A Curious Relationship

Vikram Karve
9 min readApr 6, 2024






This story happened many years ago — in the 1970’s




Everyone advised Smita to divorce her alcoholic husband Avinash.

But — Smita did not divorce him.

Alcoholism is a mystery.

It’s probably got something to do with genetics — genetic predisposition.

All of us used to drink — but — only Smita’s husband Avinash became an alcoholic.


We were all school classmates.

After school — I joined the merchant navy as a deck cadet — but everyone else joined the same college.

They would meet every day — and — I would meet them every evening in our favourite café — whenever I would come ashore on leave from sea.


Then — after college — everyone got a job — and — I had meanwhile become a second officer on a tanker.

They continued to meet every evening after work in the same café — and — I continued to meet them whenever I came to Pune on leave from sea.


Once — when I came home on leave — they told me that Smita and Avinash had decided to get married.

Curiously — Smita and Avinash were not present for the customary evening friends’ get-together.


It happens — in a group of friends — when two decide to get married — they start disengaging themselves from the group — or at least — they reduce the extent of interaction.

So — though Smita and Avinash did not disengage from our group totally — their presence became less frequent — say — once a week or so — and once they got married — their presence at our favourite café became even less frequent — but — they did call us home for dinner once in a while — especially when I came to Pune on leave from sea.


As I said earlier — alcoholism is a mystery.

And — though we noticed that Avinash was drinking more than usual — we never imagined that he would become an alcoholic.


People give all sorts of theories about alcoholism — about why people become alcoholics.

There is a perception that people drown their sorrows in alcohol — that people drink to drown their sorrows.

Some say — people take solace in alcohol due to setbacks in life — due to personal tragedies — or due to problems at work or in personal relationships.

All these theories are not true.

Many people have huge problems — they suffer great tragedies — but they don’t become alcoholics.

On the contrary — some people who have everything in life — they become alcoholics.


Take the case of Avinash.

Avinash had everything going for him — successful career, loving wife, a house in the most posh locality of Pune, plenty of money, all the material comforts that one can want — but still — Avinash became an alcoholic.

Yes — he didn’t have children.

But — that is no reason to drown yourself in alcohol and become an alcoholic.

Do all people who don’t have children become alcoholics…?

There is no reason or logic for alcoholism.

Like I said earlier — maybe it is genetic.

Or — maybe — it is destiny.

Avinash was destined to become an alcoholic.

Sadly — you cannot predict destiny — otherwise — had Smita known that Avinash would become an alcoholic — maybe — she wouldn’t have married him — and she would have married me instead.

Anyway — Avinash was destined to become an alcoholic — and he had become an alcoholic.

And — Smita was destined to become the wife of an alcoholic.


Can’t destiny be changed…?

Couldn’t Avinash cure himself of his alcoholism — and change his destiny…?

If that didn’t happen — surely — Smita could leave him and change her destiny.

But — she wouldn’t do that — and she continued to suffer — as her husband Avinash sunk deeper and deeper into the abyss of alcoholism every passing day.


Everyone advised Smita to divorce her alcoholic husband Avinash.

But — Smita would not divorce him.


We tried our best to convince Smita that it was best for her to leave her drunkard husband.

All of us tried to persuade her.

“You have a good job — you are financially independent — why are you suffering — you should leave him…” we said to her.

“No…” Smita said, “I can’t leave him…”

And so — despite our advice — Smita refused to divorce her husband.




As I told you — those days — I was sailing — in the merchant navy — and — I would come home on leave after a few months at sea — and — every time — I would hear that Avinash’s alcoholism was becoming worse and worse.

He had lost his job because of his alcoholism — and now — he was surviving on Smita’s money.

Smita tried everything — all cures — counselling — rehab — medical and psychiatric treatments — but nothing worked — and it seemed that Avinash would finally die because of alcoholism.

After 20 years at sea — I was offered the job of superintendent at our shipping company’s headquarters in Norway — and — I decided to give it a try. I could always return to sea if I didn’t like the shore job.

This time — I was going to be away for a long time — at least one year — maybe two — so — my friends decided to give me a farewell party.

Smita came alone. She had come straight from office. She looked terrible — haggard — as if she had recovered from an illness — all her beauty faded away.

“I dread going home…” Smita said.

“Why…?” I asked her.

“Avinash has started drinking country liquor. He goes to the country liquor shop and drinks with all sorts of unsavoury drunkards. Sometimes — when I reach home — he is lying drunk outside the door — dumped there by someone…” Smita said — with despair in her voice.

“You must do something — send him to rehab — to a deaddiction centre…” I said to her.

“I have tried everything — nothing worked — so now — I have resigned to fate…” she said — looking despondent.

“Then — you must leave him — divorce Avinash — start a new life…” I said to Smita.

“Start a new life…? What do you mean…? Do you want me to divorce Avinash and marry you…?” she said angrily.


I was taken aback by her words.

“I am sorry if I hurt you — I didn’t mean that…” I mumbled.

“Then what did you mean…? I know you wanted to marry me. I know that you were disappointed that I chose to marry Avinash instead of you…” she said — disdainfully.

“Please Smita — don’t say such things…” I said — contrite.

“Ha. Ha. — “Don’t say such things” — …” she repeated my words and mocked me.


And then — Smita spoke to me in a sarcastic tone:

“So — you are pleased aren’t you…?

You must be so happy to see me suffering.

I may have made the “wrong choice” — marrying Avinash instead of you — but — I don’t regret it.

And — I am not going to divorce him — I will stay with him and “suffer” — you enjoy your life and don’t worry about me…”


Smita said these words derisively — and looked at me with contempt in her eyes.


Her vicious and sarcastic suggestion — that I might be happy at her misfortune — it hurt me more than anything else.

I didn’t say anything.


“Goodbye…” she said to me, “all the best in your new job…”


And then — Smita walked away and went home to her drunkard husband Avinash.


A few days later — I flew to Norway to take my new job.




When everyone had given up hope — a miracle happened — Avinash was cured of his alcoholism.

A de-addiction treatment had finally worked — and — Avinash was cured of his alcohol addiction.

My friends wrote to me that Avinash had given up alcohol and become totally sober — and — he had got a good job in Singapore — and — Smita and Avinash had relocated there.


(Dear Reader — remember — this story happened many years ago — in the 1970’s — much before the advent of the internet — and writing letters was the common mode of communication — as — even international calls were very expensive — and unreliable too…)


When I went home on leave after two years — my friends told me that they were not in touch with Avinash and Smita — who probably wanted to move on — cut-off from old friends — and be aloof — and lead their new lives forgetting the past.

While flying back to Norway — I was in transit at Paris Airport — when I suddenly ran into Smita.

I don’t know who was more surprised — she or me.

“Oh — it is so good to see you after so many years — what a delightful surprise — what are you doing here…?” Smita said.

“I am on my way back to Norway. Mumbai — Paris and Paris — Oslo…” I said to Smita, “and you — where are you going…?”

“I am on a Europe Tour — finished Europe — flying to Istanbul — a bit of touring there — and back home to Singapore — I am with a group tour…” she said to me.

I looked at her — she looked good — and happy — much better than when I had seen her last.

The joy and relief of her husband Avinash’s recovery from alcoholism was visible on her face.

“Where is Avinash…?” I asked her.

“He is not here…” she said.

“Oh. He didn’t come on the tour…?” I asked her.

“No…” she said.

“I heard he is absolutely okay now…” I said.

“Yes — he is absolutely fine now — he has given up alcohol totally…” she said.

“That’s great — so you are the perfect “made-for-each-other” couple now — just like when you got married…” I said to Smita.

“Well — we are not a couple any more — I divorced him…” she said.

I was stunned to hear this.

“What…? You divorced Avinash…?” I asked Smita — with surprise in my voice.

“Yes — I divorced him…” she said, matter-of-factly.


It was unbelievable.



When her husband was an alcoholic — a terrible obnoxious man — she looked after him.



When her husband was cured of his alcoholism — and he became a good man — she divorced him.


I was curious to know the reason for Smita’s strange behaviour.

“But why did you divorce Avinash…? You said that he is absolutely okay — that he is totally cured of his alcoholism — didn’t you…?” I asked her.

“Yes — he is absolutely okay now — in fact — he is doing very well…” she said.

“Then why did you divorce him…?” I asked her.

“He doesn’t need me any longer…” she said, nonchalantly.

I was taken aback by her answer.

“I don’t understand what are you saying…” I said, confused.


Smita looked at me and smiled.

Then — she said to me:

“Earlier — he needed me to take care of him.

Now — he can take care of himself.

He doesn’t need me anymore…”


After saying these words — she gave me a nice smile.


I remained silent — trying to comprehend her logic


Smita looked at me with a gesture of good-bye in her eyes.

“It’s time for my flight — I must go now. It was nice meeting you. Good Bye — have a safe journey…” Smita said to me.


And then — Smita walked away towards the departure lounge.



Copyright © Vikram Karve
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  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, 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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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 original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2021/01/a-curious-story.html

Also posted in my writing blog at url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/01/13/short-fiction-a-curious-story/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/04/08/a-curious-love-story/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/12/26/short-fiction-a-curious-love-story/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/04/30/a-curious-love-story-2/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/08/22/a-queer-love-story/ 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