This is a Story of – a Husband – a Wife – and – the “Other” Woman…
I am – The “Other” Woman…
Here is my story…
THE “OTHER” WOMAN
Story By Vikram Karve
Rohan – The Husband
Lata – The Wife
Nisha – The “Other” Woman (Narrator of the Story)
This story happened 12 years ago in the year 2009 in Mumbai
THE “OTHER” WOMAN
Story by Vikram Karve
Mumbai (circa 2009)
I look at myself in the mirror.
I do not like what I see.
My face looks terrible – my skin, my lips, my eyes – they all look haggard.
And my eyebrows, my hair – they look unkempt.
Everything about me looks awful.
To put it bluntly – I look horrible.
I desperately need to go the beauty parlour.
I must have a good makeover to make myself presentable.
Today is Sunday.
I’ll go to that exclusive beauty salon near Churchgate – and I’ll get the full works done – from head to toe.
My mobile phone rings.
It is Rohan.
If it was anyone else – I would have rejected the call – or ignored it.
But since it is Rohan – I pick up my cell phone – and I say:
“Hi Rohan. What happened…? Why are you calling so early in the morning…?”
“It’s 8 o’clock…” Rohan says.
“It’s Sunday – I just woke up – I was about to brush my teeth…” I say.
“Oh – I am sorry – but I wanted to come and see you. Are you free…? Can I come now…? Or – should I come later…?” Rohan says.
If it was anyone else – I would have told them to come later – because – I would not want them to see me in my horrible unsightly state.
But with Rohan – it is different.
With him – I can be myself.
So – I say to Rohan:
“Come over. I’ll brush my teeth and shower. I should be ready by the time you drive down.”
“I am standing outside your door…” Rohan says.
“What…? You are here already…?” I say – surprised.
“Yes – if you want – I’ll go down and wait for you in the lobby…” he says.
I look at myself in the mirror once more.
I really look ghastly.
But – it is okay.
As I told you before – with Rohan – I can be myself.
“Hey Nisha – what happened…?” Rohan interrupts my train of thoughts.
“You just wait there – I am coming to open the door…” I say.
I disconnect Rohan’s call on my mobile phone – and I walk towards the door.
I open the door.
Rohan looks all dressed up – freshly bathed – smelling good.
“You look good…” I say.
“You look terrible…” he says, “and you are reeking of Rum. In fact – you smell like a bloody distillery…”
“I know – I drank too much Rum last night. Rohan – you please sit down – I’ll quickly have a shower and get ready…” I say.
“Hey – I picked up some hot idlis and coffee for you on the way. Why don’t you have some coffee first to cure your hangover…?” Rohan says – taking out a parcel and a flask from his ubiquitous backpack.
“No – I haven’t even brushed my teeth – just give me a few minutes to freshen up…” I say.
When I come out of my bedroom – I see that Rohan has already laid out the plates with the idlis, sambar, chutney…
“Should I pour the coffee…?” he asks.
“Not now – we’ll have coffee after we eat…” I say.
“Okay…” he says.
“So – what brings you here so early in the morning…?” I ask.
“Nothing – I just felt lonely…” Rohan says.
“Lonely…? Where is Lata…?” I ask.
“She has gone to play golf…” Rohan says.
“Golf…? Here at the club…? Why didn’t you go to play with her…?” I ask.
“No – not here – Lata has gone to play golf at some fancy golf course near Pune…”
“Really…? But you could have gone with her to Pune…”
“She did not want me to come…”
“What…? Lata did not want you to go with her…?”
“Yes – she did not want me to go with her…”
“She feels embarrassed because of me…”
“Embarrassed…? What are you saying…?”
“She is “out of my league” now – so she feels embarrassed that I am her husband…”
“Just shut up – what do you mean she is “out of my league” – you are talking all nonsense…”
“No – it is true – ever since she joined that MNC – my wife is ashamed of my “middle class mentality” – especially in front of her bosses and colleagues…”
“I can’t believe it – “middle class mentality” – what does she mean by that…?
“Well, I don’t know – you better ask her that…”
“Something seems to have happened between you and Lata. Tell me – what happened…?”
“Yesterday afternoon – I came back after a long sailing – I wanted to spend some together at home. But – Lata had to go for this “corporate party” – all the top bosses of her company have come over for a review from abroad. So – I tagged along for the party. I am sure Lata did not want to take me along – but her boss insisted that she get her “Sailor” Husband…”
“So – you enjoyed the party…?”
“Yes – the party was good – excellent booze and delicious food. But I got into an argument with a drunken “Firangi” foreigner who was speaking derogatory things about India. So – Lata got miffed with me – because I was rude to him…”
“Rude…? Argument…? Why…?”
“The snobbish bugger was criticizing everything in India. I listened for some time – but – when he crossed all limits and continued talking ill of us – I gave it back to him nice and proper…”
“What do you mean “good”…? The “Firangi” bugger turned out to be a big shot – he is the “Top Man” in Lata’s MNC – so Lata kept apologizing to him for my behaviour…”
“But – why has Lata gone outstation to play golf…?”
“Well – all the top bosses of her company have come – from Singapore, Hong Kong, America – from all over the world – and when they learnt the Lata played golf – they invited her to come along with them. They are going to play a round of golf – and then all the company bigwigs will spend the evening partying at the golf resort – I think it is more of “corporate networking” than golf…”
“But you could have gone with her – doesn’t Lata come for all our Navy Parties…? It was rude of her boss not to invite you especially when you play golf so well…”
“Her boss did ask me to come along for the golf trip. But – before I could say anything – Lata told him that I was working today…”
“But – why should she do that…?”
“I told you – didn’t I …? Why are you asking me again and again…? Lata feels embarrassed of me in front of her office colleagues – she feels that I lack ‘social graces’ – and she is especially angry after what happened last evening when I gave it back to that ‘firangi’ guy – she is scared I may open my big mouth and say something that may offend her top bosses. So – she has pushed off to enjoy the weekend with them – and left me high and dry. I am feeling terrible…”
“Come on Rohan – cheer up – let Lata play golf with her bosses – we will spend the day together.”
“I never thought Lata would become so ambitious – she has become desperate for success – and the way she is behaving nowadays – it looks like she will do anything to get it – she may even sleep with that bloody ‘firangi’ top boss…”
“No – don’t say that – I know her – Lata is a simple girl…”
“Oh, yes – Lata was a simple small town girl. But – that was before we got married. Now – she has changed – especially after joining this MNC. Now – Lata feels that she has overtaken me in status. She feels that she has gone way ahead of me – and now she is out my league…”
“Out of your league…? Why are you saying this again and again…?”
“Tell me Nisha – you know Lata’s background – what was she before marriage…? Wasn’t she a bloody rustic ignoramus “Plain Jane”…? Whatever she is today – it is all because of me…”
“Well – that is certainly true, Rohan. Yes – Lata was just a nondescript “BA” from an unknown small town college. Yes – you are right, Rohan. Whatever Lata is today – it is all because of you…”
“I was the one who encouraged her to do her MBA…”
“And tell me – had she ever seen an Officers’ Club in her life…? And golf…? Who taught her golf…? Would she ever have got an opportunity to play golf had she not married me…?”
“Lata always wanted to marry an Officer. She was desperate to escape from her conservative hometown and live in modern society – she told me that…”
“And you fixed her up with me…?”
“Lata’s parents asked me if there was a suitable boy I knew – preferably an Officer – and – I told them about you. And then – all of you – you arranged the marriage – you and Lata…”
“When I asked you to marry me – you refused…”
“Well – at that time – I did not feel it was right for me to marry a fellow officer – I thought “in-service marriage” would be like fraternization…”
“Ha Ha – “in-service marriage” – that’s a load of bullshit. And – what bloody “fraternization” are you talking about…? Most of the Female Naval Officers are marrying Male Officers. And – it’s the same in the Army and Air Force too…”
“I know. No civilian wants to marry a “fauji” female – even my own relationship broke up because of this…”
“What…? You were in a relationship…? We are such good friends – but you never told me about this before…”
“It happened much before I met you – even before I joined the Naval Academy…”
“So – who was it…?”
“He was my classmate at IIT. In fact – after B. Tech. – both of us were placed at the same IT company at Pune – and we worked in same Software Development Project. They even sent us abroad to the US for a few months for onsite work – that is when we got close. So – when we came back to India – we started dating each other…”
“So – why didn’t you get married to him…?”
“Because – in a burst of “jingoism” – I decided to join the Navy…”
“You didn’t tell him…?”
“At first he thought I was joking. Then – when the SSB call came – he told me not to go. I told him that I was just going for fun. But when I got selected – I decided to join the Navy…”
“So – what happened…?”
“He was furious – he dumped me…”
“He dumped you – why…?”
“He said that he did not want a “gun-toting” wife – and that having a “fauji” wife did not fit into his life plans. He pleaded with me not to join the Navy – he asked me to continue in the Software Firm – he said that he had plans for both of us – we were being sent to the US again in a few months – and then – we both could easily manage to stay on in America forever…”
“I made the biggest mistake of my life – I quit my lucrative and promising software job – and – I joined the Navy – and – I lost everything…”
“Lost everything…? What do you mean…?”
“On the personal front – my boyfriend dumped me. And – on the career front – I was doomed to teaching Algebra and Geometry to newly recruited Sailors…”
“Algebra and Geometry…? What are you saying…?”
“Well – after finishing the Naval Academy course – the first posting they gave me was to the Sailors’ Basic Training Unit. And – what do Education Officers do anyway…? They teach Sailors – or look after libraries – like I am doing now. Do you know – if had I stayed on as a “Techie” in the IT industry – I would have been working in a top software job in Seattle – happily married and all…”
“Yes – that’s where “He” is right now. Actually – he had discreetly talked to our clients about a job for me too – so that – when both of us went to Seattle for our next onsite assignment – we would quietly switch over jobs after a few months – and remain there in the US…”
“And – suddenly – like an impulsive fool – in a fit of jingoism – I joined the Navy. He was so angry with me – that – after dumping me – he got married to one of our colleagues – it must be on the rebound – but anyway – both of them are doing well out there. And what did I do…? I screwed up my life nice and proper by joining the Navy. Just imagine – I was doing well as a Techie – I had great career prospects – I was going steady with a boy I loved – I had everything going for me – and now – everything is finished – my life – my career – everything…”
“Come on Nisha – don’t say that – things are not that bad. And – you should reduce your drinking. Why do you drink all alone in your cabin – at least you can go and drink in the Wardroom Bar – or in the Club – and make some friends…”
“Friends…? Where can I find friends to drink with in the bar…? All my course-mates are married – and no young bachelor wants to date a 34 year old hag…”
“You are 34…?”
“Yes, Sir – I am 2 years older than you. Remember – you joined straight after graduation. I worked for 3 years after my Engineering – and then – I joined the Navy…”
“It is surprising – we are so close to each other – but you never told me all this about being “dumped” before…”
“Maybe – I never felt so lonely before…”
“Lonely – you are feeling lonely…? That is exactly how I am feeling – lonely. In fact – it was because I was feeling so lonely that I came here to meet you so early in the morning…”
“But why should you feel lonely…? You are married – aren’t you…?”
“What bloody marriage…? Lata is busy with her job – and her obsession to break the “glass ceiling”. And – let me tell you Nisha – in any case – marriage or no marriage – I am certainly going to be very lonely for the next 2-3 years. And – the worst part is that – even you won’t be there with me – to give me company…”
“Why…? What are you saying…?”
“I have got my first command – but the ship is based in Port Blair…”
“Wow – you have got your command so fast – you should be celebrating…”
“I know – but Lata is refusing to come with me to Port Blair…”
“She can take a few years off – a “sabbatical”…” I say.
Rohan starts laughing.
Then – in a sarcastic tone – Rohan says to me:
“Nisha – what are you saying…? Lata taking a “Sabbatical”…? Are you crazy or something…? Aren’t you hearing what I am saying all this time…?”
“Why – what happened…?” I ask him.
“Forget about taking a few years off – Lata has bigger plans – she is planning to relocate to Singapore – she is desperately lobbying for a prized job at the company headquarters there – and I am sure she is going to get what she wants – why do you think all this “golf diplomacy” and “corporate socialising” is going on…?”
“But what about your family life…?”
“What “family life”…? First – she postponed having kids till she completed her MBA. Then – she wanted to wait till she settled down in her career. And now – it looks like she will be off to Singapore – while I languish all alone in Port Blair. I don’t think she is interested in having kids – or in family life – in fact – sometimes – I feel that Lata has no use for me now – she has used me as a stepping stone – and now – she is busy in her career “rat-race” on her way upwards to break the “glass ceiling”…”
“Why don’t you talk to her…?” I say.
“Lata asked me to quit the Navy…”
“She asked you to quit the Navy…?”
Yes – Lata told me that she is quite sure she would get that coveted job in Singapore – and then – she had the audacity to tell me that she would wangle some job in “HR” for me out there in her company in Singapore…”
“So what’s wrong…? At least you two can stay together…”
“But why the hell should I quit the Navy and take up some insignificant nondescript “HR” job and play second-fiddle to her…? I like the Navy – and I have got my ship command so early – I have a bright future here…”
“Yes – at least you have a future in the Navy – but for me – both my personal life and career are “screwed up” nice and proper…” I say.
“Why…? What happened to your career…?” Rohan asks.
“Don’t you know…? My 10 years of Short Service Commission are getting over soon – and then – I will be out of the Navy – left “high and dry” – to fend for myself…”
“You can sign up for 4 years more…”
“And do what…? At least now – I am a 34 year old “hag” – I still have a chance of finding someone to marry me. If I wait for 4 years more – I will become a 38 year old unmarriageable “shrew” – and the way things are going – I may land up becoming “alcohol dependent” as well…”
“Maybe you can find someone in the Navy…?” Rohan says.
“Do you have someone in mind…?” I ask him.
Rohan changes the topic.
“Anyway – let’s talk something better…” Rohan says, “I am leaving for Port Blair on Thursday. Today is the last Sunday we have together – so let us have a good time – you get ready fast – let’s go for the morning show at Eros or Regal – both the movies are good – then we can have lunch wherever you want – and maybe after that we can go to the Races…”
In the evening – when we were walking on Marine Drive – Lata called up Rohan to tell him that she would be coming home only the next morning – as she had to attend a “campfire party” with her company bigwigs at the golf resort.
Lata also told Rohan that she was getting the Singapore job which she desperately wanted.
Lata also told Rohan that she had spoken about his “HR” job in Singapore too.
I looked at Rohan.
Rohan looked disappointed – and he said to me:
“See – I told you – this is the last Sunday before I leave for Port Blair – and – instead of spending some time with me – Lata is busy furthering her career…”
I was astonished at the metamorphosis in Lata.
The way she had transformed herself – from a simple “small-town girl” – into an ambitious “careerist woman” – it was incredible.
Yes – now – as Rohan was saying – Lata was indeed putting her career before her marriage.
Lata is my friend.
I do not want to steal her husband.
But – if Lata wants to throw her husband into my arms – then – there is nothing I can do about it.
Yes – I do not intend to be a “husband snatcher”.
But – if Lata wants to abandon her husband Rohan and drive him into into my arms – then – I am quite willing to take Rohan in my arms and keep him there.
Rohan and Me – we were already good friends.
Why not “strike while the iron is hot” – and “upgrade” our relationship…?
Yes – why not take our relationhip to the next level…?
From just “good friends” – maybe – we could now become “friends with benefits”.
And then – hopefully – our relationship would develop into something more intense.
Next morning – the moment I reach office – I tell my boss that I want to extend my Short Service Commission from 10 years to 14 years – and I am ready to sign up for four more years.
“That’s good…” the Commodore says, “but you have already spent 3 years here in Mumbai – and if you sign up for an extension – you may have to go on a transfer.”
“Sir – is it possible to get a choice transfer…?” I ask.
“I know the DOP – I’ll speak to him and try to get you a choice transfer – tell me – where do you want to go…?” the Commodore says.
“Port Blair…” I say.
“What…? Port Blair…? Are you sure…?” the Commodore asks, looking surprised.
“Yes, Sir – I want to go to Port Blair…” I say.
“Well – Port Blair shouldn’t be a problem at all – consider it done – I am so happy that lady officers like you are volunteering for tough stations like Port Blair…” the Commodore says – and he picks up the phone to make a call.
One month later – I am on my way to Port Blair.
Of course – I have already called up Rohan and told him to receive me at the airport.
By the way – Rohan’s wife Lata – she has got that coveted job in Singapore – and she will be heading to Singapore soon.
Believe it or not – when I met Lata to tell her that I had been transferred to Port Blair – do you know what she said to me…?
Lata told me to “look after” her husband Rohan.
Oh yes – I am certainly going to “look after” Rohan very well…!!!
You can take my word for it.
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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.
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)
Link to my source blog post in my Writing Blog: https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/02/07/the-other-woman-a-love-story/
This is a revised version of my story titled A HUSBAND – A WIFE – AND THE “OTHER WOMAN” was written by me Vikram Karve on March 9, 2015, and posted by me online at at 3/09/2015 06:14:00 PM in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog a number of times at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/a-husband-wife-and-other-woman.html
and also a number of times in my various creative writing blogs including at url: https://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/08/sunday-fiction-other-woman.html
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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