SUGAR TREATMENT FOR A BULLY – NAVY STYLE – Humor in Uniform

May 25, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HOW TO DEAL WITH A BULLY – NAVY STYLE – Humor in Uniform.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HOW TO DEAL WITH A BULLY  NAVY STYLE 
The Sugar Treatment
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This happened long back – almost 40 years ago – in the 1970’s.

On our ship – there was a bully – a senior Lieutenant – let’s call him “J”.

Now – a Naval Lieutenant is equivalent to an Army Captain – and those days – you remained in the rank of Lieutenant for 8 long years before you were promoted to Lieutenant Commander – equivalent to Major.

And – after you were commissioned as a Navy Officer – you became a Lieutenant after 3 years – so it took you 11 years to become a Lieutenant Commander.

But – suddenly in the year 2006 – the AVS Cadre Review Bonanza changed everything – and now everyone becomes a Lieutenant Commander in just 6 years service – and the prestige of rank has been diluted.

Those days – on a ship – except for the Captain – and Heads of Department (XO, EO, LO) – all officers were Lieutenants – and – of course – sometimes there were a few under-trainee Sub Lieutenants and Midshipmen too.

As I told you earlier – “J” was the senior-most Lieutenant in the Wardroom – and there was “K”  the Senior Engineer Officer – who was the junior-most recently promoted Lieutenant.

“J” was more than 7 years senior to “K”.

“J” was a Cadet Entry Executive Officer with an imposing personality and intimidating manner – he was one of those ‘quintessential’ haughty puffed-up “macho type” ex-Military School, ex-NDA officers – who thought they wereprima donnas in uniform.

“K” was a rather meek looking docile Direct Entry Technical Officer – who had been directly commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant under the University Entry Scheme.

The contrast between the two Lieutenants was stark.

“J” was a terror on the ship – as he moved around with a pompous swagger – full of bluster and bombast – bullshitting the hell out of anyone who came in his way.

“K” was a simple unpretentious officer – a thorough professional engineer – who kept to himself – and who quietly performed his duties efficiently – and did his job in a humble modest sort of way.

“J” was a sadistic bully – he had a terrible reputation of ragging and physically abusing his juniors – and one heard all sorts of scuttlebutt about his brutal exploits – maybe bilge – but the gossip was so scary – that most officers kept clear of him – and the Sub Lieutenants and Midshipmen were especially terrified of him as they heard wicked rumors that “J” was a bum bandit on the prowl for peg boys.

“J” made life hell for sailors too – they steered clear of him – and – in fact – some even avoided going on liberty when “J” was on duty – in order to avoid encountering“J” on the gangway – and risk the danger of being put on charge for some trivial issue.

“J” took special delight in bullying “K”.

Maybe “J” had some wicked ulterior designs for which he was trying to subjugate“K”.

Or maybe “J” liked to target “K” because he was a University Entry Officer – because“J” thought himself to be a “cat’s whiskers” cadet entry officer and “K”a lowly “poltroon” who did not deserve to wear stripes.

Once – in full view of sailors – “J” belittled “K” by publicly shouting at him: “We cadet entry officers go through the full tough grind – I got screwed for 6 years in military school – then we were rogered for 3 years at NDA – then toiled as a sea cadet – sweated it out as a midshipman – and then I got my stripe after so many years of jiggering – and you ‘dope entry’ buggers just walk into the Navy with a stripe on your shoulder.”

“Sir – how does entry matter – once we are in the navy – we are all equal officers,” retorted “K”.

“You consider yourself equal to me? My foot! You are a bloody sissy who can’t even take charge of your sailors – just look at the way your engine-room sailors move around in a bloody slothful manner – you are a bloody disgrace to uniform – a sissy with zero OLQ…”

“K” felt humiliated at being insulted in front of sailors.

But he did not want to get into an argument with “J”.

So “K” walked away – and he went straight to his boss – the Engineer Officer (EO) – and complained to him: “Sir – ever since I have come – “J” has been talking to me in an insulting manner – and today he humiliated me in front of sailors…”

“Go and tell the XO – he is “J”’s HOD,” the Engineer Officer said – as he had no guts to admonish “J”.

“K” went to the XO  and he complained to the XO about “J”.

“Go to your EO – he is your HOD,” the XO said.

“Sir – I had gone to the Engineer Officer – he told me to come to you since you were the HOD of “J”…”

“Don’t act like a bloody sissy and come crying to me – you are an officer – so you sort out your own problems yourself…?” the XO bullshitted “K”.

The fact of the matter was that both the EO and XO were scared of “J” – thought they outranked him.

As I told you earlier – “J” had an imposing personality.

And to add to his “macho” image was his impressive motorcycle.

Yes – “J” had a mighty Bullet Motorcycle which was his prized possession.

“J” was passionate about his motorcycle.

“J” had “jazzed up” his motorcycle with all sorts of glitzy adornments, ornate accoutrements and fancy gadgets – shining electroplated exteriors, klaxon horns, showy lights, special wheels etc – in a word – his motorcycle looked magnificent.

On Sunday morning – at around 11 AM – “J” was seen kicking his motorcycle and driving off in style.

As usual – “J” had painted the town red on Saturday evening till past midnight – slept late on Sunday morning – woken up around 10 AM – hurriedly got ready – and as per his Sunday routine – “J” was on his way to the Racecourse for the Sunday races.

“K” smiled cannily as he saw “J” drive off on his motorcycle – and he too decided to go ashore.

“K” did not have a vehicle – so he would walk down to Colaba – spend some time browsing on the Causeway – have a Biryani lunch at Olympia – and then maybe see a movie at Regal or Eros – then spend the evening loafing on Marine Drive.

When “K” returned on board ship in the evening – he saw that “J” had lined up the OOD and the duty watch sailors near the gangway – and “J” was shouting at them furiously.

“J” seemed to be in a foul mood – so “K” quietly went down to his cabin.

Later – when “K” went down to the Wardroom for dinner – he found the OOD sitting there.

“Sir – why was Lieutenant “J” shouting on the gangway – did he lose money at the races?” “K” asked the OOD.

“His bloody motorcycle packed-up – the engine conked-off and stalled while he was driving to the racecourse…” the OOD said.

“So what’s he so angry about – any machine can fail – surely he can get his bike repaired…” “K” said.

“It’s not so simple – “J” said that his motorcycle engine has seized – the entire system has got fouled up – the mechanic said the bike required complete engine overhaul or maybe even a new engine – and it’s going to cost him a fortune…” the OOD said.

“Oh – so that’s why Lieutenant “J” is so upset…” “K” said.

“That’s just one part of the story – actually “J” is quite well-off – so money is not a problem for him – the bigger issue is that his pride has been hurt – “J”thinks it is sabotage…”

“Sabotage…?”

“The mechanic told him someone put some mucky stuff into the petrol tank – probably sugar…” the OOD said.

“Sugar…? So what happens if you put sugar in a motorcycle’s petrol tank…?”“K”asked innocently.

“You tell me – you are the engineer on board this ship – aren’t you…” the OOD said to “K”.

“K” remained silent.

The OOD looked at “K” and said, “Well – in the Wardroom we are not supposed to stand drinks to fellow officers – but I think I’ll buy you a drink – you certainly deserve one…”

“Drink…? Me…?” “K” said.

“Well – two unrelated incidents have happened – first – the steward reported to me that a bag of sugar is missing from the pantry – and then – the quartermaster told me that you went ashore early in the morning – at around 5:30 – even before ‘Hands-Call’ – and he saw you walking on the jetty – near the vehicle park…” the OOD said.

“K” said nothing – for some time he remained silent.

Then “K” smiled at the OOD and said, “I think I’ll have that drink…”

“Sure – but you better be careful – that bugger “J” is sure to find out – and then he will have a go at you – so keep a sharp lookout…” the OOD said.

“Let him find out – he won’t do anything – “J” is a bloody bully – and bullies are cowards…” “K” said.

“What do you mean…?”

“Have you read ‘Godfather’…? Or seen the movie…?”

“Yes…”

“Do you remember the horrific ‘horse-head’ scene – where the movie producer finds the bloody severed head of his horse in his bed…?”

“Yes…”

“And the arrogant producer is so shaken up that he submits to Godfather Don Corleone’s request – doesn’t he…?

“So…?”

“Well – this time I fingered his motorcycle – next time – who knows what will happen…? And “J” knows this…” “K” said.

The way the meek-looking Senior Engineer “K” spoke these words in a soft chilling tone – the OOD felt a tremor of trepidation himself.

On a ship – it is difficult to keep anything secret.

Scuttlebutt spreads fast – and soon the ship’s grapevine was abuzz with the story of how the docile looking unpretentious Senior Engineer “K” had deflated the Haughty Gasbag Lieutenant “J” by giving him the ‘sugar treatment’…”

To cut a long story short – from then on – the ‘Pompous’ Lieutenant “J” kept clear of the ‘Coy’ Lieutenant “K” – and everyone on the ship treated Lieutenant “K” with healthy respect and admiration.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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 and all stories in this blog are 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


This story titled SUGAR TREATMENT was written by me Vikram Karve in January 2015 and posted by me online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 16 April 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/25/2015 11:37:00 PM

Humor in Uniform – THE HAPPY NAVY – Hilarious “Memoir” from My Wonderful Navy Life

May 25, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – THE BOOZY NAVY.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

Here is a “memoir” from the happiest days of my life – my early days in the Navy.

This hilarious story happened more than 37 years ago – in the 1970’s …

THE BOOZY NAVY
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


TÊTE-À-TÊTE

Lieutenant “Z” was transferred to Kolkata (or Calcutta – as the city was called in the 1970’s – but I will use the present name Kolkata in this story).

The “powers-that-be” thought Lieutenant “Z” would be very happy since Kolkata was his hometown.

But Lieutenant “Z” seemed very upset and he rushed to his ship’s Captain to get his transfer cancelled.

“We thought you would be happy – Kolkata is your hometown,” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to leave the ship…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Oh – it’s good to see that you are a true ‘sea-dog’ and you like the tough life at sea – but then – you have to go ashore…” the Captain said.

“But – Why – Sir…?” Lieutenant “Z” asked.

“See – you got your ‘watch-keeping ticket’ last year – and you have served for more than one year on board as a sea watch-keeping officer – and you will be due for your ‘Long Course’ after 2 years…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – I can spend these 2 years on board this ship – or some other ship – but I don’t want to go to Kolkata – especially in that shore appointment…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

The Captain was getting exasperated – so he said a bit angrily: “Look here Lieutenant “Z” – there is a bloody shortage of ships and sea billets – and we have plenty of young officers waiting for their watch-keeping tickets – so you will have to cool your heels ashore for 2 years till your ‘Long Course’ comes through…”

“Okay – Sir – if I have to go ashore – then please change my transfer to some other place – I do not wish to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“I just don’t understand you – what’s wrong with Kolkata – it is your hometown – you can be with your parents, family and friends – I personally talked to DOP to get you this appointment – your CO at Kolkata is my friend and he is an excellent officer – he will give you a thumping ACR…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to go to Kolkata…”

“Lieutenant “Z” – I am warning you – if you act funny – we will send to ‘Kala Pani’ in the Andaman…” the Captain said threateningly.

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…”

“Are you crazy…? Why don’t you want to go to Kolkata…? Have you some family problems…?” the Captain asked.

“Sir – Booze is expensive in Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said, matter-of-factly.

“What…? What do you mean ‘Booze is expensive in Kolkata’…? Is that the reason why you do not want to go there…?”

“Sir – the only worthwhile perk we get is ‘concessional liquor’ – that is why I want to remain on board ship so that I can enjoy ‘duty-free booze’ – but if I have to go ashore – please send me to a place where ‘Military Booze’ is cheap – Sir – the price of CSD Quota Liquor in Bengal is 3 times more expensive than the price out here in Maharashtra…” Lieutenant “Z” said.


(This story happened in the 1970’s – when CSD Quota Liquor was cheapest in Maharashtra. However – since tax concessions are given by State Governments – and local taxes/concessions keep changing from time to time – the situation may be quite different now – but even now – the prices of CSD Quota Liquor vary from state to state – so ‘Military Booze’ is cheaper in some states – and more expensive in others)

Now – after this brief aside – let us continue with the interesting tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain…


“So – you wanted to remain on board this ship so that you can enjoy cheap ‘duty-free booze’…?” the Captain asked.

“Yes – Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“And you even prefer to go to the Andamans because booze is cheaper there…?”

“Yes – Sir…”

“It seems that you joined the Navy to drink liquor…!”

“Yes – Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…?”

“Sir – the main reason I joined the ‘Boozy Navy’ was to enjoy the best of ‘duty-free’ booze – that is why I want to be on ships – but if I have to go ashore – the least I can do is to enjoy my full quota of CSD ‘Military Liquor’ at the cheapest possible rates…”

“Are you mad…? Are you saying that the only reason why people should join the defence services is to drink alcohol…? That means – according to you – teetotallers should not join the Navy – or the Military…?”

“Sir – I told you before – the only worthwhile perk we get in the defence services is ‘concessional liquor’ – so what is the point of wasting your life in the military if you are not going to enjoy this exclusive ‘Fauji Perk’ of ‘Military Booze’…? And if you don’t drink – if you are a teetotaller – you might as well take up a civilian job, live a comfortable life, and earn plenty of money…” Lieutenant “Z” pontificated.

“I am a strict teetotaller – I don’t touch alcohol…” the Captain said, “…are you saying that I am wasting my time in the Navy…?”

“Sir – just think of all the ‘Duty-Free’ Booze and CSD Quota Liquor you have missed out on in all these 25 years of your service…” Lieutenant “Z” said – with genuine regret in his eyes.

“You are a crazy bugger…! Just get out my cabin…” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.


EPILOGUE

Two things happened after this amusing tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain.

Firstly – the Captain picked up the phone and spoke to the DOP who was his course-mate.

The DOP had a big laugh when the Captain told him the reason why Lieutenant “Z” wanted his transfer changed.

Since there was no billet available in the Andamans (where booze was the cheapest those days) – DOP did the next best thing possible – and – Lieutenant “Z” was transferred as a Divisional Officer to NDA near Pune where the price of CSD Quota Liquor was the same as in Mumbai since both were in Maharashtra State.

Secondly – the Captain asked his steward to serve him a chilled can of premium imported beer (available dirt cheap at ‘duty-free’ rates on board ship).

This was his first sip of booze ever since he joined the Navy more than 25 years ago.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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 and All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

 

HOW “FAUJI” BRAINS WORK – “OUT OF THE BOX” THINKING – Humor in Uniform

May 24, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – “FAUJI” BRAIN – “OUT OF THE BOX” THINKING.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

“FAUJI” BRAIN – “OUT OF THE BOX” THINKING
Unforgettable Hilarious Vignettes from My Navy Life
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This happened more than 20 years ago – in the 1990s – when the Defence Services were suddenly afflicted with the “ISO virus”.

Everyone was bitten by the “Quality Bug” and suddenly became “quality conscious”.

The ISO Quality Management System was certainly relevant to industrial organizations – like Naval Dockyards.

But for most others – it was a fad – a craze to jump onto the “ISO Bandwagon”.

Getting the ISO Certification became a “status symbol” and a “feather in the cap” for the Head of the Organization.

Most of the top brass were quite clueless about ISO – but they insisted that units under their command obtain the “ISO Certified” Status Symbol – despite being told that the existing Naval Maintenance Management System was superior to the ISO Quality Management System (QMS).

The “ISO virus” infected the powers-that-be at IAT Pune too – and it was decided that IAT must get itself ISO Certified.

I expressed my dissent saying that IAT was running fine – IAT was an efficient organisation and it was recognized as a centre of excellence – and hence IAT did not need ISO Certification.

My boss gave me a curious smile – and he said: “You better keep your thoughts to yourself. Once the boss has decided – ISO is going to happen – so you better like it or lump it.”

And then my boss looked at me triumphantly and delivered the coup de grace: “Dean has directed that you will the Officer-in-Charge for ISO implementation. So – it will be your job to ensure that IAT gets ISO Certification…”

“What…? Me…? Officer-in-Charge ISO…? Sir – I don’t even have a clue about ISO…” I protested.

“We know. That is why you are being nominated for the ISO Lead Auditor Course,” he said – and he handed me a folder containing details of the ISO Lead Auditor Course for which I was being nominated.

As I read the contents of the folder my low spirits turned into high spirits – it was quite a pricey one week residential course in a luxurious hotel in the nearby hill resort.

So – I was looking forward to an enjoyable week in a luxurious hotel at the salubrious hill station

When things are going fine – there is always a hitch.

Next morning the Dean called me and he said: “Lieutenant Colonel “X” wants to go for the ISO Lead Auditor Course.”

“But Lt Col “X” has put in his papers for premature retirement,” I said.
“I know. He wants to quit the army. That is why he wants to do the course. He says the ISO Lead Auditor Certificate will increase his “market value” and help him get a good job after he retires from service,” the Dean said.

“Sir – but how will his doing the ISO Lead Auditor Course be of any use to IAT…? Lieutenant Colonel “X” will do the course and he will retire. If I do the ISO Lead Auditor Course – I will use the knowledge I gain for getting ISO Certification and implementing ISO here in IAT,” I argued.

The Dean looked at me and said, “I have thought about all that. Here is the best solution. You want the knowledge – so you attend the course.Lieutenant Colonel “X” wants the certificate – so let him have the certificate…”

At first – I was taken aback on hearing the Dean’s words.

I thought he was joking – or gone crazy – or maybe I had not heard right – so I asked him: “Sir – are you saying that I have to attend the ISO Lead Auditor Course – but the certificate is to be issued in the name of Lieutenant Colonel “X”…?”  

“Exactly – so you will have the knowledge of a ISO Lead Auditor which you can use here to get ISO Certification for IAT – and Lieutenant Colonel “X” will have the certificate of being an ISO Lead Auditor which he can use to get a job in the civilian industry after he retires. A true “Win-Win” situation – isn’t it…?” the Dean said with a smile on his face.

“Sir – how is that possible? Attending the course is mandatory for getting the certificate…” I said.

“In India – anything is possible. It is called jugaad… You talk to the ISO guys and tell them to be a little flexible. Tell them that you will attend the course – but the ISO Lead Auditor Certificate is to be issued in the name of Lieutenant Colonel “X”. You are a bright officer and I am sure you can work it out – it will be a win-win situation that will satisfy everyone.”

I marvelled at the “Fauji” Dean’s “out of the box” thinking.

As he said – anything is possible in India by jugaad – but I did not have the guts to call up the ISO course organizers with this absurd proposition.

In the Defence Services – all issues are decided on the basis of seniority – and though I held the same rank as “X” – he was miles senior to me.

So – Lieutenant Colonel “X” went for the ISO Lead Auditor Course – and I am sure it helped him in his second innings after his retirement – since he retired soon after becoming a Certified ISO Lead Auditor – courtesy the Dean of IAT.

Of course – a few months later – I too did the ISO Lead Auditor Course.

In my case – unlike Lieutenant Colonel “X” for whom the ISO Lead Auditor Course was a “resettlement” course (to “rehabilitate” him in civil life) – I had to put the knowledge I gained in the course to good use in implementation of ISO Quality Management System in my organisation.

And how was ISO implemented in a crazy “multicultural” place like IAT…?

Well – that is another story which I will tell you some other time… 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


This story written by me Vikram Karve on 18 June 2014 and earlier Posted online by Vikram Karve at 6/18/2014 08:54:00 PM in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/24/2015 09:50:00 PM

POODLEFAKING – Flirt and Romance with Humor and Philosophy – A Love Story

May 24, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: PHILOSOPHICAL ROMANCING ON MARINE DRIVE – POODLEFAKING aka DOING NOTHING.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOUR ROMANCE PHILOSOPHY

PHILOSOPHICAL ROMANCING ON MARINE DRIVE POODLEFAKING aka DOING NOTHING
Short Fiction – A Lazy Mumbai Story
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Here is one of my Lazy Mumbai Stories.

I wrote this story more than 12 years ago, in the year 2003.

I spent six of the best years of my life in Mumbai. 

I was very lucky. 

I lived in a beautiful heritage building called Empress Court opposite the Oval. 

Every morning I woke up sharp at six to the chimes of the majestic clock on the University of Mumbai Rajabai Tower and I would be off to Marine Drive for my brisk morning jog cum walk from Churchgate to Chowpatty and back right till land’s end at Nariman Point. 

This morning walk on Marine Drive was for physical exercise.
 
Every evening – after returning from work – I would head towards Marine Drive again for another walk. 
 
This time it was to “DO NOTHING” – a leisurely walk to relax the mind – not exercise the body. 

The morning walk was to exercise the body – the evening walk was to relax the mind.

Just a unhurried stroll.

To admire the sunset as the sea swallowed up the orange sun.

To watch pretty young things (and the even prettier not-so-young things) head home from work.

To have a bite, peanuts, bhel, pani puri at the famous B-Road stall, sweet curds at Rustom near Churchgate or maybe even a green chilly ice cream at Bachellor’s opposite the chowpatty. 

It was during these glorious POODLEFAKING aka DOING NOTHING interregnums that the right side of my brain would take over and my mind would wander with interesting creative thoughts which, sometimes, would give birth to story, like this one – aptly titled POODLEFAKING aka DOING NOTHING.
 
So here is this story once again.

On request from one of my like-minded friends, a walking partner on many of my lazy Mumbai walks, let me pull out from my creative writing archives, one of my all time favourites, a fiction short story I wrote many years ago – a lazy Mumbai story set on Marine Drive – POODLEFAKING aka DOING NOTHING. 

Remember, I wrote this story more than 12 years ago, in the year 2003 – when I was a “busy” man.

Now – after retirement – I can spend my entire time “doing nothing”…
 
Hope you enjoy this old-fashioned romance.

Do tell me if you like it.
 

POODLEFAKING aka DOING NOTHING – story by Vikram Karve

“What do you do…?” she asks.
 
“Nothing…!” I say.
 
“What do you mean ‘NOTHING’…?” she asks, “You must be doing something…!”
 
“I do nothing…!” I say emphatically.
 
“Come on Vinay, stop kidding. I know you work somewhere.”
 
“Work…? You asked me what I do, not where I work…! I work at the Bureau of Statistics.”
 
“Bureau of Statistics…? What statistics…?”
 
“Vital Statistics.”
 
“Vital Statistics…?” she asks with her eyebrows arched in curious surprise.
 
“No, No. It’s not what you’re thinking. I meant statistics that are vital,” I say, trying to correct the faux pas. “We compile, collate, consolidate, analyze and disseminate various vital statistics.”
 
“Wow…! How interesting…! Tell me more.”
 
“You can say that I am an obsolescent man dealing with obsolete things.”
 
“Obsolescent man…? Obsolete things…? I don’t understand. Where exactly do you work…?”
 
“I’m in the smallpox section.”
 
“Smallpox…?”
 
“Yes. Smallpox. I maintain statistics pertaining to smallpox.”
 
“That’s funny…! I thought smallpox was eradicated long back.”
 
“Smallpox may have been eradicated, but my office is still going strong,” I say proudly. It is true – sometimes the ends vanish, but the means proliferate and flourish till eternity.
 
“I can’t believe it…! If there’s no smallpox around, why maintain statistics…?”
 
“If you don’t maintain statistics how will the world come to know that something has vanished, disappeared or become obsolete…?”
 
“Oh, so you work on vital statistics for things that are obsolete…?”
 
“Yes. Obsolete…! Earlier I worked in the typewriters statistics section and it was we who discovered that typewriters had become obsolete the moment we had nothing to do…!”
 
“But what do you do whole day…?”
 
“Nothing…!” I answer emphatically. “I told you I do nothing, didn’t I…?”
 
“Don’t you feel bored, restless, doing nothing whole day…? Soon you’ll go crazy…!”
 
“Bored, restless, crazy…? Not at all. Thanks to my work, I have developed the ability to savor long hours of leisure – a gift most of you so-called ‘busy’ people have lost, or probably never acquired.”
 
Yes indeed, my dear Reader – I do nothing. 

That’s what I love to do the most – that’s what I do best – and that’s what I do almost all the time – ‘Nothing’…!
 
Well, actually, I love doing nothing because for most of the time I have nothing to do. 

I have plenty of leisure – plenty of time to do nothing – which is rare in a place like Mumbai – and I am always busy doing nothing.

My life’s leitmotif is that famous epigram of Chang Cha’ao:
 
Only those who take leisurely what the people of the world are busy about can be busy about what the people of the world take leisurely
 
I told you I have the ability to enjoy and savor long hours of leisure – a talent which is quite rare in today’s hectic world where everyone is busy running their own rat-race.

I am lucky to enjoy so much leisure – for I am not running in any rat-race.

I may not be a rat – but I am a man of no importance – neither handsome – nor wealthy – nor successful – nor powerful – nor famous – nor – indeed – particularly well endowed.

How can I describe myself…?

The most apt word may be ‘anonymous’
 
Oh yes – I am an ordinary man who looks so undistinguished and commonplace – that you won’t notice me in a crowd – or even if there is no crowd – for I just blend into the surroundings. 

And in my anonymity lies my power – my freedom – to do nothing.

You may call me an idler, a loafer, a loser, a failure – but I just don’t care – as long as I can pleasurably wallow, revel and rejoice in my anonymity – ‘doing nothing’.

Indeed – anonymity is a sine qua non for my ‘doing nothing’ philosophy of life.
 
Hey, we have digressed…! 

Enough of pontification – now let me get back to the story…


FLASHBACK – (How the tete-a-tete with Roopa started…) 


Let’s return to the conversation I am having with the beautiful lady and let me tell you how it all started.
 
One evening I leave my office, after a busy day of doing nothing, cross through the Horniman Circle garden, walk down Vir Nariman Road, past Flora Fountain, cross MG road at Hutatma Chowk, pick up a vada pav at Ashok Satam’s stall next to the CTO, stroll leisurely towards Churchgate while the sea of humanity rushes by like a deluge, fortify myself with a refreshing cup of Irani tea at Stadium restaurant and then I sit on the parapet on Marine Drive staring vacantly at the tranquil sea doing what I do best – Nothing…!
 
“Hi…!” says a melodious feminine voice shaking me out of my reverie. I turn around. 

It’s Roopa, my classmate from college. 

She is quite a looker and I feast my eyes on her in a yearning sort of way which is worth a hundred compliments.
 
She blushes at the genuine admiration in my eyes and says, “It’s so nice to see you, Vinay. After so many years. And here of all the places…!”
 
“I like this place. It’s one of my favorites. I come here most evenings,” I say.
 
“And what were you doing sitting and staring blankly at the sea like a lost case…?”
 
“Nothing.”
 
“Nothing…? You spend every evening here doing nothing…?”
 
“Yes,” I say. “Of course, once in a while I go to the Gateway, or land’s end at Nariman Point, or the Chowpatty side, or even Hanging Gardens. But this is my favorite place for hanging out and doing nothing and most evenings I am here on Marine Drive.”
 
“What do you do…?” she asks.
 
“Nothing…!” I say. 
 

(And then we have the conversation about my work that I have described earlier in the beginning, at the start of my story – I am repeating the conversation for the sake of continuity …)


“What do you do…?” Roopa asks.
 
“Nothing…!” I say.
 
“What do you mean ‘NOTHING’…?” she asks, “You must be doing something…!”
 
“I do nothing…!” I say emphatically.
 
“Come on Vinay, stop kidding. I know you work somewhere.”
 
“Work…? You asked me what I do, not where I work…! I work at the Bureau of Statistics.”
 
“Bureau of Statistics…? What statistics…?”
 
“Vital Statistics.”
 
“Vital Statistics…?” she asks with her eyebrows arched in curious surprise.
 
“No, No. It’s not what you are thinking. I meant statistics that are vital,” I say, trying to correct the faux pas. “We compile, collate, consolidate, analyze and disseminate various vital statistics.”
 
“Wow…! How interesting…! Tell me more.”
 
“You can say that I am an obsolescent man dealing with obsolete things.”
 
“Obsolescent man…? Obsolete things…? I don’t understand. Where exactly do you work…?”
 
“I’m in the smallpox section.”
 
“Smallpox…?”
 
“Yes. Smallpox. I maintain statistics pertaining to smallpox.”
 
“That’s funny…! I thought smallpox was eradicated long back.”
 
“Smallpox may have been eradicated, but my office is still going strong,” I say proudly. It is true – sometimes the ends vanish, but the means proliferate and flourish till eternity.
 
“I can’t believe it…! If there’s no smallpox around, why maintain statistics…?”
 
“If you don’t maintain statistics how will the world come to know that something has vanished, disappeared or become obsolete…?”
 
“Oh, so you work on vital statistics for things that are obsolete…?”
 
“Yes. Obsolete…! Earlier I worked in the typewriters statistics section and it was we who discovered that typewriters had become obsolete the moment we had nothing to do…!”
 
“But what do you do whole day…?”
 
“Nothing…!” I answer emphatically. “I told you I do nothing, didn’t I…?”
 
“Don’t you feel bored, restless, doing nothing whole day…? Soon you’ll go crazy…!”
 
“Bored, restless, crazy…? Not at all. Thanks to my work, I have developed the ability to savor long hours of leisure – a gift most of you so-called ‘busy’ people have lost, or probably never acquired.” 
 
“Aren’t you happy to see me…?” she asks.
 
“Of course I am happy to see you,” I say looking directly into her large brown eyes.
 
“You’ve told me everything about yourself – but you haven’t asked me anything about me,” she says.
 
“I’m no nosy parker. I don’t like to be too inquisitive,” I say.
 
“Inquisitive…? But you can be a bit curious, can’t you…? Don’t you want to know about me…? What all I’ve achieved since college, what I’m doing, my work – aren’t you interested in me…?” she asks.
 
“I was always interested in you. Don’t you remember…? It was you who never gave me any bhav. You used me as a messenger to carry love letters to your boyfriends, that’s all,” I say.
 
“Please don’t say that. You know you were so sweet, that you were the only boy we all girls could confide in, talk to freely, knowing you would keep our secrets safe,” she says.
 
“Okay Roopa, confide in me. Tell me, what are doing here…?”
 
“I’ve come for my visa. They said it’d take an hour. So I just came here to kill time.”
 
“Visa…? Here in Churchgate…? I thought the visa office was in Breach Candy or somewhere there…!”
 
“That’s the US Consulate. I’ve already got that. The UK visa office is here. In the Brabourne Stadium building, near Rustom Ice Cream.”
 
“Ah…! Rustoms…! Come on Roopa, let’s have some ice cream. Or sweet curds. Or whatever you like.”
 
“Let’s eat something first. That place looks good,” she says pointing to the Pizzeria, opposite the Marine Drive, where Talk of the Town was once there. “We’ll sit there and talk. And have some pizza.”
 
I order a huge special pizza, she orders a small one, and she begins talking about herself.

I am easy to talk to, for I listen well. You’ll understand what I mean once you talk to me. I know when to egg you on… by a subtle gesture, an encouraging look, or an appreciative word of genuine interest. It’s all about building rapport…sensory acuity…matching and mirroring…if you’ve done NLP you know what I mean. Believe me… I have the knack… and when you talk to me your words will just come tumbling out.
 
Roopa tells me everything, about her Masters in Computers after we graduated in Maths, her natural talent in Software, her meteoric success, her globetrotting projects, her career rise from job to job, from Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, to her present job in a top IT company in Pune. And also about her recent marriage to Deepak, another hotshot IT professional working in the same company as hers. She shows me Deepak’s photo – yes he does look an IT Nerd, no doubt about it…
 
“You know Vinay,” she says excitedly, “I am on the verge of breaking the glass ceiling. This project, the next one year, is crucial, it’s a do or die situation for me. If I succeed, my life is made forever. It will be a career breakthrough for me and there will be no looking back. I’ll be able to set up my own company. Maybe move to the States, Seattle.”
 
I nod and focus on my pizza.
 
“It’s going to be very hectic. US, UK, Europe, Far East, Middle East, everywhere – I’ll be globetrotting all over, living out of a suitcase.”
 
“Great,” I say. “When do you take off…? Tonight…?”
 
“I wish I could, but there’s a small hitch.”
 
“Hitch…?”
 
“I’m pregnant.”
 
“Fantastic…!” I say… but from the expression on her face I instantly realize that I have said the wrong thing, so I look down into my pizza and pretend to dig deep.
 
“It’s all wrong. The timing, I mean,” she says. “I’m so meticulous at work… I just don’t know how I could be so careless in my personal life and mess up everything.”
 
I say nothing. 

She wants to hear silence, silent approbation, and that is what she will hear. 

That’s the trick… always say something that the person you are talking to wants to hear… otherwise just keep quiet.
 
“I have to do something fast…!”
 
“You asked your husband…?”
 
“Are you mad…? The moment Deepak comes to know, he’ll start jumping with joy for having proven his virility. Everyone will come to know. And it will be curtains for me as far as this project is concerned.”
 
“You can still go, can’t you…?”
 
“It’s a one year project. The moment my MCP bosses hear I’m pregnant, they will have me out of the project straightaway. And my husband – he’ll be the happiest. As it is he is inwardly jealous that I’ve got this project… that I’ll succeed and leave him behind. I must do something fast, isn’t it…?”
 
My mouth full of pizza, I nod my head.
 
“Vinay, please tell me,” she says getting emotional, “my priorities are right, aren’t they…?”
 
“Yes, of course, your priorities are right,” I say emphatically.
 
“What do you say? Now, at this crucial juncture, I should focus on my career, don’t you think? I can always have all the children I want later… isn’t it?”
 
“Very right. Very right…!” I say. “Roopa, you’re absolutely right…!”
 
“Thanks, Vinay. I’m so lucky I met you. You are the only one I’ve told all this. Thanks for talking to me. You’ve helped me make my decision,” she says extending her hand on the table.
 
I place my hand on hers, press gently and look into her brown eyes.
 
“You’re such a darling, Vinay,” she says, “it’s so comforting to talk to you.”

And then tears well up in her eyes and suddenly she breaks down – oblivious of the surroundings. 

I move across, caress her head and gently soothe her.
 
We talk a bit – and I walk her down to Rustom for a ‘Sandwich Ice Cream’ – then she collects her visa – and I bid good bye to a reassured, composed and determined Roopa as she gets into a taxi on her way to catch a Volvo Bus to Pune.


(Some more of “poodle faking” aka “doing nothing”… with Nina)
 

Happy at having comforted Roopa – I leisurely stroll towards my favorite place on Marine Drive to continue my poodle faking aka ‘doing nothing’.

I rinse my lungs with the refreshing sea breeze – and suddenly I smell a strong whiff of perfume – or maybe it’s one of those overpowering deodorants!

I turn around. 
 
It is the ravishing Nina – another of my ‘achiever’ go-getter classmates – who – after completing her MBA – is now a hotshot in a top MNC.
 
I have seen her sometimes on Marine Drive – in her chauffeur driven car – driving home late evening from her office in Nariman Point to her home on Malabar Hill. 

Once she even stopped and asked me if I wanted a lift – an offer I politely declined.

Then Nina asked me what I was doing – and when I told her I was ‘doing nothing’ – she gave me an uncanny smile – and I notice that every time she sees me ‘doing nothing’ at my favorite spot on Marine Drive from her car – she looks at me in a curious sort of way.
 
Doing Nothing…?” Nina asks naughtily, her eyes dancing.
 
“Yes. How did you know…?”
 
“Come on, Vinay…! You told me once, remember…? I see you here almost every evening while driving home.”
 
“And you never stop to say hello…?”
 
“I don’t want to disturb your penance.”
 
“Penance…? That’s malapropism…!”
 
“Sorry. I mean your ‘doing nothing’ meditation.”
 
“That’s better…! And what makes you disturb my meditation now…?”
 
“I want to talk to you.”
 
“Okay. Talk.”
 
“Not here. Too many people here. Let’s go to some quiet place where we can be alone.”
 
“Hanging Gardens…? Remember our favorite bench in the secluded corner?”
 
“Okay. But don’t do anything naughty…!”
 
“Let’s go. Where is your car…?”
 
“I let it go and I walked down from my office. Didn’t want the driver getting too curious.”
 
“Okay, I’ll get a cab. Hey, why not just walk down Marine Drive…? Walking and talking – it wouldn’t look suspicious.”
 
“Okay,” she says, “let’s walk and talk.”

And we walk and we talk.
 
Being a ‘facts and figures’ finance person – Nina doesn’t beat about the bush – but she comes straight to the point.
 
“I’m pregnant…” she announces.
 
I suppress my emotion. 

This is too much for one evening. 

First Roopa is pregnant – and now Nina.

Coincidence, serendipity, I don’t know what – or maybe it’s pregnancy season.
 
This time I am careful not to say anything.
 
“Aren’t you going to congratulate me?” she asks.
 
“Of course. Congratulations!” I say.
 
“You’re the first one I’ve told. I just got the report this evening.”
 
“Your husband…? You didn’t tell your husband…?”
 
“No.”
 
“Oh my God…! Is the father of your baby someone else…?”
 
“Shut up…!”
 
“I’m sorry. But you must tell your husband immediately.”
 
“And he will immediately rush me to the nearest abortionist…!”
 
“What…?”
 
“We took all the precautions, but it’s happened. I want the baby.”
 
“Of course you must have the baby,” I say.
 
“I must. Isn’t it…? What do you feel – I must have the baby – isn’t it…?”
 
“Of course you must have the baby. But why doesn’t your husband want the baby…?”
 
“I told him that when I have a baby – I am going to quit my job – at least take a long break to bring up my child. That’s the right thing to do – isn’t it…?”
 
“Oh yes – of course that’s the right thing to do.”
 
“I feel being a full time mother is more important. At least when the baby is small – isn’t it…?”
 
“Of course being a full time mother is most important – especially when the baby is small. You must take care of yourself from right now. Come on – I’ll call a taxi. You shouldn’t strain yourself so much.”
 
“How sweet of you…! But just let’s sit there by the sea for some time…”
 
“Tell me – why doesn’t your husband want you to have a baby now…?”
 
“Because he knows I will quit my job.”
 
“So…?”
 
“Who is going to pay the EMI for the luxurious penthouse apartment he wants to book…?”
 
“Penthouse Apartment…? It can wait. The baby is more important.”
 
“That is precisely what I’ have been saying since we got married.”
 
“So…?”
 
“He feels we should first have all the material things – all the comforts – before we have a baby.”
 
“Your husband has got his priorities wrong.”
 
“He’s wrong – isn’t it…?”
 
“Yes – he is wrong. And you are right…”
 
“So I should go ahead with the baby – isn’t it…?”
 
“Of course.”
 
“And I should quit my job…?”
 
“Of course you should quit your job for the sake of your baby. Nina – you go and tell your husband right away and put your foot down. Tell him: ‘The baby takes priority – the penthouse apartment can come later’…” I say firmly to Nina.
 
“I will, I will – of course I will – I will tell him the moment I reach home…” Nina says – looking happy and emboldened.
 
“You must do what your conscience tells you. Listen to your inner voice. Be the strong girl like you were in college,” I say.
 
Nina gives me a genuine smile of affection and she says, “I’m so glad I talked to you, Vinay. Thanks for helping me make my decision.”
 
We sit for some time by the sea at Chowpatty at the end of Marine Drive and marvel at the spectacle of the sun being swallowed by the sea.

Then I walk Nina to a taxi – and she leaves after giving me a warm hug.

I walk down Marine Drive in the twilight and reflect.

Roopa and Nina. 

What contrasts…!

I loved talking to them.

I love to talk to anyone who wants to talk to me.

Talking to someone who needs comforting seems to make my own troubles go away 


EPILOGUE

Dear Reader: Do you agree?

Sometimes – when you are feeling low – if you talk to someone who needs comforting for her troubles – you find that you feel better – and forget your own problems.

Yes – Talking to someone who needs comforting can make your own troubles go away

Do comment and let us know your views.

Till then – HAPPY POODLEFAKING aka DOING NOTHING

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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. All stories in this blog are 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


An Updated and Revised Version of My Story POODLEFAKING written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2003 and posted by me online a number of times on my various creative writing blogs including at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/pood… and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… andhttp://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 

karvediat.blogspot.in

5/24/2015 12:53:00 PM

HOW I BECAME A HOUSEHUSBAND – A Story of Marriage “QUID PRO QUO”

May 21, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

QUID PRO QUO
Story of a Marriage
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

QUID PRO QUO – a story by Vikram Karve

She: Why did you reject me?

He: Because I do not want a working wife.

She: Is that the only reason?

He: Yes.

She: So – otherwise – you like me?

He: Yes – I like you.

She: My parents are very upset that you rejected me.

He: Even my parents are angry with me – they liked you a lot.

She: So – the only reason you don’t want to marry me is because I work.

He: Yes. I told you that before.

She: Why?

He: Because I want a full time housewife who will look after me and our children. I don’t want nannies to look after our children when they are small. And later – I don’t want our children to come back from school to an empty home – their mother must be there to welcome them. And – most important – I want my wife to welcome me home with a cup of tea when I come home from work in the evening.

She: So you want me to give up my career permanently? Won’t all my professional qualifications be wasted if I have to just sit at home? I might as well have done a course in Home Science.

He: That is why I feel that marriage between us is not practicable. You want to pursue a full-time career – and I want a full-time housewife.

She: You are a big MCP – but I like you – so I am willing to compromise – if you are also ready for a little quid pro quo.

He: I also like you – so tell me how we can work it out.

She: I will take a sabbatical from my career for 10 years – maybe more – and I will be a full-time housewife and mother. Then – we will review the situation.

He: Okay.

And so – they got married.

12 YEARS LATER

She: Do you remember the conversation we had just before we got married about you wanting a full-time housewife – after which I took a sabbatical from my career for looking after you and our children?

He: Yes – of course I remember.

She: We are married for 12 years now – I have dutifully followed you everywhere on all your postings and been a full-time housewife. I have looked after you – and I have brought up both our children well – one is 11 – the other is 9 – and both are doing well in school.

He: Yes – that’s true.

She: Now it is time for a ‘review’ – a quid pro quo.

He: Review…? Quid Pro Quo…?

She: I have decided to start working again – to revive my career – in fact – I have received a very attractive job offer – very promising career prospects and excellent pay package.

He: That’s good.

She: Yes – that’s good. But you will have to quit your job.

He: Why should I quit my job?

She: Because I want a full-time househusband.

He: Househusband?

She: Yes. I want a full-time househusband. Remember – you wanted a full-time housewife to look after you and the children. You wanted your wife to welcome you home with a cup of tea in the evening when you came back from work – and you did not want the children to come back to an empty home after school. Now – I want the same things – a full-time househusband who will welcome me home with a cup of tea when I come home from work in the evening – and who looks after the children too.

He: I hope you are not serious? You want me to quit my job and become a full-time househusband?

She: Of course I am serious. I want you to quit your job and become a full-time househusband.

And so – I quit my job and became a full-time househusband.

This evening – after doing all the housework – I welcomed my children home – when they came back from school – gave them a snack – and am supervising their homework.

And soon – my wife will come home from work – and I will welcome her with a hot cup of tea.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/21/2015 11:39:00 AM

BOOZE LIKE QUALITIES (BLQ) – A Vital OLQ (Officer Like Quality) – Humor in Uniform

May 20, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Humor in Uniform

OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES (OLQ) – DO YOU HAVE BOOZE OLQ
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

DO YOU HAVE BOOZE OLQ ?

The Navy taught me many things.

One of the things I learnt in the Navy was that an Officer must have “Booze OLQ”

Let me delve into my “Humor in Uniform” Archives – and pull out this post on the subject – for you – once again – one of my select writings from my “The Art of Drinking Alcohol” Series.

Cheers – Enjoy !!!

THE EFFECTS OF DRINKING ALCOHOL

Alcohol does different things to different people.

Alcohol opens you up.

Alcohol reduces inhibitions.

A few drinks loosen you up and help release your inner pent-up emotions.

Alcohol helps you express feelings which you may have suppressed within you – knowingly or unknowingly.

Alcohol helps bring out what is hidden within you.

If you are happy inside – after a few drinks you will start physically expressing your happiness boisterously and outwardly by laughing, cheer and bonhomie.

When you are in high spirits – you will become more talkative – more expansive and more expressive.

Under the influence of alcohol – you may even articulate your secret unexpressed love – and you become overly romantic and amorous, maybe even sexually expressive.

Alcohol also makes it possible to discover the hidden talents of a person.

Alcohol can help unleash your latent creativity.

You may have noticed that some persons become more creative after imbibing a drink or two – since alcohol unleashes your inhibitions – and releases the music, the poetry, the art, and the creativity hidden within you.

That is why alcohol flows freely during parties and celebrations – since alcohol helps dissolve the walls of inhibitions, self-consciousness and reticence and helps release inhibitions – and amplifies inner emotions, talents, passions, sentiments – inner happiness becomes outer happiness – and the environment is filled with cheer and bonhomie.

But the converse is also true.

By reducing inhibitions – alcohol may bring out the worst in you – by facilitating the release of pent-up negative emotions like anger, envy, dejection, despondency, frustration – and these unleashed amplified negative emotions may result in undesirable, unpleasant and even disastrous consequences.

Have you noticed how – after a few drinks – some people get violent, argumentative, rude – or sometimes melancholic, moody, sullen, depressed, unsociable…

I have always believed in the dictum:

If you want to know the true character of a man – get him drunk.

Once a man is drunk – what is hidden inside him will come out – and his true inner self will be revealed.

And this certainly applies to women who drink too.

During my younger days in the Navy  – I was quite wary of persons who did not drink.

I remember those golden words engraved on the walls of a Navy Bar:

DO NOT TRUST A MAN WHO DOES NOT DRINK

The fact of the matter is that alcohol can bring out the best in you.

But alcohol can also bring out the worst in you.

In the Navy – and in the Army and Air Force too – as an essential part of Service Etiquette and Social Graces – an Officer is required to have “Booze OLQ”

Let me tell you a story to illustrate what I mean by “Booze OLQ”…

THE PICNIC – A Story by Vikram Karve

I once knew an officer who used to get very nasty and quarrelsome after a few drinks.

Of course I am not going to tell you his real name.

So let’s call him “John”.

Our newly arrived Boss wanted to have a picnic with all officers and families.

So – we decided to have a beach picnic on a Sunday – and I was told to organize the picnic.

I intentionally saw to it that John was not invited to the picnic.

A day before the picnic I briefed the boss regarding the arrangements – transportation, recreation, music, dance, party games, tombola, watersports, fun for children, restrooms and shacks for ladies and gents, bar and food arrangements, seaside barbeque, gifts and presents, everything…

It was going to be a very enjoyable picnic and we all were going to have a fabulous time.

The boss seemed quite happy.

Then he saw the guest list.

“I don’t see John’s name here,” the boss remarked, “I want all officers and families to attend the picnic – why is John and his family not coming?”

“He has not been invited,” I said.

“John has not been invited? Why? Who took this decision?” my boss asked me.

“I took the decision not to invite John for the picnic, Sir. I feel it is best not to call John for the picnic,” I said.

“You took a decision not to call John for the picnic? Are you crazy? I can’t believe that you could do such a stupid thing. Who the hell do you think you are? What’s wrong with you?” the boss said, looking annoyed.

“I feel it would be best if John did not come for the picnic,” I said.

For a moment – my boss looked at me in disbelief.

Then he asked me, “May I know the reason why you don’t want John and his family to come for the picnic?”

“He cannot hold his drinks, Sir.”

“What do you mean?”

“Sir – there is going to be a lot of beer and alcoholic punches and drinks at the picnic. John invariably gets drunk on such occasions – and when he is drunk he gets very nasty and belligerent. He is sure to misbehave and pick up a fight with someone. Things will become very unpleasant – John will spoil the whole atmosphere and the picnic will get ruined…” I said.

My boss was furious and he admonished me, “Stop giving me bullshit. I have specially planned this picnic. All officers and their families are attending. How can you exclude John just because of your whims and fancies? Do you have any bloody social graces or not?”

“Sir please listen …” I tried to plead.

“You – shut up and listen to me. You will make sure that John and his family are present for the picnic. You will personally give him the invitation right now. Is that clear? Do you understand?” my boss commanded me.

“Aye Aye, Sir,” I said, sheepishly.

The beach picnic started on a bright note.

Everyone – the men, the women, the children, were thoroughly enjoying themselves – dancing, singing, playing, romping on the sands, frolicking on the beach, swimming the blue waters of the sea.

Then – things began to happen exactly as I had anticipated.

Around 11 in the morning – we opened the bar – and started enjoying our drinks – and I could see that John was drinking away and enjoying himself.

Just after noon – around 12:30 in the afternoon – John got drunk and nasty.

First – he picked up a fight with an officer over some trivial issue.

Then – he got abusive over not being served snacks properly.

John was staggering unsteadily on his feet – and shouting incoherently.

Seeing that John was visibly drunk and that he was making a fool of himself – his embarrassed wife tried to restrain him from drinking more beer.

She pleaded with him to stop drinking.

She told him that he had drunk too much alcohol already – and he was misbehaving.

But this enraged John even further – and he abused and slapped his wife in full public view.

Our Boss tried to reason with John and calm him down.

But John got belligerent and abusive with the Boss too – and threatened to hit him – and we had to rescue our Boss before John thrashed him.

The ladies and children were terrified.

John’s wife and children were in tears.

We were all disgusted – and there was an air of unpleasantness.

Then John picked up a bottle of Rum – and he walked to a secluded place on the beach.

John kept drinking – till he drank himself into a stupor.

In the evening – we had to carry a dead-drunk John into the boat.

John was in a terribly intoxicated state – in a semi-conscious inebriated condition – and beads of sweat formed over his face as he lay sprawled in the boat.

As the boat started sailing over the sea – rolling and pitching – John got violently sick – and he vomited all over the boat.

The disgusting stench of his vomit – and the sight of his vile hideous puke – made everyone sickeningly nauseous.

Everyone was disgusted.

The picnic was a disaster.

Next morning I went to my boss to show him the picnic accounts.

For some time we looked at each other in silence.

Then my boss said to me, “You were right about John. It would have been better if we had avoided calling him for the picnic. He ruined everything by his disgusting behaviour. I feel sorry for his wife and kids they must be feeling so embarrassed.”

“Sir I was going to tell you something more that day but you asked me to shut up…” I said.

“What? You were going to tell me something more that day? What was it? Speak up. Tell me now,” my boss said.

“Sir it was John’s wife who told me not to invite them for the picnic,” I said.

“What nonsense are you talking? Why should John’s wife not want to come for the picnic?” my boss said.

“John’s wife told me that she did not want to come for the picnic especially with John as she knew that after a few drinks John would misbehave, get nasty, indulge in outrageous antics and spoil the atmosphere and this would be embarrassing for everyone – and very painful for her and her daughter.”

MORAL OF THE STORY

There is a saying in the Navy:

Officers never get drunk – they only feel nice

This means that a Naval Officer must have “Booze OLQ”.

“Booze OLQ” is an essential aspect of what they call OLQ or “OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES” because drinking alcohol is an essential part of social culture in the defence services where alcohol flows freely on every occasion, every celebration, every party.

In fact – with all so-called “Fauji” facilities and perks extended to civilians – the only “perk” that remains exclusive to the defence services is concessional liquor from CSD Canteens (and duty free liquor for the Navy on Ships) – though I hear that even this cheap booze facility is being extended to paramilitary/police and others.

Hence – at least till now – one of the main attractions of joining the “Fauj” is concessional CSD liquor which is an incentive for “Faujis” to drink – especially at an impressionable age when youth join the “Fauj”.

Drinking together is a time tested way of developing camaraderie with your fellow officers and with your men.

So – if you are an officer – you must have “Booze OLQ” – you must be able to drink more than your men – you must be able to drink your men under the table – and you must be able to hold your liquor.

This is what I call the “Alcohol Test” of OLQ.

Alcohol will make a good officer feel nice never nasty.

But if a person gets nasty, unpleasant, disagreeable and ill-tempered after a few drinks – then that person is not fit to be a Naval Officer – because he has failed in the “Alcohol Test” of OLQ – and hence does not possess “Booze OLQ”.

Yes only an individual who feels “nice” after a substantial number of has “Booze OLQ”.

A person who gets nasty after a few drinks does not have OLQ and is not fit to be an officer.

Maybe they should introduce the “Alcohol OLQ Test” at SSB to test and confirm “Booze OLQ”.

LOL

Cheers have a drink as long as you feel “nice” and not nasty.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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.  All stories in this blog are 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Revised Version of my Story THE PICNIC written in 2 years ago in the year 2013 and posted online earlier at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…   and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

5/20/2015 10:11:00 AM

THERE IS NO FREE DRINK – Freeloaders in Uniform – Humor

May 19, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

THERE IS NO FREE DRINK
Hilarious Memories of My Delightful Navy Days
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

When I was in the Navy – I would say: “There is no free drink.”

A drink costs money – so if you have a drink – it has to be paid for.

So – if you are an honest officer – you pay for it.

But – if you are a freeloader – you make someone else pay for it.

A few years ago – a coursemate was promoted to Flag Rank – Rear Admiral – and he jokingly remarked that now he had joined the “Freeloaders Club”.

The words he actually used were: “So – at last – now I have become a “Freedom Fighter” – and – now – everything is free for me.”

As I said – my friend was joking – he was an honest officer who paid his bills and was certainly not a freeloader – but I have seen some others – who – the moment they get promoted to high rank – believe that freeloading is their fundamental right.

Apart from “Freedom Fighter” Freeloaders in Uniform – who freeload misusing their rank – there is another type of freeloader in uniform called the “Maukatarian” Freeloader who is an opportunistic freeloader who improvises his freeloading tactics as per the occasion.

Let me delve into my Humor in Uniform Archives and pull out this hilarious yarn about a “Maukatarian” Freeloader.

Have a laugh – and think about it…

THE “MAUKATARIAN” FREELOADER – a spoof by Vikram Karve

The Navy was the best thing that happened to me.

Way back, in the 1970’s, when I joined the Navy, life was good.

There was never a dull moment.

Something was always happening, and I came across a variety of unique personalities.

Yes, I enjoyed some exciting situations and encountered some inimitable characters.

Those were the best days of my life.

Even now, whenever I reminisce about my “good old” Navy days and recall the unforgettable characters I met there and whenever I hark back to the hilarious incidents (in hindsight), those cherished memories always fill me with cheer, and sometimes bring a smile, maybe a laugh, to my lips.

They say every Naval Officer has a book inside him (or her).

I am writing mine.

In fact, I have decided to write two books – a fiction novel based on my early life in the Navy way back in the 1970’s and a “memoir” comprising non-chronological vignettes from my naval life.

I will tell you more about all that later.

Now, let me regale you with one such hilarious vignette featuring an unforgettable character.

Let’s call him “F”

Why “F” ?

Well, it will be quite evident as you read on.

Here is the timeline of changing Navy Wardroom/Officers Mess Traditions.

PARTY SHARE – STRIPE BASIS (Seniors Subsidize Juniors)

There was a time when senior naval officers were large-hearted and magnanimous.

The senior always stood a drink for the junior, and whenever we had a party in the wardroom (officers’ mess), the party share was on stripe basis.

You counted the total number of stripes on the shoulders of officers present and simply divided the overall damages for food and drinks by the total number of stripes and calculated the stripe share.

You paid depending on the stripes you wore on your sleeves or shoulder.

A Commander (who wore three stripes on his shoulder) paid three times the party share as compared to a Sub Lieutenant (who wore a single stripe).

In effect, the seniors subsidized the bill of the juniors.

PARTY SHARE – ON THE HOUSE (Equal Party Share for All)

As traditions and attitudes began to change, and officers started becoming money conscious, the stripe share concept gave way to the “on the house”concept in which the party share was distributed equally among all those officers who attended the party and all members of the “house” paid the same amount irrespective of how much food and drink they consumed.

Of course, when things were “on the house”, those who drank and ate less subsidized those who topped-up to the hilt and gorged to their hearts’ content.

With the passage of time, as people became more and more money-orientated, and materialism became a way of life, this affected Naval Officers too, and many officers started counting their drinks (and worse, they counted others’ drinks too…!!!).

PARTY SHARE – CHIT SYSTEM (You Pay for what you consume)

Now we had a “chit system” and the party share was based on the principle of soldier’s share, or Going Dutch, in which you signed chits and you paid for whatever you consumed.

In this “signing chits” scheme of things, no one subsidized anybody, and it was each for his own, irrespective of rank and seniority.

PARTY SHARE – SENIORS FREELOAD and JUNIORS FOOT THEIR BILL (Juniors subsidize Seniors)

Soon, wardroom traditions were turned upside down.

Money-consciousness gave way to stinginess and sort of “feudal” culture owing to selective interpretation of the RHIP concept which resulted in the proliferation of freeloaders in the senior ranks.

This resulted in a preposterous situation wherein now it was the “magnanimous” juniors who were subsidizing their stingy yet greedy freeloading seniors.

You know what RHIP stands for, don’t you?

Well, RHIP is the acronym for RANK HAS ITS PRIVILEGES  (Rank Has Its Privileges)

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous and corrupt senior officers thought that RHIP implied that it was their “privilege” to freeload and sponge on their juniors.

Things seem to have turned a full circle.

Hey, I am digressing, let me get on with my story.

THE “MAUKATARIAN” FREELOADER

This story happened during the days of transition from the “on the house” to “soldier’s share” parties.

Those days, there was sometimes a bit of confusion – some parties were “on the house” and some parties were on the “chit system”.

Now our protagonist “F” was a true maukatarian – and he had decided his “party strategy” accordingly.

“F” was quite a senior officer – next in seniority to the PMC.

If it was a “chit system” party – “F” would survive on water, or hang around someone and try to sponge a drink off him, or try to pilfer one of those gratis“ladies” soft drinks when he thought no one was looking.

Or, at the worst, if the party was too long and his freeloading tactics did not work and yield results, “F” would order a small peg of the cheapest Rum with Water (Rum-Pani) and hold it for the entire party.

And if the party was “on the house” … well read on …

“F” arrived for a grand party one evening and asked me, “Is it chit-system?”

“No, Sir, on-the-house,” I told him, as planned, and I winked at the barman.

The PMC, who was nearby, gave me a knowing smile of approval.

“Which whisky have you got?” “F” asked the barman.

“Sir, we are serving Black Knight and Red Knight,” the barman answered.

The party was ashore and we were serving IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor).

“Only BK and RK …?” on hearing this, “F” turned his nose up in disdain, and then commanded the bar steward, “Get me Peter Scot.”

The barman looked at me for a decision (Peter Scot was the most expensive IMFL whisky in the bar those days).

“Okay,” I said to the barman, Sahab ko Peter Scot pilao…”

Delighted that he was getting the most expensive Peter Scot whiskey “on-the-house”, the freeloader “F” decided to make the most of it.

He knew that irrespective of the amount of the expensive Peter Scot whiskey he consumed, his bill would be the same as others who consumed much less, and that too a cheaper whiskey, rum or soft drinks.

So “F” drank peg after peg of whisky, and at the end of the party, he got so drunk that he had to be carried to his house in drunken stupor.

“F” had grandly “enjoyed” and made the most of the “on the house” cocktail party.

A month later “F” entered my office furiously waving his wardroom mess bill in his hand and angrily demanding how he had been charged for 11 large pegs of Peter Scot.

I was expecting this, so I got up and said, “Sir, let’s go to the PMC.”

“Any problem?” the PMC asked looking up from his desk, the moment we entered his cabin.

“Sir, I have been charged for 11 large pegs of Peter Scot for that cocktail party,” complained “F”.

“So?” the PMC said, “you drank 11 large pegs of Peter Scot, didn’t you?”

“Sir, I don’t remember.”

“But I do – you were in such glorious high spirits that you had to be carried away at the end of the party.”

“But Sir, the party was on-the-house.”

“Who told you?”

“The Mess Secretary told me that the party was on-the-house,” shouted “F” , pointing an accusing finger at me.

“Well, the mess secretary is quite a clueless chap. All parties here are on thechit-system. You should have signed your chits before ordering your drinks and you should have checked the bar-book next morning if you had any doubts. No disputes now. That’s the Mess Rule,” the PMC pronounced, and he dismissed “F” with a wave of his finger, and the PMC looked at me with a glint in his eyes.

That’s how we taught this maukatarian freeloader a lesson.

Well, we taught this freeloader another lesson too – the “boneless” chicken story – but that’s another story which I will tell you soon, right here in my blog.

I enjoy writing and I have now started writing my two books.

The first is autobiographical fiction, a novel with an engrossing story and characters you will love, and second, my “memoir”, a collection of vignettes from my life in the Navy, something like Tales of the South Pacific.

I am putting my heart into writing these two books and in order to make them gripping and “unputdownable”.

I am going to write leisurely, unhurriedly, savoring every moment and I am going to enjoy the writing process as I relive my navy days in my mind’s eye.

But I’ll take a break from time to time, and, right here in my Creative Writing Blog, I will regale you with some more humour in uniform, and tell you a few more naval yarns, like this one.

Till my next Naval Yarn – Cheers – have a drink – don’t worry – the drink is “on the house” – or should I say “Soldier’s Share”…

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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. All stories in this blog are 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This story was written by me 12 years ago (in 2003) and first posted online in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal blog on 27 April 2011 at url:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

IS DIVORCE A “LOSE LOSE” SITUATION – ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – Short Fiction Story

May 19, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – A Lose Lose Situation.

IS DIVORCE A “LOSE LOSE” SITUATION – ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN – Short Fiction Story

Link to my post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

I wrote this story 9 years ago, in the year 2007, and first posted it online on my creative writing blog in 2008 – here is the link: 
http://creative.sulekha.com/a-da…

This Story also features in my book COCKTAIL – my anthology of short stories about relationships published in 2011.

Read on ->

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN
A Long Short Story in Seven Parts 
Short Fiction 
By
VIKRAM KARVE 


EPILOGUE – IS DIVORCE A “LOSE LOSE” SITUATION?

I am sure you have heard the term “win-win” situation.

But have you heard of “lose-lose” situation.

Here is one of my fiction short stories which depicts a lose-lose situation.

Or does it?

Does the story convey the message I wanted to convey?

I really don’t know. 

You tell me the message you got from this story.

Dear Reader, do tell me your views.

Can such lose-lose situations be avoided?

Read on. 

Take your time.

It is a longish story – so if you want, you can read it in parts too. 

Recently I heard in the news that they are trying to make divorce easier. 

Is it really a good idea to make divorce easy and encourage it?

Everyone sympathises with the woman in a divorce.

But what about the man – and the children – does anybody care about them?

Do enjoy the story.

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DIVORCED MAN
(Fiction Short Story by Vikram Karve) 


PART 1  –  DAYBREAK  

“I’m going,” the man says.
 
“Don’t go. Please don’t go,” the woman says.
 
“Don’t go? What do you mean don’t go? You know I have to go.”
 
“You don’t have to go. You know you don’t have to go. Please. Please. Please don’t go. I beg you. Please don’t go!”
 
“Come on, Hema, be reasonable, and try to understand. You know I have to go. I promised him I would be there for his school’s Annual Day…”
 
“No, Ashok, No. You don’t go. His mother can go. He is staying with her, isn’t it? Let her look after him…”
 
“And I am his father!” the man says firmly, “I promised Varun I’ll be there and I have to be there!”
 
“You don’t love me! You still love them!”
 
“You know how much I love you, Hema,” the man says taking the woman in his arms, “But I love my son too. I have to go. Please don’t make it difficult for me…”
 
Tears begin to well up in the man’s eyes. The woman snuggles her face against his neck and grips him tightly.
 
“I’m scared,” she sobs.
 
“Scared? Why?”
 
“I don’t know. It’s the first time you are going to her after you two split…”
 
“Please, Hema. I am not going to her. I’m going to meet my son, for his school’s annual day, because Varun rang me up and made me promise that I would be there to see his performance on stage. I’ll meet Varun, attend the PTA meeting, I’ll talk to his teacher, see the concert and come straight back to you. I won’t even talk to Pooja, I promise,” the man called Ashok says to the woman nestling in his arms, “Don’t worry, Hema. You know it’s all over between Pooja and me, isn’t it? Maybe she won’t even come to the PTA meeting if she knows I’m coming, and even if she’s there I’m sure she too will avoid me as far as possible.”
 
The woman takes his hand, gently places it on her stomach, and whispers in the man’s ears, “Soon we will have our own son.”
 
“Yes,” the man says lovingly, caressing her stomach tenderly with his soft hand, “a son, and a daughter, whatever you want.”
 
They disentangle, then he holds her once more, pushes his face into her warm mouth, kisses her lovingly, and says, “Don’t worry, I’m all yours, and I promise I’ll be right back as fast as possible.”
 
A few moments later, the man sits in his car, wipes his face fresh with a cologne-scented tissue, starts the car, and drives off.
 
 
PART 2 – MORNING 
 
“My Daddy has come, my Daddy has come,” a boy shouts gleefully to his friends and rushes towards his father as he enters the school gate.
 
“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” the boy says delightedly and jumps into his father’s arms.
 
“Hey, Varun, you look so good in your school uniform,” the man says picking up and lovingly kissing his son on the cheek. Seeing his son’s genuine happiness and rapturous delight, the man feels glad that he has come. He warmly hugs his son and then gently sets him down.
 
“Come fast, Daddy,” the boy tugs at his father’s sleeve, “everyone is sitting in the class.”
 
“Mummy’s come?” the man asks cautiously.
 
“Yes, Yes, Daddy,” the boy says gleefully, “She’s sitting in the class, waiting for you.”
 
They, father and son, walk to the classroom, and at the door the man pauses, looks around, sees the mother of his son sitting alone on a bench on the other side of the classroom, so he begins to sit at the bench nearest to the door.
 
“No, No, Daddy, not here. Mummies and Daddies have to sit together,” the boy says doggedly, and pulls the man towards the woman, who is the boy’s mother.
 
As he walks towards her, the man looks at the woman, on paper still his wife. As he approaches, she looks up at him and gives him a smile of forced geniality. 
 
The boy rushes to his mother and exclaims exultantly, “See Mummy, Daddy has come; I told you he will come!”
 
The man and the woman contrive courteous smiles and exchange a few amiable words for the sake of their son, and for public show. It’s the first time the man, the woman, and their son are together as a family since they split a few months ago.
 
“Come on Mummy, make place for Daddy,” the boy says prodding his mother, and nudging his father onto the bench, and squeezing himself in between. The school double-bench is small, meant for two children, and for the three of them it’s a tight fit. His wife stares ahead, as he looks askance at her, over the head of their son, their common blood, who has connected them forever, whether they like it or not.
 
The man looks around the classroom. Happiest are the children whose both parents have come. Then there are those kids whose only one parent, mostly the mother, has come. And sitting lonely and forlorn, in the last row, are those unfortunate children for whom no one has come, no mother, no father, no one. It’s a pity, really sad. Parents matter a lot especially in boarding school, and the man feels sorry for the lonesome unlucky children.
 
The Class-Teacher, an elegant woman, probably in her thirties, briskly walks in, and instinctively everyone rises.
 
“Please be seated,” she says, and seats herself on the chair behind a table on the podium facing the class. The Class-Teacher explains the procedure for the PTA meeting – she’ll call out, one by one, in order of merit, the students’ names, who’ll collect their first term report card, show it to their parents, and then run off to the concert hall, while the parents discuss their child’s progress with the teacher, one by one.
 
“Varun Vaidya!” the teacher calls out the first name, and Varun squeezes out between his father’s legs and runs towards the teacher, the man is overwhelmed with pride as he realizes that his son has stood first in his class.
 
He swells with affection when Varun, his son, gleefully gives the report card to him, and as he opens it, he can sense the sensuous proximity of his wife’s body and smell the enchanting fragrance of her fruity perfume, as she unwittingly comes close to eagerly look at the report card, and he quivers with the spark of intimacy and feels the beginnings of the familiar stirrings within him. 
 
 
PART 3 – AFTERNOON 
 
Ashok realizes that their physical proximity, the intimacy, the touch of skin, has rekindled amorous memories and roused dormant desires in Pooja too, for she suddenly draws away from him and blushes in embarrassment. He wonders how people can suddenly cease to love a person they have once passionately loved so much and still desire.
 
“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya,” the teacher’s mellifluous voice jerks him from his reverie. He looks up at the charming young lady who has walked up to their desk and is lovingly ruffling Varun’s hair.
 
“Good Morning, Ma’am,” he says.
 
“Call me Nalini,” she says with a lovely smile, “Varun is really intelligent.”
 
“Like my Daddy– do you know he’s from IIT?”  The boy proudly tells his teacher.
 
“And your Mummy?” the teacher playfully asks the boy.
 
“She is also a genius. But only in computers – she is an IT pro, you know. But my daddy is real good, he knows everything,” the boy says, and the teacher laughs, turns to Varun and says, “You go run along to the hall and get ready for the concert.”
 
“I’m Muriel. Muriel the goat!” says Varun animatedly, and runs away.
 
“We are enacting a skit from George Orwell’s Animal Farm,” Varun’s teacher says, “You are very fortunate Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya. Varun is a very gifted child. He comes first in class and is so talented in extracurricular activities and good in sports too. You must be really proud of him.”
 
“Oh yes, we are really proud of him,” the man says, and notices that the attractive teacher looks into his eyes for that moment longer than polite courtesy. He averts his eyes towards his wife and her disdainful expression tells him that his wife has observed this too.
 
He feels his cell-phone silently vibrating in his pocket, excuses himself, and goes out of the classroom into the corridor outside.
 
“Yes, Hema,” he says softly into his mobile.
 
“Is it over?”
 
“We’ve got the report card. There’s a concert now.”
 
“Concert? The PTA is over, isn’t it? You come back now. There is no need to go to the concert.”
 
“Please, Hema. I have to go to the school concert. Varun is acting – playing an important part – I promised him I would be there to cheer him.”
 
“Promised him? What about the promise you made to me – that you would be back as soon as possible and then we’d go to the disc.”
 
“Of course we’re going out this evening. I’ll start straight after the concert and be with you in the afternoon, latest by four, for tea.”
 
“I’ll get your favourite pineapple pastries and patties from Gaylord.”
 
“You do that. And spend some time on Fashion Street and browsing books…” the man sees his wife come out of the classroom and walk towards him, so he hurriedly says, “Bye Hema, I’ve got to go now.”
 
“You be here by four, promise…”
 
“Of course, darling. I Promise,” he says and disconnects.
 
“The bank manager…” he tries to explain the call to his wife, but she isn’t interested and says, “The Headmaster wants to meet us.”
 
“Headmaster? Meet us? Why?”
 
“How should I know?” his wife Pooja says coldly.
 
Soon they are sitting in the regal office front of the distinguished looking Headmaster who welcomes them, “Your son has settled down very well in his first term, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya. In fact, Varun is our youngest boarder in the hostel. He’s brilliant in academics, proficient in all activities, sports, outdoors – a good all-rounder. ”
 
They nod, and the father’s chest swells with pride.
 
“Pardon me for being personal,” the Headmaster says, “I was wondering why you have sent such a young boy to boarding school? Especially when you live nearby in the same city.”
 
“I have shifted to Mumbai now.” Ashok says.
 
“Oh, I see. And you too, ma’am?”
 
“No,” Pooja answers, “I still live in Pune.”
 
“Aundh, isn’t it? The same address you’ve given us in the admission form?” the Headmaster says glancing at a paper in front of him.
 
“Yes. I stay in Aundh.”
 
“We’ve got a school bus coming from Aundh. If you want your son can be a day-scholar…”
 
“Thank you, Sir, but I have kept him in boarding as I work night shifts.”
 
“Night Shifts?”

“I work in ITES?”
 
“ITES?”
 
“Information Technology Enabled Services.”
 
“She works in a call centre,” Ashok interjects.
 
“I’m in a senior position in a BPO,” she retorts haughtily.
 
“Oh! That’s good,” the Headmaster says, and looks at both of them as if signalling the end of the interview.
 
“Sir…” Ashok hesitates.
 
“Yes? Please feel free Mr. Vaidya,” the Headmaster says.
 
“Sir, I thought I must tell you, we are separated.”
 
“Divorced?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“How much does the boy know?” the Headmaster asks Pooja.
 
“He knows. We try to be honest with him. We’ve just told him that since his father is in Mumbai and since I’ve to work night shifts, boarding school is the best for him,” Pooja says.
 
The Headmaster ponders and then says, “It may seem presumptuous of me to give you unsolicited advice, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya, but why don’t you try and patch up? At least for your boy’s sake, he’s so young and loving. At such a tender age children must continue to feel they are a part of a family. They need to feel loved, to belong and to be valued. I know how much your son loves you both. He’s so proud of his parents.”
 
“We’ll try,” Ashok says, and looks at his wife.

The Headmaster is telling them to  patch up and come back together – for Varun’s sake.

Ashok knows it is out of the question. 

Their relationship had become so suffocating, so demoralized by distrust, that it was better to break up than try to patch up. 

And now, in his life, there is Hema …
 
“We’ll try and work it out,” he hears his wife’s voice.
 
“I am sure you will – for your son’s sake. Thank you for coming, Mr. and Mrs. Vaidya. I’m sure you’ll love to see your son’s acting skills in the concert,” the Headmaster says and rises, indicating that the interview is over.
 
Later, sitting in the auditorium, they watch their son enact the role of Muriel, the know-it-all Goat, in a scene adapted from Animal Farm, and Ashok’s heart swells with pride as he watches his son smartly enunciate the seven commandments with perfect diction.
 
After the concert, they stand outside, waiting for Varun, to take off his make-up and costume and join them. Ashok looks at his watch. It’s almost one, and he wonders whether he should stay for the parents’ lunch, or leave for Mumbai to make it on time by four after the three hour drive.
 
“You look as if you’re in a hurry,” his wife says.
 
“I’ve an appointment at four. He called up in the morning, remember, the bank manager…” he lies.
 
“Where?”
 
“Nariman Point.”
 
“Then why don’t you go now? You’ll barely make it.”
 
“I’m waiting for Varun.”
 
“Doesn’t matter. You go. I’ll tell him.”
 
He tries to control the anger rising within him and says firmly, “Listen, Pooja. Don’t try to eradicate me from your lives, at least from my son’s life.”
 
“I wish I could! Please Ashok, leave us alone. I didn’t ask you to come all the way from Mumbai today – I would have handled the PTA alone.”
 
“Varun rang me up. Made me promise I’d be here. I’m glad I came. He’s so happy, especially so delighted that I came to see him in the concert.”
 
“I’ll tell him not to disturb you in future.”
 
“No you don’t,” Ashok said firmly, “Varun is my son as much as yours.”
 
They stand in silence, a grotesque silence, and then he says, “I didn’t come only for Varun. I came to see you too!”
 
“See me?” the woman’s face is filled with ridicule, contempt and astonishment at the same time.
 
Suddenly they see Varun prancing in delight towards them and they put on smiles on their faces.
 
“You liked the concert?” he asks breathless.
 
“I loved your part. You were too good – isn’t it Mummy?” the man says.
 
“Yes. Varun is the best,” the woman says bending down and kissing her son on the cheek. Then she says, “Varun, Daddy has to go now. He has important work in Mumbai.”
 
“No,” protests Varun, and looks at his father and says, “No! No! No! First, we’ll all have lunch. And then the school fete.”
 
“School Fete?” they say in unison, and then the man says, “You didn’t tell me!”
 
“Surprise! Surprise! But Mummy, Daddy, we all have to go to the fete and enjoy.”
 
So they have lunch and go to the sports ground for the school fete – merry-go-round, roller-coaster, hoopla, games of skill and eats – they enjoy themselves thoroughly. Time flies. To the outside observer they seem to be the happiest family.
 
On the Giant Wheel Ashok and Pooja instinctively sit on different seats. Suddenly Ashok notices that his son looks hesitant, wary, confused, undecided as to which parent he should go to, sensing that he couldn’t choose one without displeasing the other. So Ashok quickly gets up and sits next to Pooja, and a visibly delighted Varun runs and jumps in between them.
 
As he gets off the giant wheel, Ashok notices his mobile ringing. He detaches himself from his son, looks at the caller id and speaks, “Yes. Hema.”
 
“What ‘Yes Hema’. Why aren’t you picking up the phone? Where are you? Have you crossed Chembur? I’ve been calling for the last five minutes – just see the missed calls.”
 
“I was on the Giant Wheel.”
 
“Giant Wheel?”
 
“We are at the school fete.”
 
“School Fete? You are still in Pune? You told me you’d be here by four!”
 
“I couldn’t help it. Varun was adamant. He didn’t let me go.”
 
“She’s there with you?”
 
“Who?”
 
“She…! You Stupid … She…! Your ex-wife. Is she there with you?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“You simpleton, can’t you see? She’s trying to get you back through your son!” Hema pauses, takes a breath, and pleads, “Ashok, you do one thing, just say good-bye to them and come back straight to me. Please. Please. Please. Don’t be with her. Please. Please…”
 
“Okay,” the man says and cuts off the cell-phone. Then he switches off his mobile.
 
“Daddy, Daddy, who was that?” the boy asks.
 
“Someone from the office,” the man says. He thinks for a moment, looks at his son, bends down and says, “Listen, Varun. I’ve got to get back to the office fast. Mummy will stay with you – be a good boy.”
 
“No, No, No! It’s only three o’clock . We can stay out till eight…” The boy sees his housemaster nearby and runs to him, “Sir, Sir, My Daddy has come all the way from Mumbai. Please can he take me out for dinner?”
 
“Of course you can go, Varun,” the kindly housemaster says to the boy, then looks at Ashok and says, “It’s the first time you’ve come, isn’t it? Okay, we’ll give Varun a night-out. Why don’t you take him home and drop him back tomorrow evening by six? Tomorrow is declared a holiday anyway!”
 
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” shouts an ecstatic Varun is delirious delight, “Let’s go to the dormitory, collect my stuff, and go out. I want to see a Movie, and then we’ll all go home.”


PART 4 – EVENING
 
So they, father, mother, and son, see a movie at the multiplex, then have a good time strolling and snacking on Main Street, and by the time they reach their home in Aundh it’s already seven in the evening.
 
Ashok stops his car below his erstwhile home in Aundh, where Pooja lives all by herself now.
 
“Okay, Varun, come give me a kiss and be a good boy.”
 
“No, Daddy, you’re not going from below. Let’s go up and have dinner. And then we’ll all sleep together and you go tomorrow morning.”
 
“Please, Varun, I have to go now,” the man says.
 
The boy looks at him, distraught, and the man gives a beseeching look to the woman, who smiles and says, “Okay. Come up and have a drink. You can take your books too – I’ve packed them for you.”
 
“Yea!” the boy exclaims in glee.
 
His wife’s invitation, the warming of her emotions, confuses and frightens him. He thinks of Hema waiting for him in Mumbai, what state she’d be in, frantically trying to reach him on his switched off cell-phone, feels a ominous sense of foreboding and tremors of trepidation. He is apprehensive, at the same time curious, and his son tugs at his shirt, so he goes up with them.
 
“I’ll freshen up and come,” the woman says to the man, “Make a drink for yourself – everything is in the same place.”
 
Varun, back home after three months, rushes into his room to see his things.
 
He opens the sideboard. The whiskey bottle is still there, exactly in the same place, but he notices the bottle is half empty. It was almost full when he had left – maybe she’s started having an occasional drink!
 
He sets everything on the dining table, and when she comes out, he picks up the whiskey bottle and asks her, “Shall I make you drink?”
 
“Me? Whiskey? You know I don’t touch alcohol, don’t you?” she says aghast.
 
“Sorry. Just asked…”
 
“You want soda? I’ll ring up the store to send it up.”
 
“I’ll have it with water.”
 
“Okay. Help yourself. I’ll quickly make you your favorite onion pakoras and fry some papads.”
 
He looks warmly at her, with nostalgia, and she looks back at him in the same way and goes into the kitchen.
 
Varun comes running out and soon he sits on the sofa, sipping his drink, cuddling his son sitting beside him, and they, father and son, watch TV together, and soon his son’s mother brings out the delicious snacks and they, the full family, all sit together and have a good time.
 
 
PART 5 – LATE EVENING  
 
Her cell-phone rings, she takes it out of her purse, looks at the screen, excuses herself, goes into her bedroom, closes the door, takes the call, and says, “Hi, Pramod.”
 
“What the hell is going on out there…?” Pramod’s angry voice booms through the wireless airways all the way from Delhi.
 
“Please Pramod, speak softly. There is someone here.”
 
“I know he is there,” Pramod shouts, “What’s wrong with you? I leave you alone for a few days and you invite him into your home.”
 
“Listen, Pramod, don’t get angry. Try to understand. He came for Varun’s Annual Day.”
 
“But what is he doing there in your house right now so late at night?”
 
“He’s come to drop Varun.”
 
“Drop Varun?”
 
“He’d taken him out from school for a movie…”
 
“Why did you let him?”
 
“What do you mean ‘Why did you let him?’ – Ashok is Varun’s father.”
 
“You shouldn’t have called him to Pune…”
 
“I didn’t call him – Varun rang him up and told him to be there for his School’s Annual Day.”
 
“Anyway, get rid of him fast. I told you that you two are supposed to stay separate for at least six months.”
 
“Please Pramod. We are living separately. He’s just dropped in on a visit – we are not cohabiting or anything.”
 
“Just stay away from him – he could cause trouble!”
 
“Trouble? What are you saying, Pramod? He’s just come to drop Varun.”
 
“Pooja, can’t you see? He’s using your son to get you back. He’s a nasty chap – he may even withdraw his mutual consent and then we’ll be back at square one.”
 
“Pramod, don’t imagine things. And please Pramod, we had our differences, but Ashok was never a nasty person. Just get the papers ready and I’ll get him to sign on the dotted line,” she pauses for a moment and asks angrily, “And tell me Pramod, who told you Ashok is here?”
 
“That doesn’t matter. Now you are mine. I have to look after you, your welfare.”
 
“Look after my welfare? You’re keeping tabs on me, Pramod?” Pooja says irately.
 
“Now, you listen to me Pooja. Just throw him out right now. He has no right to trespass…” Pramod orders her.
 
“Trespass? Pramod, remember this is his house too – in fact the house is still on his name.”
 
“Don’t argue!” Pramod commands peremptorily, “Just do what I say!”
 
A flood of fury rises inside Pooja and she snaps angrily, “You know why I split up with Ashok, don’t you? Because I felt suffocated in that relationship. And now you are doing the same thing!”
 
Tears well up in her eyes, trickle down her cheeks, her throat chokes, she breaks down and she begins to sob.
 
“I’m sorry, Pooja. Please don’t cry,” Pramod pleads, “You know how much I love you.”
 
“I love you too.”
 
“I’ll cut short my trip and be with you in Pune tomorrow evening.”
 
“It’s okay, finish your work first and then come.”
 
“Give Varun my love.”
 
“Okay, take care.”
 
“You also take care,” Pramod says and disconnects.
 
She stares into the darkness, at the sky, the stars in the distance and tries to compose herself.
 
In a while, Pooja comes into the drawing room. Ashok looks at her face. After her tears, her eyes shine in the bright light; the moisture from her unwiped tears solidified on her cheeks like dry glass.
 
“I’ll make us some dinner,” she says to him, “Let’s eat together.”
 
Totally taken aback, confused and startled, Ashok looks at his wife and says, “Thanks. But I’ve got to go.”
 
“Stay, Daddy! Please Stay,” pleads Varun.
 
“Daddy is staying for dinner,” Pooja says with mock firmness, and then looking at Ashok says, “Please. Stay. Have dinner with us. By the time you get back your cafeteria would have closed. You still stay in the bachelor’s hostel don’t you?”
 
“Yes,” he lies, “But I’ll be moving into flat soon.”
 
“That’s good. Where?”
 
“Churchgate. Near the office,” he says. Now that is not entirely untrue. Hema, with whom he has moved in, does indeed live near Churchgate!
 
“Churchgate! Wow! That’s really good for you. Food, Books, Films, Theatre, Art, Walks on Marine Drive – everything you like is nearby,” she says, “And Hey, now that you’re moving into a flat please take all your books. I’ve packed them up and kept them in the study.”
 
“Come Daddy, I’ll show you,” Varun jumps and pulls him into the study.
 
He looks around his former study and sees his books packed in cardboard boxes on the floor. The room has changed; except for his books there is nothing of him left in it.
 
He opens the wardrobe. There are some men’s clothes and a pair of shoes he has not seen before.
 
He is tempted to ask his son, but doesn’t ask. Varun has also come home after a three month spell, his first stint at boarding school.
 
He takes a towel, closes the cupboard, and goes into the bathroom to freshen up. The moment he comes out his son excitedly says, “Come Daddy, let’s help Mummy with the cooking.”
 
So they go to the kitchen and cook together – like they sometimes did in happier times.
 
Later they sit in their usual places at the small round dining table for dinner. It is the first time he, his wife and their son eat a meal together as a family since they had split three months ago. It is a happy meal, with much banter, primarily due the sheer joyfulness of their son, who is so happy that they are all together after a hiatus.
 
Then they sit together on the sofa, father, son, and mother, and watch her favorite soap on TV. Ashok notices how happy, natural and relaxed they all are. It is almost as if they have resumed living their old life once again. 
 
 
PART 6 – NIGHT 
 
Suddenly, Ashok remembers Hema, waiting for him in Mumbai, and says, “I’ve got to go”
 
“Stay here Daddy, please,” his son implores, tugging at his shirt.
 
“It’s late. Let Daddy go,” Pooja says to Varun, “Daddy will come to meet you in school soon.”
 
“He can’t. Parents are not allowed till the next term break. Please Mummy, let us all sleep here and tomorrow we can all go away,” Varun says emphatically to his mother, and pulls his father towards the bedroom, “Come Daddy, let’s all sleep in Mummy’s bed like before.”
 
“No, Varun, I have to go,” Ashok says with a lump in his throat, disentangles his hands, bends down, and kisses his son, “Varun, be a good boy. I’ll be back to see you soon.”
 
At the door he turns around and looks at Pooja, his ex-wife, and says, “Bye. Thanks. Take Care.”
 
“It’s good you came to see your son,” she remarks.
 
“I didn’t come only for the child,” he says overwhelmed by emotion, “I came to see you too.”
 
He sees tears start in her eyes, so he quickly turns and walks out of the door.


PART 7 – MIDNIGHT
 
The clock on Rajabai Tower is striking midnight as he parks his car below Hema’s flat. The lights are still on. He runs up the steps to the house and opens the door with his latchkey.
 
Hema is sitting on the sofa watching TV. She switches of the TV, rushes towards him and passionately kisses him. He kisses her back and recognizes the intoxicating sweet aroma of rum on her breath.
 
“You’ve been drinking. It’s not good for you,” he says.
 
“Promise me you will never go to there again,” she cries inconsolably, holding him tightly.
 
“Please, Hema. Try to understand. I don’t want to be eradicated from my son’s life.”
 
“No, Ashok. You promise me right now. You’ll never go there again. I don’t want you to ever meet them again.”
 
“But why?”
 
“I am in constant fear that you will leave me and go back to them. I’ve been dumped once and I don’t want to be ditched again, to be left high and dry,” 

Hema starts to weep, “I’m scared Ashok. I am really very frightened to be all alone, again!”
 
“Okay, Hema,” Ashok says gathering her in his arms, “I promise. I promise I’ll never go there again.”
 
“Kiss me,” Hema says.
 
He kisses her warm mouth, tastes the salty remains of her tears, which trickle down her cheeks onto her lips.
 
“Come,” she says, “it’s late. Let’s sleep.”
 
Ashok doesn’t have a dreamless sleep – he sees a dream – a dream he will never forget. 

He is drowning, struggling in the menacing dark fiery turbulent sea.

To his left – in the distance he sees Varun, his son, standing on a ship beckoning him desperately – and to his right – far away, standing on a desolate rock jutting out into the sea he sees Hema, his newfound love, waving, gesturing and calling him frantically.

Floods of conflicting emotions overwhelm him. 

In his dream – Ashok looks at his Varun – then he looks at Hema – and he finds himself imprisoned between the two.

His strength collapses, his spirit yields, and slowly he drowns, helplessly watching the terrifying angry black sea swallow him up and suck his body deep within into the Davy Jones’s Locker.
 
Jolted awake by the strange scary nightmare, Ashok breaks into cold sweat with a terrible fear. 

Ashok cannot sleep. 

He starts to think of his innocent adorable son Varun, imagining him sleeping soundly in his bed in Pune. 

The father in him agonizingly yearns and excruciatingly pines for his son, the pain in his heart becomes unbearable, and he wishes he could go right now, at this very moment, lovingly take his son in his arms and kiss his son goodnight, like he used to do.

He clearly recalls Varun’s words when he heard that his parents were going to split up and divorce.

Varun had said: “I don’t like it…” – and then the small boy began to cry.

He remembers the phone call Pooja did not want to take in his presence – maybe there is a new man in Pooja’s life. 

Pooja hasn’t told him anything about her new boyfriend – but then Ashok hasn’t told Pooja about Hema either.

And suppose Pooja remarries – then that guy would become Varun’s stepfather.

“Step-father…!” he shudders. 

No. 

If Pooja remarries he will get Varun to stay here with him.

Then he looks at his newfound love Hema, sleeping calmly beside him, and the beautiful serene expression on her pristine face. He gently places his hand on her forehead and lovingly caresses her hair. She warmly snuggles up to him, turns, puts her hand over his chest, and with a heightened sense of security continues her tranquil blissful sleep.

Will Hema accept Varun? 

No way! 

He remembers her tantrums in the morning, her insecurities – Hema is fearful that the “baggage” of his past, the “debris” of his broken marriage, will destroy their new relationship. 

A flood of emotion overwhelms him as he thinks about Hema. 

Poor thing. 

She’s just recovered from a terrible break up, and is holding on to him so tight – apprehensive, anxious, insecure…

Torn between his past and future – between the conflicting forces of his love for son and his love for the woman beside him – Ashok feels helpless and scared.

Ashok knows he has lost Pooja, his wife, forever.

Now he does not want to lose both his son Varun and his newfound love Hema.

Varun and Hema are the only two things he has in this world.

Ashok does wants both of them.

And he knows can’t have both of them together.

His life is a mess. 

Maybe he is responsible.

If only he had tried harder?

If only he had stayed on with Pooja in that suffocating relationship?

If only they had made more efforts to save their marriage, just for Varun’s sake.

If only he had…?

If only…? 

If only…?

It is of no use. 

One cannot go back in time and undo what has been done.

The more he thinks about it, the more helpless and hapless he feels, and soon his mind, his brain, starts spinning like a whirlwind.

In the whirlwind he sees all of them, Varun, Pooja and a new unknown face, Hema and himself, all of them being tossed around in disarray.

There is nothing Ashok can do about it – so he breaks down and begins to cry.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
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.

Copyright Notice
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


I wrote this story 9 years ago, in the year 2007, and first posted it online on my creative writing blog in 2008 – and reposted the story a few times on popular demand – here are the links: 
http://creative.sulekha.com/a-da…
http://creative.sulekha.com/a-da…
http://creative.sulekha.com/my-f…

Link to my original posts in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

This Story also features in my book COCKTAIL – my anthology of short stories about relationships published in 2011.

Romance in Uniform – A GIRL IN EVERY PORT – Navy Myth or Fact?

May 13, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – A GIRL IN EVERY PORT.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Humor in Uniform

A GIRL IN EVERY PORT
Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

“I have heard that Naval Officers have a girl in every port – but so far we don’t even have a single girl,” my course-mate said.

“Come on – we were under training. Maybe now – things will look up,” I said.

“Yes,” my course-mate said, “we are lucky to have got Bombay based ships.”

(This story happened 37 years ago – in the 1970’s – and those days – Mumbai was called Bombay – but I shall use Mumbai from now on).

“Yes – we are indeed lucky as compared to those poor Vizag guys – they are destined to a desolate life,” I said.

“The first thing I am going to do in Mumbai is to get myself a girlfriend,” my friend said.

“Me too,” I said.

My friend succeeded.

I failed.

I just did not have the talent for romance.

Everything had been handed down to me on a platter – the conditions to get a girlfriend were ideal – I was on the best ship – and in those ‘licence-quota-permit Raj’ days – as far as girls were concerned – Navy Officers were in high demand – since we got exotic foreign stuff duty free (especially perfumes) – and these imported goodies were was not available outside – and we had access to the best of clubs and social circles.

(Now – with the advent of liberalization and globalization – the charm of the Defence Services has gone down – since everything – and more – is freely available to civilians).

Most Naval Officers had girlfriends – and a few ‘Casanovas’ were having a good time with ‘fleet auxiliaries’ – but I had drawn a blank.

My course-mate had acquired a girlfriend within days of our reaching Mumbai – and he was often seen gallivanting with her all over the place.

In my case – having failed to acquire a girlfriend – I focused on food and drink.

Once – after imbibing half a bottle of whisky – followed by a sumptuous Biryani at Olympia – and a delicious ‘Triple Sundae’ ice cream at Yankee Doodle – I was fast asleep – enjoying sweet foodie dreams in my cabin.

I was jolted awake – it was my course-mate who had come over from his ship which was tied up alongside next to my ship.

“I am very upset – I want to talk to someone – and you are my best friend,” he said.

“I was your ‘best friend’…” I said, “…now you have got your girlfriend.”

“It’s about her – I just saw her off at the airport – she is on a long haul flight plan – she will be away for two weeks…” he said.

His girlfriend was an airhostess who flew on international routes.

“Okay – so you can join me for food and drink till she comes back…” I said.

“No – it’s not that – she wants to marry me …” he said.

“So – get married,” I said.

“It is not so simple – my parents won’t agree – her parents want her to continue he job too – and in her airline – airhostesses have to quit the moment they get married – it is all very complicated – I have realized that falling in love has complicated my life…” he said – and then he went on and on telling me his ‘sob story’ – and disturbing my sleep – by narrating his ‘love woes’ till early morning.

I thought that having a girlfriend made you happier.

But – exactly the opposite had happened to my otherwise cheerful friend – who appeared to have become miserable after falling in love.

I said to myself: “If having just one girlfriend had done this to him – just imagine the situation of those with multiple girlfriends…!”

It seemed that a ‘zero-girlfriend’ guy like me was much happier than my counterparts who had girlfriends.

I realized that ‘Food’ was a safe investment like a Fixed Deposits – maybe the ‘returns’ were lower – but for the time and money you spent on food – you got a guaranteed ‘return on investment’ (ROI).

On the other hand – ‘Romance’ was a risky investment like the share market.

Acquiring a girlfriend was like investing in a stock – just like the ‘returns’ from the stock market were unpredictable – the ROI you got from a romantic relationship could swing between ecstasy and agony.

Of course – I did make some efforts to ‘fall in love’ – but – sadly – no girl was willing to fall in love with me.

So – I resigned myself to the fact that ‘love marriage’ was not in my destiny – and – hence – I settled for an ‘arranged marriage’.

As a newly married couple – my wife and I – along with our pet Lhasa Apso girl Sherry – we lived in a lovely one room flat in Curzon Road Apartments in New Delhi.

One evening – we were sitting in Nathu’s Sweets – in Bengali Market – one of our favourite places where we often walked down in the evenings.

There was a group of beautiful girls sitting nearby – and my eyes were focused on them.

Yes – I was ogling at the pretty girls – as most young men do – or want to do.

One girl seemed particularly attractive – and I was staring at her quite blatantly with frank admiration in my eyes.

My wife followed my gaze – and she was quite amused to see me looking at the girls so intently – especially the yearning look I gave to that most gorgeous girl who seemed to be the object of my total attention.

Suddenly – my gaze shifted.

My wife was curious.

Was there a new ‘object’ which had captured my attention?

She followed my gaze – to see where I was looking.

On observing the new ‘object of my attention’ – my wife started laughing.

A tray of sweets was being brought in from the kitchen – and my eyes had ‘locked on’ to the mouthwatering sweets like a Radar ‘locks on’ to its target.

The tray was heaped with my favourite sweet – the inimitable ‘Lavang Lata’.

Soon – I was fully focused on eating my Lavang Lata – totally oblivious to my surroundings – and I seemed to have completely forgotten about those beautiful girls sitting on the table nearby.

In fact – I was so absorbed in savouring the delicious ‘Lavang Lata’ – and I was enjoying myself so totally – that I even forgot about my wife sitting opposite – who was not quite relishing the dish of ‘Lavang Lata’ I had ordered for her too.

“So – it seems that you found the ‘Lavang Lata’ more enticing than those beautiful girls…” my wife said to me.

“Of course – I love good food – there is no greater love than the love of food…” I said.

And then – while walking back home – I told her about my ‘Food is like a Fixed Deposit’ versus ‘Romance is like the Stock Market’ theory.

My wife looked at me and said: “Someone had told me that a Naval Officer has a girl in every port – but looking at you – I am convinced that you did not have even a single girl in any port – in fact – you must have had a ‘foodie joint’ in every port…”

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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. All stories in this blog are 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/13/2015 10:47:00 AM

Foodie Memoir – FOODWALKING – Healthy Exercise For All Ages

May 12, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: FOODWALKING – Healthy Exercise For All Ages.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

“FOODWALKING” – A HEALTHY EXERCISE FOR ALL AGES 
Ramblings of a “Retired” Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

In my younger days – in school, college and my early days in the Navy – I played active sports for exercise.

Later – my exercise comprised less physically strenuous activities like swimming, jogging, brisk walking/hill climbing etc.

When I crossed my mid-40’s – and landed up in Mumbai 15 years ago – in the year 2000 – when I was around 45 years of age – I started my “foodwalks”.

I had two “foodwalks” a day – one in the morning from 6 to 7:30 – and one in the evening from 5 to 7 

(On Sunday mornings I had a super-long “foodwalk” which extended upto 9 or even 10 AM).

These “foodwalks” had various stages:

1. First, after a warm up brisk walk, I jogged on Marine Drive for around 3 kms till the end of Chowpatty.

2. This was followed by a brisk walk – on weekday mornings – I would walk back toStadium Restaurant at Churchgate for a Bun Maska, Bun Omlette or Kheema Pav and Refreshing Irani Chai – and on Sundays – it was a super-long foodwalk to Noor Mohammadi Hotel near Bhendi Bazar for Nalli Nihari – or to Vinay Lunch Homenear Thakurdwar in Girgaum for Misal. 

In the evenings – when I had more time at my disposal – my foodwalks would be more exploratory – I would take new routes every day – and explore new eating places – starting from Colaba and Cuffe Parade in the South – to various places in Central Mumbai like Grant Road, Byculla, Mohd Ali Road, Crawford Market, Girgaum, Kalbadevi, Chowpatty etc wherever my legs would take me.

3. So – it was first a brisk walk – then a “replenishment halt” for food – and after “replenishment halt” – it was a leisurely walk back home – fully satiated – and morale high.

Retirement is a big comedown – and my glorious “foodwalks” came to an end.

However – I have decided to revive my “foodwalks” again – and this morning I went on a long “foodwalk” – culminating in a “frugal” vegetarian breakfast.

During this rather lacklustre foodwalk – I remembered my most memorable foodwalk in Mumbai.

So – let me delve into my Foodie Archives – and pull out this “memoir” for you to read…

MOUTHWATERING MUMBAI MEMORIES

I Spent the Six Best Years of My Life in Mumbai – 6 glorious years from the years 2000 to 2006.

During these six best years of my life, I lived in EMPRESS COURT – my all time favourite home – the best house I have ever lived in during my entire life.

I wish I could have had my retirement home in that lovely neighbourhood, or nearby, but then, can an honest naval officer afford a house in South Mumbai?

Maybe a Merchant Navy Officer can afford a house in “So Bo” (South Bombay) – but if you have spent your life honestly serving the nation in the “Fauji” Indian Navy – forget about Mumbai – you will not be able to afford a home in the heart of Pune – and you would probably have to settle down in some faraway suburb like Wakad or Baner or Kharadi – or in one of those military veteran “fauji ghettos” like Mundhwa, Kondhwa or Mohammadwadi where most retired service officers have settled down.

But in your mind’s eye – you can always hark back – and relive your “good old days” with nostalgia. 

That is what I did on this lovely morning – during my foodwalk – I reminisced about my glorious Sunday Morning “Food Walks” in Mumbai.

Let me tell you about my memorable Sunday mornings in Mumbai.

UNFORGETTABLE MUMBAI FOOD WALK

NALLI NIHARI at BHENDI BAZAAR
Mouthwatering Memories of an Early Morning Food Walk followed by a Sumptuous Nourishing Breakfast
By 
VIKRAM KARVE


I love good food.

I am a foodie – I am certainly not a snobbish “high-falutin fine-dining foodie” – but I would rather describe myself as a simple Trencherman.

As I said, I love good food.

And I love walking around searching for good food. 

So, whenever I get an opportunity, I set off on my frequent “food walks” searching for good food.

It was in “maximum city” Mumbai that I enjoyed my best food walks.

Let me tell about one of my favourite food walks – a fulfilling early morning food walks culminating in a nourishing breakfast.
 
This is probably my first piece of Foodie Writing. 

I wrote this in the year 2000 – around 15 years ago – after returning from one of my food walks.

So – Dear Reader – here are some mouthwatering memories of a glorious early morning food-walk in Mumbai culminating in a wholesome breakfast.

EARLY MORNING FOOD WALK IN MUMBAI  a mouthwatering memoir by Vikram Karve

I start early – at dawn – from my house near Churchgate.

I admire, in the early morning pre-sunrise light, the impressive silhouettes of the magnificent Gothic structures of the High Court and Mumbai University across the Oval.

I hear the clock on Rajabai Tower strike 6 AM (0600 Hrs).

I walk briskly past Oxford Bookstore, KC College and CCI towards Marine Plaza Hotel.

Then I cross the Marine Drive, turn right and start off towards Chowpatty.

I greet with a smile the morning joggers and walkers and rinse my lungs with the fresh invigorating sea breeze.

I walk briskly on Marine Drive. 

Soon I am past Marine Lines, Taraporewala Aquarium, Charni Road, Chowpatty, Wilson College – and after the brisk vigorous walk of about 30 minutes I break out into a slight sweat as I reach the northern end of Marine Drive.
 
Here I ponder for a moment. 
 
Should I turn left up the Walkeshwar Road to Teen Batti and Banganga? 
 
Or should I turn right towards Babulnath?
 
Or should I turn back towards Nariman Point? 
 
I experience a sense of true freedom. 
 
I can make whatever choice I want and go wherever I desire. 
 
That’s freedom!
 
I choose to cross the road, and walk fast, straight up the steep path towards Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill – trying to exercise my heart and lungs. 
 
I take a round of garden atop the water tank near Kamala Nehru Park (is it now called Phirozeshah Mehta Udyan?). 
 
Then I canter down to Kemp’s Corner where I turn right – a U-turn really – past Crossword Bookstore – and I walk down Hughes Road.

I turn left past Gamdevi towards Nana Chowk and I cross the railway over-bridge and keep going onto Grant Road past Novelty Cinema.

Then I turn right at Delhi Durbar on Falkland Road – reach VP Road – walk past Gol Deval, Alankar cinema – and soon I am at Bhendi Bazar.

My destination Noor Mohammadi Hotel is right in front of me across Mohamedali Road.
 
Almost two hours of brisk walking has built up in me a voracious appetite and I am ready to devour a sumptuous breakfast. 
 
I am hungry. 

And I eat only when I am hungry.
 
I enter Noor Mohammadi Hotel, a Spartan no-nonsense eatery, and order aNalli Nihari and Roti.

Nalli Nihari is a pure ghee version of Mutton Nihari cooked with bones filled with marrow. 
 
Within a minute a bowl of piping hot gravy, with a generous chunk of succulent meat floating in it, and a fluffy khaboosh roti is placed in front of me. 
 
I dip a piece of the soft roti in the spicy rich gravy, let it soak for a while, put it in my mouth and close my eyes to luxuriate in and relish the gastronomic experience in its entirety.
 
I can feel the juicy gravy soaked roti melting on my tongue, releasing its delicious flavours and spicy aroma which permeate into my soul. 
 
I am in seventh heaven and keep on attaining higher states of sheer heavenly bliss with every succulent bite of the mouth watering concoction.

They say that Nalli Nihari is a mutton bone marrow and wheat gravy – but I don’t delve too much on the contents of a dish.

It’s the taste, delicacy, eating experience and ultimate divine feeling of satiation that matters.
 
It is a delectable beginning to a delightful day as the luscious taste of the delicious Nalli Nihari lingers on my tongue indefinitely. 
 
Yes, it is epicurean satiation of the highest order – a blissful experience I can never forget.

Here is a picture of Nalli Nihari 

(Today – I click and post foodie pictures using my smartphone – but since this happened 15 years ago when there were no smartphones – I will take the liberty of posting a picture of Nalli Nihari – freely available on the internet – from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, file url:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wik…  )

 

 

NALLI NIHARI


Nalli Nihari


Dear Reader, if you happen to be in Mumbai and are ready for a sumptuous non-vegetarian breakfast, take a brisk stimulating food walk early in the morning and begin your day with Nalli Nihari at Noor Mohammadi in Bhendi Bazar. 
 
I assure you it will be a fortifying and stimulating experience.
 
Don’t forget to tell us how you enjoyed the food-walking experience.
 
But remember one thing. 

If you want to truly appreciate this splendid Heritage Gourmet Trencherman’s Breakfast Dish to its fullest – you must build up an appetite for it.

Happy Walking. 

Happy Eating. 

Happy Food-Walking.

Remember – in order to enjoy your food – first build up an appetite – and then satiate it.

Yes – remember the “FOOD-WALK DICTUM”:

First build up an appetite and then satiate it

First – “WALK WALK WALK”

Then – “EAT EAT EAT”

Once more – let me wish you Happy “FoodWalking”.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.



Revised Version of Article Written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2000 and First Posted on my Foodie Blog by me Vikram Karve at urls:http://creative.sulekha.com/heri…  and  http://food.sulekha.com/a-hearty…   and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/12/2015 02:13:00 PM

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,494 other followers

%d bloggers like this: