21 Days

Vikram Karve
11 min readNov 15, 2023




Story from My Curzon Road Apartments Days




This story happened 41 years ago in the year 1982

So — Dear Reader — please transport yourself 41 years back in time to the early 1980’s — when many of the things you take for granted today did not exist.

For example — things like mobile phones, internet, social media, online banking, online shopping etc. — these things did not exist in 1982


Curzon Road Apartments, New Delhi

Circa 1982


It was exactly 7 PM in the evening.

As per my daily routine — I was about to pour my first drink of “Rum Pani” (Rum and Water).

The doorbell rang.

I put the Rum bottle on the table — wondering who the visitor was — feeling irritated at the timing of the visitor who had interrupted the start of my evening drinking session.

I walked to the door — and opened it.

It was Nisha — my wife’s best friend — and our next-door neighbor too.

She smiled at me.

I smiled back.

“My wife has gone to Pune to her mother’s place…” I said to her.

“I know — I have come to meet you…” Nisha said to me.

“Me…?” I said, surprised.

“Yes — can you please take me to Bengali Market — it’s getting dark — and I am scared to walk all the way…” she said, with a beseeching look in her eyes.

“Okay…” I said to her.

I went inside — got my bike keys and helmet — and soon — we were on our way to Bengali Market on my Yezdi motorcycle — with Nisha sitting on the pillion seat — holding me tight.

After she had bought what she wanted — Nisha smiled at me.

“Let’s eat some Gol Gappa and Chaat…” she said to me.

“Gol Gappa and Chaat…? Now…? It’s almost 8 o’clock…” I said, looking at my watch.

“So what…? It will be sacrilege to come to Bengali Market and not eat Gol Gappa — you guys call it Pani Puri — isn’t it…? Don’t you want to eat the best Pani Puri in the world…?” she said, with an imploring look.

So — we — Nisha and I — we ate some zesty Gol Gappa and lip-smacking Chaat — and then — we ate some delicious sweets — hot juicy syrupy Gulab Jamun too.

Nisha was a foodie — and — so was I — and — I really enjoyed the evening with her in Bengali Market.


Next evening — when I came back from work — I saw Nisha standing outside my door — all dressed up — wearing red lipstick and blush on her cheeks — looking “Tip Top”.

She seemed happy to see me.

“Come on — hurry up and change — we are going for a movie — it’s already 5:45 and the movie starts at 6:30 — and I don’t want to be late…” Nisha said to me.

I was nonplussed.

“Which movie…? Where…?” I asked her.

“An Officer and a Gentleman — at Plaza — I got the tickets in the morning when I gone to CP for some work…” she said to me, “you wanted to see the movie — didn’t you…?”

“Yes — Yes — but in such a hurry…?” I was saying — when she interrupted me.

“Stop arguing and get ready quickly — there will be lots of evening traffic now — we’ll take half-an-hour to reach…” she said to me — in an assertive tone.

We enjoyed the movie.

Then — we relished Pizza at Nirulas — the best Pizza in Delhi.

Nisha knew I loved Pizza — so — she took me to Nirulas after the movie.

Then — I took her on my bike to India Gate — where we picked up sticks of Choco Bar Ice Cream — and then — we walked on the beautiful lawns enjoying the Ice Cream and talking to each other.

By the time we returned to our homes in Curzon Road Apartments — it was almost midnight.

“I really enjoyed the evening…” I said to her.

“Yes — such a nice movie — and delicious pizza too — and — yummy Choco Bar…” she said to me.

“Thank you for getting the movie tickets…” I said to her.

“It’s okay — I enjoyed watching the movie with you — we’ll go for some more movies…” she said.

“Yes…” I said, “I had enjoyed watching the movie with her too…”

“Do you like plays — theatre…?” she asked me.

“Of course — in Pune and Mumbai — I loved watching plays — but there doesn’t seem to be much of a theatre scene over here — except those experimental plays which I don’t like…” I said to her.

“I’ll check if there is some good play at Kamani sometime soon…” she said.

“Okay…” I said to her.

We wished each other “Good Night” and went to our respective flats.


Next evening — the moment I came home from work — once again — like the previous evening — I saw Nisha waiting for me.

“You are in luck — I checked up and found that A Streetcar Named Desire” is being staged at Kamani this evening…” she said to me, with a happy smile.

“Oh — that’s a lovely play…” I said, “I saw it in NCPA last year…”

“Want to see it once again…?” she asked me.

“I don’t mind…” I said to her.

“So — let’s go…” she said, “you get ready fast — and I’ll get ready too…”

“You’ve got tickets…?” I asked her, in amazement.

“Complimentary “VIP” Passes await us…” Nisha said with a smug expression, “and an invitation for dinner with the cast after the play…”

“Wow…” I said to her, “you are really resourceful…”

She smiled at me.

“Wear something formal — we’ll be sitting in the first row — and the dinner will be a classy affair…” she said, “the play starts at 7 — so — we must leave latest by 6:30 — maybe a bit earlier…”

I wore a lounge suit — Nisha wore a Saree — having seen her in casual dresses till now — I marveled at how resplendent she looked in a Saree.

We left Curzon Road Apartments at 6:30 PM on my motorcycle — Kamani Auditorium was nearby on Copernicus Road — we reached at 6:40 AM — well in time for the play.

It was a splendid evening — the play — and the highfalutin dinner — with the beautiful Nisha as my companion.

Someone complimented us — “you are such a handsome couple” — and we smiled to ourselves.

It was a most memorable evening — we had a marvelous time together — and — when I thanked Nisha before wishing her “good night” — she said to me: “Come on — don’t say “Thank You” — there is no “Thank You” between friends…”


Next evening — when I returned from work — I wondered what surprise Nisha had in store for me — so — I was surprised when I didn’t see her waiting for me — and a bit disappointed too.

I decided to see what she was doing — but I saw that her door was locked from outside — she had gone out somewhere.

I made a cup of tea for myself — showered — and was wondering if I should go for a walk — when the doorbell rang.

It was Nisha.

“Sorry — I’m late…” she said — as if it was her duty to welcome me when I returned from work.

“It’s okay…” I said to her.

“I was getting some documents ready — it took a long time…” she said.

“Oh — come inside — would you like a cup of tea…?” I asked her.

“No. No. I’ve to go for some work — the office closes at 6:30 — I have to submit these documents there — can you give me a lift…” she asked me.

“Of course…” I said to her, “where do we have to go…?”

“Not very far — the office is near CP…” she said.

“Let’s go…” I said to her, “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes…”

I took her on my bike to the office — it was a law firm.

While she went inside — I sat in the waiting room.

Nisha came out smiling at around 6:15 PM.

“Thank you — the job is done…” Nisha said to me.

“Shall we go home…?” I asked her — as we walked out of the office.

“What’s the point going home and getting bored…? Let’s loaf around CP…” she said to me.

And so — we loafed around CP — such a pleasant walk — followed by delicious Butter Chicken and Naan at the famous Dhaba on the outer circle.

“Take me for a spin on your bike…” Nisha said to me — after dinner — and we drove around the city — she told me where to go — and I drove on those roads — she asked me to stop at a place in Old Delhi — we had “pan” at her favourite pan shop — and by the time we returned to our homes in Curzon Road Apartments it was almost midnight.


Nisha was a delightful girl — fun-loving, bubbly and vivacious — so full of life — and — I really enjoyed her company.

For me — the next few days passed in a haze of delight — every evening we went out somewhere exciting — movies, shopping, eating out — or just loafing or driving around — and on the weekends — she took me to an Expo exhibition at Pragati Maidan — the Rail Museum — and — believe it or not — she even took me to see the Zoo.

I had a lovely time with Nisha — easily the most enjoyable days of my life.


And then — my wife returned — back from her mother’s place.

She had been away for 3 weeks — exactly 21 days.


Nisha was there to welcome my wife when I brought her from the airport in the evening.

“This evening — I am taking you to the club…” Nisha said to my wife.

“That will be great…” I exclaimed — with gusto.

My wife didn’t seem very enthusiastic — she wanted to relax at home.

But — Nisha convinced her.

“Come on — be a sport — you are my best friend — I missed you so much — I was eagerly waiting for you to come back — we must celebrate your arrival…” Nisha said to my wife.


In the evening — we sat on the lovely green lawns of the club.

The waiter arrived to take our orders for drinks.

“Fresh Lime Soda…” Nisha said.

“I’ll have a Fresh Lime Soda too…” my wife said.

“Me too — I’ll have the same — Fresh Lime Soda…” I said to the waiter.

The waiter raised his eyebrow and looked at me curiously.

“Are you sure, Sir…? Won’t you be having your usual large peg of Rum…?” the waiter asked me.

“No — I’ll have Fresh Lime Soda…” I said to the waiter.

After the waiter had gone to fetch our orders — my wife looked closely at me.

“Having a soft drink today…? I hope you are feeling okay…” she said — with a disbelieving look.

“Yes — Yes — I am absolutely fine…” I said to my wife.

I noticed that Nisha was smiling at me like a Cheshire Cat.


My wife got up from her chair.

“You two talk…” my wife said, “I’ll go to the STD Booth and make a call to my father and tell him that I have reached safely…”

My wife walked away towards the STD Booth.

Nisha looked at me.

She gave me a warm smile.

“I am so happy to see that you are having a soft drink…” Nisha said.

“I don’t know why — but — I don’t feel like drinking rum…” I said to her.

“That’s great — my experiment has worked…!” she said.

“Experiment…?” I asked her, curious.

“Your wife told me that you drank rum every evening and she was fed up with your excessive drinking — she was extremely worried about your addiction to alcohol…” Nisha said, “so — I decided to do something about it…”

“You decided to do something about my drinking…?” I said, flabbergasted.

“Yes — your wife is my best friend — she told me that her biggest worry was your drinking habit — and it was the main source of unhappiness in her marriage — so — I decided to help her out…” Nisha said.

I looked at her, confused.

Nisha continued speaking.

“I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to break a habit — so — I decided to try it on you — and — I succeeded — I made sure that you didn’t drink for 21 days — and now — after 21 days of abstinence from alcohol — it seems you have overcome your alcohol addiction…” Nisha said to me.

“Is it so easy — just 21 days to break a habit…?” I asked her, curious.

“That’s the first step…” she said, “once you ensure his abstinence from addiction — curing an addict is the easiest thing in the world. To reduce his craving for his addiction — all you have to do is find something that will interest him more than the thing he is addicted to. For example — you seemed to take more interest in me than in alcohol…”

“Interest in you…?” I exclaimed, taken aback.

“I mean — you found spending time with me more interesting than sitting at home and drinking alcohol…” she said.

“That’s true — I really enjoyed your company…” I said to Nisha.

“I know — I became a substitute for alcohol in your life — and now — you have overcome your alcohol addiction…” she said, with a proud smile.

“Thank you so much, Nisha…” I said to her.

“You are most welcome…” she said, “I did it for my best friend — and I am so happy that I succeeded in breaking your habit of drinking every day…”

“You said it takes 21 days to break a habit…?” I said to Nisha.

“Yes — and I have proved it too…” she said, confidently.

“Maybe — it takes 21 days to form a new habit too…” I said to her.

“What do you mean…?” Nisha asked me.

“Now — after 21 days of abstinence from alcohol — I may be de-addicted from alcohol — but — I have got addicted to you…” I said to Nisha — looking lovingly into her eyes.



Copyright © Vikram Karve
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  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories 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.
  3. E&OE

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my source post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2022/07/short-fiction-21-days.html

This story was also posted by me in my writing blog at URL: https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/07/20/21-days/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2023/02/17/21-days-romance/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2023/07/18/21-days-story-from-my-curzon-road-apartments-days/ etc.

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.




Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, alumnus IIT Delhi, Lawrence School Lovedale, Vikram Karve is a retired Navy Officer turned full time Writer and Blogger