Posts Tagged ‘old’

Short Story by Vikram Karve THE SOLUTION

July 6, 2011

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE SOLUTION.

THE SOLUTION
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

“I don’t know how I am going to solve this problem,” Anil said.

Yes, Anil indeed had a big problem on his hands. The problem was his old father. His father had dementia and it was getting worse day by day.

“At first it was okay. We could manage somehow. He used to forget, talk incoherently, have mood swings, get disoriented a bit, needed help doing things – we all tried our best to look after him, my wife, my two kids, all of us did all we could. But now it is becoming impossible,” Anil said.

“I know,” I said, “it must be very difficult for all of you, especially your wife.”

“All these years she really cared for him with love and devotion as if he were her own father. She tolerated his idiosyncrasies, looked after his every need, she has to bathe him, dress him, feed him, even take him to the toilet. Even when he got aggressive with her, she managed to calm him down. But after this morning’s incident she has given me the ultimatum.”

Let me tell you what had happened that morning. 

I had gone to Pune Railway Station to receive my daughter who was arriving from Delhi by Duronto Express when I spotted Anil’s father wandering aimlessly on the platform from where the Deccan Queen to Mumbai was about to leave. Suddenly he started walking towards the AC Coach and was about to board the train when I stopped him, caught hold of his hand and pulled him aside. He did not recognize me. He tried to pull his hand free and when I tightened my grip he gestured towards the train and started muttering at me incoherently: “Mumbai … Duty … Mumbai … Duty …” and suddenly he got aggressive and tried to violently break free so I raised an alarm and with the help of some people we overpowered him and then he collapsed and started weeping like a child.

I called up Anil who rushed to the station and we had to literally carry him to the car. Suddenly his condition worsened and it looked like he was having a seizure so we rushed him to hospital where they admitted the old man into the ICU to keep him under observation.  

We sat outside the ICU. I felt sad for Anil and his father. Anil and I were “Railway Children” who had grown up together in those typical Railway Townships which adorn big railway junctions all over India. Our fathers, both from the same batch of SCRA, were close friends and we luckily had many postings in the same station, so Anil and I became close friends too. After school we both went to IIT and now both of us lived and worked in Pune. I felt sad for Anil’s father. In the prime of his life he had such a regal commanding personality – and now dementia had reduced him to this misery in his old age.

Soon our wives, a few colleagues and friends arrive and we stand in balcony outside the ICU of the hospital brainstorming to find a solution to the problem.

“I cannot handle him anymore,” Anil’s wife says, “ever since he got this dementia, the last few years have been hell for me. Anil goes out to work, the children go to school, but I have to live with him all the time. I have to do everything, suffer his tantrums, even clean his shit, and now he does this – just runs away from home and gets lost. I can’t take it anymore – I will go crazy.”

“She needs a break,” my wife says to Anil, “why don’t you send him to your sister’s place for a few days?”

“His sister?” Anil’s wife says mockingly, “as long as her father was fine she was the doting daughter ensuring that she got her share in his property. Now that he is sick, she is shirking her responsibility and has washed her hands off him. The last time she visited us I asked her to take her father to her house in Mumbai for a few days so that we could get some respite and do you know what her husband said? He said that he didn’t want an insane man in his house as it would affect his children. So I asked him: what about our children? And Anil’s sister just kept quiet. After that they haven’t shown up. I hate her. All she does is call up once in a while and then tell the whole world how concerned she is.”

“That’s really very sad but even today it is the sons who are expected to look after their parents, especially the eldest son” someone says, and asks Anil, “You have a brother?”

“He is abroad, in America.”

“That’s the best thing to do. Escape abroad to a good life in America and forget about your parents.”

“Longevity is increasing and these old people are becoming a big problem. In our colony almost everyone’s kids are in America and their hapless parents spend a lonely existence with all sorts of health problems.”

“Don’t worry, Sir. At least your father is not as bad as my neighbour. The poor man’s brain cells are dying and he is lying like a vegetable for the last six months with tubes inserted to feed him and take his stuff out,” the recently joined software engineer tries to console Anil thinking that if she tells Anil of someone with a greater misfortune maybe he will feel some consolation but unfortunately it has the opposite effect and Anil asks her, Did he have dementia? Will my father also become a vegetable?”

“No, nothing of that sort will happen. Your Dad will be okay,” I say putting my hand on Anil’s shoulder.

“But we can’t keep your father at home in this condition. I cannot bear it any longer. I will just collapse one day. And now he has started getting aggressive. I am scared. ” Anil’s wife says.

“Why can’t we keep in hospital?” my wife asks.

“We can’t keep him in this hospital forever,” I say.

“Not this hospital.”

“Then which hospital?”

“An institution. Where they can treat his mental problems.”

“A mental hospital? You want me to put my father into a lunatic asylum?” Anil says getting angry, “My father is not a lunatic, he has not gone mad. Poor fellow has just got dementia for which there is no cure.”

“Cool down Anil,” I say, “she didn’t mean to hurt you.”

My wife says sorry to Anil and we sit quietly till the Intensivist calls us and says, “He has stabilized now. All parameters are okay. We will move him to a special room later at night and keep him under observation. You can go home and relax now. We will look after him. You can take him home tomorrow morning.”

“You all go home,” Anil says, “I will stay with him in hospital and bring him home in the morning.”

“No,” Anil’s wife says, “I don’t want him to come home. You arrange something…”

The Intensivist looks at her quite perplexed, so I gesture to him that all is well and say to Anil, “Okay, you stay here and we will all go home and think of some solution.”

On our way home we pick up Anil’s kids and take all of them to our place. Anil’s wife sleeps in our bedroom with my wife, all the kids sleep in their room and I lie down on the sofa trying to think of a solution to Anil’s problem.

The ring of my mobile jolts me out my sleep. It is Anil. His voice sounds strange, shaky, and he cries incoherently, “The problem has been solved…the problem has been solved… my father is dead…while they were shifting him from the ICU to the ward, he got violent, the stretcher tumbled, he fell on head, broke his neck and died on the spot.”

“Oh My God,” I say, but I can still hear Anil sobbing, “Poor man. He must have heard us. So he solved the problem, his problem, our problem, everyone’s problem…” and then I can hear Anil breaking down into tears.

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
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.
Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To know more please click the links below:
Do try out this delicious, heady and exciting COCKTAIL
Cheers
About Vikram Karve
A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 
Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@sify.com          
Fiction Short Stories Book

http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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KETTI – a travel romance by Vikram Karve

May 28, 2011

KETTI.

KETTI
Short Fiction – A Travel Tale
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

 
Short Fiction – A Simple Love Story I wrote sometime in the 1990s …
Winter.

Early morning.

Chill in the air.


I stand alone on the metre gauge side of the lonely island platform of Mettupalaiyam Railway Station and stare at the peaks of the Blue Mountains (the Nilgiris) silhouetted in a veil of mist in the distance.

Nothing much has changed here since the last time I came here on my way to Ooty.

It was almost 30 years ago and even now the place, the things, the people – everything looks the same – as if frozen in time.

But for me there is a world of difference.

Then I was a young bride, full of inchoate zest, in the company of my handsome husband, eagerly looking forward to the romantic journey on the toy train of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway on my way to our honeymoon at Ooty.  

Then, on my way to my honeymoon, the place felt so exciting. 

Now it feels so gloomy.

Strange. 

But true. 

What’s outside just doesn’t matter; it is what is inside that matters.


I try not to reminisce.

Remembering good times when I am in misery causes me unimaginable agony.


I look at my watch.

7.30 A.M.

The small blue toy train pushed by its hissing steam engine comes on the platform.

Dot on time.

As it was then.


The same chill in the air. The same February morning – the 14th of February – Valentine’s Day. 

Then I had the loving warmth of my husband’s arm around me.

Now I feel the bitter cold penetrating within me.


I drag my feet across the platform towards the mountain train – then they called it The Blue Mountain Express – now I don’t know.

Scared, anxious, fear in my stomach, I experience a strange uneasiness, a sense of foreboding, a feeling of ominous helplessness – wondering what my new life would have in store for me.

I sit alone in the First Class compartment right in front of the train and wait for the train to start – the train which is going to take me to the point to no return.

I wish that all this is just a dream.

But I know it is not.


And suddenly, Avinash enters.

We stare at each other in disbelief.

Time stands still.


There is silence, a grotesque silence, till Avinash speaks, “Roopa! What are you doing here?”

I do not answer.

Because I cannot answer.

I am struck dumb, swept by a wave of melancholic despair.

My vocal cords numbed by emotional pain.


I look ineffectually and forlornly at Avinash and I realize that there is no greater pain than to remember happier times when in distress.  

“You look good when you get emotional,” Avinash says sitting opposite me.

In the vulnerable emotional state that I am in, I know that I will have a breakdown if I continue sitting with Avinash.

I want to get out, run away; but suddenly, the train moves.

I am trapped.

So I decide to put on a brave front, and say to Avinash, “Coming from Chennai?”


“Yes,” he says, “I’d gone for some work there.”

“You stay here? In Ooty?” I ask with a tremor of trepidation for I do not want to run into Avinash again and again; and let him know that I had made a big mistake by not marrying him – that I had made the wrong choice by dumping him, the man I loved, in search of a “better” life.

“I stay near Kotagiri,” Avinash says.

“Kotagiri?” I ask relieved.

“Yes, I own a tea-estate there.”

“You own a tea estate?”

“Yes. I am a planter.”

Now I really regret my blunder 30 years ago. Indeed I had made the wrong choice.

“Your family – wife, children?” I probe, curious.

“I didn’t marry,” he says curtly. “There’s no family; only me. A confirmed bachelor – just me – I live all by myself.”

“Oh, Avinash. You should have got married. Why didn’t you?”

“It is strange that you should be asking me why I did not marry,” he says.

 “Oh my God! Because of me?” 
 
Avinash changes the subject and says, “I’ll be getting off at Coonoor. My jeep will pick me up.”

He pauses, then asks me, “And you, Roopa? Going to Ooty? At the height of winter! To freeze over there?”


“No,” I say, “I am going to Ketti.”

“Ketti ?” he asks with derisive surprise.

“Yes. What’s wrong with going to Ketti?” I protest.

“There are only two places you can go to in Ketti – The boarding school and the old-age home. And the school is closed in December,” Avinash says nonchalantly, looking out of the window.

I say nothing.

Because I cannot say anything.

So I suffer his words in silence.


“Unless of course you own a bungalow there!” he says sarcastically turning towards me and mocking me once again.

The cat is out of the bag.

I cannot describe the sense of humiliation I feel sitting there with Avinash.

The tables seem to have turned.

Or have they?


There are only the two of us in the tiny compartment.

As the train begins to climb up the hills it began to get windy and Avinash closes the windows.


The smallness of the compartment forces us into a strange sort of intimacy.

I remember the lovely moments with Avinash.


A woman’s first love always has an enduring place in her heart.

“I am sorry if I hurt you,” Avinash says, “but the bitterness just came out.”

We talk.

Avinash is easy to talk to and I am astonished how effortlessly my words come tumbling out. 


I tell him everything. Yes, I tell him everything – the entire story of my life.

How I had struggled, sacrificed, planned and taken every care.

But still, everything had gone wrong.


Widowed at 28.

Abandoned by my only son at 52.

Banished to an old-age home. So that “they” could sell off our house and emigrate abroad.

“They” – yes, “they” – those two who ruined my life, betrayed my trust – my only son who I doted upon and lived for and that scheming wife of his. 


“I have lost everything,” I cry, unable to control my self. “Avinash, I have lost everything.”

“No, Roopa,” Avinash says. “You haven’t lost everything. You have got me! I’ve got you. We’ve got each other.”

Avinash takes me in his comforting arms. 

Cuddled in his arms, I experience the same feeling, the same zest, the same warmth, the same lovely emotion, the same love, that I felt thirty years ago, yes, thirty years ago, as a newly-wed on my first romantic journey, on this same mountain toy train, on my way to my first honeymoon, into the lovely blue mountains. 


VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
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. 

Did you like this story?

I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships.  

 

 

 

Do try out this delicious, heady and excitingCOCKTAIL. 

 

To know more please click the links below:
Cheers

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm

Email: vikramkarve@sify.com          

Fiction Short Stories Book

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

 

 

REALTY CHECK Fiction Short Story

May 4, 2010

REALTY CHECK

Fiction Short Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

“I want to go home…!” the father, a redoubtable intrepid tough looking old man, around seventy, shouts emphatically at his son.

“Please Baba. Don’t create a scene,” the son, an effeminate looking man in his mid-forties, says softly.

“What do you mean don’t create a scene…?” the old man shouts even louder, waving his walking stick in a menacing manner.

“Please calm down…! Everyone is looking at us…!” an old woman, in her mid-sixties, pleads with her husband.

“Let them look…! Let everyone see what an ungrateful son is doing to his poor old parents…” the old man says loudly, looking all around.

“Ungrateful…?” the son winces.

“Yes, ungrateful…! That’s what you are. We did everything for you; educated you, brought you up. And now you throw us out of our house into this bloody choultry.”

“Choultry…! You call this a choultry…! Please Baba… This is a luxury township for Senior Citizens…” the son says.

“It’s okay,” the old woman consoles her husband, “we’ll manage in this Old Age Home.”

“Mama, please…!” the son implores in exasperation, “How many times have I told you. This is not an Old Age Home. It’s such a beautiful exclusive township for Senior Citizens to enjoy a happy and active life. And I’ve booked you a premium cottage – the best available here.”

The mother looks at her son, and then at her husband, and feels trapped between the two, not knowing what to say as both are right in their own way. So she says gently to her husband, “Try to understand. We’ll adjust here. See how scenic and green this place is. See there – what a lovely garden.”

“I prefer Nana-Nani Park at Chowpatty. All my friends are there,” the old man says.

“You’ll make friends here too,” she says.

“Friends…! These half-dead highbrow snobs…?” the old man says mockingly.

“Okay,” the son intervenes, “you both can take long walks. The air is so pure and refreshing at this hill station.”

“Listen you…! Don’t try all this on me. I’ve been walking for the last fifty years on Marine Drive and that’s where I intend walking the rest of my life…” the old man shouts at his son. Then the old man turns to his wife and says peremptorily to her, “You pack our bags and let’s go back to Mumbai. We are not staying here…!”

“Try and adjust,” his wife beseeches him, “you’ll like the place. Look at the facilities here – there’s a modern health club, gym, library, recreation… everything is here.”

“Gym…? You want me to do body building at this age…? Library…? You know after my cataract I can hardly read the newspaper…! And I can get all the recreation I need watching the sea at the Chowpatty…”

“Please Baba, don’t be obstinate,” begs his son. “This place is so good for your health. They give you such delicious nourishing food here.”

“Delicious…? Nourishing…? The bloody sterile stuff tastes like hospital food. I can’t stand it – where will I get Sardar’s Pav Bhaji, Kyani’s Kheema Pav, Vinay’s Misal, Satam’s Vada Pav, Delhi Durbar’s Biryani, Sarvi’s Boti Kababs, Fish in Anantashram in Khotachi wadi next door…”

“Please Baba…! All you can think of is horrible oily spicy street-food which you should not eat at your age…! With your cholesterol and sugar levels, you’ll die if you continue eating that stuff…”

“I’d rather die of a heart attack in Mumbai enjoying the tasty good food I like rather than suffer a slow death here trying to eat this insipid tasteless nonsense,” the old man shouts at his son, then looks at his wife and commands, “Listen. Just pack up. We are not staying here like glorified slaves in this golden cage. One month here in this godforsaken place has made me almost mad. We are going right back to our house in Girgaum to live with dignity…!”

“Please Baba. Don’t be difficult. I have to leave for the states tonight,” the son pleads desperately. “I’m trying to do the best possible for you. You know the huge amount of money I’ve paid in advance to book this place for you…?”

“You go back to your family in America. I’m going back to my house in Girgaum…! That’s final…!” the old man says firmly to his son. Then he looks at his wife, the old woman, and says, “You want to come along…? Or should I go back alone…?”

“Mama, please tell him…” the son looks at his mother.

The old woman looks lovingly at her husband, puts her hand on his arm and says softly, “Please try to understand. We have to live here. There’s no house in Girgaum. Our tenement chawl has been sold to a builder. They are building a commercial complex there.”

“What…?” the old man looks at his wife, totally stunned, as if he is pole-axed, “you too…!”

And suddenly the old man’s defences crumble and he disintegrates… no longer is he the strong indefatigable redoubtable man he was a few moments ago — the old man seems to have lost his spirit, his strength, his dignity, his self-esteem, even his will to live…!

The metamorphosis in the old man’s personality is unbelievable as he meekly holds his wife’s hand for support and, totally defeated, the once tough and redoubtable old man obediently leans on his frail wife for support and walks with her towards their cottage where they both will spend the last days of their lives… lonely… unwanted… waiting for death.

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
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

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