Parting Gift : short fiction story
Story by Vikram Karve
My fiction short story “Parting Gift” was made into a Movie — a film called “Ek Tohfa”
From my Creative Writing Archives:
Long back, around 25 years ago — I wrote a short story called PARTING GIFT.
PARTING GIFT is the first story in COCKTAIL — my book of short stories about relationships.
My story PARTING GIFT has been made into a short fiction film (“Ek Tohfa”) by Gauri Warudi — an award winning film maker.
EK TOHFA was selected in the Official Selection at the 9th CENFLO (Central Florida Film Festival) held in Aug 2014.
“Ek Tohfa” has won accolades at various film festivals.
Dear Reader — I am posting my story PARTING GIFT — once more — duly edited for easy reading on the digital screen — for you to read.
STORY BY VIKRAM KARVE
“She can take the flat — but I want custody of my son…” the man says emphatically to the marriage counsellor in the family court.
“No way…” shouts the woman, “he can keep his flat, his money, everything. I don’t want anything from him. I just want my son.”
The marriage counselor looks at the eight-year-old boy Aditya and asks him lovingly:
“Aditya — you tell me — what do you want…?”
The boy — Aditya — he looks at the marriage counsellor.
“I want both of them…” Aditya says softly — perplexed by the situation.
“Both of them…?” the counsellor asks the boy — looking a bit puzzled.
“Yes,” the boy says emphatically, “I want both my mummy and my daddy.”
“I think you both should give it a last try — at least for your son’s sake…” the counsellor says to the estranged warring couple.
“No. I have had enough. It’s over. We can’t stay with this man…!” the woman says sternly.
“We…?” the man asks incredulously, “What do you mean ‘we’…? Well — you are most welcome to go wherever you want — but Aditya is staying with me. I am his father…!!!” the man says firmly to the woman.
“And — I am his mother…!!!” the woman pleads anxiously to the man, “Listen — I don’t want anything from you — maintenance, alimony, nothing…! Just give me my son. I can’t live without him…!!!”
“Aditya is my son too. I love him and I can’t live without him too…!” the man says to the woman.
“See…” the counsellor appeals to the man and the woman, “You both love your son so much. I still think you should try to reconcile…”
“No. I want out…” the woman says.
“Me too…!!!” the man says.
“Okay — let’s go in…” the marriage counsellor says, shrugging her shoulders, “Since you two have agreed on everything else — the judge will probably ask you the same things that I asked you. She may also talk to the child — and then — considering your child’s age — she may let him stay with his mother and grant the father some visiting rights…”
“This whole system is biased in favor of women…!!! I can look after my son much better than her…” the man says angrily.
“My foot…!” the woman says, “You will ruin his life. It is better he remains away from your influence…!!!”
“Please don’t fight inside…” the marriage counsellor advises, “You want an amicable mutual consent separation — don’t you…?”
And so — the man and the woman separate.
Separation is the first cardinal step towards the death of their marital relationship.
Since their son Aditya is a small boy — he goes with his mother.
SIX MONTHS LATER
After the six month long separation period is over — the man and woman assemble in the family court for their divorce.
“I want to tell you something…” the woman says to the man.
“What…?” the man asks the woman.
“Well — I don’t know how to tell you this — but I have been seeing someone…” the woman says.
“And — you want to get married to him…?” he asks her.
“Yes…” she says.
“That’s great. Go ahead. Good Luck to you…!!!” the man says, “and who is the lucky guy…?”
“He is a childhood friend. Now he lives in the States and is here on a vacation…” the woman says.
“So you’re getting remarried and going off to the United States of America…?” the man asks the woman.
“Yes. Once all this divorce business is through…” she says.
“Good for you…” says the man.
“It’s about Aditya…” says the woman awkwardly.
“Aditya…? What about Aditya…?” asks the man.
“I want to leave him with you. As a gesture of goodwill. Let’s say — as a “parting gift”…” says the woman.
“Goodwill…? “Parting Gift”…?” asks the man, dumbfounded.
“We — my fiancé and me — both of us thought that we should begin life afresh — without the baggage of the past…” the woman says.
“You call our son the “baggage of the past”…? How dare you…? Aditya is your son…!” says the man angrily.
“Aditya is your son too…!” says the woman, “He needs a father. Especially now…”
“Have you told Aditya about this…?” asks the man.
“No…” the woman answers.
The man says nothing.
There is silence.
And then — the man hesitantly says to the woman:
“A friend of mine has just moved in with me.
Actually — she’s more than a friend.
She is going to ‘live-in’ with me for some time — so that we get to know each other better — a trial ‘live-in’ relationship — and then — we’ll decide whether to get married.
I don’t think it’s the right time for Aditya to stay with me.
I think you better keep Aditya with you — as a “parting gift” from me…!!!”
Strange are the ways of life.
First — the parents fought bitterly for the custody of their beloved son.
And now — no one — neither his mother nor his father — no one wants to keep him any longer.
This is what happened — this is how this story ended.
The man and the woman each found their new life-partners — and they lived “happily ever after”.
And — their unwanted darling son Aditya was packed off to boarding school to live in a hostel.
Neither his mother — nor his father — wanted him as a “parting gift”.
WHY I WROTE THIS STORY
Sad — isn’t it — when hapless children become pawns in marital conflicts and innocent victims of broken marriages.
I feel that children are important stakeholders in a marriage.
Sadly — the husband and the wife are not the only stakeholders in a marriage.
From time to time — I read in the newspapers that they want to make divorce easier.
Is this step not detrimental to children…?
Shouldn’t children have a say in the matter…?
What are your views…?
Please comment and tell us what you think.
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 original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://creative.sulekha.com/a-short-story-custody-by-vikram-karve_38212_blogand http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2012/04/parting-gift-my-favourite-short-stories.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/11/04/parting-gift-2/ and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2014/09/parting-gift-my-fiction-short-story.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/04/18/parting-gift-story/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/05/29/gift-stories-no-2-parting-gift/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/09/29/the-parting-gift/ etc.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.