My Favourite Short Stories Revisited Part 42
From my Creative Writing Archives:
One of my earliest stories - A Short Story of a Modern Relationship
It’s a warm Sunday morning in Pune.
Let’s go to the apartment of a young Double Income No Kids (DINK) couple in a posh residential complex in Aundh.
The man and the woman, both in their late twenties, sit across a table in the drawing room.
Let’s eavesdrop and hear what they are talking...!
“Let’s start with the house,” the man says.
“Okay,” the woman says.
“We bought it for 25. It’s worth more than 50 today.”
“You keep the house,” the woman says.
“Thanks. I knew you would let me keep it,” the man says with a sigh of relief and opens a folder on the table between them. “I’ve worked it out exactly. Here’s a cheque for 15 Lakhs. I’ll take over all your EMIs and your part of the loan. Have a look at the papers and sign.”
The woman signs the papers without reading, picks up the cheque without even looking at it and puts it in her purse.
“The car. You want to keep it...?” the man asks.
“Of course. It’s on my name. I got the loan, remember...!”
“Please. Let’s not start yours and mine again. We agreed the breakup would be as amicable as possible.”
“I’m sorry,” the woman says a bit contrite.
“It’s just that I thought you’d like to buy a new car.”
“No. I like the Santro.”
“Okay. I’ll make do with my old bike for a few days. Then I’ll go in for the SUV I always wanted.”
The woman looks at the wall-clock. “Oh my God...! It’s ten thirty already. The packers and movers will be here any moment. Let’s hurry and finish it off once and for all...!”
“Okay. Let’s go room by room,” the man says.
He gives the woman a notepad and a pen, “You better write it down, so you can tell the packers.”
“You write,” the woman says.
“Okay. Let’s start with the living room.”
“The TV, DVD, Music System – you can keep everything. I only want all the beautiful wrought iron furniture I’ve specially got made.”
“At least leave me a couple of chairs and a table...!” the man pleads.
“Oh, come on...! When will you understand...? It’s a whole set...! You can buy the cheap molded furniture you always liked.”
“Okay. Let’s go to the kitchen.”
“I’ll take the microwave and dishwasher; and some good crockery and cutlery. You keep the stainless steel stuff which you love for its utilitarian value.”
“Don’t be sarcastic...!” the man snaps.
“I’m not being sarcastic...!” the woman answers, “I’m sick and tired of your ‘Value For Money’ obsession. You never like anything elegant and refined.”
“I prefer to drink the best scotch in a stainless steel tumbler rather than a third rate whisky served in fancy cut-glass...!”
“Oh yeah...So go ahead Cheapie...! Once I leave, you can eat out of earthenware bowls and sit on straw mats for all I care...! But I like classy stuff. Oh, yes... I’m taking the new carpet you’ve kept packed inside, those new lace curtains and all the curios.”
“Sure. Take anything you want. Except my books...Please let me have all my books...!”
“Books...! I don’t want any of your books,” the woman says, “That’s all you’ve done. Buy books and wallow in them. With the money you’ve squandered on your books you could have bought me a diamond, the solitaire I wanted for my last birthday.”
“Please Anju...! Let’s not start again.”
“Okay Abhi. I’m sorry. Let’s get all this over with as quickly as possible and part happily as good friends.”
And so they go about it, without a trace of acrimony, scrupulously and systematically, room by room, cupboard by cupboard, item by item – clothes, air conditioner, computer, washing machine, furniture, beds, linen, everything; even the playthings and investments they had diligently accumulated for the unconceived and unborn baby they had planned to have after they both were well established in their careers – each and every asset in the house is meticulously divided between the two and the woman’s items are segregated, packed and loaded in the truck by the packers.
“Thanks for making it so easy,” the woman says.
“You too...!” the man says.
“No hard feelings...?”
“No hard feelings...! It’s best for both of us.”
“I know. We were mismatched, just not compatible, that’s all.”
"There were good times too...!”
“It had to happen. I’m so happy it’s happened so amicably.”
“Me too. Bye Abhi. Take care,” the woman says and calls out, “Dolly...! Dolly...!”
A cute and fluffy little snow-white Lhasa Apso dog, who till now was sitting quietly in the balcony, runs up to the woman, excitedly wagging its tail. The woman lovingly picks up the adorable little dog in her arms and begins to walk towards the door.
“Hey...? Where are you taking Dolly...?” asks the man apprehensively.
“With me, of course,” the woman says holding the adorable dog in her arms.
“No, you’re not...! Dolly stays with me...!” the man says firmly.
“How can she stay with you...?”
“What do you mean ‘how can she stay with me’...? This is her house. She will stay here like she has stayed all these days. I’ll look after her...” the man says emphatically.
“No. I’m taking Dolly with me. Look how she’s cuddling in my arms...” the woman says.
“She cuddles in my arms too...! Dolly stays with me.You can’t take her...” the man says firmly.
“I’m taking her. Try stopping me...!” the woman says defiantly and moves towards the door.
In a flash, the man rushes to the door and menacingly blocks her way.
The dog senses the tension and stiffens.
“Look, you’re scaring her,” the woman says.
“Give her to me,” the man says in a firm no-nonsense voice and he takes Dolly in his arms and begins baby-talking to her, petting her and gently fondling her neck lovingly with his hand. The dog relaxes, snuggles and begins to lovingly lick his hands.
“Be reasonable, Abhi,” the woman says. “I always assumed Dolly would be coming with me. That’s why I’ve found a ground floor flat with a small garden where she can play. She feels cooped up here and you’ll find it difficult to look after her.”
“How can you assume such things...? Dolly is staying with me. I’ll look after her. You don’t worry.”
“Don’t be stubborn, Abhi...! Give her to me please...” the woman pleads.
“No. Dolly stays right here with me.”
“I’m not going without her.”
“Don’t go...” the man says.
“What do you mean ‘Don’t go’...! We had agreed to the separation and that we would work out things amicably. That there would be no acrimony or rancor and we would always remain good friends. Then why this bitterness at the last moment...? Please give Dolly to me...” the woman says.
“No. Dolly stays with me right here. I can’t live without her.”
“I too can’t live without her.”
“Then stay here...!” the man says.
“Okay. I’ll stay put right here,” the woman says defiantly. “I’m not moving an inch from here till you don’t let me take Dolly with me.”
In the evening, the man and the woman, the DINK couple, are playing with their cute little dog, Dolly, on the lush green lawns of their residential complex.
Three years ago when our protagonists, the man and the woman, newly married, were in Shillong for their honeymoon, their jolly dog-loving uncle, a retired Colonel, presented them with a beautiful month old baby female Lhasa Apso pup as a wedding gift. He had already named her Dolly. The Colonel’s wife scolded him saying that the pet would encumber the young couple’s married life.
In fact, their darling pet dog Dolly saved the DINK marriage. She turned out to be their bundle of joy - the "Kid" in the "Double Income No Kids" family.
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.
This is a story from my short stories book COCKTAIL.
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.
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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 he 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 15 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.
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