Monday, October 12, 2009



Short Fiction – A Story about Modern Life



Married Bachelors are proliferating all around me.

Come, walk around with me in my workplace, and I’ll show you what I mean.

Let’s meet the latest entrant to the Married Bachelors’ Club.

“Congratulations,” I say.

“Thank you, Sir,” says the smart upwardly mobile young man standing before me.

“How was the wedding ?”

“Grand – it was really a fantastic wedding.”

“Honeymoon ?”

“In Seychelles.”

“Wow! Come to our place in the evening. We want to meet your brand new wife,” I say.

“Sir, she hasn’t come.”

“Hasn’t come?”

“She is working in Delhi, Sir.”

“Tell her to quit.”

“Quit her job – why should she quit her job ?” he looks at me as if I have said something blasphemous.

“She can take a year or two off, can’t she? Come on, newly married couples like you must stay together; especially in a beautiful place like this. Now is the time, when you are fresh and young.”

“She’s very career conscious, Sir,” he says proudly, “and this a very vital phase for her – she’s on the verge of a promotion, working on an important project.”

And it was the same for the ambitious high flier go-getter standing in front of me. He too had “heights” to scale.

From a true bachelor he had become a married bachelor.

Just like his brand new wife.

Of course, now that they were endorsed with the hallmark of marriage, both of them, husband and wife, married bachelors, were free to focus their entire efforts on climbing their respective separate career ladders to “success” and fulfill their professional ambitions.

She is married to her job; he is married to his job – and, of course, they are married to each other.

Why do people marry ?

For togetherness and companionship, isn’t it ?

Then why do they stay separately by choice, especially in the formative exciting passionate early years of marriage ?

I just can’t fathom this paradox.

And here is my colleague – a charming lady – a veteran married bachelor.

I prefer to call her a married bachelor rather than married spinster!

If actresses can be called actors, why not refer to spinsters as bachelors.

She’s not the overly ambitious type. She once told me that given a choice she would give up her monotonous backbreaking job.

Then why doesn’t she do what she wants and quit her job ?

Well, she is caught in the EMI trap.

They’ve bought an exclusive penthouse flat in the classiest posh township in the city and a weekend “farmhouse” bungalow in the hills. And they are so busy earning to pay off their backbreaking and never-ending loan EMIs, she grinding herself off here in her office while he is slogging it out at sea.

Far apart, sometimes wonder whether it was all worth it – sacrificing the best years of their lives for material comforts, fearing that life may pass them by and they may become too old and worn out to enjoy the very comforts they sacrificed the best years of their lives for.

And here is a similar tale.

Poor chap. He bought a house in Pune as he loved the place and comfortably settled down with his family.

And then he got transferred and had to move out.

But the family won’t move out.

They love the place, and have embellished their adorable abode with such loving care, that they can’t dream of giving it on rent either. They just don’t want to move out of their comfortable existence.

Well, no one likes to leave one’s comfort zone. Certainly not his well settled family.

So the poor man will have to spend the rest of his working life as a married bachelor.

It is difficult and painful.

Once you have tasted and savored the fruits of family life, it is difficult to live alone – you can take my word for it!

Let’s move on to another married bachelor. Just have a look at him - the man with the forlorn look. Why is he a married bachelor?

“Children’s Education,” he says.

“What’s wrong with the schools here ?”

“I don’t want to disturb them. I want them to get the best.”

So husband and wife sacrifice their marital happiness for the sake of their darling children, who owing to their brilliant academic accomplishments are sure to fly off to better pastures, leaving behind the “married bachelors” [the sacrificing parents] to endure the remains of their marital lives as strangers in their empty nest.

I wonder why these married bachelors prefer to live miserably in self-imposed desolation and loneliness. Will they never experience the warm glow of the “much-married” feeling that comes after years of togetherness and friendship ?

Ah! At last, I see the lovey-dovey couple I’ve been noticing for weeks now – a truly “made for each other” couple!

“Good to see a lovely married couple at the workplace,” I comment.

“Hah! Married couple ?” pipes up the office jester, “Of course both of them are married, but they are not married to each other.”

“What do you mean?” I ask bewildered, “I see them together everywhere. Can’t you see that distinctive togetherness about them that you can see only in happily married spouses ?”

“Oh yes. You can call them spouses – office spouses – office husband and office wife.”
“Office Spouses ?

“Yes, Office Spouse. Workplace mates. Call them what you like. It’s the in thing, you know, especially among ‘married bachelors’ as you call them – to have an office husband or an office wife.”

Married Bachelors. Office Spouses. What’s the world coming to?

I’ve had enough – and just imagine, I thought marriage is being together.

Well, it is time for a paradigm shift, isn’t it ?

Short Fiction – A Story about Modern Life

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Appetite for a Stroll

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