he briskly walked towards the soldier, bent down and touched the soldier’s shoulder.
 
The soldier fell down to his side.
 
The friend panicked. He thought the soldier had fainted so he started shouting for help.
 
The traffic policeman, the street-cart vendor and some passers-by rushed to help.
 
The policeman told the vendor to sprinkle some water on the soldier’s face but nothing happened.
 
The policeman rang up the police control room for an ambulance.
 
“I hope he is not dead,” the friend said with trepidation.
 
“I don’t know. But it looks like he is totally unconscious. What happened? Who is he? He was muttering that he is a fauji – is he really a soldier?” the policeman asked.
 
The friend told the policeman the soldier’s story – the full story.
 
“Sad,” the policeman said, “very sad – the way they treat our soldiers.”
 
The ambulance arrived.
 
A paramedic examined the soldier and said, “I think he is dead. We will take him to the hospital. There the doctors will examine him and officially pronounce him dead.”
 
“The enemy’s bullets could not do what the babus did – the enemy’s bullets could not kill him but the these babus  killed him,” the policeman commented.
 
“Yes, the accounts officer was right,” the distraught friend said, “the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.”
 
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

From Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve CHUMMERY GIRL

June 11, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: CHUMMERY GIRL.

HOW ROTE LEARNING KILLS CREATIVE THINKING

February 29, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HOW ROTE LEARNING KILLS CREATIVE THINKING.

HOW ROTE LEARNING KILLS CREATIVE THINKING

A lifetime of having to curb  the expression of original thought culminates so often in there being nothing left to express
Liddel Hart quoted by Norman Dixon on page 162 of his book On The Psychology of Military Incompetence
Think about it.

Isn’t the present day rote learning type education system doing exactly this?

And so is the “do as you are told” management philosophy prevalent in most organisations.

DO NOT EAT STONES

February 23, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: WILLING OBEDIENCE IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN FORCED OBEDIENCE.

DIVORCE and CHILDREN – a story

February 4, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: DIVORCE and CHILDREN – a story.

Click the link above and read the story in my journal

AdviceToWriters – HOME – Any Fiction Should Be A Story

February 1, 2012

AdviceToWriters – HOME – Any Fiction Should Be A Story.

HOW TO EAT A GULAB JAMUN

January 19, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HOW TO EAT A GULAB JAMUN.

FALLING IN LOVE

January 2, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: FALLING IN LOVE – My Favourite Short Stories Part 82.

Click the link above and read Three Love Stories – His Story, Her Story, Their Story

 

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