Posts Tagged ‘ebook’

Vengeance – Short Fiction – A Chilling Romance

December 8, 2009

VENGEANCE

Fiction Short Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

I waited in anticipation, scared stiff, overcome by tremors of trepidation, secretly hoping he would not come.

But he did come. Right on the dot. Sharp ten o’clock at night. As planned.

He said nothing when he entered.

But the moment I recognized him I started to tremble.

He didn’t seem to notice. He turned around, as if he had forgotten something, took two quick steps and bolted the door.

Hoping to conceal my emotion, I began to speak in order to gain my composure: “Please be seated, sir,” I said. “Would you like a drink?”

“Whisky and soda,” he said, loosening the knot of his tie, as he moved towards the sofa. He sat down and gave me an appraising look.

I took my time getting up from my chair, taking care to make my movements deliberately slow, in order to hide my fear and nervousness.

I walked towards the fridge, my back turned in his direction, but still I could feel his eyes piercing me.

Soda, glass, opener, ice-bucket and a bowl of peanuts ready on a tray, I opened the liquor-cabinet. At first my hands instinctively touched a bottle of cheap whisky, but then I hesitatingly picked out a bottle of the best premium whisky. After all this was a first-class client. And maybe his last drink. Let him enjoy it.

I carefully set the loaded tray on the table in front of him and sat down on the chair across. I poured him a stiff drink and opened the bottle of soda.

“Put lots of ice,” he said, in a commanding voice. And then, as an afterthought, he added, “What about you?”

“No,” I said handing him the glass, “I don’t drink on duty.”

“Duty?” he laughed looking me in the eye.

He took a sip of the whisky and closed his eyes with a gesture of fatigue, as if waiting for the whisky to caress his brain. His was not an unpleasant face. In fact he looked quite handsome.

“Without any effort I could go straight to sleep,” he said with his eyes still closed. Then suddenly he opened his eyes, looked directly at me, and with a mischievous smile he said, “But there’s plenty to do tonight, isn’t it?”

“Yes indeed!” I said to myself. “There was plenty to do tonight.” In my mind’s eye, I tried to visualize how I was going to do it.

The man shifted on his seat, took out a wallet from his hip pocket and stylishly extracted ten crisp red thousand-rupee notes and put them on the table in front of me.

I did not pick up the money. “It’s okay,” I said. “It’s on the house.”

“Who said so?” he snapped an angrily.

“The person who sent me here,” I answered.

“What else did he say?”

“That you are a very special guest.”

“And?” he asked.

“He told me that I should be very discreet; shouldn’t even breathe a word to anyone.” I paused, and then said, “It is okay. You can trust me.”

He smiled and said, “Take the money. I always pay for everything. I am a man of principles.”

Suddenly I could feel the venom rising inside me. A man of principles my foot!

Hypocrite. That’s what he was. A bloody hypocrite!

Where were his principles when he had killed my husband and concocted lies that it was a gruesome accident? And then quickly disposed off my husband’s body at sea – consigned into the Davy Jones’s Locker at the bottom of the deep ocean.

Murderer, bloody murderer – that’s what he was – an unscrupulous mendacious murderer.

And tonight he was going to pay for it.

Everything was in my favour.

I had recognized him but he did not know who I really was.

For him I was just a nameless face. A one-night stand. To be used, discarded and forgotten. And though he could not possibly realize it, it was he who had reduced me to this. And now he had unknowingly walked right into my hands.

“Is it enough?” he asked, pointing to the money on the table.

“My normal rate is fifty thousand,” I said. I wanted to embarrass him for I had glimpsed into his wallet when he took out the money. I picked up the ten thousand rupees from the table, tucked them in my blouse, and said, “But for you, it’s okay.”

He smiled, looking intently into my eyes for a few seconds. Then he gulped down his drink, got up form the sofa, came around the table and stood behind me. I sat still, waiting for his next move. He put his hands on my shoulders and said matter-of-factly, “Let’s go to bed.”

When I woke up, for a moment I could not imagine where I was. The silence was so intense that I could hear my heart beating. The room was not quite dark, for the door of the bathroom was partly open, and the light in it had been left on.

As I turned and I saw him lying beside me, I felt a sudden flush of passion. It was after a long time that I had really enjoyed it. But I quickly controlled my feelings and carefully observed the sleeping man.

He breathed steadily, like a man immersed in deep sleep, fully satiated. But I had to be sure.

“Hello,” I whispered near his ear.

No answer. He was dead to the world.

Very slowly, very silently, I slipped out of my bed. I slowly bent down near the bedside table, unplugged the two-pin electric plug from the socket on the wall and carefully coiled the wires around the base of the table-lamp.

I picked up the table-lamp in both hands holding the plug carefully, and stood for a while, looking at the man to see whether I had disturbed him.

His breathing was as regular as before. I took a couple of tip-toe steps and halted, took a few steps more and waited, and so on, until I reached the bathroom door. Then I quickly went inside and locked the door.

I yanked out the wires form the table-lamp, and with my teeth, removed the plastic cladding from the open ends exposing at least two inches of naked copper on both the wires.

I smiled to myself. In my hands was a weapon of death. A set of coiled wires, one red and one black, long enough, a two-pin plug at one end and the other end exposed, naked.

I retraced my steps, tiptoed, leaving the bathroom light on and the door a bit ajar, so that I could just about see slightly. I put the plug in the socket. Then I uncoiled the wires, carefully holding one wire in each hand, a few inches away from the naked exposed copper, my hands apart.

I switched on the electric switch with my left toe, got on the bed and slowly advanced on my knees towards the sleeping figure. The man was lying on his back, sleeping soundly, dead to the world.

I decided to aim for his eyes. Simply thrust one live wire into each eye. Hopefully death would be instantaneous, the electric current flowing though his brain; even if it wasn’t, at least he’d be unconscious and then I could take my time.

The live wires had almost touched his eyes when some invisible force seemed to have grabbed my wrists.

I froze.

And suddenly felt a turbulence of conscience.

“I don’t want to be a murderess. What do I gain? And then what’s the difference between him and me? What about his family? Why should I make them suffer for no fault of theirs? And maybe what he said was indeed true; that it was just an accident, like he had reported,” said one part of my brain, pulling my hands back.

“Revenge! Vengeance! He deserves it,” desperately urged the other part of my brain, pushing my hands forward, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Do it now. Fast!” – And slowly my hands started moving forward.

Suddenly the man moved, started turning.

I panicked, and in a reflex action I instantly pulled my hands back.

In the confusion, the naked wires touched; there were sparks and then total darkness.

Short Circuit – the fuse had blown.

My blood ran cold. There was no movement from the man. Instinctively I guessed that the man had turned over on his side, his back towards me.

I tiptoed to the bathroom, retrieved the table-lamp, kept it on the bedside table and tucked the wires underneath.

Then I lay down on my bed as if nothing had happened.

The centralized air-conditioning was still on; but the bathroom light had gone off.

Probably only one fuse, the light fuse had blown, but I didn’t know where it was.

I had muffed up a golden chance.

The man was lucky to be alive.

Sheer luck!

But I knew I would try again.

Again and again.

Again and again.

I would not rest till I finished him off, had my vengeance, for he did not deserve to live.

And with these thoughts I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up in the morning, I saw that the man was still fast asleep. The dawn had broken.

I opened the window and let the sunlight in.

“Who’s that?” he asked, startled, adjusting his eyes to the sunlight.

“You must go to your room now,” I said, “someone may notice.”

I walked towards the sofa, picked up his clothes and threw them to him.

He dressed hurriedly and quickly walked to the connecting door between our rooms. He opened the door, paused for a moment, and turning towards me he said, “Good Bye, Mrs. Morris. They told me that you want to kill me. I came to find out. But killing isn’t easy. You can take my word for it.”

With these words he left my room, silently closing the door.

I sat in dumbstruck silence, a deathly grotesque deafening silence.

I never saw him again. I never want to. For I have never felt so scared, so frightened, so petrified as I felt at that moment – and whenever I think of that chilling terrifying night, a tremor goes up my spine, a shiver perambulates throughout my whole body, and I resonate with fear.

VENGEANCE

Fiction Short Story

By

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

Appetite for a Stroll

vikramkarve@sify.com

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A Sizzling Love Story

November 28, 2009

LOVE LUST DECEIT ELECTRICITY
Short Fiction

 

A Sizzling Love Story

by

VIKRAM KARVE

There is a saying: “ If you decide to murder your husband you must never act in concert with your lover ”.

 

That’s why I did not tell Raj.

 

Or involve him in any way.

 

Not even the smallest hint.

 

I made my plans alone and with perfect care.

 

An “accident” so coolly and meticulously designed.

Precisely at 12:50 in the afternoon, the ghastly accident would occur.

 

And then my phone would ring – to convey the “bad” news.

 

And suddenly I would be a widow.

 

Free.

 

Liberated from shackles.

 

Released from bondage.

 

Then all I had to do was to keep cool, maintain a solemn façade, and patiently wait for Raj to return after completing his project in Singapore.
Then after the customary condolence period was over, Raj would propose to marry me – an act of chivalry, of sympathy, or even “self-sacrifice”.

 

First I would demur, then “reluctantly” succumb to the pressure from my friends and relatives, and accept – just for my children’s sake.

 

There would be nods of approval all around.

 

And soon Raj and I would be Husband and Wife.

The phone rang.

 

I panicked.

 

There is no fear like the fear of being found out.

 

I looked at the wall-clock. It was only 10.30 am.

 

Had something gone wrong?

 

I felt a tremor of trepidation.

 

The phone kept on ringing – it just wouldn’t stop ringing.

 

I picked up the receiver, and held it to my ears with bated breath.

 

The moment I heard Anjali’s voice I felt relieved.

“Why didn’t you come to the health club?” Anjali asked.

I’m not well,” I lied.

“Anything serious? Should I come over?” she asked.

“No!” I tried to control the anxiety in my voice. “It’s a just a slight headache. I’ll take a tablet and sleep it off,” I said cautiously.

“I hope Manish and you are coming over in the evening,” Anjali asked.

“Of course,” I said and put down the phone.

 

I smiled to myself.

 

That was one party Manish was going to miss. Probably they would cancel it and would be right here offering their condolences and sympathy.

 

I would have to be careful indeed.

 

And to hell with the health club and the painful weight loss program. I didn’t need it any more.

 

Raj accepts me as I am – nice and plump and on the “healthier” side, as he calls me lovingly.

 

Not like Manish who is always finding fault with me.

 

I know I can always depend on Raj.

 

He really loves me from the bottom of his heart.

I looked at my husband Manish’s framed photograph on the mantelpiece.

 

Soon it would be garlanded.

 

My marriage to Manish had been a miserable mistake, but soon it would be over and I would be free to live the life I always wanted.

 

I wish I didn’t have to kill Manish, but there was no way out – Manish would never give me a divorce, and if he came to know about me and Raj, he would destroy both of us, ruin our lives; for he was a rich and powerful man.

 

Also, I prefer to be a pitied widow rather than a stigmatized divorcee.

The plan was simple.

 

I had programmed a Robot to do the job.

 

The huge giant welding robot in Manish’s factory.

 

At exactly 12:45, when the lunch-break started, Manish would enter his pen drive into the robot control computer to carry out a maintenance troubleshooting check.

 

And then he would start inspecting various parts of the robot – the manipulator, end effectors and grippers – to cross-check their programmed movements.

 

It was a routine exercise, and I knew Manish had become quite complacent as the robot had never developed any faults so far.

But today it would be different.

 

Because I had surreptitiously reprogrammed the software last night.

 

This is what was going to happen.

 

At precisely 12:50 all safety interlocks would be bypassed, and suddenly the robot would activate and the welding electrode would arc 600 Amperes of electric current into Manish’s brain.

 

It would be a ghastly sight – his brain welded out and his body handing like a pendulum, lifeless. Death would be instantaneous.

 

Manish had been a fool to tell me everything and dig his own grave. A real dope – he deserved it!

It was a foolproof plan and no one would suspect since the program would erase itself immediately. I had ensured that. It would be an accident, an unfortunate accident.

 

Condolences, compensation, insurance – soon I would be a rich widow, with one and all showering me with sympathy and compassion.

 

And then I would wait for Raj to come back from Singapore.

 

And then, after a few days I knew he would propose to me, and I would ‘reluctantly’ accept and we would live happily ever after.

I looked at the wall clock. It was almost 11 O’clock.

 

Suddenly I began to have second thoughts. Maybe I should give Manish a last chance.

 

All I had to do was pick up the phone and ask Manish to rush home.

 

Feign a sudden illness or something.

 

But no! I tried to steel my nerves. I had crossed the Rubicon, and there was no going back. The tension of waiting was unbearable, but I must not lose my head.

I tried to divert my thoughts to Raj.

 

The first time I suspected that Raj loved me was when he didn’t attend my wedding. Then he disappeared abroad for higher studies and I almost forgot him. And one fine day, after almost fifteen years, Raj suddenly reappeared to take up a job in my husband’s factory.

And when I learnt that Raj had still not married I realized how deeply in love with me he was.

 

At that point of time I was so disillusioned with my marriage that my daily life was rather like sitting in a cinema and watching a film in which I was not interested.

 

Raj and I began spending more and more time together, and somewhere down the line emotions got entangled and physical intimacy followed.

Did Manish suspect?

 

I do not know.

 

Was that the reason he had sent Raj to Singapore?

 

I don’t think so.

 

We had kept our affair absolutely clandestine.

I looked again at the clock.

 

11.45 am.

 

One hour to go.

 

I began to have a feeling of dread and uneasiness, a sort of restlessness and apprehension – a queer sensation, a nameless type of fear.

 

So I poured myself a stiff drink of gin.

 

As I sipped the alcohol, my nerves calmed down.

 

Today was the last time I was going to have a drink, I promised myself.

 

Once I married Raj I would never drink – there would be no need to.

 

In my mind’s eye I could almost visualize my husband Manish sitting in the vacant chair opposite getting steadily drunk every evening.

 

Manish was an odd creature with effeminate mannerisms that became more pronounced when he was drunk.

 

He was always picking at an absurd little moustache, as though amazed at himself for having produced anything so virile.

 

How I hated the mere sight of him.

 

The very thought of my husband made me gulp down my drink.

 

I poured myself one more drink and gulped it quickly to steady my nerves. Then I had one more drink; and one more, when my cell-phone rang.

I shook out of my stupor and picked up my mobile phone. It was an unknown number. I rejected the call.

 

The cell phone rang again; same number. I looked at the number. 65….. – it was from Singapore.

 

Was it Raj? From Singapore? My heart skipped a beat. I answered urgently.

“Hello,” I said.

“Hi Urvashi, how are you?” it was Raj’s voice.

“Where are you speaking from? Is this your new number?” I asked.

“No. This is Rajashree’s cell-phone,” Raj said.

“Rajashree?”

“Yes, Rajashree, she wants to talk to you,” Raj said.

 

“Hi Urvashi,” a female voice said, “Raj has told me so much about you.”

It was strange.

 

Who was this Rajashree?

 

I knew nothing about her!

 

So I said, “But Raj has told me nothing about you!”

“I know,” Rajashree said, “it all happened so suddenly. Even I can’t believe it could happen so fast – Love at first sight, whirlwind romance, swift wedding.”

“Wedding?” I stammered, shocked beyond belief.

“Yes. We, Raj and I, got married yesterday and we are on our way to our honeymoon, on a cruise liner.”

“You bitch! Give the phone to Raj,” I shouted, losing control, the ground slipping beneath me.

“Hey, chill out. What’s wrong with you?” Rajashree said calmly, paused for a moment, and spoke, “Raj has gone to the embarkation booth. Hey, he’s waving to me. I’ve got to go now. Bye. We’ll see you when we come there.” And suddenly she disconnected.

I stared at my cell-phone, never so frightened, never so alone.

 

I felt as if I had been pole-axed.

 

I looked at the wall-clock.

 

12.55.

 

Oh, My God!

 

The deadline of 12.50 had gone.

 

It was too late.

 

My blood froze.

 

The telephone rang.

 

I picked it up, my hands trembling.

“There’s been an accident, madam,” said the voice. It was the company doctor. “We are rushing Manish Sahib to the hospital. I am sending someone to pick you up.”

“Hospital? Tell me the truth,” I shouted hysterically into the phone, “Tell me, is he dead?”
“No. He’ll survive.”

Manish did survive.

 

I wish he hadn’t.

 

For his sake. And for mine.

 

For till this day he is still in coma.

 

And I know I will have to live with a ‘vegetable’ husband all my life.

It was a small miscalculation.

 

600 Amperes wasn’t enough.

 

But then the Robot is a machine.

 

My real miscalculation was about Raj.

 

 

LOVE LUST DECEIT ELECTRICITY

Short Fiction

A Sizzling Love Story

By

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.
vikramkarve@sify.com

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

 

The Gift of Love

November 25, 2009

THE GIFT OF LOVE

Short Fiction – A Love Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

 

I do not know how the idea entered my brain in the first place; but once conceived, it haunted me with such urgency that a strange force took charge of me, impelling me to act.

I tucked the packet under my arm and walked towards my destination, looking around furtively like someone with a guilty conscience.

The moment I saw her photograph I knew that I had to see her.

A man’s first love occupies an enduring place in his heart.

Ten years. Ten long years. She had married money. And status.

I was heartbroken.

Yet I bore her no pique or rancor. Never will. How can I?

I had truly loved her. I still love her. I will always love her. Till my dying day.

I was desperately eager to impress her.

To give her a gift would be too obvious.

I did not know how much she had told her husband about me, about us, about our unrequited love!

Her children should be the same age as mine. Maybe slightly older.

They say the best route to a married woman’s heart is through her children.

I looked at the packet under my arm.

A gift. A gift for her children.

The deluxe set of children’s encyclopedias I had promised my son. And my daughter. Year after year. For the last three years. And did not buy. Because it was too expensive.

And now I was going to present it to Anjali’s children. Just to impress her.

Why? I do not know.

As I rang the doorbell, I felt a tremor of anticipation.

Suddenly I realized that I did not know whether Anjali would be happy to see me or pretend she didn’t recognize me.

The door opened.

Anjali looked ravishing. She gave me her sparkling smile and welcomed me with genuine happiness, “Sanjiv! After so many years! What a delightful surprise. How did you manage to find me?”

We looked at each other. Anjali had fully blossomed and looked stunning. She looked so exquisite, so dazzling, that I cannot begin to describe the intense emotion I felt as I looked intently into her radiating eyes, totally mesmerized by her beauty.

“Stop staring at me, “Anjali said, her large expressive eyes dancing mischievously.

“You look so beautiful. And so young!” I said with genuine frankness.

“But you look old. Even your beard has becoming grey.” Anjali paused, probably regretting what she had said.

Then suddenly she held out her hand to me and said, “I am so happy to see you, Sanjiv. Come inside.”

Her house was extravagant. Wealth and opulence showed everywhere.

Anjali carried herself majestically with regal poise; her demeanor slick and confident.

No wonder!

To ‘belong’ had always been the driving force of her life.

Money, status, social prestige, success – she had got everything she wanted.

I couldn’t help feeling a pang of envy, and failure.

“You like my house?” she asked. “Sit down. And don’t look so lost.”

I sat down on a sofa and kept the gift wrapped packet on the side-table.

Anjali sat down opposite. “How did you know I live here? We shifted to Mumbai only a month ago.”

I took out the wallet from my pocket and gave it to her. “Your husband’s purse. I saw your photograph in it.”

Anjali opened the purse and started to check the contents.

“You don’t trust cops, do you?” I said with a smile.

Anjali blushed.

She kept the wallet on the table. Then she looked at me with frank admiration in her eyes. “IPS? That’s fantastic. I never thought you would do so well! What are you? Superintendent? Deputy Commissioner?”

Now it was my turn to blush.

“No,” I said sheepishly. “I am only a sub-inspector.”

“Oh!” she said, trying to hide her disappointment.

But I had read the language of her eyes. The nuance wasn’t lost on me. Suddenly she had changed.

“Is Mr. Joshi at home?” I asked.

“He is still at the office,” Anjali said.

“Oh! I thought he would be home,” I said.

“I’ll make you some tea,” she said and started to get up.

“Please sit down, Anjali. Let’s talk.” I looked at my watch. “It’s already six-thirty. Let’s wait for Mr. Joshi. Maybe he’ll offer me a drink. And dinner.”

“My husband comes home very late,” Anjali said. “After all, he is the Managing Director and the CEO. There is so much work. And conferences. Important business meetings. He is the top boss – a very successful and extremely busy man.”

She couldn’t have spelt it out more clearly. I got the message loud and clear.

Anjali changed the topic and asked, “Where did you find my husband’s purse?”

“It was deposited in the lost-and-found section last evening,” I lied, trying to keep a straight face.

“It’s strange,” Anjali said. “He didn’t mention anything.”

“He may not have noticed,” I said, tongue-in-cheek, “After all Mr. Joshi is a very busy man to notice such minor things like a missing purse.”

“Yes,” she said, giving a distant look.

Anjali opened the purse once more and examined his credit cards and driving license. At first she appeared confused. Then she gave me a cold hard look. But she didn’t say anything.

There was a long period of silence. Grotesque Silence.

Anjali kept staring at me. Looking directly into my eyes. A distant look. Almost dismissive.

I began to feel uneasy.

Suddenly I remembered the gift wrapped packet I had brought and exclaimed enthusiastically, “Anjali, where are your children? I have got a gift for them. Just a small present for your kids!”

From the look on her face, I immediately sensed that I had said something terribly wrong.

I saw tears well up in her eyes.

All of a sudden, Anjali looked small, weak and vulnerable.

I felt a sense of deep regret as comprehension dawned on me.

I looked at her helplessly, pleading innocence, but it was of no use.

Some day Anjali might understand my actions, but at that moment it was hopeless to try and explain.

The hurt was deep, and I had to let it go in silence.

We just sat there in silence, not knowing what to say. A deafening silence.

It is strange how moments you have rehearsed for end up with a different script.

I could not bear it any longer.

I quickly got up and started walking swiftly towards the door.

Suddenly I realized that I had forgotten to pick up the packet – the gift.

But I did not turn back.

Why? I do not know.

“Don’t go, Sanjiv. I want to talk to you,” Anjali spoke coldly.

I stopped in my tracks.

I could hear Anjali footsteps behind me.

I turned around to face her. She seemed a bit composed.

“You lied to me, Sanjiv,” Anjali said. “I want to know where you found this wallet.”

I did not know what to say. I tried to avoid her eyes.

“Tell me,” Anjali pleaded.

When in doubt, I speak the truth, so I told her the truth, “We raided one of those exclusive classy joints last night,” I stammered. “A posh call-girl racket……….” I could not continue…so I mumbled, “I am sorry. I did not know…”

“I know! Oh yes I know!” Anjali said mockingly. “That impotent creep! Trying to prove his virility to himself.”

With those few words, she had bared the secret of her marriage.

I looked at her.

Her manner was relaxed and nonchalant; her fury was visible only in her eyes.

I was nonplussed. Suddenly I blurted out, “Don’t worry Anjali. I have dropped the charges. I’ll hush it up.”

I still don’t know why I uttered those words but the moment she heard my words there was a visible metamorphosis in Anjali.

Suddenly she became flaming mad.

She looked so distraught and angry that I felt very frightened.

I was terrified that she would go berserk and attack me, slap me, or something, so I instinctively stepped back.

But Anjali suddenly turned and left the room.

I waited, dumbstruck, pole-axed, frozen for a moment and after regaining my composure decided to leave and started to move towards the door.

“Wait!” I heard her scream. I stopped in my tracks and turned around.

Anjali quickly walked towards me and thrust out her right hand.

She held a bundle of five hundred rupee notes. “So this is what you have come for, isn’t it? A bribe to hush up the case, isn’t it? Even from me! You unscrupulous swine, I didn’t expect you to fall so low. Here – take the money and get out. This is all I have at home. If you want more, you know where to find my husband; don’t you?”

“No, Anjali,” I recoiled in horror, “Please don’t ………..”

“Cheap!” Anjali spat out. There was contempt in her eyes. “Cheap riffraff! That’s what you always were, Sanjiv. Get out you filthy blackmailer.”

She threw the bundle of notes at me. It hit my chest and fell on the ground, the money scattering near my feet.

“I love you, Anjali,” I said, trying to sound sincere.

“Love,” she exclaimed, her radiating eyes burning with anger. “So you have come to see how your barren old flame is flourishing, isn’t it?”

She paused and said sarcastically, “So you are pleased aren’t you? Happy to see how successful my marriage is, isn’t it?”

Her sly and sarcastic suggestion that I might be happy at her misfortune hurt me more than anything else.

I turned around and walked out of the house.

As I walked towards the gate something hit me on my back.

I winced in pain.

The three volumes of the expensive Children’s Encyclopedia were scattered on the ground, their silver paper gift wrapper torn.

I knew that Anjali was standing in the door looking at me. But I did not look back at her.

I gathered the books and walked away into the darkness.

Next morning, as I gradually came into consciousness from my drunken stupor, I realized that I was in my bed.

Though sunlight filtered in through the open windows, everything looked blurred.

Slowly things began to come into focus.

My daughter was sitting beside me on the bed. She touched my arm with tenderness.

There were tears in her eyes.

My son stood aloof on the other side of the bed.

There was fear in his eyes.

My wife looked at me with loving pity and said, “The children want to thank you for the lovely gift. They are so happy!”

She was holding the set of encyclopedias in her hands.

I smiled and reached out to them.

They held my hands and smiled back.

I looked at the pure unadulterated joy in their eyes.

For the first time in my life I experienced a deep genuine true love for my wife and children; a love which I had never felt before.

Tears of joy welled up in my eyes.

I had discovered love.

Yes, I had discovered the gift of love.

 

THE GIFT OF LOVE
Fiction Short Story
By
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

vikramkarve@sify.com

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