The Beautiful Banker
THE BEAUTIFUL BANKER
Story By Vikram Karve
THE BEAUTIFUL BANKER
“We’ve met before…” I said to her.
“No — I don’t think so…” she said.
“I have met you in your bank…” I said to her.
“In the Dadar Branch…?” she asked me.
“No — in the main branch — in Fort — you were the officer dealing with NRI accounts…” I said to her.
“That was many years ago…” she said.
“10 years ago — I was a Second Mate then — there was some dollar-rupee conversion issue with my salary…” I said, “I vividly remember seeing you — even talking to you…”
“Well — I really don’t remember meeting you — I wonder how you remember after so many years…” she said.
“Because you are so beautiful…” I said to her.
“What…?” she said, surprised.
“You look so exquisite — so attractive — large expressive doe-eyes, beautifully arched eyebrows, refined “chiselled” nose, delicate chin, full juicy lips — perfect beautiful face — and lush black hair flowing over your dainty ears and slender neck down over your elegant shoulders…”
“Please — Please — Please…!!!” she interrupted me.
“You look so gorgeous — even now…” I said, with genuine admiration.
“I am 33…” she said.
“I know — but — you look so young — so nubile — so beautiful — so virginal…” I said to her.
“Virginal…?” she interrupted me.
“I am sorry — maybe — I used a wrong word…” I said, contrite.
“On the contrary — you may be right. I am a virgin…” she said, “maybe that’s the reason I look “virginal” — as you put it — a “virginal beauty”…”
She gave me a naughty smile.
“I am really sorry…” I began to say, feeling embarrassed.
“It’s okay…” she interrupted me — then — she asked me, “I am sure you are not a virgin…”
“I am…” I said, sheepishly.
“I can’t believe it…” she said, looking surprised.
“Well — that belief about sailors having a girl in every port — it’s false — a myth — we are like any other normal person…” I said to her.
We talked — about navy life at sea — about her life as a banker.
She was easy to talk to — and my words came tumbling out.
By the way — Dear Reader — I forgot to tell you the name of the “Beautiful Banker” I was talking to — her name was “Nisha”.
“You haven’t asked me the obvious question…?” Nisha said to me
“What question…?” I asked her.
“You haven’t asked me why I haven’t got married till now…?” she said.
“Tell me…” I said to her.
“You tell me first — you are 30 — why haven’t you got married till now…?” she asked me.
“I had decided that I would marry only after I became a “Master” — a Captain…” I said to her.
“That’s good…” she said, “I like people who are focused on their careers…”
“So — the moment I cleared my Master’s Orals — I told my parents to look for girls…” I said to her.
“And — they found me…?” she said, with a smile.
“Actually — Monika — your sister-in-law — your brother’s wife — she suggested your name to my parents…” I said to her.
“My sister-in-law wants to get rid of me — she wants to get me out of this house as fast as possible…” Nisha said, with irritation in her voice.
“Why…? Your house is quite large — so spacious — so many rooms — a luxury — in a place like Mumbai…” I asked Nisha.
Nisha smiled at me.
“You tell me — which woman likes her husband’s sister living under the same roof…? And this Monika — she is so slimy…” Nisha said, cynically, “she wants me out — so — she can “rule” over my parents and “lord” over the house like a queen — in any case — she has got my brother under her thumb…”
I was listening with interest — but suddenly — Nisha stopped speaking.
She looked at me — giving me a confused look.
“Why am I telling you all this…? I am sorry. I think I spoke too much. After all — Monika is your childhood friend…” Nisha said.
“No. No. It’s okay — feel free to say whatever you want to say…” I said to Nisha.
Nisha paused — before speaking.
“My sister-in-law — Monika — was she your “girlfriend”…?” Nisha asked me.
“No. No. She was my classmate in school — just an acquaintance — we live in the same neighborhood in Pune — so — our parents know each other — that’s all. In any case — after school — I went off to sea as a “deck cadet” — so — I hardly know her much…” I said,
“Oh…” Nisha commented.
“Monika and your brother got married 3 years ago — isn’t it…? I remember my parents telling me — I was at sea…” I said.
“Had you come for the wedding — we would have met that time…” Nisha said to me.
“Yes…” I said to Nisha, “by the way — you haven’t told me why you haven’t got married…”
“I don’t want to get married…” Nisha said, matter-of-factly, “let’s leave it at that — I am fed up of the nagging and continuous grilling by everyone — “you are 33 years old — well past marriageable age — do you want to die an old maid — blah blah blah…” — I just don’t feel like getting married — that’s all…”
“I can understand…” I said to Nisha, “but — promise me one thing…”
“What…?” she said, looking curious.
“In case you change your mind — get married to me…” I said to Nisha.
“Are you really so besotted with me…?” she said, mischievously.
I looked at Nisha.
She was the woman I wanted to marry — beauty with brains — a gorgeous career woman — a “woman of substance” — as they say.
“Please marry me…” I beseeched her.
“Don’t make me feel awkward…” she said.
“Are you avoiding marriage because you want to focus on your career…? Your father said that you got the fastest promotions on merit and you are one of the youngest Chief Managers in your Bank…” I said to her, “I am ambitious too — I will get my command soon — and I will probably be the youngest Captain in our company…”
“That’s good…” she said.
“You haven’t answered my question about marriage…” I said to her.
“I have decided not to marry — that’s all…” she said, “it has got nothing to do with my career — or any other factor. It is my personal decision — I don’t want to get married — period…”
“Okay — I respect your decision…” I said to her.
“Thank you so much…” she said, “I want to apologize to you…”
“Apologize…?” I said — taken aback.
“I am sorry for wasting your time — I had stopped seeing “boys” for marriage — but this time — my sister-in-law Monika — she directly fixed up things and created a “fait accompli” — I will never forgive her for this…” Nisha said, angrily.
“It was not a waste of time at all — I loved talking to you…” I said to Nisha.
“I loved talking to you too…” Nisha said, “You are a really nice person…”
“We can remain in touch — we can be friends…” I said to her.
“No…” she said, “I think it is best we move on in life — on our separate ways — and — please don’t have any false hopes and wait for me — I am not going to get married — that’s final — so — you find a good girl and get married to her…”
“Okay…” I said to her, “should we go down…?”
“Yes …” she said.
“What should I tell your parents…?” I asked her.
“You don’t tell them anything — you just say goodbye and leave…” Nisha said.
“But — I will have to tell my parents when I reach home in the evening…” I said to Nisha, “do you want me to lie to them…? Do you want me to tell my parents that I didn’t like you — and that I want to “reject” the marriage proposal…? It may spoil relationships — and remember — your sister-in-law Monika is involved — she is the one who got the proposal…”
Nisha looked at me pensively.
“No. No. You don’t have lie. The truth is that I don’t want to get married — so — the onus is on me. I will tell my parents the truth — once again — that — I don’t want to get married. I will tell them firmly to stop searching “boys” for me. They will speak to your parents and apologize…” Nisha said, “And — I need to tackle Monika too — so that she doesn’t step out of line again…”
We went down to the living room where everyone was waiting for us.
“Thank you for the delicious lunch…” I said to Nisha’s mother, “I especially liked the Shrikhand…”
She smiled — and she asked me to have some tea.
Monika was looking at me inquisitively — with expectation in her eyes.
In these circumstances — I felt it was best to leave as early as possible — and let Nisha speak to her parents.
So — I told Nisha’s parents that I had to meet a friend in Churchgate.
Then — I said goodbye to everyone.
I smiled at Nisha — and — I left Nisha’s house.
Time had passed fast since I left my home in Pune at 6:30 AM in the morning and taken an autorickshaw to the railway station.
I had come from Pune by the Deccan Queen in the morning — got off at Dadar around 10 AM — gone by Taxi to Nisha’s house nearby — talked to her parents — enjoyed a delicious lunch — then — spoken to Nisha alone in her bedroom upstairs.
The day had gone as planned — except for one disappointment — the marriage proposal with Nisha hadn’t worked out.
It was past 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I had almost three hours to kill.
I took a taxi to Churchgate — walked a bit on Marine Drive — browsed books on the pavement stalls between Churchgate and Flora Fountain — then walked briskly to VT — just in time to board the Deccan Queen — which departed at 5:10 PM — and soon — I was on my way back home to Pune.
10 Years Later
Mumbai International Airport
10 years later — I unexpectedly ran into Nisha in the departure lounge at Mumbai International Airport.
“What a lovely surprise to see you…!” I said to Nisha.
“Where to…?” she asked me.
“On my way to join my ship — in Istanbul…” I said to her, “and you — where are going…?”
“To Singapore — for work…” she said.
“Shall we have a cup of coffee…?” I asked her.
“No…” she said, “I think I’ll start walking to the departure gate for my flight…”
“Okay…” I said to her.
For some time — we looked at each other in silence.
Then — Nisha spoke.
“You got married…?” she asked me.
“Yes…” I said.
“Children…?” she asked me.
“Two — a boy and a girl…” I said.
“A perfect family…” she said.
“Yes…” I said, “and you…?”
“Why do you even ask…?” she said to me, “I told you that I am going to remain happily single…”
“I want to say something…” I said to her.
“I know what you want to say — your eyes are already “saying” it…” she teased me.
She was right — Nisha looked so exquisite — so incredibly alluring — so captivating — that — I could not take my eyes off her — and — I stared at her lovely face — totally awestruck by her beauty.
“You still look so beautiful — just the same as I saw you for the first time — 10 years ago…” I said to Nisha, “I don’t have words to describe your beauty…”
“A “virginal” beauty…?” she said naughtily.
“Yes…” I said with a smile, “a “virginal” beauty…”
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.
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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/2021/11/romance-beautiful-banker.html
This story also posted in my writing blog at url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/11/16/the-beautiful-banker/
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.