Cocktail, a love story.
Relationships are like cocktails. Every relationship is a unique complex blend of emotions, shaken and stirred, and, like each cocktail, has a distinctive flavour and taste. Today’s summary consists of one of the love stories from a collection of 27 short stories packed in the book “Cocktail” written by Vikram Karve.
About the book:
Book size: 192 pages
Summary size: 9 pages
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Courtesy to the book publishers and authors who worked to spread book’s knowledge among people. These summaries are in no way to claim rights and just a mere contribution to inculcate reading among youth which is a part of our good motive.
CHAPTER 1 – HIS STORY
Sanjay stared blankly at the TV set, never so frightened, never so alone. He couldn’t believe the news. The plane had crashed. There were no survivors. His wife was dead. This was one contingency that he had never reckoned with.Sanjay had spent a good deal of time worrying about what would happen to Shalini, if he had died. In fact, he had always presumed, and even taken for granted, that he would die first and had accordingly planned meticulously and made adequate financial provisions for her in case something should happen to him.
But he had never for a moment considered what would happen to him if Shalini died. She had been an integral part of him and he couldn’t even imagine living without her. He felt emotionally shattered. He wanted to cry but tears refused to come in his eyes and his throat felt dry. He lapsed into a zombie-like state of shock.
His recollections of the next few days were just vivid flashes in a void. At first, in desperate hope he had rushed to the airport to check the passenger list, hoping that by some miracle she had not been on board. Little realizing that it was he who had seen her off. Then there were condolence visits, and the airlines insurance forms. He didn’t want any money, or condolences. He wanted his wife back. Heartbroken with grief and a strange fear of loneliness, Sanjay had sunk into a state of suspended vacuum, devoid of cognizance.
There was no one to share his grief. Wallowing in a mood of self-pity in his private self-created hell, Sanjay had developed acute social phobia. He was afraid of meeting people, attending social gatherings. He had internalized his feelings to such an extent that he had even become a victim of agoraphobia – a fear of being in open or public places. It was a crippling illness. He was scared of leaving his home, afraid of even going to his office and meeting his colleagues. Sanjay was rapidly sinking into the depths of a loneliness induced melancholic depression – to the point of no return. The end of the road was in sight.
“The most important thing is the ability to loosen and get rid of something that is worrying you, and forget your sorrow,” advised Anand, Sanjay’s boss. “Life must go on. What you need is break, a change of scene. There is a technical seminar in Chennai next week. I am sending you to attend it. It should be of professional interest to you – in fact, I have intimated the organizers that you shall be giving a lecture regarding the successful project you completed last year. Get busy and banish your sorrow.”
“It’s easy to mouth platitudes,” thought Sanjay. He tried to prepare the lecture but could not concentrate. He had been totally overcome by feelings of hopelessness and a sense of failure. He had lost his self–confidence. He looked at his watch – it was six o’clock in the evening; his train was at eight o’clock . The thought of traveling, facing so many people at the seminar and delivering the lecture – all these induced a strange fear in him. He was overcome by phobia. In his frustration, for the first time in his life, he began to drink. Trying to escape from reality, he drank quite a lot – almost the whole bottle of whisky. He could vaguely remember Anand taking him to the railway station and helping him to the train. Anand’s parting words had an ominous ring about them, “It’s your last chance Sanjay. To get hold of yourself.”
Sanjay entered the auditorium and stood near the door, his eyes adjusting to the darkness. Slowly things began to come into view. He was late. The seminar was already in progress. The auditorium was small and compact. Sanjay sat down on a vacant seat in the last row and surveyed his surroundings. His eyes had adjusted themselves to the subdued lighting and he could see clearly now. Most of the participants appeared to be professionals, smartly dressed in formal suits, with a sprinkling of academics easily distinguishable by their patent attire of bush-shirts and sandals. There was also small group of women, dressed in formal saris, sitting diagonally opposite across the aisle.
As he surveyed the group, his eyes suddenly lit upon a stunningly attractive woman wearing a blue sari. She was a real beauty. She radiated an extraordinary sensuousness; of such a degree that Sanjay just could not take his eyes off her. He felt as if his eyes had locked on her face. She exuded a captivating aura about her, which ravished his now hungry eyes. He feasted his eyes on her lovely face. She looked pristine – so fresh, so pure. He was oblivious of his surroundings; he only had eyes on her. Sanjay was in a haze of delight. For the first time since his wife’s death did Sanjay feel completely relaxed; once again, he was in harmony with himself.
At first, he didn’t notice the lights being switched on. He had been completely absorbed by her radiant sensuousness, almost in a trance. As she got up from her seat, the woman turned and looked at him. Their eyes met. He hoped that his genuine adoration had not gone unnoticed. She gave him a glance that could have meant anything. No response. He was disappointed. But he was not going to give up so easily.