Thursday, January 31, 2013

STIGMA


STIGMA
Fiction Short Story
By 
VIKRAM KARVE

From my creative writing archives: 

A poignant tale.  I wrote this short story almost 10 years ago, sometime in 2003, I think.
 

As the sun begins to set, tension begins to rise in the Patwardhan household.   

Why?   

Because it is time for Mr. Patwardhan to come home from work.   

Funny! Isn’t it?

Actually the family should be happy when the breadwinner returns home from work.

The wife should be happy when her husband comes home in the evening and the children should be happy too when their father comes home.

They should be eagerly awaiting his arrival.   

You are right. 

That was how it used to be earlier. 

But now it’s different. 

Every evening is hell, a torturous ordeal, for the wife, daughter and son, as they anxiously wait for Mr. Patwardhan to come home.   

Why? 

What happened?   

It is sad. 

Very sad. 

Very very sad.

Every evening, after work, Mr. Patwardhan goes straight to a liquor bar, and comes home drunk. 

The way he is drinking now-a-days, it won’t be long before he becomes an alcoholic. 

Or maybe he already is an alcoholic.

Come with me Dear Reader, let’s go and see what happens tonight.  

Where?   

To the chawl tenement in Girgaum where Patwardhan lives. 

Look how it is built. 

Four storeys. 

Each floor has a common balcony for the row of ten one-room households. 

The balconies afford a good view of the entrance and the main road, so everyone stands there in the evening enjoying the happenings, the comings and goings – that’s the main source of entertainment here. 

And when it gets dark, they all go in and watch the soaps on cable TV.  

And now-a-days, the arrival of the totally sozzled intoxicated inebriated Mr. Patwardhan, his drunken antics, is the highlight amusement of the day.

It is the most entertaining event of the evening, eagerly awaited by all, yes, all, except the Patwardhan family who wait in frightful trepidation, wishing it would all be over fast. 

Look.  

Where?  

Look at the second floor balcony. 

Do you see two ladies standing in the centre of the balcony?  

Yes.   

The one on the left, in the red sari – she’s Mrs. Patwardhan.  

And the other?   

The other one in the blue sari is Mrs. Joshi. Mrs. Patwardhan’s neighbour. She is lucky. Her husband is doing well. He is sober, successful, and they have plenty of money. Her children are bright. They may even move out of this crowded chawl to a two BHK flat in Dombivli or Thane or Kalyan or some distant western suburb of Mumbai if all goes well.   

Let’s go and see what they are talking.   

“Where are your kids? I can’t see them playing below,” asks Mrs. Joshi.   

“Avinash is inside, studying. He’s become such an introvert. The boys jeer at him, taunt him, because of his father's drinking problem; so he’s stopped playing with them.”   

“It’s cruel!”   

“Yes. He’s become so silent. And his eyes! I’m scared of the hate in his eyes.”  

“It’ll be okay. Just give him time. At least he’s doing well in his studies.” 

“Yes. But I’m more worried about Radhika. She’s just 14, and behaves as if she were 18, or even 20. Poor thing. From a child, she has straight away become a mature woman, because of all this. It’s so sad; she must be suffering terribly inside,” Mrs. Patwardhan says as tears well up in her eyes.   

“Don’t cry,” Mrs. Joshi says, “everything will be all right.”   

Suddenly, there is a commotion.

Mr. Patwardhan has arrived.

As usual he is totally drunk, intoxicated to the hilt.

Swinging from side to side, he is so unsteady on his feet that he is barely able to walk.

He stumbles on first step of the staircase and falls down.

His daughter, Radhika, appears from nowhere and tries to lift him. 

Mrs. Patwardhan rushes down the staircase.

Soon, both mother and daughter haul the miserably drunk man up the staircase.   

Mrs. Joshi stands transfixed, not knowing what to do.

Her husband comes out of the house, looks at the scene, and mutters: “disgraceful” and takes Mrs. Joshi inside. 

Words cannot describe the emotion of shame, humiliation, helplessness and hapless anger, the inwardly burning impotent rage that Mrs. Patwardhan experiences at that moment.   

Now that the event is over, her tension dissolves, and though she still feels angry, with time, a few hours later, her anger also dissipates, and, her worries for the day over, Mrs. Patwardhan goes to sleep. 

The day is over.

Tomorrow is a new day.

She’ll be up in the morning, busy with her chores and work, and everything will be okay throughout the day. 

It is only in the evening, when the sun begins to set, and it is time for her husband to come home, that the tension will begin to rise within her once again.

Now, Mrs. Patwardhan sleeps like a log.  

Next door, Mrs. Joshi cannot sleep, but she pretends that she is fast asleep.

Though her eyes are closed, in her mind’s eye, she can clearly visualize her husband’s surreptitiously silent movements as he ‘makes sure’ that everyone is asleep. 

Then he stealthily closes the door and sneaks out of the house in a furtive manner.   

She lies desolately on her barren bed in self-commiseration. 

She feels betrayed and overcome by a sense of helplessness. 

She deeply suffers her terrible sorrow in secret silence.

There is just one thought in Mrs. Joshi's mind: “My neighbour Mrs. Patwardhan is luckier than me. It is better to be the wife of a drunkard than to be a wife of a womanizer”. 

Mrs. Joshi thinks of Mrs. Patwardhan with envious sympathy. 

Mrs. Patwardhan has nothing to hide and can share her stigma with everyone. 

But Mrs. Joshi – she has to bear her grief all alone. 

And then, as the night advances, the tension begins to rise within her. 

Mrs. Joshi's tension will never dissipate - it will just keep on increasing till one day something will snap within her.     

The public shame Mrs. Patwardhan suffers is bad enough. 

Many make fun of her, humiliate her, but a few also sympathize with her.

It is Mrs. Joshi who we must really pity, as she suffers her private ignominy in secret. 

Every moment, Mrs. Joshi secretly dies a hundred deaths inside, unknown to the others, while on the outside, she keeps up a fa├žade, a pretence, and wears a mask of make-believe, that everything is fine.

Is secret sorrow is worse than public shame?

Is the fear of your secret sorrow being found out more painful than the stigma of public humiliation?    
 
I wonder which stigma is more painful: Secret Sorrow or Public Shame? 



VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
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 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html
COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie I am sure that you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) 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 and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve 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@hotmail.com
      
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

MY WRITING STYLE - ABRUPT ENDINGS


How I Developed My Creative Writing Style
ABRUPT ENDINGS
By
VIKRAM KARVE

If you are a writer you will have your own individual writing style. 

I too have my own signature style. 

Many readers have commented that one of the aspects they do not like about my writing style is that my stories always have abrupt endings.

I agree.

I will make a conscious effort to correct this aspect.

But let me tell you how I developed this writing style of having abrupt endings.

I started writing short fiction in the early 1990s when I lived in the hills of Girinagar, a beautiful verdant green forest in the back of beyond below the mighty Sinhagad Fort and overlooking the placid blue waters of the Khadakvasla lake near Pune. 

From Monday to Friday, during the daytime, I would be busy with my work. 

But even on those working days, every morning and evening, I took long walks thinking interesting thoughts and by Friday the plot for my next story would be ready in my mind.  

Then, on Saturday morning, I would start writing the story.

Yes, I did all my creative writing on weekends. 

I would write a short story every weekend in long hand, which my darling wife would then type on her portable typewriter during the week.

(Yes, those were the days of the pen and paper, when you actually wrote with your pen on paper and later your story had to be typed on a typewriter in the prescribed format) 

Then I would then send by snail-mail (by registered post) my “double-spaced neatly typed story” to magazines which published short fiction like Citadel, a magazine published monthly from Pune for which I was a regular fiction writer, or the Indian Express for its Thursday literary magazine called Citizen, or to other magazines like Femina, Savvy, Debonair, Caravan, Women's Era etc that carried fiction.  

I preferred to have an atmosphere of solitude to write on weekends.

So on every Saturday morning I would drop my wife and kids at the bus stop and they would be off to spend the weekend in Pune City with their grannies. 

Then, in my glorious solitude, I would to start writing. 

I love writing, so once I start writing I transcend into a state of timelessness.

I would write the entire Saturday and Sunday and time would pass off in a jiffy as I would be lost to the world, in a state of timelessness.

Suddenly I would hear the shrill ring of the phone and I would realize that my two days of creative bliss were over.

Tt was already Sunday evening and my wife was calling to tell me she was starting from Pune and they all would be reaching Khadakwasla bus stop in an hour. (The Bus Journey from Pune to Girinagar took one hour)

The moment this dreaded phone call came, for me, panic would set in. 

Now, I had just one hour left to finish my story. 

(I had to complete the story I was writing otherwise it would spill over to the next weekend, and I did not want to breach my self-imposed one story per week target). 

Therefore, I had no choice but to finish off the story with an abrupt ending – coup de grace...!!!  

Maybe this developed into a habit and old habits die hard.

I will have to change my writing style and I will try my best to see that my stories have more unhurried, relaxed, satisfying, happy endings that leave a pleasant smooth aftertaste. 

But how can I do this? 

Nowadays, I blog. 

And I try to write a blog a day - yes, I write one blog post per day.

I get up early and go for a long walk with my pet dog Sherry which ends in the park on the banks of the Mula River in Wakad near Pune.

During my morning walk I think interesting thoughts about what I am going to write on that day.

I start writing around 9 in the morning after my wife goes to work.

I love writing so much that I lose all sense of time and sometimes do not even have lunch.

My pet dog Sherry gets activated (by her body clock) around 4 o'clock in the evening and I know my wife would be arriving in an hour.

So I have to quickly finish off whatever I am writing and post it on my blog.

That is why my blog posts too have abrupt endings.

It seems I just cannot escape from Abrupt Endings.

Or can I ?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
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 blog post?  
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html
COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie I am sure that you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) 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 and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve 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@hotmail.com
      
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

THE DOUBLE LIFE OF A CREATIVE WRITER - A Quote By Anton Chekhov


Medicine is my lawful wife and Literature my mistress

When I get tired of one I spend the night with the other

Anton Chekhov


MY FIRST LOVE STORY - RENDEZVOUS AT SUNRISE


MY FIRST LOVE STORY
RENDEZVOUS AT SUNRISE
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Dear Reader:

Your first love always has an enduring place in your heart. 

It is the same with your first creative work - your first creative baby always has a special significance. 

This is the first short story I wrote. It is a simple love story.

I wrote this story 24 years ago during my Vizag days after a visit to the Morning Sunday Market.

I kept this story with me in my diary for some time.

Then, one day, I sent it for consideration for publication in the literary supplement of a newspaper and to my delight this story was published that very weekend.

Yes, this was my first published work of Fiction, my first Creative Baby. 

I love this story - Rendezvous at Sunrise

Do read the story and tell me if you liked it.

Rendezvous at Sunrise
A Love Story
By
Vikram Karve

Sunrise, on the eastern coast, is a special event.

I stood at Dolphin’s Nose, a spur jutting out in to the Bay of Bengal, to behold the breaking of the sun’s upper limb over the horizon of the sea.

As the eastern sky started unfolding like crimson petals of a gigantic flower, I was overcome by a wave of romance and nostalgia – vivid memories, not diminished by the fact that almost ten years had passed.
  
I was a young bachelor then, and Vizag (Visakhapatnam) did not have much to offer.

Every Sunday morning, I used to rise before dawn and head for Dolphin’s Nose to enjoy the resplendent spectacle of sun majestically rising out of the sea.

The fresh salty sea breeze was a panacea for all the effects of the hangover caused by Saturday night excesses.
  
After the viewing the metamorphosis at sunrise, I used to walk downhill along the steep mountain-path towards the rocky beach for a brief swim.

I used to notice a flurry of activity at a distance, in the compound of a decrepit building, which I used to ignore, but curious, one day I decided to have a closer look.
  
It was a fish market.

Most of the customers were housewives from the nearby residential complexes who were in their “Sunday-worst” – sans make-up, slovenly dressed, face unwashed and unkempt hair – what a contrast from their carefully decked-up appearances at the club the previous evening.
  
I began to walk away, quite dejected, when I first saw her.

I stopped in my tracks.

She was a real beauty – tall, fair and freshly bathed, her long lustrous hair dancing on her shoulders.

She had large expressive brown eyes and her sharp features were accentuated by the rays of the morning Sun.

I cannot begin to describe the sensation she evoked in me but it was the first time in my life that I felt my heart ache with intense yearning.

I knew this was love.
  
But I knew in my heart that I stood no chance – she had a mangalsutra around her neck.

She was married – maybe happily too.

Nevertheless I went close to her and made her pretense of buying some fish.

Smiling cannily at me she selected a couple of pomfrets and held them out to me.

I managed to briefly touch her soft hands – the feeling was electric and a shiver of thrill passed through me.

She communicated an unspoken good-bye with her teasing dancing eyes and briskly walked away.

I was too delightfully dazed to follow her.

I returned to my room and had fried pomfret for breakfast. Needless to say they were delicious.
   
I religiously followed this routine every Sunday morning.

She never missed her rendezvous with me – same place, same time, at precisely Seven o’clock in the morning.

But not a word was exchanged between us.

I was too shy and she probably wanted to keep it this way – a beautiful ethereal relationship – a love so delicate that one wrong move might destroy everything.
   
Meanwhile, I have developed a taste for fried pomfret – quite creditable, considering that I had never eaten fish before.
   
I left Vizag and traveled around the world, met so many beautiful girls in the numerous exotic places I visited, but I never forgot her.

A man’s first love always has an enduring place in his heart.
   
And now I was back in Vizag almost ten years later.

As I walked down the slope towards the beach, in my mind’s eye I could still vividly visualize the playfully sublime look on her face - her gentle smile and communicative eyes – although ten years had passed.

I could not contain the mounting excitement and anticipation in me. I was desperately yearning to see her again. It was a forlorn hope but I was flushed with optimism.
   
As I reached the beach I noticed that the Sun was well clear of the horizon.

I glanced at my watch. It was almost Seven O’clock.

I hastened my step – almost broke in to a run – and reached the fish market and stood exactly at the same spot where we used to have our rendezvous at sunrise.
  
With tremors of anticipation, almost trepidation, I looked around with searching eyes.

Nothing had changed. The scene was exactly the same as I had left it ten years ago.

Only one thing was missing - she wasn’t there.

I had drawn a blank.

I was crestfallen.

My mind went blank and I was standing vacuously when suddenly I felt that familiar electrifying touch, the same shiver of thrill.

It shook me to reality, as quick as lighting.

She softly put two promfret fish in my hands.

I was in seventh heaven.
   
I looked at her.

I was not disappointed.

Her beauty had enhanced with age.

But something had changed.

Yes, it was in her eyes.

Her large brown eyes did not teasingly dance anymore.

There was a trace of sadness, a tender poignancy in her liquid brown eyes as she bid me an unspoken goodbye.

I was so dumbstruck by the suddenness of the event, and the enormity of the moment, that I stood frozen, like a statue, unable to react or to say anything.
   
It was only as she was leaving that I noticed that there was no mangalsutra around her slender neck. 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
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 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html
COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie I am sure that you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) 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 and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve 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@hotmail.com
      
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.