Archive for September 10th, 2019

Poodle-Faking – Two “Dates” on Marine Drive  

September 10, 2019

Sometime ago – a Foodie Friend and Me – we just sat over snacks and coffee and had a long talk.

After talking to each other – we both felt good.

Yes – I felt good – and – she felt good.

And – I remembered this story I had written long ago…

POODLE-FAKING aka DOING NOTHING 

TWO “DATES” ON MARINE DRIVE 

Short Fiction – Romance and Philosophy – A Lazy Mumbai Story

A Spoof By Vikram Karve

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Here is one of my Lazy Mumbai Stories.

I wrote this story more than 16 years ago – in early 2003 – after a walk on Marine Drive.

I spent many years in Mumbai – thanks to the Navy – in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

And then – again – I enjoyed the 6 best years of my life in Mumbai – from the year 2000 to 2006.

During these happy 6 years – I was very lucky.

I lived in a beautiful heritage building called Empress Court opposite the Oval.

Every morning I woke up sharp at 6 AM to the chimes of the majestic clock on the University of Mumbai Rajabai Tower – and – I would be off to Marine Drive for my brisk morning jog-cum-walk from Churchgate to Chowpatty and back – right till land’s end at Nariman Point.

This morning walk on Marine Drive was for physical exercise.

Every evening – after returning from work – I would head towards Marine Drive again for another walk – and – I would return home late – after enjoying the glorious spectacle of sunset – the panoply of colours as the orange sun was swallowed up in the Arabian Sea.

This time it was a walk to “DO NOTHING” – a leisurely walk to relax the mind – not exercise the body.

The morning walk was to exercise the body.

So – it was a brisk walk – a walk-cum-jog with exercises on the way.

The evening walk was to relax the mind.

Just a unhurried stroll.

To admire the sunset as the sea swallowed up the orange sun.

To watch pretty young things (and the even prettier not-so-young things) head home from work.

To have a bite, peanuts, bhel, pani puri at the famous B-Road stall, sweet curds at Rustom near Churchgate or maybe even a green chilly ice cream at Bachellor’s opposite the chowpatty.

It was during these glorious POODLE-FAKING aka DOING NOTHING interregnums that the right side of my brain would take over and my mind would wander with interesting creative thoughts which, sometimes, would give birth to story, like this one – aptly titled POODLE-FAKING aka DOING NOTHING.

Dear Reader – here is this story once again.

Yes – on request from one of my like-minded friends, a walking partner on many of my lazy Mumbai walks, let me pull out from my creative writing archives, one of my all time favourites, a fiction short story I wrote many years ago – a lazy Mumbai story set on Marine Drive – POODLE-FAKING aka DOING NOTHING.

Remember – I wrote this story more than 16 years ago – in early 2003 – when I was a “busy” man – yet – a poodle-faker.

Yes – I was a busy man – trying to find time for “doing nothing”

Now – after retirement – I can spend my entire time “doing nothing”

Hope you enjoy this old-fashioned romance.

Do tell me if you like it.

POODLE-FAKING aka DOING NOTHING  A Romantic Story by Vikram Karve 

TWO “DATES” ON MARINE DRIVE  

Mumbai – Circa 2003 

“Date” No. 1

“DATE” WITH ROOPA 

“What do you do…?” she asks.

“Nothing…!” I say.

“What do you mean ‘NOTHING’…?” she asks, “You must be doing something…!”

“I do nothing…!” I say emphatically.

“Come on Vinay, stop kidding. I know you work somewhere.”

“Work…? You asked me what I do, not where I work…! I work at the Bureau of Statistics.”

“Bureau of Statistics…? What statistics…?”

“Vital Statistics.”

“Vital Statistics…?” she asks with her eyebrows arched in curious surprise.

“No, No. It’s not what you’re thinking. I meant statistics that are vital,” I say, trying to correct the faux pas. “We compile, collate, consolidate, analyze and disseminate various vital statistics.”

“Wow…! How interesting…! Tell me more.”

“You can say that I am an obsolescent man dealing with obsolete things.”

“Obsolescent man…? Obsolete things…? I don’t understand. Where exactly do you work…?”

“I’m in the smallpox section.”

“Smallpox…?”

“Yes. Smallpox. I maintain statistics pertaining to smallpox.”

“That’s funny…! I thought smallpox was eradicated long back.”

“Smallpox may have been eradicated, but my office is still going strong,” I say proudly.

It is true – sometimes the ends vanish, but the means proliferate and flourish till eternity.

“I can’t believe it…! If there’s no smallpox around, why maintain statistics…?” she asks.

“If you don’t maintain statistics how will the world come to know that something has vanished, disappeared or become obsolete…?”

“Oh, so you work on vital statistics for things that are obsolete…?”

“Yes. Obsolete…! Earlier I worked in the typewriters statistics section and it was we who discovered that typewriters had become obsolete the moment we had nothing to do…!”

“But what do you do whole day…?”

“Nothing…!” I answer emphatically. “I told you I do nothing, didn’t I…?”

“Don’t you feel bored, restless, doing nothing whole day…? Soon you’ll go crazy…!”

“Bored, restless, crazy…? Not at all. Thanks to my work, I have developed the ability to savor long hours of leisure – a gift most of you so-called ‘busy’ people have lost, or probably never acquired.”

Yes indeed, my dear Reader – I do nothing.

That’s what I love to do the most – that’s what I do best – and that’s what I do almost all the time – ‘Nothing’…!

Well, actually, I love doing nothing because for most of the time I have nothing to do.

I have plenty of leisure – plenty of time to do nothing – which is rare in a place like Mumbai – and I am always busy doing nothing.

My life’s leitmotif is that famous epigram of Chang Cha’ao:

Only those who take leisurely what the people of the world are busy about can be busy about what the people of the world take leisurely.

I told you I have the ability to enjoy and savor long hours of leisure – a talent which is quite rare in today’s hectic world where everyone is busy running their own rat-race.

I am lucky to enjoy so much leisure – for I am not running in any rat-race.

I may not be a rat – but I am a man of no importance – neither handsome – nor wealthy – nor successful – nor powerful – nor famous – nor – indeed – particularly well endowed.

How can I describe myself…?

The most apt word may be ‘anonymous’

Oh yes – I am an ordinary man who looks so undistinguished and commonplace – that you won’t notice me in a crowd – or even if there is no crowd – for I just blend into the surroundings.

And in my anonymity lies my power – my freedom – to do nothing.

You may call me an idler, a loafer, a loser, a failure – but I just don’t care – as long as I can pleasurably wallow, revel and rejoice in my anonymity – ‘doing nothing’.

Indeed – anonymity is a sine qua non for my ‘doing nothing’ philosophy of life.

Hey, we have digressed…!

Enough of pontification – now let me get back to the story…

FLASHBACK – How the tete-a-tete with Roopa started… 

Let’s return to the conversation I am having with the beautiful lady and let me tell you how it all started.

One evening I leave my office – after a busy day of “Doing Nothing” – I cross through the Horniman Circle garden, walk down Vir Nariman Road, past Flora Fountain, cross MG road at Hutatma Chowk, pick up a Vada Pav at Ashok Satam’s stall next to the CTO, stroll leisurely towards Churchgate while the sea of humanity rushes by like a deluge, fortify myself with a refreshing cup of Irani tea at Stadium restaurant and then I sit on the parapet on Marine Drive staring vacantly at the tranquil sea doing what I do best – Nothing…!

“Hi…!” says a melodious feminine voice shaking me out of my reverie. I turn around.

It’s Roopa, my classmate from college.

She is quite a looker and I feast my eyes on her in a yearning sort of way which is worth a hundred compliments.

She blushes at the genuine admiration in my eyes and says, “It’s so nice to see you, Vinay. After so many years. And here of all the places…!”

“I like this place. It’s one of my favorites. I come here most evenings,” I say.

“And what were you doing sitting and staring blankly at the sea like a lost case…?”

“Nothing…!”

“Nothing…? You spend every evening here doing “Nothing”…?”

“Yes…” I say, “Of course, once in a while I go to the Gateway, or Land’s End at Nariman Point, or the Chowpatty side, or even Hanging Gardens. But this is my favorite place for hanging out and doing nothing and most evenings I am here on Marine Drive.”

“What do you do…?” she asks.

“Nothing…!” I say.

(And then – we – Roopa and Me – we have the conversation about my work that I have described earlier in the beginning – at the start of my story – I am repeating the conversation for the sake of continuity …)

“What do you do…?” Roopa asks.

“Nothing…!” I say.

“What do you mean ‘NOTHING’…?” she asks, “You must be doing something…!”

“I do nothing…!” I say emphatically.

“Come on Vinay, stop kidding. I know you work somewhere.”

“Work…? You asked me what I do, not where I work…! I work at the Bureau of Statistics.”

“Bureau of Statistics…? What statistics…?”

“Vital Statistics.”

“Vital Statistics…?” she asks with her eyebrows arched in curious surprise.

“No, No. It’s not what you are thinking. I meant statistics that are vital,” I say, trying to correct the faux pas. “We compile, collate, consolidate, analyze and disseminate various vital statistics.”

“Wow…! How interesting…! Tell me more.”

“You can say that I am an obsolescent man dealing with obsolete things.”

“Obsolescent man…? Obsolete things…? I don’t understand. Where exactly do you work…?”

“I’m in the smallpox section.”

“Smallpox…?”

“Yes. Smallpox. I maintain statistics pertaining to smallpox.”

“That’s funny…! I thought smallpox was eradicated long back.”

“Smallpox may have been eradicated, but my office is still going strong,” I say proudly. It is true – sometimes the ends vanish, but the means proliferate and flourish till eternity.

“I can’t believe it…! If there’s no smallpox around, why maintain statistics…?”

“If you don’t maintain statistics how will the world come to know that something has vanished, disappeared or become obsolete…?”

“Oh, so you work on vital statistics for things that are obsolete…?”

“Yes. Obsolete…! Earlier I worked in the typewriters statistics section and it was we who discovered that typewriters had become obsolete the moment we had nothing to do…!”

“But what do you do whole day…?”

“Nothing…!” I answer emphatically. “I told you I do nothing, didn’t I…?”

“Don’t you feel bored, restless, doing nothing whole day…? Soon you’ll go crazy…!”

“Bored, restless, crazy…? Not at all. Thanks to my work, I have developed the ability to savor long hours of leisure – a gift most of you so-called ‘busy’ people have lost, or probably never acquired.”

“Aren’t you happy to see me…?” she asks.

“Of course I am happy to see you,” I say looking directly into her large brown eyes.

“You’ve told me everything about yourself – but you haven’t asked me anything about me,” she says.

“I’m no nosy parker. I don’t like to be too inquisitive,” I say.

“Inquisitive…? But you can be a bit curious, can’t you…? Don’t you want to know about me…? What all I’ve achieved since college, what I’m doing, my work – aren’t you interested in me…?” she asks.

“I was always interested in you. Don’t you remember…? It was you who never gave me any bhav. You used me as a messenger to carry love letters to your boyfriends, that’s all,” I say.

“Please don’t say that. You know you were so sweet, that you were the only boy we all girls could confide in, talk to freely, knowing you would keep our secrets safe,” she says.

“Okay Roopa, confide in me. Tell me, what are doing here…?”

“I’ve come for my visa. They said it’d take an hour. So I just came here to kill time.”

“Visa…? Here in Churchgate…? I thought the visa office was in Breach Candy or somewhere there…!”

“That’s the US Consulate. I’ve already got that. The UK visa office is here. In the Brabourne Stadium building, near Rustom Ice Cream.”

“Ah…! Rustoms…! Come on Roopa, let’s have some ice cream. Or sweet curds. Or whatever you like.”

“Let’s eat something first. That place looks good,” she says pointing to the Pizzeria, opposite the Marine Drive, where Talk of the Town was once there. “We’ll sit there and talk. And have some pizza.”

I order a huge special pizza, she orders a small one, and she begins talking about herself.

I am easy to talk to, for I listen well. You’ll understand what I mean once you talk to me. I know when to egg you on… by a subtle gesture, an encouraging look, or an appreciative word of genuine interest. It’s all about building rapport…sensory acuity…matching and mirroring…if you’ve done NLP you know what I mean. Believe me… I have the knack… and when you talk to me your words will just come tumbling out.

Roopa tells me everything, about her Masters in Computers after we graduated in Maths, her natural talent in Software, her meteoric success, her globetrotting projects, her career rise from job to job, from Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, to her present job in a top IT company in Pune. And also about her recent marriage to Deepak, another hotshot IT professional working in the same company as hers. She shows me Deepak’s photo – yes he does look an IT Nerd, no doubt about it…

“You know Vinay,” she says excitedly, “I am on the verge of breaking the glass ceiling. This project, the next one year, is crucial, it’s a do or die situation for me. If I succeed, my life is made forever. It will be a career breakthrough for me and there will be no looking back. I’ll be able to set up my own company. Maybe move to the States, Seattle.”

I nod and focus on my pizza.

“It’s going to be very hectic. US, UK, Europe, Far East, Middle East, everywhere – I’ll be globetrotting all over, living out of a suitcase.”

“Great,” I say. “When do you take off…? Tonight…?”

“I wish I could, but there’s a small hitch.”

“Hitch…?”

“I’m pregnant.”

“Fantastic…!” I say… but from the expression on her face I instantly realize that I have said the wrong thing, so I look down into my pizza and pretend to dig deep.

“It’s all wrong. The timing, I mean,” she says. “I’m so meticulous at work… I just don’t know how I could be so careless in my personal life and mess up everything.”

I say nothing.

She wants to hear silence, silent approbation, and that is what she will hear.

That’s the trick… always say something that the person you are talking to wants to hear… otherwise just keep quiet.

“I have to do something fast…!”

“You asked your husband…?”

“Are you mad…? The moment Deepak comes to know, he’ll start jumping with joy for having proven his virility. Everyone will come to know. And it will be curtains for me as far as this project is concerned.”

“You can still go, can’t you…?”

“It’s a one year project. The moment my MCP bosses hear I’m pregnant, they will have me out of the project straightaway. And my husband – he’ll be the happiest. As it is he is inwardly jealous that I’ve got this project… that I’ll succeed and leave him behind. I must do something fast, isn’t it…?”

My mouth full of pizza, I nod my head.

“Vinay, please tell me,” she says getting emotional, “my priorities are right, aren’t they…?”

“Yes, of course, your priorities are right,” I say emphatically.

“What do you say? Now, at this crucial juncture, I should focus on my career, don’t you think? I can always have all the children I want later… isn’t it?”

“Very right. Very right…!” I say. “Roopa, you’re absolutely right…!”

“Thanks, Vinay. I’m so lucky I met you. You are the only one I’ve told all this. Thanks for talking to me. You’ve helped me make my decision,” she says extending her hand on the table.

I place my hand on hers, press gently and look into her brown eyes.

“You’re such a darling, Vinay,” she says, “it’s so comforting to talk to you.”

And then tears well up in her eyes and suddenly she breaks down – oblivious of the surroundings.

I move across, caress her head and gently soothe her.

We talk a bit – and I walk her down to Rustom for a ‘Sandwich Ice Cream’ – then she collects her visa – and I bid good bye to a reassured, composed and determined Roopa as she gets into a taxi on her way to catch a Volvo Bus to Pune.

(Some more of “poodle-faking” aka doing nothing”… with Nina) 

“Date” No. 2

“DATE” WITH NINA

Happy at having comforted Roopa – I leisurely stroll towards my favorite place on Marine Drive to continue my poodle faking aka ‘doing nothing’.

 

I rinse my lungs with the refreshing sea breeze – and suddenly I smell a strong whiff of perfume – or maybe – it’s one of those overpowering deodorants…!

I turn around.

It is the ravishing Nina – another of my ‘achiever’ go-getter classmates – who – after completing her MBA – is now a hotshot in a top MNC.

I have seen her sometimes on Marine Drive – in her chauffeur driven car – driving home late evening from her office in Nariman Point to her home on Malabar Hill.

Once she even stopped and asked me if I wanted a lift – an offer I politely declined.

Then Nina asked me what I was doing – and when I told her I was ‘doing nothing’ – she gave me an uncanny smile – and I notice that every time she sees me ‘doing nothing’ at my favorite spot on Marine Drive from her car – she looks at me in a curious sort of way.

Doing Nothing…?” Nina asks naughtily, her eyes dancing.

“Yes. How did you know…?”

“Come on, Vinay…! You told me once, remember…? I see you here almost every evening while driving home.”

“And you never stop to say hello…?”

“I don’t want to disturb your penance.”

“Penance…? That’s malapropism…!”

“Sorry. I mean your ‘doing nothing’ meditation…”

“That’s better…! And what makes you disturb my meditation now…?”

“I want to talk to you.”

“Okay. Talk.”

“Not here. Too many people here. Let’s go to some quiet place where we can be alone.”

“Hanging Gardens…? Remember our favorite bench in the secluded corner…?”

“Okay. But don’t do anything naughty…!”

“Let’s go. Where is your car…?”

“I let it go and I walked down from my office. Didn’t want the driver getting too curious.”

“Okay, I’ll get a cab. Hey, why not just walk down Marine Drive…? Walking and talking – it wouldn’t look suspicious.”

“Okay,” she says, “let’s walk and talk.”

And we walk and we talk.

Being a ‘facts and figures’ finance person – Nina doesn’t beat about the bush – but she comes straight to the point.

“I’m pregnant…” she announces.

I suppress my emotion.

This is too much for one evening.

First Roopa is pregnant – and now Nina.

Coincidence, serendipity, I don’t know what – or maybe it’s pregnancy season.

This time I am careful not to say anything.

“Aren’t you going to congratulate me?” she asks.

“Of course. Congratulations!” I say.

“You’re the first one I’ve told. I just got the report this evening.”

“Your husband…? You didn’t tell your husband…?”

“No.”

“Oh my God…! Is the father of your baby someone else…?”

“Shut up…!”

“I’m sorry. But you must tell your husband immediately.”

“And he will immediately rush me to the nearest abortionist…!”

“What…?”

“We took all the precautions, but it’s happened. I want the baby.”

“Of course you must have the baby,” I say.

“I must. Isn’t it…? What do you feel – I must have the baby – isn’t it…?”

“Of course you must have the baby. But why doesn’t your husband want the baby…?”

“I told him that when I have a baby – I am going to quit my job – at least take a long break to bring up my child. That’s the right thing to do – isn’t it…?”

“Oh yes – of course that’s the right thing to do.”

“I feel being a full time mother is more important. At least when the baby is small – isn’t it…?”

“Of course being a full time mother is most important – especially when the baby is small. You must take care of yourself from right now. Come on – I’ll call a taxi. You shouldn’t strain yourself so much.”

“How sweet of you…! But just let’s sit there by the sea for some time…”

“Tell me – why doesn’t your husband want you to have a baby now…?”

“Because he knows I will quit my job.”

“So…?”

“Who is going to pay the EMI for the luxurious penthouse apartment he wants to book…?”

“Penthouse Apartment…? It can wait. The baby is more important.”

“That is precisely what I’ have been saying since we got married.”

“So…?”

“He feels we should first have all the material things – all the comforts – before we have a baby.”

“Your husband has got his priorities wrong.”

“He’s wrong – isn’t it…?”

“Yes – he is wrong. And you are right…”

“So I should go ahead with the baby – isn’t it…?”

“Of course.”

“And I should quit my job…?”

“Of course you should quit your job for the sake of your baby. Nina – you go and tell your husband right away and put your foot down. Tell him: ‘The baby takes priority – the penthouse apartment can come later’…” I say firmly to Nina.

“I will, I will – of course I will – I will tell him the moment I reach home…” Nina says – looking happy and emboldened.

“You must do what your conscience tells you. Listen to your inner voice. Be the strong girl like you were in college…” I say.

Nina gives me a genuine smile of affection and she says, “I’m so glad I talked to you, Vinay. Thanks for helping me make my decision.”

We sit for some time by the sea at Chowpatty at the end of Marine Drive and marvel at the spectacle of the sun being swallowed by the sea.

Then I walk Nina to a taxi – and she leaves after giving me a warm hug.

I walk down Marine Drive in the twilight and reflect.

Roopa and Nina.

What contrasts…!

I loved talking to them.

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

Talking to someone who needs comforting seems to make my own troubles go away

Dear Reader: Do you agree?

Sometimes 
– when you are feeling low – if you talk to someone who needs comforting for her troubles – you find that you feel better – and you forget your own problems.

Yes. 


Talking to someone who needs comforting – this can make your own troubles go away 

Maybe – this is the reason why people do counselling – they want to forget their own worries.  

If you have worries – and – you counsel someone who has problems – maybe – this talking to a person who needs comforting – this makes you forget your own worries. 

Have you experienced this…? 


Do comment and let us know your views.

Till then – HAPPY POODLE-FAKING aka DOING NOTHING 

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  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)

An Updated and Revised Version of My Story POODLEFAKING written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2003 and posted by me online a number of times on my various creative writing blogs including at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/poodlefaking_63078_blog  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/08/poodlefaking-catharsis-and-doing.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/12/poodle-faking.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/08/humour-doing-nothing-short-story.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/philosophical-romancing-on-marine-drive.html  andhttp://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/09/poodle-faking-aka-doing-nothing.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/the-poodle-faker-ladies-man.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/two-dates-on-marine-drive.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/05/just-talking-story.html etc

Inspirational Talk by Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode to 1st Course Cadets at Indian Military Academy (1932)

September 10, 2019

Sharing from a Veterans Forum

Wonderful and prescient!

FIELD MARSHAL CHETWODE’S ADDRESS TO THE FIRST TERMERS OF THE FIRST COURSE AT THE IMA, Dehradun ON 10 DEC 1932

Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, after whom the main building and its central hall are named, inaugurated the Academy on 10 December 1932 on the penultimate day of the first term. Appointed Commander-in-Chief, India in 1930 and promoted to Field Marshal in 1932, FM Philip Chetwode was much concerned with the modernisation and “Indianisation” of the army in India. A large number of Indian and European guests witnessed the occasion. The crowning glory of this landmark event was the inaugural address by Field Marshal Chetwode, delivered in the hallowed hall of the Academy. His speech, a pointed piece of stirring oration, has come to acquire immortality as a passage from his address, has been adopted as the ‘Credo’ of the Academy. The Chetwode adage echoes in every military establishment of India and beckons the officers to their duty.

We all remember the credo by heart; read the full address now.

In reply (to the Welcome Address by Brig LP Collins, DSO, OBE of 4 GR, Comdt), His Excellency (FM Philip Chetwode) said:

“I wish I could have welcomed the Gentlemen Cadets of the new Indian Military Academy on the day they first made their appearance here, for it was a memorable day in the history of the Indian Army. I could not do so, because it was pointed out to me that they had not yet received their uniform, nor were they sufficiently drilled to make an inspection of parade possible. At the request of the Commandant I, therefore, postponed my visit till today, when he said that he would be ready to receive and I should like to thank him and all those who, under considerable pressure of work, have made this meeting possible”.

“I have taken the opportunity of my first formal inspection of the Indian Military Academy to invite a number of distinguished Indian gentlemen and especially those who assisted me as members of the Indian Sandhurst Committee to be my guests here today”.

“Such an institution has been long asked for and much discussed. It is an Indian institution for Indians, open to Indians of all castes and creeds, and paid for by Indians, and I am most anxious that representative Indians should see it themselves and give us the opportunity of showing them that we, Army authorities, are determined to make it in every way worthy of the Indian Army – and that it is a high standard – and in no way inferior to the corresponding institutions in England”.

“Indian politicians here today know that there has been a strong and persistent demand for an Indian Military Academy ever since self-government for India emerged from the clouds of pious aspiration on to the firmer ground of an accepted policy. The so-called Skeen Committee recommended that an Indian Sandhurst should be started in 1933. Events have moved more quickly than they anticipated, and we have been able to antedate that by one year and today you see for yourselves hopes translated into facts”.

“We had to start this Academy at a most inopportune moment during the greatest world-wide financial crisis of all time, and the prospect of having to find money to build it filled me, I confess, with gloom. We have, therefore, been fortunate in being able to make immediate use of the buildings you see today situated in a most convenient locality, with water and electric light already there, and providing the necessary military atmosphere at far less cost than if we had had to build ourselves from the beginning”.

“The buildings you see here today are only half of what the Academy will eventually consist of, but they are sufficient for the needs of the moment, and we shall show you today what we propose to do in the future, when the numbers reach their full complement of over 200 Cadets”.

“It is only natural at this stage of Indian history, when she is more than half-way to the goal of responsible government in other spheres, that some should be dissatisfied with the progress we have made towards the time when she will stand on her own feet in matters of defence. It is a mere platitude to say that there can be no full responsibility until that happens. That is an inescapable fact; but quite a number of people appear to think that goal could be reached in a very short time if we, who are still responsible for the government of India, chose to use seven-league boots. I would ask them to remember that the problem of providing for the self-government of India is unique in the history of the world, and those who are now getting down to the practical difficulties of how to translate the idea into the actual are finding in the process a large number of very difficult fences in front of them. If they are doing so in matters, political, financial and administrative, I can assure you that the problem of the defence of this great sub-continent is even more difficult. Knowing this, we should be criminal fools if we took hasty steps forward without being quite sure that each last foothold was firmly fixed on the rock of efficiency. If the army in India is not up to its work, and does not command the full confidence of the people and the fear and respect of its enemies and evil-doers, India would indeed be in bad case”.

“We began with a small experiment of Indianizing eight units, and we have in the last two years taken several big steps forward. We have more than doubled the number of units in the process of Indianization, and, in addition, we open all Arms, Services and Departments to Indians for the first time. Now we have opened this Indian Military Academy. I would also mention the very important fact that the first Indian King’s Commissioned Officer has been admitted to the Staff College”.

“I now address myself to the Gentlemen Cadets in particular. I welcome you as the first cadets of a purely Indian Military Academy. I also welcome the Gentlemen Cadets from the Indian States”.

“With the federal idea before us, it is just as important that the officer of the State Forces should be highly educated as it is in the case of those in British India”.

“I now impress upon you and upon the Indian officers who have already joined the Army under the new conditions during the last eight years, the Indian’s ability to assume full responsibility for her defence and the date by which she will be able to assume that responsibility depends almost entirely on you, on those who have preceded you and are now officers, and those who will, follow you in this Academy”.

“We have got the men who will serve under you in the ranks. No better material exists in the world, and they have proved it on many stricken fields; but hitherto they have been led by us, and now they are to be led by you. That great task is before you and before these who will follow you here to prove you are fit to teach gallant men in peace and to gain their confidence and lead them in war”.

“Some of you already possess experience of the Army and are here, with the great traditions of the Indian Officer behind you, to enter on a wider and more responsible field of service. To others of you a military life is entirely new. But to all of you I say: Do not be dismayed at the responsibility that will rest on your shoulders. I believe you will prove you are worthy to assume it. This Academy will give you in every respect the same facilities that are given to young British officers at Woolwich and Sandhurst. I assure you now that, in this College and afterwards in the army, you will be given willing and ungrudging help in fitting yourselves, to your task. We can do no more, the rest lies with you”.

“May I also beg you to remember that an Army requires highly trained staff officers and leaders, and does not consist only of regimental units, and that you will have equal opportunity with British officers to enter the Staff College. It will be absolutely necessary for a considerable proportion of you to take advantage of this, if the Indian Army is to be a success”.

“In wishing well to this Academy, and especially to the first batch of Gentlemen Cadets, I venture to offer you two pieces of advice”.

“Firstly, the Indian young man of education seems very attracted by politics. May I urge you to remember that politics do not, and cannot, find any place in Army life. An Army can have no politics. It is the paid servant of the people, and is at the disposal of the Government of the day, whatever may be the political complexion of that Government. Once there is any suspicion that an Army, or any part of it, is biased politically, from that moment the Army has lost the hill confidence of the nation who pays for it. It is no longer impartial, and that way lies chaos and civil war”.

“Secondly, I would ask you to remember that you have come here to have your first lessons in three principles which must guide an officer of a National Army, and they are :-

First, the safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.

Second, the honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.

Third, your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.

I wish all success to the Indian Military Academy and to those who are now commencing their military careers within its walls”.

Talk to Me

September 10, 2019

I like to talk to people.

Before retirement – in the Navy – there were always plenty of people to talk to.

After retirement – with Kids having grown up and flown away from the “nest” – and – Wife busy with her career during the day – I am all alone at home – and – since I don’t live in Pune’s “Military Ghetto” – I am friendless – and – I have no one to talk to.

So – whenever I meet someone – I say: “Talk to me…”

TALK TO ME

Story By Vikram Karve

“Talk to me…” the old man said.

“What is it…?” his wife said.

“I want to talk to you…” he said.

“Please – don’t spoil my mood in the morning – I am getting late for work…” she said.

“But I want to talk to you…” he said.

“Okay – what is it…?” she said, irritably.

“I am feeling depressed…” he said.

“Not again…!!! Stop complaining all the time that you are “depressed” – “your problem is that you have no problems” – you sit at home all day doing nothing – an empty mind is the devil’s workshop – why don’t you take up that job they are offering you…?” she said.

“I don’t want to do that job – I don’t want to do any job – I was a full Colonel in the Army – a senior officer with rank and status – and just see the type of humiliating jobs they are offering me…” he said.

“You don’t want to do a job – you don’t want to sit at home. Tell me – what do you want me to do…?” she said.

“Talk to me…” the old man said to his wife.

“Not now – I am already late – please let me go to work…” his wife said.

And soon – the old man’s wife left for work.

The old man picked up his mobile cell-phone and called up his son.

“Talk to me…” the old man said to his son.

“Dad – are you crazy – do you know what time it is out here…?” the old man’s son said from New York, “it is almost midnight – you have woken me up from my sleep…”

“But – I want to talk to you…” the old man said.

“Please Dad – I have had a very hard day – I am extremely tired and I want to sleep – I will call you when I wake up in the morning – after 7 hours…” the old man’s son said – and he disconnected the phone.

The old man called up his daughter – who lived in Australia.

His daughter was in her office.

It was a busy afternoon – and she was about to go for an important meeting.

Suddenly – her mobile cellphone started ringing.

She was surprised to see that her father was calling from India.

“Yes, Dad…?” the old man’s daughter said, impatiently.

“Talk to me…” the old man said to his daughter.

“What…? Dad – are you okay…?” the old man’s daughter said.

“I want to talk to you…” the old man said.

“Not now, Dad – I am really very busy in office – I am on my way to a meeting – I will call you after a few hours – when I get home in the evening…” the old man’s daughter said.

The old man’s daughter disconnected the call – she put her smartphone on “silent” mode.

Then – she hurried for the meeting.

The old man sat all alone in his house – feeling terrible.

Earlier – he would talk to his pet dog – but now – even his pet dog was dead and gone to his heavenly abode.

The old man called up his ex-Army buddy – but found his mobile phone “switched off”.

Maybe – his ex-Army buddy was lecturing in the Business School where he went quite often to deliver lectures.

The old man called up another ex-Army buddy – a coursemate – but his mobile phone was “out of coverage area”.

Maybe – his coursemate was playing golf.

The old man felt miserable.

Gloomy thoughts perambulated in his mind.

Despondency overwhelmed him – and this pushed him further into deep depression.

The old man desperately wanted to talk to someone and unburden himself of his woes.

As a last resort – the old man decided to talk to his nephew – who was a psychiatrist.

The old man dialled the psychiatrist’s mobile number.

No one picked up – but – in response – the old man received an SMS asking him to call a landline number.

The old man dialled the landline number.

A lady – probably a receptionist at his nephew’s clinic – she picked up the phone.

I want to talk to Dr. “X” …” the old man said.

“Are you an existing patient…?” the receptionist said.

“No – I am his uncle – I want to talk to him urgently…” the old man said.

“Sir – I will give you an appointment in the evening…” the receptionist said.

“Not in the evening – I want to talk to him right now…” the old man said.

“Sorry Sir – Dr. “X” does not see any patients in the morning…” the receptionist said.

“I am his bloody uncle…!!! I want to talk to him right now…!!! Do you understand…?” the old man shouted.

“Please, Sir – Dr. “X” is conducting the weekly clinical update now – and he has told us that he is not to be disturbed – why don’t you come in the evening, Sir – I will give you an appointment at 6 PM – that is the only slot available today – please tell me your name, Sir…” the receptionist said.

“I told you that I want to talk to him right now…” the old man yelled.

The receptionist disconnected the phone.

The old man could bear it no longer.

The old man got out of his flat – he entered the lift – and – he went down to the ground floor.

The old man desperately wanted to talk to someone.

But – everyone seemed busy.

Even the security staff at the gate looked busy – the guards were busy checking visitors and vehicles – and the supervisor was making entries in registers.

The old man walked to the security gate – and he said to the security supervisor:

“Give me the rooftop terrace key…”

“Why do you want the terrace key, Sir…” the supervisor asked the old man.

“I want to jump from the terrace and commit suicide…” the old man said.

The supervisor thought that the old man was being sarcastic – so the security supervisor said to the old man: “I am sorry, Sir…”

“Come on – give me the terrace key…” the old man shouted at the supervisor.

The supervisor thought that – maybe – the old man wanted the terrace key to adjust his DTH TV Antenna – which he had done a few days ago.

So – the security supervisor gave the old man the terrace key – and he made an entry in his register.

The old man took the terrace key – signed the register – and he walked towards the lift.

As he saw the old man enter the lift – the security supervisor remembered the old man’s words:

“I want to jump from the terrace and commit suicide…”

The supervisor wondered why the old man was being so sarcastic.

But – the old man wasn’t being sarcastic.

The old man had meant every word of what he had said.

Yes – the old man had meant every word of what he had said.

The old man went up to the terrace of the high-rise building.

Then – the old man jumped off the terrace.

The old man’s body hurtled down 150 feet onto the road below.

The old man died instantly – the moment he hit the concrete road below.

EPILOGUE

A few days later – they held a condolence meeting for the old man.

While condoling the sad demise of the old man – someone said:

“It is a mystery why the old man committed suicide…”

A man who lived on the same floor as the old man said:

“It is really sad – why did the old man commit suicide and end his life – he had absolutely no problems…”

The old man’s next-door neighbour said:

“Yes – the old man had no problems. And – even if the old man did have some problems – he should have talked to someone…”

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/2017/03/depression-talk-to-me-i-want-to-talk-to.html

This is a revised re-post of my story TALK TO ME which I wrote in the year 2015 and posted online by me earlier in my academic and creative writing journal at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/12/talk-to-me.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/talk-to-me-i-want-to-talk-to-you.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/talk-to-me-i-want-to-talk-to-you.html

The “Love Trap”

September 10, 2019

I look at myself in the full-length mirror.

I like what I see.

I am beautiful.

Very beautiful.

Yes – I am very beautiful – very beautiful indeed.

I look like a woman in full bloom.

I am ready to set the Love Trap

LOVE TRAP
Short Fiction – An Intriguing Romance
By
VIKRAM KARVE

THE “LOVE TRAP” – A ROMANCE by VIKRAM KARVE

I look at myself in the full-length mirror.

I like what I see.

Yes.

I am beautiful.

Very beautiful.

I am very beautiful – very beautiful indeed.

No doubt about it.

I always was a great beauty.

They say that a beautiful woman often has a tragic life.

Does tragedy always come from being a great beauty…?

I don’t know whether this is universally true – but certainly – I have had a very tragic life.

But – I will not tell you too much about it right now – and spoil my mood.

Now – I will look into the mirror – and I will admire myself.

I look at my exquisite body.

Not many women close to 40 can stand in front of a mirror with so much pride and assurance.

I look like a woman in full bloom.

I admire my perfect body.

I fall in love with my own body.

Like Narcissus.

Suddenly – I experience a tremor of anxiety – as I see the first signs of the process of ageing.

Infinitesimal.

Almost indiscernible.

But indisputable.

Two small furrows on my forehead.

The slight coarsening of the skin below the eyes.

The almost unnoticeable heaviness of the abdomen with its suggestion of fold.

I can easily cover them up.

With make-up.

And – the right dress.

But – for how long can I wear a “mask”…?

Time is running out for me.

Sameer is my last chance.

I am already regretting the lost opportunity.

I had put the matter so lightly the last time we had met – and before that.

Tonight is my probably my last chance.

I have to go in for the kill.

Love Trap.

What a phrase to use.

But that’s exactly what I am going to do.

I am going to ensnare Sameer in my “Love Trap”

And then – I will move in for the kill.

Like a predator.

For the first time in my life – I will use my beauty to my advantage.

For the first time in my life – I will not be taken advantage of – like it happened all these years.

I was just 19 – a fresh graduate wondering what to do in life – when my elder sister Nisha died in childbirth – leaving behind a newborn girl – and a young heartbroken husband, Ashok.

Nisha’s husband Ashok was totally devastated.

So – we – my mother and I – we went to stay with Ashok in Mumbai – to nurse the baby girl – and to help Ashok recover from the tragedy.

After a few months we named the baby “Smita” – as she was a cheerful smiling baby.

From time to time – especially on weekends – my father – who was still working at that time – he would come over from Pune – and I could see that he was getting quite irritable – having to stay separated from his long-married wife – though he didn’t say it in so many words.

One day Ashok proposed to me.

Yes – my brother-in-law – the husband of my dead sister – he proposed marriage to me.

Actually – he asked my mother for my hand in marriage.

My mother was overjoyed.

She put lovingly her hand on my arm – looked into my eyes – and said:

“Ashok loves you and wants to marry you. He is still young, only 27. He needs a wife. And – Smita needs a mother.”

“Yes, Smita needs a mother,” I said, tightly holding the baby – wondering what would happen to the small baby if Ashok married someone else – who would be a stepmother to Smita – and maybe – the stepmother may have antagonistic feelings towards Smita.

My mother spoke to my father.

He agreed.

To him – it seemed quite a logical thing to do – and maybe – he was relieved that my mother – his much-married wife – she would be coming back to live with him.

So – I got married to Ashok.

And – I put on hold all my immediate dreams of higher studies and a career.

How should I describe my marriage…?

No expectations, no disappointments, no role-ambiguity, a cordial relationship, a happy family, a blissful marriage – at least from the outside.

Children…?

Our children – Ashok’s and Mine.

It just didn’t happen.

With Nisha’s death – a little something in him had died.

Ashok must have loved her very much – too intensely.

I accepted the situation with grace.

I tried to focus on being a good wife and a doting mother.

As Smita grew older – Ashok encouraged me to study – do my MBA – and start a career.

Ashok was married to his job.

Things were fine – till one evening Ashok came home looking distraught – and – he broke the news that he had been passed over for promotion.

Ashok was shattered.

He had worked sincerely, slogged hard.

He given his life for his career.

And now – he had failed in is career.

He had remained loyal to his company without getting loyalty in return.

He felt terribly betrayed.

For Ashok – after Nisha had gone – his career meant everything.

He just couldn’t take it – being sidelined in his career – having to work under his erstwhile juniors.

He just could not cope with this setback – so he tried to find solace in alcohol.

Within months – he slipped into the abyss of alcoholism.

From a workaholic – he became an alcoholic.

Day by day – he became more and more bitter and cynical.

And then – one day – my world disintegrated.

Ashok died in a car accident – while driving home – totally drunk.

I wish he had died in some better way.

So after eight years of marriage – at the age of 27 – I found myself with an 8 year old Smita – the light of my life.

I was single – but I was not helpless – as I was doing quite well in my career as a bank executive.

12 years passed.

And now – Smita is 20 – already working in my bank – and doing her MBA in the evenings.

She is earning while she is learning – and I am so proud of her.

And then – I fell in love – for the first time in my life.

Let me tell you about it.

I still remember the day Sameer breezed into my office announcing that he would be working with me.

“Hi, Nalini – I am Sameer – your new Deputy…” he announced superciliously – sitting down and lighting a cigarette.

“Put off that cigarette…!!!” I shouted, “And don’t you dare come into my office unless I call you.

“Hey, Sweetie – you look red hot sexy when you are angry. My wife is going to be really jealous when I tell her how stunning my boss is…” Sameer said, laughing mischievously.

“She won’t – when you tell her that your boss is a 35 year old widow with a college going daughter…” I retorted in anger.

And – I stormed out of my office to protest against Sameer’s appointment – for which I had not been consulted.

My Boss said to me:

“Sameer is a genius. The directors head-hunted him and managed to lure him over from our biggest rival with great difficulty. He is going to rejuvenate your department…”

I got the message.

This new man was a threat – and – if I wasn’t careful – it wouldn’t be surprising if he leap-frogged over me – or – even eased me out of my job.

I walked back to my office.

Sameer was waiting in my office.

“I am sorry Ma’am – I didn’t know the culture was so formal out here. I will maintain decorum in future…” Sameer said, contrite, when I returned.

“It’s okay…” I said – and I began to tell Sameer about our work.

Sameer was extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, supportive, open, sincere, affable and great to work with – but initially – I kept my distance – and I treated him with forced geniality – tinged with wariness.

Gradually – I got to know more about him – and his personal life.

However – we – Sameer and Me – we became close friends only during his painful divorce – the seeds of which seemed to have been sown much earlier.

Maybe – that was the reason why he had relocated to Mumbai – to separate from his wife who stayed on in Delhi.

During those depressing days – I often lent him my shoulder to cry on.

It was inevitable that we fell in love.

We were lonely buddies with a thirst for life – “soul-mates” – attracted to each other – “office-spouses” – who now needed to become real spouses.

Normally – a man is supposed to make the first move.

So – I waited for Sameer to propose to me.

But – maybe – he was shy – being 7 years my junior.

Now – I realized that I had waited long enough – for him to propose to me.

Maybe – he too had waited long enough – for me to propose to him.

And – I shuddered to think – what would happen to me if I lost him.

Oh My God – it would be so terrible…

I was already 39 years old.

Sameer was my last chance – he was my only love.

Soon – my daughter Smita would get married – and – she would go away – and – I would be all alone.

I did not want to live the rest of my life like a loveless lonely maid – a forlorn spinster – with nothing to look forward to – for the rest of my life.

Yes – time was running out for me.

Sameer was my last chance.

I had to act fast.

Yes – I had to talk to him today.

I looked at the wall-clock.

7:30 PM.

Sameer would he here any time now to take me out for dinner.

Normally we take Smita out with us too – but tonight – I had insisted that only the two of us – Sameer and me – only we two would go – and surprisingly – Smita did not protest.

I put on the final touches of make-up – then generously dabbed on my favourite perfume.

The door-bell rang.

“Mummy – Sameer is here…” I heard Smita yelling.

I gave myself a final look in the mirror.

I looked really gorgeous.

Yes – I looked truly stunning – dressed to kill.

I couldn’t have titivated better than this.

“Wow…!!!” Smita said – looking at me with delightful surprise in her eyes, “You look dashing…!!!”

Sameer looked at me – he seemed mesmerized.

I could see that he was attracted to me.

He desperately tried to stop his eyes from roaming all over my body – especially to those places where it would be considered naughty.

“Hey – what’s with you two…? Aren’t you two going to go out fast – and let me enjoy my TV and popcorn…?” Smita teased.

Soon – Sameer and Me – we were driving on Marine Drive towards our favourite restaurant – the best place for an unhurried romantic dinner.

“It’s a beautiful evening. Let’s sit by the sea…” Sameer said spontaneously – slowing down the car.

“I would love to…” I said.

We sat close to each other on the parapet – facing the placid waters of the Arabian Sea – the lights of the ships in the distance – the twinkling stars in the clear sky above us – the sea breeze blowing in our faces – pure and refreshing.

“I want to say something…” Sameer hesitated.

“Say it. Please say it…” I urged him.

“I wanted to ask you…” he faltered.

“Then ask me. Please ask me…” I beseeched him.

Sameer looked at me – into my eyes – and he said to me:

“I want ask your permission to marry your daughter Smita.

We love each other.

We want to get married.

I told her to tell you – but Smita said that I must ask you.

Smita said that she will do as you say.

I promise I will keep your daughter Smita happy…”

Sameer kept on speaking.

Yes – Sameer kept on speaking.

But – his words did not register – as my mind had gone blank.

I could see his lips moving – but I could not hear his words.

I kept staring at Sameer.

My mind went blank – as if I had become a Zombie – a living corpse…

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/2017/06/a-love-trap.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is an abridged and revised re-post of my story LOVE TRAP written by me more than 12 years ago in the year 2007 and published in my book COCKTAIL. This story was posted online by me earlier a number of times in my various creative writing blogs at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/a-beautiful-woman-often-has-a-tragic-life_81543_blog and http://creative.sulekha.com/love-trap_73693_blog and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/06/cougar-on-hunt.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/11/setting-love-trap.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/03/blog-fiction-story-no-14-love-entrapment.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/08/love-trap-intriguing-romance.html etc

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