12 September : a romance
Seven Pages from the Diary of My Life
My Very Own Love Story By Vikram Karve
12 September 1977
Shivalik Hostel — IIT Delhi
VIJAY and ME
It is our 21st Birthday.
Yes — we are both 21 years old today.
Vijay and Me were born on the same day.
Our hostel-mates brought a specially ordered birthday cake all the way from Connaught Place (CP) from the famous Wenger’s Bakery for Vijay and me — and we celebrated our birthday in our hostel canteen at tea time.
We have been celebrating our birthday together for the last 12 years — for 7 years in our boarding school at Lovedale near Ooty.
And then for 5 years here at IIT Delhi.
But — this is a special occasion for two reasons.
We are 21 years old.
And — this may be our last birthday together.
Who knows where we will be next year — after we finish our B. Tech. engineering course — and each of us go our own ways pursuing our own careers in the journey of our lives.
To celebrate this special occasion we decide to booze — for the first time in our lives.
So — we get a bottle of Whisky from the booze shop in Green Park.
And we get lots of Tandoori Chicken and Kebabs from the Essex Farms shop in Hauz Khas.
Then we sit on the terrace and drink and talk — reminisce about our childhood and the good times we had together.
By the time we kill the bottle of whisky — we are gloriously drunk.
In that glorious drunken state we make a promise to each other — Vijay and Me — we promise each other — that we will meet every year on the 12th of September to celebrate our birthdays together.
12 September 1978
VIJAY and ME
As promised — we meet on our birthday.
This is our first birthday after we passed out with our “B. Tech.” degrees.
Vijay comes down from Ahmedabad — where he is studying Management at the elite “IIM-A”.
I pick him up from the railway station — and I drive him down on my scooter to my room in the trainee hostel.
In the morning I show him my workplace — my impressive factory — and then my boss gives me the day off to celebrate my birthday.
We scooter down to heart of town — and we spend a few hours loafing, window-shopping and ogling at the PYTs strolling on Brigade Road and MG Road.
Later — after a few beers — we enjoy a “Cabaret” (our first) at a restaurant called “Three Aces”.
Emboldened by “Dutch Courage” fuelled by the alcohol in our veins — we want to do something more “adventurous”.
But — the moment I see those “sexy females” — I chicken out.
I do not want to admit that I am feeling scared.
So — I say that I am experiencing “pangs of conscience” in doing such “sinful” things.
Vijay instantly agrees.
He looks relieved.
I think — that like me — Vijay too is feeling anxious — and is “shit scared” about the whole sordid thing.
We beat a hasty retreat.
And so — we end our 22nd Birthday with our virtue unspoiled — and our virginity intact.
12 September 1982
VIJAY USHA and ME
I really like Usha — Vijay’s brand new wife.
Usha is a plump, graceful girl with a very pretty face.
She has a sincere, friendly smile which radiates a charming innocence.
They were married just a month ago — and I could not attend their wedding as I was sent abroad for more than 3 years for advanced training and on-the-job work experience.
That is why I am so happy that I could keep our 12th September birthday date after a gap of four years.
(We met last on 12 September 1978 in Bangalore — remember…!)
They say that when a woman finds her way into a group of men friends — especially two close friends like Vijay and me — the friendship among men sometimes disintegrates.
But after meeting Usha — I know that is not going to happen.
Usha is a “back-home-type” small town girl.
She has a certain innocent charm about her.
Usha welcomes me into her home with honest warmth and genuine affection — and I instantly know that we are going to get along very well — and the bonds of my friendship with Vijay are going to be strengthened.
“How come you landed up in Vizag?” I ask Vijay.
“You have to prove yourself in the field before they take you to the company headquarters in Mumbai,” Vijay says.
Vijay has specialized in Marketing at IIM and has landed up a lucrative job at a famous FMCG company and he has been given the most challenging assignment.
Vijay cribs about Vizag being quite a boring place.
But his wife Usha says, “I wish we stay here. I love Visakhapatnam. It is such a nice place, the people are so good here and we are very happy here. I don’t want to go to big city like Mumbai.”
Vijay has taken the day off so we drive down the East Coast Road to Rishikonda Beach and swim in the sea.
Vijay keeps calling Usha to join us in the water for a swim but she seems quite shy.
Usha sits on the beach in her sari — and she watches Vijay and Me enjoy ourselves frolicking in the cool blue water of the Bay of Bengal.
In the evening — Vijay and Me — we sip chilled beer on the lush green lawns of the Waltair Club.
We both want Usha to come with us to the club, but Usha remains at home.
Usha tells us to enjoy ourselves but she insists that we come home for dinner as she will be cooking something special for the occasion.
Vijay starts talking about his newly wedded wife, “Sorry about Usha, yaar — she is quite a prudish type. Usha likes to remain home most of the time. She just does not want to go out anywhere. You saw how shy she was at the beach.”
“Hey — don’t say that. Usha is the best thing that happened to you. You are lucky to get such a good wife…” I say.
When we get home — I am impressed by the awesome way in which Usha has decorated the house for our birthday.
Usha has baked a birthday cake for both of us.
We cut the freshly baked birthday cake — and then — all of us enjoy a sumptuous dinner.
For both of us, –Vijay and Me — it was a memorable birthday indeed.
Early next morning — I say goodbye.
We promise to meet next year.
And then — I catch the morning flight out of Vizag.
12 September 1984
VIJAY USHA NISHA and ME
Well — I couldn’t make it last year — on the 12th of September 1983 — as I was again sent abroad on a project — so we meet after a gap of 2 years.
Vijay has moved up the ladder pretty fast.
Just recently — he has been posted to the Head Office of his FMCG Company.
That is the beauty of being an IIM graduate — you move up very fast.
I wish that — like Vijay — I too had had taken the IIM route — to a white-collar job in the corporate sector.
Instead — I decided to be a hard-core engineer — where you have to slog it out in the field — especially if you land up in “projects”.
I sit with Vijay’s wife Usha sipping tea in the balcony of their 3rd floor sea facing company flat on Marine Drive in Mumbai.
We watch the sunset — it is a spectacular sight — the interplay of colours in the sky and the sun is being swallowed by the placid blue waters of the Arabian Sea.
After the sun sets — the lights on the Queen’s Necklace come on — it looks fascinating.
The phone rings — and Usha goes inside to pick it up.
“You have a shower and get ready…” Usha says, “I’ll get ready too. Vijay said he will be here in half an hour — and we will go straightaway to the club.”
“Club…? Why club…? Let’s sit at home. You cook something simple. We’ll just sit and chat…” I say.
“Vijay said we’ll all go to the club…” Usha says with finality.
When Vijay arrives — there is a woman with him.
She looks beautiful, chic and very elegant.
Vijay introduces us to each other.
The woman’s name is Nisha — and she is Vijay’s colleague in his office.
Nisha has an MBA in finance.
She was working abroad for some years.
Recently — Nisha has joined Vijay’s company as Finance Manager.
Vijay introduces Nisha as his office colleague.
But my sixth sense tells me that this woman Nisha is much more than a mere colleague.
Nisha goes in to freshen up.
“I hope you don’t mind if Nisha comes with us…” Vijay says to me.
“Of course I do mind if she comes with us…” I say, “we don’t want “outsiders” in our get-together — do we…?”
“Let her come…” Usha pleads with me, “Poor thing. Nisha has just come back to India after getting out of a bad marriage. She has no one else in Mumbai — and Vijay is helping her settle down.”
“She’ll be good company…” Vijay says.
“I hope you are not trying to set me up with Nisha…?” I ask, tongue-in-cheek.
We start laughing — but suddenly Nisha comes in.
We drive to the club.
Usha sits beside Vijay in front.
Nisha sits with me in the rear of Vijay’s new Maruti 800 car.
(Way back in 1984 — a Maruti Car was a prized possession — and Vijay is one of the lucky guys to get a much sought after Maruti Car from the first lot…)
The smallness of the car creates a forced intimacy between Nisha and me.
Nisha sits close to me — the aroma of her perfume is enticing — our bodies touch — and I feel aroused by her tantalizing sensuousness.
Nisha is indeed a very alluring woman.
We sit by the sea — watching lights of ships at a distance in the darkness — and we enjoy our drinks in a most pleasant ambience.
We — Vijay and Me — we drink Scotch Whisky.
Nisha gets high on Martini — while Usha has fruit juice.
It is a lovely evening.
On the way back — we drop Nisha at a working women’s hostel in Colaba — her temporary home till she finds a good apartment.
“Poor thing — it must be tough for Nisha to live in a hostel. Vijay — you must find her a good apartment quickly…” Usha says to her husband Vijay — as we drive towards Marine Drive.
“I am trying to get Nisha a flat near our office in Churchgate…” Vijay says.
We drive down to Chowpatty — and walk on the sands by the sea — eating ice cream — a delightful end to a pleasurable evening.
12 September 1987
VIJAY NISHA and ME
Last time — 3 years ago — it was Vijay, Usha, Nisha and Me — four of us together.
Now — Usha is missing — and — it is Vijay, Nisha and Me.
Yes — Usha has gone — and in her place — there is Nisha.
Vijay divorced Usha and married Nisha.
Then both of them — Nisha and Vijay — they relocated abroad to America.
Now — they both work in New York.
And me — after slogging for many years in the field — I have finally been posted to our Delhi office.
It is great to be back in Delhi — after so many years.
We spend a nostalgic day visiting all our haunts in IIT Delhi — our hostel rooms, the canteens, the classrooms — walk round the campus.
Then — we spend the evening in my bungalow in Saket — drinking late into the night.
Later — when we are alone — Vijay says to me:
“I have looked after Usha well. I have bought her a luxurious 3 BHK flat in Pune — and I have given her plenty of money. Yes — I have given her so much money that she can live well …”
“Hey Vijay — why are you telling me all this…? It is your personal matter. Are you feeling guilty…? Don’t feel guilty — just forget it — whatever happened, has happened — and it is past history now. So — don’t feel sorry. Come on — it is well past midnight. You have a flight to catch tomorrow. Let’s go to sleep…” I say to him.
And then — we go to sleep.
12 September 1989
USHA and ME
“Are you sure Vijay is not coming…?” Usha, my wife, asks me.
Yes — Dear Reader:
Vijay’s ex-wife Usha — and I — we got married in 1988
I look at my wife Usha and say to her:
“No. He is not coming. I rang up Vijay twice today — but he is making all sorts of excuses.”
“Last year — Vijay was abroad on the 12th of September — but this time — he is in Mumbai on work — and he can surely make it — it’s just a 3 hour drive to Pune…” Usha says.
“Well — Usha — I really don’t know. Maybe — Vijay has got a guilty conscience for ditching you. Maybe — he can’t bear to see us together. Or maybe — Nisha has told him not to come…” I say.
“Okay — let’s celebrate your birthday — just you and me…” Usha says — and we go out for dinner.
12 September 2012
Khadakwasla near Pune
USHA ME and VIJAY
I sit with Vijay on the lawns of my farmhouse — and we sip our sundowners — as we watch the sun set behind the hills across the lake.
We meet after a gap of 25 years.
The last time Vijay and I got together was on 12 September 1987 — in New Delhi — when Vijay had come with his new wife Nisha — after divorcing Usha.
Like me — I am sure he is thinking about the twists and turns in the journey of our lives.
I think of all the birthdays — the 12th of September — we have spent together.
It is like a merry-go-round of relationships.
First — it was VIJAY and ME.
Then — it was VIJAY USHA and ME.
After that — it was VIJAY USHA NISHA and ME.
Later — it was VIJAY NISHA and ME.
Even later — it was USHA and ME.
Now — it is USHA ME and VIJAY.
Yes, Dear Reader — you guessed right.
Nisha divorced Vijay — and now — Vijay is all alone.
Next morning — I drop Vijay to the Mumbai Airport — and he catches the flight back home to America.
12 September 2013
USHA ME and VIJAY …?
I hope Vijay will come.
But — I know he will not come.
I could see it in his eyes last time.
Maybe — Vijay will never come.
Probably — Vijay and I will never meet again.
So — maybe this birthday — the 12th of September 2013 — and all my future birthdays — all the 12th’s of September — I will have to celebrate with my “much married wife” Usha.
Of course — it was thanks to Vijay — that I first met Usha — in Vizag — many years ago — on 12 September 1982 — when she was newly married to Vijay.
But — on every 12th of September — I will always wait for Vijay — who was born on the same day as I was born — on the exact date and year — as if he were my twin brother.
Vijay did not come on the 12th of September 2013.
He did not come the next year too — on September 12, 2014.
He did not come the next year too — on September 12, 2015.
And — Vijay did not come on September 12, 2016.
He did not turn up on September 12, 2017 too.
And he did not come on September 12, 2018.
Vijay did not come on September 12, 2019 too.
He did not come on September 12, 2020 too.
Like always — I waited for Vijay to come on the 12th of September 2021.
But — Vijay did not come.
Tell me — Dear Reader:
Do you think Vijay will come on my next birthday on the 12th of September 2022…?
I will wait for him tomorrow — the 12th of September 2022 — as I always do every year on the 12th of September.
Will he come…?
Will Vijay ever come to meet me…?
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.
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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)
Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/09/7-birthdays-september-12.html
I wrote this story 9 years ago in September 2013 and this story was first posted online by me Vikram Karve on 12 September 2013 in my blog at 9/12/2013 02:16:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/09/september-12.html and later re-posted at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/05/my-love-story-7-pages-from-diary-of-my.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/my-love-story-vignettes-from-diary-of.htmland http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/09/12-september-my-birthday-story.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/12-september-7-pages-from-diary-of-my.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/my-very-own-love-story-september-12.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/05/seven-pages-from-diary-of-my-life.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/09/08/come-september/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/08/25/come-september-a-love-story/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/05/29/come-september-2/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/09/11/12-september/ etc
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.