Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: LEARNING ART OF LIVING FROM LITERATURE.


learnt more about the art of living from reading literature than from hearing sermons and moral lectures, or from high-falutin philosophy or spiritualism.

One thing good about the navy is that it inculcated and fostered the reading habit in me.

I read a lot of sea stories and novels like The Cruel Sea, The Caine Mutiny, Run Silent Run Deep, HMS Ulysses and so many more.

One sea novel I like very much is THE CAPTAIN by Jan De Hartog.

In this story, the protagonist is a Merchant Navy Officer who is frustrated because, owing to reasons beyond his control, he gets stuck in Tugs whereas he wants to sail in the main fleet.

Seeing his frustration, his Tug Captain tells him a saying:

“ Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir ”

which roughly translated means

“ You must know how to flower where God has sown you ”


“ wherever God plants you, there you must learn how to bloom ”

The young merchant navy officer takes this to heart – he works very hard on the tug, and then throughout his career on tugs with dedication and devotion to duty.

In due course he becomes the most famous sea-going Tug Captain and ultimately the owner of flourishing company with a huge fleet of ocean going tugs.

I too tried my best to imbibe this philosophy in my life, especially in my naval career – wherever the navy posted me I tried my best to “flower”

It is good philosophy to apply in your life:

“wherever God plants you, there you must learn how to flower and bloom”

If you do not get what you like


you must learn to like what you get


you must make the most of it

Like they say in the Navy:

If you don’t like it, just lump it – “like it or lump it”

There is another saying I read a few years ago:

If life gives you a lemon, make lemonade.

Yes, when life gives you a “lemon” use that “lemon” and make “lemonade” instead of cribbing and carping, wallowing in self pity, becoming bitter and spreading bitterness, and making your own life hell and everyone else’s life miserable.

Like they say in NLP :

There is no such thing as “failure”

There is only “learning experience”

So, metaphorically, the “lemon” is the failure and the “lemonade” is the learning experience.

And this “learning experience” will enable you to “flower” and “bloom” wherever you are “sown” or “planted”

Well, I have tried to follow this mantra – “ Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir”

When I was in the Navy, wherever the navy transferred me, to whatever job they assigned me, whether they promoted me or not, I tried not to get disillusioned or demoralized, and in my own inimitable style, I tried to do my best to “flower” and “bloom” wherever I was “sown” or “planted”.

Yes, I made “lemonade” with all the “lemons” the navy gave me.

I am trying to do this after my retirement too, trying to “flower” and “bloom” in the back-of-beyond lonely place called Wakad, near Pune, where God has planted me after my retirement.

That is one of the reasons you are reading this blog.

Yes, the result of all this “flowering” and “blooming” is this prolific blog and the couple of books I have written.

Well, I am going to flower and bloom away and bash on regardless with my blogging and writing since this is the best thing I can do where God has planted me.

God has given me the “lemon” of loneliness.

And from this “lemon” I made the “lemonade” of my blogs and my books and all my writing.

Have a good day – whatever “lemons” you get today, just keep making “lemonade” and enjoy every drop of it.

Sometimes you may feel a sense of “failure” – you may feel that you have “failed” in life.

There is no such thing as “failure” – it is all in the mind.

And still if you feel a sense of “failure” – think of “failure” as a “lemon” and make “lemonade”.

And talking of the “lemon” of “failure”, let me tell you one thing I have learnt from my own life experiences.

Sometimes, failure is good – you can take my word for it.

Remember the saying:

“Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir”
(wherever God plants you, there you must learn how to flower and bloom)

Apply this to your life and you will “flower and bloom” wherever you are.

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 book review.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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.

Did you like this article?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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First Posted by Vikram Karve at 10/20/2013 08:22:00 PM

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