Navy “Dude” goes out on a “Date”

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

NAVY “DUDE” GOES OUT ON A “DATE”

A Romantic Love Story By VIKRAM KARVE 

 

Do you remember your first date?

I do.

Let me tell you about it.

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

Part 1 – SETTING UP MY FIRST DATE

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

A shipmate arrived with his girlfriend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I know just the girl…” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 – MORNING AFTER MY FIRST DATE

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

“It was a great success…” I said.

“Really…?” the TASO seemed surprised.

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

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

“Yes, Sir…”

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

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

“And – what did she say…?”

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

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

“Yes, Sir – I am sure…”

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

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

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

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

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

“Sir – I don’t have a motorcycle…”

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

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

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

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

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

“Sir – I took her for a movie…”

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

“Rear Stall, Sir…”

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

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

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

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

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

“Sir – it is a famous ‘Khau Galli’…”

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

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

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

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

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

Sir – please…”

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

“It was a ‘romantic walk’…”

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

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

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

“No, Sir…”

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

“I did not see her legs, Sir…”

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course, Sir…” I said.

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

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

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

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

“Sorry, Sir…”

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

“Sure, Sir…”

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

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

15 YEARS LATER

Part 3 – UNEXPECTED RENDEZVOUS WITH MY FIRST ‘DATE’

I recognize her at once.

I try to hide myself.

But – she sees me.

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

But – I can see her walking towards me.

“Hi…” she says.

“Hello…” I say.

“So – how are you…?” she asks.

“I am fine…” I say.

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

“Yes…” I mumble.

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

“What…?” I ask.

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

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

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© 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 Journal Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/dude-goes-out-on-date.html

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