May 29, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: ARRANGED MARRIAGE

Link to My Original Post in My Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog:



34 years ago – on 30 May 1982 – I had an arranged marriage.

This is the only marriage I have had so far.

Yes – I have been married only once – and the same marriage continues till today.

I do not know whether my marriage is a “successful” marriage – since I do not have experience of multiple marriages – in order to be able to compare and contrast.

However – I can certainly say that my marriage has been a “durable” marriage.

Here is the story on my ARRANGED MARRIAGE in 2 Chapters





Dramatis Personae

  1. Girl (Now – My “Better Half”)
  1. Girl’s Mother (Now – My “Mother-in-Law”)
  1. Boy (Me)

Let me tell you an “apocryphal” story.

This happened 34 years ago – in March 1982 – in Pune.

A girl came to see a boy (for arranged marriage).

The girl was accompanied by her mother (the girl’s father, a Brigadier, was serving in a field area).

Normally – in Maharashtra – the boy goes to the girl’s home (for the customary “kande pohe program”).

But – in this case – the boy had requested the girl to come over to his rather Spartan home.

It was around 10 in the morning – the boy was alone at home – as the boy’s mother had gone for work.

The boy (a Naval Officer) had come to Pune on a week’s leave for “girl seeing” for arranged marriage.

Since the boy was not one of those refined “metrosexuals” – he had not “decked up” for the occasion – but he was dressed in a simple cotton white kurta-pyjama – and he was enjoying a smoke and reading a book – while waiting for the girl to arrive.

The girl and her mother arrived at 10:30.

“You are late,” the boy said, and he asked the girl and her mother to sit down.

The boy served Tea (which he had prepared himself).

Then – the boy lit a cigarette – and he said to the girl, “Let me tell you a bit about myself. As you can see – I smoke a lot. I drink regularly too – around 6 large pegs of rum daily – that is about half a bottle of rum every evening. My career prospects in the Navy are not very bright – I am certainly not ‘Admiral Material’. You are a ‘SODA’ – your father is a big shot in the Army – so you may be used to the comforts and facilities of army life – but in the Navy you get nothing – no batman (sahayak), no transport, no proper housing, no facilities – as you can see I am not a rich man – I just have a scooter – and I do not think I will be able to afford a car on the paltry salary we get in the Navy – you will have to live in some temporary makeshift  shanty – and you will have to do all the housework yourself…”

“You don’t get a house in the Navy…?” the girl asked.

“You do – but there is a huge shortage of married accommodation and the waiting period is 2 years – so by the time we get a proper house, it will be time for my transfer – and it is the same story in every new place – so you must be prepared for a nomadic existence shifting from one temporary accommodation to another…”

“What is ‘SODA’…?” the girl asked.

“Senior Officers’ Daughters’ Association – your Dad is a Brigadier so you are a SODA,” the boy said, “but let me tell you one thing – I am an honest, straightforward and outspoken officer – and so – your chances of becoming a member of SOWA are pretty bleak…”

“SOWA – Senior Officers’ Wives’ Association…!” the girl said.

The boy was happy to see that the girl was intelligent.

“You are very intelligent – and highly qualified – and all your good qualities are listed in your matrimonial profile – but I want to know one thing – and I want an honest answer,” the boy said to the girl.

“What…?” the girl asked.

“What are your faults…? Your bad qualities…? Your weaknesses…?” the boy asked.

“I cannot cook…” the girl began opening up – but her mother gave her a stern look – and the girl stopped speaking.

Observing the situation, the boy said to the girl, “Never mind – we will discuss all that in detail when we meet tomorrow…”

“We are meeting tomorrow…?” the girl asked.

“Why not…? After all, we are getting married – and I am here for a week – so we can go out together a few times – and get to know each other better…” the boy said, extinguishing his finished cigarette and lighting another cigarette.

The girl’s mother was getting increasingly uncomfortable at the way things were going, so she asked the boy, “You have a big beard – are you going to shave it off when you get married…?”

The boy looked at the girl’s mother, and he said to the middle-aged woman, “How does it matter to you whether I keep a beard or not…? Are you going to marry me…? Or is your daughter going to marry me…? But since you have asked – No – I am not going to shave off my beard – I like my beard – and a beard is the sign of a true Naval Officer – so I am going to keep my beard even after marriage – forever…”

The boy looked at the girl, and he said, “See – I told you that I drink heavily, I smoke, and that I have no future in the navy – very poor career prospects – and about the poor quality of life in the navy – but you just told me one thing – that you do not know how to cook – please tell me more about your other faults…”

“We have to go somewhere,” the girl’s mother interrupted – and she brought the ‘interview’ to an abrupt end.

In the evening, the girl’s mother made a ‘trunk-call’ to her Brigadier husband and she said, “What a terrible boy? He is himself saying that he drinks half a bottle a day, he smokes, and ….”

She told him everything.

“The boy said all that…?” the Brigadier asked.

“Yes – the boy hasn’t given us even one reason why we should get our daughter married to him.”

“Maybe that is the very reason why we should get our daughter married to him,” the astute Brigadier said.

The Brigadier met the boy – and he liked him – and so – the girl and boy got married.

The girl was expecting the worst.

But after marriage – the girl noticed the following ‘improvements’ in the boy:

  1. Her husband did not drink 6 pegs of rum every evening – he drank around 3 or 4 pegs daily – and only rarely – at parties or with friends – did he drink 6 pegs or more.
  1. He did not smoke much too – in fact – he smoked very few cigarettes – he preferred smoking his pipe.
  1. She had been expecting to stay in a “jhuggi-jhopri” – but first they lived in the officers’ mess for some time – and then they shifted to quite a decent furnished apartment – which though small – the apartment was modern, comfortable, and located in the prime area of the city.

Though he was not an “angel” by any standards – her husband was not all that bad – as she had thought.

Much later – when she had given up all hope – her husband suddenly gave up drinking and smoking one day.

This happened 20 years after her marriage – and she had never imagined that her husband would give up alcohol and tobacco forever.

Of course – her husband has still not shaved off his majestic beard – but then she has got used to it now – after 33 years of married life.

After reading this “fairy-tale” – some persons may think that this is a true story – and they may even “recognize” some of the characters in this story – but let me emphasize that this is an apocryphal story – the characters do not exist and are purely imaginary – and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

What is important – is the MORAL OF THE STORY.

You must have heard the saying: “First Impression is the Best Impression”

But I say: “Worst Impression is the Best Impression”.

If you give your best impression during your first meeting with someone – then you have to live up to the image you have created.

On the other hand – if you give your worst impression during your first meeting – then there is always scope for improvement.

There are many aspects to your personality:

  1. “Best Side”
  1. “Worst Side”
  1. Shades of Grey in between the Best and Worst

At your very first meeting – if you try and impress someone with your “Best Side” – you have projected your best image – and thus you have no scope for improvement.

In fact – you will get all stressed out keeping up appearances trying to live up to the hyped-up expectations you have created in the other person – and slowly the “veneer” will start peeling off – and the goody-goody façade will crumble.


You read the story above where the boy projected his “Worst Side” to his prospective bride at the very first matrimonial meeting.

I know a story where exactly the opposite happened.

There was a girl from a civilian academic background (her parents were university professors).

They lived in a town where there was a large cantonment nearby.

Most of her schoolmates and friends were daughters of Army officers – and the girl was enamored by Army social life.

The girl got a proposal from a Naval Officer.

The girl was under the impression that the life of a Navy Wife was the same as the good life of an Army “Memsahib” which she had observed in the peacetime cantonment.

The Navy boy came to meet the girl.

Believing in the “First Impression is the Best Impression” dictum – the boy showed his “Best Side” – and he “boasted” a bit about himself – he painted a rosy picture of Navy life – instead of telling her the ground reality.

All this created a glorified image and high expectations in the newlywed girl.

But – after their honeymoon – when they reached Vizag – everything came crashing down.

The boy sailed off on his ship – leaving the girl to fend for herself – all alone – in their “B Type” hired house – at the other end of town – far away from the Naval Base.

Feeling totally isolated, the girl went into a depression – and summoned her parents – who came rushing to Vizag – to help their daughter settle down and tackle reality.

As their marriage progressed – the “first impression” that the boy had created by showing his “Best Side” – this rosy first impression started to slowly crumble away as his negative qualities began to emerge.

After many years of marriage – the girl still feels that the boy “cheated” her by portraying a goody-goody false impression of himself and hyped rosy image of Navy life.


My hypothesis of “Worst First Impression” worked in my Navy Career too.

I was posted as faculty in a prestigious inter-service training establishment.

My boss was a Commodore from a landlubber branch who had never met me before.

However – my “spoken reputation” had somehow reached him via the grapevine.

For a month or so – I noticed that he was quite wary of me – he treated me coldly and he kept me at arm’s length.

Then – one evening – at a party – when he was feeling quite happy after a few drinks – he sidled up to me – and he said, “Actually – I have realized that you are quite a good officer…”

Taken aback, I said to him, “Come on, Sir – of course – I am a good officer – why did you think otherwise…?”

“I had heard so many wicked things about you – that you are a difficult officer – but I actually find you to be so good…” the Commodore said – and later – his wife told me that I was his favourite officer – and he trusted me the most among all officers.


“Worst Impression is the Best Impression”

So – Dear Reader – whenever you meet someone for the first time – for matchmaking – for dating – at the workplace – for any long term relationship – beware of the dictum: “First Impression is the Best Impression” – and don’t get too carried away trying to make the “best impression” – since you may find it difficult to live up to such a ‘perfect’ image in later life.

When you meet someone for the first time – never try to “impress” anyone – just be your natural self – in fact – show a bit of your darker side – so that there is always “scope for improvement” later.

And for those of you who are going in for an “arranged marriage” – when you meet your “prospective spouse” for the first time – the first question you must ask your “would be spouse” is: “Tell me about your weaknesses and your faults…”

Remember: “Worst Impression is the Best Impression”.

There is always scope for improvement if you project your “worst” impression

But there is no scope for improvement if you project your “best” impression 

In fact – if you try to project your best impression right in the beginning of a relationship – you will be under constant pressure to live up to the “perfect” image you have created – and this pressure can be stressful.

As the relationship progresses – your partner will start discovering your imperfections – and the mismatch – between the goody-goody image you projected – and what you actually are in real life – will cause stress and distrust in your relationship.

However – if you project your “worst” side at the very first meeting – as I said – there is always scope for improvement.

As your relationship progresses – your partner will realize that you are not all that bad as you projected – and your marital relationship will improve.

During your first meeting – you must encourage your “would be spouse” to tell you about their faults, frailties and imperfections – to reveal their “worst” side – so that you do not face marital disappointments and surprises from your spouse later in your married life.

Also – projecting the “worst impression” will also to give your spouse plenty of “scope for improvement”.

In an “arranged marriage” – the marital relationship keeps improving as the marriage matures over the years – whereas the opposite can happen in a “love marriage”.

Wish you a long durable marriage and the “much married” feeling.



Dramatis Personae

(In order of seniority)

  1. Brigadier ‘J’
  1. Colonel ‘G’
  1. Lieutenant ‘K’ (Me)


A Cold Sunday Morning in March 1982 – Time: 0500 (5 AM)

SP Marg Officers Mess New Delhi

The shrill ring of the phone shook up Colonel ‘G’ from his drunken stupor.

As he same to his senses – Colonel ‘G’ had hazy recollections of the previous night – and the last thing he remembered was that he was sitting with Lieutenant ‘K’ (me) at the Dhaula Kuan roadside Dhaba eating hot “Bun-Omlette” – along with generous swigs of Rum – from the hip-flask Lieutenant ‘K’ always carried with him.

Colonel ‘G’ had no clue how he had reached his cabin in the SP Marg Officers Mess – maybe Lieutenant ‘K’ had helped him.

The phone kept ringing.

Colonel ‘G’ cursed at being woken up at this unearthly hour at the crack of dawn on a cold Sunday morning – and he picked up the phone.

The moment Colonel ‘G’ heard the voice on the other side – he perked up.

It was Brigadier ‘J’ – his ex-boss.

Colonel ‘G’ had high regards for Brigadier ‘J’ – in fact – Colonel ‘G’ considered Brigadier ‘J’ the best boss ever.

“Good Morning, Sir – it is such a pleasure to hear your voice…” Colonel ‘G’ said to Brigadier ‘J’.

Brigadier ‘J’ was a man of few words – and he got to the point immediately.

“Do you know a Naval Officer called Lieutenant ‘K’…? He stays in your mess…”Brigadier ‘J’ asked Colonel ‘G’.

“Of course, Sir – in fact – I was with Lieutenant ‘K’ last evening – he is a wonderful chap…” Colonel ‘G’ said.

“Oh – you know him well – and you say that Lieutenant ‘K’ is a ‘wonderful chap’ – that’s good – I would like to meet Lieutenant ‘K’ – you do one thing – bring him to Delhi Airport in the morning…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to Colonel ‘G’.

“Airport…?” stammered Colonel ‘G’ – a bit confused.

“I will come by the Srinagar Delhi flight – it reaches Delhi at 11:30 – you make sure that you are there with Lieutenant ‘K’…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to Colonel ‘G’.

“Sir – why do you want to meet Lieutenant ‘K’…?” Colonel ‘G’ asked Brigadier ‘J’.

“To fix up his marriage with my daughter…” Brigadier ‘J’ said – and he disconnected the phone.

Colonel ‘G’ was stunned.

For a few moments – he sat on his bed in a daze.

Then – Colonel ‘G’ gathered his wits – and – he walked down the corridor to my cabin.

I was irritated at being disturbed so early on a Sunday morning – especially after having enjoyed a late night – and – the moment I saw Colonel ‘G’ standing in the door – I asked him: “Sir – why are you waking me up so early…?”

“Bloody disaster…” Colonel ‘G’ exclaimed to me.

“Disaster…? What happened, Sir…?” I asked Colonel ‘G’.

“I told Brigadier ‘J’ that you were a ‘wonderful chap’…” Colonel ‘G’ said to me.

“Sir – I cannot fathom what you are saying…” I said to Colonel ‘G’.

“My ex-CO Brigadier ‘J’ just rang up – and – I told him that you were a ‘wonderful chap’…” Colonel ‘G’ said.

“So – am I not a ‘wonderful chap’…?” I asked him.

Colonel ‘G’ looked at me and said: “For me – you are a certainly a ‘wonderful chap’ – you are a bloody ‘sharaabi’ and ‘kabaabi’ like me – but – for Brigadier J’s daughter– she is such a decent girl – her life will be ruined if she marries a terrible fellow like you…”

“Sir, What are you saying…? Marriage…? Are you still drunk…? You ‘passed out’ last night – and I had a tough time carrying you to your cabin…” I said to Colonel ‘G’.

“I am perfectly sober now. But when the phone rang – I was in a ‘half-awake’ state – and – I am regretting my blunder of blurting out to Brigadier ‘J’ that you are a ‘good guy’ – I thought he was asking generally – I did not know that he was considering you as a ‘marriage prospect’ for his virtuous daughter. You never told me about it…”Colonel ‘G’ said to me.

“Sir – I just came back from Pune by Jhelum Express last evening – and then – we straightaway went to DSOI and got drunk – but I did mention that I saw a girl – but she did not like me…” I said.

“Are you sure she did not like you…?” Colonel ‘G’ asked me.

“Well – it seemed that the girl was not interested in getting married – so she was quite impassive – but – her mother – she certainly did not like me as a prospective ‘son-in-law’…” I said.

“Ah – so Mrs ‘J’ did not like you – that’s good…” Colonel ‘G’ said, “But then – why does Brigadier ‘J’ want to meet you…?”

Brigadier ‘J’ wants to meet me…? He is the girl’s father, is he…? He wasn’t there when I saw the girl – only the girl and her mother had come. They told me he was posted to Srinagar…” I said.

Brigadier ‘J’ is flying down from Srinagar by the morning flight – he wants to meet you – and he has asked me to bring you along to the airport to meet him – so get ready – we will leave at 10 after breakfast…” Colonel ‘G’ said to me.

“But why at the airport…?” I asked.

“Please don’t ask too many questions – Brigadier ‘J’ just told me to get you to the airport at 11:30 and he disconnected the phone…” Colonel ‘G’ said.

“Okay – let’s meet Brigadier ‘J’ – my prospective ‘father-in-law’…” I laughed.

Colonel ‘G’ had a worried expression on his face and he said to me: “I only hope that this doesn’t work out – the poor girl’s life will be ruined if she gets married to you…”

“Ha Ha…” I smiled at Colonel ‘G’ – and I said to him, “Sir – I thought you were my ‘well-wisher’…”

6 Hours Later


New Delhi Airport – Domestic Terminal – Sunday – 1100 (11:30 AM)

We – Colonel ‘G’ and I (Lieutenant ‘K’) – awaited the arrival of Brigadier ‘J’.

Brigadier ‘J’ arrived – he was short – he had a stocky physique – and he was wearing army olive green uniform.

Colonel ‘G’ introduced us – and we shook hands.

Brigadier ‘J’ looked at Colonel “G’ and said to him: “Why don’t you leave us alone for some time…? I will talk to the boy alone – and then we will take a decision – if it a ‘Yes’ – I will go ahead to Pune and fix the wedding – if it is a ‘No’ – then I will head back to Srinagar by the afternoon flight which leaves at 2:30 – that is why I have bought an ‘open’ ticket…”

“This man seems to be a quick decision maker,” I said to myself, “it was almost 12 noon – and he expected a mutual decision in just two hours.”

“Sir – I will wait in the cafeteria…” Colonel ‘G’ said – and he left.

Then – Brigadier ‘J’ and I talked – yes – the ‘matrimonial’ conversation between both of us was held while we were standing on our feet.

Brigadier ‘J’ looked at me and said: “You seem to be an okay chap – I don’t know why my wife had apprehensions about you…?”

“Apprehensions…?” I asked.

“Well – to be frank – my wife did not like you…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.

“I also did not like your wife…” I said candidly to Brigadier ‘J’.

On hearing this Brigadier ‘J’ broke out into a laugh – and he said: “Ha Ha – luckily you don’t have to marry her…”

I smiled at his sense of humor.

Then – Brigadier ‘J’ looked at me and said: “You liked my daughter, didn’t you..?”

“Yes…” I said, “But she didn’t seem interested in marriage.”

“She is a bit shy…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.

“Oh…” I said.

“Well – you seem to have scared them off – you told them that you drink heavily, you smoke, you won’t shave off your beard – and you painted quite a gloomy picture about life in the Navy…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.

“Sir – I told them the truth…” I said.

“Well – I like you – you are a straightforward boy. And – the very fact that you have been selected by the Navy for doing your M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – you must be good in your job. In fact – “Colonel ‘G’ said that you were a ‘wonderful chap’ – and since you are in the Navy – your antecedents would have been checked – so – at least – you won’t be a ‘fake’…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to me.

“Sir – I want to ask you one thing…” I said.

“Sure – go ahead…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.

“Sir – why do you ‘Pongos’ always travel in uniform…” I said.

Brigadier ‘J’ laughed and said: “You see – unlike you intelligent Navy chaps – we ‘Pongos’ are dopes – so – in case we get lost – it is easy for them to find us if we are in uniform…”

We laughed.

“I like you…” Brigadier ‘J’ said to me.

“Sir – I like you too…” I said to Brigadier ‘J’.

“Okay – let’s go to Colonel ‘G’ and tell him to book me on the next flight to Pune or Mumbai – whichever is available – I will go and talk to your mother and fix up the wedding – tell me a convenient date…” Brigadier ‘J’ said.

My 2nd Semester ends on the 10th of May – and I have 2 months summer vacation – so any date between mid-May till mid-June is okay…” I said.

Brigadier ‘J’ managed a seat on the 1:30 afternoon flight to Mumbai – and he rushed to catch his flight.

I looked at my watch – it was not even 1 o’clock – the ‘matrimonial interview’ had taken just around 30 minutes – and Brigadier ‘J’ had taken a final decision (despite his wife’s misgivings about me).

3 Days Later


SP Marg Officers Mess New Delhi – 1300 Hrs (1 PM)

On Wednesday – when I returned to the mess for lunch – I was surprised to see Brigadier ‘J’ and Colonel ‘G’ sitting in the foyer.

“Ah – there you are – I came from Pune by the morning flight. I wanted to meet you and personally give you the good news that your wedding has been fixed on the 30thof May with my daughter…” Brigadier ‘J’ said

Those days – the method of communication was letters – and I had not received any letter from my mother.

After all – it was only just 3 days ago – on Sunday – that Brigadier ‘J’ had gone to Pune.

So – I was quite surprised that my marriage had been fixed so quickly.

“Thank you, Sir,” I said to Brigadier ‘J’ – and then I invited him for a glass of beer and lunch.

“Thanks – but we will sit and talk some other time – right now – I have to rush to the airport to catch the 2:30 afternoon flight to Srinagar,” Brigadier ‘J’ said, “I just came to meet you and give you the good news in person.”

We walked towards Colonel G’s car.

Just before he got inside the car – Brigadier ‘J’ delivered his parting shot – he said to me: “Please make sure you come for the wedding on the 30th of May – I have paid 3000 Rupees as advance for the marriage hall – and – if you don’t turn up – I will lose my money…”


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  1. This story is a spoof, satire, 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.

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Placebo for Seasickness – Navy Style

May 28, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – Placebo for Seasickness



I do not know whether there is a “seasickness test” now for Navy aspirants – but more than 40 years ago – way back in the 1970’s – after you cleared the Services Selection Board (SSB) – there was a comprehensive medical examination – but I do not recall any test for “seasickness”.

The result was that you came to know of your propensity to seasickness only when you sailed out to sea – which for some terribly seasick types – was quite late in the day – and many who could not bear their “seasickness” opted out of the surface navy by “volunteering” for Submarines or Air Technical Branches.

I am sure that with advances in medical technology – there is a quantitative “seasickness test” now.

But – here is a story about how I learnt about a qualitative “seasickness test” from a hardened sailor – what they call in the navy – a tough “sea-dog”…



As a young Naval Officer – in the 1970’s – the first month of my “sea time” was sheer bliss.

Our ship was berthed alongside in harbour at Bombay (now called Mumbai) for a “maintenance period”.

Every evening – we would imbibe a generous amount of the best Scotch Whisky in the ship’s wardroom – and then – we would go ashore to enjoy the delights that “maximum city” Bombay had to offer.

Suddenly – the fun time was all over – and – we were off to sea.

It was monsoon time.

The sea was rough.

And – as we headed out to sea – our ship – a frigate – started rolling and pitching quite furiously.

Many individuals – Officers and Sailors – started getting sea-sick.

The Ship’s Doctor had hit the bunk in the sickbay in anticipation of sailing.

Yes – he had disappeared below decks to the sickbay in harbour itself – the moment “Special Sea Dutymen” (SSD) had closed up for duty.

At “Both Watches” – after briefing the sailors regarding the exercises during the sailing programme – I told my Master Chief: “This is my first sailing on this ship. In case I get “sea-sick” – you take charge.”

My Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) – a grizzled old “sea-dog” – who was arguably the senior-most sailor in our branch – and certainly – the senior-most sailor on board our ship – he said to me – matter-of-factly: “Sir – you will not get sea-sick…”

“How do you know I will not get sea-sick…? You have never seen me sailing on this ship. And – you don’t know anything about me…” I said to him.

“Sir – we know everything about you. The wardroom steward tells us that you drink almost half a bottle of whisky every evening. And Sir – at last week’s party at Sailors’ Home – you drank us under the table – Sir – we saw that you drank almost a full bottle of rum – and then – you walked back all the way to the ship as if nothing had happened – and then – in the morning – you were up at 6 o’clock for your morning run and PT. Sir – we know that you are a good drinker …” the MCPO said to me – with genuine admiration in his voice.

“But what has my drinking got to do with seasickness…?” I asked.

“I don’t know the theory, Sir – but – in my long service – I have observed that heavy drinkers never get seasick…” he said.

As we sailed – and the sea got rougher – I observed that what the old “sea-dog” MCPO had said was absolutely true.

The weather was stormy – the sea was very rough – and – the ship was rolling, pitching and yawing quite violently.

Those with a propensity for seasickness – they started feeling seasick.

Ours was a non-airconditioned ship in which the Officers’ Cabin Flat reeked of the awfully nauseating smell of FFO (Furnace Fuel Oil) – which made the nausea even worse – and most of the officers were terribly sea-sick.

There was a stench all over the ship as officers and sailors were retching and vomiting due to seasickness.

Only a few officers remained unaffected.

I was one of the lucky ones who did not get sea-sick.

I realized that the Sea-Dog Master Chief Petty Officer was absolutely right.

The officers who did not get sea-sick were all heavy drinkers.

A few days later the Fleet Commander – a Rear Admiral – embarked on board our ship.

The Admiral was a towering figure – he was over six feet tall – and with his impressive beard – he had an imposing personality – like Lord Neptune.

As we sailed – the sea got quite rough – and – the ship started rolling and pitching quite a bit.

I was surprised to see this grand Admiral getting sea-sick.

Yes – believe it or not – the Admiral was a “seasick type”.

In fact – there was a bucket kept for the Admiral on the bridge – for him to vomit into – in case he felt too seasick and wanted to throw up.

You guessed right – the Admiral was a non-drinker – a strict teetotaller.

(I am sure that many Naval Officers would have guessed the name of the “redoubtable” Admiral)

Moral of the Story

So now you know why the quintessential sailor is always associated with a bottle of Rum – Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle Of Rum !!!

And – now you know how to carry out the “qualitative seasickness test” (at your own risk).

Whether the MCPO’s theory that hard-drinkers are less vulnerable to seasickness has has some scientific basis or not – or – is it is a mere “placebo” – well – I do not know.

But – that is what I saw in the Navy – heavy drinkers were less prone to seasickness as compared to teetotallers.

I dug deep into my photo albums – and – I pulled out this nostalgic picture taken in the 1970’s of the Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) who gave me this “Navy Gyan” on Seasickness.

I loved drinking with my sailors – it was the best way to assess the morale of my sailors.

So – instead of the customary boring “Divisional Officer’s Period” (DOP) on Wednesday afternoons on board ship – whenever we were in harbour – I conducted the “Divisional Officer’s Period” in the Sailors’ Home at Cooperage – and – during the DOP – liquor flowed freely – and – my sailors could open up and talk to me without inhibition – and – tell me their problems – if any.

In the picture below taken in the 1970’s – you can see me with my sailors enjoying a “Divisional Officer’s Period” at Sailors’ Home.

As you can see from the bonhomie, the casual dress and navy style haircuts of the sailors – those were “laissez-faire” days in the Navy – especially in the Western Fleet – which was the premier sword arm of the Navy – and the emphasis was on professionalism and not on “spit and polish” ceremonials.

Navy Nilgiri DOP MCPO Yadav

Have a look at the photo again.

In the picture – I am sitting at the extreme left (with my lush beard – and – with my left hand raised – probably narrating a yarn or joke).

See the happy face of the sailor standing behind me – and the rather curious smile on the face of the sailor sitting in the centre.

The Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) mentioned in the story is sitting to the extreme right – and – from the way he is laughing – he seems to be in a jolly mood – as we are drinking away and enjoying ourselves at the departmental booze-up session with my Sailors at Sailors’ Home at Cooperage in Mumbai.

Look at the picture above once again – and – tell me – isn’t the “high morale” of my sailors clearly visible…?


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.


  1. This story is a spoof, satire, 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 is an updated and revised version of my story First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 6/23/2014 01:04:00 PM at url:  and  later at url:  and and

Memories of My Unforgettable Navy Days – WAVY NAVY – Romance in Uniform

May 26, 2016


Humor in Uniform  

Memories of My Unforgettable Navy Days


Link to my original post in my Blog (Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve):


Sometime ago – a Vizag “girlfriend” from the 1980’s – suddenly emerged out of the blue – and – she sent me a “friend” request on Facebook.

She was a “wavy” type – she lived opposite my house – and – we would “wave” to each other whenever we saw each other – especially across our balconies.

It was then – that I thought of writing this story – but – I didn’t get down to writing it.

Then – a few months ago – I met another “wavy” type – she would wave to me whenever she saw me.

I again thought of writing this story – but – yet again – I did not get down to writing it.

This morning – I enjoyed another flirty “waving” romance.

So – now – I am finally writing the story of my “wavy romances” during my delightful Navy Days…


You may have heard of the “WAVY NAVY” – RNVR (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) – whose officers wore “Wavy” Rank Stripes with a Square Wavy Curl.

On the other hand – “STRAIGHT NAVY” Officers of the regular Royal Navy (RN)wore Straight Rank Stripes with the Nelson Ring (also called the “Executive Curl” or the “Elliot’s Eye”)

You may have also heard the witty quote by a famous World War 2 “Wavy Navy” Officer of the RNVR:

“…the difference between the “Straight Navy” (RN) and “Wavy-Navy” (RNVR) is that – the RN look after the Navy in peacetime – while the RNVR do the fighting in War…”

The “Wavy Navy” Officer was hinting that Regular Royal Navy (RN) Officers “fight” in “peacetime” – whereas Reservists of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) fight the war.

He was highlighting the difference between “peacetime soldiering” – which was mainly done by Regular Officers of RN – and – “war-fighting” – which was mainly done by the Reservists of RNVR.

But – the story I am going to tell you is not about this “Wavy Navy”.

Yes – the title of the story may be a misnomer – for this yarn is not a story about the actual “Wavy Navy” (Naval Reserves).

But – since – the story happened during my Navy days – and – “Wavy Navy” seems to be quite a catchy title – I decided to use it – instead of some long-winded lackluster phrase.

My story is about my hilarious “waving” faux pas during my delightful Navy Days.


Ever since my young days – I have a tendency to “wave” out to people.

Maybe – this habit of “waving” has its genesis in my being in boarding school – where – we waved “goodbye” to our parents as the train left our home station and headed to our school in the Nilgiris in South India.

Or maybe – my penchant for “waving” emanated from my “shy” nature.

Yes – I was – and – I still am – a very “shy” person – especially – as far as “girlfriends” are concerned.

Tell – me how does a “Gentleman” greet a “Lady”…?

If you live in an “advanced” country – or in “broadminded” permissive society – you can hug and kiss a girl.

In conservative society – folding your hands in a “Namaste” is the best way – but some modern girls find it too formal and standoffish – especially if the girls are your classmates or friends.

In fact – when I was in college – a “girlfriend” specifically warned me not to greet her with a “Namaste” – especially in front of her friends.

In the Navy – it was a custom to “salute” ladies as a mark of respect.

As Naval Officers – we saluted all ladies as a mark of courtesy – whenever we met them.

(By the way – Navy Officers and Sailors salute when in “civvies” too – so – even in “off hours” – if we met a lady who we recognized – we saluted her).

In fact – in the Navy – all ladies were saluted by the gangway duty staff when they came on board a ship.

Ha Ha Ha – this reminds me of a story.

If you are a Naval Officer – I am sure you have heard this hilarious Naval Yarn (maybe apocryphal) – about an incident that is supposed to have happened sometime in the 1970’s on a ship of the fleet based in Mumbai (then called Bombay).

An Officer brought a “Lady” on board his ship in the evening.

As is the custom – the Officer was leading the way as they walked across the gangway from the jetty to the ship.

The Duty Quartermaster duly saluted the Officer when he crossed the gangway – and – the Officer returned the salute.

The Officer stepped on the deck – he turned around – and then – the Officer saluted his “Lady” companion as she crossed the gangway and stepped on the ship.

However – the Officer noticed that the Quartermaster did not salute the “Lady”.

The Officer gestured to the Duty Quartermaster to salute the “Lady” – but – the Sailor did not salute the “Lady” – instead – the Sailor looked away.

The Officer was furious at this discourtesy shown by the Sailor to his “Lady” companion.

However – he did not want to make a spectacle in front of the “Lady” – so – he took the “Lady” down to the Wardroom for a drink.

After the “Lady” had settled down for a drink in the Wardroom – the Officer went to the cabin of the OOD (Officer of the Day) – and – he told the OOD about the incident and the discourteous conduct of the Duty Quartermaster – and – the Officer asked the OOD to put the Sailor on charge.

The OOD walked to the gangway – and – the OOD questioned the Duty Quartermaster about the incident.

The OOD asked the Sailor: “Why didn’t you salute the “Lady”…?”

The Sailor told the OOD the reason why he did not salute the “Lady”.

On hearing the Sailor’s answer – the OOD almost choked trying to suppress his laughter.

Soon – the grapevine was abuzz with juicy versions of this incident – and – the story became lower deck “scuttlebutt” on the ship – and – in due course – it was “galley news” in the entire fleet.

But – that’s another story.

Why did the Sailor refuse to salute the “Lady”…?

What was the reason for this discourtesy shown by the Sailor to the “Lady”…?

Why did the OOD almost choke with laughter on hearing the reason why the Sailor did not salute the “Lady”…?

All that – I will leave to your imagination – or – I will tell you privately over a drink.

Now – let me get back to the topic:

How Do You Greet a “Girlfriend”…?

As I told you earlier – “hugging and kissing” was too permissive for me – since I was not a dashing and debonair “Dude’ – but – I was a “shy” type “Prude”.

My “girlfriends” found “Namaste” too formal – and – they said – that my saying “Namaste” to them made them feel old – as if they were “Aunties”.

Those days – men shaking hands with women was not in vogue – in fact – I feel that shaking hands maybe okay with lady colleagues in office – but not with “girlfriends” – and – I was doubtful whether my “girlfriends” would appreciate a strong Navy style hand-grip followed by a vigorous shake of hand.

Saluting Ladies was okay in the Navy social environment – but – when I started “saluting” my “girlfriends” – they looked at me with curious amusement – as if I was some sort of “freak”.

So – the choices boiled down to three – “Hugging and Kissing”, “Saluting” and “Namaste”.

I contemplated on this matter – and – to greet girls – I found a “via media” between “Hugging and Kissing”, “Saluting” and “Namaste” – I started “waving” to girls.

Yes – I started “waving” to girls.

“Waving” was a decent and friendly way of greeting – and – I could do this without getting too close for comfort – I could wave even from a distance – and – “Waving” your hands was much more affable and cheerful than a solemn formal “Namaste”.

My penchant for “waving” out to “girls” resulted in many amusing incidents.

Once – I “waved” out to a “girlfriend” – who was shopping on Main Street with her mother and grandmother.

I found all the three ladies waving back cheerfully at me.

But – that’s another story.

Now – let me tell you about two of my “waving” episodes which happened during my Navy days.


The first “waving” episode that I am going to tell you about happened at a Railway Station – the prestigious CST Railway Station in Mumbai (then called Bombay VT).

This story happened 38 years ago – in the late 1970’s.

It was Wednesday – a “make-and-mend” (half-day) on our ship.

After the customary “elbow-bending” PLD – drinking chilled beer at the Wardroom Bar – followed by a sumptuous continental lunch of roast chicken – I was heading towards my cabin in the officers’ flat – looking forward to a delightful beer and food induced “siesta”.

Suddenly – the door of the Captain’s Cabin opened – the Captain stuck out his head from door.

He saw me.

The Captain looked at me – and he said: “Come here…”

I entered the Captain’s Cabin.

“Do me a favour – just drop my daughter off on the Punjab Mail…” the Captain said to me.

[Those days the Punjab Mail departed from CST at 1630 Hrs (4:30 PM)]

“Aye, Aye, Sir…” I said.

“I was supposed to drop her – but – the C-in-C has called a meeting of all COs at 3:30…” he said.

“Yes, Sir…” I said.

“Call a taxi – pick up my daughter from my house – and – take my Coxswain with you…”

“Aye, Aye, Sir…”

“Here – take this – it should cover the taxi fare and porter etc – and – in case she wants to buy some snacks or drinks…” the Captain said – and he gave me a 100 Rupee note.

(Remember – this was in the 1970’s – when the minimum taxi fare in Mumbai was not even one rupee – it was 85 paise – and – the specified ‘porterage’ was a rupee for a bag – and – a porter was happy if you gave him 2 or 3 rupees).

“You better hurry up – the train leaves at 4:30 – and it is almost 3 o’clock…” the Captain said.

Then – the Captain put on his cap – walked out his cabin – opened the bulkhead door and walked out on the deck – crossed the gangway – got down on the jetty – and – started briskly walking on the wharf towards Headquarters.

(Those days – Captains did not get ‘staff cars’ – only Captains of the Aircraft Carrier and ‘Hydro’ Survey Ships used their ships’ jeeps which they put ashore when in harbour).

I saw the Captain’s Coxswain following me – and – he said: “Sir, should I get a Taxi…?”

“Yes…” I said – and – the Captain’s Coxswain started walking towards the Dockyard Gate.

Half an hour later – I picked up my Captain’s daughter from their house in the Navy Township (NOFRA) – and – soon – we were heading towards CST Railway Station in the Premier Padmini (Fiat) Taxi – the Coxswain sitting in front with the Taxi-Driver – and – the Captain’s Daughter and I on the rear seat.

“Why did you come in uniform…?” the Captain’s daughter asked me.

“There was no time to change into civvies…” I said, “Your Dad told me to hurry since it was almost 3 o’clock when he asked me to pick you up…”

“Oh…” she said, “Really – there was no need for you to have come all the way – I could have gone on my own…”

“Well – the Captain asked me to drop you and see you off on the Punjab Mail…”

“See me off…? It will be okay if you just drop me outside the station. All my friends will be there…”


“Yes – we have come on a college educational tour to various places in India – so there are 60 of us girls – all classmates – and some teachers – in fact – we have a full sleeper coach booked for us which gets attached to various trains…”

(Those days – students travelled by 2nd Class Sleeper – or – even by ordinary 2ndClass)

“You study in an all girls’ college…?” I asked her.

“In Delhi…?”


“Oh – so how many days did you spend in Mumbai…?”

“Three days. Since my Dad is in Mumbai – I stayed at home – the others were put up in the women’s university and other places – some stayed in the sleeper coach as well…”


The moment the taxi entered the foyer of CST – the Captain’s daughter said: “Please drop me off over here – I will go to the train on my own…”

“We will come as see you off…”

“Please – I don’t want to trouble you…”

“It’s no trouble at all – and – I told you that your father has asked me to drop you on the train – so – I will see you off properly…”

Soon we were walking towards Platform No. 8 of CST (VT) station from where the Punjab Mail was scheduled to depart at 4:30 PM – the Captain’s daughter was wearing Blue Jeans and a Light Green T-Shirt – and I marched beside her – smartly dressed in sparkling white Navy Uniform Dress No. 8 – shorts and half-sleeved shirt – white stockings and white shoes – and – the Navy “Peak Cap” on my head – and – the Sailor – the Captain’s Coxswain was also in Navy Uniform Dress No. 8  – and – he followed us carrying the Captain’s daughter’s bag – despite her protestations that she could carry her own bag.

In Mumbai – Navy uniform is quite common – so – no one gave us a second look.

But – the moment my Captain’s daughter’s classmates saw us – all the girls started staring at me in a curious way.

“Thanks a lot for dropping me,” the Captain’s daughter said to me as we approached their sleeper coach with all her classmates – a few outside on the platform – and – most of the girls inside the coach.

She wanted to take her bag from the sailor – but – we went inside – and I made sure that the sailor made sure that he had placed the bag properly under her berth.

The Captain’s daughter sat on her window seat – and – she said to me: “Thanks for the trouble – I am comfortably seated now – I think you should go now…”

“Do you want me to get you anything – biscuits, soft drink, tea…?” I said.

“Please – I am not a small girl – I am almost 21 now – I can look after myself…” she said.

“Oh – she is 21…?” I thought to myself – I realised that she was almost my age.

I could see that she was embarrassed by the two us – Me and the Sailor – hanging around her in uniform inside the coach near her seat – and – all her classmates staring at us – so – I said: “Okay – Bye – we will wait on the platform…”

“No. No. You can go back…”

“It’s already 4:15 – only 15 minutes for the train to leave – so we will see you off properly…”

“Please go back – don’t you have work to do on the ship…?” she said.

“Today is Wednesday – ‘make-and-mend’ – a half-day…” I said.

“Oh…” she said.

“Okay – if you are uncomfortable with us standing here – we will go outside and wait on the platform…” I said to her.

I went outside and stood on the platform.

A number of girls – my Captain’s daughter’s classmates – the college girls swarmed around me – and – they asked me about our ship.

I did not want the Captain’s Coxswain hanging around while I flirted with the girls – so – I gave the Sailor a 10 Rupee note – and – I told him: “Go and buy a bar of chocolate and some fruit for the Captain’s daughter…”

(In the 1970’s – Ten Rupees was a huge amount – enough for buying chocolates and fruit)

The girls asked me about the Navy – and ships.

“You should have visited our ship…” I said to the girls, “after all – your classmate’s father is our Captain…”

“We wanted to see Navy ships – but we arrived in Mumbai on Sunday evening from Bangalore – and – now – we are leaving on Wednesday – and – they said that we can have group visits to ships only on weekends…” one of the girls said.

“Okay – but – you can plan next time – and – if you want to come alone by yourself – I can take you to see the ship any evening as my guest…” I said.

(Those days – in the 1970’s – officers were allowed to take their guests on board ships on all days of the week)

The Captain’s daughter was watching me from the window of the coach.

She waved to me.

I was delighted to see that she was a “waving” type.

But – on close observation – I saw that she was signaling me to come towards her.

I walked towards her – and – stood near the coach window.

“Please don’t talk too much to those girls…” she said, “they are gossipy types…”

“Okay…” I said – and – I stood outside the coach window.

“Please go now…” the Captain’s daughter said.

“Just a few minutes more for the train to start…” I said, “And – I have sent the Sailor to get you some Chocolates and Fruits…”

“I told you not to bother…”

“It’s okay – your father has given me money…”

The Sailor arrived with a Bar of Milk Chocolate and some Oranges.

I passed them on to the Captain’s daughter through the window.

Suddenly – the guard blew his whistle.

The girls on the platform rushed towards the coach door and got inside.

The engine sounded its horn.

The train started moving slowly.

I started “waving” goodbye to the Captain’s daughter.

Seeing me waving – the Sailor took the cue – and – he also started waving to the Captain’s daughter.

The Captain’s daughter waved back at us.

Inspired by her waving – I started walking on the platform along with the train – and – I kept waving at the Captain’s daughter sitting in the window.

The Sailor also marched behind me – waving vigorously.

(Later – I got feedback – that the Captain’s daughter was not waving joyfully at me – but she was trying to signal me to go away).

We – Me and the Captain’s Coxswain – we kept waving – and – as the train picked up speed – the door of the coach came in front of us – and – I saw that the girls standing in the door were waving at me.

I waved back at the girls.

The girls waved back at me – as the train moved away.

Then – someone pulled the ‘chain’ – and the train screeched to a stop.

I quickly walked towards the window where my Captain’s daughter was sitting – and – I started waving to her again.

Then – I went close – and – I said to her: “Take care. Have a nice journey…”

I could see that her cheeks were red and she was blushing.

(I thought that she had fallen in love with me – but – later – I got feedback – that she was blushing in embarrassment).

The train started moving again.

I started waving again – and – the Sailor promptly followed my actions.

But – the Captain’s daughter did not wave back at me – instead – I saw – that – all her classmates were waving to me from the coach windows – and – as the train went forward – the girls standing in the door waved vigorously to me and shouted ‘Bye’…”

We kept waving at each other till the train disappeared from view.

After the train had left – I took a Taxi to the ship.

On reaching the ship – I found out from the OOD that the Captain had just arrived on board.

I reported to the Captain in his cabin.

He had just arrived from the meeting in Headquarters and was changing into civvies.

“Sir – your daughter has been seen off properly…” I said.

“Very Good…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I spent…”

“Okay – just keep the remaining money on the table…”

I kept the money on the table – I saluted the Captain – and – I left his cabin.

Three days later – on Saturday – during the customary “elbow-bending” PLD in the ship’s wardroom – the Captain walked up to me and said: “My daughter has reached safely.”

“That’s good, Sir…” I said.

“She called up last evening – she was telling me about how you “saw her off” very thoroughly…”

“Yes, Sir…”

“Ha Ha – she has warned me never to send anyone to “see her off” – in fact – she told us that in future she would go to the station alone – and – she said that even we should not come to drop her…” the Captain said with a smile – and he walked off to talk to the XO.

10 Years Later


My boss was a rather prosaic Commodore – but – he had a vivacious wife – who was always cheerful, bubbly and full of life.

She was an accomplished career woman and had a distinct identity of her own – and hence – she was not rank-conscious at all.

I would meet her often – in the swimming pool – during my long walks – in the Mess Library – and – we became friends.

What I liked most about her – was – that – like me – she too was a “wavy” type.

Whenever she saw me – she would “wave” out to me – and – I would “wave” back to her.

One day – I saw my Boss’s car approaching.

My Boss, the Commodore, was driving – and – his wife was seated next to him.

I was walking on the right side of the road – so – as the car approached – his wife’s seat was on my side of the road.

I started lifting my right hand to “salute” the Commodore.

Just then – the Commodore’s wife waved out to me.

Instinctively – I waved out to her.

(I could not help it – but – without my realizing it – my right hand spontaneously moved up and started waving – and – my planned formal “salute” turned into an impulsive friendly “wave”)

Next morning – my Boss – the prosaic Commodore – he called me to his office – and – he said to me: “Well – if you don’t want to ‘salute’ me – that’s bad enough – but – ‘waving’ to my wife instead of ‘saluting’ me – that is a bit too much – isn’t it…?”


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.


  1. This story is a spoof, satire, 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. 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Link to my original post in my Blog (Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve):


Military Health Care – Medical Category

May 21, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – Medical Category


“Quack” Stories

MEDICAL CATEGORY – A Spoof by Vikram Karve

During my long service in the Navy – I “enhanced” a lot of things.

I enhanced my academic qualifications.

I enhanced my knowledge.

I enhanced my expertise.

I enhanced my world-view.

I enhanced my personality

And – I even enhanced my physical attributes – especially my weight.

But – the one thing I could not enhance was my “medical category”.

When I joined the Navy as an Officer – my Medical Category was S1 A1

And – when I retired from the Navy – 34 years later – my Medical Category was still S1 A1

I could not achieve even a small “incremental enhancement” in my Medical Category – even temporarily.

Not even for one moment could I achieve a slightly “higher” Medical Category like “S2 A1” or “S2 A2” – of course I never dreamt of achieving greater heights like “S3 A3” “S4 A4” or “S5 A5”

Throughout my entire Naval career – my Medical Category remained consistently constant at S1 A1” – the “lowest” Medical Category.

By strange military logic – if you achieved a “higher” Medical Category like S2 A2 S3 A3 S4 A4etc – the Doctors said that you were in Low Medical Category (LMC).

How can S1 A1” be High Medical Category – and – S3 A3” be Low Medical Category…?

Is the number 3 lower than the number 1…? 

But then – Mathematics has never been a strong point of Doctors – even at 10+2 level – Mathematics is not required if you intend studying Medicine.

The only time I was hospitalized – towards the end of my career – was for Malaria – and I thought they would “enhance” my Medical Category – to S2 A2 – maybe to S3 A2 – or even to S3 A3 – or even higher.

But nothing happened.

After a couple of days – when my Malaria began to abate – and just I was beginning to enjoy my stay in hospital – they suddenly discharged me – and threw me out of the hospital – straight back to work – as they were short of beds due the sudden arrival of a few “serious” cases.

And – while discharging me unceremoniously from hospital – the Navy Doctors did not even have the courtesy or decency to enhance my Medical Category.

So – I remained in my lifelong “lowly” and unimpressive Medical Category of S1 A1

Yes – I remained a lowly S1 A1 from “womb to tomb” (to put it metaphorically).

Well – if there is a Navy Doctor reading this – maybe he will be able to explain the significance of medical categories ranging from S1 A1 to S5 A5 – with all permutations and combinations like S2 A1 S2 A2 S3 A2 etc etc

Since the Army likes to do things differently.

So they have named their medical categories from SHAPE 1SHAPE 2SHAPE 3SHAPE 4 and SHAPE 5 etc

And – there are even more possibilities for permutations and combinations like S1 H2 A3 P4 E5 etc etc – to make it all the more confusing for Army Officers – who are most confused anyway.

Now – this Medical Category called SHAPE has nothing to do with the “shape” of your body.

This is evident from the fact that you will see many “out of shape” Army “Pongos” in Medical Category SHAPE1.

Will some “Fauji” Doctor be good enough to tell us all about “SHAPE” – and please enlighten us on why some SHAPE 1 “Faujis” look so much “out of shape” 

In the Air Force they call their medical categories A1 G1 A2 G2 …. A5 G5etc.

It is all very confusing and puzzling to me.

“Fauji” Military Doctors keep changing the colour of their uniforms – like chameleons – as they “flit and frolic” about – between the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Basically – all “Fauji” doctors are the same – and all of them belong to the Army Medical Corps (AMC).

I have not understood one things.

The 3 Defence Services – Army Navy and Air Force – all have the same AMC Doctors.

Then – why does each Service have its own style of Medical Categories:

“SHAPE” for the Army

“S1 A1 S2 A2… etc for the Navy

“A1 G1 A2 G2… etc for the Air Force…?

The 3 Defence Services have the same Doctors – but different Medical Categories.

Is this one more feather in the cap of “jointmanship”…?


The Story of the Officer with a Perpetual “Medical Category”

“Enhancing” your medical category gives you a lot of advantages – like it did to my friend “D”.

“D” was a master at malingering.

An ex-NDA officer – on the very first day of our training – “D” was missing from morning Physical Training (PT).

When questioned about his absence from PT by the Senior-Under-Training-Officer (SUTO) – “D” answered triumphantly: “I am a medical category.”

(In colloquial Naval parlance – this meant that “D” had an “enhanced” medical category).

During his entire training period – his “medical category” was his all powerful universal “trump card” to be excused from any painful activity that “D” wanted to avoid – like PT, games, divisions, drill, parades, cross country runs, route marches, outward bound camps etc.

Even Senior Officers were wary of “D” because of his “enhanced” medical category – and they avoided bullshitting him – lest he drop dead or have a fit or something serious happen him – and they be blamed for it.

The biggest mystery was none of us knew what was wrong with him – no one knew for what “disease” “D” had got the medical category – from where he had got his medical category – and what exactly was his medical category.

Maybe he had managed to “enhance” his medical category at the previous training ship or unit – or maybe in NDA – or maybe even before that at the SSB – or maybe“D” was born with a medical category.

“D” looked perfectly healthy – and whenever we asked him about his medical category – he told us not to be too inquisitive.

In fact – I once suspected whether he had an “enhanced” medical category at all – but then – the way he flaunted it around – I thought that there must be some truth in it.

Of course – his “enhanced” medical category did not prevent “D” from drinking copious amounts of booze and eating all types of food to his heart’s content every afternoon and evening – or generally enjoying himself to the hilt – and having a jolly good ball of a time.

His medical category did not prevent him from getting promoted – and “D” got nominated for all the good training courses.

And – of course – he got the best of ships – and avoided all the hardship appointments – thanks to his “enhanced” medical category.

Whenever he wanted to avoid anything inconvenient – “D” used his Trump Card – “Medical Category”

Inspired by “D” – I tried my best to “enhance” my medical category – but I could not succeed – and throughout my long Navy career – I remained at the “rock-bottom” medical category S1 A1

Once – during my Annual Medical Examination (AME) – a Navy Doctor said that I was overweight – and I thought he was going to “enhance” my Medical Category.

But he did not do so.

The Navy Doctor sent me in a spin – he made me do all sorts of medical tests – he got me examined by all sorts of specialists – and then – the wise Navy Doctor delivered his final verdict: “Officer is Asymptomatic. He has been advised to reduce weight. Officer is fit in Medical Category S1 A1”…

I was declared S1 A1” 

I was back to “Square 1”

I have not understood the “Military Medical Category Mystery”

Have you…?

(Disclaimer: I am totally clueless on the subject of “military medical categories” – so if you have any queries – please contact your nearest “Fauji” Doctor)


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.


  1. This story is a spoof, satire, 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Spoof was written by me Vikram Karve almost 2 years ago on 16 June 2014 and earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve in myAcademic and Creative Writing Journal blog at url link:  and

Do Military Officers Have a Sense of Humor…?

May 20, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Have Defence Officers Lost Their Sense of Humor

Sometime ago – I was a member of a group called “HUMOUR IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM” (HIAOOU)

Unlike many passive members – I was one of the active contributing members who posted “Humour in Uniform” Stories regularly.

The biggest joke about this “Humour” group was that most members did not have a “Sense of Humour

One day I posted the “Humour in Uniform” story below – and – I was promptly expelled from the group at the behest of some non-contributing killjoys who thought that this story painted the services in a poor light.

Dear Reader – Please read the story – and – tell me – do you also feel that present day Defence Officers have lost their “sense of humour” and have become overly sensitive to any criticism, albeit true, even if made in a humorous way…?


A Story for Cadets and Subalterns By VIKRAM KARVE

The young under-trainee direct entry Sub Lieutenant who had just joined our ship appeared quite dejected.

Impressed by the sleek navy recruitment advertisements and jingoistic hype – he had quit a corporate job – and – he had joined the Navy.

And now – the truth had dawned on him – that there was a big difference between hype and reality.

Life in the tough prosaic real-world Navy was quite different from the romantic imagery portrayed in recruitment advertisements.

In order to put him in good humour – I told him this famous Mulla Nasrudin Teaching Story called FASHION SHOW:


FASHION SHOW – A Mulla Nasrudin Story

One day Nasrudin went to a prestigious fashion show.

When he returned – his friends asked him how he liked the fashion show.

“They cheat you,” Nasrudin complained, “it is a total swindle.”

“What are you saying…? The fashion show is a swindle…? They cheat you…? How…? Tell me. How do they cheat you…?”

“They show you the women – and then – they try to sell you the clothes.”



Do remember this story if you are thinking of “job hopping” – especially of you are thinking of quitting your civilian job and joining the military – like the Sub Lieutenant mentioned above did.

Remember – metaphorically – Recruitment Advertisements are like “Fashion Shows”.

Just like Fashion Shows which try attract you by showing you glamorous “women” and then try to sell you the clothes – Military Recruitment Advertisements show you the “glamorous side” of military life and try to recruit you to undergo the tough life in the Armed Forces.

And later  – you will be disillusioned when things do not turn out as you had imagined them to be – as portrayed in the advertisements.

Do remember this FASHION SHOW story – especially if you are thinking of a military career – because the real life in the military is tough and hard – and – life in the Armed Forces is not all glamour and adventure as portrayed in recruitment advertisements.

Do join the Defence Services – but – do so after due diligence – after taking a realistic view – and asking yourself: Do you have it in you..?


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.


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 is a re-post of my story FASHION SHOW posted online earlier a number of times including at urls:  and  and  and  etc

The Night Train At Deoli – Unrequited Love and Self Actualization

May 18, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Unrequited Love and Self Actualization

My “love life” is a story of “unrequited love”.

I fell in love with many girls – but – sadly – not even one girl fell in love with me.

Even today – my saga of “unrequited love” continues.

Maybe – that is why – The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond is my favourite story.

Tomorrow – 19 May – is  Ruskin Bond’s Birthday (he will be 82 years old).

So – on this occasion – let me tell you about my all time favourite short story – The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond.

My Favourite Love Story

Part 1 – Unrequited Love

I love reading short stories.

You can read a short story in one sitting and it immediately fills you with an exquisite sense of satisfaction.

I love writing short stories too.

I am sure you have read many of my short stories in my creative writing blogs and in my book of short stories COCKTAIL which has 27 short stories about relationships.

Dear Reader, let me tell you about my all time favourite short story – The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond.

The Night Train at Deoli is a beautiful story of inchoate and unrequited love.

Each one of us has experienced this wonderfully painful emotion of unrequited love.

Dear Reader, I am sure you too have experienced the delightful heart-ache of longing, yearning – an alluring attraction for someone who is out of reach – a one way love – a love unreciprocated – a love unrequited.

Well – I am quite familiar with the delicate tenderness of unrequited love.

In fact – my life story is a story of so many inchoate unrequited loves.

The Night Train at Deoli is narrated in first person by a college boy who travels by the night train from Delhi to Dehra Dun every year to spend his summer vacations at his grandmother’s place.

On its journey up the hills of the terai, early in the morning, the train stops at Deoli, a lonely station in the wilderness.

The protagonist wonders: … “Why it stopped at Deoli. I don’t know. Nothing ever happened. Nobody got off the train and nobody got in…and then the bell would sound, the guard would blow his whistle, and presently Deoli would be left behind and forgotten”

Isn’t the description brilliant, so breathtaking in its simplicity.

On one such journey the boy sees a girl at Deoli, selling baskets, and is smitten by her… “I sat up awake for the rest of the journey. I could not rid my mind of the picture of the girl’s face and her dark, smouldering eyes”.

He looks out for her on his return journey and is thrilled when he sees her:

… “I felt an unexpected thrill when I saw her…I sprang off the foot-board and waved to her. When she saw me, she smiled. She was pleased that I remembered her. I was pleased that she remembered me. We were both pleased, and it was almost like a meeting of old friends”…

Superb writing, isn’t it? Simply superb.

It is time for the train to leave, and for the lovers to part:

… “I felt the impulse to put her on the train there and then…I caught her hand and held it… ‘I have to go to Delhi,’ I said … she nodded, ‘I do not have to go anywhere.’…the guard blew his whistle…and how I hated the guard for doing that…”

Beautifully poignant, marvellously written, the story touches the very fragile chords of your heart.

I will not tell you the rest of this story, but I can assure you, that if you are a lover at heart, you will be touched with compassion for the protagonist and as the story elevates you to the romantic mood you will relate your very own tale of unrequited love.

I am sure you have read this story, but if you haven’t it is a must read.

The Night Train At Deoli is probably Ruskin Bond’s most anthologized story and you will find it in many collections including the one published by Penguin titled The Night Train At Deoli and Other Stories. 

Though The Night Train At Deoli is my all time favourite, I like many stories in this anthology, especially, The Woman on Platform 8, His Neighbour’s Wife and Death of a Familiar.

If you are a lover of romantic fiction you must read this story – it is sure get you in a blue mood nostalgically yearning for your unrequited love.

Do read this story.

And – if you have read this lovely story – read it again.

And yes – do read Part 2 below and read how I got inspired by reading “The Night Train At Deoli”

Part 2 – Self Actualization

Literature teaches you more about the art of living rather than sermons and moral lectures.

I learnt more from literature – than from high-falutin philosophy or spiritualism.

And of all genres of literature – it is short stories which gave me insightful tips on the art of living and vignettes on philosophy of life.

You must have heard of the term: “Self-Actualization”.

I first came across the term “Self-Actualization” in the 1970’s when I read about Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs while studying the management module during my engineering course.

We were told that the Hierarchy of Needs has 5 levels of Human Needs:

  1. Physiological
  1. Safety and Security 
  1. Love and Belonging
  1. Esteem 
  1. Self-Actualization

I understood what the first four needs meant.

But for many years I wondered as to what was the meaning of the term “self-actualization.

One day I read a fiction short story called THE NIGHT TRAIN AT DEOLI written by Ruskin Bond.

The Night Train at Deoli” by Ruskin Bond is my favourite Love Story.

It is a simple story of inchoate and unrequited love – which happens to all of us in our youth.

An eighteen year old boy meets a girl at a quaint railway station called Deoli – where the train halts for a few minutes.

It is love at first sight.

On the return journey after his vacation, the boy eagerly searches for the girl the moment the train reaches Deoli.

He is delighted to see her on the platform.

They look at each other.

They spend ethereal moments of unspoken love, they delicately hold hands.

Suddenly the guard blows his whistle and the train starts moving.

“I have to go to Delhi,” the boy says.

The girl replies, “I do not have to go anywhere.”

This is exactly what I felt one morning – during my walk in the lush green park on the banks of the Mula River – and I said to myself – I do not have to go anywhere.”

I felt that I have achieved everything I wanted to achieve.

I have accomplished whatever I wanted to accomplish in life.

I have done whatever I wanted to do.

I am living the life that I always wanted to live.

Now – I am satisfied with life – I am happy where I am – I am content with what I have.

And so – I can say to myself: I do not have to go anywhere.

Now – I realize what self-actualization means.

Self Actualization is a state of mind when you can say to yourself:

“I do not have to go anywhere

Yes – you have reached the stage of self-actualization when you can say to yourself: “I do not have to go anywhere”.

You have realized your full potential.

What you can be – you have become.

You are living the life that you always wanted to live.

You have reached where you wanted to reach – so now – you do not have to go anywhere.

Have you reached this stage of supreme satisfaction in life?

Are you are happy wherever you are?

Are you content with what you have?

Can you say to yourself:

“I have reached where I wanted to reach – and now – I do not have to go anywhere”

If you can say this to yourself – you have achieved Self-Actualization.

Self Actualization is – when you do not have to go anywhere – and – you do not want to go anywhere.

Self Actualization is a great feeling.

You can take my word for it.


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.


  1. This is based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do due diligence before trying out this technique.
  2. All stories in this blog area 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 is a Revised and Updated Version of My Article I DO NOT HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on July 7, 2013 – Posted by Vikram Karve at 7/07/2013 12:15:00 PM at urls:  and  and and  and  and 

Navy “Dude” goes out on a “Date”

May 18, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: “Dude” goes out on a “Date”


A Romantic Love Story By VIKRAM KARVE 


Do you remember your first date?

I do.

Let me tell you about it.

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


One evening – when our ship returned to Mumbai after a long sailing – I was sitting in my ship’s Wardroom – drinking all alone in the corner.

A shipmate arrived with his girlfriend.

He was the senior-most ‘in-living’ officer – the TASO (Torpedo Anti-Submarine Officer).

[With our penchant for changing names – and – in consonance with the increasing “Americanization” of our Naval Culture – TASO was later re-designated as ASWO (Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer)…].

The TASO had brought his girlfriend onboard ship for a “date”.

I rose from my seat and I wished the TASO and his lady friend.

The TASO introduced me to his girlfriend – and he invited me to join them for a drink.

After we were seated – the TASO said to me: “What’s wrong with you…? We have returned to port after a long time – everyone is painting the town red – and you are drinking all by yourself in the Wardroom…? You must get yourself a ‘girlfriend’ – and go out and enjoy yourself…”

“Sir – I don’t know any girls in Mumbai…” I said.

The TASO felt pity on my drab “romantic life” – so he told his girlfriend to set up a date for me.

“I know just the girl…” she said.

“Really…? You know a girl suitable for him. Who is she…?” the TASO asked her.

“My new roommate – she has just been dumped by her boyfriend…” the TASO’s girlfriend said.

“But will she be okay for him…? Does she like Navy ‘Dudes’…?” the TASO asked his girlfriend.

“Of course she will like him. My roommate is an ‘Army Brat’ – actually she is from Delhi – and recently – her boyfriend dumped her – he was her colleague in her Delhi office – and she felt terrible seeing him in office every day – so she asked for a transfer to Mumbai and she arrived here last week – she is new to Mumbai – she doesn’t know anyone here – so she should be willing – and – besides – I told you that she is an ‘Army Brat’ – so she may like someone from ‘Defence Background’…” the TASO’s girlfriend said.

“Oh – so she has been recently dumped – and – she is new to Mumbai…? What an ideal situation…? I am sure she must be yearning for some company…” the TASO said.

Then – the TASO looked and me – and he said to me: “So – lucky guy – your job is done. Now – you tie up with her…” the TASO said – pointing at his girlfriend.

The TASO’s girlfriend smiled at me and said: “I will ask her and let you know…”

Two days later – the TASO called me to his cabin and said: “You lucky guy – your ‘date’ is fixed…”

And so – my date was set up – my very first date.


“How was your ‘date’…?” the TASO asked me, the morning after my ‘date’ with the girl.

“It was a great success…” I said.

“Really…?” the TASO seemed surprised.

“Yes, Sir – I even proposed to her…” I said.

“You proposed marriage to her on your very first date…?” the TASO said, looking stunned.

“Yes, Sir…”

“Are you bloody crazy…? How the hell can you propose to a girl on your first date..?”

“Sir – isn’t the aim of dating to assess the suitability of the ‘dating partner’ as a prospective spouse – I found her very suitable to be my wife – so I proposed to her…”

“And – what did she say…?”

“She didn’t say anything – she just said ‘bye’ – and she ran into the hostel. I think she was feeling shy – after all she is a girl – but I am sure she has liked me too…”

“Really…? Do you really think she wants to marry you…?”

“Yes, Sir – I am sure…”

The TASO looked at me and said: “Tell me something about your date – what all did you do – where all did you go…?”

“Sir, we did a lot of things – and we went to many places…” I said.

“Okay, let’s be specific,” the TASO said, “tell me – did you make her travel by bus…?”

“Yes, Sir – I took her by ‘double-decker’ – so we could have a good view…”

“Forget ‘single-decker’ or ‘double-decker’ – why the hell did you take her by bus…? You are a bloody officer. On the very first date – do you take a girl by bus…? You should have taken her on your bike…”

“Sir – I don’t have a motorcycle…”

“Then – you should have borrowed someone’s bike – you could have asked me for my Bullet. Or – you could have taken her in a taxi…” the TASO said.

“Yes, Sir – I will borrow your Bullet next time…” I said.

“Next time…? You seem very confident that she will go out on a date with you again…”

“Of course, Sir – I really made her have a good time – she enjoyed the ‘date’ very much – I am sure she will really like going on a date with me again…”

“Really…? Why don’t you tell me about all the ‘good time’ you two had…”

“Sir – I took her for a movie…”

“I know – and – you made her sit in the stalls…”

“Rear Stall, Sir…”

“Couldn’t you have bought balcony tickets…?”

“Sir – as far the eyes are concerned – viewing a movie is as comfortable from the rear stall as the balcony…”

“Are you a bloody optician – or are you taking a girl out on a date…?”

“Sir – why spend extra money for the balcony when you get the same viewing comfort sitting in the stalls…?”

“You are a bloody ‘Cheapie’ – first you take her in a bus – and then you make her sit with the ‘riff-raff’ in the stalls – and then you take her for some third-rate street-food in some filthy place…”

“Sir – it is a famous ‘Khau Galli’…”

“On your very first date – you don’t take a girl for cheap street-food in a dirty ‘Khau Galli’ – you take her for a romantic candle-light dinner in a fine-dining restaurant – that is how you impress a girl…”

“Sir – why should I try to impress a girl…?”

“What do you mean…? Don’t you want to impress a girl on your first date…?”

“Sir – I told you – the aim of dating is to assess suitability for marriage – why should I try to impress a girl who I am going to marry…? Why should I try to fake it…? Why should I put on false pretences…? Isn’t it best for me to be myself – my true self…?”

“You are a crazy bugger. Not only have you humiliated me – but you have tarnished the image of the entire Navy. The girl is an Army Officer’s daughter. What will she think of Naval Officers…? After you ‘grand performance’ – won’t she wonder if all Naval Officers are uncultured ‘cheapies’ like you…?”

Sir – please…”

“Just shut up – and then – after all that oafish behaviour – you march her down Marine Drive all the way to her hostel…”

“It was a ‘romantic walk’…”

“Romantic Walk…? ‘Romantic Walk’ – my Foot! It sounds more like a ‘route march’ to me…”

“Sir – it was a pleasant walk in the cool sea-breeze – only 3 kilometres…”

“You poltroon – did you notice that she was wearing stiletto high-heels…?”

“No, Sir…”

“You made her march 3 kilometres in high heels…”

“I did not see her legs, Sir…”

“And then – you took her to see fish in the aquarium…”

“Sir – the aquarium is right next to her hostel – and I was surprised that she hadn’t seen it…”

“Thank God you didn’t take her to see the bloody zoo…”

“Sir – I will take her to the zoo next time – and – I want to show her the museum too…”

“Next time…? You seem to be very optimistic that she will come out on a date with you again…”

“Of course, Sir…” I said.

Then – I wondered how the TASO knew all the things we had done on our date – so I asked him, “Sir, how do you know what all we did…?”

“My girlfriend called up in the morning – she was furious at the way you had treated her roommate – especially the bizarre way you proposed marriage after all that fiasco…” the TASO said.

“Why, Sir…? What did I do wrong…? I thought she would make a suitable wife – so I proposed to her. Didn’t I tell you, Sir – the aim of dating is to evaluate the person as a prospective life partner…”

“Do you think all of us are fools – and – you are the only one who knows how to date…? I have been dating girls for years now – and – you go on one failed date – and you try to educate me…?”

“Sorry, Sir…”

“It’s okay. Will you take some advice…?”

“Sure, Sir…”

“Forget about all this ‘dating’ business – you are just not cut out for it. Just stick to booze and food – and when you are 25 – tell your folks to find a girl for you and have an arranged marriage…” the TASO said to me.

“Aye, Aye, Sir…” I said – and – I conscientiously followed the TASO’s advice.



I recognize her at once.

I try to hide myself.

But – she sees me.

I wish the ground beneath me opens up and swallows me in.

But – I can see her walking towards me.

“Hi…” she says.

“Hello…” I say.

“So – how are you…?” she asks.

“I am fine…” I say.

“It’s good that I ran into you…” she says.

“Yes…” I mumble.

“All these years – I have been wanting to tell you something…” she says.

“What…?” I ask.

“I should have accepted your marriage proposal – I should have married you…” she says.

And then – she smiles at me – and she walks away.


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.


  1. This story is a spoof, satire, 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)

Link to My Original Post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog:

PLAIN JANE – Romance 

May 11, 2016


Recently – a witty “girlfriend” cheerfully called me “Dude”.

Am I really a “Dude”…?

Or – am I a “Prude”…?

Well – read this story – and decide for yourself…

PLAIN JANE Fiction Short Story – A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE


The doorbell rang.

I had just returned home – and – I was taking off my uniform.

I wondered who it was.

I put on my uniform – I walked out of the bedroom – and – I opened the door.

It was my wife’s friend Menaka – that chic gorgeous beauty who lived opposite our house.

“My wife is not at home – she has gone to her mother’s place for a week…” I said.

“I know,” Menaka said, “I have come to meet you.”


“Yes – I want to you to take me out to the city for shopping.”

“Me…? You want me to take you out shopping…?”

“Yes. My husband is out sailing – and – I need some things from town – so I thought I would ask you to take me to the market on your bike…” she said.

She was standing in the door – with the evening sun behind her.

The rays of the sun penetrated through the light fabric of her summery white dress.

I could see the curvaceous silhouette of her shapely body quite clearly.

My eyes travelled over the silhouette of her body – and lingered exactly where they should not have.

I felt ashamed of having eyed her body so brazenly.

So – I quickly moved my eyes away and lowered my glance.

After a few moments – I looked up at her.

She looked so sensuous, so tantalizing, so alluring – that I could not take my eyes away from her.

But – she seemed nonchalant – oblivious of the stirring sensual vibes she was radiating – standing as she was – in her light ‘see-through’ dress – with the sun behind her.

“Are you going to just keep staring at me – or – are you going to invite me inside…?” she said, with a naughty smile.

“Oh – I am very sorry – please come inside…” I said, embarrassed.

She came inside – and she sat on the sofa in the living room.

I stood there – mesmerized – wondering what to do.

“Why don’t you change into civvies…?” she said, “it is already 5:30 – and I have a lot of shopping to do.”

“Yes, Yes…” I said – and I quickly walked into my bedroom.

As I started taking off my uniform – I kept thinking of her – my wife’s friend – the gorgeous Menaka – sitting in the living room – and – my imagination started running wild.

Her husband was away.

My wife was away.

She was lonely.

I was lonely.

We both were lonesome.

Anything could happen.

First – she would sit behind me on my motorcycle – holding me tight.

Then – we would have a ‘good time’ in the city – shopping, eating, and walking around – and – maybe – she would ask me to take her for a movie.

When we returned back – it would be late – so – maybe – she would me invite me to her home for dinner.

Then – maybe – she would offer me a drink – and – maybe – she would join me for a drink.

(Yes – I had seen her drinking at parties).

Then – as we sat together – one drink would lead to another – and – sitting together in an atmosphere of intimacy – with our inhibitions dissolved in alcohol – anything could happen.

Yes – anything could happen.

She was very attractive – and – I wouldn’t mind having an affair with her – but – I did not have the guts to do so – because – I shuddered to think of the consequences.

My shrewd wife would surely sense that I had indulged in “hanky-panky” – and she would surely divorce me.

Besides – in the Navy – “stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife” was considered an offence – and – I could be sacked and dismissed from the Navy with disgrace.

It would be a ‘double-whammy’ – both my marriage and my career would be in shambles.

Yes – there was absolutely no point in taking the risk.

So – I buttoned up my uniform – and – I went out into the living room.

Menaka looked at me.

She seemed perplexed to see me still wearing uniform – so – she said to me: “What happened…? Why are you still in uniform…? Why haven’t you changed into ‘civvies’…?”

“I am sorry – but I cannot take you out shopping…” I said.

“But why…? What happened…? Just a few minutes ago – you had readily agreed to take me out shopping…” she said, looking confused.

“No. I am sorry. Please excuse me. I cannot tell you the reason – but – I can’t take you out shopping…” I said, shamefacedly.

“If you don’t want to help me – it’s fine. It’s okay. I’ll ask someone else…” she said, looking disappointed.

Then – Menaka got up from the sofa – and she walked out of my house.



When I came home from work in the evening – I saw that my wife was angry.

“Don’t you have any ‘social graces’…?” my wife thundered.

“What happened…?” I asked.

“I was hugely embarrassed at the Ladies Club Meet – thanks to your stupid behaviour…” my wife said angrily.

“What did I do…?” I asked her.

With scorn in her eyes – my wife rebuked me:

“Menaka asked you to take her out shopping because her husband was sailing out at sea – and – you rudely refused her…? First – you said ‘YES’ – then – you said ‘NO’ – she has told everyone about your ‘unofficerlike’ ungentlemanly behaviour – and – it was so humiliating for me. Because of your weird behaviour you have become the ‘laughing-stock’ among all the naval ladies. And – everyone is laughing at me too for having such an ‘ill-mannered’ ‘nincompoop’ husband. I really don’t know how they made you an officer in the Navy…?

“There is a reason…” I tried to explain.

But – my wife interrupted me and shouted: “Just shut up – I thought Naval Officers were supposed to be chivalrous – and you behaved in a most boorish way with a lady who wanted your help – you are a disgrace – I feel ashamed to be your wife…”

I saw that my wife was so angry that there was no point in my trying to explain my side of the story to her.

It was best for me to remain silent.

My wife went into the kitchen.

I went into the bedroom – changed from uniform into ‘civvies’ – and lay down on my bed.

After some time – my wife informed me that she was going to the market with her friends.


I relaxed for some time after my wife had left.

Then I got up.

It was getting dark.

I poured my first drink of Rum and Water (Rum-Paani) – and – I sat down in front of the TV.

I looked at the wall-clock.

One hour had passed since my wife had gone out shopping with her friends.

She would be back soon.

I was enjoying my second drink when the doorbell rang.

“It must be my wife,” I thought – and I opened the door.

It wasn’t my wife.

There was a woman standing at my door.

I did not recognize her.

She was the most ordinary looking woman I had ever seen.

She was not ugly – she just looked prosaic and pedestrian – a real “Plain Jane”.

Yes – she was a “Plain Jane” – a “homely” type of woman.

She was the kind of woman with whom a man could spend time and not feel disloyal to his wife.

Yes – she was the type of woman a wife would readily allow her husband to go out on a date with – and feel safe about it.

“Hi,” she said, “It looks like you haven’t recognized me…”

“I am sorry…” I stammered.

She interrupted me – and she said: “I am Mala – Mrs. ‘XXX’ – we’ve come on posting and we have just shifted to this building last week… ”

“Oh – please come in,” I said to her, “what can I do for you…?”

“No. No. I won’t come in – but – it’s a bit urgent – can you please take me to the market…?”


“Yes. My husband is out sailing – and I have to get something urgently – from the medical store – it’s very urgent…” she said.

I remembered the previous embarrassing episode with my wife’s beautiful friend Menaka – where I had refused to take Menaka to the city.

And – I remembered my wife’s sermon on ‘social graces’ and ‘chivalry’.

Besides – this “Plain Jane” standing in front of me – Mala – she looked so unexciting and ordinary – that even otherwise – I would have no hesitation in giving her a lift on my bike.

Also – she was asking me to take her only to the nearby market.

So – I readily agreed.

Soon – we – Mala and I – we both were riding on my bike on our way to the market.

Mala was holding onto me very tightly.

She may have been ordinarily looking – but – she was quite ‘well endowed’ – and voluptuous too.

I too – like her – I was on the ‘healthier side’.

So – it was a tight squeeze on the small seat of the bike – and – Mala put both her hands around me and clung onto me tightly – and – our bodies were in close contact – snug together.

On the way – I saw my wife and her friends walking back from the market – so I proudly waved out to my wife.

I was sure my wife would be proud of me for my ‘chivalry’ and ‘social graces’ in helping out a lady.

When I returned home – I saw that my wife was furious.

The moment my wife saw me – she shouted at me: “Where the hell were you taking Mala on your bike…?”

“You know Mala..?”

“Yes. We met this morning at the Ladies Club – but – I am asking you what she was doing with you on your bike – squeezing you in a tight embrace – hugging your body so shamelessly…? It was disgusting – the way you two were clinging onto each other. Tell me. Why was Mala with you on your bike…?”

“She wanted to go to the market…”

“But why did you take her…? She could have walked down to the market herself – like I did…”

“She said that it was urgent…”

“Urgent – My Foot…!!!”

“She wanted to buy something from the medical store. And – you only told me about ‘social graces’ – that I should be ‘chivalrous’ towards ladies…”

“Don’t talk nonsense…”

“Nonsense…? She is such a simple lady…”

“Simple lady…? She is a ‘man-eater’ – she is a ‘nympho’ – she was trying to seduce you…”

“Seduce me…?”

“Yes. She ‘mesmerized’ you – didn’t she…?”

“Mesmerized me…? What are you saying…?”

My wife looked at me – and she said: “Do you know what Mala told me at the Ladies Club Meet this morning…?”


“She said that she could ‘mesmerize’ any man…”

“ She said that she could ‘mesmerize’ any man…? So…?”

“I told her that she could not ‘mesmerize’ you – I told her that you were a ‘prude’ – I told her about how you had refused to take Menaka to the city…”


“In fact – it was Menaka who told everyone the story about your strange behaviour – and – everyone laughed…”


“And then – Mala boasted that she could easily ‘mesmerize’ you into taking her to the market on your bike…”


“But – everyone said that you would never take Mala on your bike – and – I also said that she would not be able to ‘mesmerize’ you into taking her to the market on your bike…”


“So – Mala dared me to take a bet – and – I took a bet with her…” my wife said.

“Oh – so you are angry because you lost the bet…” I said to my wife.

“No – I am worried that I may lose the second bet…” my wife said.

“Second bet…? You took two bets with Mala…?” I asked my wife.

“Yes. The first bet was that she could ‘mesmerize’ you into taking her for a ride on your bike…”

“Okay. She won that bet. And what was the second bet…?”

“She said that she could ‘seduce’ you…”


Did Mala try to ‘seduce’ me…?

Did she succeed in seducing me into having an affair with her…?

Well – Dear Reader – that’s another story.

But – one thing is for sure.

A “Plain Jane” has a more rollicking ‘Love Life’ than a “Beautiful Woman”.

Maybe – you may not agree with me – but this is a “universal truth” I have observed during my college days – and – later – in my adult life too.

Ordinary looking “Plain Janes” have much more ‘Fun’ than those so-called “Sex Bombs”

You don’t believe me?

Have a look around you – and observe – who is having uninhibited “fun” – who is having a really “good time” – the “Plain Janes” – or – the “Gorgeous Girls”…?

Tell me – Dear Reader:

Am I right – or – am I wrong…?

But – before you go away – please answer the ‘moot question’ I asked you right in the beginning.

Tell me – Dear Reader:

Do I deserve to be called a “Dude”…?

Or – am I an old-fogey “Prude”…?

See you soon – with my next “love story”…


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.


  1. This story is a spoof, satire, 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 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


The Girl Who Loved Books

April 28, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: My Library Girlfriend – “Library Girl”


Story of a Girl Who Loved Books : A Romance By VIKRAM KARVE

“Excuse me – are you returning that book…?” a feminine voice said in my left ear.

I was standing in front of the library counter.

I looked towards my left.

She was a good looking girl – of my age.

The girl was pointing to a book I had kept on the counter – an ‘Anthology of Short Stories’ – a newly arrived book in the Library.

“No. I am not returning the book. In fact – I am borrowing this book for reading…” I said.

“Oh – I thought you are returning that book – I have been desperately wanting to read it ever since I saw the cover on the “new arrivals” notice board…” she said.

“I too want to read this book. You can borrow it from the library when I return it…” I said.

If the girl thought that she could charm me into giving her the book – she was mistaken.

I will never “sacrifice” a good book – even for the most beautiful girl.

The librarian across the counter asked for my library card – stamped the return date on the book – and gave the book to me.

The ‘good looking girl’ was still standing beside me.

“May I see the book…? the girl asked.

I gave the book to the girl.

She looked at the cover – browsed through the book – and she gave it back to me.

“I really want to read this book. When will you be returning it…?” she asked me.

“Next Sunday. I will return the book next Sunday…” I said.

“You come to the library every Sunday…?”

“Yes. I come to library on Sundays…” I said.

“I come to the library every day. I study in the college down the road and live in the girl’s hostel next door…” she said.

“Well – I live in the Engineering College hostel…” I said.

“Oh – that’s quite far away…”

“Yes. That is why I can come on only Sundays…”

“Oh – I am lucky I live in the hostel nearby. I come to the library every evening after classes – and – nowadays – sometimes – I come on Sunday mornings too…”

“What are you doing – BA – B.Sc. – or…?”

“Of course I am doing my BA in Literature – I told you that I love reading…” she said.

“Well – I am not as lucky as you are – I too love literature – but – I am stuck with boring ‘Engineering’…” I said.

As I smiled a ‘goodbye’ to her and started walking towards the exit – she said to me: “Don’t forget to bring the book next Sunday. And – make sure you give it to me. I will be waiting here in the library from 10 o’clock onwards…”

When I went back to the hostel and started reading the book – I thought of the girl I had met in the library – and – in my mind’s eye – I nicknamed her ‘Library Girl’.

Next Sunday – I reached the library at 10:30 in the morning – and – I found the good looking ‘Library Girl’ waiting for me in eager anticipation – well – she was waiting eagerly for the book – not me…”

From then on – the ‘Library Girl’ and I met every Sunday – in the Library – mostly in the ‘Fiction’ section – especially searching for Short Story Books on the “Short Fiction” Book-Racks.

I discovered that – our reading interests were similar – like me – ‘Library Girl’ too loved reading ‘Short Stories’ – and – we often discussed the short stories we had read – and we recommended books to each other.

I looked forward to meeting ‘Library Girl’ every Sunday.

I enjoyed being with her – as we browsed the library bookshelves together – and talked about books and our favourite short stories.

Believe it or not – but – we did not take our relationship to the ‘next level’.

I was a “shy type”.

And – maybe – she was the “shy type” too.

Ours was a unique friendship – an exquisite ethereal relationship – a platonic love so delicate – that one wrong move might destroy everything.

So – we both probably wanted to keep it this way – and – our beautiful Sunday morning ‘bookish’ relationship went on for a long time.

Days passed – months – years – and – one Sunday – after our morning ‘Library Time’ – as I said ‘goodbye’ to ‘Library Girl’ – she said to me: “Wait – I want you to meet ‘someone’…”

“It’s already 1:15 – our mess closes at 2 – and it will take me at least half an hour to cycle down to my hostel…” I said.

“Please wait. I will treat you to lunch. I want you to meet someone…” she insisted.

So – I waited – I sat down next to her in the reading room browsing through a literary magazine.

I could see that ‘Library Girl’ was eagerly looking at the entrance – waiting for her ‘someone’ to arrive.

Suddenly – she nudged me.

I looked up – and – I could see that ‘Library Girl’ was smiling at her ‘someone’ who was standing at the entrance.

We walked to the foyer of the library.

‘Library Girl’ introduced her ‘someone’ to me.

“He is my fiancé…” she said to me.

Then – ‘Library Girl’ introduced me to her fiancé .

“He is my ‘Library Boyfriend’ – the one I told you all about…” she said to her fiancé.

Her fiancé treated us to lunch in a classy restaurant – after all – he was a rich businessman – a smart guy from New Delhi.

Notwithstanding her ‘engagement’ – my Sunday morning friendship with ‘Library Girl’ continued.

But – soon – her BA course was over – and – we met for the last time in the library.

“My course is over – I am winding up my things here and I will be going home tomorrow…” ‘Library Girl’ said.

For her – ‘home’ was Bangalore – where her Army Officer father was posted then.

“Why don’t you do your MA in Literature here in Pune..?” I said to ‘Library Girl’.

“No chance of further studies for me,” she said, “my wedding is fixed next month. They were just waiting for me to complete my BA. And frankly – I am not really interested in studies – I just want to read plenty of books.”

“You will be living in Delhi after marriage..?” I asked her.


“You are very lucky.”


“Delhi is the best place for book lovers.”


“Yes – there are so many excellent libraries – and wonderful bookstores where you can browse – and – every year – in winter – there is a magnificent Book Fair at Pragati Maidan…” I said to her.

“Wow – it’s going to be so exciting – I am really going to read books to my heart’s content,” she said, “I am already feeling like going to Delhi…”

“Yes. Delhi is a Book Lover’s Paradise. You are so lucky…” I said.

“And you…? What are your plans…?” she asked me.

“Well – I have got one year to go to finish my Engineering – then – maybe I will take up some job in the industry – let’s see…” I said.

Then – we said our last ‘goodbye’.

I did not ask for her address – and – neither did she ask my address.

Why ask for the address of a destination where it is not desirable for you to go…?

We knew that our platonic friendship was destined to be a transient relationship – like passing ships – and – we ourselves had intentionally kept it that way.

So – we said our last ‘goodbye’ – and – ‘Library Girl’ and I – we parted company.


Three years later – I saw ‘Library Girl’ in the Library.

She was browsing books in the ‘Fiction’ section.

‘Library Girl’ saw me too.

She smiled at me.

I smiled back at her – and – I walked towards her.

“What a pleasant surprise…” I said to her.

“Yes – I am so happy to see you too. So I can see that you have continued your ‘Sunday Morning Date’ with the Library…” she said.

“Yes – I still come here every Sunday morning…” I said.

“You work now…?”

“Yes – in a factory.”

“That’s great…” she said.

“And you – what brings you to Pune…? I asked her.

“My Dad retired from the Army last month – and my parents have settled down in Pune…” she said.

“Oh – so you have come on a holiday…?” I said.

“No – I have come to Pune permanently…” she said.


“Yes – I have come to Pune permanently.”

“What happened…? Don’t tell me that your husband has relocated to Pune…?” I said.

“No – he hasn’t relocated here – I have left my husband – I going to divorce him…” she said.

I was taken aback – and involuntarily – I uttered: “Oh…”

For some time – I was confused as to what I should say to her.

Then – I said to her: “I am very sorry…”

“It’s okay…” she said.

We looked at each other in silence – I did not know what to say.

After some moments of silence – ‘Library Girl’ looked at me and she said: “Do you know the reason why I am divorcing my husband…?”




“My husband – and his folks – especially my ‘mother-in-law’ – they did not like my ‘reading habit’…”

“What do you mean…? How can anyone not like someone else reading…? It is such a harmless and quiet activity.”

“It was a joint family – lot of socializing – plenty of relatives and guests visiting all the time – and – my mother-in-law always wanted me hanging around – especially – if someone came over to visit – and people were always coming over to visit us throughout the day…”


“So – whenever I went to my room to read a book – my mother-in-law would keep disturbing me and calling me out – even when there were no visitors – she wanted me to sit with her and watch soaps on TV…”

“You could have read books at night…”

“Ha Ha – at night – well my husband certainly wasn’t interested in reading books with me in bed…”

“I am sorry – I didn’t mean…”

“The fact is that no one in that house was interested in reading. You told me about libraries – browsing in bookstores – visiting book fairs – that Delhi was a paradise for book lovers. But – whenever I tried to go – they would put some obstacle – some social commitment would always pop up – either someone was visiting us – or – we were visiting someone – or going for some ‘event’…”

“But – you could have mutually adjusted – talked to your husband. Why the extreme step of divorce…?

“I did not like them ridiculing my reading habit all the time – I told my husband – “you can criticize me – but don’t ridicule reading – and – don’t denigrate books and literature…” – but he did not listen – no one showed me any consideration – and they – my ‘in-laws’ and all their relatives – they kept mocking me for my interest in reading books – it was very humiliating…”


“One evening I had gone for a book launch to a famous bookstore – the book was an anthology of short fiction – and while an author was reading out her story from the book – my husband barged in – and – he literally dragged me out saying that his business partners had suddenly decided to come home for dinner and I was required to be present at home immediately to ‘host’ them…”


“Something snapped inside me – and – I decided – ‘enough is enough’ – and – I left my husband’s home the very next morning – and – I haven’t gone back since…”

“I am very sorry to hear all this…” I commiserated with her.

“Hey – I am okay – there – in my husband’s home – I was feeling ‘suffocated’ – now I am feeling much better after I escaped from that stifling atmosphere…” she said.

“That’s good – so we will see you in the library every Sunday…” I said to her.

“Of course – in fact – I have decided to do my MA in Literature at the college nearby – so I will be here in the library more often…” she said.

“Wow – that’s great…”

‘Library Girl’ looked at me – and – she said to me: “Hey – I kept talking about myself all the time. What about you…?”

“I told you I work in a factory – in the auto sector…”

“Are you still a bachelor – or have you got married…?”

“I got married – 6 months ago…” I said.

“Oh – Congrats – so where is your wife – haven’t you brought her to the library…?” she asked.

I looked at ‘Library Girl’ – and I said to her: “My wife hates books…”


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.


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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Link to my original post in my academic and creative writing journal blog: 

Self Help for Alcoholics and Potential Alcoholics

April 24, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Are You an Alcoholic Who Does Not Drink Alcohol…?



I had never touched alcohol before I joined the Navy – and I may have remained a non-drinker (a teetotaller) had I not joined the navy.

In the 1970’s – when I joined the Navy – Naval social life revolved around drinking alcohol.

In the Navy – alcohol was the social lubricant which fostered friendship and camaraderie.

Every occasion called for a drink – and any event – or party – official, social or personal – was celebrated by drinking copious amounts of alcohol.

For a rough and tough sailor – drinking was considered “macho” – a sign of manliness – and non-drinkers were mocked and ridiculed as effeminate weaklings.

In the Navy – and in the other arms of the military – if you were a robust drinker who could hold his liquor well – you were considered a good officer – and good drinking capacity was a sign of good OLQ (Officer Like Qualities).

Good Officers were those who had great capacities for drinking – and – a good Naval Officer was not supposed to get drunk even after imbibing large quantities of alcohol.

There was a saying in the Navy: “Officers never get drunk – they only feel nice.

On the other hand – a teetotaller was considered a sissy.

In a nutshell – the Naval Social Environment encouraged and eulogized Drinking – and – as I said earlier – drinking was the mainstay of Naval Social Life (and I am sure the same was true of Army Social Life as well).

It was the Navy that introduced me to the delights of alcohol – and – it is in the Navy that I acquired my drinking wisdom – or “booze wisdom” – as I call it.

So – Dear Reader – let me share some of my “booze wisdom” with you.

Cheers !!!



An Alcoholic is Born – Not Made

Incoherent Ramblings of an Veteran Alcoholic




These are my personal views based on my own experience. They may or may not be applicable in your circumstances. This experiential “wisdom” may not have any scientific basis. You may please do your own due diligence before you pick up a drink of alcohol.



I am an alcoholic.

I am an alcoholic who does not drink alcohol.

Yes – at present – I am a “teetotaller”.

I am an alcoholic.

And – I am also a teetotaller.

So – I guess you call me an “alcoholic teetotaller”.

You think I am crazy?

Let me explain.

You must have heard the dictum:

  1. All those who drink alcohol do not become alcoholics. 
  2. But all alcoholics drink alcohol

I agree with the first part of the saying.

Yes: “all those who drink alcohol do not become alcoholics”.

But – I do not agree with the second part of the saying – which says that: “all alcoholics drink alcohol”.

This is not entirely true.

There are many “alcoholics” who do not drink alcohol.

For example – there is me.

I am an alcoholic who does not drink alcohol.

Of course – there was a time when I drank plenty of alcohol.

Let me tell you of the stages of my life as far as alcohol is concerned.


My life can be divided into 3 phases:


From Birth to Adulthood (0 – 21 years) – my student days when I did not touch alcohol.


The Prime Years of my Life (21 – 46 years) – my drinking days when I drank plenty of alcohol.


My Acme Years (46 years onwards till today) – my temperance years of teetotalism after I quit drinking alcohol at the age of 46.


You may ask me: “How can you be an alcoholic if you could quit drinking alcohol?”

Or – in other words: “Can you remain an alcoholic even after you have quit drinking alcohol…?”

The answers is YES.

You can remain an alcoholic even after you quit drinking alcohol.

Let me elucidate.

You must have heard a saying:


In a similar vein – I would like to say:


Yes – an alcoholic is born – not made

I was a born alcoholic.

However – I did not get a chance to drink alcohol till the age of 21.

So – I remained a “latent alcoholic” (or you may say – I was a “potential alcoholic”).

At 21  after I had joined the Navy  I had my first drink of Alcohol.

This first drink activated the “alcoholism switch” in my brain.

I realized how much I loved drinking alcohol.

I enjoyed drinking – and – alcohol became an important part of my life.


In the Navy – the environment was conducive to drinking Alcohol 

In fact – the Naval Social Environment “provoked” you to drink Alcohol

(Maybe it is the same in the Army and some other professions too – where drinking alcohol is a part of life – and you have to resist the temptation if you want to remain a teetotaller)

I realized that – if you are an “alcoholic”, the Navy is probably the best place to be in.

Naval life revolved around drinking alcohol.

In the Navy – alcohol was the social lubricant which fostered friendship and camaraderie.

Sitting in the bar drinking together – on-board ships – and ashore – strangers become friends as they drank together.

Those glorious drinking scenes of bonhomie established enduring bonds of comradeship and friendship which have lasted even till today.

Yes – alcohol was the golden bond of fellowship.

My best friends were my Navy drinking buddies – cutting across rank, seniority and age.

In the Navy – every occasion calls for a drink.

Any event – official, social or personal – was celebrated by drinking copious amounts of alcohol.

“Make and mend” days or “stripe wetting” ceremonies were celebrated by “elbow bending” PLDs (Pre Lunch Drinks) where beer was guzzled by the gallon.

Though you did not drink when sailing – whenever you were in harbour – or posted in a shore billet – you drank liquor almost every evening – there were cocktail parties, mess nights, or informal “booze-up” get-togethers of friends – or you just went across to the wardroom, officers mess or club for a drink.

The best of duty-free foreign liquor was available on ships – and – ashore too – the bars and canteens were well stocked with the best Indian brands of Booze (IMFL aka Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor).

In a nutshell – the Naval Social Environment encouraged and eulogized drinking.

If you were a robust drinker who could hold his liquor well – you were considered a good officer – and it was accepted that you had good OLQ (Officer Like Qualities).

On the other hand – a teetotaller was considered a sissy.

Drinking was considered “macho” – a sign of manliness – and non-drinkers were mocked and ridiculed as effeminate weaklings.

In fact – I sometimes wondered why these non-drinkers had joined the Navy – since alcohol was the main attraction of Naval Life.

Almost every naval officer drank alcohol – and there were hardly any teetotallers.

Drinking was the mainstay of Naval Social Life.

As I told you earlier – PLDs, Cocktail Parties, Formal Mess Nights, Formal Social Calls and informal drinking binges were a regular feature – and I felt pity watching the few teetotallers as they suffered a torturous time holding a soft drink for hours – while all of us enjoyed our booze during those glorious naval parties.

This alcohol-conducive environment which enthused and provoked drinking was ideal for a “latent alcoholic” like me to turn into a “full blown alcoholic”.

Since I was a “born alcoholic”, I already had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism (alcoholism is in my DNA).

However – till I joined the Navy – because I did not drink alcohol – I remained a “latent alcoholic”.

The various reasons due to which I did not drink alcohol as a young student can be summed up in a nutshell as:

“In my younger days my environment was not conducive to drinking alcohol”.

So – I remained a “latent alcoholic”.

The moment I joined the Navy  the environment became very conducive for drinking alcohol  and  this “environmental provocation” was the trigger, the impetus and the catalyst which transformed my “latent alcoholism” into “full blown alcoholism”.

Thus – Alcoholism” is a combination of “genetic predisposition” and “environmental provocation”


Alcoholism” is a combination of “genetic predisposition” and “environmental provocation

We can express this as a mathematical formula:

Alcoholism = Genetic Predisposition + Environmental Provocation

I had the genetic predisposition or propensity for alcoholism.

But – in my younger student days – there was an absence of environmental provocation – so I remained a “latent alcoholic”.

The moment I joined the Navy – the conducive environmental provocation triggered my genetic predisposition.

The “alcoholism switch” was activated in my brain – and my penchant for alcohol was allowed to manifest and flourish.

Before I realized it – I was on the road to alcohol dependence and full blown alcoholism.

But – a time did come when – I did realize that I if continued drinking alcohol – I would eventually slip into the abyss of alcoholism to the point of no return.

I had seen this happening to a few of my seniors – who had become alcohol dependent – and some had turned into full blown alcoholics.

I have seen this happening in the civilian world too.

Many say that alcoholism is on the rise.

In the strict sense – alcoholism always existed – only earlier – alcoholism is was not so visible  as – due to taboos and the fact that access to alcohol was not easy – many potential alcoholics did not have the opportunity to manifest into full-blown alcoholics.

In the past too – there were always many “latent alcoholics” with “genetic predisposition” to alcoholism.

However – due to various cultural taboos and non-availability of alcohol due to prohibition policies – these “latent alcoholics” did not get a chance to become “full blown alcoholics” (due to absence of “environmental provocation).

This aspect is particularly evident in women.

Earlier – owing to cultural taboos – women did not drink alcohol – so many women “latent alcoholics” who may have had a “genetic predisposition to alcohol did not get a chance to become “full blown alcoholics” – since there was absolutely no “environmental provocation”.

Now – drinking taboos are being slowly removed – especially in modern urban society.

The urban social environment becoming more and more conducive for women to drink alcohol.

This gives an opportunity for women who are “latent alcoholics” to become “full blown alcoholics”.


The first “wake up call” I got was at a cocktail party around 15 years ago.

I drank 11 large pegs of whisky (almost a full bottle).

However – there was no effect on me.

Neither I – nor anyone else – could discern that I had consumed such an enormous amount of alcohol.

In fact – it was a friend who told me next morning about the enormous amount of whisky I had drunk – and – he commented that he was surprised to see me behaving absolutely soberly.

He wondered as to how I could be normal after consuming 11 large pegs of whisky – when just 6 pegs of whisky made him feel drunk.

This meant that my Alcohol Tolerance Level had increased enormously

And – this was the first danger signal of impending trouble if I continued drinking alcohol.

I decided to stop drinking alcohol.

I had no choice.

I had a “genetic predisposition” to alcoholism.

Alcoholism was in my DNA – and – there was nothing I could do about it.

So – the only option was to tackle “environmental provocation”.

I drastically changed my lifestyle – and – I tried to be in a “non-alcoholic environment”.

Even now – more than 14 years since I quit drinking – I try to avoid “environmental provocation” to drink alcohol.

This has certainly affected my social life.

I avoid occasions and places where alcohol is served.

I do not keep alcohol at home.

And – ever since I stopped keeping booze at home – a lot of my friends have stopped visiting me.

You may feel that these may seem extreme steps – and you may laugh at me – but then – you are not a “born alcoholic”.

Whether I like it or not – I am a “born alcoholic” – and that is why I have to be careful.


How do you discover if you are a “born alcoholic”?

If you never drink – you will never come to know – and – that is the best thing.

But the moment you have your first drink of alcohol – the “alcoholism switch” triggers in your brain – and you will come to know that you are a “born alcoholic” – and – you will start loving alcohol more than anything else.

And then – you know what to do.

If you are a “born alcoholic” – then you have to control the “environmental provocation” so that it does not impel you towards drinking.

Otherwise – the deadly combination of “genetic predisposition” and “environmental provocation” can make you “alcohol dependent” and gradually turn you into a “full blown alcoholic”.

Remember: An Alcoholic is Born – not Made.

Yes: “Alcoholics are Born – Not Made.

Tell me one thing.

What should you do once you discover that you are a “born alcoholic”?

Is it wise to live in denial and ultimately become a full-blown alcoholic?

Or – is it better to be frank like me and candidly say:

“I am an alcoholic – and  that is why I do not drink alcohol”


Copyright © Vikram Karve
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  1. These are my personal views based on my own experience. They may or may not be applicable in your circumstances. This experiential “wisdom”may not have any scientific basis. You may please do your own due diligence before you pick up a drink of alcohol.
  2. All stories in this blog area 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 is an updated version and repost of my article : ALCOHOLICS ARE BORN NOT MADE posted on this blog on 19 Oct 2013 at url: and  and and 


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