Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

Online Reputation Comprises Your Digital Footprint and Web Identity

December 18, 2016


Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

Are You Aware of Your Online Reputation…?

Last evening I had an interesting discussion with at the Pune Bloggers Meet with a writer/author turned Blogger.

He asked me: “Is it important to be active on the internet – especially on the social media…?”

“Yes…” I said, “because if you don’t take charge of your online reputation – then someone else will control your online reputation…”

My friend wanted me to explain in detail.

I told him that I had written on this topic more than 3 years ago – and – I shall update that article and post it on my blog for him and other interested readers to read.

So – here is the article…


Is Your “Online Reputation” Overshadowing Your “Offline Reputation”…?

Tips for Managing Your Web Identity By VIKRAM KARVE


Soon – a time will come – when Your Digital Footprint will carry more weight than what you write on your Resume or CV.

I am sure you know the meaning of the term “DIGITAL FOOTPRINT”.

Your digital footprint is the record or trail left by all the things you do online on the internet.

Your Digital Footprint includes all your Social Media activity (on Social Networking Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat etc) – your Blogging and Online Writing – all information about you on the internet – on various websites – your browsing history – your online subscriptions – any photo galleries and videos you have uploaded or others have uploaded about you – essentially, anything on the Internet with your name on it.

Anything you post, tweet, comment, or “like” on a blog/social media – or what others post about you – is going down as a permanent record in cyberspace on your digital footprint.

In a nutshell – your digital footprint is everything on the internet that is about you.

Since you rarely think twice about putting things online – your digital footprint can be pretty large and extensive without you even realizing it.

Have you ever “Googled” yourself…?

An easy way to check out your digital footprint is to “Google” your own name – and you will be amazed when you see number of hits and the extensive and diverse information about you on the internet.


In today’s world you have Two Reputations:

  1. OFFLINE REPUTATION (in the physical real world)
  1. ONLINE REPUTATION (in the virtual world or cyberspace)

Unless you are a celebrity – your “offline reputation” is restricted and known to only those persons in your proximity, at work, in your social circles and personal life.

However – your “online reputation” is all pervasive – and is available for scrutiny by anyone throughout the world who has access to the internet.

If I want to know about you – all I have to do is to “google” your name or search your details on websites, search engines or social networks.

Potential employers – or prospective spouses – or those desirous of getting into a relationship with you – can easily carry out a basic background check on you by just surfing the internet.

(Earlier – before the advent of the internet – you had to ask some mutual acquaintance – or make discreet inquiries – or hire a detective to find out information about somebody)

The fact of the matter is that – in today’s connected world – your online reputation is easily accessible – and it matters more than your offline reputation.

In the same way that your personality (real-world offline identity) is important for your offline reputation – your online identity plays an important role in determining your online reputation.


Your ONLINE IDENTITY consists of two things:

  1. What you say about yourself on the internet (your “Owned Identity”)
  1. What others say about you on the internet (your “Earned Identity”)


Your OWNED IDENTITY comprises whatever information you upload on the internet.

Your owned identity will comprise so many things like:

  1. Whatever you upload on social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, WhatsApp, Snapchat etc including your profiles, pictures, photos, status reports, tweets, comments – anything and everything you upload about yourself.
  1. Your Blogs
  1. Your Websites (personal, professional and company)
  1. All your writings and postings on the web which you post on the internet on various websites, online journals and e-magazines, forums, networks, groups, emails, documents, presentations – anything and everything you put on the internet.
  1. Various “profiles” and “avatars” you create on the web – like, for example, your profiles on job search sites and matrimonial sites.

To put it metaphorically – your owned identity is like when you get yourself inked with a permanent tattoo – it can never be fully erased.


Your EARNED IDENTITY is what others “say” about you on the internet.

Your earned identity includes:

  1. Information about you on Social Networking Sites like postings about you on Facebook by your friends (status, tags, pictures, photos, comments), recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn, Retweets/Mentions of your Tweets by others on Twitter etc
  1. Articles, Blog Posts, Wikis, Biographical Writings etc written about you which are available on the internet (these are things written about you by others –what you write about yourself on the internet becomes a part of your owned identity)
  1. Various “profiles” created by others about you at various places on the web.
  1. Various networks and websites that link to you
  1. Miscellaneous information about you available on the internet – for example, your examination results uploaded online by your university, education board, UPSC etc or results of job selection interviews promulgated online.

To use a metaphor  your Earned Identity is like “Branding” an animal – where a permanent mark is stamped on you by someone else.


  1. YOUR OWNED IDENTITY (in Your Control) 


  1. YOUR EARNED IDENTITY (Not in Your Control)

Your “owned identity” is in your control.

You must be circumspect about what you upload on the internet.

Even a small slip-up online – like an injudicious piece of writing on your blog – an indiscreet photo, an imprudent relationship status update or a stray remark on social networks – or a careless comment – has the potential of damaging your reputation in future – and may cause you harm in your offline life.

Your “earned identity” is not in your control.

Sometimes – your “earned identity” matters more than your “owned identity”.

This is because people may be curious to find out what others have to say about you – than what you say about yourself.

Even if you avoid the internet altogether  you cannot avoid having an “earned identity”.

This is because someone else may upload some writing or material about you on the web – especially if you are a celebrity – or remain in the news for something or the other.

That is why famous people – like ancient philosophers, politicians and writers – who lived much before the advent of internet – have “earned identities” – and consequently they have “online reputations”.

So remember – going offline and avoiding the internet is not the solution – it is similar to a pigeon closing its eyes to avoid seeing danger – or an “ostrich burying his head in the sand” approach.

In today’s information technology driven connected world – you cannot afford to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich – and live in denial.

You cannot avoid an online reputation.

Whether you like it or not – whether you use internet or not – you will have an online reputation.

So – it is in your interest to be aware of your digital footprint, web identity and online reputation  and try your best to manage these to your advantage.


Do a simple experiment.

Just “Google” your name and see the results of the search.

What are the top few results?

How many “hits” pertain to your “owned reputation”…?

How many “hits” pertain to your “earned reputation”… ?

Which “hits” appear on top and on the first page…?

If you want to manage your online reputation – you must ensure that links pertaining to “owned reputation” (what you say about yourself) appear as the top search results – as compared to “earned reputation” (what others say about you).

As far as your online reputation is concerned – what you say about yourself (owned reputation) – must have more prominence – than what others say about you (earned reputation).

Remember that your “owned identity” and “owned reputation” are in your control – because you can always control what you want to “say” about yourself on the internet.

But  your “earned identity” and “earned reputation” may not be in your full control  since you cannot control what others say about you on the internet.

Therefore – in a nutshell – if you want to control your online reputation – you will have to “say” more about yourself on the internet – than others “say” about you.

How do you do this…?

It is simple.

Get active on the internet – Blog regularly – Tweet vigorously – and maintain a dynamic presence on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Quora, Instagram etc and on various Forums and Groups – and make sure you network effectively.

You must be conscious of your online reputation.

With the proliferation of the internet – your “online reputation” will overshadow your “offline reputation”.

Remember – if someone wants to do a background check on you, for whatever reason – to hire you for a job – to check you out as a marriage prospect – or they just want to find out more about you – all they have to do is to “google” your name.

Then – they can ingeniously delve a bit – and explore your online identity (web shadow) – and discover your online reputation – yes – all that will matter is your online reputation.

Therefore – it is imperative that you establish an effective web presence – and be proactively conscious of your digital footprint, web identity and online reputation.

You must be careful to build a good online reputation.

Once you do that – you must make constant efforts to monitor your digital footprint – and – manage your online reputation meticulously


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
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These are my personal views. I am not an IT Professional or SEO Expert. I am a simple internet user, a Blogger and user of Social Networks. These tips are based on my personal experience. They may or may not work for you, so please do your own due diligence while using the internet.

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:

Revised and Updated Version of My Article First Posted by me Vikram Karve at 9/13/2013 05:58:00 PM (13 Sep 2013) under the title:ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT Tips for Building and Managing Your Web Identity By VIKRAM KARVE on this blog at url:  and later revised and posted online by me a number of times including at urls:  and  and  and etc

Social Media and Blogging Tips

February 22, 2016

Original Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve   url:


Do you use a pseudonym or anonymous “handle” or fake identity on the Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Blogs etc)…?

Are your afraid of using your actual name and identity on the Social Media…?

In today’s information technology age – everyone has a cyber identity.

So – all you have to do is to see the person’s profile on Facebook – or any other social networking site like LinkedIn, Google, Blogger, Gravatar, Twitter, Yahoo etc – and you can find out the extent of genuineness in the individual’s cyber identity.

Is the person using her actual name or is he/she hiding behind a pseudonym or anonymous “handle” or fake identity…? 

Look at the individual’s Profile and Display Picture (DP) – is it genuine or fake…?

I do not trust a person who blogs anonymously  or uses a fake identity or fancy sounding “handle” on social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Google etc.

Do you…?

I really wonder why shy away from using their own names on the Social Media…?

If you value your privacy so much – isn’t it better to avoid the social media altogether – rather than create fake identities or hide behind anonymous “handles” or pseudonyms…?

Here is an article on this subject based on my talk at a Bloggers Workshop a few years ago.

Though the post pertains to Blogging – it is equally relevant to Social Media as well.


For reasons best known to them – many Bloggers hide behind masks of anonymity.

They blog under fictitious identities using fancy nom de plumes or “handles”.

Their blogs have chic and swanky titles which bear no correlation to the content of their blogs.

Some use names of great literary persons and works from history as pseudonyms (handles) and others use catchy monikers which bear no resemblance whatsoever to their actual personalities.

Why are some bloggers reluctant to give a “face” to their blogs?

What was the need to blog “anonymously?”

Why hide behind a “handle” ?

Why are some bloggers are shy of giving their full details on their blogs?

Are they ashamed of what they are writing on their blogs or is there some other reason?

All this lack of transparency results in a sort of trust deficit about the blogger and is certainly not beneficial to the blogger in the long run.


If you really wanted to benefit from blogging here are five tips for you to follow:

  1. Blog under your Real Identity 

If you are really serious about blogging – you must not hesitate to mention your actual name – make a genuine profile – and upload your proper picture on your blog.

Yes – you must create a proper profile – and – it is desirable to give your contact details too.

Be transparent and truthful about identity.

Is there any point in trying to blog “anonymously” – or by using a “fake” identity?

Who are you trying to fool?

It is best to avoid using fancy “handles” and exotic nom de plumes  

Also – it does not make any sense to blog “anonymously”.

  1. The Title of your Blog must reflect the Content of the Blog

Before you name your blog – think about the theme or topics you are going to blog about.

This must be reflected in the title of your blog.

Do not confuse the reader and search engines with vague or fancy titles that have no bearing on the content of your blog.

If it is your personal blog – then it is a good idea to include your name in the title of your blog.

  1. Blog Regularly

You must blog regularly, the more frequent the better.

You must aim to write one post daily – yes a blog post a day.

If you cannot blog every day, be consistent, have a regular schedule and stick to your schedule – Blogging must become a habit.

  1. Avoid lengthy Blog Posts

Typically – it is best to keep your blog posts under 500 words due to the limited span of attention of a reader when reading on screen vis-à-vis reading on paper

  1. Ensure Good Quality of Content

Yes – content is the supreme factor that will attract readers to your Blog.

As they say – CONTENT IS KING – good content will attract and retain readers.

PS: It is easy to preach – but difficult to practice – and – I too struggle daily to adhere to my own suggestions. And – you may ask me – what am I giving unsolicited advice to others – well – I have been blogging for around 12 years now – and this blog which I started around 7 years ago will soon reach 18 Lakh page-views (and gets around 1000 hits every day) – and – I am quite active in the Social Media too.



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.

Revised and Abridged version of my articles posted online by me earlier at urls:  and


August 24, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: FLIRTING ON THE TRAIN – A TRAVEL ROMANCE.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

One good thing about the Navy is that you get an opportunity to spend many years in Mumbai.

And – since I am from Pune – during these Mumbai tenures – I frequently travelled from Mumbai to Pune (and back) by Train – whenever I got leave – and on weekend visits.

Those days there was no Mumbai Pune Expressway and the road journey was arduous, cumbersome and time-consuming.

Also – those days – we did not own cars – so the journey Mumbai to Pune and back had to be done on a bike – which was quite dicey – especially in the ghats – and hence we preferred train travel.

These train journeys gave me ideas for many of my stories.

Here is one I wrote around 25 years ago – in the early 1990s.

I have duly abridged updated and revised the story for the digital screen – and have added an explanatory epilogue.

Do tell me if you like this old fashioned romance…

The Flirty Woman on the Train
A Love Story


Sometime ago – I received a wedding invitation card.

I wondered who had sent it – as I was clueless – when I read the names.

Soon – a classmate of mine – with whom I had lost contact – with rang me up – and she said that she had found my whereabouts from the internet – and that she had sent me the invitation card of the wedding of her daughter.

I read the bride’s mother’s name from the card – and the lady on the phone confirmed that the name on the card was her new name.

As was the custom in earlier days – she had changed her maiden name after her marriage – and in her new name – there was no trace of her earlier name.

For illustrative purposes – I will give you a fictitious example:

Suppose her earlier name before her marriage was Swati [her maiden name given by her parents] Laxman [her father’s name] Gokhale [her father’s surname] – now – after her marriage – her new name was transformed intoManisha [new name given by her husband] Vishwas [husband’s name]Bhide [husband’s surname].

Please observe that her new name Manisha Vishwas Bhide has absolutely no trace of her earlier name Swati Laxman Gokhale.

I do not think this happens too often nowadays – as girls retain their earlier identities after marriage – including both the maiden name and surname as well – but here is a story I wrote long ago on the name game. 

I think I wrote this story around 25 years ago on a train journey from Mumbai to Pune

By the way this is pure fiction – a figment of my imagination – there are no such persons – and no such thing ever happened – so just sit back and enjoy the story…

Fiction Short Story

No matter how many times I begin a train journey – I always have an intriguing interest in seeing who my fellow-passengers are. 

I stood on the platform of Mumbai Station in the early morning chill and scanned the reservation chart pasted on the Air-Conditioned Chair-Car of the Indrayani Express. 

I was on seat number 30 – a window seat.

A window seat.

The neighbouring seat number 29 was reserved in the name of Avinash Bhide – male – age 10.

A disappointment…!

There was better luck on seat number 28 – Manisha Bhide – female – age 35.

In my mind’s eye – I tried to imagine and visualise what Manisha Bhide would be like.

Surprisingly – Manisha Bhide did not board the train as it left Mumbai CST.

I felt a pang of disappointment.

Maybe she would come at Dadar.

The seats in the air-conditioned chair-car were three abreast – 28 near the aisle – 30 near the window – and 29 in-between.

I sat down on seat number 28.

In 10 minutes the train reached Dadar.

A beautiful woman with vivacious dancing eyes entered the coach – and she had a young boy in tow.

As she walked towards me – I instinctively knew that she was Manisha Bhide.

“Manisha Bhide?” I asked – as I stood up.

I and gave her a smile of forced geniality.

Our eyes met.

She looked into my eyes for that moment longer than may be considered polite greeting.

I felt a sense of elation.

I quickly moved out on the aisle – and I helped her with her luggage.

Meanwhile young Avinash Bhide had occupied the window-seat – seat No. 30 – my seat.

Before Manisha Bhide could say anything – I quickly interjected, “It’s okay. Let the young gentleman sit in the window-seat”. 

Now she would have to sit next to me.

Manisha Bhide smiled in resignation at the fait accompli – and she sat down on seat number 29.

My opening gambit having succeeded – I closed my eyes to savour the sense of delight I was experiencing.

After a long time – I felt young and happy once again.

This was one journey I was going to enjoy. 

Suddenly – Manisha Bhide spoke, “Excuse me – but aren’t you Vijay Joshi…?”

I was taken aback – a bit bewildered.

Flabbergasted – I opened my eyes – wondering whether they put up reservation charts at Dadar too – since the one on the coach was on the right-hand side – and the platform at Dadar was on the left.

Before I could recover my wits – Manisha Bhide said, “You are in the Merchant Navy, aren’t you…?”

Stunned and dumbstruck – I just stared at her – vacuously – perplexed into silence.

The silence was grotesque.

Manisha Bhide broke the silence – and she said to me: “You don’t remember me – do you…? But I have recognized you Mr. Joshi – or is it Captain Joshi…? Why are you hiding behind that ghastly beard…? The beard doesn’t suit you. You looked so handsome clean-shaven…”

I caressed my beard lovingly with my right hand – and I said, “No Ma’am – I don’t think we have met – maybe you are mistaking me for someone else – and had we met – I would never have forgotten you…”

That was true. 

She was really beautiful – a face one could not forget easily – and her vivacious eyes – if I had seen her I would have certainly remembered her…

“But you are Vijay Joshi – aren’t you…?” she said.

I looked at her.

I felt totally astounded. 

She seemed to give me the impression – as if we had known each other very well.

“You are right,” I said, “I am indeed Captain Vijay Joshi, Master Mariner. But I don’t remember ever meeting you.”

“But then – how do you know my new name…?” she snapped.

“New name…?” I said.

“Yes. My new name – Manisha Bhide…” she said.

“I saw it on the reservation chart,” I said sheepishly.

“I was Swati Gokhale before marriage,” she said, “and after marriage – my surname changed to Bhide – and husband changed my maiden name from Swati to Manisha.”

“Manisha Bhide nee Swati Gokhale…!” I joked – and I said to her, “Well – I am quite sure. I don’t think we have ever met before.”

People are always little disconcerted when you do not recognize them. 

They are so important to themselves – that it is disheartening for them to discover of what negligible importance they are to others. 

I racked my brains – but just could not remember meeting any Swati Gokhale.

“Are you from Pune…?” I asked.

“No. I am from Mumbai,” she answered – then she paused – and she said, “But now I live in Pune. My husband works there.”

She paused for another moment – she looked directly into my eyes – and she asked me, “Do you still live in Nashik…?”

“No…No…” I said, trying to hide my surprise. “I have got a flat in Mumbai. In Colaba. And I have also bought a bungalow in Lonavala. That is where I am going right now.”

“Oh…really…?” she said, raising her eyebrows appreciatively.

But – I did sense that slight tinge of regret in her voice – just a trace mind you – but the nuance did not escape me.

She looked at me with genuine admiration in her eyes – and she said, “You must be a rich man…?”

I smiled. “Well – it is a paying job. And then – one gets paid in dollars.”

“I wish I had married you,” she said, matter-of-factly.

“What…?” I asked totally stunned and taken aback.

“One day my parents showed me two photographs. One was yours – and the other was my husband’s – my present husband that is…” she said wistfully.

Then she looked directly at me – and she said, “I had to choose one – and I think I made the wrong choice. It was a big mistake – a real big mistake. I really wish I had married you, Captain Joshi…!”

It took a while for her words to sink in – and as comprehension dawned on me – I understood the reasons for her interest in me.

People have many reasons for snooping into others people’s lives and affairs. 

Everyone has a natural curiosity to know what lies beyond the closed door – especially if they have closed that door themselves.

In my mind’s eye – I tried to imagine what life would have been like had she married me.

I was tempted to probe a bit – so I asked her, “Please tell me. I am curious. Why did you reject me…?”

“Please don’t say that – I never rejected you – I just selected him – actually it all happened so fast – you were away sailing on the high seas – and I had only your photograph to go by – and it was going to be six months before you would return from sea. And the Bhide’s were in a terrible hurry. Vishwas Bhide was in India for precisely one month – to find a bride – to get married – and to go back to America. Actually he was flooded with proposals – but he had liked me – and I too wanted to go abroad – and enjoy the luxury – the high standard of living…” she said.

“When was this…?” I asked.

“15 years ago – when I was exactly 20 years old…” she said.

“I wonder why my mother didn’t tell me about you…?” I said to her, quite confused, “Well – 15 years ago – I was only a Second Officer – and I did not know that my mother was busy finding a bride for me – while I was away at sea. But she should have told me about you…”

“It’s understandable…” Manisha Bhide said nonchalantly, “If a boy rejects a girl – it does not matter – but if the girl rejects the boy – he becomes a laughing stock, an object of ridicule – at least in those days – 15 years ago…”

I smiled to myself at the truth of her statement.

“So you live in America do you…? On a holiday here…?” I asked, trying to change the topic.

“No,” she said. “We came back 7 years ago. My husband took up a professorship in the University. He is so qualified and talented – that he could earn millions – but he is an idealist sort of chap who lacks ambition. A man who values high thinking and simple living – a thrift and frugality type – you know he even lacks the drive to do well in that teaching job too. It’s so sad – his idea of happiness is to wallow in mediocrity in every aspect of life. It’s pathetic – I tell you – it’s just pathetic…!”

“How can you say that?” I interjected, “Teaching is an honourable profession. And surely – the pay must be okay.”

“Maybe – but with his thrift and frugality values – he just does not want to enjoy life – or have a decent standard of living, Mr. Joshi,” she said – with bitterness in her voice, “We live in a dilapidated house in the university campus. And I am ashamed to drive in our small rickety car. All my dreams have been dashed. I too wish I could have a bungalow in Lonavala like you and live in style. I really envy your wife, Captain Joshi…!”

“I don’t have a wife…” I said.

“Good God…! You never got married…?” she asked, confusion writ large on her face.

Then she paused for a moment – and she said tenderly, “Or is it…? Oh… I am so sorry…”

“No… No…” I said, “It’s not what you think. I am not a widower. Nor am I a bachelor. I am a divorcee. One fine day my wife just left me – and she moved in with some school teacher. It happened 3 years ago.”

“Your wife left you for school teacher…? How silly…!”

“It’s ironic – isn’t it?” I said, “You wanted a standard of living – she wanted a quality of life.”

“Quality of life…?” Manisha Bhide said.

“That’s what she used to say. She couldn’t stand the separations, the loneliness. She wanted me to give up merchant navy and take up some job ashore – but I had got too used to the sea and did not want to give up the so called ‘standard of living’ as you put it…” I paused for a moment – and then I said wistfully, “I wish I had understood… On the whole – I think an imperfect marriage is better than no marriage at all…”

“I think your wife was very unfair,” Manisha Bhide said.

“On the contrary – I too haven’t been an angel. You see – life at sea is not all fun and frolic. One docks at exotic ports – and one does get lonely at times – and then – one is tempted to sow one’s wild oats…” I said.

I instantly regretted those words – especially the “…sow one’s wild oats…”bit.

On hearing my words – there was a sudden metamorphosis in Manisha Bhide.

She was looking at me now as if I was a lusty lecherous predator on the prowl.

I excused myself – and I went to the toilet.

When I returned – I found Master Avinash Bhide in the centre-seat – with a scowl on his face.

Manisha Bhide had now shifted to the window seat – and was studiously making a pretence of reading a magazine.

I sat down next to the young boy – and the rest of the journey passed in interesting conversation with Master Avinash Bhide. 

He wanted to know all about ships…!

As the train approached Lonavala – I pulled down my bag – and I said, “Goodbye Mrs. Bhide. It was nice meeting you – and – of course – your son is a delightful chap…!”

Manisha Bhide turned her face – and she looked at me.

She looked so beautiful – so attractive – that I stood mesmerized – and I was unable to take my eyes off her.

Manisha Bhide smiled – she looked into my eyes – and she said to me, “It was good that I met you Captain Joshi. All these years – I was always tormented by the thought that I had made the wrong choice – that I had selected the wrong photograph – and I wished that I had selected you. But now – I know I made the right choice…!”

As I walked away – I had a canny feeling that I had probably saved her marriage.

I can never forget Manisha Bhide – her mesmerizing beauty – and her vivacious dancing eyes – and – sometimes – when I feel lonely and melancholic – I wish she had opted for me – and married me – instead of that Vishwas Bhide.

Maybe – we would have a rocking marriage.

Maybe – I would have been the right choice for her.

Maybe for her – Surely for me.

But – one thing is for sure – I wouldn’t have changed her maiden name – I prefer Swati. 

Swati Joshi sounds much better than Manisha Joshi – doesn’t it…?

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.

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)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised version of my story THE RIGHT CHOICE written by me Vikram Karve 25 years ago in the year 1990 and earlier posted online by me an number of times in my various creative writing blogs including at urls:…  and  https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.c… and https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.c…  and…  and…  etc

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/22/2015 11:55:00 PM

Art of Naval Command – Humor in Uniform – Excerpt from Novel NOBODY’S NAVY by Vikram Karve

August 22, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Excerpt from NOBODY’S NAVY by Vikram Karve

Every Naval Officer has a book hidden within him.

This is my book – a Novel.

Though apocryphal, 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 we experienced first-hand in the navy.

Naval life 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.

(If this novel sees the light of day, 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.

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 publisher who is interested) do let me know. 

We can take it forward from here.

Meanwhile here is an excerpt from NOBODY’S NAVY, my novel about the adventures of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, which I am posting below on my Blog for you to read and enjoy.

Do tell me if you liked the piece.

Tentative Chapter 3 of  NOBODY’S NAVY – A Navy Novel 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 did not matter much on a frontline combat ship like INS Bijlee.

Here it was 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.

Nobody realized that one bothered him since other officers were busy doing his 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 still retained his sanity.

It all happened so fast.

He had arrived in Mumbai in the morning after a tiresome train journey, and was picked up in a ramshackle truck and dumped at the boat jetty.

There the ship’s boat was waiting for him and after a rough journey on the choppy sea, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody was deposited alongside INS Bijlee anchored far out at sea.

It was almost noon when he clambered with his bag up the accommodation ladder.

He duly saluted the 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 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 striper Lieutenant asked with a smile.

“My name is Nobody.”

“Nobody?” the OOD asked, incredulous.

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

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

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody said took his appointment letter from his shirt pocket and gave it to the OOD who looked at it.

“Okay, okay, so you’re the new LO? Welcome on board,” the OOD shook his hand and said, “I’m the TASO. 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 ward room in ten minutes.”

Ten minutes later, freshly shaved and bathed, dressed in sparkling white shorts and shirt naval uniform, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody entered the ward room to find 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 Nobody, and said, “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.

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, 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 three words – YESNO 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, and you reply ‘NO’ to the even numbered questions. And if someone makes a report to you, just say:‘VERY GOOD’. You got it?”

“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, saluted and asked Sub-Lieutenant Nobody and asked, “Request permission to revert to three watches, Sir.”

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

“Thank you, Sir,” the duty Petty Officer saluted, and 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, “request permission to shut down boilers.”

Question number two, even numbered question, so Nobody answered: “No”

The ERA nodded, looking quite perplexed, and 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 than to open it and remove all doubt…”

Schoolie, a post graduate, was an Education Officer – the lowest class of officers in the navy who were treated like dirt and who 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 ward room 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 supply guys were the middle rung, and post-graduate schoolies were at the rock bottom of the navy status hierarchy.

“It is port control, Sir,” the Yeoman of Signals woke up 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.

One, two, three – this was the third question, odd numbered, so he 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?”


“Cold move?” port control asked.

“No,” Nobody said decisively.

“Hot move?”


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?”


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


“Around Middle Ground?”


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


“Then I will have the con?”


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 exposed, 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, 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 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 he 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.

Despite being a non-seaman officer, he had brought the ship alongside by taking effective charge of the midshipman, and by his prompt and clear decisive commands.

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, a natural leader, they all said with awe and in unison.

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”.

End of Chapter 3 of Nobody’s Navy by Vikram Karve

To be continued … 

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.

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)

Abridged and Updated Version of my two blog posts posted in June 2013 
NOBODY’S NAVY at url:…  



Navy Literature – My Favorite Navy Novels

August 22, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Literary Musings

The best thing that happened to me was the Navy. 

Way back, in the 1970’s, when I joined the Navy, life was good.

There was never a dull moment. 

Something was always happening, and I came across a variety of unique personalities – yes, exciting situations and inimitable characters.

Those were the best days of my life. 

Even now, whenever I reminisce about my “good old” Navy days and recall the unforgettable characters I met there.

Whenever I hark back to the hilarious incidents (in hindsight), those cherished memories always fill me with cheer, and sometimes bring a smile, maybe a laugh, to my lips. 

I always liked to read, but it was the Navy that gave a real impetus to my reading habit. 

Junior Officers were encouraged to develop the habit of reading.

Reading was considered an Officer Like Quality (OLQ) and officers were expected to be well-informed on various subjects in addition to being proficient and well-versed in professional matters. 

So, in addition to my professional books and technical literature, I was always reading something literary – maybe a biography (say, military or naval biographical literature to inspire me) or war stories or fiction or a classic from literature. 

The Navy had well-stocked libraries, afloat and ashore, which had a wide variety of books ranging from the rare to contemporary on a wide variety of subjects. 

This easy access to the diverse forms of the best literature really facilitated my reading habit. 

I always had a book in hand and reading formed a part of my daily routine. 

For a student who wants to join the Navy, it will be wise to read biographies/autobiographies/memoirs of famous naval personalities.

It will also be apt to read books on naval history, especially naval battles at sea.

And you must read “navy fiction” too,

Here are 10 “sea novels” which are “must reading” for a young naval officer, a navy cadet or a student aspiring to join the navy for a career at sea:


1. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat…

2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk…

3. HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean…

4. Run Silent, Run Deep by Edward L. Beach…

5. HMS Leviathan by John Winton…

6. The Captain by Jan de Hartog…

7. Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener…

8. We Joined the Navy by John Winton…

9. Winged Escort by Douglas Reeman…

And last, but not the least, the all time favourite “must read” for anyone who wants to enjoy military life:

10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller…

Read these books.

There are many other good Navy novels, novellas and stories (like THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER by TOM CLANCY and THE SHIP THAN DIED OF SHAME by Nicholas Monsarrat etc), many interesting Navy War Memoirs, Autobiographies/Biographies too.

Do read plenty of Navy Literature.

And then you will get an idea of what life in the Navy is all about.

Love and Friendship – Merry-Go-Round Romance Story

August 20, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

12 SEPTEMBER – 7 Pages from the Diary of My Life – A story of merry-go-round relationships by Vikram Karve

I wrote this story around 2 years ago – on my birthday 12 September 2013 and I posted it on my blog.

I think it is one of my good stories. 

Surprisingly – this story went unnoticed and unappreciated.

So – I am posting this story once more for your to read. 

Do tell me if you like it.

7 Pages from the Diary of My Life
My Love Story
Short Fiction

12 SEPTEMBER – A Love Story by Vikram Karve

12 September 1977
Shivalik Hostel IIT Delhi

VIJAY  and  ME

It is our 21st Birthday.

Yes – we are both 21 years old today.

Vijay and Me were born on the same day.

Our hostel-mates brought a specially ordered birthday cake all the way from CP from the famous Wenger’s Bakery for Vijay and me – and we celebrated our birthday in our hostel canteen at tea time.

We have been celebrating our birthday together for the last 12 years – for 7 years in our boarding school at Lovedale near Ooty.

And then for 5 years here at IIT Delhi.

But – this is a special occasion for two reasons.

We are 21 years old.

And – this may be our last birthday together.

Who knows where we will be next year – after we finish our B. Tech. engineering course – and each of us go our own ways pursuing our own careers in the journey of our lives.

To celebrate this special occasion we decide to booze – for the first time in our lives.

So – we get a bottle of Whisky from the booze shop in Green Park.

And we get lots of Tandoori Chicken and Kebabs from the Essex Farms shop in Hauz Khas.

Then we sit on the terrace and drink and talk – reminisce about our childhood and the good times we had together.

By the time we kill the bottle of whisky – we are gloriously drunk.

In that glorious drunken state we make a promise to each other – Vijay and Me – we promise each other – that we will meet every year on the 12th of September to celebrate our birthdays together.

12 September 1978

VIJAY  and  ME

As promised – we meet on our birthday.

This is our first birthday after we passed out with our B.Tech. degrees.

Vijay comes down from Ahmedabad – where he is studying Management at the elite IIM-A.

I pick him up from the railway station – and I drive him down on my scooter to my room in the trainee hostel.

In the morning I show him my workplace – my impressive factory – and then my boss gives me the day off to celebrate my birthday.

We scooter down to heart of town – and we spend a few hours loafing, window-shopping and ogling at the PYTs strolling on Brigade Road and MG Road.

Later – after a few beers – we enjoy a “Cabaret” (our first) at a restaurant called “Three Aces”.

Emboldened by “Dutch Courage” fuelled by the alcohol in our veins – we want to do something more “adventurous”.

But – the moment I see those “sexy females” – I chicken out.

I do not want to admit that I am feeling scared.

So – I say that I am experiencing “pangs of conscience” in doing such “sinful” things.

Vijay instantly agrees. 

He looks relieved. 

I think – that like me – Vijay too is feeling anxious – and is “shit scared” about the whole sordid thing.

We beat a hasty retreat.

And so – we end our 22nd Birthday with our virtue unspoiled – and our virginity intact.

12 September 1982
Visakhapatnam (Vizag)


I really like Usha – Vijay’s brand new wife.

Usha is a plump, graceful girl with a very pretty face.

She has a sincere, friendly smile which radiates a charming innocence.

They were married just a month ago – and I could not attend their wedding as I was sent abroad for more than 3 years for advanced training and on-the-job work experience.

That is why I am so happy that I could keep our 12th September birthday date after a gap of four years. 

(We met last on 12 September 1978 in Bangalore, remember!)

They say that when a woman finds her way into a group of men friends – especially two close friends like Vijay and me – the friendship among men sometimes disintegrates.

But after meeting Usha – I know that is not going to happen.

Usha is a “back-home-type” small town girl.

She has a certain innocent charm about her.

Usha welcomes me into her home with honest warmth and genuine affection – and I instantly know that we are going to get along very well – and the bonds of my friendship with Vijay are going to be strengthened.

“How come you landed up in Vizag?” I ask Vijay.

“You have to prove yourself in the field before they take you to the company headquarters in Mumbai,” Vijay says.

Vijay has specialized in Marketing at IIM and has landed up a lucrative job at a famous FMCG company and he has been given the most challenging assignment.

Vijay cribs about Vizag being quite a boring place.

But his wife Usha says, “I wish we stay here. I love Visakhapatnam. It is such a nice place, the people are so good here and we are very happy here. I don’t want to go to big city like Mumbai.”

Vijay has taken the day off so we drive down the East Coast Road to Rishikonda Beach and swim in the sea.

Vijay keeps calling Usha to join us in the water for a swim but she seems quite shy.

Usha sits on the beach in her sari and watches Vijay and me enjoy ourselves frolicking in the cool blue water of the Bay of Bengal.

In the evening, Vijay and I sip chilled beer on the lush green lawns of the Waltair Club.

We both want Usha to come with us to the club, but Usha remains at home.

Usha tells us to enjoy ourselves but she insists that we come home for dinner as she will be cooking something special for the occasion.

Vijay starts talking about his newly wedded wife, “Sorry about Usha, yaar, she is quite a prudish type. Usha likes to remain home most of the time. She just does not want to go out anywhere. You saw how shy she was at the beach.”

“Hey, don’t say that. Usha is the best thing that happened to you. You are lucky to get such a good wife,” I say.

When we get home I am impressed by the awesome way in which Usha has decorated the house for our birthday.

Usha has baked a birthday cake for both of us.

We cut the freshly baked birthday cake and then all of us enjoy a sumptuous dinner.

For both of us, Vijay and me, it was a memorable birthday indeed.

Early next morning I say goodbye.

We promise to meet next year.

And then I catch the morning flight out of Vizag.

12 September 1984


Well – I could not make it last year – on the 12th of September 1983 – as I was again sent abroad on a project – so we meet after a gap of 2 years.

Vijay has moved up the ladder pretty fast.

Just recently – he has been posted to the Head Office of his FMCG Company.

That is the beauty of being an IIM graduate – you move up very fast.

I wish that – like Vijay – I too had had taken the IIM route – instead of deciding to be a hard-core engineer – where you have to slog it out in the field – especially if you land up in “projects”.

I sit with Vijay’s wife Usha sipping tea in the balcony of their 3rd floor sea facing company flat on Marine Drive in Mumbai.

We watch the sunset – it is a spectacular sight – the interplay of colours in the sky and the sun is being swallowed by the placid blue waters of the Arabian Sea.

After the sun sets – the lights on the Queen’s Necklace come on – it looks fascinating.

The phone rings – and Usha goes inside to pick it up.

“You have a shower and get ready,” Usha says, “I’ll get ready too. Vijay said he’ll be here in half an hour – and we will go straightaway to the club.”

“Club? Why club? Let’s sit at home. You cook something simple. We’ll just sit and chat,” I say.

“Vijay said we’ll all go to the club,” Usha says with finality.

When Vijay arrives – there is a woman with him.

She looks beautiful, chic and very elegant.

Vijay introduces us to each other.

The woman’s name is Nisha – and she is Vijay’s colleague in his office. 

Nisha has an MBA in finance.

She was working abroad for some years.

Recently – Nisha has joined Vijay’s company as Finance Manager.

Vijay introduces Nisha as his office colleague.

But my sixth sense tells me that this woman Nisha is much more than a mere colleague.

Nisha goes in to freshen up.

“I hope you don’t mind if Nisha comes with us,” Vijay says to me.

“Of course I do mind if she comes with us,” I say, “we don’t want outsiders in our get-together, do we?”

“Let her come,” Usha pleads with me, “Poor thing. Nisha has just come back to India after getting out of a bad marriage. She has no one else in Mumbai – and Vijay is helping her settle down.”

“She’ll be good company,” Vijay says.

“I hope you are not trying to set me up with Nisha…?” I ask, tongue-in-cheek.

We start laughing – but suddenly Nisha comes in.

We drive to the club.

Usha sits beside Vijay in front.

Nisha sits with me in the rear of Vijay’s new Maruti 800 car.

Way back in 1984 – a Maruti Car was a prized possession – and Vijay is one of the lucky guys to get a much sought after Maruti Car from the first lot.

The smallness of the car creates a forced intimacy between Nisha and me.

Nisha sits close to me – the aroma of her perfume is enticing – our bodies touch – and I feel aroused by her tantalizing sensuousness. 

Nisha is indeed a very alluring woman.

We sit by the sea – watching lights of ships at a distance in the darkness – and we enjoy our drinks in a most pleasant ambience.

We – Vijay and Me – we drink Scotch Whisky.

Nisha gets high on Martini – while Usha has fruit juice.

It is a lovely evening.

On the way back – we drop Nisha at a working women’s hostel in Colaba – her temporary home till she finds a good apartment.

“Poor thing – it must be tough for Nisha to live in a hostel. Vijay, you must find her a good apartment fast,” Usha says, as we drive towards Marine Drive.

“I am trying to get Nisha a flat near our office in Churchgate,” Vijay says.

We drive down to Chowpatty – and walk on the sands by the sea – eating ice cream – a delightful end to a pleasurable evening.

12 September 1987
New Delhi


Last time – 3 years ago – it was Vijay, Usha, Nisha and Me – four of us together.

Now – Usha is missing – and it is Vijay, Nisha and Me.

Yes – now Usha has gone – and in her place there is Nisha.

Vijay divorced Usha and married Nisha.

Then both of them – Nisha and Vijay – relocated abroad to America.

Now they both work in New York.

And me – after slogging for many years in the field – I have finally been posted to our Delhi office.

It is great to be back in Delhi, after so many years.

We spend a nostalgic day visiting all our haunts in IIT Delhi – our hostel rooms, the canteens, the classrooms – walk round the campus.

Then – we spend the evening in my bungalow in Saket – drinking late into the night.

Later – when we are alone – Vijay says to me, “I have looked after Usha well. I have bought her a luxurious 3 BHK flat in Pune – and I have given her plenty of money. Yes – I have given her so much money that she can live well …”

“Hey, Vijay, why are you telling me all this? It is your personal matter. Are you feeling guilty? Don’t feel guilty – just forget it – whatever happened, has happened – and it is past history now. So don’t feel sorry. Come on – it is well past midnight. You have a flight to catch tomorrow. Let’s go to sleep.” I say.

And we go to sleep.

12 September 1989

USHA  and  ME

“Are you sure Vijay is not coming?” Usha, my wife, asks me.

(Yes – Vijay’s ex-wife Usha and I got married in 1988)

I look at my wife Usha and say: “No. I rang up Vijay twice today – but he is making all sorts of excuses.”

“Last year – Vijay was abroad on the 12th of September – but this time – he is in Mumbai on work – and he can surely make it – it’s just a 3 hour drive to Pune,” Usha says.

“Well – Usha – I really don’t know. Maybe – Vijay has got a guilty conscience for ditching you. Maybe – he can’t bear to see us together. Or maybe – Nisha has told him not to come…” I say.

“Okay, let’s celebrate your birthday – just you and me,” Usha says – and we go out for dinner.

12 September 2012
Khadakwasla near Pune


I sit with Vijay on the lawns of my farmhouse – and we sip our sundowners – as we watch the sun set behind the hills across the lake.

We meet after a gap of 25 years.

The last time Vijay and me got together was on 12 September 1987 – in New Delhi – when Vijay had come with his new wife Nisha – after divorcing Usha.

Like me – I am sure he is thinking about the twists and turns in the journey of our lives.

I think of all the birthdays – the 12th of September – we have spent together.

It is like a merry-go-round of relationships.

First – it was VIJAY and ME.

Then – it was VIJAY USHA and ME.

After that – it was VIJAY USHA NISHA and ME.

Later – it was VIJAY NISHA and ME.

Even later – it was USHA and ME.

Now – it is USHA ME and VIJAY.

Yes, you guessed right – Nisha divorced Vijay – and now Vijay is all alone.

Next morning I drop Vijay to the Mumbai airport – and he catches the flight back home to America.


12 September 2013

USHA  ME  and  ?

I hope Vijay will come.

But – I know he will not come.

I could see it in his eyes last time.

Maybe Vijay will never come.

Maybe Vijay and I will never meet again.

So – maybe this birthday – the 12th of September 2013 – and all my future birthdays – all the 12th’s of September – I will have to celebrate with my much married wife Usha.

Of course – it was thanks to Vijay that I first met Usha in Vizag 31 years ago – on 12 September 1982 – when she was newly married to Vijay.

But on every 12th of September I will always wait for Vijay – who was born on the same day as me – on the exact date and year – as if he were my twin brother.


Dear Reader:

As you guessed – Vijay did not come on September 12, 2013.

He did not come the next year too – on September 12, 2014.

Soon – in a few days from now – it will be September 12, 2015 – my 59th birthday – and it will be Vijay’s 59th birthday too. 

Like always – I will wait for Vijay to come. 

Tell me Dear Reader – Do you think Vijay will come?

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.

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)

I wrote this story in Sep 2013 and this story was first posted online by meVikram Karve on 12 September 2013 in my blog at 9/12/2013 02:16:00 PMat url:… and later re-posted at urls:…  and… and… 

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/19/2015 11:19:00 AM

Humor in Uniform – “Fauji” Doctor at Sea

August 20, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…


My Hilarious Encounters with “Fauji” Doctors – Part 2

Continued from Part 1 – DOC DANEEKA IN UNIFORM

A Spoof

In the Defence Services – once you join a particular service – you remain in that service.

If you join the Army – you remain in the Army.

If you join the Navy – you remain in the Navy.

And – if you join the Air Force – you remain in the Air Force.

Yes – I have seen some grounded air force flight cadets – who are unable to fly – being sometimes sent to the navy or army.

But – once you are commissioned as an officer – you cannot change the colour of your uniform.

The only exceptions are Military Doctors – officers of the Army Medical Corps (AMC) – who often change the colour of their uniform – like chameleons.

I have seen doctors being transferred from the Army to the Navy – and vice versa – and maybe it happens with Air Force Doctors too – strictly speaking there are no “Air Force Doctors” or “Navy Doctors” since all doctors belong to the Army Medical Corps (AMC).

Let me tell you a story about a landlubber “pongo” doctor in Olive Green (OG) who was suddenly transferred to the navy and found himself all at sea.

This happened long back – 38 years ago – in the late 1970’s.

Our ship was not a capital ship – but a frigate.

However – she was a “top heavy” ship – since she was designated as “squadron ship”.

Sister ships of her class were commanded by a Commander – and had Lieutenant Commanders as Heads of Executive, Engineering, Electrical and Supply Departments – and young Lieutenants as specialist departmental officers.

However – our ship – being the “squadron ship” – had a senior Captain in command – a Commander (E) and Commander (L) [squadron Engineer Officer (EO) and squadron Electrical Officer (LO)] – and an extra Education Officer (Lieutenant Commander).

However – the second-in-command – the Executive Officer (XO) – was a Lieutenant Commander – and this caused some friction as EO and LO outranked him.

And – we had a young Medical Officer who was a Surgeon Lieutenant.

One day – the young Surgeon Lieutenant was transferred out to do a Post Graduate (PG) course – and for some time – there was no replacement.

A few days later – just as we were about to cast off to sea – a portly middle-aged gentleman arrived at the gangway.

He was in civilian clothes.

He proclaimed to the OOD that he was the new Medical Officer.

The OOD asked a sailor to take the gentleman to the Sick Bay – and – meanwhile – the OOD informed the XO – and he also told the stewards to get the Medical Officer’s Cabin ship shape.

Later – when the ship was underway – the XO approached the Captain on the bridge: “Sir – the new Medical Officer has reported on board.”

“The new Doc has come? I did not see any appointment letter in the mail,” the Captain said.

“Sir – he has brought his appointment letter by hand – he has come from the Army.”


“Sir – he has been transferred to the Navy on promotion to Surgeon Commander rank.”

“Surgeon Commander…?”

“Sir – have a look at his date of commission – he must have been quite a senior Major – I wonder why they moved him from the Army to the Navy…” the XO said.

The Captain looked at the papers – and he said, “Bloody hell – we have one more headache now – Commander (E) – Commander (L) – and now a bloody Doc who is a Commander. The ship is getting so top-heavy – we may just topple topsy turvy…”

“Yes Sir – as a Squadron Ship – we have too many passengers – all these Commanders – and a ‘Schoolie’ too…” the XO said.

“Where the hell is this new Doc?” the Captain asked.

“Sir – he is violently sea-sick…” the XO said.

“Sea Sick…? In this weather…? The sea is hardly rough…” the Captain remarked.

“Sir – he is a “pongo” – maybe he is not used to it – I think it is his first time on a ship. Shall I get him to your cabin when you go down, Sir…?” the XO asked.

“No. Let him find his bearings. I will see him later…” the Captain said.

Dear Reader – if you are wondering how this “pongo” Doctor got posted to our ship – this is what had happened…

In his previous appointment in a Military Hospital – this Army Medical Officer (let us call him “M”) – who was more of an administrator than a doctor – was considered a “pain in the arse” – and his boss and his colleagues wanted him out.

They repeatedly complained to the “powers-that-be” to post “M” out of the hospital – but M’s reputation was so bad – that no other hospital in the Army wanted him.

So – when the opportunity came – the “powers-that-be” transferred “M” to the Navy – and when he protested – they told him that there was no vacancy of Lt Col in the Army – and – if he wanted to get promoted – he had to go to the Navy.

So – “M”reluctantly came to the navy.

Unfortunately – his reputation had preceded him in Navy medical circles too – so they shunted “M” off to a ship – rather than suffer him in a Navy Hospital.

So – our ship’s new medical officer “M” was extremely unhappy on board the ship.

First – he had the harrowing experience of seasickness.

Secondly – he was very piqued at the way he was being treated on board ship despite his service seniority and rank.

“M” was peeved because the other two Commanders – “E” and “L” – the two Lieutenant Commanders – the XO and the Supply Officer – and even the Navigating Officer (NO) – who was a mere Lieutenant – had better cabins than him – whereas he was consigned to a suffocating cabin in the Lieutenants’ Cabin Flat – which reeked of the nauseating smell of FFO (Furnace Fuel Oil).

His request for a change of cabin to one of the above good cabins was denied – stating that they were marked cabins for respective appointments.

The Captain candidly told “M” that normally a young Surgeon Lieutenant was posted on board this ship as Medical Officer (MO) – and so – a small cabin had been earmarked for the MO – and he could not change it – as cabins for Department Heads were specified.

To add insult to the injury – the XO bluntly remarked that they would have been happier with a younger Medical Officer – but now that “M” was posted on board – “M” would have to make do with the same facilities as the earlier medical officer.

M’s family had not joined him – since he had retained accommodation in previous station – so – “M” had to live on board ship 24/7 – even when the ship was in harbour.

His request for a cabin in the luxurious Navy Officers Mess was turned down since ship’s officers were required to live on board their respective ships.

“M” was also upset that no one gave him any importance on the ship – unlike in the Army – where a medical officer is treated with reverence in the unit.

“M” would vent his frustrations by smoking furiously throughout the day – and drinking sorrowfully in the evenings.

“M” particularly hated the XO – who – despite being a rank lower – tried to boss over him – because – technically – the Medical Officer was subordinate to the XO in the ship’s hierarchy.

Finally – after a long wait – “M” had his revenge.

It was December – time for the Annual Medical Examination (AME).

Earlier – this AME was quite an informal affair.

But “M” – who was a better administrator than doctor – decided to go by the book.

So “M” promulgated the AME roster giving dates for Annual Medical Examination (AME) department-wise.

On the promulgated day – the XO reported to “M” in the sickbay for his Annual Medical Examination.

“M” asked the XO to strip and lie down – and then “M” thoroughly examined the XO with a stethoscope.

“M” then filled up a few forms.

As the XO was buttoning up his uniform – “M” gave him the forms – and said matter-of-factly: “You have got Heart Murmur.”

“Heart Murmur?” the XO asked, bewildered.

“Yes. You will have to get admitted to hospital – get some tests done – and undergo a detailed examination performed by the specialist,” said “M” to the XO.

“You want me to be admitted to hospital…? But – nothing is wrong with me – I am absolutely fit – I just won the navy squash championship…” the XO protested anxiously.

“Why are you getting excited…? It looks like you have hypertension too…!” the doctor “M” said to the bewildered XO.

“Can you please check me again…? I am sure that nothing is wrong with me and I am absolutely fit. I do not want to get admitted to hospital. I am in promotion zone – my promotion board is scheduled in a few months – and you never know – if I get admitted to hospital – those specialist doctors may lower my medical category…” the XO pleaded to “M”.

“M” was happy to see that XO was getting panicky – so to drive home his point – “M”said triumphantly: “Of course – they will lower your medical category – heart murmur is a serious matter – you can even get a heart attack – your health is more important than your career – yes – for a heart condition they will permanently lower your medical category…”

The XO got so rattled and panic-stricken on hearing these words – that it seemed the XO would have an actual heart attack – there and then.

On seeing the XO’s jittery condition – “M” asked him to lie down – and told the Medical Assistant to ask the OOD to summon an ambulance.

And to prove that he was not being vindictive to the XO – his bête noir – and to display his sense of fairness – “M” declared that the other two officers – who had reported for Annual Medical Examination – also had Heart Murmur.

And so – along with the XO – “M” referred these two officers also for hospitalization and further tests and examinations by the specialists.

When the OOD informed the Captain that the XO and two officers were being sent to hospital – he was livid.

“We are under sailing orders. I cannot have my XO and two of my key officers in hospital…” the Captain told “M”.

But “M” threw the book at him – and when the Captain called up some higher-ups to protest – the Captain was firmly told that – in medical matters – the decision of the Medical Officer would prevail.

The Captain was advised to do as his Medical Officer recommended.

They told the Captain that – of course – if the Captain wanted – he could always speak directly to the specialist doctors in the hospital.

So – the XO and the two Lieutenants were on their way in an ambulance to the Naval Hospital to get checked up for Heart Murmur.

The XO had broken out into a sweat – panic-stricken and scared at his uncertain future.

He was terrified that his medical category might be lowered – and Low Medical Category (LMC) would put an end to his dreams of becoming an Admiral – which was his whole and sole aim – ever since he joined the Academy as a Cadet.

The two Lieutenants seemed unconcerned and they tried to cheer up the XO: “Sir, don’t worry. This pongo bugger is a quack. Nothing is wrong with us. What is the harm in getting all the tests done free of cost? We will have a nice time in hospital – we need some relaxation after all this hectic sailing – in the evenings we will enjoy in the club – and after a few days we will come back all refreshed and rejuvenated.”

In fact – the two Lieutenants were looking forward to some R&R in hospital.

But – their hopes were dashed.

While the ambulance was moving towards the hospital – at the same time – phones were ringing – and their Captain was desperately talking to the Medical Specialist, the Heart Specialist and other Medical “powers-that-be”.

When the XO and two Lieutenants reached the hospital for admission – they were instead told to go first to the Medical Specialist.

The Medical Specialist was a classmate of “M” during MBBS.

He knew that although “M” had somehow managed to pass his medical exams – “M” he had absolutely zero acumen to be a good doctor.

The specialist had also heard about “M” on the AMC grapevine.

The specialist smiled to himself.

“M” was truly a “doctor at sea” – literally and figuratively.

Yes –, the Medical Specialist said to himself – “M” was a “Quack” at Sea.

Well aware of the medical incompetence of “M”  the Medical Specialist was inclined to declare all the 3 officers medically fit even without examining them.

The Medical Specialist noticed that whereas the XO seemed anxious – the two Lieutenants looked unconcerned and carefree.

The specialist examined all three officers with his stethoscope.

“Nothing is wrong with you guys,” the specialist said, “take the day off – all of you can go home and relax – then come and see me first thing tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock.”

Next morning – the Medical Specialist took an ECG – and then – he declared all three officers fit.

Other officers on the ship waited till “M” went on leave – and then they got their Annual Medical Examination (AME) done on other ships.

When “M” returned – the ship’s officers made life hell for “M” 

So – “M” spent most of his time sulking in his cabin – while his Medical Assistant ran the show from the sickbay.

Mercifully – “M” was transferred out to the Station Health Organization (SHO) – where he could happily demonstrate his administrative skills supervising hygiene inspections and sanitation management in the cantonment.

His replacement on board ship was a young Surgeon Lieutenant who was an excellent doctor.

As they say: “All’s well that ends well”

To be continued in Part 3…

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.

1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
This Spoof Written by me Vikram Karve in January 2014 and Earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve at 4/25/2014 04:07:00 PM in my blog at urls:…  and…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at

8/17/2015 02:43:00 PM

Indian Politics Needs Less Jingoism and More Patriotism

August 20, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:… 

Musings of a Veteran

NB: The generic term “soldier” covers all uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) 

Nowadays – we see plenty of jingoism. 

Many individuals – especially politicians – feel that jingoism is a substitute for patriotism.

How many politicians have their children serving in the Armed Forces?

What about rich industrialists and businessmen – civil servants and corporate executives – or the urban middle-class – are any of their children serving in the Defence Services?

Nowadays – even Defence Officers are not motivating their children to don military uniform.

And it is mostly these persons – especially politicians – who keep making jingoistic statements about war and teaching our adversaries a lesson.

Jingoists want the soldier to risk his life and limb – while they themselves will remain safe and secure.

Haven’t you seen some politicians – who want layers of security to protect them – but expect the soldier to sacrifice his life for the nation.

Are there any politicians who are willing to risk their own lives for the nation – or motivate their children to the join the defence services?

If you see today’s self-serving politicians – you won’t believe it – but long ago – there were exceptional politicians who were genuinely patriotic – who were ready to risk their own lives for the nation – and led by personal example.

One shining example is the inimitable Biju Patnaik (05 Mar 1916 – 17 Apr 1997).

His heroic exploits as a pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force in the early 1940’s during World War II were legendary.

Later – after independence – when he had become a politician – he took to the skies again and undertook daredevil flights to airlift army troops into Kashmir during the 1947 War Operations.

He was always ready to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the soldier.

Biju Patnaik demonstrated that he was a true “soldier” and politician.

He was prepared to put his life in danger for the sake of the nation when required.

Is there any politician today who can emulate such stalwarts?

Times have changed.

Politics is no longer a profession of sacrifice.

Politicians do not want to put their lives in danger.

Politicians are no longer prepared to suffer physical discomfort.

That is why they politicians like to monitor things from a distance – while the soldier slogs it out in the field.

Will politicians change for the better?

Let us hope so.

Till that happens:

Soldiers will slog incessantly in war and peace.

Soldiers will do the dangerous work and risk their lives.

On the other hand – politicians will indulge in jingoism and rhetoric – and politicians will fight with each other to claim credit for the soldier’s achievements.

Before you resort to jingoistic rhetoric you must remember that “jingoism is not a substitute for patriotism”  

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.

All stories in this blog are 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)

I wrote this article under the title SOLDIER AND POLITICIAN on June 2013 and this article was first posted online by me Vikram Karve on 26 June 2013 in my blog at url:…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/20/2015 01:01:00 PM

“Doctors” in Uniform

August 19, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

My Hilarious Encounters with “Fauji” Doctors – Part 1

A Spoof


When anyone asks me how life is in the Armed Forces (the Army, the Navy, or, the Air Force) – I tell them to read the famous World War II Novel CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller.

If you have served in the Defence Services – in all probability – you would have read Catch-22 – and even if you have not read it – you would have experienced the essence of Catch-22.

Are you are a motivated youngster who intends joining the Army, Navy or Air Force…?

I suggest you read Catch-22 – so that you will be well prepared for the inimitable characters and unique situations you will encounter during your military service.

In CATCH-22 there is a character called Doc Daneeka – a Medical Officer or MO (as military doctors are called).

His style of diagnosis and treatment is simple.

In fact – Doc Daneeka has succeeded in elevating medicine to an exact science.

Doc Daneeka fully delegates diagnosis and treatment to his assistants – two soldiers called “Gus” and “Wes” – who run the healthcare system in the military unit on their own with so much efficiency that Doc Daneeka is left with nothing to do, which is fine with him, since he hates medical practice anyway.

The modus operandi of the healthcare system is as follows:

All “patients” (who report on sick parade) have a thermometer shoved into their mouths and have their temperature taken.

1. Those with body temperatures above 102 degrees Fahrenheit are rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

2. Those having temperatures below 102 degrees Fahrenheit have their gums and throats painted with gentian violet (throat paint) and are given a dose of laxative to clear their stomachs and digestive systems.

3. Those who have a temperature of exactly 102 degrees Fahrenheit are told to come after one hour to have their temperature taken again so that the line of treatment could be decided as follows:

(a) Temperature more than 102 – rush to hospital

(b) Temperature less than 102 – throat paint + laxative to clear digestive system

4. After one hour – if a patient’s temperature is still 102 – he is asked to keep reporting to the clinic every one hour  till his temperature either goes above 102 – or his temperature comes down below 102 – so that he could be treated accordingly  as per option 1 or option 2 above. 

During my long service in the Navy – and in inter-service establishments – I came across many such “Doc Daneeka” style Doctors in the Military.

You cannot escape these “Doc Daneeka” types even after retirement – since they pursue you in the ECHS too.


I have observed another “Doc Daneeka” technique – used sometimes by the ECHS in its clinics – since it works better for retired veteran senior citizen ex-servicemen (who are considered a nuisance).

There is a saying: “Time is a great healer”.

The essence of this ECHS technique is to make the patients wait indefinitely in the crowded waiting room of the clinic – and let “time” do the “healing”.

On reporting to the ECHS clinic – the hapless old-aged frail unwell senior citizen ex-serviceman is made to stand in a long queue – and then he is given a chit. 

Of course – before this – they try to get rid of the veteran by raking up some issue about his ECHS Card – and sending him in a red-tape spin.

But – if the veteran is lucky – then the sick old man is made to wait indefinitely – for a long time – in a congested jam-packed waiting hall.

Four things can happen to the patient – a sick and ailing old man – while he waits at the ECHS clinic:

1. The patient drops dead.

In this case – no further treatment is required at the clinic

2. The patient faints, becomes unconscious, or goes into a delirium – as he becomes seriously ill.

In this case – he is rushed to the nearest Military Hospital

3. The patient gets fed up of waiting at the ECHS Clinic – and so – he goes to the nearest private clinic for treatment for which he has to pay from his own pocket.

The ECHS view is that it is the patient’s personal choice whether to avail ECHS treatment – or to go to a private medical practitioner – so ECHS is quite happy if the military veteran goes elsewhere for medical treatment – thereby  unburdening ECHS load.

4. The patient actually starts feeling well during the waiting period – the sick veteran is cured by the long relaxed wait – after all – rest is the best cure for many illnesses.

Now – since he has become well – the veteran does not need any medical treatment at the ECHS Clinic so he can go away happy after spending the leisurely day at the clinic.

Dear Veteran: Do visit an ECHS clinic and tell us whether you see the “Doc Daneekas” around.

Remember – the cardinal “Doc Daneeka Principle” is to make patients disappear – and in this direction – I think the ECHS is trying hard by introducing more and more “hurdles” like increasing red tape and paperwork – introducing hassles like repeated renewal of cards etc – locating clinics in inaccessible distant places – and trying its best to make patients go elsewhere to seek medical treatment – so that ECHS achieves its ultimate goal of “zero patients”

By the way – it was also a “Doc Daneeka” type masterstroke by the Armed Forces in the 1980s – when the Defence Services abdicated responsibility for post-retirement health-care of their own veteran retired ex-servicemen by creating a new organisation called ECHS – and effectively passed the buck of  post-retirement health-care to ECHS (just like the Military Top Brass is now passing the buck to Politicians and Babus in the case of OROP)


There are many excellent doctors and brilliant specialists in uniform – but most of the professionally outstanding “fauji” medical officers are posted at VIP Military Hospitals in big stations.

There are many first-rate doctors posted in smaller units also – but – if you observe carefully – you can spot a few “Doc Daneekas” too.

Once in Vizag – when my kids were small – I once came across a “Doc Daneeka in Uniform” child-specialist who hated children

Yes – believe it not – she was a Pediatrician who hated children.

This Child-Specialist “Fauji” Doctor was unmarried – she had no experience of handling children – and worse – she hated children.

This child-hater Pediatrician was a “Doc Daneeka in Uniform” specimen of a different kind – she insisted on proper “paper work” – and she would not see sick children unless you had got a “referral” through proper channel.

The result was that – due to all these hassles and delays – hardly any children-patients reached her – and she was having a relaxed tenure.

Luckily – we had a Command Medical Officer (a Surgeon Commodore) – who was an exception to the rule – he was certainly not a “Doc Daneeka in Uniform”.

The Command Medical Officer (CMO) was himself a renowned pediatrician – an outstanding child-specialist – and he loved children.

He opened a Child OPD in his office in Command Headquarters – and we all used to take our children to him for treatment.

However – even this magnanimous act of the CMO had no effect on the “Doc Daneeka in Uniform” lady pediatrician child-specialist – who seemed to be quite happy at the turn of events – since now she had to see almost no children-patients – whom she hated anyway.


In order to understand why there are so many “Doc Daneekas in Uniform” – let me give you a simple illustrative example.

Suppose there a two surgeons. 

The first surgeon does 100 surgeries per month.

The second surgeon does only 10 surgeries per month.

In Private Practice – it is obvious that the first surgeon (who does more operations) will earn more money – and also progress faster up the ladder of professional success and fame.

In case of “Fauji” Doctors – it does not matter – because – whether you do 100 surgical operations per month – or even zero surgical operations per month – you will get a fixed monthly pay as per your rank and seniority – and – promotion is by seniority – so you have to wait in the queue for your turn to come.

If someone has joined before you – he is ahead of you in the queue – and so – he will get promoted before you.

So – a “Fauji” Doctor sitting in Headquarters pushing files will get the same pay as his batchmate who is slogging it out treating patients in a military hospital – and – in case the File Pushing Babu “Fauji” Doctor has joined the Army Medical Corps earlier (and is senior in service) – the Babu “Fauji” Doctor will be promoted earlier than the Professional “Fauji” Doctor who is actually practicing medicine in the field – in accordance with the sacrosanct principle of seniority.

So – maybe – it is the “system” – which creates so many “Doc Daneekas in Uniform”.

I will tell you about a few of my hilarious encounters with these “Doc Daneeka” style “Fauji” Doctor in this series of blog posts.

To be continued…

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.

1. This blog post is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This article was written by me Vikram Karve 3 years ago in 2012 and posted online a number of times in my blogs including at url:… 

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/17/2015 12:47:00 PM


Blog Fiction on Independence Day : THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD – Story of a Soldier

August 15, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD – Story of a Soldier.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Story of a Soldier
Short Fiction

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD – A Soldier’s Story by Vikram Karve

The Soldier sat on the footpath near the gate of the Accounts Office.

Abe Langde … Hat Wahan Se (Hey you one-legged cripple … Move from there)Yeh Meri Jagah Hai …(This is my place)…” the food-cart vendor shouted at the soldier.

The soldier winced.

Then – he looked down at his amputated leg.

Yes – he was indeed a cripple – a langda.

When he had joined the army – he had two strong legs.

And now – he had just one leg – and one stump.

The soldier picked up his crutch – pushed his body up – and he slowly hobbled a few steps away.

He was about to sit under a shady canopy near the street corner – when a traffic policeman shouted at him: “Ae Bhikari … Wahan Mat Baith …(Hey Beggar … don’t sit there)…”

Main Bhikari Nahin Hoon … Main Fauji Hoon… (I am not a beggar … I am a soldier)…” protested the soldier.

Phir Border Pe Ja Kar Lad… (Then go and fight on the border)…” the policeman said with sarcasm.

Wahi to kar raha tha… (That is what I was doing)…” the soldier mumbled to himself.

As the soldier tottered on the street on his crutches – he talked to himself. 

The soldier was overcome by regret.

He had been a fool to be brave. 

He should have played safe. 

At least – he would not have lost his leg. 

And – he would not have been discharged from the Army as medically unfit.

Now – he was being made to run from pillar to post for his disability pension – just because some civilian clerk in the accounts office had “misplaced” his documents.

The soldier was exasperated.

In the Army – he was expected to do everything promptly and properly – in double-quick time.

But these civilians were just not bothered.

First – the paperwork was delayed due to red tape.

Then – there were some careless typographical errors in his papers – and his documents had to be sent back to Delhi for the necessary corrections.

And now – his papers had been misplaced.

It was sad.

Nobody was bothered about his plight.

The civilian Babus comfortably cocooned in their secure “9 to 5 five-day-week” jobs were slack and indifferent – and they did not give a damn for the soldiers who they were meant to serve.

Civilians expected soldiers to be loyal unto the grave – but civilians did not reciprocate the same loyalty in return towards the soldiers.

“What is the big deal if you lost a leg?” one cruel clerk had remarked mockingly, “You soldiers are paid to fight. And if you die – or if you get wounded – it is a part of your job. You knew the risks before you joined the Army – didn’t you? If you wanted to live a safe life – why did you become a soldier…? You should have become a chaprassi (peon) – like your friend.”

Tears rolled down the soldier’s cheek as he thought of this.

Others were not so cruel and heartless – but their sympathy was tinged with scorn.

Indeed – he should have become a chaprassi like his friend who was now helping him get his disability pension.

Both he and his friend had been selected for the post of peon in a government office.

But he had been a fool – he told everyone that it was below his dignity to work as a chaprassi – and then he went to recruitment rally – and joined the Army as a soldier.

He made fun of his friend who took up the job of a peon – and he boasted with bloated pride about being a soldier.

And now – the tables had turned – and the peon was having the last laugh on the soldier.

The peon was secure in his job – while the soldier was out on the street – crippled for life – and begging for his pension.

And now – his friend wasn’t even called a chaprassi – they had upgraded all “Class 4” to “Class 3” – and his friend was now designated as “assistant”.

His friend would retire at the age of 60 – after a safe, secure, easy, tension-free career – without any transfers or hardships.

If a soldier got disabled – they would throw him out.

But – if a civilian employee like his friend got disabled – they would never throw him out.

And – by chance – if his civilian friend died – his wife or son or daughter would get a job in his place.

Nothing like that for the soldier. 

A soldier had to fend for himself.

The soldier felt disheartened.

He looked at his amputated leg – and he deeply regretted his decision to join the army.

Indeed he had made a mistake.

He would have been much better off as a peon – a chaprassi – or in some other civilian job.

The soldier also felt a sense of guilt that he had made fun of his friend.

A few years ago – the soldier had laughed at his friend because he was a merechaprassi – a peon.

Today – he was at his friend’s mercy.

The soldier had to live on the kindness of the man he had once ridiculed and scoffed at.

It was a terrible feeling.

More than 6 months had passed – and he was still anxiously waiting for his pension and dues.

His friend had given the soldier – and the soldier’s family – shelter and food. 

And now – the peon friend was trying to help the soldier – by running around from office to office – using the “peon network” to trace the misplaced papers.

The soldier felt sorry for his hapless wife.

His ill-fated wife was at the mercy of his friend’s nasty wife – who openly derided her – and made her displeasure quite clear by making scathing comments about the soldier, his wife and their children.

His friend’s wife kept on complaining and making snide remarks about how the soldier and his family were sponging on her hospitality like parasites.

The soldier’s wife hated the peon’s wife – but she had to suffer the humiliation in silence – and bear the daily insults – and – it was terrible to be at the mercy of someone who detested you.

Today – the peon friend had asked the soldier to stand outside the gate – and the peon had gone into the accounts office alone.

He had gone in alone – because last time – the soldier had spoilt everything by refusing to a pay a bribe to the accounts officer.

The soldier had even threatened the accounts officer that he would report the matter.

The accounts officer was furious: “Go and report. Nothing will happen. Now I will see to it that your papers are not traced until you die. What do you bloody soldiers think? That you can threaten us? This is not the Army. This is the Accounts Office. Haven’t you heard the saying that: ‘THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD’…? Now I will show you.”

Today his peon friend had gone inside to negotiate.

The clerks had told him not to bring the soldier inside the office as the egoistic accounts officer may get furious on seeing the soldier – and everything will be spoilt.

They told the peon that once everything was “settled” – they would try and trace the “misplaced” documents – and he could take them out to obtain the soldier’s signature – and re-submit the papers for clearance of the disability pension.

The soldier waited anxiously in the hot sun for his peon friend to come out. 

Angry thoughts buzzed in his mind.

“Ungrateful, corrupt people – all these civilians,” the soldier muttered to himself, “we sacrifice our life and limb for their sake and they humiliate us – they even ask me to pay a bribe to get my own disability pension…”

“Patriotism, heroism, idealism – no one bothers about these things anymore. I made a mistake by joining the army. Yes – I indeed made a mistake by joining the army. But – I made an even bigger mistake trying to be brave. What was the point of showing courage, initiative, daring? What did I gain by going beyond the call of duty to nab those guys? How does it matter if a few militants sneak in? Who is bothered about these things anyway – especially out here in the city? They don’t even know what is happening out there. Had I looked the other way – no one would have known – and I would not be a one-legged cripple – a langda... And even then – I wish they had shot me in the head and I had died. That would have been better…” he mumbled to himself, feeling very bitter, frustrated and helpless.

The soldier thought of his wife, his children, the bleak future awaiting them.

How long would they have to be dependent on the mercy of his friend and his nasty wife?

The soldier felt sad – very sad – as depressing thoughts of despondency and hopelessness filled his brain.

He wondered whether his disability pension problem would be solved today.

It was taking long – his friend had gone in at 10 AM – and it was almost 12 noon now.

The sweltering summer sun was hot – and the soldier felt parched and weak.

He had drunk just a cup of tea – since they started their journey to the accounts office in the city by bus from their friend’s home in the distant suburbs – early in the morning.

Suddenly the soldier felt faint – so he walked towards the compound wall of the accounts office.

He took support from the wall – and he slid down to sit on his haunches.

At 12:30 his friend emerged from the gates of the accounts office. 

He was happy – the bribe had been paid – the documents had been promptly traced. 

Now all he had to do was get the soldier’s signature on the papers – and he had been assured that the soldier’s disability pension and all his dues would be given within a month.

The peon friend began to look around for the soldier – and he saw the soldier sitting strangely – propped against the wall.

The soldier’s eyes were closed – and it seemed that he had fallen asleep.

Something seemed amiss – so the peon briskly walked towards the soldier.

The peon bent down – and he touched the soldier’s shoulder.

The soldier fell down to his side.

The peon friend panicked. 

He thought the soldier had fainted – so he started shouting for help.

The traffic policeman – the food-cart vendor – and some passers-by – all rushed to help.

The policeman told the vendor to sprinkle some water on the soldier’s face – but nothing happened.

The policeman rang up the police control room for an ambulance.

“I hope he is not dead,” the soldier’s peon friend said with trepidation.

“I don’t know. But it looks like he is totally unconscious. What happened? Who is he? He was muttering that he is a fauji – is he really a soldier?” the policeman asked.

The friend told the policeman the soldier’s story – the full story.

“Sad,” the policeman said, “very sad – it is really terrible – the way they treat our soldiers.”

The ambulance arrived.

A paramedic examined the soldier and he said, “I think he is dead. We will take him to the hospital. There the doctors will examine him and officially pronounce him dead.”

“The enemy’s bullets could not do what these Babus did with their red tape. It is so sad. The enemy could not kill this brave soldier – but the these Babus  killed him…” the policeman commented.

“Yes. The accounts officer was right,” the soldier’s distraught peon friend said,“The Pen is indeed Mightier than the Sword.”

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.

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)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story was written by me 3 years ago in the year 2012 and first posted online by me Vikram Karve in my blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal onat 1/09/2013 02:09:00 PM (09 Jan 2013) at url:…   and  also at urls:…  and…

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