Third Time Lucky …?
THIRD TIME LUCKY …?
A Love Story By Vikram Karve
Mumbai (then known as Bombay) — circa 1978
When my course-mate Ashok got divorced within one year of his marriage — instead of sympathizing with him — I chastised him.
“I told you not to get married to that “fleet auxiliary” — but you wouldn’t listen to me…” I said to Ashok.
“I know — I should have listened to you — I shouldn’t have got married to her…” Ashok said, contrite.
“You come from such a conservative background — I told you that your parents would never accept her…” I said to him.
“You were right — my parents did not approve of her at all…” he said.
“Despite your parent’s disapproval — you defied your parents — and you got married to her…” I scolded him.
“I was in love with her…” he said.
“Love…? If you were in love with her — why did you divorce her…?” I asked him.
“We were just not compatible…” he said.
“Compatible…!!! How could you be “compatible” with her…? Outwardly — you may act “modern” — but in your mind — you are still a “small town boy” — I told you all this — but you just wouldn’t listen to me…” I said to him.
“I wish I had listened to you…” he said.
“There is a difference between a “girlfriend” and a “wife” — especially if the girlfriend is a “fleet auxiliary” — no one marries a “fleet auxiliary” — you have a “good time” with them — and then — you get married to the “back home type” girl that your parents have chosen for you…” I said to him.
“I was so much in love with her — that I even went against my parents — and I didn’t even listen to your advice…” he said, full of remorse.
“Yes — love made you “blind” — and — she exploited you — she is a bloody shameless “nympho” — after having a “good time” with others — she trapped you into marriage…” I said to him.
“You are right…” he said, “she “knew” so many people — shipmates, course-mates — even seniors…”
“She was 5 years older to you — past her prime — and you fell for her…” I said, “she really made a fool of you…”
“Yes — I married in haste — and now — I am repenting at leisure…” he said, “next time — I am going to be careful…”
“Yes…” I said, “marriage is serious business…”
“You are right…” he said, “I took it very lightly — and I paid a heavy price…”
“What are your plans now…? I heard that you have asked for a compassionate grounds transfer…?” I asked him.
“Yes — I want to get away from this place — and — I want to move on in life…” he said, “I have asked for Vizag — it will be closer to my hometown as well…”
“All the best…” I said to Ashok, “and in case you are thinking of getting married — go in for an arranged marriage this time — and choose carefully…”
“Yes…” Ashok said — he gulped down the remains of his drink — he smiled a goodbye to me — and he left the wardroom.
10 Years Later
Kochi (Cochin) — circa 1988
10 years later — my ship visited Kochi (then known as Cochin)
In the evening — I walked down to the Navy Club — and — I saw Ashok sitting on the lawn — all by himself.
“You must have heard that I got divorced again…?” he said to me.
“Yes…” I said, “what happened…?”
“I don’t know…” he said, “this time I was careful — I saw so many girls that my parents had lined up for me — and then — after shortlisting the girls I had liked — I selected the girl who was an ideal wife for me — she had all the qualities that I wanted in my wife — I thought we had a happy marriage — but — one day — she suddenly just walked out…”
“That’s sad…” I said, commiserating with him.
“Yes…” Ashok said, “she was the ideal wife for me…”
“She was an ideal wife for you — but — were you an “ideal” husband for her…?” I asked him.
“What do you mean…?” Ashok said.
“You checked out the girl’s qualities — but — did you check out your own qualities…?” I said to him.
“What are you trying to say…?” he asked me.
“You were a mismatch in your love marriage — and — you were a mismatch in your arranged marriage too. You need to introspect — why do your marriages fail…?” I said to Ashok.
“You are right…” Ashok said, “I must check my own compatibility too — I will surely do that — next time…”
“Next time…?” I said, surprised.
He sure had perseverance.
There is a saying: “Third Time Lucky”.
I hoped he would be lucky the 3rd time — and — his next marriage would be a success.
20 Years Later
Pune — circa 2008
THIRD TIME LUCKY…?
I was happily surprised to see my course-mate Ashok at a Navy Veterans Get-Together in Pune.
“It’s been a long time…” I said to Ashok, “you totally went “off the radar” — I lost all track of you…”
“I quit the Navy a few days after we met last time…” Ashok said.
“Yes — that’s what I heard — that — you had suddenly resigned…” I said, “what happened…?”
“I got a good job offer in the gulf — so — I decided to go over there — and since then — I have been globetrotting…” he said.
“That’s great…” I said, “but what are you doing in Pune…?” I asked him.
“Like you — I too have finally “retired” — and I have decided to settle down in Pune — I just came one month ago from the US…” he said.
“Where do you live in Pune…?” I asked him.
“At present I am living in a serviced apartment — but I have just bought a house — and I will be moving in there soon…” he said.
He told me the name of the township where he had bought a house — it was an exclusive cosmopolitan township — most posh and elite.
To be able to afford a house in that classy “highfalutin” township — Ashok must have done well for himself after leaving the Navy.
Ashok looked at me and said to me, tongue-in-cheek:
“You didn’t ask me if I was married…?”
“Are you…?” I said to him, “Or — did you get married and divorced again…?”
“No. No…” he laughed, “I took your advice seriously. I introspected — and I realized that I wasn’t “marriage material” — so — I didn’t get married again…” Ashok said to me.
Someone called out his name — so — Ashok excused himself and he went to meet the person.
The moment Ashok had gone away — my wife suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
“Why were you talking to that disgusting man…?” she said, angrily.
“Disgusting man…? He is my course-mate Ashok. He left the Navy long ago. I will introduce you to him…” I said to my wife.
“I don’t want to be introduced to him…” my wife said, “and you better keep away from him…”
“What happened…?” I asked my wife.
“The ladies were talking about him. He is a filthy, indecent and immoral man…” she said.
“Filthy…? Immoral…?” I said, surprised.
“Don’t you know…?” my wife asked me.
“What…?” I said, curious.
“He is “living in sin” with a woman…” my wife said.
“Are you sure…? He told me that he was unmarried…” I said to her.
“That’s what I am telling you. That man you were talking to — he is unmarried — but he is “shacked up” with a woman half his age — he is a lecherous pervert — you better keep away from him…” my wife said to me — with disgust in her voice.
I wonder if he was “third time lucky” — albeit — not married — but “shacked up” with a woman half his age — “living in sin” — as my wife had put it…?
I my mind’s eye — I thought of Ashok — and — my imagination ran wild.
“Lucky Bugger — “shacked up” with a woman half his age…!!!” I said to myself — with a tinge of envy.
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2021/09/why-marriages-fail.html
This story is also posted in my writing blog at url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/why-marriages-fail-story/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/01/25/third-time-lucky/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/05/23/third-time-lucky-love-story/ etc
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)