Archive for February 2017

How to Cure Resentment

February 28, 2017

IS IT EASY TO “FORGIVE AND FORGET”…? 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/is-it-easy-to-forgive-and-forget.html

How to Cure Resentment By Vikram Karve

Resentment means “bitter indignation” due to unjust, unfair or deceitful treatment.

Resentment (a sense of bitterness) occurs because of “perceived injustice” in the past.

Humans are sensitive emotional entities – so – for most of us – in many cases– perceptions matter more than facts.

Resentment is a bitter emotion that has its origins in the past.

The word “resentment” derives from two Latin words:

“re” (meaning “back”) + “sentire” (meaning “to feel”)

Thus – resentment is a feeling due to something that has happened in the past (going “back” in time).

Resentment develops because of your non-acceptance of something that has already happened in your past life.

Resentment comprises “emotional rehashing” – an attempt to “wipe out” the “perceived injustice” that has already happened – but – such attempts to eradicate the “wrongs” from your past life – they do not work – because – you are attempting to do the impossible – you cannot change your past.

Since the event which is causing resentment has already happened in the past – it cannot be undone – so – the “root cause” for resentment cannot be corrected – what has happened has happened – and – you cannot do anything about it.

Resentment is a way of consoling yourself that you have been wronged and unfairly treated – and – as a “victim of injustice” – you are “morally superior” to the person who has “wronged” you.

Resentment causes “self-pity” – and – you begin to picture yourself as a wronged person – a “victim” – who was destined to be unhappy.

Resentment can become an “emotional habit” – and – you may habitually start feeling that you are a continual “victim of injustice” – and – you will picture yourself as a “victimized person” who has been “wronged” in life.

Once you infected by the virus of resentment – in your daily life – you will begin to “search” for “injustices” – to feed your resentment even more.

I have observed that – resentful persons feel “good” only when they are miserable.

Resentment affects your “self-image” and “self-esteem”.

As long as you harbour resentment – it will be difficult for you to picture yourself as a self-confident happy person.

As I said – resentment has its origins in past events – and – you cannot change the past – the only way to deal with resentment is in the present – here and now.

In most cases – your resentment may be towards the person who has caused you the “injustice”.

In such cases – the most popular advice is to “forgive and forget”.

But – this is easier said than done.

Certain things/persons can be forgiven – and – these will not cause you resentment.

But – certain things/persons cannot be forgiven – and – these will cause you resentment.

It varies from person to person – and – those things that you cannot forgive – those “unforgivable” wrongs/injustices – they will cause resentment in you.

Yes – it is these “unforgivable” wrongs/injustices which create resentment in you.

Resentment means that you cannot “forgive and forget” that particular “unjust” thing or the person who has “wronged” you.

But – you can try and mitigate your resentment.

One practical way of mitigating resentment is to identify the “anchors” which cause you resentment – and then – avoiding those resentment-causing “anchors” (stimulus) – by distancing them from your life.

For example – if your resentment is due to a certain person who has “wronged” you – or has caused you “injustice” – you will feel resentful every time you see that person (though you may “fake” emotions of “forced geniality” for the sake of social graces).

If a certain person is responsible for your resentment – and – if that person is around you all the time – your resentment will worsen.

In such cases – if possible – it is best to remove that person from your life – or – distance yourself from the person responsible for your resentment.

The  “out of sight” = “out of mind”  dictum does work – and – once you are in a new environment – far away from the source of your resentment – you will experience that your resentment will dissipate.

In some cases – your resentment may be associated with an organization or place – so – the best solution is to quit the organization or relocate from that place.

Introspect – and – identify the entity that is causing you resentment – and then – try to distance yourself from that “toxic” entity.

Let me give you some hypothetical examples – apocryphal stories:

A man and a woman had an extramarital affair – they were both married to someone else.

There were two “victims” of the adulterous relationship – the respective spouses of the “perpetrators” of the adultery – the “cuckolded” husband of the unfaithful wife – and – the deceived wife of the unfaithful husband.

The deceived wife decided to “forgive and forget”.

She continued to live with her “unfaithful” husband – and – she continued with her married life – as if nothing had happened

The cuckolded husband could not “forgive” his unfaithful wife for her betrayal of “sacrosanct” marital trust.

He divorced his disloyal “adulterous” wife – and – he decided to “move on” in life.

Believing in the  “out of sight” = “out of mind”  dictum – he asked for a transfer – he physically relocated to a new place – then – took up a new job and migrated overseas to begin a new life abroad.

He broke contact with his ex-wife – and – he focused on enjoying his new life – and – his positive forward-looking attitude helped him mitigate the resentment caused by the sordid episode.

He delinked the “anchors” linked to his resentment.

He had overcome his resentment and there was no bitterness in him.

He had got over the sordid episode and he was happy with his new life.

Now – let us see what happened to the deceived wife of the adulterous husband.

Though outwardly – she had “forgiven” her unfaithful husband – in her heart – she still harboured great resentment against her husband for betraying her and having an extramarital affair.

When she came to know that her husband was involved in an extramarital affair – she was devastated by his infidelity – and – she wanted to divorce him.

However – her own parents/in-laws/family/relatives put great pressure on her to “reconcile” with her husband – her unfaithful husband begged forgiveness – and – everyone asked her to “forgive and forget” – and – to continue her marriage.

Though outwardly – it seemed that she had “forgiven and forgotten” – in her heart – she was still resentful of her husband for his act of adultery – and – you could discern that she was still harbouring resentment inside her.

Though she wore a “mask” and tried to “fake” happiness – there was a strange sadness in her eyes – she was no longer her earlier bubbly and gregarious self – from time to time – she disparaged her husband and reminded him of his “sin” – whenever she had an argument with him – and – it was clear that she despised her husband due to the resentment caused by his adulterous act of having an extramarital affair.

Despite her resentment towards her husband – she continued to live with him – and – this resentment had made her life miserable.

She was well qualified – she had a good job – and – she was financially independent – so – she could have divorced her husband – moved on in life – mitigated her resentment – and – become happy – just like her counterpart “victim” of the extramarital affair – the “cuckolded” husband.

But – she chose to continue living with her unfaithful husband – due to social pressure – and – under the false belief that “time is a great healer”.

Time is a great healer.

But – “Time” alone – may not heal resentment.

You may require “space” to mitigate your resentment.

Of course – as I said earlier – it varies from person to person.

Maybe – there are some “broadminded” spouses – who may not feel resentful – if their spouses had an extramarital affair – which – they may consider a “minor indiscretion”.

On the contrary – some persons may feel resentful for what most others may consider “small misdemeanours”.

Resentment can happen in all relationships – personal and professional.

Even at work – you may feel that you have been unfairly treated – or – feel a sense of mistrust – this may cause resentment towards your boss or the entire organization.

I remember – in the Navy (and Army, Air Force too) – many deserving officers get “passed over” for promotion due to the steep hierarchical pyramid unique to the military.

Hence – many officers get “superseded” at a relatively young age despite being professionally competent.

Some superseded officers “forgive and forget” – and – they continue the military life without any resentment – and – they remain happy and healthy.

Most superseded officers cannot “forgive and forget” – and – they feel a sense of resentment towards the organization (Army/Navy/Air Force/Defence Services).

Of these – some officers resign and quit the Navy/Army/AirForce – and – they “move on” to a second career in the civilian world.

By distancing themselves from their earlier organization/environment – these officers mitigate their resentment in due course.

However – some resentful officers remain in the Army/Navy/AirForce – and – they become more and more bitter and rancorous day by day.

These resentful officers not only make their own lives miserable due to their resentment – but they also spread unpleasantness and negativity in the environment – and generate “toxic” vibes which have a demoralizing effect on everyone in their vicinity.

Some superseded officers become “bloody-minded” as their resentment makes them spiteful and acrimonious.

Others wallow in “self-pity” as they feel that they are “victims” of injustice.

Some of these “self-pity” type superseded officers try to “drown their sorrows” in alcohol and slip into the abyss of alcoholism.

The become alcoholics, destroy their own health and ruin the lives of their families.

Resentment can make you miserable – and – in extremis – if you allow resentment to grow within you – your resentment can overwhelm you – and – even destroy you.

Remember – in your personal and professional life – you may feel that you have been cruelly “wronged” – or – gross “injustice” has been done to you.

Whenever such a thing happens – you must introspect.

If you can “forgive and forget” – it is fine

But – in case you cannot “forgive and forget” – it is best to move on – and try to mitigate your resentment.

Remember – each person is different.

Something that causes resentment in one person – that same thing may not cause resentment in someone else.

So – when something demoralizing happens – and if you feel that you have been “wronged” by someone and you are a “victim” of injustice – you should introspect – whether you can “forgive and forget” – or – whether it is “unforgivable” and will give rise to resentment in you.

And then – you can act accordingly.

Dear Reader – let me conclude by saying:

Once a relationship is contaminated by resentment – it is best to end the resentful relationship.

Yes – if you cannot “forgive and forget” – rather than let resentment make your life miserable and worsen your relationship – if feasible – isn’t it better to “break up” – rather than try to make a pretence of a “patch-up”…?

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. They may or may not work for everyone. Please exercise your own due diligence in your life.
  2. It is easy to preach, but difficult to practice what you preach. I try my best to practice what I preach (and preach what I practice) to the extent feasible.
  3. 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)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/is-it-easy-to-forgive-and-forget.html

Humor in Uniform – How to “Manage” Depression – Military Style

February 27, 2017

How to “Manage” Depression

Mental Health Care – Military Style

Disclaimer:

This is a humorous spoof  – tongue-in-cheek satire – “Humor in Uniform” – 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.

MENTAL HEALTH CARE “MANAGEMENT” – MILITARY STYLE 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/how-to-manage-mental-health-care.html

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve

(NB: The generic terms “Fauji” and “Soldier” refer to all Military Personnel (Officers/Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen) and the term “Faujan” refers to all Military Wives…)

A few months ago – I attended a Literary Festival in Pune.

There was a session on “Stereotypes” in Fiction.

The panelists decried the tendency to stereotype characters – especially in romantic fiction.

Among the panelists was an Army Wife (“Faujan”) – an accomplished author – who has written a successful novel on an Army Wife’s Life.

I candidly told her that – in her novel – she too had “stereotyped” her “hero” – a “Quintessential” Army Officer = “Tough Macho Man” + “Debonair Gentleman” + “Ideal Boyfriend” + “Super Husband” + “Perfect Father” …et al

She agreed with me – that – at least in Indian Literature – most novels/movies with a military backdrop have a tendency to “stereotype” the Military Officer as the “ultimate impeccable superman” with all the perfect qualities.

Most Military Literature, Movies and Jingoistic Military Recruitment Advertisements reinforce such “stereotypes” of Army, Navy and Air Force Officers.

I have come across a few “Military Wife” Blogs (written by “Faujans”) – where – there is a tendency to stereotype the “Military Wife” – and – believe it or not – even the “Military Girlfriend” has been stereotyped.

If you have served in military uniform – or – if you are married to a person who has served in uniform – you will know that Military Officers and Military Wives (“Faujis” and “Faujans”) are like most normal human beings.

Thanks to this stereotyping of the “Military Officer/Soldier” (“Fauji”) – there is a perception that “Faujis” are so physically robust and mentally tough that it is not possible for “Faujis” to suffer from an “effeminate” frailty like “depression”.

The quintessential “Fauji” is supposed to be a “Tough Guy”.

So – a “Fauji” is expected to be at one of the two “macho” extremes – either he is supposed to be macho “compos mentis” – or go macho “berserk” and run amok.

In the military – there is no scope for middle-of-the-road sensitive fragilities like “depression”.

Things may be different now – but the “good old days” – Mental Health was a simple “Black” and “White” matter – either you were “sane” – or – you were “insane” – there was nothing in between the two extremes.

Being “sensitive” or “emotional” was considered “un-militarily-like” – there was no place for a “sentimental sissy” in the military.

Such “mushy” traits were considered as a sign of effeminate weakness and lack of OLQ (Officer Like Qualities).

The military motto was: “Stop crying like a woman – you must take it like a man”

If you had an “emotional problem” – you had to “sort out” your own problem – or – you had to bear it with stoicism.

If you could not “sort out” your emotional problem – and – you were forced to endure your emotional problem with stoicism – two things could happen:

  1. Either – the emotional problem cured itself– and – in due course of time – you became okay.
  1. Or – the emotional problem worsened and metamorphosed into a psychiatric disorder– in which case – you were declared a “psycho” – and – sent to the psychiatrist.

Things may have changed now – but – in the “good old days” – there was no concept of psychological counselling to alleviate emotional problems faced by “Faujis”.

In the earlier system of relying exclusively on psychiatric treatment – Military Officers/Soldiers were afraid – that if they officially reported their “emotional problems” to their superiors – it would be presumed that they were suffering from “psychiatric disorders” – and – they would be sent to military hospitals for psychiatric treatment.

Once Officers/Soldiers were referred for psychiatric treatment – their medical category would be downgraded – and – thereafter – for the rest of their life in the service – they would suffer the stigma of being branded as “psycho” – and – their military careers would be ruined forever.

As it is – in those days – Military Officers/Soldiers were apprehensive of going to “specialist” doctors – since they wanted to avoid down-gradation of their “medical category” – which could affect their career prospects.

But – “Faujis” were most terrified of being referred to Psychiatrists – not only would your “medical category” be down-graded – but – you would be branded a “psycho” to boot.

Hence – Officers/Soldiers suppressed their emotional distress.

Emotionally “depressed” Officers/Soldiers tried to “sort out” their emotional problem with “self-cure” – by adopting philosophical/spiritual self-help techniques like “positive thinking” “meditation” “prayer” etc.

Or – “Faujis” resorted to the universal “panacea” for all ills – alcohol – which was provided at concessional rates to “Faujis” – as the macho “remedy” for “depression cure”

“Self-Cure” or “Alcohol Cure” may have worked in some cases of “depression”.

But – if the emotionally distressed individual could not cure himself – this could ultimately result in serious ramifications like mental illness – or – even suicide – in extreme cases.

I do not recall any psychologists posted as counsellors on board naval ships with whom officers/sailors could talk regarding their emotional problems.

The only “counsellors” available were your friends, your family – or – your superior officers – like the officer in the story below – titled “Depression Management”

DEPRESSION MANAGEMENT (an apocryphal story)

During my early Navy days – we this Senior Lieutenant on our ship who had coined a maxim which epitomized “Depression Management” in the Navy:

“EVERY PROBLEM IS A “MINOR PROBLEM” 

and 

A “MINOR PROBLEM” IS “NO PROBLEM”

(Therefore – Every “Problem” is “No Problem”…)

A young Sub Lieutenant felt depressed.

So – went to this Senior Lieutenant (who was his direct boss) and said:

“Sir – I have a personal problem…”

The Senior Lieutenant promptly enunciated his favourite slogan:

“Every Problem is a “Minor Problem” – and – a “Minor Problem” is “No Problem”…”

Then – the Senior Lieutenant scolded the Sub Lieutenant and asked him to stop behaving like a sissy: “In the Navy – you sort out your own problems – you don’t go crying like a bloody sissy to your boss regarding your personal problems…”

After that – the Senior Lieutenant shouted at the Sub Lieutenant to “get lost” – to “vamoose” – and ordered him to get on with his work.

In the evening – the distraught Sub Lieutenant tried to unburden himself by talking about his personal problem to his shipmates in the wardroom.

It was a simple “affair of the heart”.

The Officer had fallen in Love with a Girl from a Wealthy Business Family.

The girl’s parents were not interested in their only daughter marrying a “penurious” Navy Officer.

(In fact – the girl was the “only child” of her parents and she was the heir to their “business empire”)

So – the parents had arranged a suitable “business match” for her daughter befitting their affluence and “status” – and – of course – the “business marriage” of their daughter to the son of a business tycoon would help expand their “business empire” as well.

And – though the girl loved the Navy Officer – the girl did not have the guts to go against her parents’ wishes.

The depressed officer’s well-meaning shipmates “counselled” him over a drink in the wardroom:

  1. “Forget about her – just get another girl – if you want – I will introduce you to a sexy “fleet auxiliary” who is available at the moment…”
  1. “Come on – drink up – and – by tomorrow – you will be fine…”
  1. “Why are you crying like a bloody sissy…? You are a tough Naval Officer. Just go and sort it out yourself – just go there – pick up your girl – elope with her – and – get married…” 

Now – the depressed officer was deeply in love with the girl – and – it was not possible for him to forget her – and – neither was he interested in having a “lustful affair” with a “fleet auxiliary”.

So – the “depressed officer” drank up – glass after glass of whisky – till – he was drunk to the hilt – and – fortified with alcohol-induced “Dutch Courage” – he drove down on his bike to the girl’s house to “sort out the matter”.

Well – the officer may have been emotionally vulnerable – but – physically – he was a huge powerful hulk – and – in his wild drunken state – he looked very intimidating.

You can well imagine what must have happened – when the fearsome formidable “angry young man” – dangerously drunk and berserk – ran amok in a menacing manner – and – he accosted the girl’s parents – and he tried to forcibly elope with the girl.

It was with great difficulty that they managed to overpower him with the help of the police – who handed him over to the naval police.

Well – in order to save him from big trouble – the easiest thing for the “powers-that-be” to do – was to fill up a form (AFMSF-10) – and to refer the “depressed officer” for psychiatric examination (notwithstanding the fact that he would be branded a “psycho” for life).

Well – you may think that this illustrative fictional story of an “affair of the heart” is a tall story.

But – the fact of the matter is – that – especially in today’s world – military men (and even military wives) – “Faujis” and “Faujans” – they need “emotional sustenance” – to face the multitude of problems peculiar to the Armed Forces – especially pertaining to Soldiers deployed in combat situations and their families.

And – for this “emotional sustenance” – isn’t compassionate counselling a better option than harsh psychiatric treatment…?

Military Hospitals have “Military Psychiatrists” to cure those who have gone “crazy”.

But – I wonder if units/ships have easily accessible “Military Psychologists” to prevent individuals from going “crazy”…?

Isn’t prevention better than cure…?

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 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/2017/02/how-to-manage-mental-health-care.html

This article is an abridged version of my article DEPRESSION MANAGEMENT aka PSYCHO posted by me online many times in my various blogs including at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/humor-in-uniform-depression-management.html  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/military-psychology-for-emotional-sustenance-and-depression-management/  etc

Humor in Uniform – Stories from Navy Novel “Nobody’s Navy” by Vikram Karve

February 22, 2017

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/stories-from-nobodys-navy-my-navy-novel.html

NOBODY’S NAVY
(Excerpts from my Navy Novel about the adventures of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody)
A Fictional Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

Every Naval Officer has a book hidden within him.

This is my book – a Novel.

Though apocryphal, and a spoof, this fiction story is based on my first hand experience about life in the Indian Navy.

I have not seen a similar novel written in India which is set on a warship depicting the excitement and trials and tribulations of naval life.

Most people think that the Navy is like any other “job”.

The Navy is not a Job.

The Navy is a Way of Life.

I want to give my readers an authentic taste of the Naval Life (which we experienced first-hand in the Navy)  at Sea and Ashore – which is quite different from the jingoistic mumbo-jumbo in recruitment advertisements – or – the heroic hogwash exhibited in most action movies or the “Colonel Blimp” or “Captain Haddock” type caricatures shown in Bollywood films.

The protagonist of my novel is Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

Yes – his name is “Nobody”.

That is why the novel is called NOBODY’S NAVY

This story covers a one year period in the life of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody on board ship.

I intend to write a sequel, maybe a trilogy, or a series of follow-on novels, to cover the hilarious yet poignant adventures of this fictitious naval officer called “Nobody” as he plods his way through Naval Life and progresses through his naval career.

The theme of my novel is simple: “THE NAVY BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN YOU”.

This part was true in my own life – The Navy did bring out the best in me.

More than 6 years years ago – sometime in December 2010 / January 2011 – I prepared a book proposal for my novel which I titled NOBODY’S NAVY.

As per the guidelines given by various reputed publishers – the book proposal comprised a synopsis and three chapters of the novel.

I sent my book proposal to some reputed publishers – one after another.

I was disappointed with the response.

RESPONSES FROM PUBLISHERS

I received four types of responses from publishers on my Novel Proposal:

1. Some publishers did not bother to acknowledge receipt and I heard nothing from them

(Maybe, they dump all “unsolicited” proposals into the slush pile or the waste paper basket)

2. Some publishers sent my proposal back with regrets saying that they were already booked for the next 2 or 3 years with novels lined up for publishing and I should try after that.

3. Some publishers asked me the business prospects of my novel – how was I going to market my book, how many copies would it sell, would I guarantee financial viability.

(Well I do have Management Qualifications – but I specialized in HR – and not in Marketing. Besides – as a creative writer – I thought that my job was to write an engrossing book with Page Turning Quality (PTQ) – and the “business” aspects would be looked after by the publisher)

4. The remaining publishers sent me financial details for “self-publishing”my novel.

In the present day scenario of book publishing in India – it seems that self-publishing my novel is the only option left for me – if I wish to publish my novel as a printed book.

Though self publishing may satisfy my vanity – I know now difficult it will be to seamlessly make available the book to maximum readers – since I neither have the skill – nor the wherewithal – to distribute and sell the book by getting it into the bookstores.

I wish to be “Creative Writer” – not a “Marketing Manager”.

I browsed in bookstores in order to ascertain the “market” for novels.

It seems the only fiction books in vogue are “metro reads” (mushy romances) and contrived campus love stories.

I may be wrong – but to me – it seems that present day readers don’t have the inclination nor the appetite to read an authentic “no-holds barred” novel on Navy Life.

I am not going to abort my novel because I have to tell my story.

I have two options before me:

1. The first option is to complete my Novel (despite having no assurance of publication) – and then – spend my time peddling my “unsolicited” manuscript to reputed publishers.

This may turn out to be a very harrowing experience.

It takes a lot of emotional and physical effort to complete a novel – and – after putting in all that effort – I will find it quite humiliating to peddle my manuscript.

So – in order to preserve my dignity and to ensure that my creative work sees the light of day – I may have no option but to self-publish my novel – and undergo the frustration of my book not getting its due appreciation and success because of impediments in distribution and owing to sub-optimal marketing.

2. The second option is to upload my book proposal on my Blog – the synopsis and a few chapters  for everyone to read on my blog.

I think the second option has three advantages.

1. Some readers may give me feedback and tell me if this is a good story which people want to read and how to make it more interesting.

2. Some of my benevolent readers may tell some literary friends of theirs about “Nobody’s Navy” – or they may even refer me to a literary agent – or an editor in a publishing house – and maybe – I would be able to strike a deal.

3. The best thing would be if some reputed publisher reads this story – and makes me an offer that I cannot refuse.

Is anyone interested in publishing my novel NOBODY’S NAVY…?

The synopsis and six chapters of “Nobody’s Navy” are ready.

If you are game (or know a publisher who is interested) – do let me know.

We can take it forward from here.

Meanwhile – Dear Reader – I am posting below for your perusal – two chapters from NOBODY’S NAVY – my novel about the adventures of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody – on my Blog below – for you to read:

  1. “NOBODY” BECOMES A “SOMEBODY” 
  1. STEALING AFFECTIONS –A MATTER OF HONOUR 

Story No. 1 

“NOBODY” BECOMES A “SOMEBODY” – A Story from NOBODY’S NAVY By VIKRAM KARVE

How Sub Lieutenant NOBODY became a “Somebody”

Calm Blue Sea – Soft Cool Breeze – Sunset – 31st December 1977.

The lights of Mumbai twinkle in the distance as the city gets ready to ring in the New Year.

It was the happiest moment of his life.

Standing on the bridge-wings of the mighty warship INS Bijlee as she entered Mumbai harbour under his command – for the first time in his life – Sub-Lieutenant Nobody felt as if he was a “somebody”.

At this defining moment of his life – he realized the import of the words the distinguished Admiral had uttered while motivating him to join the Navy while he was studying at IIT.

“Son,” the recruiting Admiral had said, “The Navy is not just another job. The Navy is a way of life.”

Ship life seemed good.

Rank – Spit and Polish – and normal Naval Bullshit – all this did not matter much on a frontline combat ship like INS Bijlee.

Here it was your professional performance that counted.

So everyone was busy doing his job.

As long as you did your job well – you were given a free hand – and – after “secure” was piped – and the day’s work was over – you were free to do what you liked.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody realized that no one bothered him – since other officers were busy doing their own work and running their departments.

It was much better over here on a combat ship than the Naval Academy – where they treated you like dirt – and tried to convert you into a brainless obedient robot.

And – it was certainly much better than the Naval Technical Officers’ College – which boasted of transforming bright young Engineering Graduates into “Technical Zombies”.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody had survived both these ordeals and he had still retained his sanity.

It all happened so fast.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody had arrived in Mumbai Central Railway Station in the morning after a tiresome train journey.

There he was picked up in a ramshackle truck and dumped at the boat jetty.

There the ship’s boat was waiting for him.

After a rough journey on the choppy sea – Sub-Lieutenant Nobody was deposited alongside INS Bijlee anchored far out at sea.

It was almost 12 Noon when he clambered up the accommodation ladder to the quarterdeck of the ship with his bag hanging on his shoulder.

He duly saluted the Officer of the Day (OOD) and said: “Sub-Lieutenant Nobody reporting for duty, Sir. Request permission to come on board…”

The ship was rolling and the ladder staggered so he held on to a stanchion.

The stanchion gave way – and Sub-Lieutenant Nobody lost his balance – and he crashed into the arms of the OOD – and both of them fell on the deck in a heap.

“Sorry, Sir…” Nobody said – as they gathered themselves up.

“You seem to be quite eager to join this ship. What did you say your name was…?” the OOD – a two stripe Lieutenant asked with a smile.

“My name is “Nobody”…”

“NOBODY…?” the OOD asked, incredulous.

“Sir, it’s an anglicized version of …”

“Okay. Okay. You can tell me the story later,” the OOD interrupted, “just give me your appointment letter and genform…”

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody said took his appointment letter and genform from his shirt pocket and gave them to the OOD.

The OOD looked at the documents.

“Okay, okay – so you’re the new Electrical Officer (LO)…? Welcome on board,” the OOD shook his hand and said, “I’m the TASO (Torpedo Anti-Submarine Officer). Today is “make and mend”. Captain is not on board. You can meet him tomorrow. The Duty Petty Officer will take you to your cabin. Shower up – change into uniform – and meet me in the wardroom in ten minutes.”

Ten minutes later, freshly shaved and bathed, dressed in sparkling white shorts and shirt Dress No. 8 Naval uniform – Sub-Lieutenant Nobody entered the wardroom.

He saw the OOD – the TASO – wearing civvies – sitting at the Bar – sipping a glass of Beer.

“Ah…there you are. I am waiting for you…” the TASO said – the moment he saw the newly arrived Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

The TASO swallowed his beer in one go – down the hatch.

Then he gave the OOD’s lanyard with a bunch of keys to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody – and he said to Nobody: “Sub-Lieutenant Nobody – you “hold the deck”. I’m off. Don’t bother to see me off. I’ll see you in the morning…”

And – with lightening speed – the TASO disappeared ashore on the liberty boat – even before Nobody could recover his wits.

“Congratulations…” a voice said from behind.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody turned around to see a Lieutenant Commander sitting on a sofa with a huge tankard of beer before him.

“Good morning, Sir,” Nobody said.

“It is already afternoon, my friend” the Lieutenant Commander said extending his hand, “I’m “Schoolie” – the Ship’s Education Officer. You’re the new LO – aren’t you…?”

“Yes, Sir…” Nobody said.

“So you are the OOD – the de facto Commanding Officer of the ship now…”

“OOD…?” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody stammered – feeling bewildered and totally taken aback.

“So you are holding the fort for TASO – aren’t you? Smart bugger that TASO. The horny bastard couldn’t even wait one day to screw his wife…”

Seeing the disorientated expression on Nobody’s face – Schoolie said: “Pick up a glass of beer and come and sit here. I’ll tell you what to do…”

Then with breathtaking simplicity – Schoolie elucidated the Art of Command:

“In the Navy – especially on a ship – command is very simple.

The Art of Command comprises just 3 words:

  1. YES
  1. NO 
  1. VERY GOOD

Remember these three key words – YES, NO and VERY GOOD.

From time to time – your duty staff will come and ask you something.

It’s a good idea to number their questions.

You just reply ‘YES’ to the odd numbered questions

You reply ‘NO’ to the even numbered questions.

And – if someone makes a report to you – just say: ‘VERY GOOD’.

You got it…? Is it clear…?”

“Yes, Sir – Odd numbered questions I say ‘Yes’. Even numbered questions I say ‘No’. And if someone makes a report I just say ‘Very Good’ – is that correct, Sir…?” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody asked Schoolie.

“Correct. That – in a nutshell – is the art of Naval Command…” Schoolie pronounced with finality.

Just then – the Duty Petty Officer entered.

He saluted Sub-Lieutenant Nobody and said: “Request permission to revert to 3 watches, Sir.”

First question – odd numbered question – so Nobody answered: “Yes”

“Thank you, Sir,” the Duty Petty Officer saluted – and he went away quite happy that he could secure half his men from duty.

“Sir,” it was the duty ERA, who came a few minutes later, and he asked Sub-Lieutenant Nobody: “Request permission to shut down boilers.”

Question Number Two – even numbered question – so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody answered: “No”

The ERA nodded – looking quite perplexed – and he went away.

“See – you are learning fast…” Schoolie said as they sat for lunch.

While going ashore – Schoolie gave Nobody a parting shot of advice: “Always remember that it is better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you are stupid – rather than to open it and remove all doubt…”

Schoolie, a post graduate, was an Education Officer – the lowest class of officers in the Navy.

Education Officers were treated like dirt – and they wasted their entire lives teaching basic mathematics to junior sailors who didn’t give a damn – or acting as lackeys to senior officers wives – helping them run so-called welfare activities – which were more of ego-massage – and less of welfare.

Once in a while – the brighter among them got posted to ships – where they had no work except hang around in the wardroom doing nothing – and offering unsolicited advice to anyone who cared to listen.

Schoolie enjoyed doing talking to people – pontificating and giving advice on all matters under the sun – to anyone who cared to listen – especially to rookies – like Sub-Lieutenant Nobody – who latched on to each word he said.

It was indeed funny.

As far as the officer class was concerned – your status and position in the pecking order was inversely proportional to your academic qualifications.

The matriculate cadet entry seamen officers were the prima donnas

The Engineering Graduate “Techies” and Graduate Supply and Secretariat (S&S) guys were the middle rung.

And – the post-graduate “Schoolies” were at the rock bottom of the Navy status hierarchy.

“It is Port Control, Sir,” the “Yeoman of Signals” woke up Sub-Lieutenant Nobody from his beer-induced siesta and asked hesitantly, “they are asking if we want to come alongside.”

Nobody struggled to open his eyes and thought about it.

He counted the questions he had been asked so far – the first question by the Duty Petty Officer regarding 3 Watch System (which he had answered YES) – and – the second question by the Duty ERA regarding Shutting Down Boilers (which he had answered NO)

One, two, three – this was the third question – odd numbered – so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody decisively answered: “YES”.

“Thank you, Sir – I will signal them at once…” the delighted “Yeoman of Signals” said – and he rushed towards the bridge to make a signal to port control by Aldis Lamp.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody followed the Yeoman to the bridge wings and watched him exchange visual signals with port control, both lamps frantically flashing.

“Ballard Pier…?” port control asked.

It was the fourth question of the day – an even numbered question – so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody assertively said:  “NO”

“Barracks Wharf…?”

Fifth question – an odd numbered question – so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody assertively said: “YES”

And then – Sub-Lieutenant Nobody scrupulously followed the “Odd YES – Even NO” rule.

“Cold move?” port control asked – the sixth question – even numbered.

“No,” Nobody said decisively.

“Hot Move…?”

“Yes”

Everyone on the bridge was praising Sub-Lieutenant Nobody’s foresight in not allowing the boilers to be shut down – otherwise the quick “hot move” would not have been possible at immediate notice – and they would have to spend the whole day waiting for the tug to carry out the laborious “cold move”.

“Should we call for a harbour pilot…?” the duty Midshipman asked.

It was even numbered question – so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody emphatically said: “No”

“Sir, should I prepare the pilotage plan…?”

“Yes”

“Shall I chart course between sunk rock and oyster rock…?”

“No”

“Around Middle Ground…?”

“Yes”

“Will you be taking the con, Sir…?” the Midshipman asked.

“No”

“Then I will have the con…?”

“Yes”

The Midshipman was filled with happiness and a sense of pride.

It was the first time that someone had shown so much confidence in him.

The Midshipman smartly saluted Sub-Lieutenant Nobody and said: “I’ll report when ready, Sir.”

This was not a question.

This was a report.

So Nobody remembered Schoolie’s advice and said: “Very Good.”

There was no point hanging around the bridge and being exposing his ignorance, thought Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

So Sub-Lieutenant Nobody told the Midshipman to take the ship alongside.

He then informed the Midshipman that he would be available in the wardroom for any advice.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody then went down to the wardroom– he summoned the bar steward – and ordered a double large scotch whisky and soda.

He needed the alcohol fuelled “Dutch courage”.

His spirits high – fuelled by alcohol-inspired courage – and brimming with confidence – from then on – Sub-Lieutenant Nobody religiously followed Schoolie’s odd/even command formula with great success – and soon INS Bijlee was underway, sailing smoothly towards the Wharf.

As he sipped whisky in the wardroom – Sub-Lieutenant Nobody was quite clueless as he heard, on the main broadcast, the Midshipman give the conning orders: “Stand-by Main Engines…Haul Anchor…Anchor off the bottom…Anchor Aweigh…Anchor Coming Home…Anchor Sighted and Clear…Wheel Amidships… Dead Slow…Starboard Ten…”

Everything moved like clockwork – everyone knew their jobs.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody also knew what to do.

In his mind – he had to keep a count of the questions they asked him – and quickly determine the question number – odd or even – and answer according to Schoolie’s “odd/even yes/no” formula.

For every odd numbered question – he said: “Yes”.

For the even numbered question – he said: “No”.

And – from time to time – when someone made him a report – Sub-Lieutenant Nobody would wisely nod – and say: “Very Good.”

It worked.

The simple “YES” “NO” “VERY GOOD” command formula worked.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody strictly followed the formula – and everything went absolutely right.

The ship secured alongside perfectly.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody realized first-hand that the Art of Naval Command was indeed breathtaking in its simplicity.

“Should I announce liberty, Sir?” asked the Duty Petty Officer hesitantly.

it was an odd numbered question – so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody said: “Yes.”

The broad smile on the Petty Officer’s face and the smartness of his salute said it all.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody had mastered the Art of Naval Command.

The crew were happy to be secured alongside rather than tossing and turning at a faraway anchorage out at sea.

And now – thanks to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody – there would be liberty – and the ship’s crew would be able to go ashore to enjoy the delights of “Maximum City” after a long hard time at sea.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody became the hot topic of discussion below the deck in the crew messes.

Each and every sailor admired the guts and initiative of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

They were impressed by his prompt and clear decisive commands.

Despite being a non-seaman officer – he had brought the ship alongside by taking effective charge of the Midshipman.

Never before had such a thing happened.

Never before had they seen a greenhorn Sub-Lieutenant demonstrate so much confidence and guts on his first day on board a ship.

Anyone else would have hesitated, dithered – but here was a decisive officer.

“He is a natural leader” – they all said – with awe and in unison – about Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

On his very first day on board this mighty warship, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody earned the admiration, respect and esteem of the crew of INS Bijlee.

The sailors were happy to have Sub-Lieutenant Nobody on board – and they showed it by their body language – especially in the way they saluted him.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody’s chest swelled with pride.

Nobody had become a “Somebody”.

 

Story No. 2 

STEALING AFFECTIONS – A MATTER OF HONOUR

“Stealing the affections of a brother officer’s wife?” thundered the Admiral.

The Admiral looked up from the paper he was reading, glared at Captain standing in front of him, and said, “Kaka, I have tolerated a lot of nonsense from your ship, but I not going to condone sexual misconduct.”

“He is innocent, sir” said the Captain, the Commanding Officer of the mighty warship INS Bijlee, the flagship of the Fleet.

Standing beside the Admiral, a bespectacled Commander with yellow lace between his stripes, the Judge Advocate General, called JAG, noticed that, though the Captain spoke in a soft voice, he looked at the Admiral, his boss, the Fleet Commander, squarely in the eye.

The JAG knew that Kaka, as the Captain was known throughout the navy, was ex-Dufferin, an officer of the old-mould, a tough cookie, unlike some of his more morally pliable counterparts.

The Captain looked a decisive, tenacious and determined man, with his broad square face, heavy-lidded eyes and the deep lines at the sides of his mouth.

The Captain never took things lying down.

And now he was taking on his boss, the Admiral, his own Fleet Commander.

This was going to be difficult.

“What the hell do you mean he is innocent?” shouted the Admiral, “that piddly dope-entry Sub-Lieutenant is caught red-handed screwing a Commander’s wife and you say he is bloody innocent? If he was so frigging horny he could have dipped his bloody wick elsewhere – there are plenty of fleet auxiliaries, so many opportunities all over, the dockside is teeming with sugar girls, come on Kaka, you know all this. If he was so bloody sex-starved he could have rogered a midshipman for all I care – but stealing the affections of a senior officer’s wife? It’s just not acceptable and I won’t tolerate it in my fleet.”

There was silence.

The JAG smiled to himself as he thought of the Admiral’s words.

In the Navy – it was all a matter of form.

The moral issue was a minor detail.

You could sow your wild oats elsewhere – but stealing the affections of brother officers’ wives was taboo – and if you got caught – you were thrown out of the Navy.

“Sir, please listen…” the Captain broke the silence.

“No, Kaka,” interrupted the Admiral, “It’s final. I have spoken to the C-in-C. We are throwing the bugger out.”

He gestured to the JAG who gave him a folder.

The Admiral took out a typewritten sheet from the JAG, looked at it and exclaimed, “Nobody? Sub-Lieutenant Nobody? What sort of name is that? Is he a bloody ding?”

“No Sir. He is a bong. His name is an anglicized version of…”

“Doesn’t matter,” the Fleet Commander interrupted the Captain.

The Admiral gave the sheet of paper to the Captain, and said, “You just get his signature on this and personally give it back to me by closing hours today.”

“Resignation letter? You want him to resign his commission on compassionate grounds?” the Captain said, looking incredulous.

“That’s the best way,” the JAG spoke for the first time, “the C-in-C doesn’t want a scandal. He’s going to Delhi tomorrow and he’ll get the papers cleared personally. The C-in-C wants this officer out of the navy immediately. And he wants it done discreetly.”

“Yes, Kaka, you get his bloody signature, withdraw his ID card, throw him out of your ship, and put him on a train home today itself. I don’t want to see the filthy bugger on board when we sail out tomorrow,” the Admiral bellowed.

“Nonsense,” the Captain said.

“What?” the Admiral looked stunned.

“I am not a post office. I am the Captain of a warship, the Flag Captain, the Commanding Officer of the Flagship of the Western Fleet. You can’t punish a man without hearing him out. It’s against the principles of naval justice,” the Captain said firmly, raising his voice slightly for the first time.

“Justice my bloody foot,” roared the Admiral, “you get this straight, Kaka. The Commander-in-Chief desires that this officer is thrown out. I am your boss and the C-in-C’s desire is my command. Kaka, don’t be stupid. There is no point jeopardising your career for the sake that dodgy son of a bitch.”

“Sub-Lieutenant Nobody is my officer, Sir, and it is my duty to be fair and just to all officers and men under my command,” the captain said firmly.

“But the C-in-C has desired…”

The Captain interrupted the Admiral, and said bluntly, “The C-in-C is not above naval law. He too is subject to the Navy Act. I respectfully submit, Sir, that due process is followed, and the accused officer be heard, before you take a decision.”

The Admiral winced – he said nothing, and he looked as if he were in deep thought, as if he was weighing his options.

The JAG looked at the two sea-dogs, both tough leaders, but with contrasting styles, the profane hot-tempered volatile Admiral, and the steady soft-spoken Captain, who did not say much, but whatever little he said was sensible and relevant.

“Okay,” the Admiral said, “I will see the officer. Bring him to me as soon as possible.”

“He is waiting outside,” the captain said.

The Admiral smiled, “March him up to me in five minutes.”

“Aye, Aye, Sir,” the Captain put on his peak cap.

The Captain saluted smartly and walked off.

Five minutes later Sub-Lieutenant Nobody stood at attention looking at the Admiral sitting across the polished mahogany table.

His Captain sat on a sofa on the side.

“Where is the JAG?” the Captain asked.

“He’s not required. I don’t want any of C-in-C’s goddam spies eavesdropping,” the Admiral said to the Captain.

Then the Admiral looked at Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, and said, “You are accused of stealing the affections of Commander Kumar’s wife?”

“That’s not true, Sir, I did not steal her affections,” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody said.

“What the hell do you mean it is not true – you were caught red-handed trying to steal her affections,” the Admiral shouted.

“Sir – actually – in fact – it was not me – but it was she – it was she who tried to steal my affections,” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody blurted out.

The Admiral burst out laughing, “Are you some sort of crazy bugger? How the hell can she steal your affections? Tomorrow you will say that a woman can rape a man. Now, don’t give me bullshit. You are up the shit creek, so answer properly.”

“She was drunk, Sir. She wanted me – but I restrained myself.”

“Just tell me one thing, you dirty bugger – why the hell did you stay with her all night? The whole world saw you in there with her – the milkman, the maid, the chowkidar – and, of course, the bloody Flotilla Commander – he has even given a written complaint against you. And, remember, he is a Senior Commodore. It is your word against his – and, in the navy, the senior is always right.”

“Sir, he is the root cause of everything?”

“Root cause – the Commodore?”

“Yes, Sir – he is responsible for what happened.”

“I see – now you are blaming him for your troubles – can you please explain?”

“Sir, I was sitting in Club watching the May Queen Ball when the lady came to me and asked me to dance with her. I told her that I did not know how to dance. In fact I had refused Tanya earlier when she asked me for a dance.”

“Tanya?”

“My daughter, Sir,” the Captain said.

“I see,” the Admiral hid a smile.

Then the Admiral said to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, “Go on. I am listening.”

“Sir, this lady – she pulled me on the dance floor – and this Commodore tried to cut in – and she told him to go away. The lady – she seemed quite drunk – and she seemed very nervous and frightened – she told me she was not feeling well and asked me to take her to her home on Marine Drive. So I took her in a taxi and dropped her home.”

“It seems a tall story – but suppose I believe you – you dropped her home – so that is when you should have left and come back to your ship. Why the hell did you stay on in her home?”

“Yes, Sir – that is exactly what I wanted to do – but as I was about to leave – the Commodore landed up – and he asked me what I was doing there – and he told me to get out. The lady asked the Commodore to go away – but he insisted on staying – so I asked him to go away – but he didn’t budge – so I pushed him out and I locked the door.”

“You physically pushed him out?”

“Yes, Sir – I had to push him out since he refused to go away on his own, despite the lady asking him to do so.”

“You knew he was a Commodore, a superior officer?”

“Yes, Sir – I know he is the flotilla commander.”

“Then what happened? Why didn’t you leave after that?”

“She asked me to stay. She was scared that he would come back. She said that the Commodore was eyeing her ever since her husband joined the flotilla. And now he had sent her husband away on a course and he was giving her unwelcome attentions – she said he was trying to seduce her – he wanted to sleep with her – she told me that he would come again if I left her alone – so she desperately asked me to stay.”

“So you stayed on to save the ‘damsel in distress’ – come on, young man – tell your story to the marines. You are making all this up to save yourself. I don’t believe any lady would tell a stranger all this.”

“I swear I am telling the truth, Sir – she was drunk, she was very drunk. She told me the Commodore had forced her to drink, maybe even spiked her drinks. I asked her why she went to Club with the Commodore if she knew his intentions and she told me that her own husband was forcing her to sleep with his boss.”

“What nonsense?”

“She said her husband was very ambitious and wanted to get promoted at any cost.”

“I don’t believe all this hogwash.”

“Sir, you will never believe what she told me next.”

“What?”

“She said that her husband is impotent – he is not able to do it.”

“So she wanted you to do it?”

“Yes, Sir…”

“And you did it…?”

“No, Sir. She tried her best – she pulled me towards her – and she kissed me. I did feel tempted for a moment – but I controlled myself immediately. Then we slept, Sir – and I woke up in the morning by the sound of the bell – and when I opened the door I saw the milkman, the chowkidar, the Commodore, and some others standing outside.”

The Admiral stood up, came around the desk, and put his hands around Sub- Lieutenant Nobody’s shoulders.

“Sit down,” the Admiral told Nobody, gesturing towards a chair.

The Admiral himself sat on the desk, and he said, “I have never heard such a tall story in my life, but I like your brutal frankness, and my inner voice tells me that you are speaking the truth. So I will make it easy for you – and for all of us. In the navy we have a thing called honour. We don’t like to wash our dirty linen in public. And the honourable thing for you to do is to put in your papers. I hear you are an IIT type. You will surely get a job – maybe a much better job than the navy. And if you do have any problem, we will help you out.”

The Captain watched in silence, intrigued at the sudden change in the Admiral’s demeanour.

Instead of his normal brash way, in which he treated subordinate officers like dirt, here, he was almost pleading to the Sub-Lieutenant.

He must be under real pressure from the C-in-C to hush up the matter, lest it blow up into a scandal.

The Admiral reached across his desk, picked up the typewritten resignation letter, and put it in front of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody read the letter, and said: “I will not resign, Sir – I love the navy – and I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Do you know the alternative?”

“Court Martial, Sir.”

“You will be charged with conduct unbecoming the character of an officer, conduct to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline, maybe even striking a superior officer, and if found guilty, you will be dismissed from the navy with disgrace and locked up in jail for at least three years. And from the evidence at hand – it looks like you will certainly be found guilty. So it is best for you to quit the navy silently, without any fuss, and the honour of the navy remains intact.”

“What about my honour, sir?”

“Your honour – are you crazy – you are up the shit creek – and you are talking of your honour?”

“Yes, my honour, and the lady’s honour. If I resign – it will be an admission of guilt.”

“But you are guilty.”

“I am not guilty, Sir – I did not do anything wrong.”

“Son, don’t be dogmatic. Take the easy choice.”

“Admiral, when they blamed you for that collision at sea accident many years ago, you too could have taken the easy choice, but you elected for a court martial, and you redeemed your honour…”

“Get out of here,” the Admiral shouted, suddenly getting angry.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody saluted the Admiral.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody then looked at his Captain sitting quietly on the sofa.

The Captain indicated with his eyes to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody that he should leave.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody turned and started to walk away – but he stopped in his tracks when he heard the Admiral’s voice.

The Admiral said to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody: “You are up the shit creek. You better choose someone good to defend you at the court martial.”

“I already have already chosen the best person to defend me, Sir – My Captain will defend me.”

When the Captain heard these words – tears of pride welled up in his eyes.

For a Commanding Officer – this was the ultimate “proof of the pudding” – his officers and men trusted him with their lives.

End of First Part of Excerpts from Navy Novel Nobody’s Navy by Vikram Karve comprising:

Part 1 : How Sub Lieutenant NOBODY became a “Somebody”

Part 2 : Stealing Affections – A Matter of Honour

To be continued … 

VIKRAM KARVE

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Disclaimer:

  1. These stories are fictional spoofs, pure fiction, satire, 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.Dismiss 

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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/stories-from-nobodys-navy-my-navy-novel.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Abridged and Updated Version of my two blog posts posted in June 2013 NOBODY’S NAVY at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/06/nobodys-navy-by-vikram-karve-my-naval.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/humor-in-uniform-nobody-becomes-somebody.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/humor-in-uniform-stealing-affections.html and  NOBODY BECOMES A SOMEBODY – LEARNING THE ART OF NAVAL COMMAND at urls:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/06/nobody-becomes-somebody-learning-art-of.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/officer-like-qualities-aka-olq-art-of.html  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/art-of-naval-command-humor-in-uniform-excerpt-from-novel-nobodys-navy-by-vikram-karve/  and  https://www.quora.com/profile/Vikram-Karve/Writing-by-VIKRAM-KARVE/Nobody%E2%80%99s-Navy-%E2%80%93-My-Fictional-Spoof-on-Naval-Life and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/humor-in-uniform-nobody-becomes-somebody.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/06/nobody-becomes-somebody-learning-art-of.html

The “Perfect” Husband – A “Prize Catch”

February 16, 2017

The “PRIZE CATCH” Husband 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/the-prize-catch-husband.html

The “PRIZE CATCH” Husband (Fiction Short Story) By Vikram Karve

When I returned home from work in the evening – I found everyone waiting for me.

Yes – they were eagerly waiting for me to come home from work – my parents – my elder sister and her husband – my aunty (mother’s sister) and her husband – our neighbors and their daughter – and – of course – our maid – she was eavesdropping as usual for some “hot gossip”…

The moment she saw me – my mother said excitedly: “The Boy’s parents called up in the afternoon – the “Boy” has liked you…”

“I got your SMS…” I said to my mother, rather tersely.

Actually – I called you immediately to give you the good news – but you didn’t answer the phone – so I sent you the SMS…”

“I was busy…”

“I thought you would be happy to see the good news – and – I expected you to call back immediately the moment you saw the SMS…”

“Good News…? What “good news”…?”

“The “Boy” has liked you. You will be getting married soon and going to America. Isn’t that “good news”…? Aren’t you “happy”…?”

“What do you mean by “I am getting married”…? I hope you haven’t…?” I asked my mother.

“Yes. She has…” my father said, “your mother has told the Boy’s mother that you “like” the “Boy”…”

“What…?” I said, shocked.

“We have even fixed up your marriage…” my mother said.

“When…?”

“Next Sunday…”

“Next Sunday…? That’s just 10 days away…”

“It’s a good “Muhurat” – that’s what the Boy’s mother said – and – I checked up on the astrological calendar too – a very auspicious day – and – it’s an ideal day and date – it will be convenient for everyone to attend the wedding ceremony on Sunday – and – we were so lucky – even a good “Marriage Hall” was available at such short notice – so – we have booked the hall too…” my mother said, matter-of-factly.

“You did all this on the phone…?” I asked my mother, feeling flabbergasted.

“Yes. The Boy’s parents are in a hurry – the Boy has to go back to America by the end of this month – so we have got just 15 days for the marriage – a quick honeymoon – and then – the moment your “spouse visa” comes – you can join your husband in the US…”

“Spouse Visa…?”

“You are lucky – the Boy is already an American Citizen – so he said that he will arrange everything so that you can get there quickly – so – you keep your passport ready with you in your purse – the Boy is coming to meet you at 6:30…”

“He is coming to meet me at 6:30 – that’s just half an hour from now…”

“Yes – we have to do things quickly now – you get ready fast – he is going to take you out for dinner – you both can discuss all your marriage plans, honeymoon, going to America, future life etc…”

“What is wrong with you…? When did I ever say that I want to get married to this “Boy”…?”

“Don’t you “like” the “Boy”…?”

“Did I ever say that I “Liked” the “Boy”…? Did I ever say that I wanted to get married to him…?”

“We assumed…”

“How can you assume such things…? I hardly know him…”

“First – you two met at the “Kande Pohe” girl-seeing ceremony here – then – the very next day – you two  went out for coffee to get to know each other better – and – after that – you visited his parents’ house – and – when I asked you about him – you said:“The “Boy is Good”…”

“Yes. The “Boy” may be good – but that doesn’t mean I want to get married to him – and that too – in such a crashing hurry…”

“I told you – the “Boy” has come to India on a month’s vacation – and – he has to go back to America by the end of the month – so – before that we have to finish off your wedding ceremony – in fact – we have agreed to have just a token engagement ceremony at home due to the shortage of time…”

“You don’t worry – we will arrange everything – all of us will do all the wedding work – you just have to be present for the wedding ceremonies – that’s all…” my elder sister said.

“Yes – that Wedding Hall is booked – the Menu has been finalized – I have already paid the advance online – we will go there tomorrow morning to finalize the ceremonies and arrangements and tie up the loose ends…” my sister’s husband said.

“We will finish off all the wedding shopping this weekend – you can visit your parlour too – and – by next Sunday – you will be all set for your wedding…” said my aunty (mother’s sister).

“I will get some sample wedding card samples for you to choose from – so – we can give the printing order…” my mother’s sister’s husband said, “you don’t worry – I will handle that end and see that everyone gets invitations in time – I will email them too – and – your father and mother will take you along to invite the very close relatives…”

“Yes – the wedding will happen smoothly – the Boy’s parents are very decent people – they are not insisting on anything – they said to me: “Whatever you do – we are happy”…” my mother said.

“Okay…” my father said to me, “you go to your room and get ready quickly – the “Boy” will be here in another 20 minutes…”

“And – wear something nice – and do your hair – and touch up your face up a bit also – I’ll come with you and help you get ready for the “Boy”…” my sister said to me.

“Please Please Please Please Please – I am not interested in getting married to this “Boy”…” I shouted, exasperated.

“What…?” everyone said, looking surprised.

“I do not want to get married to this “Boy”…” I said firmly.

“But why…?” my mother asked me.

“I don’t know – but – I don’t want to get married…”

“You are already 27 years old – and – your father is retiring next year…” my mother said.

“You don’t worry – I am financially independent – I will fund my own marriage – I don’t need any money from you…” I said.

“No. No. Your mother didn’t mean it that way…” my father said, “I want you to tell me one thing – you don’t want to get married at all – or – you don’t want to get married to this “Boy”…?”

“I don’t want to get married to this “Boy”…” I said.

“But why…? What’s wrong with this “Boy”…? He is a “perfect match” for you…” my mother said to me.

“Yes – it is such a nice family – and – the “Boy” has such good character – he has no bad habits – he does not smoke or drink – he is a teetotaller – he so well-mannered, polite and soft-spoken – his mother said that he has a very loving and caring nature – he will be best husband for you…” my sister said to me.

“Yes – he is so well qualified – IIT – Ivy League University – excellent career – well settled – and he is already an American Citizen too…” my sister’s husband said.

“You are so lucky that the “Boy” has liked you…” my neighbour said, “if I would had got such a “prize catch” NRI boy for my daughter – I would have married off my daughter to him immediately…”

“Then – why don’t you get your daughter married to him…?” I said rudely to my neighbour.

I instantly regretted my words – so I apologized to my neighbour: “I am sorry aunty…”

“It’s okay…” my neighbour said, “it’s your nerves speaking – you are nervous at the speed at which things are happening. You go up and relax for some time and think about it calmly. This “Boy” seems really good – so you don’t let go of the opportunity. You may not get such a good boy again – especially at your age…”

Suddenly – everyone started hounding me.

“Yes – the “Boy” is really good…”

“You will regret all your life if you don’t marry him…”

“A perfect match…”

“Yes – so brilliant – so accomplished – so loving…”

“He looks so handsome – so fair – so smart and debonair – what a smart personality – and – he has such an excellent physique…”

“He is intelligent, well-qualified, doing so well in his career…”

“Yes – and he belongs to such an excellent family – so – he is sure to have good upbringing and values…”

“Didn’t you see how polite, soft-spoken and well-mannered he was – and – the way he talked to his parents and to us – he has such a loving and caring nature…”

“He is an ideal husband…”

“You will not find a boy like him – impeccable credentials – brilliant career prospects – and – exceptional qualities – you name it – and – he has it – intellect, character, personality, elegance, handsome looks, social graces – everything perfect – not a single blemish…”

“Yes – the “Boy” has such excellent character and qualities – he has no faults…”

“Yes. Yes. Yes…” I shouted, “He has no faults. That is the reason I don’t want to marry him…”

“You don’t want to marry him just because he has no faults…? What do you mean…?” my mother asked me.

“He is too good to be true…” I said.

“What do you mean “he is too good to be true”…?”

“I don’t know. But something seems to be wrong…”

“Are you afraid that he may be a “NRI Fraud”…? You don’t worry on that score. We have checked his background thoroughly – he has impeccable credentials…” my sister said.

“Yes – I have checked up with my NRI friends – one works in the same firm – and another friend lives nearby – and – all of them say that he is an excellent guy…” my sister’s husband said.

“I know his family personally – his mother and my mother-in-law are close friends…” my sister said.

(It was my sister who had suggested this “Boy” to my mother as a suitable husband for me)

“So – you are worried that if I “reject” the “Boy” – your mother-in-law will get angry with you…?” I asked my sister in quite a nasty tone.

“Of course everyone will be annoyed – we will have plenty of explaining to do. First – mother says “Yes” to the proposal – and now – we will have to make a U-Turn and say “No” – and all this – just because of your stubborn attitude…” my sister said to me.

“What do you mean by “stubborn attitude”…? I am not going to get married to that “Boy” just because you want me to…”

“But why…? What is wrong with him…?”

“I don’t feel like getting married to him – that’s all…”

“The “Boy” is so good – and – you are already 27…”

“You don’t worry about me – I would rather remain unmarried than marry this “Boy”…”

“You always wanted to go to the US – didn’t you…?  You will not get an opportunity like this again – you will become an American Citizen straightaway…”

“Please. Please. Please. I don’t want to marry this “Boy” – and – that is my final decision…” I said.

“Please try to understand – this is really a good match for you – this “Boy” is most suitable for you…”

“Stop it – just stop it – you are saying the same things again and again…”

“Please try to think rationally…”

“Rationally…? What is there to think rationally…?”

“Give me one good reason why you don’t want to marry this “Boy”…” my mother said.

“My “inner voice” says so…” I said.

“Inner Voice…?”

“Yes – “inner voice” – “gut instinct” – “sixth sense” – call it what you like…”

“What nonsense…”

“It is not “nonsense”. I always listen to my “inner voice”. I am not saying that the “Boy” is bad – but – I don’t feel comfortable in his presence – he generates negative vibes within me…”

“But – you have met him thrice – at the “girl-seeing” ceremony here – then –you two  went out for coffee to get to know each other better – and – after that – you visited his parents’ house…”

“So what – I told you that my “inner voice” tells me that I should not marry that “Boy”…”

“Okay – you get ready – the “Boy” will be here at 6:30 – go out with him – have dinner – spend some time alone with him – talk to him – ask him whatever is bothering you – clear all your apprehensions…”

“I am not going out with that “Boy” – in fact – I do not intend meeting him again…”

“But – what will we tell him…?”

“You fixed up my marriage without asking me – didn’t you…? Now – you tell him that the marriage is cancelled…” I said to my mother.

“How can we do that…? It will be a big humiliation…” my mother said, with tears in her eyes.

“Why are you acting so “hoity-toity”…?  The “Boy” is a “Prize Catch” – and you should be grateful to me for arranging this match. There were so many girls lined up for him but I made sure that he saw you first. There are hundreds of girls who would jump at the opportunity to marry him…” my sister said.

“Then – let them marry him. I am not interested…” I said.

“You have put us in a very embarrassing situation…” my mother said, “Please change your mind – at least – go out with him for dinner…”

“Yes. Yes. You go out with him this evening…” everyone started saying – trying to put pressure on me.

Suddenly – my father intervened: “It is her life – let her decide…”

“What are you saying…?” my mother pleaded with him.

My father turned towards me – and – he said to me: “You go up to your room and stay there. I will tell the “Boy” – in fact – I will call up his parents right now before he comes…?

And so – My Marriage to the “Boy” was cancelled.

Everyone was angry with me.

Relations between me and everyone were spoilt forever.

My mother said that the Boy’s parents were very angry and they insulted my father when he phoned them to call off the marriage.

For my mother – my marriage to that “Boy” would have been a “social triumph” – but now – because of my obstinacy – everything was ruined – and – she thought that she would look like a fool in society.

My father remained silent – but – I could see that he was upset.

My sister stopped speaking to me – she never forgave me for creating a rift between her and her mother-in-law (who was a close friend of the Boy’s mother).

My aunty stopped looking for “Suitable Boys” for me.

Our neighbour told everyone what a big fool I was – and – she prophesied that I would never get married and would remain a spinster for my entire life.

The “Boy” got married to his “second choice” girl – he had “shortlisted” 5 girls in just one week – that will give you an idea of how much he was in demand – a real “prize catch” – who – I had let go…

Sometimes – I too felt pangs of regret – but then – my conscience told me that I had done the right thing by listening to my “inner voice” – my “sixth sense” – “gut feelings” – vibes” – call it what you like – I think you know what I am talking about.

I had sensed something wrong about the “Boy” that I could not put my finger on – a sense of feelings that I could perceive but could not quantify or enumerate.

Yes – I am human – and – I did feel a pang of regret at the “golden opportunity” that I had spurned.

But – I forgot about the episode – and – I got on with my life.

ONE YEAR LATER

Around one year later – a smart girl walked into my office.

I recognized her at once.

She was the “second choice” girl – who had got married to the “Boy” – who I had “rejected”.

How did I know this…?

Simple – I had seen her profile on Facebook.

A few days after “rejecting” the “Boy” – I wondered who he had married – so – I surfed the Social Media – and – I had seen pictures of his grand wedding and his new bride (who had taken my place).

I asked the girl to sit down.

She had come to submit her resume in person for a “walk-in interview”.

As HR Manager – I was supposed to scrutinize her resume – and – take a preliminary interview – and then – if I found her okay – send her for the final interview with our Boss in the next cabin.

I opened the resume folder.

Her name indicated that she was still married to the “Boy”.

“You are married to XXX…?” I asked her.

“Yes…” she said.

“But – your husband lives in New York – isn’t it…? He is an American Citizen – isn’t he…?”

“How do you know…?”

“Well – you just answer my question…”

“Yes – he is in New York…”

“So – why do you want a job here in Pune…?”

“I have come back…”

“You have come back to India…? Oh – so your husband has relocated here to Pune for work – is it…? For how many years…?”

“I have come back alone…” she said, with a slight quiver in her voice.

“Alone…? Why have you come back alone…?” I asked her.

“I’d rather not say – it is personal…” she said.

“Well – you will have to tell me – this is an interview – and – in case you are selected for the job – we will be doing a thorough background check in any case – so – it is best you tell me everything truthfully…” I said firmly.

“I have left my husband – I have applied for divorce – I am not going back to him ever again – I have permanently left him…” she said, choking a bit.

“Oh – what happened – why did you leave him…?” I asked, curious.

“He was a pervert…” she said, with tears appearing in her eyes.

It was cruel of me – but – I pursued the topic – and – I said to her:

“What do you mean he was a “pervert”…? I have met your husband – and – he seemed to be a perfect gentleman…”

“Yes – for the outside world – he was a “goody-goody” well-mannered gentleman – but – behind closed doors – he was a cruel depraved pervert…” she said – and – she broke into tears.

“Oh – so he was a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type personality…?” I said.

She did not answer – because – by now – she had broken down completely – her composure totally shattered – and – she was crying copiously.

I imagined myself in her position – and – I thanked my stars that I had listened to my “inner voice” and not married the “Prize Catch” Boy.

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 original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/the-prize-catch-husband.html

 

Immigration – Tall Poppy Syndrome

February 4, 2017

Is the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” one of the reasons for the cultural resentment against “migrants” who are more “successful” than the original inhabitants of a country…?

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/tall-poppy-syndrome.html

The “TALL POPPY SYNDROME”

Ramblings of a Retired Mind By Vikram Karve

In the inimitable war novel  Catch-22  – there is a character called “Major Major Major Major”

(For brevity – let’s call him “Major Major”)

“Major Major” is a simple unassuming amiable officer who is liked by everyone – officers and enlisted men.

One day – the Squadron Commander Major Duluth is killed in action – and – “Major Major” is appointed the Squadron Commander.

Suddenly – everything changes for “Major Major”.

The very same people who earlier loved “Major Major” – now – their attitude towards “Major Major” changes – and – everyone starts resenting his success

Many of his fellow officers have feelings of envy and animosity towards “Major Major” once he is promoted to Squadron Commander.

The most acrimonious and spiteful of them is Captain Black who believes that he himself was the logical choice to replace Major Duluth as Squadron Commander – and – grave injustice has been done by appointing “Major Major” as Squadron Commander.

Captain Black makes every effort to discredit and disparage “Major Major”

Captain Black uses various stratagems to sabotage and humiliate “Major Major” – and – cut him down to size.

This is an example of the “Tall Poppy Syndrome”.

Thanks to his “success” – “Major Major” is a victim of the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” – which results in hostility towards successful people.

The “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is a culture where “successful” people are resented, attacked, cut down or criticized because of their success.

(Successful People are called “Tall Poppies” – and – cutting them down to size is called “Tall Poppying”…)

In an organization – the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” can cause in destructive feelings in work-colleagues of the successful person – which can lead to resentment, hostility and “envy attacks” on the “successful” person.

The “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is visible in personal relationships too – in families, friend-circles and in society – where we often see a tendency to resent and disparage successful people due to envy.

In a nutshell – the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is hostility towards successful people and manifestations of that resentment.

There are many mythical stories about the origins of the term “Tall Poppy Syndrome”.

In one such apocryphal story – a young son of a King conquers a new land.

The young son asks the King for advice on how to deal with the newly conquered kingdom.

The King – who is strolling in the garden in a grove of poppies – draws his sword – and – with his sword – the King strikes off the heads of the tallest poppies in the grove.

The King’s son gets the message – and he methodically proceeds to kill all the prominent men (the “tallest poppies”) in the newly conquered land.

Once the influential men are eliminated – the son is able to easily govern the conquered land.

The term “Tall Poppy Syndrome” may have been probably derived from this apocryphal story.

Another fable hints that the underlying premise of the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is that the tallest plants be cut down to the same size of all the others (cutting down to size)

So – in today’s world – “Tall Poppying” successful persons – probably means – trying to “cut them down to size”.

Don’t we see examples of the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” all around us…?

I saw plenty of instances of the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” in the Defence Services – where career prospects are limited due to the pyramidal hierarchy structure – and – it is very difficult to get promoted to high rank – which results in a large number of deserving officers getting “superseded” or “passed over” for promotion.

Many “superseded” officers feel a sense of resentment and envy towards their successful course-mates and try to “Tall Poppy” them.

You will see plenty of examples of the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” everywhere – in politics, in the corporate sector, in society, in families and personal life too.

The “Tall Poppy Syndrome” manifests at the societal level too.

One example of “Tall Poppy Syndrome” is the cultural resentment against “migrants” who are more “successful” than the original inhabitants of a country. 

Information Technology has been a catalyst in proliferation of the “Tall Poppy Syndrome”.

Nowadays – the Social Media has become a ubiquitous medium for “Tall Poppying”

People can easily express their resentment against “successful” persons on the Social Media – and such online “Tall Poppying” of an individual on the Social Media can go “viral” very fast and have a devastating effect on the victim.

What is the root cause of the  “Tall Poppy Syndrome” …?

Is the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” a manifestation of  “Crab Mentality” …?

(If I can’t have it – neither can you)

Or – is it an offshoot of  “The Dog in the Manger” Syndrome …?

(People frequently begrudge something to others that they themselves cannot enjoy. Even if it does them no good – they won’t let others have it – like the mythical dog in fable – the dog in the manger who did not eat grain – but who nevertheless prevented the horse from eating the grain either)

Or – is it just basic human nature…?

Well – I really don’t know – but – I have been on both sides of the fence as far as the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” syndrome is concerned.

Dear Reader:

Have you experienced the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” – as a “victim” – or – as a “perpetrator”…?

Do tell us about it.

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.

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/tall-poppy-syndrome.html

Immigration – Dating Romance Marriage

February 3, 2017

“DINNER DATE” in AUCKLAND

Short Fiction Story – A Romance By VIKRAM KARVE  

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/dinner-date-in-auckland.html

DINNER DATE (with my “Girlfriend” at a Pub near CBD Auckland)

“Why can’t people understand that I don’t want to get married…” my “girlfriend” said.

“What happened…?” I asked her.

“It’s my mother again – now – she has found a “Boy” for me over here…”

“Here…? In New Zealand…?”

“Yes – last year – when I was on vacation in India – I escaped seeing “Boys” saying that I had decided to settle down permanently in New Zealand – and – I was unwilling to relocate from Auckland – so now – they have found a “Boy” for me out here…”

“Oh…”

“I just don’t understand why my parents are so desperate to get me married…”

“You are 30 now – you are already past what is considered “marriageable age” in India…”

“But – I don’t want to get married – so – how does my age matter…? What difference does it make whether I am past “marriageable age” or not – when I want to remain single all my life…?”

“Well – in India – parents feel it is their duty to get their daughters married…”

“That was okay in the past – when girls were not financially independent – but today – things are different – in fact – I am sure I earn much more than most “Boys” of my age…”

“I don’t think your parents feel that way. Maybe your parents feel that now that you are 30 years old – it is high time that you should “settle down” in life…”

“But – I have already settled down in life – haven’t I…? I have a good job with excellent career prospects – I have my own house in the best inner city suburb of Auckland – I have my own car – I have everything I need…”

“That may be so – but – probably – your parents feel that you need a husband – and – getting married will complete your life…”

“Well – I feel “complete” already – so – there is no place for anyone else in my life – I don’t need anyone – I have got everything…”

“What about…?”

She interrupts me and says: “Please – let’s not discuss that – but – let me tell you that I can easily get enough of it – to satisfy my needs – whenever I want…”

“I meant companionship…”

“I get plenty of “companionship” at work – in fact – a bit too much – you know the job I do – I have to spend the whole day interacting by people – colleagues, customers, clients – I get so fed up that I just want to be alone at home to enjoy my “self-time”…”

“I meant friendship – friends…”

“Friends…? You are there – aren’t you…? Whenever I want to relax over a drink – or – to go on a drive – or – if I want to get something off my chest – I call you – and you come – like you have come now…”

“Yes – I am always there for you – but – don’t you want to have more friends…?”

“Actually – out here – one doesn’t need many friends – I like the social culture out here – where they respect your privacy…”

“You never had any friends out here…? Even when you were studying at the University…?”

“Of course I did. But – those days were different. Now – I like my solitude…”

“Yes – I have seen that. Nowadays – you like to be alone in your spare time…”

“In fact – now – you are my only friend. I like you because you are the only one who doesn’t indulge in “matchmaking” and try to get me married off. Sadly – most Indian “Expats” out here are doing that all the time – they keep hounding me to get married – searching for suitable “matches” – finding all sorts of “Boys” for me…”

“Well – you can’t blame them – can you…? They may have travelled a long distance from India and migrated and settled down over here in New Zealand – but – their mindset hasn’t changed – though they are physically in a modern country – culturally – in their minds – they still carry old-fashioned Indian values – that’s why they feel that it is odd for a girl to remain unmarried once she crosses 30 years of age…”

“Well – I am “happy and single” – I am living my life to the fullest – on my own terms – and I don’t want anyone worrying about my marriage – not even my parents – and certainly not these Indian “expats” out here…”

“Don’t pay much attention to them – but – remember – that – like your parents – their intentions are good…”

“Well – I don’t care about their intentions – but – they hassle me with all their “matrimonial talk” and comments about my living a single life – that’s why I have dumped everyone – except you – because you are the only one who accepts me as I am. Yes – you are the only one that I consider as my true friend – because you don’t have any “good intentions” to end my “spinstership” and get me married off…”

“Hey – your glass is empty – should I get you some more beer…?” I ask her.

“No – I’ll go home now…” she says.

“Why so early…? It’s Friday night – and it’s only 7 o’clock…”

“I have to go home. But – you wait here…”

“Me…? Wait here…? Why should I wait here all alone…?”

“Because I want you to speak to the “Boy” – and – you will tell him that I don’t want to get married…”

“What…? You want me to speak to the “Boy”…?”

“Don’t you remember what I told you…? My parents have found a “Boy” for me over here…”

“Oh yes – you told me – but – I almost forgot. So – your parents have found a “Boy” for you over here in New Zealand. Who is the “Boy”…?”

“You will see the “Boy” in a few minutes…”

“What…? Is he coming here to meet you…?”

“Yes – I have called him here in this pub at 8 o’clock – for dinner. But now – he can have the “dinner date” with you instead of me…”

“Who is the guy…? Does he live here in Auckland…? Maybe I know him…”

“No. He was working in Christchurch. He took up a job in Auckland only last week. I don’t know what my parents told his parents and what hopes they raised in him – because – from the way he talked to me on phone – it seems he is taking things for granted. I only hope he hasn’t relocated to Auckland in anticipation of getting married to me – because – if he has fancy ideas about getting married to me – he is going to get the shock of his life – when you tell him that I am not interested in marriage…”

“Oh – so that is why you called me here – to do your dirty work. You want me to meet the “Boy” and tell him the bad news that you are not interested in marriage…”

“Yes. That’s what good friends are for – aren’t they…?” she said.

“But I don’t even know him…” I said.

“Here – I am sending you his picture and name on your mobile phone…” she said.

The moment I received the picture of the “Boy” on my mobile phone – I looked at it – and I saw that he was quite a smart guy.

Suddenly – my “girlfriend” said to me: “Okay – I’ll go now – you enjoy your “dinner-date” with the “Boy” – and – you please call me up in the morning and tell me what happened…”

“Okay. Bye. Take Care…” I said to her.

“Bye…” she said to me.

Then – my “girlfriend” kissed me on the cheek – and – she walked towards door of the pub.

NEXT DAY – MORNING (at my Home in Auckland)

Next morning – I called my “girlfriend” – and – I told her that the “mission” had been accomplished.

Then – I called up my mother in India – and – I said to my mother:

“Ma – you can start looking for a suitable bride for me…”

“Bride…? You want me to search for a bride for you…? What happened to that girl over there in Auckland…? Your “Girlfriend”. Weren’t you supposed to meet her last evening…?” my mother said.

“Yes. I met her…”

“What happened…? Did you talk about marriage…? Did you propose to her…?”

“We talked about marriage – but – I didn’t propose to her…”

“Why…? What happened…? Did you have a fight…? Is there some problem with her…? You broke up with her…?”

“No – No – Ma – nothing like that at all – we are still good friends – but – she doesn’t want to get married – that’s all…”

“She doesn’t want to get married to you…? Why…? Why doesn’t she want to get married to you…?”

“It’s not me. She doesn’t want to get married to anyone – she prefers to remain single – that’s all…”

“She wants to remain unmarried…? Strange girl…”

“Ma – you forget about her. I am coming to India for a month during my Christmas Vacations. Please have some good girls lined up for me to see…” I said to my mother.

“Don’t worry – you’ll get the best of girls to select from…” my mother said, “You are a “prime catch” in the marriage market – you are a most eligible bachelor – and that too you are well settled in New Zealand – there will be so many good girls dying for the opportunity to go to Auckland and settle down in that lovely place…”

AFTERWORD

Well – my “girlfriend” who wanted to remain “happily single” – maybe she had “Gamophobia” (Fear of Marriage).

But – as far as I was concerned – I surely had “Anuptaphobia” (Fear of Staying Single).

Yes – I certainly did not want to remain a “chronic bachelor” for all my life.

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 blog post 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/2017/02/dinner-date-in-auckland.html

This is an updated and abridged repost of my story GAMOPHOBIA written by me Vikram Karve around 2 months ago in December 2016 and posted by me online in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog on Friday, December 2, 2016 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/gamophobia-fear-of-marriage.html

Immigration – Pathway Student

February 2, 2017

MIGRATION – THE “STUDENT PATHWAY”

Are You Taking the “Student Pathway” to Migrate for a “Better Life”…? 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/migration-student-pathway.html

Musings of a Veteran By Vikram Karve

THE “STUDENT PATHWAY”

In the 1970’s – my classmates used the “student pathway” to migrate abroad to the US and settle down there permanently to realize their “American Dream”

Those days – USA was the most sought after destination for youngsters who wanted to migrate away from India for a “better life”.

In fact – before “liberalization” (1991) – owing to various “socialist” restrictions – the “student pathway” was the only way to migrate and settle down in a foreign country.

“Liberalization” and “Globalization” created new options for aspiring migrants – like the “foreign job” option and “onsite work” option etc – which facilitated migration to a foreign country – but – even now – most aspiring migrants use the “student pathway” route to migrate and settle down in the country of their choice.

During my recent visit to New Zealand – I interacted with many youngsters from India – who were on the “student pathway” to realize their dream of settling down in New Zealand.

Today – in view of various favorable advantages and promising prospects – many youngsters want to migrate to New Zealand – and – they use the “student pathway” – since – New Zealand’s immigration policies include a post-study work pathway for international students who have completed a New Zealand qualification – which lets you find a job and get work experience in a field related to your studies and makes it easier to apply for residence and finally acquire citizenship.

All the youngsters I met in New Zealand – some students – and some working after completing their studies – all of them were desperate to settle down in New Zealand – and – not even a single youngster wanted to return back to India.

(In fact – New Zealand is such a lovely place that even visitors feel like staying on there forever – and – most visitors feel sad when their stay in New Zealand comes to an end and they have to return home)

The youngsters told me that one good plus-point of studying in New Zealand is that you can “earn while you learn” – since students are allowed to work part-time for a specified number of hours every week – and since the hourly “minimum wage” is quite good – students can earn enough to meet their daily needs.

Once they got accustomed to the “better life” in New Zealand – they did not want to return to India – and they wanted to permanently settle down in New Zealand “at any cost”.

I could see this desperate desire for residency (and finally citizenship) in most of the youngsters I met in New Zealand.

One of my friends who has settled down in New Zealand told me that this desperation (to remain in New Zealand) makes youngsters vulnerable to exploitation – especially after they complete their studies and are looking for a job in order to get a work visa – and later – when they want residency – in order to achieve their long term goal is to permanently settle in New Zealand.

She also told me another shocking fact.

She said that it was “our own people” who exploited young Indian migrants the most.

By the term “our own people” – she was referring to erstwhile Indians (who migrated from India to New Zealand many years ago and had got New Zealand Citizenship) – it was they who were exploiting new Indian Migrants the most.

I was shocked to hear this – that – in most cases – new migrants were being exploited by employers in their own ethnic communities.

I did see many young “Indian” migrants working in stores, malls, hotels, restaurants, cafes etc. – but – I was impressed by their “dignity of labour” which is a sign of egalitarian society – it was good to see that students/youngsters were ready to do any type of work to earn some extra money.

In fact – in the very café where my friend and I were sitting – it was an “Indian” migrant who was managing the counter and also serving us.

She told me a few stories – but – I thought they may be apocryphal.

But then – a few days ago – I read three news reports which shocked me.

Here are the url links to the news reports (click url to open on a new page):

  1. NZ dream turns to nightmare for international students

URL: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11760721

  1. Student Visa: ‘It’s not about education’

URL: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11759352

  1. ‘Sleep with me if you want your visa’ boss tells student worker

URL: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11760729

Let me add a disclaimer that what is described in these news reports may be aberrations – and may not be representative of the broad reality.

In fact – from my experience of the excellent social life I observed in New Zealand – I feel that these reports may be rare isolated exceptions – and – New Zealand certainly has a superior quality of life than most places.

Yes – New Zealand is a great place to visit, to study, to work – and – if you want – to migrate, reside and settle in.

But – if you are thinking of migrating permanently – you must make yourself aware of various aspects of the realities of life there.

The aim of this article is to generate a bit of awareness.

I do not intend to dissuade youngsters from migrating abroad to realize their dreams of a “better life”.

In fact – I would encourage youngsters to migrate to places where they can achieve their fullest potential and thereby contribute more to the world.

However – aspiring migrants must ensure they are aware of the pros and cons – especially if they are using the “student pathway” – so that they don’t fall victim to “education trafficking” and become vulnerable to exploitation.

EDUCATION TRAFFICKING

A newly coined term “Education Trafficking” refers to the phenomenon of enticing aspiring migrants to take the “student pathway” to get a permanent residency in the country of their choice.

These aspirants pay huge amounts of money to use the “student pathway” to migration since education is expensive in most developed countries.

(It is well known that education has become big business and there are many “stakeholders” who want a share in the pie).

The root cause of the problem of “Education Trafficking” does not lie in the new “host” country to which students want to migrate.

The root cause of the problem lies in the “donor” country “exporting” students – where various “Agents” and “Consultants” mislead and exploit gullible youngsters who are desperate to migrate overseas for a “better life”.

If you want to use the “student pathway” to migrate for a “better life” – please do so by all means – but ensure that you perform “due diligence” and carry out a “reality check” – so that you do not become vulnerable to exploitation once you migrate to the land of your dreams.

—————-

Dear Reader: Have you read my previous posts on my observations during my short stays in New Zealand…?

Here are a few of the URL links:

DO YOU WANT TO MIGRATE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY FOR A “BETTER LIFE”…?

URL:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/11/do-you-want-to-migrate-abroad-for.html

BOMBAY in New Zealand – Travel Tales

URL:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/11/bombay-in-new-zealand-travel-tales.html

Milford Sound is Awesome

URL:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/02/milford-sound-fiordland-south-new.html

WHY DO PEOPLE MIGRATE…?

URL:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/why-do-people-migrate-conversation-with.html

New Zealand Foodie Memories

URL:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/food-photos-new-zealand-trip.html

NEW ZEALAND FOOD DIARY OF A PURE VEGETARIAN

URL:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/02/food-diary-of-pure-vegetarian-in-new.html

Also – I intend writing a few more articles on my visits to New Zealand – and – I will post them in my blogs in due course for you to read and comment upon.

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 in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/migration-student-pathway.html

Repost of my post BEWARE OF “EDUCATION TRAFFICKING” posted online earlier at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/student-pathway-to-migration-beware-of.html

Immigration – For a “Better Life”

February 2, 2017

DO YOU WANT TO MIGRATE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY FOR A “BETTER LIFE”…? 

Musings By Vikram Karve

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/migration-for-better-life.html

WHY PEOPLE MIGRATE 

People migrate for multifarious reasons.

In a nutshell – the various reasons for migration can be categorized into “Push Factors” and “Pull Factors”.

Push Factors = Survival Migration

“Push Factor Migration” is “Survival Migration” – where people are “forced” to migrate – due to danger to life/limb because of war/conflict – or – inability to survive due to lack of food and bare necessities of life.

Such migrants who seek asylum in other countries when their life is endangered – or persons who migrate to escape from extreme poverty and deprivation – are called “Refugees”.

The present European Migrant Crisis is an example of “Push Factor” migration where refugees are fleeing from war-torn countries and seeking asylum in peaceful countries.

History is replete with examples of such “push factor survival migration” due to war, religious/political persecution, genocide, ethnic cleansing, safety/security issues, natural disasters/calamities, famines, droughts, floods etc.

Pull Factors = “Better Life” Migration

“Pull Factor Migration” is “Choice Migration” – where people “choose” to migrate for a “better life”.

These people migrate to more developed countries because they want to enjoy a Higher “Standard of Living” and live a Better “Quality of Life” –  to put it “metaphorically” – they migrate to realize their “American Dream”.

In this blog post (and a few more) – I will explore this type of “pull factor migration” from India – where people migrated abroad for a “Better Life”.

MIGRATING ABROAD FOR A “BETTER LIFE”

In the 1970’s – many of my classmates migrated abroad (mainly to the USA) for a “better life”.

They first migrated for “higher studies” – then – they took up jobs – and – they permanently settled down in the US – and later – in due course – they acquired American Citizenship.

A few settled down in England, Europe and other prosperous nations like Australia.

By migrating abroad – they certainly achieved their aim of a “Better Life”.

If not – they would have returned back to India.

But – no one returned – all of them became citizens of their “host” countries and have happily settled down there.

(One classmate did come back to India after a few years to take up a research job – but – he got frustrated by the working culture here and returned back to America. Another came back for the “sake of his children” – but – his children could not adjust in Indian schools – so even he went back to the US after 2 years of “experimenting”…)

Now – all of them are Foreign Citizens –and – of course – since our government is magnanimous to NRIs (Non Resident Indians) and PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) settled abroad – they have all acquired PIO cards – and – they taunt me that – even in India – a PIO with a Foreign Passport is treated better than an Indian Citizen.

When I observe their prosperity – and I hear about their fabulous lifestyle abroad – I too wish I had migrated abroad for a “better life” rather than spending my life “serving the nation” in uniform.

But – that is all in the distant past.

Recently – I visited New Zealand – and – I had the opportunity to interact with many Indian youngsters studying/working in New Zealand.

And yes – just like my “migrant” classmates in the 1970’s – even today – not even a single youngster wanted to return back to India – all of them wanted to settle down in New Zealand for a “Better Life” – or – use New Zealand as a stepping stone to migrate to Australia, America, Europe or other modern developed nations.

This phenomenon seems quite common – once they have got used to the “Better Life” abroad – no one wants to come back to India.

(Only two types of youngsters who go abroad for higher studies want to come back to India – children of politicians – and – children of businessmen – since – they can aspire for a much “Better Life” back home. Of course – there may be an odd “academician” who comes back to teach – but – these are exceptions to the rule)

Today – after “liberalization”, “globalization” and the “IT Boom” – it is even easier to migrate abroad – and – a large number of youngsters are desperate to migrate abroad for a “better life”.

Many developed countries encourage immigration because it helps them both economically and intellectually – economically – due to the huge fees paid by migrant students – and – intellectually – since they get skilled migrants to fill up their own skill shortages and augment high-tech domains with highly qualified/motivated migrants.

So – on the surface – it seems to be a “win-win” situation – especially for youngsters who want to migrate abroad for a “better life”.

MOOT QUESTION:

IS LIFE REALLY “BETTER” ABROAD IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES…?

Is life really “better” abroad – in the place where you are thinking of migrating…?

Are these young migrants really enjoying a “better life” as compared to the life they were living in India…?

Of course – they think so – otherwise – wouldn’t they return home…?

What do I think…?

Well – Dear Reader – in the next few posts I will tell you about my recent interactions with “migrant” youngsters – and – I will leave it for you to decide whether the “grass” is really “greener” on the other side…

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 original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/migration-for-better-life.html

Repost of my post DO YOU WANT TO MIGRATE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY FOR A “BETTER LIFE” posted online earlier at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/11/do-you-want-to-migrate-abroad-for.html

A “Niche” Date

February 2, 2017

A “NICHE” DATE 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/01/the-threesome-date.html

Short Fiction Story – A Love Story By Vikram Karve

After retirement – once in a while – I hark back to my wonderful Navy days – like I did this morning – while on my morning walk – and – I recalled this delightful “memoir” – which happened 40 years ago – in early 1977 to be precise – when I was a raw “Subbie” on my first sea tenure on a frontline warship based at Mumbai

At the time of the story (1977) – “Mumbai” was called “Bombay” – so I shall use the old name “Bombay” in the story – and – so will I use the old city names Madras and Calcutta prevalent at that time – now called Chennai and Kolkata respectively.

So – the moment I returned from my walk – I sat down on my laptop to write this love story – my first piece of creative writing in the year 2017.

Enjoy the Love Story….

Mumbai (then called Bombay) – Circa 1977

I stepped off the ship onto the ship’s gangway – I saluted – and – I walked down to the jetty.

After nearly a month at sea – I stood on solid ground – wondering what to do on my first evening ashore in Mumbai.

I saw Lieutenant “Q” walk down the gangway to the jetty – he was carrying a packet in his left hand.

I saluted Lieutenant “Q”  (Yes – in the Navy – we saluted in “Civvies” too)

Lieutenant “Q” returned my salute – and – he said to me: “So – you’re off to paint the town red…?”

“No, Sir…” I said.

“So – what are your plans for the evening…?” Lieutenant “Q” asked me.

“I don’t know, Sir…” I said.

“If you’ve got nothing better to do – why don’t you come with me…?” Lieutenant “Q”said.

“Thank you, Sir…” I said – and I started walking with Lieutenant “Q” – careful to keep in step with him – since he was the senior officer.

Yes – Lieutenant “Q” was the senior-most in-living officer on our ship – a “specialist” officer who was more than 6 years senior to me.

(Those days – after being commissioned as an Officer in the Navy – it took you 3 years to become a Lieutenant – and then – you remained a Lieutenant for 8 long years – before being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander after a total of 11 years of commissioned service – unlike today – when you see “greenhorns” – who haven’t yet fully grown their whiskers – strutting around wearing “two and a half stripes” of a Lieutenant Commander after just 6 years of commissioned service – thanks to the benevolent Ajai Vikram Singh Cadre Review Report aka AVS 2006 – which has reduced the value of senior ranks to subaltern status…)

Soon – we – Lieutenant “Q” and me – we were out of the Dockyard – and – I kept pace with Lieutenant “Q” as crossed the road and walked towards Kalaghoda.

“Sir – if I may ask – where are you going…?” I hesitatingly asked Lieutenant “Q”.

“I am going to meet my ‘girlfriend’…” Lieutenant “Q” said.

“Oh – you have a “date” with your girlfriend…?” I asked.

“Yes – you can say that – I have a “date” with my girlfriend…” he said.

“Oh – you have a date with your girlfriend – Sir – in that case – I will like to excuse myself…” I said.

“Why…?”

“Sir – I don’t want to be a “Kabab Mein Haddi” – a “Threesome”…” I said.

Lieutenant “Q” burst out laughing: “Ha Ha – “Threesome” – Ha Ha. Your imagination seems to be running wild. Don’t worry – it’s not that type of “date” – you come along – my girlfriend would love to meet you…”

We walked past the Wayside Inn, Rhythm House (opposite the Jehangir Art Gallery) – crossed the road – walked ahead on the street between the Sessions Court and the University – turned right on Mayo Road (adjacent the Oval Maidan) – and soon – we were outside the Bombay University Library below the iconic Rajabai Tower.

From the foyer – a girl waved out to Lieutenant “Q”.

Lieutenant “Q” waved back at the girl.

The girl came running towards us.

The girl was quite pretty – and – she seemed very excited to see Lieutenant “Q”.

“I am so happy to see you after a long time…” she said.

“Yes – it’s been 3 months – we had quite a long stint in the East…” Lieutenant “Q”said to her.

“I was so happy when you called this morning – I was waiting for you – and – I knew you would be dot on time – as always…” the girl said.

“Yes – the moment we tied up alongside and the shore-phone got connected – the first person I called was you – and luckily – you picked up – not your Library In-Charge…”Lieutenant “Q” said to her.

“That’s good – she’s quite a nosey-parker – she would have guessed why I wanted the “half-day” off…”

“It’s good we had a “make and mend” too – we deserved it – returning to harbour after a really long and arduous sailing…”

“Where all did you go…?”

“All over the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal – and we touched Madras (Chennai), Port Blair, Vizag, Calcutta (Kolkata) – even some small ports like Pondicherry, Tuticorin, Paradip etc…”

“Wow – it must have been exciting…?”

“Actually – it is quite a relief to be back in Bombay…” Lieutenant “Q” said.

Then – Lieutenant “Q” gave her the packet he was carrying – and he said to the girl: “I have got your books…”

The girl opened the packet – and – as she saw the books – her face was filled with joy.

The girl held a book in her hand – looked at Lieutenant “Q” with curiosity – and – she asked him: “How did you manage to get this rare “gem”…? It’s an “out of print” book – I never imagined that I would ever get to read this book. Where did you get it…?”

“College Street – Calcutta…” Lieutenant “Q” said, “You can get any book over there – if a book exists – you will find it at ‘College Street’…”

“Wow – look at this…” the girl said excitedly, holding another book, “It’s a “first edition” – I must say that you are really great – thank you so much for getting me all these books that I so desperately wanted…”

“Come on – don’t say “Thank You” and all that – it is the least I could do for my favourite girlfriend – and – this is a gift from me – so…”

“Okay – you are a real darling…” the girl said lovingly to Lieutenant “Q”.

All this while – I was standing like a “mute spectator”.

Lieutenant “Q” must have realized his gaffe – so he quickly introduced us – me and the girl – to each other.

The girl – who had just joined as a Librarian – said to me: “I always loved books – so – after my graduation – I followed my passion – I did my ‘Library Science’ Course – and now – I am among books all day…”

“So – what are the plans for the evening…?” Lieutenant “Q” asked the girl.

“Let’s go “Bookshop Crawling”…” she said.

I had heard of “Pub Crawling” – but this “Bookshop Crawling” was a new experience for me.

But – I quite enjoyed it.

We walked out of the University gate – turned right – passed the resplendent Gothic Style High Court Building – and then – started browsing books on the pavement book-stalls near the Central Telegraph Officer (CTO) on the road from Churchgate to Flora Fountain.

Then – we “bookshop crawled” – from Bookstore to Bookstore – on DN Road, PM Road, opposite VT – till we landed up at the iconic Secondhand Bookshop at Dhobi Talao on Kalbadevi Road.

It was a unique date – and – like the cliché saying – Lieutenant “Q” and his Girlfriend – they “walked” books and they “talked” books – and – I tried to get in a word too – whenever I got a chance.

In one of the book-stores – I noticed that the Girl liked a book – but – when she saw the price – she hesitated.

So – like a chivalrous “Knight in Shining Armour” – with a flourish – I pulled out my wallet – I bought the book – and – I presented it to her.

“No. No. How can I take this…” the girl protested.

“Oh – so you are “bribing” her with a book…? Are you trying to steal my girlfriend…?”Lieutenant “Q” said to me – looking miffed.

I blushed red with embarrassment.

“Ha Ha – it’s okay…” Lieutenant “Q” said to the girl, breaking into a smile, “Take the book – he’s a nice guy – he really wants you to have it…”

Lieutenant Q’s Girlfriend gave me a loving smile and said to me: “Thank you so much…”

We were enjoying “Book Crawling” so much – that – time passed in a jiffy – and – I did not realize that almost 4 hours had passed.

Suddenly the girl looked at her watch and said: “Oh My God – it’s past 8 – I have to go home…”

We walked via Metro – to Marine Lines – turned left – and walked towards Churchgate Station where she would catch a local to her home in Bandra.

“Hey – remember – I told you on the phone – we have got a “date” next week – on Saturday…” the girl said to Lieutenant “Q”.

“Of course I remember – the “Book Fair”…” Lieutenant “Q” said to her.

“We’ll really have a good time…” the girl said – then – she looked at me – and – she said to me: “Why don’t you come along too…? You like books – don’t you…? We all will have a good time at the Book Fair…”

“I would love to come – if…” I hesitated – and I looked at Lieutenant “Q”

“You are most welcome to join us…” Lieutenant “Q” said to me, “I am sure you will enjoy the Book-Fair…”

“Yes, Sir…” I said.

Then – we waved good-bye to Lieutenant Q’s Girlfriend at Churchgate.

After she left – we walked back to our ship.

“So…” Lieutenant “Q” said to me, “did you like my Girlfriend…?”

“Yes…” I said, “She is cute…”

“Ha Ha – ‘cute’…” Lieutenant “Q” laughed.

“She is really passionate about books…” I said.

“Yes – she is a true ‘bibliophile’…” Lieutenant “Q” said.

“Sir – I never imagined that you would be such a ‘booklover’…” I said.

“Really…? Why…?” Lieutenant “Q” asked me.

“You look so ‘rough and tough’…” I said.

“Ha Ha – well – things are not always as they look from the outside…” Lieutenant “Q” said, “There are many facets about me that you do not know…”

For some time – we walked in silence.

Then – as we approached our ship – Lieutenant “Q” said to me: “It was good of you to gift her that book. I hope you remember that we have got a “threesome date”next week…”

“Of course I remember, Sir – we are going to the “Book Fair”…” I said.

To be continued… 

VIKRAM KARVE

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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.

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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/01/the-threesome-date.html

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