IIT JEE – A Story

December 12, 2018

IIT JEE – A Story By Vikram Karve 

PART 1

Pune (May 1972)

At the height of the scorching summer of 1972 – two boys sweated it out in the dilapidated drawing hall of the College of Engineering Pune (COEP).

The two boys were appearing for IIT-JEE – the Joint Entrance Examination for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

From time to time – the antiquated structure vibrated and reverberated as a train thundered close by on the adjoining railway tracks on the south-east mainline from Pune to Mumbai (then called Bombay).

For two full days – Saturday – the 6th of May 1972 – and – Sunday – the 7th of May 1972 – the two boys sat in the sweltering heat – writing 4 papers – in English, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry – analytical and subjective – each paper of 3 hours duration – 2 papers per day – one in the morning – one in the afternoon.

The papers were tough – and the two boys thought and thought – till their brains went blank – and they wrote and wrote – till their fingers ached – and finally – when it all ended – they collapsed in agony with the sheer mental and physical exhaustion of it all.

While the boys wrote the IIT-JEE exam inside – their fathers waited outside – for the entire two days.

The fathers had personally escorted the boys to the exam venue at COEP in Shivajinagar from their homes in Sadashiv Peth – and back – hiring auto-rickshaws – which was a luxury for the lower middle-class.

During the exam lunch-break – the boys’ mothers – Asha and Usha – came down from their homes bringing cool buttermilk and freshly cooked hot lunch for the boys.

At the end of the exam – both boys said that they had done well – and the parents were happy.

They all lived in Madiwale Colony – a middle class locality in Sadashiv Peth Pune – where most parents with bright sons had one ambition – their son should get into an IIT – and there he would strive for a 9+ point CGPA – a passport to the “land of opportunity” – for higher studies in a good university – the best way for a middle-class boy to migrate abroad – to realize his American Dream – and then – he would find a suitable “NRI” groom for his sister there – so that she could follow.

But in the story I am narrating – the two boys were the “only child” of their parents – and their parents had left no stone unturned to ensure that their sons successfully cleared the IIT-JEE.

Both the fathers worked as clerks in a government office.

They cycled to their offices every day on their old bicycles.

Both of them had sacrificed their dreams of buying a scooter – using the money to pay for IIT Coaching Classes for their sons.

The two mothers too had done all they could to facilitate the studies of their sons – in fact – for the last two years – as their sons were preparing for the IIT-JEE – both mothers thought of nothing else and they were totally were obsessed with their respective son’s studies.

The two families were next door neighbours – they were best friends and had developed a very close relationship.

Now – after the ordeal was over – the parents were happy – the boys had said that they had done well in the exam – and they all eagerly awaited the IIT-JEE results which would be announced in early June.

PART 2

Pune (June 1972)

The IIT-JEE results were declared.

Asha’s son successfully cleared the IIT-JEE.

However – Usha’s son did not qualify in the IIT-JEE.

And – this changed the relationship between their parents – especially between the mothers – Asha and Usha.

Asha celebrated her son’s success in lavish style – she held a Puja followed by a lavish dinner – for which the entire neighbourhood was invited.

Asha was ecstatic with joy: “I am so happy my son has got into IIT…” she told everyone.

Asha loudly boasted about her son’s achievement in the presence of Usha – and made certain boastful remarks – which were perceived as sarcastic and insulting by Usha – and this caused a fissure in their relationship which was beyond repair.

in due course – Asha’s son went for counseling to IIT Powai at Mumbai – and soon – he joined the same IIT for the B. Tech. Course in Electrical Engineering.

Usha’s son – who had failed to clear the IIT Entrance Exam – joined the local college for the First Year B. Sc. Course (FY) – and he would try for admission to the local Engineering College after his FY.

Those days – you joined IIT after your Pre-Degree (PD/ Class 11) – for the 5 Year B. Tech. Course.

And – you joined other Engineering Colleges after completing your First Year B. Sc. (FY) for the 4 Year BE Course.

The next year – Usha’s son got admission in the local Engineering College.

After completing his B. Tech. – like most IIT graduates – Asha’s son migrated to the US to complete his MS at a prestigious University – and thereafter – he stayed on in the US to realize his “American Dream”.

After finishing his BE – Usha’s son took a job in the local industry in Pune.

As Asha’s son flourished in America – like most “Parents of NRI’s” – their lifestyle changed – and after some time – Asha and her husband relocated to a posh apartment in the upmarket locality of Deccan Gymkhana – which was bought by their NRI son.

For Usha and her husband – nothing much changed – and they continued to live in Madiwale Colony in Sadashiv Peth.

The ‘emotional distance’ due to the fissure in their relationship – and the ‘physical distance’ between their homes – resulted in Asha and Usha losing close contact with each other.

Even on rare occasions when their paths crossed – Usha scrupulously avoided Asha – and on seeing this – Asha started doing likewise – so – even when they came across each other – Asha and Usha did not talk to each other.

A few years later – Usha’s son bought a flat in a distant suburb near his factory.

(Those days – decent housing was quite affordable in such remote suburbs of Pune) 

Usha and her husband vacated their rented home in Madiwale Colony and moved to live with their son and daughter-in-law as a ‘joint family’.

After this – Asha and Usha totally lost contact with each other.

PART 3

43 Years Later

Pune (June 2015)

By now – both Asha and Usha were old widows in their 80’s.

Asha’s son was now well-settled in America.

Earlier – Asha frequently visited her son and daughter-in-law in America for ‘nanny duties’ – but – after a few years – when her grandchildren grew up – and with her son and daughter-in-law busy in the careers – Asha felt bored and ‘unwelcome’ – and so – she stopped her visits to America.

As I told you earlier – Usha lived with her son and daughter-in-law in a suburb of Pune – and over the years – this once remote suburb had now become a much sought after locality.

Whereas Asha’s ‘American’ son had achieved spectacular material success – Usha’s son had a reasonable career in the industry and would happily retire in a few years – and they all lived together as a ‘joint family’ – Usha – her son and daughter-in-law – and her grandchildren who were now in college.

One evening – Usha ran into Asha at a wedding reception at a hotel near Deccan Gymkhana.

In the presence of the newlyweds – to keep up appearances – Asha and Usha exchanged fake smiles of forced geniality.

After the event was over – Usha’s son saw Asha struggling to walk with the help of a walking stick – so went up to help her.

Usha’s son offered to drop Asha home.

“Thanks – but it is okay – I will go by taxi – the reception will call a taxi for me…” Asha said.

“Why call a taxi…? I will drop you in my car. You live in the same place in Deccan Gymkhana, isn’t it…?” Usha’s son said.

“No – I don’t live there anymore…” Asha said.

“Oh – so you have shifted to a better house…?” Usha asked.

Asha looked at Usha – then she looked at Usha’s son – and – after a pause – Asha said:

“No – I haven’t shifted to a better house – I live in an ‘Old Age Home’…”

“Old Age Home…?” Usha’s son asked, surprised.

“Yes – it is quite far away – please call a cab for me…” Asha said.

“No – No – we will drop you…” Usha said.

They all got into the car – Usha and Asha in the rear – and Usha’s son and his wife in front.

After a long time – Asha and Usha talked – about their sons – their grandchildren – their husbands – and about themselves – about the 43 years gone by.

When they reached the ‘Old Age Home’ – Asha said to Usha:

“Do you remember how happy I was when my son had got into IIT…? Now – I sometimes wish that he had not got into IIT…”

“What are you saying…?” Usha said.

With tears in her eyes – Asha said:

“Yes – those days – it was my life’s desire that my son clears the IIT Entrance Exam. 

I wanted my son to do well in IIT – and then – I wanted him go abroad to America for higher studies – and get a good job in the US – and permanently settle down there in America to realize the “Amercian Dream” .

Yes – I was so happy when he was selected for IIT. 

But – nowadays – when I feel lonely – waiting for death in the “old age home” – sometimes – I really feel – that it would have been better – if my son had not passed the IIT JEE Entrance Exam.

Yes – it would have been much better if my son had not got into IIT…” 

There were tears in Asha’s eyes as she was speaking.

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) 

Link to my blog post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2018/01/iit-jee-story-for-overambitious-parents.html

This Blog Post is the Revised and Abridged Version of my Story IIT JEE written by me Vikram Karve on November 25, 2015 and and posted online by me Vikram Karve in my blog at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/11/iit-jee.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/a-story-for-ambitious-parents-iit-jee.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/01/overambitious-parents-and-successful.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/are-you-an-overambitious-parent-do-you-desperately-want-your-children-to-succeed/ and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/iit-jee-story.html etc

Humor – Tips for Success as a Military Officer

December 11, 2018

This spoof is based on a post I received on a Veterans’ Forum many years ago (author unknown)

Dear Reader: I am posting this spoof once more – do read it – and have a laugh…!!!

Humour in Uniform

CAREER AS MILITARY OFFICER – TIPS FOR SUCCESS

(A Spoof)

Disclaimer: This blog post is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.

“FAUJI” SENSE OF HUMOUR

Military Officers have a rather droll and unique sense of humour.

In fact – a proclivity for humour is considered a desirable “Officer Like Quality” aka “OLQ”.

Even the literary world recognizes this military penchant for humour – and contemporary literature has a distinctive literary genre called “humour in uniform”.

A few days ago there was a rather amusing post making the rounds in the social media – especially in veteran forums/groups.

The post contained extracts of a purported pep talk – an alleged speech of a senior officer to young officers – giving them tips on how to succeed in their military careers.

I use the words “purported” and “alleged” deliberately – since I did not personally hear these “gems of wisdom”.

In fact – the speech seems so bizarre – that I suspect it may be fictitious – a spoof – a figment of someone’s imagination running wild.

Or maybe – the witty senior officer was in “high spirits” – and was allowing his “sense of humour” to run riot.

Whether fictitious or not – I found the “pep talk” so hilarious – that I thought I must share some of these rather amusing “gems of wisdom” with you – after “seasoning” them with some “salt and pepper” – to cheer you up and to give you a laugh.

“FAUJI” SUCCESS MANTRA

Do you want the “mantra” for success as a Military Officer…?

Here are some “pearls of wisdom” (suitably paraphrased) mutatis mutandis on “how to reach the top”:

ON CAREER PLANNING

Plan your career.

There is no point in living – if you get superseded (passed over for promotion).

ON CAREER MANAGEMENT

Be smart

(implying that “working hard” is different from “working smart”).

Working hard when your ACR is far away is stupidity.

Slog when your ACR is round the corner.

Put in effort only where it matters for your ACR.

(Ensure “Return on Investment” from your ACR point of view).

Avoid getting involved in useless clutter which does not pay you ACR dividends.

[NB: In the Military, promotions are solely based on your ACRs (Annual Confidential Reports) – hence all your efforts must be focused on getting excellent ACRs – if you are a smart officer you will optimally “time” your visible efforts in sync with your ACR]

ON SOCIAL LIFE MANAGEMENT

Suitably “Schedule” your birthdays and anniversaries when your ACR is about to be written (no one remembers the actual dates anyway).

In order to impress your boss – throw lavish parties at home on your “birthdays” and ”anniversaries” – and invite your boss and his wife as “guests of honour”.

When you go for parties (in messes/clubs) – you and your wife must plan before going to the party – which persons you should speak to – what topics/gossip you should speak about – your boss and other senior officers who matter (and their wives) – they must remember your name once they go back home.

In the party you (and your wife) must look after your boss and his wife and see that they are served snacks and drinks (if required – carry drinks and snacks for them yourself).

At all social occasions – you and your wife must demonstrate to your boss and his wife that you care for them.

All your social activities must be planned with an eye on your ACR.

ON MARRIAGE

(After hinting that – from the career point of view – it is best for a military officer to marry the daughter of a senior officer – and regrettably ascertaining that most of the officers present had failed to do so).

As far as your personal life goes – most of you have already gone wrong.

You should have married senior officers’ daughters.

ON FAMILY PLANNING

If you don’t have two kids by the time you are 30 – it’s already too late.

(NB: This seems good advice, considering the early retirement age in the military, where most officers retire in their early/mid 50’s).

Make sure that your son’s date of birth is on the first of June (1st June) – so that he gets maximum benefit (in terms of seniority) when he joins the Army.

(NB: Being a Navy Veteran – I did not understand this “gem of wisdom”).

If you are preparing for Staff College and you have a small child to look after – then you have not planned properly.

(You must plan and clear your Staff College exam accordingly).

ON FAIR BABIES

I have kept the most hilarious for the end – here is the ultimate “gem of wisdom”:

Once you reach Staff College Wellington – get your wife pregnant there – your babies will be fair.

Hey – remember this is a spoof – just for laughs – so don’t take it seriously.

Have a happy and cheerful day ahead. 

VIKRAM KARVE

Link to my source post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2014/10/humor-in-uniform-career-as-military.html

Are you a “Super Woman”…?

December 11, 2018

This morning I met a “Super Woman” who was rushing to work. 

This reminded me of a poem I wrote long back called: “Super Woman”.

I wrote this poem after observing a “Super Woman”.

Do tell me if you like the poem.

SUPER WOMAN aka SUPERWOMAN 

Story of a Multi-Faceted Multi-Tasking Modern Woman

A Poem By Vikram Karve 

SUPER WOMAN

Super Woman – everyone said.

Super Competent – her appreciative employers said.

Super Reliable – her impressed clients said.

Super Talented – her professional peers said.

Super Boss – her devoted subordinates said.

Super Bitch – her jealous frustrated loser colleagues said.

Super Shrewd – her business rivals said.

Super Fit – her fitness freak buddies at her gym said.

Super Sexy – her admirers said.

Super Lover – her lovers said.

Super Achiever – her teachers and professors said.

Super Parent – her children’s teachers said.

Super Friend – all her acquaintances said.

Super Daughter – her parents and in-laws said.

Super Wife – her husband said.

Super Mom – her children said.

(But secretly – her children wished that their mother stayed home like their grandmother who was always there for them)

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)

Link to my source post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-superwoman.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This poem was written by me long back and First Posted by me Vikram Karve in this blog (in my academic and creative writing journal) at 11/25/2010 11:57:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/11/story-of-super-woman-and-super-mom.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/02/modern-woman-superwoman.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/10/super-woman-story-of-multi-faceted.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/12/are-you-superwoman.html  etc

Wedding Gift

December 10, 2018

This Story happened more than 36 years ago in 1982.

At that time – there were no mobile phones, no internet, no email – nothing.

Even landline residential phones were not given to junior officers like me. 

And – even in the office – we shared a phone kept in the centre of the office – so there was no privacy at all.

So – in the absence of the communication facilities we have today – those days – the best way to communicate with friends was to meet and talk to each other… 

THE MYSTERY OF THE WEDDING GIFT

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve

New Delhi (Circa 1982) 

Part 1

My “girlfriend” was getting married – to someone else.

It was expected.

We – my “girlfriend” Nisha and Me – we knew that our “worlds” were different – and – it was impractical for us to get married to each other – so – we did not have any unrealistic expectations from our friendship.

So – we kept our friendship at the “platonic” level.

Yes – we are happy as we were – just pure friends – and we did not want to take our relationship to the “next level”.

But – Nisha and Me – we were good friends.

We met every Saturday morning – in the Library – on Curzon Road (now known as Kasturba Gandhi Marg).

We browsed book in the library for a few hours – and then – after our browsing was over – we would go out for lunch to some place in Connaught Place (CP) which was nearby.

One Saturday morning – the moment she saw me – Nisha said excitedly:

“I am getting married…”

“When…?” I asked.

“My wedding is on the 3rd of next month…” she said.

“So fast…?”

“Yes – everything happened very fast – the “Boy” and his parents came over on Wednesday – and the marriage was fixed…”

“You met the “Boy” only once…?”

“Yes. You know how it is in our society. The elders decide everything…”

“Yes…” I said.

“At least one thing is good – I won’t have to live in a joint family in his town. My “would-be-husband” has managed to get transferred to Delhi – so we will live in Delhi…” she said.

“That’s good…” I said.

I wondered whether Nisha would continue her friendship with me after her marriage – it all depended on how “broadminded” her husband was.

We met again the next Saturday – and Nisha gave me her wedding invitation card.

“I am sorry – but I won’t be able to attend your wedding…” I said to Nisha.

“Why…? You have to come. The wedding is here in Delhi…” she said.

“I have to go outstation on duty for a training course. I have to leave on the 1st – just 2 days before your wedding…” I said.

“Do you have to go…?” she asked – her disappointment was visible on her face.

“You know how it is in the Navy – I tried my best – but I have to go. But – it’s only for 3 months – I’ll meet you here in the library on the first Saturday after I come back…” I said.

“Yes – I will be back from my honeymoon by then – and hopefully well-settled…” she said.

“Honeymoon – already planned…?”

“Just a week in the hills – he has to join duty on the 10th here in Delhi…” Nisha said.

“Okay…” I said.

We browsed in the library for some time – and then – we had lunch at Gaylord in CP – followed by a movie at Regal.

In the evening – as I said “good bye” to Nisha – I somehow got the feeling that it was the end of our beautiful friendship.

Part 2

I wondered what would be an ideal “wedding gift” for Nisha.

Should I give her a good “Book”…?

No – it was too trivial as a wedding gift.

A piece of jewelry…?

I really did not know her taste – I had absolutely no idea what she liked.

It is funny – you can be so close to a person – yet know nothing about her.

I walked around CP – window shopping.

Suddenly – I passed a Television (TV) showroom – with the latest brands of Colour TV Sets in the showcase.

Colour TV was a novelty – a new arrival in the market.

(Dear Reader: Remember – this story happened in 1982 – the year in which Colour Television was introduced in India – thanks to the 9th Asian Games which were to be held in Delhi – and live telecast in colour…)

I looked at the Colour TV Sets – and – on the spur of the moment – I made my decision – I would give Nisha a Colour TV set as a Wedding Gift – a rather expensive wedding gift – but something Nisha would always remember me by – whenever she switched on the TV.

I would have to adjust my budget a bit – but it was okay – for Nisha was a close friend.

I went inside the showroom.

There were 3 brands of Colour TV.

After seeing a demonstration – I liked two of them.

I stood undecided – wondering which one to buy.

The owner of the shop was observing me – and he understood my predicament.

He walked towards me and said to me:

“Sir – I will do one thing – I will send both the Colour TV Sets to your house – you watch both of them for 3-4 days – then – you can keep the one you like – and you can return the other one…”

“Are you sure…?” I asked.

“Of course, Sir – we want our customers to be fully satisfied…” he said.

He gave me a diary and asked me to write down my name and address.

He looked at the address and smiled:

“Sir – you are a “Fauji”…?”

“Yes – I am in the Navy…” I said.

That evening – both the Colour TV Sets were positioned in my house.

Three days later – I called up the TV Store and told the owner that I had made my choice.

“Okay, Sir – I will send someone in the evening…” he said.

“Actually – I want the Colour TV Set to be gift wrapped and delivered at a wedding – is it possible…?” I said.

“Of course, Sir – I will come personally after the shop closes – you can offer me a drink also…” he said.

The shopkeeper arrived at 9 PM along with an assistant.

Since I was drinking Whiskey-Soda – I offered him a drink.

“Sir – I will have Rum – I like “Military” Rum…” he said.

I poured him a large peg of Rum.

I showed him the Colour TV which I had liked.

Then – I showed him Nisha’s Wedding Invitation Card.

I told him that I wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding as I would be away on duty.

“Sir – you don’t worry – I will personally see to it that the TV is delivered on time – the venue of the wedding reception is very near my shop…” he said.

“Are you sure…?” I asked him.

“Sir – you be rest assured – I will go myself and give the wedding gift on your behalf to the newly-married couple. We will get the TV nicely gift-wrapped. You just write the message you want written on the gift-card…” he said, pulling out a diary from his pocket.

I wrote the message.

He noted down the date/time of the wedding reception and address of the venue from the wedding card.

Then – the shopkeeper took out a permanent marker pen – and he said to me:

“Sir – you put your initials on the rear cover of the TV Set you have chosen…”

We turned the TV around.

He gave me the red permanent marker pen – and he pointed a place at the bottom left corner of the rear cover – and he said to me:

“Sir – you can put your initials here…”

I put my initials in red colour at the place he indicated.

“Thank you, Sir…” the shopkeeper said, “this is just to make sure that there is no mix-up. And later – when you visit the newly-married couple – you can check that we have delivered the same TV Set…”

The shopkeeper told his assistant to pack up both the TV Sets and put them in the Van parked below.

Then – he had two quick pegs of Rum – “down-the-hatch” – and he left in quite a “happy” mood.

Part 3

Three months later – the moment I returned to New Delhi – on the very first Saturday – I went to the Library.

I was delighted to see Nisha there.

She looked lovely.

“Marriage seems to have suited you, Nisha – you are looking really beautiful – and – there is a glow on your cheeks…” I complimented her.

“Stop teasing me…” she said, “you better finish your browsing quickly – we are going home for lunch today…”

“Home…?”

“Curzon Road Apartments – walking distance from here – we’ve got a tiny one room flat…”

“That’s great – I would love to meet your husband…”

“He has gone outstation on tour – but he will be back next week – you can meet him then…”

“Let’s have lunch at Gaylord…”

“No. No. Today – I am going to cook you lunch. And – I want you to see my home…” she said.

Two hours later – I sat in Nisha’s small one room flat in Curzon Road Apartments.

I noticed that there was no TV in the flat.

“Don’t you have a TV…?” I asked Nisha.

“No. We don’t have a TV…” she said, “but we are planning to buy one soon…”

“But I thought you would have a TV…” I said.

“Come on – we are newly married – we need to save some money – don’t we…?” she said.

“But surely – someone would have given you a TV as a wedding gift…” I said.

“TV…? As a wedding gift…? Are you crazy…?” she said.

“Why…?”

“You do one thing…” she said, “You still haven’t given me my wedding gift. Why don’t you present me a good colour TV…?”

I was dumbstruck.

After lunch – I went straight to the TV Showroom.

The owner recognized me.

“Did you deliver the TV to the Wedding Reception as I had told you…?” I asked him.

“Of course, Sir…” he said.

“Well – there seems to be some mistake – I hope you didn’t deliver the TV to the wrong place…? I said.

“No mistake, Sir. I personally delivered the gift wrapped TV to the address you gave me…”

“I just visited the newly married couple’s house – the TV is not there…”

“Sir, they may have given it to someone else…”

“Why should they give a wedding gift to someone else…? The wife told me that they did not receive any TV as a wedding gift…”

“Sir – please believe me – I personally handed over the TV to the lady who was collecting the wedding gifts…”

“A lady…?”

“Yes, Sir – there was a big rush on the stage – so they asked us to give the wedding gifts to a lady on the side of the stage who was collecting all the gifts…”

“Well – something seems to be wrong – I will try to find out – I only hope someone didn’t steal the TV…” I said.

“I don’t think so, Sir – that lady was very meticulously guarding the wedding gifts…” the shopkeeper said.

I felt disappointed – but – there was nothing I could do now.

Maybe – when I met Nisha next – I would have to tell her to find out where the TV had vanished.

Part 4

Next morning – my boss asked to meet a Mr. “X” regarding some official matter:

“Mr. “X” is not free right now – but he said that you can meet him at his home on your way back from work – take his address from my PA…”

In the evening – after work – I went to the address.

I looked at the name-plate on the door.

Yes – I was at the right address – Mr. “X” lived here.

I pressed the doorbell.

A young lady opened the door.

I introduced myself – I told her that I had come to meet Mr. “X”.

“Please come in. I am Mrs. “X” – my husband should be back from office anytime now…” Mrs. “X” said to me.

Mrs. “X” welcomed me into her home.

She asked me to sit down on the sofa – and she said to me:

“I’ll just finish off some work in the kitchen. You can watch TV if you want – till my husband comes home…”

Those days – there was only one TV channel – “Doordarshan” – and TV’s did not have a remote – so she walked towards the TV and switched it on.

I looked at the TV Set.

The TV seemed familiar.

Was it the same TV set which I had given to Nisha as a Wedding Gift…?

It was the same brand – the same model.

Of course – many people would have the same model – but – my “inner voice” told me that it was the same TV set which I had bought from the shop in CP and given as a gift to Nisha on her wedding day.

So – I decided to make sure.

I looked at Mrs. “X” and asked her:

“Your TV looks really good. May I have a look at it…?”

“Sure…” she said.

I walked to the TV and I switched it off.

Then – I unplugged the TV wire from the socket.

Mrs. “X” was looking at me curiously – so – I said to her:

“I am looking at some “technical” things…”

I turned the TV around.

I looked at the bottom left corner of the rear cover.

The marking was there.

Yes – I could see my initials – in red – they had faded a bit – but the marking was clearly visible.

So – this was the same TV set which we had given to Nisha as a wedding gift.

I replaced the TV to its original position – plugged it in – and switched it on.

Then – I asked Mrs. “X”:

“I hope I am not being too inquisitive – but – can you please tell me where you bought this TV…?”

“It came in my dowry…” she said.

“Dowry…?” I asked, surprised.

“Well – I know – no one uses the word “dowry” nowadays – but – my parents gave me this TV as a “wedding gift” – so – I guess it is “dowry” – isn’t it…” she said.

“Oh – so your parents gave you this TV as a wedding gift…?” I remarked.

“Yes…” she said.

“Tell me – by any chance – do you know anyone by the name “Nisha”…?” I asked her.

“Of course – my sister-in-law – her name is “Nisha”…” she said.

“Your “sister-in-law”…?”

“Yes – my brother’s wife – her name is “Nisha”. My brother and Nisha – they got married almost at the same time as us – just a few days before we got married…” Mrs. “X” said.

“What is your brother’s name…?” I asked her.

“Arun – my brother’s name is Arun. By any chance – did your “Nisha” get married to a man called “Arun”…” Mrs. “X” asked me.

I remembered the name on Nisha’s wedding card.

Yes – the groom’s name was “Arun”.

So – Nisha had got married to this woman’s brother Arun.

Comprehension began to dawn on me.

My “wedding gift” had been transferred.

I smiled to myself.

“Anything the matter…?” Mrs. “X” asked me.

“No. No. I was just thinking – it is such a small world – isn’t it…? Yes – it is the same “Nisha” that I was talking about – she is married to your brother Arun…” I said.

Then – Mrs. “X” looked at me – and she said to me:

“I am just curious. How do you know my sister-in-law “Nisha”…?”

“We were friends…” I said.

“Oh. But – we didn’t see you at the wedding – didn’t Nisha invite you…” she said.

“Of course, she invited me to her wedding. But – I had gone outstation – on duty…” I said.

“Oh…” she said.

Suddenly – the doorbell rang.

Mr. “X” had arrived home.

After we had finished our official “shop talk” – I said to Mr. “X”:

“You have a good TV. I really liked this model…”

“Yes. This TV is a wedding gift from my “in-laws” – my wife’s parents…” he said.

“Dowry…?” I said, jokingly.

“Ha – Ha – “Dowry”…!” Mr. “X” said – and he broke into a laugh.

Part 5 – Epilogue

The mystery was solved.

The TV which I had given as a “wedding gift” to Nisha – had been collected by her mother-in-law – who had given the same TV to her own daughter as “dowry”.

And – Nisha was clueless…!!!

Also – Nisha thinks that I never gave her a wedding gift.

Should I have told Nisha the truth…?

I did not.

Because I thought that wouldn’t be prudent to do so at that point of time – since it could cause misunderstandings and spoil relationships.

So – I kept the secret in my heart for all these years.

And now – more than 36 years later – I am writing this story – and I am posting the story on my blog.

I hope Nisha reads the story – and has a laugh – at the shrewdness of her mother-in-law – who so cleverly transformed her daughter-in-law’s “wedding gift” into her daughter’s “dowry”.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. 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.
  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 Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2018/04/the-wedding-gift.html

and source post: https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/the-mystery-of-the-wedding-gift/

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

An Interesting Article – Pros and Cons of Marrying a Single Mother

December 10, 2018

What Happens When Yoy Marry a Single Mother

An Interesting Article

via What Happens When You Marry A Single Mom?

https://themalefactor.com/2018/12/09/what-happens-when-you-marry-a-single-mom/

What Happens When You Marry a Single Mom

 

Humble Plea to My “Girlfriends”

December 10, 2018

Last evening – a “girlfriend” started chatting with me during my evening walk. 

She was talking to me about her latest foodie adventures. 

She spoke to me in a friendly manner – like a friend talks to a friend – and she was calling me by my first name. 

Her husband seemed to be feeling “uncomfortable” with our friendly conversation. 

After some time – he scolded her: “You should call him “Uncle”…” 

This reminded me of a story I had written sometime ago…

THE AGELESS “UNCLE”

When I joined the Navy as a Sub Lieutenant in the 1970’s – young girls started calling me “uncle” 

I was barely 20 years old – and this was the first time someone had called me “uncle”

Today – a “young” grandmother just called me “uncle” 

This reminded me of a story. I wrote a few years ago..

A STORY FOR MY “GIRLFRIENDS” 

Humble Plea of a “Young-at-Heart” Navy “Veteran” Vikram Karve 

When I joined the Navy as a Sub Lieutenant in the mid 1970’s – young girls started calling me “uncle”.

I was barely 20 years old – and this was the first time someone had called me “uncle”.

Of course – the girls who called me “uncle” were senior officers’ daughters (members of SODA aka “Senior Officers’ Daughters Association”) – and they were following “fauji” social tradition of addressing all officers as “uncle”.

It did not matter that most of these girls who called me “uncle” were almost my age – or just a few years younger.

After retirement – we live in lovely modern residential society in Pune – where most of the residents are young “IT Nerds” and “Techie Couples” working in the IT/ITES/Software Sector.

Sadly – most of the girls called me “uncle”.

Of course – the “girls” – range from nubile young IT Techies in their 20’s – to beautiful young mothers in their 30’s and 40’s.

Believe it or not – but the other day – a rather “middle aged” woman called me “Kaka” (which colloquially implies a rather “elderly” uncle in Marathi).

A few days ago – a “young” grandmother called me “uncle”

I was devastated.

When I joined the Navy in the 1970’s – girls called me “uncle”.

Now – more than 40 years later – “girls” still call me “uncle”.

To make matters worse – even some of my Facebook and Twitter “Virtual Girlfriends” have started calling me “Uncle” – and – some “Girlfriends” address me as “Sir” too.

Well – I may be old in age.

But – I am still young at heart.

So – all this “Sir” and “Uncle” business makes me feel old – which is a terrible feeling.

I am terrified.

At this rate – soon – some “Girlfriend” may even call me “Grandfather” (or “Ajoba” in Marathi)

Dear “Girlfriends” – Real and Virtual – offline and online – to all of you – I am making a very humble request from the bottom of my heart:

“Please stop calling me “Uncle “Sir” “Kaka” etc – just call me Vikram…”

My Dear “Girlfriends”:

“It is terrible to be made to feel old.

I am sure you will understand my feelings – and – from now on – you will call me “Vikram” .

And – for those “girlfriends” who still want to make me feel old – I have decided that “enough is enough”…”

If you call me “Uncle” – I will call you “Aunty”

If you call me “Sir” – I will call you “Madam”

If you call me “Kaka” – I will call you “Kaku”

(Thankfully – no “Girlfriend” has called me “Grandpa” or “Ajoba” so far)

All this reminds me of this real life story which I had posted online more than 6 years ago in this blog on Aug 28, 2012.

The Story is called: The Ageless Wonder – The Eternal “Uncle”

I am posting this story – once again – especially for my “girlfriends”…

THE AGELESS WONDER – THE ETERNAL “UNCLE”

Slice of Life Story – Spoof By Vikram Karve

Part 1

CURZON ROAD APARTMENTS NEW DELHI 

New Delhi – Circa 1982

In 1982 – as a newly married couple – we lived in Curzon Road Apartments on Kasturba Gandhi Marg near India Gate in New Delhi.

Me – my wife – and our puppy dog (a small Lhasa Apso Puppy Dog Sherry given to us as a wedding gift) – all three of us lived in our neat cosy one room apartment with a small kitchenette and a lovely balcony high up on the top floor.

One evening – while on her way back home from work – my wife went to the convenience store to buy milk.

The shopkeeper told her that her father had already bought milk a few minutes ago.

My wife was delighted to hear of the unexpected visit of her father – so she rushed to our apartment.

She did not see her father around – so my wife asked me:

“Where is Daddy…?”

“Your Daddy…? He must be in Srinagar…” I said.

“No. Daddy has come here. Someone told me that Daddy has come here…” she said.

“Who told you…?” I asked.

“The shopkeeper…” she said.

“Really…? Let’s go down and ask him…” I said.

So we went down – and – we asked the shopkeeper.

The shopkeeper pointed towards me and said:

“He took the milk. I thought he was your father.”

“He is my husband…” my wife said, pointing at me.

The shopkeeper looked at me – he seemed quite embarassed.

“I am sorry, Sir – but I was really mistaken…” the shopkeeper said apologetically to me.

Then the shopkeeper smiled at my wife and said to her:

“Madam – you look so young – you look just like a schoolgirl – and your husband looks so “mature” – so I thought that your husband was your father.”

It was true.

When we were married – my wife looked very young – just like a schoolgirl.

She was 21 – and I was 25.

And though the shopkeeper hadn’t spelt it out in so many words – I did look a bit older than my 25 years – with my “healthy” built – and my formidable full-set Navy beard.

Unlike the so-called “metrosexual” men of today – I like to be who I am – so I don’t believe in “cosmetic engineering”.

I believe in the “old-mould” idea that a man must look like a man – tough and masculine – and though hygiene and grooming are important – there is no need for a man to be excessively obsessed about his looks.

Of course – whereas having an appropriate dress sense and wearing good quality clothes is a must – there is no need for a man to “deck up”.

That’s why – when the first strand of grey hair appeared on my head when I was in my mid 40’s – I never used hair-dye – nor did I colour my copious beard when it started greying.

Of course – I must say here – that my wife too has a natural look – and she hardly uses any cosmetics – and she has never coloured her hair.

The fact of the matter was that my wife did indeed look much younger than me.

And – I did indeed look a bit “mature” – as the shopkeeper had said.

Period.

So – even in those days – when a pretty young girl called me “uncle” – I did not mind it very much.

Maybe – for pretty young girls – I did indeed look like an “uncle”.

Part 2

30 YEARS LATER

Pune – Circa 2012

This happened more than 6 years ago in Pune (in the year 2012).

My wife was getting off an auto-rickshaw.

The fare was 52 rupees.

My wife gave the auto-rickshaw driver a 50 rupee note – and she was desperately searching in her purse for a 2 rupee coin.

The auto-rickshaw driver said magnanimously to my wife:

“Never mind Ajji – it is okay if you don’t give me the two rupees.”

Now – in Marathi – the word “AJJI” means GRANDMOTHER.

Ha Ha – the middle-aged auto-rickshaw driver was calling my wife a “Granny”

I cannot describe the emotion I felt when I heard this.

She was being called “Granny”

But – pretty young girls still call me “Uncle”.

More than 42 years ago – when I joined the Navy – in the mid 1970’s – my “Girlfriends” called me “Uncle”

And – even now – in 2018 – my “Girlfriends” call me “Uncle”

Am I an “ageless wonder”…?

(Disclaimer: Maybe the auto-rickshaw driver needed an eye checkup)

My “Better Half” certainly does not look like a “Granny”  in fact – she doesn’t even look like an “Aunty”…

My wife still looks very young – maybe not like a schoolgirl like she did in 1982 – but certainly like a “college girl”…

And me…?

Well – as I told you above – I am an “ageless wonder”.

So – at least now – Dear “Girlfriends”: 

“Please don’t call me “Uncle” 

Just call me “Vikram”

And – for those “girlfriends” who still want to make me feel old – I have decided that “enough is enough”…”

If you call me “Uncle” – I will call you “Aunty”

If you call me “Sir” – I will call you “Madam”

If you call me “Kaka” – I will call you “Kaku”

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. This story isa 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)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/08/a-story-for-my-girlfriends.html

This story was written by me Vikram Karve more than 6 years ago in 2012 and posted by me online earlier at urls http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/08/am-i-ageless-wonder.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/01/the-eternal-uncle.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/memories-of-curzon-road-apartments.html and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/the-ageless-uncle/  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/ageless-wonder-or-eternal-uncle.html

International Anti-Corruption Day Musings – Who is Responsible for Corruption…?

December 9, 2018

Today – the 9th of December – is observed as International Anti-Corruption Day.

On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day– here is an article I had written around 6 years ago – once more – for reflection…

CORRUPTION – WHO IS RESPONSIBLE…?

Musings on CORRUPTION and CULPABILITY By VIKRAM KARVE

Whenever there is a scam – it is quite amusing to see top leaders abdicate responsibility and blaming their juniors.

It seems to have become a standard leadership practice to dodge responsibility for scams, bribery and the corrupt activities – and pass the buck by blaming their juniors who are made scapegoats.

However – from the ethical point of view – if there is a scam – the Top Man (Head of the Organization) cannot escape culpability – and he must be held accountable for corruption in the organization which he heads.

When Corruption takes place – there can be 4 scenarios – as far as the Top Leadership – or “TOP MAN” – is concerned:

  1. THE TOP MAN INITIATES THE CORRUPTION

The corruption/scam is done at the behest of the leader.

The “Top Man” initiates the corruption.

(of course – the corruption may be implemented on ground by morally pliable juniors).

Thus – in this case – it is the Top Man who is directing and presiding over the corruption – and the obsequious, subservient and “flexible” subordinates facilitating, helping and participating in carrying out the corruption – and also enjoying their share of the “pie” in the loot.

If you observe the various scams in the news these days – you will realize that most present day corruption falls in this category – it is the leader who initiates corruption.

  1. THE TOP MAN IS INVOLVED IN THE CORRUPTION

A corruption “system” (systemic corruption) may already be in place in an organization – and the Top Man joins in and becomes a part of it.

The “Top Man” starts participating in the corruption.

Here is an illustrative example:

“X” joined as the Boss of an inspection organization on deputation.

He had not served in that organization before.

At the end of the first month – “X” he found an envelope with money in his drawer.

On inquiring, he was told that this was his “share” in the “hafta” or “mamool”. 

He took the envelope and put it in his briefcase.

Thus – the “Top Man” became a part of the “system”.

  1. THE TOP MAN TURNS A BLIND EYE TO THE CORRUPTION

The “Top Man” knows that there is corruption going on in his organization – but he turns a blind eye to the corruption.

He looks the other way – and he does nothing to stop the corrupt practices.

He does not want to “rock the boat” or “ruffle feathers” – so he lets the corruption happen unhindered.

Whereas in first and second examples of corruption – the leader was guilty of “commission” – in this case – the Top Man is guilty of “omission”.   

  1. THE TOP MAN IS CLUELESS ABOUT THE CORRUPTION

The “Top Man” is so incompetent that he does not know what is going on in his organization – he is ignorant and clueless about the corruption happening in his organization.

It is possible that he may be faking innocence – pretending to be clueless and feigning ignorance to wriggle out of the situation as we see in some recent cases.

Even if he is genuinely clueless about the corruption in his organization – then he is not fit to head the organization and he must be sacked on grounds of incompetence.

CONCLUSION

It is clear from the four cases elucidated above that the Leader or “Top Man” is fully responsible, accountable and culpable for corruption in his organization because:

It is the Top Man who “INITIATES the corruption” 

or 

The Top Man “is INVOLVED in the corruption” 

or 

The Top Man “turns a BLIND EYE to the corruption” 

or 

The Top Man “is CLUELESS about the corruption”

Yes – it is the “Top Man” in the Organization who does one or more of the following:

  1. He initiates the corruption
  1. He is involved in the corruption
  1. He turns a Blind Eye to the corruption and he lets the corruption happen unhindered
  1. He is Clueless about the corruption going on in his organization due to his incompetence and ineptitude?

Hence – it is the “Top Man” or Leader – who initiates – is involved in – turns a blind eye to – or – is clueless about corruption.

In all the four cases the Leader or “Top Man” must be held culpable for the corruption in his organization.

When a scam happens or corruption is prevalent in an organization – the Top Man cannot shirk responsibility and escape accountability.

Therefore – even if there is a whiff of a scam – or the slightest evidence of corruption in an organization – the “Top Man” must be held responsible, accountable and culpable – and he must resign – or be sacked immediately in order to envisage a fair and speedy investigation.

Before I end – let me tell you that in the Navy of yesteryear – the Captain or Commanding Officer was held responsible for anything and everything on his ship or shore establishment – and if anything went wrong – he was summarily sacked.

However – even in the Navy and other Defence Services – things have changed now – with the Military Leadership taking the cue from political and civilian leadership in the Art of “Management” of Corruption.

There are some exceptions – like the erstwhile Navy Chief who resigned taking moral responsibility for accidents/mishaps – but in most cases – very few Senior Officers accept moral responsibility for corruption/wrongdoings happening under their command – they try to save their own skins and tend to pass the blame to their juniors.

So – the Military Top Brass is quick in taking the cue from Politicians and Bureaucrats.

In fact – it would be better of things were the other way around – and the political and civilian leadership imbibed values from the military – and this tradition of taking responsibility be followed by political leadership and civilian bureaucracy.

Whenever corruption or something wrong happens – the “Top Man” must be held accountable and punished – instead of passing on the blame to juniors.

If we wish to eradicate corruption in an organization (or in a country or state) – the only solution seems to be is to have a scrupulously honest leader – who is committed and decisive in eradicating corruption – and who is ruthless in punishing the corrupt.

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 article 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 source post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2018/12/who-is-responsible-for-corruption.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

This is an updated and revised version of my article which I (Vikram Karve) had Posted Online Earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Blog at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/05/corruption-and-culpability.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/corruption-is-leadership-issue.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/02/corruption-who-is-responsible.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/03/who-is-responsible-for-corruption.html

Should a Ship’s Captain go down with his ship or save himself to fight another day…? -> 23rd May 1941: Mountbatten’s HMS Kelly sunk

December 9, 2018

Should a Captain go down with his ship or save himself to fight another day…?

Click Link Below and Read this Story

Sinking of HMS Kelly

http://ww2today.com/23rd-may-1941-hms-kelly-sunk

👇

http://ww2today.com/23rd-may-1941-hms-kelly-sunk

🖕

HMS Kelly – Story of its sinking

Dead Man’s Whiskey

December 8, 2018

I looked at the dead body – at the dead man’s face.

Even in death – he had the stamp of defeat on his face.

“Yes – it’s him…” I said to the cop. 

Dear Reader – Here is the full story…

THE DEAD MAN’S WHISKY

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve 

The Dead Man and a Bottle of Whisky – Story by Vikram Karve

Part 1 – THE DEAD BODY

I looked at the dead body – at the dead man’s face.

Even in death – he had the stamp of defeat on his face.

“Yes – it is him…” I said to the cop.

They covered the dead body.

We walked out of the morgue.

“The doctors will have to do a post mortem. They’ll do it straightaway – at night – and – we will get the body in the morning…” the cop said.

“Okay…” I said.

“If his family comes tomorrow – we can cremate him and complete the last rites tomorrow itself…” the cop said.

“That’s the problem – how do we inform his wife – his family…?”

“Sir – you don’t have their address – phone numbers – anything…?”

“No. His children have settled down abroad – in the US – and – his wife lives with them in America. I don’t have any contact details of his wife or his children. Tell me – did you not find anything on him – his wallet – mobile – some ID…?”

“No, Sir – I told you – the only thing we found was a piece of paper with a mobile number written on it…” the cop said.

“That’s funny…” I said.

“Looks like he has been robbed…” the cop said.

“Oh – so the robbers may have killed him…?” I said.

“I don’t think so, Sir – most probably he was dead before he was robbed – but – we will wait for the post-mortem report to confirm that…” the police inspector said to me.

Part 2 – DEATH REPORT

Well – Dear Reader – this was what had happened exactly one hour ago.

Around midnight – at 2330 Hours  – or 11:30 PM – to be precise – a police patrol saw a man lying unconscious on the street in a sleazy “red light area”.

Actually – the man had fallen into a filthy gutter by the street.

They thought it was a drunkard – it was quite common to see intoxicated men wallowing dead-drunk on the streets in that squalid area.

However – on a closer look – than man appeared to be dead – so the cops called an ambulance.

The man was declared “brought in dead” by the doctors at the hospital.

On searching the dead man – the cops found nothing – except a piece of paper in his trouser pocket with a 10 digits – which the inspector correctly assumed to be a mobile number.

The inspector called that number – and – my mobile cell-phone rang.

I picked up my mobile phone.

“I am Inspector ‘XXX’ speaking from ‘YYY’ Police Station. A man was found dead and we found your mobile number on a chit in his pocket – you will have to come to the police station…” a voice said curtly.

“It is past midnight…” I said.

“So what – it is a police case…” the cop said rudely.

I identified myself.

I told the Police Inspector who I was.

There was a remarkable change in his tone – and – the cop said politely:

“I am sorry, Sir – I didn’t know…”

“That’s okay – where do you want me to come…?” I asked.

“Sir – we are in the civil hospital – I will send my jeep to pick you up…”

“Don’t take the trouble – I will come down myself to the civil hospital – you just give me the directions and tell me where exactly…”

“No, Sir – I will personally come and pick you up – please tell me your address…”

Outside – it was pitch dark – and – it was raining heavily – and – I didn’t quite fancy driving on that harsh night in the torrential rain – so – I accepted the inspector’s offer to pick me up.

I told the police inspector my address.

I changed my clothes – and – I waited for the cop to arrive.

Soon – we – the Police Inspector and I – we were driving in the police jeep towards the hospital to identify the body.

The cop looked at me – and – he said to me:

“Sir – the place where his body was found – Sir – it is a “red light area” – that area is notorious for crime – vagabonds and urchins must have looted everything – there was nothing on him – no wallet, no watch, no mobile phone – nothing – only his clothes – and – this chit with your mobile number written on it…”

I looked at the piece of paper on which I had written my mobile number – and – I said: “I met him in my club – he wanted to have a drink with me – but – I was in a hurry – so – I told him that I would have a drink with him some other time – he told me that he had got a bottle of my favourite single-malt whisky…”

“Single-Malt Whisky…? Imported…?”

“Yes – he told me that he had recently returned from the US after visiting his children and wife there – and – he had got a bottle of my favourite whisky from the duty-free store at the airport…”

“Oh – he must have really liked you…”

“Yes – we were good friends when we were in the Air Force – and – later too – I kept contact with him after he retired long ago – and – after I retired 6 months ago – I met him once at his house – just before he flew down to America…”

“Oh – Sir – what happened at the club…? How did you give him the chit with your mobile number…?”

“Oh, Yes – I told you – I met him in the foyer of the club – near the reception area – he said that he had misplaced the visiting card I had given him a few months ago – and – he asked for my mobile number so – I asked the receptionist for a piece of paper – I wrote my mobile number on it – and – I gave it to him…”

“Sir – you could have given him your visiting card…”

“Actually – I was in a hurry to get home – and – he was totally drunk…”

“He was already drunk – at what time – Sir…?”

“Around 9:30…”

“Sir – you must have seen him drinking in the bar…?”

No – I was attending a private party in the blue room – and – when I was walking towards the foyer of the club on my way out – he suddenly came lurching towards me – he asked for my mobile number – I could have given him my card – but – I was so disgusted seeing him in a drunken condition – that – I just wrote my number on a piece of paper – and – I gave it to him – and then – I walked to my car and drove off…”

“What surprises me is why he went all the way to the filthy “red light area” which is quite far away from your club…”

“Yes – that’s surprising…”

“Or – maybe – the dead body is not your “friend” – oh – I am sorry, Sir…” the cop said.

“It’s okay – I told you – he was a good friend…” I said.

“Sir – I hope the dead body is your friend – the same man who we think it is…” the cop said.

“What do you mean…?”

“Sir – it is possible some other man “mugged” your friend – and – he took the “chit” with your number on it – and – the dead man is that man who mugged your friend and took the chit from him. But – that is a remote possibility – as I said – most likely he died before he was robbed – but – the post-mortem will give us a clue…” the cop said.

It was obvious that the cop hoped that I would identify the dead man – so that – the police could close the case.

Soon – we reached the hospital.

The doctors took us to the morgue.

I identified the body – it was him.

Yes – the “Dead Body” was that of my “Friend”…

They covered the body – and – we walked out of the morgue.

“We will have to do a post mortem. They’ll do the post-mortem straightaway – at night – and we will get the body early in the morning…” the cop said.

“Okay…” I said.

“Sir – I have already put my men on the job to enquire with our informers in the area – so that we can rule out any foul play – and we can give clearance to cremate him once the doctors give their “all okay” report…”

“That’s a good thing you have done…” I complimented the inspector.

“If his family comes tomorrow – we can cremate him and complete the last rites tomorrow itself…” the cop said.

“That’s the problem – how do we inform his wife – his family…?”

“Sir – you don’t have their address – phone numbers – anything…?”

“No. I don’t know the contact details of his wife or children. Tell me – did you not find anything on him – his wallet – mobile – some ID…?”

“No, Sir – I told you – the only thing we found was a piece of paper with a mobile number written on it…” the cop said.

“Okay – let’s go to his house – maybe we will find some clue about the contact details of his family there…” I said.

“You know his house…?” the cop asked me.

“Yes – he had a bungalow in Deccan Gymkhana…”

“A Bungalow…? In Deccan Gymkhana…?”

“Yes – the Bungalow built by his father – and – since he was the only son – he inherited it…”

“Oh – let’s hope he hasn’t sold it off and gone to live somewhere else – he seems to have been an alcoholic – and – alcoholics are always short of money…”

“I don’t think he would have sold the bungalow – he was quite well-off financially – and – he was getting a decent pension…”

“Oh…”

“Well – I had been to his house around 6 months ago – he was living all alone – his wife had gone to live with his children who are settled abroad in America…”

“Sir – you knew him well…?”

“Of course – we joined the Air Force together as cadets – that was 45 years ago – we were ‘course-mates’ at the Academy – he was an ace fighter pilot – he stood first in our course – he won all the flying trophies – we all thought that he would reach high rank…”

“And just see what happened to him, Sir – what a sad end…”

“Yes – a very pitiful end to a good man…”

A doctor gestured to the Police Inspector.

The Inspector excused himself – and – he went across to talk to the doctor.

After some time – the Police Inspector returned – and – he said to me:

“Sir – the doctors say that – prima facie – they don’t suspect any foul play – and – the cause of death seems to be cirrhosis of the liver due to excessive consumption of alcohol – but – they will give a full proper post-mortem report in the morning – then – we can get the death certificate – and – hand over the body for cremation…”

“Shall we go to his house and try to find out contact details of his families…?” I asked.

“Yes – Yes – Sir – let’s go. I will tell them to send some force to break the lock and force the door open…” the cop said, “Sir – can you tell me the address of his bungalow…?”

I told him the location of the bungalow.

The Police Inspector spoke for some time on his mobile – repeating the location that I had told him.

Then – he said to me:

“Sir – let’s go…”

So – we drove to the Dead Man’s House in Deccan Gymkhana.

Part 3 – THE DEAD MAN’S WHISKY

One hour later – we – the police inspector and me – both of us were sitting in the drawing room of the bungalow – while a constable sat in the police jeep parked outside. The rest of the police party had been sent back to the police station.

The door had been forced open – and after a brief search – we found a diary with the addresses and phone numbers of the dead man’s wife and children living in America.

I called the dead man’s wife.

In Pune (India) – it was the unearthly hour of 2 AM.

In America – it must have been afternoon.

The dead man’s wife picked up the phone.

I identified myself.

She recognized me – though it was more than 15 years since we had met – after all – I was her husband’s course-mate and squadron-mate – and – I had kept contact even after her husband had prematurely left the Air Force.

“Is everything okay…?” she asked me.

I gave her the sad news that her husband was dead.

“Oh – it was bound to happen – the way he was drinking himself to death…” she said.

“We will get his body in the morning – I will arrange to keep his body in the morgue till you come…” I said to her.

“Why should I come…?” the dead man’s wife said.

“For his cremation – don’t you – your children – don’t you want to perform the last rites of your husband…?”

“No – you cremate him – I will send you whatever money is required for the expenses…”

“It is not a question of money…” I said to her, “won’t you like to see your husband for one last time…? Or – at least – the children would like to see their father for one last time…?”

“No – No – we are not interested in seeing his dead body – for us – he “died” long back…” the dead man’s wife said.

For a moment – I was dumbstruck.

Before I could recover my wits – the dead man’s wife said on the phone:

“Please cremate him – we really don’t have time to come to India now – but – we will try and come next month during the Christmas Vacations to ‘settle matters’ – please get his death certificate – and – just see that our bungalow is cleaned and locked up properly…”

I smiled to myself at the way the dead man’s wife had said “our bungalow”

She had abandoned her husband – but – she had not abandoned his bungalow.

Yes – it was “his” bungalow – given to him by his father – but his wife called it “our” bungalow.

I did not wish to speak anything further with the dead man’s wife.

Also – it seemed that she too did not want to speak anything to me – so – I said:

“Don’t worry – I am in your bungalow right now – I will do the needful…”

Then – I disconnected the phone.

We looked around the house.

We found empty liquor bottles lying all around – and – there were a few full bottles of Rum – and – some cheap country liquor bottles – but – conspicuous in his drawing room display case – there was a bottle of Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

“This must have been the bottle he bought for you, Sir…” the cop said.

“Yes…” I said – and – I took out the big one litre bottle of Highland Malt Whisky out of the display case.

I noticed that the inspector was looking at the bottle with a look of genuine desire – so – I said to him:

“Come on – let’s “kill” the bottle…”

“Sir…?” he said, confused.

“Well – my friend had got this bottle for me – I was going to drink the whisky with him – but now – he is dead – so why not the both of us have a drink and talk – anyway – we have to kill a few hours till morning – you like “Single Malt” don’t you…?”

“Yes, Sir – I tasted it once – at a party…” he said, “Sir – I will get some glasses from the kitchen…”

We sat on the sofa – sipping the Dead Man’s Whisky.

“Sir, what is the exact story of the “Dead Man”…?” the cop asked me.

“I told you – we were together in the Air Force – and – he was an ace fighter pilot – doing very well in his career – we were sure he would reach high rank – and then – one day – he suddenly resigned and left the Air Force…”

“Resigned…? Why…?”

“Yes – he quit when he was at his best – just when his career was taking off – for the sake of his children’s education…”

“Sir – are you saying that he quit the Air Force for his “children’s education”…?”

“Yes. He had two sons – I think one was in the 9th and the younger was in the 7th class – and – he wanted them to be in the best school in Pune so that could prepare well for the IIT Entrance Exam. In those days – airbases were quite desolate – and – did not have good schooling facilities – and – there were no coaching facilities for IIT and other such competitive exams…”

“Sir – he could have sent his wife and kids to Pune – and – he could have lived alone wherever he was posted…”

“He did that – he lived as a “bachelor” in the officers’ mess for some time – but – once you get used to family life – it is difficult to live alone – and – his wife kept nagging him to quit the Air Force and come and stay with them – as she was finding it difficult to manage the two teenage boys alone. Also – his wife wanted him to take their children’s studies – as I told you – his main aim was that both his sons get into IIT – so – he was willing to do anything to achieve this aim…”

“So – he quit the Air Force at the prime of his career…?”

“Yes – in a nutshell – he gave up his career for the sake of his kids…”

“And – his kids…?”

“His kids did well – both got into IIT. His efforts had borne fruit – he had totally dedicated his life for his children – for 5 years – till his younger son finished his 12thand gave the IIT exam – for all these 5 years – he did not take up a job – but – he focused full-time on his children’s studies…”

“A doting father…?”

“Yes – he was more than a “doting” father – he sacrificed his career for the sake of his children…”

“And his children – they did well – didn’t they…?”

“Yes – both his sons did well at IIT and got excellent grades. Then – like most IIT graduates do – both his kids went abroad to America for higher studies and they settled down permanently in the US…”

“And your friend…? What did he do…?”

“He tried to get a job – but couldn’t get a decent job…”

“You said that he was an “ace” pilot – surely – he could have joined the airlines…”

“Sadly – there was a glut of civil pilots at that time – besides – he was a fighter pilot – and – the civil airlines prefer transport pilots…”

“That’s sad…”

“Yes – that is the time he started regretting leaving the Air Force – he was unemployed – he felt humiliated at being treated as “good for nothing” in the civilian world – whereas he saw all of us doing well in our Air Force careers and reaching high rank…”

“It must have been depressing – you said he was a “flying trophy winner” – the best in his batch – it must have been terrible for him – he must have felt like a man lying in a gutter watching others climbing mountains…”

I smiled at the metaphor “lying in a gutter watching others climbing mountains” – alcohol seemed to be unleashing creativity in the cop.

I wondered whether it was a coincidence that he had used the metaphoric example of a “gutter” – because – my friend – the dead man – he had actually been found lying in a gutter.

I decided to cut the story short.

Why speak ill about a dead man…?

So – I said:

“Well – to put it in a nutshell – things went downhill after that – maybe because of his frustration – he started drinking heavily. Meanwhile his sons got married and had kids – and – his wife kept going to her children in America for long durations abroad for “nanny” duties – and – maybe because of loneliness – he started drinking even more…”

“Sir – he could have gone to America…” the cop said.

“He did – but then – maybe because of his drinking – his children did not want him there for long – so – he would come back – and – his wife would stay on for months…”

“Sad – to be unwanted by the same children for whom he had sacrificed his career…”

“Yes – and then – things got even worse – there were all sorts of sordid rumours that he was seen in unsavoury company…”

“Oh – so that explains why he was found in the “red light area”…”

“His wife must have heard about his sordid affairs – so – she abandoned him here – and – she went to live permanently live with her children in the US…”

“It must have broken him – poor man – it must have been very sad…” the cop said.

“A sad end to a good man…” I said.

I finished off the whisky in my glass.

It looked at my watch – it was almost 5 AM.

So – I said to the inspector:

“Shall we go…? It’s almost morning…”

“Yes, Sir…” the cop said, “I will just check up with the doctors…”

The police inspector made a call – spoke for some time – and then – he said to me:

“Sir – everything is okay – death was due to “cirrhosis of liver” – we can take the body now…”

“That’s good…”

“Sir – “Vaikunth” or “Kailas” – which crematorium do you prefer – I will tell them to make the cremation pass accordingly…”

“Wherever you want – and – I don’t want any rituals – let’s keep it to the bare minimum – I want to get over with his cremation as fast as possible…” I said.

“You are right, Sir – if his own wife and children are not even interested in seeing him for one last time – why should we bother about having rituals and ceremonies…?” the cop said – and – once again – he spoke on his mobile phone.

“Sir – shall we go…?” the cop said.

I got up from the sofa.

The cop picked up the Whisky Bottle – and – he said to me:

“Sir – the “Dead Man’s Whisky” – there is still plenty of whisky left in the bottle…”

“You keep it…” I said.

The cop looked at me and said:

“No, Sir – I think you should keep the “Dead Man’s Whisky” – as a token of remembrance of your friend…”

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© 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) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/the-dead-mans-whisky-fiction-short-story.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised repost of my story DEAD MAN’S WHISKY posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 18 August 2016 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/08/dead-mans-whisky-short-story.html  and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/the-dead-man-and-his-whisky/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/dead-mans-whisky-fiction-short-story/ and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/11/story-of-doting-father.html

Survival despite being sunk 3 times in a Single Day

December 8, 2018

A Navy Story from WW1

Torpedoed  Three Times in One Day yet Survived

Link to Story

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http://www.strangehistory.net/2014/11/21/sunk-three-times-hour/

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A World War 1 Navy Story

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