Romance : Nisha

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“NISHA”

STORY BY VIKRAM KARVE

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10 AM — Monday Morning — I am busy writing my latest story on my laptop.

I am disturbed by the sound of the doorbell.

Irritated — I get up and walk to the door — wondering who it is who is disturbing my solitude.

I open the door.

It is a woman.

I look at her.

She looks so chic.

Blue Jeans, bright red tucked-in T-Shirt, fair creamy flawless complexion, jet black hair neatly tied in a bun — and — dark Ray-Ban sunglasses of the latest style.

She is a good-looking woman with smart feminine features — elegant — fashionable — chic — graceful — well-groomed.

“Good Morning…” I greet her.

“Good Morning to you…” she says with a sweet smile.

I wonder who she is — maybe — she has come to meet my wife.

My thoughts are interrupted by her mellifluous voice.

“Won’t you ask me to come in…?” she says to me.

“I am all alone in the house…” I say to her, “my wife has gone to work — she will come at 5 in the evening…”

“I have come to meet you…” she says with a smile.

“Me…?” I say — taken aback.

From her bag — she pulls out a copy of my book — my anthology of short stories.

She points a finger at my name on the cover and looks at me.

“This is your name — isn’t it…? You have written all these stories…” she says to me.

“Yes…” I say to her.

“My name is “Nisha”…” she says to me.

“Nisha…?” I repeat.

“Does my name ring a bell…?” she asks me.

“No…” I say to her.

“Oh really…?” she says, “that’s surprising…!!!”

“I don’t know you — or anyone named Nisha…” I say to her.

“I am the “heroine” of most of your stories — Nisha…” she says matter-of-factly.

On hearing her words — I am flummoxed — dumbstruck.

“Since you haven’t asked me to come in — I am inviting myself in…” she says.

And — she pushes past me — walks to the sofa — sits down — and — she looks at me.

I am still at the door.

“Come and sit near me — I want to talk to you…” she says to me.

I go and sit near her.

“Would you like to have a cup of tea — or — a cool drink…” I ask her — but — she interrupts me.

“Thank you for asking — but — no — I just want to talk to you for a few minutes — and then — I have to go back to Mumbai — I have a flight to catch tonight…” she says,

“Mumbai…? Flight…?” I ask — confused.

“I drove down from Mumbai just to meet you — the taxi is waiting below…” she says.

“Taxi…? How did you get my address…?” I ask her — curious.

“Your contact details are all over the internet — you are a blogger — an influencer — you keep updating your status and location on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google — everywhere — it is very easy to track you down…” she says matter-of-factly.

She pauses for a moment before speaking.

“Let’s get to the point — I just want to know one thing — “Who is Nisha…?”…” she asks me — looking directly into my eyes.

“Who is Nisha…?” I repeat her question — feeling a bit nonplussed.

“I told you when I introduced myself — my name is “Nisha”…” she says.

“Yes…” I murmur.

“In all your stories — the name of the heroine is “Nisha” — my name…” she says, “I want to know why…” she asks me in an imperative voice.

“Well — just like that…” I stammer.

“What do you mean “just like that…?” Why are you using my name again and again…?” she questions me.

“It’s nothing, really — just like Hemingway used the name “Nick” for the protagonist of his early short stories — I use the name “Nisha”…” I explain to her, “Nisha is a fictional character…”

“I don’t think so…” the woman named Nisha says.

I remain silent — confused what to say.

Nisha opens the book in her hand — to the contents page — looks at me — and speaks in a serious voice.

“You are writing about me. You have selectively taken incidents from my life and dramatized them into stories…” she says, accusingly.

“How can I write about incidents in your life…? I don’t even know you. This is the first time I am meeting you…” I say to her.

“Exactly…” she counters, “without even meeting me — how do you know so much about me…?”

“I don’t know…” I start mumbling — but she interrupts me.

“There is a slice of my life in all your “Nisha” stories — it is outrageous — why are you writing stories about my personal life…? How do you know so many things about me…?” she says — in an accusing voice.

“How can I write about incidents in your life…? I don’t even know you. This is the first time I am meeting you…” I say to her.

“Then how do you know so much about me…? About my past…? Who is telling you all those private and intimate things about my life…? “Why are you prying into my personal life…?” she asks me.

“No one is telling me anything about you — and — I am not prying into your personal life…” I say to her, “Can you give me a specific example…?”

“How did you know I was “Bi” …? she asks me.

“Bi…?” I say, confused.

“Don’t act dumb — you know what “Bi” means — I like both men and women — just like your heroine “Nisha” does…” she says, sardonically.

I try to speak — but — she cuts me short — and — she continues speaking.

“In three of your stories — Nisha makes love to women — the way you have described these incidents in your stories is similar to what happened in my life — of course — you have been smart enough to change the names of the other women — but your main protagonist is always “Nisha” — why…?” she asks me, pointedly.

“I don’t know…” I say, unthinkingly.

“You are very cunning…” she says.

“Cunning…?” I say — taken aback — no one has called me “cunning” before.

“You change the names of all the other characters — or write in first person — but the name of the protagonist is always “Nisha” — me…” she says, resentfully.

Nisha opens my book and points to a story.

“And — this is the bloody limit of your brazenness — in this story — you haven’t even bothered to change the other woman’s name…” she says, angrily.

“Which woman…?” I say, confused.

“Anjali — my lover in the story — and — you have described things exactly as they actually happened — how did you know we made love in the railway retiring room at Dehradun…? You have even mentioned the year correctly — Anjali read the story and she was aghast — she called me — she is furious with me — she thinks I told you about our affair…” Nisha says to me.

“Show me…” I say — and — I take the book from her hand — I look at the story — and speak to Nisha.

“I wrote this long back — I really don’t remember…” I try to explain — but Nisha interrupts me.

She grabs the book from my hand — looks at the contents — and opens the page to another story.

“And this one — lovemaking in train…” she says.

“In this you are making love to a man…” I am saying — when she interrupts.

“Me…?” she shouts.

“No. No. I meant the heroine of the story…” I say, contrite.

For some time — there is silence.

Then — Nisha speaks.

“Do you have the power of clairvoyance…?” she asks me.

“No…” I say to her.

“I don’t believe it — how can you know about my secret tattoo — about my lesbian affairs that I have tried to keep secret…” she says, looking anxious.

“I told you — it’s my imagination…” I say to her.

“It’s bizarre — you seem to have some supernatural powers to peep into my life…” she says, giving me a strange look.

“No. No…” I begin to say, when she interrupts.

“Why are you writing stories about my personal life…?” she asks me.

“I don’t know…” I say to her.

“Why is the heroine of your stories named “Nisha” — who is Nisha…?” she asks, desperately.

“I don’t know…” I say, exasperated.

We look at each other for some time.

Then — I speak.

“You have a really complicated life…” I say to her.

“Yes — fodder for your stories…” she says with sarcasm.

“Please…” I say, “I am being honest with you — it is just a coincidence…” I say, sincerely.

“I don’t believe you — but then — I have no choice — if you keep insisting that all these real-life stories about me are products of your imagination…” she says.

“Please believe me…” I say to her.

Nisha looks at the wall-clock.

“I have to go now — I don’t want to be late for my flight…” she says.

“Where are you going…?” I ask her.

“Auckland — New Zealand — I live there — like the “Nisha” of some of your stories…” she says.

“You migrated there…” I ask her.

“Yes — a few years ago…” she says.

Then — she looks at me and speaks in a beseeching voice.

“I have one request — from now on — please don’t have “Nisha” in your stories — I am sure you can find much better names…” she says to me.

I smile at her.

She picks up her bag and stands up.

“You’ve forgotten the book…” I say to her — picking up her copy of the anthology of my short stories.

“I don’t want to read about my own life…” she says, “you can keep it — to remind you not to have any “Nisha” in your stories…” she says — and — she walks towards the door.

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After she leaves — I sit down at my desk.

I decide to write a new story — a murder mystery.

The name of the murderer — “Nisha”.

Yes — “Nisha” — a devious wicked woman — the “heroine” of my story.

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A few days later — I get a call from a friend — a retired police officer.

“I read your latest story…” he says.

“The murder mystery…?” I ask him.

“Yes…” he says, “tell me — is the story based on a true incident…?”

“No…” I say, “it is fiction — my imagination running wild…”

“Amazing coincidence…” he says, “there was a murder case a few years ago — exactly as you have described it — a man died from poisoning — with Ricin — a woman was the suspect — but we could do nothing — as the trace couldn’t be established — just like in your story…”

“Oh…” I remarked, “quite a coincidence…”

“Hear the next part…” he says, “the name of the woman was “Nisha” — yes — the murder suspect was a woman called “Nisha” — exactly like in your story — that’s the bizarre coincidence…”

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VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

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.

Copyright Notice:

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/2022/11/my-name-is-nisha-short-story.html

This story is also posted in my writing blog at url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/11/10/my-name-is-nisha/

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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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

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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