The Girl Who Loved Books

April 28, 2016

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

MY LIBRARY GIRLFRIEND

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.

“Yes.”

“You are very lucky.”

“Why?”

“Delhi is the best place for book lovers.”

“Really…?”

“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.

3 YEARS LATER

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.

“Permanently…?”

“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…?”

“Why?”

“Books…!”

“Books…?”

“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…?”

“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…”

“Oh…”

“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…”

“Really…”

“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…”

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Link to my original post in my academic and creative writing journal blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/my-library-girlfriend-library-girl.html 

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…?

BOOZE WISDOM 

ARE YOU A BORN ALCOHOLIC?

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 !!!

BOOZE WISDOM 

ALCOHOLICS ARE BORN – NOT MADE

An Alcoholic is Born – Not Made

Incoherent Ramblings of an Veteran Alcoholic

By

VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer:

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 WHO DOES NOT DRINK ALCOHOL

ONCE AN ALCOHOLIC – ALWAYS AN ALCOHOLIC

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 STAGES AS AN ALCOHOLIC

My life can be divided into 3 phases:

  1. ABSTINENCE

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

  1. DRINKING DAYS

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

  1. TEMPERANCE

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

GENETIC PREDISPOSITION and ENVIRONMENTAL PROVOCATION

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:

LEADERS ARE BORN – NOT MADE

In a similar vein – I would like to say:

ALCOHOLICS ARE BORN – NOT MADE

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.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROVOCATION

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 = GENETIC PREDISPOSITION + 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”.

WAKE UP CALL

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.

ARE YOU A “BORN ALCOHOLIC” ?

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”

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. 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: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/10/alcoholics-are-born-not-made.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/02/i-am-alcoholic-who-does-not-drink.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/09/booze-wisdom-are-you-born-alcoholic.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/are-you-alcoholic-who-does-not-drink.html 

Why Girls Marry : Why Boys Marry

April 24, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Why Do Girls Marry and Why Do Boys Marry

I like to read “Agony Aunt” columns.

It is interesting to see the variety of problems people have – and the interesting solutions suggested by “Agony Aunts”.

Maybe – you too have similar problems – and you can try out the solutions suggested.

Here is the gist of an interesting “apocryphal” question from a lady in her 50’s that I read this morning in the “Agony Aunt” column of a newspaper:

“My daughter got married at the age of 29 to a fellow IT Professional. Since she was concentrating on her studies and career, she does not know how to do housework. Also she is not accustomed to doing housework since I did all the housework. Now after marriage she lives in a joint family (with her husband and in-laws) and they expect her to do all the housework. This makes her feel depressed and unwell – and to escape the housework – my daughter comes to live with me from time to time – and she tries to avoid going to her husband’s home on some pretext or the other. My daughter’s frequent leaving him to come to live with me annoys my daughter’s husband – and this is causing marital strain between them. What should I do?”

I am sure you can guess the typical conservative answer of the “Agony Aunt” – that the mother should tell her daughter to “adjust” and learn housework etc.

However – the moot question is: “Why do girls marry? (and also – “Why do boys marry?”)

All this reminded me of a story I had written around 9 years ago during my Aundh days after a delicious meal in one of my favorite restaurants in Pune – Polka Dots.

So – let me delve deep into my creative writing archives and pull out the story for you to read…

WHY DO GIRLS MARRY (and WHY DO BOYS MARRY)

A Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

I like playing Agony Aunt.

It is good fun.

I love to talk. I am a good listener.

Listening to others’ troubles seems to make my own troubles go away.

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

Yes, talking to someone who needs comforting seems to make my own troubles go away…!

So I am quite happy when Alka calls up, “Are you free today…? I want to speak to you…”

“Sure,” I say, “in the evening…?”

“After work…?”

“Okay…I’ll wait for you in Polka Dots…at seven…”

At seven I sit in the veranda of Polka Dots Café in Aundh sipping Iced Tea waiting for Alka to arrive.

There she is…Alka gets off her company bus which ferries her from her workplace in the IT Park at Hinjewadi to her chummery in Aundh…she spots me, waves, walks briskly and sits on the chair opposite me.

“Thanks for coming,” she says.

“You are welcome,” I say, “But first let’s order…then we’ll talk…”

We order…Fish and Chips for me and a Chicken Teriyaki for her…and then I say, “Tell me…what’s bothering you…?”

“Ashish…” she says, “he wants to do his MBA… ”

“That’s good…”

“I know… I have nothing against his doing MBA… but he wants to postpone our marriage…”

“Oh…”

“We’ve been seeing each other for seven years now… we’ve been going around since our first year in engineering college…we’d decided to get married the moment we completed our B.Tech. and got a job…that was okay… I was getting much better offers but I joined the same company just to be with him… then he said let’s finish our training… then he said let the probation period be over… the he kept dilly dallying… every time I ask him let’s get married he says let’s wait, be secure in our careers… and now this MBA bug has bit him… I said let’s get married and you can do your MBA here in Pune… but he says no… he wants to go to IIM… concentrate on his CAT… then focus on his MBA studies and come on top of his class…”

The food arrives. We start eating.

There is silence for a while and then Alka starts speaking, “How long can we continue like this…? I am almost twenty five now…so he’ll study for CAT for a year…then two more years of MBA…then he’ll say let me settle down in my new job… I feel very insecure in life by his indecision… Isn’t it high time we got married and settled down…?”

“I’ll speak to Ashish…” I say

That night I call Ashish over for a drink at our favourite watering hole in Baner.

I talk about the conversation Alka had with me in Polka Dots and tell him that Alka’s afraid that he is going to dump her.

“Dump her…? What nonsense… I love her… I want to marry her… but how can I explain… I want to be secure before I marry…? Ashish says.

“Secure…?” I ask.

“You know that a mere B. Tech. isn’t enough these days – I barely managed to hold on to by job during the recession. I don’t feel secure in my job. I have to get an MBA… from a top-notch institute like IIM… get a good job… do well in my life. That’s why I want to focus on studying for CAT and marriage at this stage will disturb my focus on studies. I must get into an IIM… study hard… top the class… get the best job…. I am only twenty five now… there is plenty of time for marriage… I want to feel secure in my career before I make a commitment to marriage so that I can give the best to Alka and our would-be kids…”

So this is the basic marriage dilemma:

A girl wants to get married to feel secure  

A boy wants to be secure before getting married 

Do you agree…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is an updated version and repost of my article AGONY AUNT posted online earlier at urls http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/08/agony-aunt.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/08/agony-aunt-and-her-musings-on-marriage.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/04/why-girls-want-to-get-married-and-why.html  etc

Romance via the “Rear Window”

April 14, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Romance : Rear Window

ROMANCE VIA THE “REAR WINDOW”

A Fictional Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer: This story is a fictional 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.

Part 1 : REAR WINDOW

I am sure you have seen the classic movie REAR WINDOW – directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

Rear Window is a quintessential Hitchcock style mystery thriller made in 1954 – and – in my opinion – Rear Window is one of Hitchcock’s best films – a masterpiece – an awesome movie – despite its simplicity.

The Story is simple – a newspaper photographer with a broken leg passes time recuperating by observing his neighbours through his window.

After he breaks his leg during a dangerous assignment – the main protagonist – a professional photographer (James Stewart) is wheelchair bound and confined to his Apartment, while he recuperates.

His rear window looks out onto a small courtyard and several other apartments.

During the hot summer – he passes time by watching his neighbours – who keep their windows open to stay cool.

Each of the “objects of attention” – occupants of the other apartments who are being observed by our protagonist – depict insightful interpretations of the entire gamut of human relationships – as the main protagonist “watches” them through his “rear window” – and – we – the movie viewers – share his voyeuristic surveillance – as the movie takes mysterious twists and turns till it reaches a terrific climax.

Rear Window is an engrossing film – a fascinating portrayal of our tendency towards curiosity and voyeurism.

The movie exposes many facets of the loneliness of city life and it tacitly demonstrates the impulse of human curiosity. It explores our fascination with looking at persons, objects and things – and – the attraction of “objects of our attentions”.

I am sure you have had many such “rear window” experiences.

Well – I have had my share – especially when I lived in high-rise “gated communities” – or – in residential complexes which have rows of high-rise buildings where balconies face each other – giving you a clear view – like in Curzon Road Apartments in New Delhi.

Part 2 : MY “REAR WINDOW” STORY

Let me tell you about a rather amusing “rear window” story that happened to me.

Once upon a time – we lived in a high-rise residential complex – and from the rear balcony (“Rear Window”) of our top floor apartment – I had a “grandstand view” of the apartments of neighbouring building.

One day – when I was shopping in a Mall – a beautiful woman looked at me – she smiled – she walked up to me – and she said: “Hello – so nice to meet you in person.”

I was flabbergasted.

Seeing my bewilderment – the lovely lady said to me: “Don’t you recognize me…? I live in the neighbouring building – right opposite your balcony. We have been “looking at each other” for more than 3 months now. It’s been quite a long “long distance relationship” – and – I was wondering whether we would actually meet face-to-face. It is such a pleasure to meet you. By the way – my name is ‘XXX’…” she said, proffering her hand.

I shook her hand – I introduced myself – and I said to her: “I am really sorry for not recognizing you…”

“Really…? You did not recognize me…? Every time I see you standing in your balcony – you seem to be looking intently at me. I think you better get your eyesight checked…” she said with a mischievous smile.

And then – she said goodbye – and she walked away to continue with her shopping.

I felt hungry – so – I walked to the ‘Food Court’ in the Mall.

There – I saw another “long distance” “rear window” “object of my attention” – a pretty young girl – who – it seemed – was recently married.

In the food court – she was sitting with her husband – who I had seen occasionally in his balcony.

I confidently walked up to pretty young girl – and I said to her: “Hello…!!! Great to see you here. It feels so nice to meet you…”

The girl gave me a perplexed look.

“Don’t you recognize me…? We look at each other every morning across our balconies – especially when you hang your clothes to dry…” I said to her.

The girl looked away – she seemed embarrassed.

But – her husband gave me a fierce look and he angrily said to me: “Have you been staring at my wife…?”

“NO. NO. It is not what you think…” I said – and I beat a hasty retreat.

Part 3 : EPILOGUE

Next morning – as usual – I was standing at my “Rear Window” – observing the “goings on”.

I saw the beautiful lady – the first “object of my attention” (the first woman I had met in the Mall).

She was standing in her balcony with a cup of tea in her hand.

I could see her clearly – since I was wearing my newly acquired spectacles

(Yes – as advised by her – I had got my eyes checked immediately at the Optician’s Shop in the Mall and obtained a pair of spectacles)

She waved out to me – I waved back.

Then – she went inside – probably to get ready for office.

I shifted my gaze downwards.

I could see the second “object of my attention” – the newly-married girl whose husband had angrily scowled at me.

As she did every morning – she was hanging the washed clothes on the clothesline to dry.

I tried to avert my eyes.

But – she looked towards me – and – she smiled at me – and she gave me jovial wave.

I vigorously waved back to her too.

One thing is clear – as far as women are concerned (maybe it applies to some men too):

“One look of genuine admiration is worth a thousand compliments.” 

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a spoof, 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. 

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/humor-in-romance-rear-window.html

Military Strength – Hardware “Software” and “Skinware”

April 12, 2016

MILITARY PROWESS – Hardware “Software” and “Skinware” 

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/military-capability-hardware-software.html

Musings of a Veteran By VIKRAM KARVE 

The Military Capability of a nation is dependent on 3 key ingredients:

  1. Hardware
  1. “Software”
  1. “Skinware”

MILITARY HARDWARE comprises weapons, equipment, ordnance, platforms (ships/submarines/aircraft/space based platforms) etc – and is a technology governed qualitative and quantitative component – depending on the “high-tech” quality and quantity of military equipment.

Military Hardware is a tangible factor – and – the Military Hardware and Technologies of a nation are well known.

MILITARY “SOFTWARE” refers to the War-Fighting “System” – the operational doctrine, strategy and tactics and the organizational management aspects like Rules/Regulations, HR and Training Policies etc.

Military “Software” comprises both tangible (documented) and intangible (experiential) aspects.

MILITARY “SKINWARE” comprises the Human Resource Element – of course – the men and women in uniform (Officers and Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen) – but also the Bureaucracy and various Civilians who provide support to the Armed Forces – and – most importantly – the Political Leadership which governs the entire gamut of Defence Services and Security Machinery.

Of course – “numbers” can be quantified – a nation may boast of the numerical strength of its Army, Navy and Air Force.

But – the vital characteristic of Military “Skinware” are intangible aspects comprising indefinable “hard to quantify” factors like morale, leadership quality, ideology, motivation, inspiration, welfare/care of servicemen and military veterans etc.

CONCLUSION

A nation must develop its Military Capability in a holistic manner – giving due importance to all 3 aspects – Hardware “Software” and “Skinware” – in a balanced and harmonious manner.

Dear Reader: Do you agree?

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Link to my original post: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/military-capability-hardware-software.html

Humor in Uniform – How I Became Alcohol Dependent 

March 31, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: How I Became Alcohol Dependent : Memories of My Navy Days

Memories of my Glorious Navy Days

A friend who has started reading my Blog wants me to post some of my Navy “Memoirs”.

So  here is a “memoir” from my wonderful Navy Days.

HOW I BECAME “ALCOHOL DEPENDENT”

A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

THE “JAUNDICED” NAVY

Sometime in the late 1970’s there was an outbreak of jaundice in Mumbai (then known as Bombay).

Jaundice is quite a debilitating disease.

The rampant spread of Jaundice started badly affecting the Navy.

Soon  this outbreak of Jaundice assumed almost epidemic proportions.

Large numbers of Naval Officers and Sailors on ships were getting afflicted by the dreaded disease Jaundice.

Special “Jaundice Wards” were opened in the Naval Hospital.

Some ships were down to half-strength.

The Navy had become “Jaundiced”  nice and proper.

WHY SAILORS WERE SCARED OF JAUNDICE

A bout of Jaundice meant at least two or three weeks in Hospital till your Bilirubin levels came down.

This was followed by a month of sick leave at home – then back to hospital for downgrading of medical fitness level – and re-categorization of medical category.

And – finally – the worst consequence of jaundice – “NO ALCOHOL” for at least 6 months.

More than the illness due to jaundice – this fear of total abstinence – the prospect of having to spend 6 months without a drop of alcohol after a bout of jaundice – was most scary for sailors.

This fear resulted in a drinking spree.

Everyone was mortified of getting jaundice – especially the hard drinking lovers of Bacchus.

Today – it may seem laughable – but in those morbid days – the thinking was – if you cannot drink alcohol after you get jaundice – you might as well “top up” before you got jaundice.

So – on ships – every Naval Officer was downing peg after peg – consuming enormous amounts of alcohol every evening – as if it was the last day of his life.

It was the same with sailors – who were drinking away to glory in Sailors’ Home.

It was the last opportunity to drink to your heart’s content – till the dreaded scourge of jaundice got hold of you in its clutches.

So – you could see Ships’ Wardrooms full of Officers on Drinking Binges till they passed out dead drunk.

And – Sailors were drinking away in Sailors’ Home – till they fell into drunken stupor.

Everyone was drinking away as if it was their last drinking day – before they were struck down by jaundice and carted away to hospital – followed by many months of ban on alcohol.

The biggest joke that was most of these heavy drinkers did not get affected by jaundice  but they landed up becoming “alcohol dependent” instead.

The “powers-that-be” panicked at the increasing number of jaundice cases heading for hospitalization every day and the consequent depletion of crew on ships.

Force levels were rapidly falling in the “Jaundiced Navy”.

It was a precarious situation – and if this jaundice induced exodus continued – there would be no officers and sailors left to man the ships.

So – it was decided to take some drastic measures.

The first anti-jaundice measure was the promulgation of “Jaundice Orders”.

JAUNDICE ORDERS

The “powers-that-be” thought that the reason for this jaundice epidemic was because Naval Officers and Sailors were eating unhygienic jaundice-infected food outside in Mumbai City when they went ashore on liberty.

So – Two “Jaundice Orders” were promulgated:

  1. All Food Joints/Restaurants/Eateries/Cafes in Mumbai were declared “out of bounds” for Navy Officers and Sailors.
  1. Shore Leave (Liberty) would now be in Uniform till further orders.

(Yes – all Officers and Sailors had to wear White Uniform Dress No. 8A at all times – even when on liberty ashore in civilian areas)

The reason for Order No. 2 (on wearing uniforms in civilian areas) was to ensure that any defaulter Officer or Sailor entering a restaurant or eating outside was instantly spotted by the Navy Shore Patrol to be rounded up and put on charge.

Yes – in order to implement this preventive measure – special “jaundice shore patrols” were sent out on the streets of Mumbai – especially to those areas and food joints frequented by navy sailors.

JAUNDICE SHORE PATROL IN ACTION

On the very first day – a hilarious incident occurred involving the “jaundice shore patrol” from our ship .

The Fleet Commander personally spotted the shore patrol from our ship drinking sugarcane juice in resplendent full dress white uniform at a most unhygienic sugarcane juice stall right opposite the Naval Dockyard Lion Gate.

The culprits were promptly arrested by the Naval Police and handed over to the ship for necessary disciplinary action.

On being questioned – the shamefaced sailors pleaded that they had heard that “drinking sugarcane juice prevented jaundice”.

So – the shore patrol sailors had decided to fortify themselves with sugarcane juice before they headed for patrolling the jaundice-infected areas.

Since there was a severe shortage of sailors (with half the sailors admitted in hospital with jaundice) – the wayward shore patrol was not punished severely – but let off with a warning and awarded a few extra shore patrol duties as punishment.

The next evening – instead of sugarcane juice at the roadside stall – the shore patrol was found drinking Rum in the Sailors’ Home.

But then – the Sailors’ Home was not “out of bounds”.

Maybe – like us Officers – the “fear of jaundice” was driving them to drink alcohol to their heart’s content.

So – we looked the other way.

“BREAKING BOUNDS” TO EAT OUT – JAUNDICE AND ICE CREAM

After a few days we officers were fed up of the wardroom food on board the ship.

So – we decided to venture out to enjoy the culinary delights the city of Mumbai had to offer.

Parading in uniform of the streets of Mumbai was unthinkable – so we adopted a simple modus operandi.

We carried a bag containing civilian clothes with us – and we smartly walked out of the Naval Dockyard Lion Gate wearing spotless white Navy uniform.

Then – we headed to the nearby Jehangir Art Gallery in Kalaghoda.

Here – we would enter the well-appointed washrooms – and change from uniform to civilian clothes.

Then – in our civilian clothes – hoping that shore patrols would not recognize us – we would venture out to enjoy the foodie delights that Mumbai had to offer.

On the way back we would change back from civilian clothes into uniform using the change-rooms at the Taj – or some suitable hotel – and return back to our ships smartly dressed in uniform.

One evening – after a movie at Eros – followed by a hearty meal at Gaylord in Churchgate – we were enjoying a stroll on Marine Drive.

After a refreshing stroll in the sea breeze on Marine Drive admiring the “flora and fauna” – we decided to end the day with some delicious Ice Cream at the Yankee Doodle Ice Cream Parlour.

Our plan was that – after enjoying our ice cream – we would use the change-rooms of the adjoining Natraj Hotel to change back into uniform – and then we would walk back in uniform to our ship.

My friends wanted to eat Ice Cream Cones.

I ordered the signature Ice Cream Dish of Yankee Doodle Ice Cream Parlour – the inimitable “Yankee Doodle Banana Split”.

“Yankee Doodle Banana Split” consisted of three huge scoops of of ice-cream (flavours of your choice) – which were placed on a sweetened split banana – and topped up with yummy fruits and nuts – and then embellished with sweet yummy creamy sauces.

This inimitable “Yankee Doodle Banana Split” ice cream was prepared at a special counter – and – it took some time to be assembled.

When my “Banana Split” ice cream was ready – I picked up the dish – and I looked around for my shipmates.

But – I could not see them anywhere.

Maybe – they were taking a walk on Marine Drive – licking their Ice Cream Cones – while watching pretty young things.

I decided to focus on my magnificent “Banana Split” Ice Cream.

As I was about to dig into my delicious looking Ice Cream – I noticed that – standing bang in front of me – was our redoubtable Captain.

At first – I was terrified.

I had been caught red-handed at an “out of bounds” place – and that too – wearing civilian clothes when I should have been in uniform.

I looked at my Captain.

He too was dressed in civilian clothes.

Then – I saw that he too was eating an Ice Cream – a Chocolate Sundae.

And – next to our Captain – stood his wife – relishing a Mixed Fruit Sundae Ice Cream.

I wished our Captain – and his wife – they smiled back.

We talked – but the conversation was strictly restricted to the topic of Ice Cream – and we discussed the various exotic Ice Cream flavours you got all over Mumbai.

On seeing the Captain – the other officers had disappeared into the darkness – and they surfaced only when the Captain and his wife had left Yankee Doodle Ice Cream Parlour.

They anxiously asked me if the Captain had seen them – and I assured them that he had not.

Next morning – when I saluted the Captain – he still had his formidable demeanor – but there was a slight twinkle in his eyes.

JAUNDICE CAUSES ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE

I do not know whether it is true or not – but someone told me later – that the outbreak of jaundice was due to contaminated drinking water (as a result of leaky sewage lines and cracked porous water pipes) – and it was not due to infected food – which was initially suspected to be the cause of the jaundice epidemic.

And yes – I was lucky not to get jaundice during that epidemic.

But – the jaundice epidemic had a curious side-effect on me.

Since the “fear of jaundice” had made me drink to my heart’s content – I ended up becoming “alcohol dependent” for sure.

Ha Ha – like many other fellow Naval Officers of the Fleet who survived the dreadful “Jaundice Epidemic” – the “Fear of Jaundice” had made me “Alcohol Dependent” – and – it took me 25 years to become “Temperate” again…!!!

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a spoof, 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 story is a revised version of my blog post BREAKING BOUNDS – JAUNDICE AND ICE CREAM posted in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog on Sunday, January 12, 2014 – Posted by me Vikram Karve at 1/12/2014 11:58:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/01/humor-in-uniform-breaking-bounds.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/humor-in-uniform-jaundiced-navy.html 

 

April Fool 

March 31, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform : “April Fool” on All Fools’ Day

“APRIL FOOL” ON ALL FOOLS’ DAY

Unforgettable Memories of My Delightful Navy Life : Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

Tomorrow is the 1st of April – April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day (also known as All Fools’ Day) is celebrated annually on the First Day of April.

It is a time for the traditional playing of pranks on unsuspecting people – the victim of such a prank being called an April Fool.

One of my weaknesses is my trusting nature – I easily trust people.

Because of my simple trusting nature it is easy for anyone to take me for a ride – yes – you can easily make a fool of me – and – I have been made an “April Fool” so many times right from my childhood.

In fact – owing to my trusting nature – I a simpleton – yes – I am quite a gullible person – and therefore – I am a prime target for April Fool Pranks.

When I hark back and think of the occasions when I was made an unsuspecting victim of April Fool Jokes – and when I recall all the April Fool Pranks I was subjected to – I can never forget how I was made a total “April Fool” – 33 years ago – on the 1st of April 1983.

Here is my “April Fool” story – have a laugh…

HOW I WAS MADE AN “APRIL FOOL” – a “Memoir” by VIKRAM KARVE

01 April 1983

It was 10 AM (1000 Hrs in Navy Parlance) on the 1st of April 1983 – and I busy with my research work in IIT Delhi.

(Yes – after slogging for 5 years in the Navy – afloat and ashore – I was selected to undergo the prestigious 2 year M. Tech. post graduate course in Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi aka IIT Delhi from July 1981 to July 1983)

It was the last (4th) semester of my 2 year M.Tech. Course – and I was busy with my dissertation work.

My ex-shipmate entered the Tropo Lab.

He was also doing M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – but in a different specialization.

He said excitedly, “Hey Vikram – congratulations – your appointment has come – you will be going to IAT Pune after your M. Tech.”

I was very happy and joyfully excited to hear this.

Pune is my hometown.

I had never expected a posting to Pune in my Naval Career – as I thought that – except for a few billets at NDA Khadakvasla – there were hardly any billets for Naval Officers in Pune – especially for Technical Officers.

In fact – I was worried that they may transfer me back to INS Valsura Jamnagar – where I had spent less than one year (1980-81) on instructional duties – before escaping from there as I was selected for my M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – and I had no desire of going back to that godforsaken place again.

“You don’t seem to be happy?” my friend said.

“I am very happy,” I said, “but how do you know about my appointment?”

“I had gone to INS India – to Base Supply Office – for some work. I saw your name in a NA List over there. I have just come from there – and I came straight here to tell you the good news.”

[Those days Naval Headquarters (NHQ) published a weekly Navy Appointments (NA) List which listed all appointments (transfers/postings) issued during that week. Now – things must have changed – I understand that even the name of NHQ has been changed to IHQ].

“What about you? Is your name in the NA list? Has your new appointment come too?” I asked him.

“No – I saw only your name in the NA list. Why don’t you go down to NHQ and personally get your appointment letter?” he prompted.

As I said – I was really delighted to be transferred to Pune – my hometown.

So – so I immediately drove down on my scooter to NHQ.

First – I went to INS India – to the Base Supply Office – and I checked the NA List folder.

Yes – my name was very much there – at Serial No. 12 of the list of 20 names – and entry in the NA list said that I was appointed on instructional duties to IAT Pune July DTBR

(DTBR means “Date to be Recorded” – which meant that I could report to IAT Pune on any date in July from 1st to 31st July)

I wrote down the relevant details of the NA list on a piece of paper (a chit).

Then – I went to the Base Supply Officer (BSO) – a Commander.

I showed him the chit – and I asked him if my appointment letter had come.

The Base Supply Officer called for the NA List folder.

The BSO looked at the NA List – and he said: “This NA list has just been issued. It will take some time for the appointment letter to reach here. They take their own sweet time to dispatch the letters. Why don’t you go across to DOP and get your personal copy?”

(DOP was the acronym for Director of Personnel)

Those days we were very scared to go anywhere near DOP – because they were always on the prowl looking for “murgas” to transfer to “kala pani” – and other such remote places.

But I was so excited – that I drew up courage – and I walked into the office of the DDOP (Deputy Director of Personnel) who looked after our appointments.

I was delighted to see an officer who I knew very well sitting in the chair of DDOP – a Commander – he was a course-mate of my previous ship’s XO.

Those days – when he was a Lieutenant Commander – he used to visit our ship quite often – he was fond of drinking – and we had spent many evenings drinking together – and drinking together develops a unique camaraderie.

The DDOP was happy to see me.

He told me that he had just taken over as DDOP just a day earlier on the 31st of March.

He enquired about me – about my M. Tech. course – and then he asked me what I wanted.

I told him the story – gave him the chit on which I had written details of the NA List – and I asked him if I could have a copy of my appointment letter.

The DDOP called his deputy – the ADOP (Assistant Director of Personnel) – a Lieutenant Commander.

The DDOP handed the ADOP the chit with NA List details – and told him to give me a copy of my appointment letter.

The officer looked at the NA list – and looking confused, he said, “Sir, we haven’t yet issued any appointment letters for officers doing M. Tech. at IITs – anyway I will just check and get back to you, Sir.”

After a few minutes the ADOP came back and said: “The NA list with this number has still not been issued.”

“What? How can that be?” the DDOP said.

Then the DDOP looked at me – and he said: “Are you sure you saw the NA list in the INS India Base Supply Office…?”

“Yes, Sir” I said, “it is right on top in the NA list folder in the Base Supply Office.”

The DDOP picked up the telephone and he dialled a number.

He seemed to be speaking to the Base Supply Officer.

The DDOP read out the number of the NA list – then he waited for some time – then he listened to the voice on the other side – and then he said to me: “Just go down to the Base Supply Office and get the NA list folder – I want to get to the bottom of this.”

As I was leaving – I could hear him speak on the phone: “I am sending the officer to you…”

The moment I reached the hutments where the Base Supply Office was located – I found a big gang of my friends waiting outside for me with broad smiles on their faces.

Among my friends – standing prominently with a big smile on his face – was the Captain of my previous ship (now a Commodore posted in NHQ) – and they all told me that it was he who had orchestrated the whole practical joke.

I knew I had been made an “April Fool”.

That afternoon – I had to treat everyone to beer in the INS India wardroom – and the DDOP and Base Supply Officer (who were also parties to the “April Fool” prank) also joined in the “elbow bending” PLD session for a glass of chilled beer.

EPILOGUE

During the PLD beer session – I put on a mask of cheerfulness – but deep inside I was feeling terrible.

I think the Commodore (my ex ship’s CO) and the DDOP noticed this – so they asked me for my choice of transfer on completion of my M. Tech.

“IAT Pune,” I said tongue-in-cheek – and then I added, “but if that is not possible then anywhere except Jamnagar.”

Three months later – I was transferred to a billet in New Delhi as an Asst Director in R&D.

Two years later – in June 1985 – one day – out of the blue – I saw an appointment letter placed on my table.

I had been appointed for instructional duties to IAT Pune July DTBR.

Was it as a recompense for the “April Fool” prank – from the DDOP and my ex ship’s CO – and from all those who had played the “April Fool” joke on me…?

All’s well that ends well.

Wish You a Happy “April Fool” on ALL FOOLS’ DAY

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a spoof, 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 story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story was written by me 3 years ago and earlier Posted by me Vikram Karve on 01 April 2014 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 4/01/2014 11:39:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/04/humor-in-uniform-how-i-was-made-april.html  and later reposted at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/april-fool-humor-in-uniform.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/humor-in-uniform-april-fool-on-all.html

How to Make a Corrupt Person Honest

March 29, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Does Increasing Salaries Reduce Corruption : Will Hiking Salary Make a Corrupt Person Honest…?

Will Hiking Salary Make a Corrupt Person Honest…? 

( Link to my original article in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/does-increasing-salaries-reduce.html )

This evening – on TV – I saw a politician justifying a huge salary hike for politicians – he gave the justification that giving high salaries will reduce corruption and make politicians honest.

Do you believe that increasing salaries of politicians will make them honest…?

A similar argument is made for government employees as well – it is argued that individuals are corrupt because they get low salaries – and – if salaries are increased – Hey Presto – corrupt persons will instantly turn honest – and corruption will reduce to zero.

Well – all this reminded me of my blog post based on an article on Ethics I had written 21 years ago on 1995.

DOES INCREASING SALARIES REDUCE CORRUPTION…?
Musings on Ethics
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Someone asked me:

“Will increasing salaries of government employees reduce corruption…?”

In response – I said to him:

“If you increase salaries – it will not reduce corruption – but the size of the bribe will increase…”

The honesty and integrity of a person is in no way correlated with material status.

Government Employees are paid enough salaries to live a decent standard of living.

Once a person is corrupt by nature – the dictum is

The Higher the Salary – The Higher the Bribe

This has been the experience – as can be seen by the number of rich politicians and top bureaucrats involved in scams.

Moral Values have got nothing to do with the amount you earn…” 

This conversation reminded me of an article I had written on PRACTICAL ETHICS 21 years ago in 1995 (based on my lecture notes when I taught BUSINESS ETHICS and my papers on ETHICS presented by me at various seminars) and posted on my blogs a number of times – in various posts and articles.

Here is an extract from the article.

STATUS/POSITION versus MORAL VALUES/ETHICAL STANDARDS

Musings By VIKRAM KARVE

When I joined the Navy – many of us confused Rank, Position and Status with Ethical and Moral Standards.

We young officers were naive and idealistic.

We assumed that just because an officer had been promoted to high rank – it could be ipso facto presumed that he had high moral values and ethical standards.

We were wrong in presuming this.

Soon – after seeing media reports about a number of senior military officers embroiled in scams – and observing some of our seniors indulging in unethical activities – we realized that our presumption – linking ethics and rank – was wrong – and status and position should not be confused with standards of morality.

This is true in the civilian world as well.

The honesty and integrity of a person is in no way correlated with his intellectual development  or his position in the hierarchy  or material factors like wealth, rank, seniority, status, success. 

Almost every day we see news about high ranking politicians, bureaucrats, military officers and other “distinguished” persons with high status, and in top positions, getting embroiled in Scams and indulging in unethical activities.

Have you not read news about even the most intellectually gifted persons (like Vice Chancellors of Universities) getting embroiled in corrupt activities?

A quote by Alexander Orlov sums it up in a nutshell:

“Honesty and Loyalty may be often more deeply ingrained in the make-up of simple and humble people than in men of high position. 

A man who was taking bribes when he was a constable does not turn honest when he becomes the Chief of Police – the only thing that changes is the size of the bribe. 

Weakness of character and inability to withstand temptation remains with the man no matter how high he climbs.” 

It is true – isn’t it?

A person’s Values and Ethical traits accompany a man to the highest rungs of his career.

You see so many poor persons who are honest – and you observe so many rich persons who are corrupt.

This is because – whether a person becomes corrupt or not depends on his values – and not on his needs.

Also – in today’s world – corruption has no social stigma.

A corrupt man who is rich gets more respect in society than a poor man who is honest.

That is why you must not confuse status and position with standards of morality and ethics.

An individual’s outward status has got nothing to do with his inner values.

So – increasing salaries may result in the opposite of the desired objective of reducing corruption – and – may result in increasing corruption – as exemplified by the dictum: The Higher the Salary – The Higher the Bribe” 

Dear Reader: Do you agree…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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.

Extract of my article on ETHICS written by me Vikram Karve 21 years earlier in the year 1995 and posted by me online a number of times including at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/ethics_296512_blog  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/practical-ethics/  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/02/honesty-integrity-and-corruption.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/12/status-and-position-versus-moral-values.html and http://vikramwamankarve.blogspot.in/2008/12/managerial-ethics-food-for-thought.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/12/will-increasing-salaries-reduce.html  etc

Morning “Constitutional”

March 29, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Morning “Routine”

MORNING “ROUTINE”

Slice of Life Story By VIKRAM KARVE

This morning – at around 7 AM – I was on my morning walk – when – I saw an elderly man standing on the side of the road.

The old man was wearing spotless white Kurta-Pyjama and a clean freshly starched white “Gandhi Topi” Cap (which is common local attire)

The elderly man was carrying a walking stick.

The way he was tapping the walking stick – it seemed that he was having difficulty crossing the road.

I decided to help the man cross the road.

When I went closer – I noticed than the man was wearing thick spectacles – and it appeared that he could hardly see anything – maybe – he was visually impaired .

I helped the man cross the road.

I asked the old man where he was going – as I wanted to escort the old man to his destination – but the man politely declined my assistance.

The old man said to me that he was going nearby – and that he knew the way to his destination – since he walked on this route every morning.

However – I followed him – since I was apprehensive of his safety (since he was near-blind) – and – I was also curious to know where this elderly man was going so early in the morning.

Believe it or not – his “destination” was the “Country Liquor Bar”.

Yes – the elderly man in spotlessly white clothes and cap walked down the road – straight to the “Country Liquor Booze Shop”.

(I have noticed that Country Liquor Shops/Bars open early in the morning and close past midnight – and there are “patrons” flocking these bars for booze at all times of the day and night – from the “crack of dawn” to the “wee hours past midnight”)

I watched the old man effortlessly negotiate his way into the Country Liquor Bar.

Remember – he had told me – this was his route and destination every morning – and he seemed to be familiar with the place.

I smiled to myself at the “morning routine” of the elderly man.

Soon – like many other “patrons” of the Country Liquor Bar – he would probably pass out “dead drunk” in the lane next to the Booze Shop – and – then – a few hours later – he would wake up and walk home – or maybe – go into the Country Liquor Bar once again for another “Quarter”

 

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a spoof, 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 Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/morning-routine.html

New Zealand Military Heritage : Auckland War Memorial Museum 

March 25, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Auckland War Memorial Museum : Military Heritage of New Zealand

AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM 
Impressive Display of the Military Heritage of New Zealand
A Travelogue
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

MUSINGS ON MILITARY MUSEUMS

India’s first Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997 – and – as a fitting tribute to the warship’s yeoman’s service to the nation – it was decided to preserve INS Vikrant as a “Museum Ship” based in Mumbai.

Accordingly – INS Vikrant was converted into a Naval Museum Ship IMS (Indian Museum Ship) Vikrant.

The Museum Ship was very well conceived – the Indian Navy put in a lot of effort – and IMS Vikrant had a fascinating display of Naval Artifacts.

This interesting “afloat” Navy Museum had an added novelty of being on a famous ship – and this tribute to Naval Heritage attracted many visitors – despite not being easily accessible due to the security restrictions.

It was proposed to anchor this floating Navy Museum off Mumbai harbour to make it a top attraction to citizens, visitors and tourists.

However – all these noble plans never materialized – and – after a few years – the Navy Museum was dismantled – and the grand old ship INS Vikrant was scrapped.

Sadly – our Politicians and Civilian Citizens do not seem to be interested in preserving our military heritage – despite the fact that – India has fought major wars – and our Military Forces are in a constant state of combat – continuously engaged in counter-insurgency operations and action against militants/terrorists.

In contrast – even a small peaceful country like New Zealand has impressive War Memorials and Military Museums – to commemorate the few wars and peacekeeping missions in which its citizens participated – mostly overseas.

The remarkable Military Museums in New Zealand are prominent landmarks and top attractions – for citizens and visitors.

For example – if you open any visitor guide or tourism brochure – you will see that the magnificent Auckland War Memorial Museum is highlighted as a top sightseeing attraction.

Other Military Museums like the New Zealand Maritime Museum, Torpedo Bay Navy Museum and Aviation Display (at MOTAT) are hyped as “must see” sightseeing attractions in Auckland and figure prominently on all visitor guides and tourist itineraries – and so is the case with the Air Force Museum of New Zealand at Christchurch (which I missed seeing since I was in Christchurch on Christmas Day – the only day of the year on which the museum is closed) – and all the other Military Museums at various places in New Zealand.

The general public is well-informed of these Military Museums – and any tourist visiting New Zealand will be made aware and encouraged to visit these museums.

By the way – there are number of good Military Museums in India too – created in a piecemeal manner at various military locations – but – unfortunately – most civilians are not aware of these museums.

For example – let me ask you: “Have you visited Goa?”

If so – you must have visited the excellent beaches and other attractions in Goa.

But – are you aware that there is an impressive Naval Aviation Museum in Goa?

Does this Navy Museum figure prominently in any visitor guide or tourist itinerary?

Similarly – there are Military Museums (created by the Army, Navy and Air Force) at various places in India – in New Delhi, Ahmednagar, Jaisalmer, Port Blair, Pune – and maybe in a few other places – but – is the civilian public aware of these military museums – and are these military museums publicized as top tourist attractions?

Why is it – that there are many Military Museums in India – but most of these are unknown to civilian citizens and not easily accessible to the general public…?

This is just “food for thought” – shouldn’t we be proud of our military heritage as other nations rightly are?

AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM

Now – let me tell you a bit about the impressive Auckland War Memorial Museum – a magnificent structure with a superbly commanding presence as it stands tall and mighty atop the Auckland Domain in the heart of Auckland.

Auckland War Memorial Museum, one of New Zealand’s finest heritage buildings, stands on the hill known by Māori as Pukekawa.

The War Memorial Museum has occupied this site since 1929 when subscriptions raised by Aucklanders in remembrance of their war dead (in World War 1) enabled the construction of what is considered one of New Zealand’s best monuments.

After World War 2 – the Museum building was extended to encompass war memorials for the over 4000 Aucklanders who lost their lives in the Second World War – and to accommodate the ever-increasing artifacts in the Museum’s collections.

The semicircular extension at the rear of the building was opened in 1960, providing more floor space and the World War 2 Hall of Memories which now also encompasses the names of those lost in subsequent peacekeeping missions and conflicts.

Auckland War Memorial Museum is a sacrosanct monument of remembrance for families and returned service personnel who wish to honor their loved ones and fallen comrades.

This imposing neoclassical temple, capped with an impressive copper-and-glass dome, dominates the Auckland Domain and is a prominent part of the Auckland skyline, especially when viewed from the harbour.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum features a very interesting, informative and educative display of New Zealand’s heritage.

The Museum comprises 3 levels:

  1. People of the Pacific – which features artifacts and information about the pioneers who explored and settled down in New Zealand.
  1. Stories of our Land and Sea – which has fascinating information about the geological origins and natural history of New Zealand before the advent of human settlers.
  1. New Zealand War Stories – which is the most impressive section of the museum – comprises a fascinating display of the military heritage of New Zealand and highlights the gallant participation of New Zealanders in wars worldwide through history and their significant contribution to peacekeeping forces throughout the world. The Halls of Memory commemorate the supreme sacrifice of soldiers, sailors and airmen – and bear testimony to the rest respect and admiration the armed forces have in New Zealand.

This museum is so interesting that you must take out an entire day for seeing this impressive museum during your stay in Auckland New Zealand.

Here are a few photos I clicked during my visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum on 31 December 2015.

Pictures of the Impressive War Museum 

I could click very few photos since many displays were quite elaborate with subdued lighting and my smartphone battery ran out – but – I can say that this museum is the most impressive Military Museum I have seen so far. Indeed – the Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the best museums I have ever visited.

(Please see my original post for details of pictures at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/auckland-war-memorial-museum-military.html )

AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM PICTURES

I hope India emulates New Zealand in this regard to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of our military men in uniform – and we too create and proudly publicize similar impressive Military Museums in India to showcase our Military Heritage and inspire future generations – and build sublime War Memorials as a remembrance to martyred soldiers, sailors and airmen who perform the supreme sacrifice and lay down their lives for the nation.

Most importantly – we must make these military museums easily accessible to the public and tourists.

I have written this travelogue based on my own personal experience during my visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum New Zealand on 31 December 2015 – and – of course – I have referred to the references cited below for cross-checking and background information.

References:

Military and War Museums in India at url: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Military_and_war_museums_in_India

Auckland War Memorial Museum Website at url: https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/about-us/history-of-auckland-museum

However – all the photographs in the travelogue have been clicked by me on my smartphone.

Dear Reader: Do let me know if you know of any Military Museums and War Memorials – and – hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the Auckland War Memorial Museum New Zealand.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

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