Story : “Smoking Beauty”

Vikram Karve
14 min readMar 21, 2024







This story is work of fiction. Names, Events, Places, Settings, Situations and Incidents narrated in the story are fictitious and imaginary. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.



Fiction Short Story By VIKRAM KARVE





March 8, 2023 — Late Night 11:30 PM

An Apartment in Mumbai




“Do you smoke…?” Nisha’s fiancé Ashok asks her.

“What is wrong with you…? Did you call me so late in the night just to ask me this stupid question…?” Nisha says — irked and a bit angry at being woken up from her sleep.

“It is morning over here. You answer my question — do you smoke…?” Ashok asks Nisha again.

“No — I don’t smoke…” she says emphatically.

“There is a picture of you smoking a cigarette on Twitter…” her fiancé Ashok says.

“I am not on Twitter — or — on any social media — I deactivated all my social media accounts when I took up this job — I told you about my employer’s “no social media” policy — didn’t I…?” Nisha says to her fiancé.

“Yes — but a picture of you smoking a cigarette is going viral on Twitter — someone forwarded it to me on WhatsApp — I am forwarding the screenshot of the Tweet and Picture to you — you see the picture — and then you call me…” Nisha’s fiancé Ashok says — and — he disconnects the call.


The picture arrives on her WhatsApp — a full screenshot of the Tweet — the picture of a woman smoking a cigarette — and — the picture has a caption: “Smoking Beauty”


Nisha looks at the picture.

Yes — it is her — with a cigarette between her lips.

She looks at the background — it seems to be the residential society in which she lived a few years ago — then — she recalls — it must have been that Holi celebration with her friends a few years ago — that crazy Holi — so crazy was the wild rambunctious celebration — that — she doesn’t even properly remember what happened.

She wonders who clicked this picture — so — she looks at the Twitter Handle and instantly recognizes the Profile Picture — Oh — it is that “Uncle” with the “Glad Eye” — who lived in her building in the residential township in Pune where she stayed a few years ago — she remembers him vividly — they had nicknamed him “Mr. Roving Eye” — because of the way he brazenly ogled at women and flirted with them trying to chat them up and get friendly.


Dear Reader — I am “Mr. Roving Eye” — the “Uncle” with the “Glad Eye” — who posted that picture “Smoking Beauty” on Social Media.

And — before you get wrong ideas about me — let me tell you that I am certainly not a “dirty-old-man” but I am a simple “young-at-heart” old man who admires beauty and likes the company of young people.

Let me tell you how I clicked the photo and why I posted it on social media.

For that — I will have to take you back to the year 2018 — when I clicked the picture.




5 Years Earlier

Year 2018



March 2, 2018 — Morning — around 11 AM

Lawns of a Posh Residential Township in Pune




I looked at the girl sitting on the bench opposite me — a familiar face — one of the many young “Techies” — who lived in our residential society — a posh gated community.

The girl held a cigarette between her fingers — she brought the cigarette to her lips and took a long drag.

She continued to hold the cigarette between her lips as smoke began emanating from her nostrils.

She looked at me — her eyes glazed — unfocussed — it seemed that she was looking at me — but not seeing me.

I could not resist the temptation to click her picture on my smartphone — I clicked her photo quickly — fearing that she may react to my clicking her picture — but she kept looking at me — like a zombie — the same vacant expressionless look — as if she was looking at me but not seeing me — so — I zoomed the camera on her face — and — I clicked a close-up picture of her face — capturing all details.

It was a superb photo — the lit cigarette held in her juicy lips — wafts of smoke emanating from her nostrils — her greenish-grey eyes glazed — as if she were in a trance — everything captured beautifully — truly — a classic photograph — a masterpiece.

I wanted to click more pictures of her — when suddenly — a boy arrived — the boy took the cigarette from her lips — he took a deep drag — and — seeing the bright glow on the tip of the cigarette — I guessed that there was something more potent than tobacco in the cigarette.

Soon — more boisterous friends arrived — and they took the girl away to the lawns — where boys and girls were dancing with wild abandon — throwing colours on each other — celebrating the festival of colours — Holi.

There was music — there was dance — there was special festive food — lovely Holi celebrations in our cosmopolitan residential society.

In our gated community residential complex — most of the residents were young “Techies” — who were enjoying themselves uninhibitedly.



Year 2023



March 8, 2023 — Evening — 5 PM

My Apartment in the same Posh Residential Township in Pune




Someone told me a few days ago that the best way to preserve photos was to upload them on Social Media — where they would remain forever — and you could access them anytime you want.

In fact — it is best to upload your photos all Social Media — on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Pinterest, on Tumblr, on LinkedIn — everywhere — for maximum redundancy — and this also makes it easy for you to find your photos whenever you want to

This “photo-dump” on social media enables you to delete photos from your Smartphone and release storage space on your Smartphone — and it also precludes the loss of your photos in case you lose your smartphone or it crashes.

Though I started doing this “photo-dump” of recent photos on social media since I got the advice a few days ago — due to my laziness — I did not delete the older photos from my smartphone.

Also — ever since I got this smartphone many years ago — I clicked a large number of photos — and due to all these photos stored in my smartphone photo gallery — the storage space on my smartphone was almost full — and some Apps were not working properly.

So — after playing a colourful Holi in the morning — followed by a fulfilling traditional “Puran Poli” Holi Lunch — and a nice siesta — I sat in my balcony — sipping tea — deleting old photos from my smartphone — taking care to “photo-dump” on social media — those pictures I wanted to preserve — before deleting them from my phone.

In earlier pre-COVID-Pandemic days — I was not very active on social media — so — most of the photos I randomly clicked remained in my smartphone.

It was only during the COVID Lockdown that I had become active on social media — due to loneliness — to connect with people virtually.

As far as posting pictures was concerned — at first — when I was confined to my home due to COVID Lockdown — I started posting pictures of food — and later — when restrictions were relaxed — I started clicking and posting all sorts of random pictures — of delicious food, beautiful scenery, meetups and get-togethers, with friends — especially Twitter Friends (made during the Lockdown).

As I told you — I had clicked the photo of the girl smoking a cigarette in 2018 — during Holi celebrations — on the 2nd of March 2018 — in fact — it was one of the first photos clicked on my smartphone which I had bought a few days ago in February 2018.

The photo of the girl smoking a cigarette was really superb — one of the best photos I had ever clicked — it certainly deserved to be preserved and there was no question of deleting it.

So — I had “photo-dumped” the photo of the girl smoking a cigarette on all my Social Media Accounts — Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc — with a caption “Smoking Beauty”.

Well — I am quite popular on social media — with plenty of followers and friends — and — looking at the huge response — comments, likes, reposts, shares, re-tweets etc. — it was evident that many people had liked this exquisite picture “Smoking Beauty”.

I felt good at the recognition and praise.

A friend informed me that my social media posts with this picture “Smoking Beauty” had gone “viral” on WhatsApp too.

I was elated — this would enhance my popularity on social media.



A Few Hours Later



March 8, 2023 — Almost Midnight — 11:45 PM

An Apartment in Mumbai





(A few minutes after Ashok’s call from USA — Nisha calls Ashok — she has had a good look at the picture of her smoking a cigarette — and tried to recollect and gather her thoughts. It is a Video Call)


“Hello Ashok…” Nisha says — but Ashok interrupts her rudely and speaks in an angry voice.

“What are you doing in Pune…?” Ashok asks Nisha, “celebrating Holi with your “Ex” — are you…?”

“I am not in Pune — I am in Mumbai the whole day — I was with Asha in her house till afternoon — her mother had made special lunch for Holi — you can ask Asha — she will confirm I was with her — I will send you her number…” Nisha says to her fiancé Ashok.

“I don’t trust Asha. She is your best friend — she will tell me whatever you tell her to say…” Ashok says, “I am sure you are in Pune — or you had gone to Pune to celebrate Holi — this guy who posted your picture on Twitter — he seems to be quite an influencer — he has posted your picture on Facebook and Instagram too — with location — the same Township in Pune where you lived — and the date is 8 March 2023 — today…”

“It is not possible — I swear I didn’t go to Pune today — please believe me…” Nisha pleads to her fiancé Ashok.

“Why are you lying to me…? Next — you will say that this is not your picture — tell me — is it you in the picture or not…?” Ashok asks Nisha.

“I don’t know…” Nisha says.

“What do you mean “you don’t know…” — are you telling me this picture is fake — or morphed…?” Ashok asks Nisha.

“I don’t know…” Nisha says — confused.

“This guy is brazenly posting your picture all over social media — do you know him — wait — I will send you screenshots of his profile from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. — tell me if you recognize him — and you call back…” Ashok says — and — he sends Nisha screenshots of my social media profiles.


Nisha looks at the screenshots — of course she recognizes me (“Mr. Roving Eye” — the “Uncle” with the “Glad Eye”) who lived in her residential complex in Pune.


Nisha calls her fiancé Ashok and tells him about me.

“Yes — I recognize him — this “Uncle” lived in my building in the residential township in Pune — he used to ogle at girls and try to flirt with us — we had nicknamed him “Mr. Roving Eye” — but — I have not seen him since I left Pune four years ago in 2019 and relocated to Mumbai — I am sure he has not clicked this photo today — this must be some old picture…” Nisha says to her fiancé Ashok.

“Ah — so now — you are at least admitting that it is you in that picture smoking a cigarette…” Ashok says to Nisha.

“Maybe it is me — but I don’t remember smoking a cigarette…” Nisha says.

“What do you mean “maybe it is me”…? Can’t you recognize yourself in the picture…? I am your fiancé — I expect you to tell me the truth — not try to hide things from me…” Ashok says to Nisha.

“I think this picture was clicked during Holi celebrations — there is colour on my cheeks and hair…” Nisha says.

“When…? Where…?” Ashok asks.

“I think 5 years ago — 2018 — in the society where I lived in Pune…” Nisha says.

“Oh — when you were shacked up with that “Ex” of yours…” Ashok says, sarcastically.

“I was not “shacked up” with Rohan — I lived with girls in a separate apartment…” Nisha says, “and he lived with his friends in another apartment…”

“On the same floor — isn’t it…?” Ashok says, nastily.

“Why are you being sarcastic…? I have told you everything — I broke up with Rohan — changed my job — and moved to Mumbai…” Nisha says.

“You broke up…? Why…? Or — did he dump you…?” Ashok says, spitefully.

“Why are you saying all these irrelevant things…?” Nisha says, angrily.

“Oh — “irrelevant” — okay — I will ask you what is relevant — tell me about this photo which has gone viral on social media — tell me what you remember about that Holi celebration 5 years ago when you say this photo was clicked…” Ashok says to Nisha.


Nisha tries to recall what she remembers of that Holi celebration 5 years ago in March 2018 — and — she tells her side of the story to Ashok.


Nisha looks at Ashok on the screen of her smartphone and speaks.

“It was Holi — a friend had got Thandai — it was very tasty and soothing — so — I drank two glasses — I didn’t know it was heavily laced with bhang — after some time — I started feeling “high” — then — I remember we went down to the society lawns for the Holi celebrations — then — the bhang must have taken effect — and — I don’t remember anything…” Nisha says.

“Are you sure…? You don’t remember anything…? You don’t remember smoking a cigarette…?” Ashok asks her — not believing her.

“Please believe me — I don’t remember anything — I must have had a mental blackout — I woke up in the evening — my friends told me that I had got totally “stoned”…” Nisha says.

“What…? “Stoned”…? You were “stoned”…?” Ashok says — stunned.

“I told you I had a total blackout and went to sleep — after I woke up — my friends said that someone gave me a joint to smoke — but — I swear — I don’t remember anything…” Nisha said — in a beseeching voice.

“No wonder your eyes look so glazed — you certainly look “stoned” — I should had realized — but I never imagined this about you — tell me — what were you smoking in that cigarette…? Weed…? Hash…? Marijuana…?” Ashok asks Nisha — angrily.

“Please — it’s not my fault…” Nisha starts pleading — but — Ashok interrupts her.

“Bhang…? Hash…? I thought you just smoked cigarettes — but — you are a bloody drug addict too…” Ashok says angrily to Nisha.

“No. No. It happened only once — I wasn’t even in my senses — I don’t remember anything — when I came to my senses — I was not even in my apartment…” Nisha says — distraught.

“Oh — so you were lying “stoned” in the apartment of your “Ex” — isn’t it…? Ashok says.

“We were all there — everyone was “high” — with bhang, beer, and…” Nisha says — shamefacedly.

“I am sure your “Ex” and his friends must have “roofied” you…” Ashok says, “the bastards “micky finned” you and “roofied” you…”

“Roofied…? What do you mean…?” Nisha asks.

“You know what I mean — it must have been a bloody freaking orgy with all of you stoned crazy…” Ashok is saying when Nisha interrupts him.

“Please — please — please — I beg you…” Nisha says in a beseeching voice, “I don’t want to talk about that horrible day — it was a nightmare I want to forget — it was not my fault at all — they made a fool of me…”

“So — that’s why you dumped him — didn’t you…? Now — I am sure you were roofied that day…” Ashok says — maliciously.

“I am innocent…” Nisha pleads — but Ashok interrupts her rudely.

“Listen — I don’t care whether you are innocent or not — you never told me all this — I would never come to know the truth about you if your picture smoking a cigarette had not gone viral on social media — I must thank that guy for posting your picture…” Ashok says.

“Please — Ashok — I will explain everything when you come to India next month for the wedding…” Nisha says — contrite.

“Wedding…? Are you crazy…? Do you think I am going to marry you after all this…?” Ashok says in an angry voice — and he disconnects the call.


For a moment — Nisha is stunned.

Then — she breaks down and starts sobbing inconsolably.


For some time — Nisha is in a state of daze — mental stupor — her mind numbed — so — she doesn’t notice her smartphone ringing.


Her flat-mate knocks on the door and says in a loud voice from outside:

“Nisha — your sister wants to speak to you urgently — why are you not picking up your mobile…?”


Nisha doesn’t open the door but answers her flat-mate.

“I am sorry — I was fast asleep…” Nisha says to her flat-mate, “Thank you — I will call my sister…”


Nisha waits for a few moments for her flat-mate to go back to her room — and then — she calls her sister who is at home with her parents.


Story to be continued…



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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


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. 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.

3. E&OE

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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