Archive for the ‘india’ Category

Online Insurance Woes in Digital India

October 15, 2016

DIGITAL INDIA – Hype and Reality

Musings By VIKRAM KARVE

After being elected to power by a huge mandate in May 2014 – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Ministers have taken many initiatives for the betterment of India.

One such initiative is “Digital India” – which envisages extensive use of information technology for better governance.

The positive effects of adopting technology in governance are visible in certain ministries/organizations – notably Indian Railways, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and many Municipal Bodies – which have optimally used Internet (and Social Media) to improve governance (e-governance) and speed up grievance redressal (online complaint management)

However – there are still some “laggards” who refuse to adopt modern technologies to improve governance – they prefer to remain antiquated and backward – and they continue to use the obsolescent “paper based system” instead of “online governance”.

To be successful – the “Digital India” initiative needs to be all-encompassing and must include all organizations (particularly government run organizations) – especially those organizations which provide services to citizens.

A few technophobic regressive organizations should not be allowed to derail or impede the “Digital India” initiative.

Recently – I discovered one such antiquated organization which is indifferent to the Prime Minister’s “Digital India” initiative – “United India Insurance Company Ltd” – which is a Government Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).

Let me tell you about my disappointing experience with “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

A few days ago – inspired by “Digital India” – I decided to avail the “online” option to buy a Travel Insurance Policy – instead of the traditional “Agent Hard-Copy” which I had used in the past for buying insurance policies.

In the past – I had taken a Travel Insurance Policy from “United India Insurance Company Ltd” in the past (via an agent).

So – I decided to take an “online policy” from the same insurance firm – “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

Accordingly – I opened the “United India Insurance Company Ltd” website on the internet and I saw an option for buying “online policies”.

So – I filled in the necessary online forms – and – I made the required online payment for the policy.

The payment was successful and I was allotted at “Transaction ID” by “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

I also received an SMS from my Bank that the amount had been debited to my account and credited to “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

I was given to understand that online insurance policies are generated instantly and forwarded by email immediately.

However – I did not receive any email from “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

Also – I did not receive any SMS intimation from “United India Insurance Company Ltd” regarding issue/generation of the online policy.

I decided to wait for a day.

Next morning – I checked my email.

There was no email from “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

I accessed the website of “United India Insurance Company Ltd” and navigated to the page titled “Download/Search Facility for Online Policies”.

I entered my “Transaction ID” and queried for the Status of my Online Policy.

The Status Report stated the online payment was “successful” (in the “Payment Gateway Information” column).

Under “Payment Process Status” the status was: “Your Payment Synced into our System”

Under the “Policy Generation Summary” the status was: “The policy is not yet generated”

This was 4 days ago.

Since then – there has been no communication from “United India Insurance Company Ltd” – No Email – No SMS – No Call – regarding my online policy.

Despite “successful payment” and “payment synced into system” – the status remains the same – and – the policy has still not been generated by “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

Online Policies are supposed to be generated immediately.

More than 4 days have passed – but – “United India Insurance Company Ltd” has still not generated my policy.

I have sent 3 reminder emails to “United India Insurance Company Ltd” on both the Email IDs: online.policy@uiic.co.in and support.onlinepolicies@uiic.co.in mentioned on “United India Insurance Company Ltd” website.

But – I have not received any reply to my emails from “United India Insurance Company Ltd” till today.

The “United India Insurance Company Ltd” Toll Free Helpline 180042533333 does not respond.

Most Private Firms use the Social Media (especially Twitter) effectively to engage with customers and resolve their grievances.

I have observed that many Government Organizations/Entities are active on the Social Media – especially on Twitter – and they respond to Tweets by citizens for grievance redressal and complaint management – besides disseminating information.

Notable among these techno-savvy organizations are Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Indian Railways – even the concerned Ministers personally tweet and respond to citizens.

However – “United India Insurance Company Ltd” seems to be an exception.

“United India Insurance Company Ltd” has got a Twitter Account (@UnitedIndiaInsu)

But – the “United India Insurance Company Ltd” Twitter Account seems to be dormant (the most “recent” tweet is on 07 March 2013 – more than three and a half years ago).

This indicates that “United India Insurance Company Ltd” does not believe in “Tweet Governance” which is being adopted in a big way as to facilitate “Digital India” by many progressive organizations.

I have tweeted to (@UnitedIndiaInsu) “United India Insurance Company Ltd” regarding my problem – but there was no response to my tweets from “United India Insurance Company Ltd”.

It seems to be a similar state of affairs on Facebook too.

CONCLUSION

1. I applied for a “United India Insurance Company Ltd” online policy on 11 Oct 2016. Payment was successful and “synced” into their system. Yet – the online policy has not been issued till today 15 Oct 2016 – more than 4 days after online payment. As per rules – online policies are required to be issued immediately and sent by email. But – “United India Insurance Company Ltd” has not sent any email or SMS regarding my policy.

2. “United India Insurance Company Ltd” does not respond to my emails.

3. “United India Insurance Company Ltd” does not respond to my Tweets.

I feel helpless.

What should I do…?

Even “United India Insurance Company Ltd” Toll Free Number is Unresponsive.

A friend suggested that I should write a hard-copy letter and send it by snail-mail (by postal service) to “United India Insurance Company Ltd” Head Office.

He feels that since “United India Insurance Company Ltd” is a Government PSU – “United India Insurance Company Ltd” may not have made a transition into the modern “Digital Age” – and – “United India Insurance Company Ltd” may still be in the antiquated “Paper Age”.

But – I cannot wait for “paper correspondence” – since I have to travel next week (for which I need the insurance policy).

So – since “United India Insurance Company Ltd” has not issued an online policy in a timely manner – the only immediate option for me is buy another policy from a Private Insurance Company – and later – I can initiate a protracted paper correspondence with “United India Insurance Company Ltd” for a refund.

But one thing is sure.

In future – I will avoid “United India Insurance Company Ltd” and other Government PSUs who refuse to adopt “Digital India”.

The whole nation is trying to move ahead with “Digital India” – and – many Government Entities have adopted “Digital India” in a big way.

Why do a few “techno-phobic” organizations like “United India Insurance Company Ltd” refuse to adopt modern technology…?

Why are they reluctant to be a part of “Digital India”…?

I hope the Government does not allow a few “bad apples” to undermine the “Digital India” effort which requires the participation of all to be a success.

All Government Entities (including archaic PSUs like “United India Insurance Company Ltd”) must be made adopt modern online technologies and make “Digital India” implementation a success.

Do you agree…?

PS:

Dear Reader – In case you know some someone in “United India Insurance Company Ltd” – will you be so good as to forward this post to him/her…?

If you do this – maybe “United India Insurance Company Ltd” will be kind enough to issue my online policy at the earliest and send it to me by email. Or – at least – they will show me the basic courtesy of replying to my email or send me an SMS informing me of the status.

Will “United India Insurance Company Ltd” adopt “Digital India”…?

Will they become active on the Social Media (Twitter)…?

Well– it seems a tall order – but – I am always optimistic…

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/10/digital-india-hype-and-reality.html

Do You Want to Live in an Old Age Home ?

August 27, 2015

Source: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/old-age-woes-do-you-depend-on-kindness.html

DO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN AN OLD AGE HOME ?

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

OLD AGE WOES
Do You Depend on the Kindness of Strangers ?
Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Sometime ago – during my early morning walk – I passed by Mrs. J’s house.

I saw J – an 84 year old widow – struggling to walk in her garden.

I wished J good morning – and I asked her how she was.

She answered: “I depend on the kindness of strangers.”

For a moment – I was speechless.

Then – slowly – I let her words sink in – and perambulate in my mind – “I depend on the kindness of strangers” – and – these words struck a chord.

I was transported back in time – almost 35 years ago – to the year 1981 – if my memory serves me right – when I had seen the play called A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE which had a lasting impression on me.

I witnessed a performance of the indigenous Indian Production of this 1948 Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece by Tennessee Williams at the Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi directed by Alyque Padamsee with terrific performances by Dalip Tahil as Stanley Kowalski and Sabira Merchant as Blanche DuBois.

I still remember the heart-rending scene – when – after being totally destroyed by Stanley, while being taken away to a mental asylum, a shattered Blanche holds onto the doctor’s hand and says: “Whoever you are – I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”.

Though the context in the play is different – I realized the universal all-encompassing truth encapsulated in those profound words – which were spontaneously uttered by the old lady J – who I am sure has not read or seen the play “A Streetcar Named Desire”.

As I observe in Pune – I realize that there are so many senior citizens living alone – so many old people who “depend on the kindness of strangers” – especially in the middle-class.

In most cases – their children live abroad in the USA pursuing their American Dream – while their parents live a life of loneliness awaiting their deaths back home in India.

Also – I notice that the longevity of women seems to be more then men – since there are far more senior citizen widows who heavily outnumber the widowers.

Before you blame the “ungrateful and selfish children” for “abandoning” their “hapless” parents – I think you must consider the fact that there are always two sides to a coin (or two “points of view” in every story).

MIDDLE CLASS DREAMS

Let me give you a bit of a background.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s – I lived in a “middle-class” locality in Pune – where parents had two dreams:

1. First – their son must get into an IIT and go abroad to USA to realize the American dream and achieve “success”.

2. Second – they must get their daughters married to a “successful” American NRI so that she too could go the USA to live a life of prosperity and happiness there.

Many such parents – like the old lady J – achieved their dreams.

And – they are paying the price today.

Even today – I see so many parents who are desperate to send their kids abroad for higher studies and to settle down there.

In the earlier “pre-globalization pre-liberalization” days prior to 1991 – it was difficult to go to America unless you graduated from an IIT or topped from a premier University.

Today – it is much easier to go abroad for studies or for work.

Post liberalization – in the globalized world of today – if you are willing to spend your money – you can easily go for higher studies abroad – or you can go there via the “IT Route” – by first going abroad to work onsite – and then sidestepping into a job over there in America.

This is the main reason why there is a beeline for jobs in the IT/ITES industry – it is the easiest way to migrate overseas.

Then or now – the fact of the matter is that it is the parents themselves who encourage and monetarily facilitate their children to go abroad.

Parents inculcate ambitious values that create in the minds of their children the urge to migrate to America or some other prosperous country for a “better life”.

So who is to blame – the parents or the children?

I ask the old lady J – “Why don’t you go and live with your son or daughter in America? Have they refused to take you there? Are your children unwilling to have you live with them?”

“No – not at all. Far from it,” the old lady says, “my children want me to live with them over there and keep calling me to relocate permanently to America and stay with them in the US. I have gone there so many times – but I don’t want to live there with them in America. I don’t like it over there.”

I am puzzled.

It seems very strange.

Why should the old lady prefer to live a difficult lonely life out here in India – full of hardship – when she can live a comfortable life of luxury in America with the best of facilities and healthcare – and in the company of her children and grandchildren?

Why do so many senior citizens prefer to live alone in India and depend on “the kindness of strangers” – when they can enjoy the evening of their lives by migrating abroad to live with their NRI children and exulting in the love and care of their near and dear ones?

Is it ego?

Is it something else?

Is there some other reason?

I don’t know.

I don’t have the answer.

Do you?

If you do have the answer – or wish to share your views on this subject, please comment and let us know.

And – you better start thinking – about the evening of your life – when you become 70 or 80.

You have to decide from these 3 Choices:

1. Do you want to live with your children…?

2. Do you want to live alone…?

3. Do you want to live in an old age home (retirement community) which has assisted living facilities and where you will be well cared for and looked after…?

Remember – if you choose the second or third choice above – you will be dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Think about it.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This article is just “food for thought”, my musings, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt.
2. While planning your old age – please do your own due diligence.
3. 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 is a revised and updated version of my article first written by me Vikram Karve more than 3 years ago in the year 2012 and posted online earlier by me in this blog at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/27/2015 11:01:00 AM

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

August 22, 2015

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/officer-like-qualities-aka-olq-art-of.html.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

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

OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES aka OLQ

THE ART OF COMMAND
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?”

“Yes”

“Cold move?” port control asked.

“No,” Nobody said decisively.

“Hot move?”

“Yes”

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

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

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

“Sir, should I prepare the pilotage plan?”

“Yes”

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

“No”

“Around Middle Ground?”

“Yes”

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

“No”

“Then I will have the con?”

“Yes”

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

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

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

This was not a question. 

This was a report. 

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

There was no point hanging around the bridge and being 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 … 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)
 

Abridged and Updated Version of my two blog posts posted in June 2013 
NOBODY’S NAVY at url:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  
and  NOBODY BECOMES A SOMEBODY – LEARNING THE ART OF NAVAL COMMAND at url: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

 

 

Indian Politics Needs Less Jingoism and More Patriotism

August 20, 2015

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/jingoism-is-not-substitute-for.html.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

JINGOISM IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PATRIOTISM
Musings of a Veteran
By
VIKRAM KARVE

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”  

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

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

Compatibility Issues in Arranged Marriage – Does Your Spouse “LIKE” You

August 6, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: DOES YOUR WIFE “LIKE” YOU.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

DOES YOUR WIFE “LIKE” YOU ?
(or – Does Your Husband “Like” You ?)
Incoherent Gobbledygook of a Veteran on Mystery of Marriage
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


DOES YOUR SPOUSE “LIKE” YOU ?

In a “Love Marriage” – the question “Does your spouse like you…?” – is irrelevant.

In a love marriage – the husband and wife marry because they are in love.

And – the very fact that they are in “love” – means that the husband and wife “like” each other – “ipso facto” – because – if you do not “like” a person – how can you fall in “love” with that person?

So – in a “Love Marriage” – it is obvious that the husband and wife like each other.

However – in “Arranged Marriages” – the situation is entirely different.

When I was in the Navy – I saw many marriages where the wife did not seem to “like” the husband – or vice versa.

Of course – these were all “arranged marriages”.

Why go further – even in my case – after more than 33 years of marriage – I still cannot accurately fathom whether my wife actually “likes” me – though – over the years – I seem to have developed a liking for her.

There can be countless reasons why your spouse may not “like” you.

Every husband and wife may have their own unique reasons why they do not like their partner.

However – recently – I heard a phrase which encapsulates all these myriad reasons in a nutshell – “compatibility issues”.


COMPATIBILITY ISSUES

Let me tell you how I heard of this term – “compatibility issues”.

A few years ago – I attended the wedding of a “Techie” Boy – and “IT Nerd”.

Last week – while strolling on Main Street – I suddenly ran into him.

The “Techie” boy was with his wife.

He introduced me to his wife.

His wife gave me a courteous smile – and said that she was glad to meet me.

She behaved as if this was the first time she was seeing me.

I was surprised – since I had attended their marriage just a few years ago – and generally – no one forgets my face – thanks to my handsome beard – and my rather “abrasive personality”.

“Don’t you remember me?” I asked the young lady.

“No – I don’t think we have met before,” she said to me.

“Well – I attended your wedding reception…” I said.

“How is that possible? We had a very private marriage ceremony…” she said.

I noticed a strange expression on my “Techie” friend’s face – as if he was non-verbally telling me not to ask these questions – so I did not pursue the conversation further – and – instead – I suggested that we have some rolls, sandwiches and cold coffee at one of my favourite places just opposite the road.

Once inside the eatery – when the wife was seated – and we were standing near the self-service counter – the young “Techie” told me that this lady was his second wife – he had divorced his first wife (whose wedding I had attended 3 years ago) – and he got remarried to this woman (his second wife) just one month ago.

“Oh – I am sorry – but – what happened – why did your first marriage breakup so quickly – you got divorced within 3 years of your wedding…?” I asked.

“Actually – we got divorced within 2 years – but the marriage had broken down much earlier – within a year…” he said.

“What happened…? What was the reason for your divorce…?” I asked.

“Compatibility Issues,” he said.

What a simple all-encompassing expression for breakup of a marital relationship – “compatibility issues”.

Call it a coincidence – but the very next morning – I read on ‘Page 3’ of a tabloid that a small-time celebrity had said that her marriage broke up due to “compatibility issues”.

I laughed to myself – if “compatibility” had been an “issue” – my wife and I would have been divorced at least a thousand times by now.

But – jokes apart – I seem to have digressed from the moot question:

Does your spouse “like” you…?

As I have said – there can be umpteen reasons why a wife does not like her husband – or vice versa – there may be even more reasons why a husband does like his wife.


WHY DOESN’T YOUR SPOUSE “LIKE” YOU ?

In literature – many stories, novels and plays have been written on this theme.

One notable story I remember on this theme of a wife who does not like her husband is THE WREATH by Luigi Pirandello

I read the English translation of this story in the short fiction anthology GREAT SHORT STORIES OF THE WORLD published by Reader’s Digest.

In this story – a young woman who is 22 years old is married to a 40 year old man – the husband is 18 years older than the wife.

The youthful wife does not like her middle-aged husband.

And – why does she not “like” her husband – who is a kindhearted doctor…?

When the woman was an 18 year old girl – she had fallen in love with a boy.

But – sadly – the boy suddenly died due to typhus.

The same doctor had been called to treat the boy and was by the boy’s bedside when he died.

Stricken by grief – the girl almost lost her mind – and became a recluse.

She refused to get married – and declined many good matrimonial offers.

Sometime later – the doctor proposed to her – and – surprisingly – the girl accepted.

Everyone else was surprised too – since the doctor was 18 years older than the girl.

Soon – the doctor realized that his young wife did not like him.

The doctor loved his young wife – but she did not like him.

In her heart – she still yearned for her first love – the young boy – her dead lover – and she secretly placed a wreath at his grave on every anniversary of his death.

One day – the doctor accidentally discovered this.

What happened next – for that – you will have to read the story.

But – the moot question is:

Why did the young wife not “like” her husband…?

Was it because of the age difference – because her husband was much older than her…?

Was it because of her love affair with the boy – her first lover – who she was unable to forget – although he was dead…?

Or – to use my newly learnt clichéd phrase – was it due to “compatibility issues”…?


CONCLUSION – LIKES, DISLIKES, AND MARRIAGE

In conclusion – Dear Friends – if you are “enduring” an arranged marriage – and if you feel that your spouse does not “like” you – just put it down to “compatibility issues” – and do not bother too much about it – and get on with your “happy” married life…

If you want to enjoy your “Arranged Marriage” – don’t delve too much…

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This is a spoof, light-hearted 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

 

Amazing Romance – THE MAID – An Awesome Love Story

July 13, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE MAID – A Love Story.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

THE MAID
Short Fiction – A Love Story
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


A RAINY NIGHT

It was a scary night – dark – windy – thunder – lightning – and heavy torrential rain.

After the official ‘cocktail-cum-dinner’ party was over – my friend said to me: “It is raining heavily. Why don’t you stay over for the night in the mess – you can sleep in my cabin if you want.”

“No,” I said, “I will go back to my ship.”

“You have had quite a bit to drink,” my friend said, “Do you really want to drive in this heavy rain…?”

“I am okay – you don’t worry – I will reach safely…” I said.

“Be careful,” my friend said, “Drive slow…”

I put on my black oilskin raincoat over my evening ‘Red Sea Rig’ uniform.

I wore my helmet.

Then – I started my motorcycle – and I drove off in the rain.

A few minutes later – while I was driving through the married accommodation area – there was a sudden ‘cloudburst’ – a huge torrent of rain – a flood of water on the road.

I lost control – my motorcycle skidded – and I fell into a gutter – and I got totally drenched in the deluge of water.

I struggled and got up – hauled up my motorcycle – and dragged the bike into the parking lot of the multistory high-rise married accommodation building nearby.

I was totally drenched – soaked to the skin – and my oilskin raincoat was covered with muck from the gutter.

It was raining very heavily – and – in this torrential rain – it was impossible to drive my motorcycle – yes – in this terrible rain – and the flood of water on the roads – even going back to the mess was out of the question.

And – from the way it was raining – it did not look like the downpour of rain was going to subside very soon.

I stood shivering in the parking lot of the multistory high-rise building – wondering what to do.

My eyes went to the wooden board on the wall – on which the names of occupants of the high-rise building were listed.

I was delighted to spot the name of ‘course-mate’ – against Flat No. 303.

I had not met this ‘course-mate’ after leaving the academy – in fact – I did not know that he was in Mumbai – but then – that was the ‘Bombay Culture’ those days – where everyone was on his own trip.

I took off my stinking oilskin raincoat and helmet – and left them on my bike.

Then – I walked to the lift – and pressed the 3rd floor button.

I stood outside Flat No. 303 and rang the doorbell.

After some time – a young woman opened the door.

It was obvious that this charming young woman was my course-mate’s wife.

She was dressed in her night-clothes – and it was evident that she had been sleeping.

“Sorry for disturbing you, Ma’am…” I said.

She looked at my wet uniform – but she said nothing.

So – I said to her: “I am a course-mate of “X” – he lives here – isn’t it…? I had a small accident on my motorcycle – and I thought I will spend some time here till the rain lessens a bit…”

She smiled – and she said, “He is not here – he is away on duty…”

“Oh – I am sorry – I will go…” I said.

“No…No – it is raining very heavily – please come in…” she said.

“Thanks…” I said.

I walked in – and I sat on the sofa in the drawing room.

“Shall I make you a cup of coffee…?” she asked.

“No – Ma’am – I have already troubled you so much – please go to sleep – I will relax here on the sofa – and I will quietly go away once it stops raining…” I said.

She smiled – and she went away – leaving me alone in the drawing room.

I do not know when I dozed off to sleep on the sofa.

What I know is that when I woke up – and opened my eyes – the first thing I saw was my course-mate’s wife looking at me.

She was freshly bathed – and she looked very beautiful – incredibly alluring – and I could not take my eyes off her.

She gave me a sweet smile.

I felt ashamed of having eyed her so brazenly – so I quickly moved my eyes away.

“Good Morning…” she said.

“Good Morning, Ma’am…” I said.

I looked out of the window.

It has stopped raining – in fact – there was bright sunlight.

“What time is it…?” I asked.

“7:30…” she said.

“Oh – I slept whole night – I am so sorry – I must go…” I said, filled with embarrassment.

“At least wash up – have a cup of tea…” she said.

“No – Ma’am – thanks a lot – but I have already overstayed my welcome – and I have to get back to my ship quickly…” I said.

“Okay…” she said.

“When will “X” be back…?” I asked.

“He should be back by tomorrow evening…” she said.

“Okay – then I will come over – and we will have a proper dinner…” I said.

“Yes…” she said.

“Thank you again, Ma’am…” I said – and I left.


3 DAYS LATER

I asked around – and I found out the “X” was posted in an inconsequential appointment in the back of beyond.

No wonder I had not met him all these days.

Three days later – in the morning – I called up his office.

“Yes – “X” had reported back the previous day from outstation duty – and he would be in office by 9:30 AM…” I was told.

I reached his office at 10 AM.

“X” was happy to see me.

I shook hands with him and said: “I have come to thank you for the hospitality when I was stuck in the rain the other night – it was very sweet of your wife to let me stay…”

“Wife…?” he asked – looking confused.

“Yes – I was all drenched in the rain – I took shelter in your building – then I saw your name on the board – and I just barged into your house – and it was very kind of your wife to let me stay all night…”

“Wife…? How could she be there…?” he asked.

“Of course your wife was there…” I said.

“Impossible…” he said.

“Then who was that charming lady…?” I asked.

“She was my ‘Maid’ – not my wife…” he said.

“What…? She was your ‘Maid’ – she was not your wife…?” I blurted out – totally bewildered.

“Yes – the woman who you met is my ‘Maid’ – she told me that some ‘course-mate’ of mine had got stuck in the rain and slept on the sofa – she didn’t remember your name – so it was you…?” he said.

“Oh – I am very sorry – your ‘Maid’ is so smart – that I mistook her for your wife – yes – I really thought that she was your wife…” I said.

“Ha Ha – I must tell my wife this…” he said, laughing.

“No – please don’t tell her – it will be very embarrassing…” I said.

Tea arrived – and we sipped our tea.

I noticed that “X” wasn’t telling me anything about his wife – so I asked him: “By the way – your wife – is she out of station…?”

“She is an ‘air-hostess’ in an international airline – so she is out on duty for around 15 days in a month…” he said.

“Oh – that’s great – we must meet sometime in the club – I owe you a dinner…” I said.

“Sure – my wife should be back by weekend…” he said.

“One more thing – please don’t tell anyone about my faux pas – it was a stupid blunder on my part in thinking that your ‘Maid’ was your wife…” I said.

“X” laughed – and said, “okay…”

But – alas – “X” told everyone about my stupid goof-up – and I became a laughing stock.

This angered me – and I did not visit “X” again.


3 YEARS LATER

I was flying abroad for some work.

An air-hostess came to me – and she asked me my name.

I told her my name.

Then – she said, “Come – we’ll upgrade you to ‘business class’…”

When I was comfortable in my new luxurious seat – the air-hostess came over to me and said, “You didn’t recognize me – of course – we have never met – I saw your name on the passenger manifest – and I guessed it must be you – well – I am your course-mate X’s wife – remember – the ‘Maid’ episode…”

“Oh – yes – how can I forget – your husband “X” told everyone about it – and I became a laughing stock…” I said.

“He told our ‘Maid’ too…” she said.

“What…? Did your husband “X” tell your ‘Maid’ that I thought that she was you…?” I asked.

“Well – my ‘Maid’ did have some inkling – she told us that you kept addressing her as ‘Ma’am’…”

“I wanted to come over to your place – but I was so embarrassed to face your ‘Maid’ again – after my faux pas…”

“Well – you can meet her when you are in Delhi – the same ‘Maid’ is still with us…”

“You’ve got the same ‘Maid’ even now…?”

“Yes – we took her along when we were posted to Delhi – she is a big boon – it is because of her that I am able to do this job which requires me to be out for so many days…” she said.

“Yes – I saw that your ‘Maid’ was very good…” I said.

“She looks after everything at home – in fact – I have handed over all ‘homemaker’ duties to her – she manages each and every thing – she even looks after my husband so well – and she is so good – that I just don’t have to bother about anything…” she said.

There was a call for her – so X’s wife smiled a ‘good-bye’ – and she left to attend to her duties.


10 YEARS LATER

Ten years later – one morning – while driving down from Mumbai to Pune by the Expressway – I stopped at the ‘Food Court’ for a cup of tea.

A car entered the ‘food court’ parking lot.

I could not believe my eyes.

My course-mate “X” was in the Driver’s Seat – and sitting next to him was his‘Maid’.

Both of them got out of the car – they walked to a vacant table and sat down.

Obviously – “X” hadn’t seen me – or if he had seen me – then “X” probably did not want to meet me.

But I was curious to meet “X” – and yes – I was quite intrigued by his rather intimate demeanor towards his ‘Maid’.

I wondered why “X” had seated his ‘Maid’ beside him on the front seat of the car – and even now – they seemed to be talking in a rather friendly manner.

I picked up my cup of tea – and I walked towards their table.

“Hello…” I said to my course-mate “X”.

“Oh – Hi…” my course-mate “X” said with a smile.

“May I join you…?” I asked.

“Of course…” he said.

“I’ll just freshen up and come…” the ‘Maid’ said – and she left for the washroom.

“So – I heard that you suddenly quit the Navy…” I said.

“Yes – I quit 5 years ago – I am in the Merchant Navy now…” he said.

“That’s great…” I said.

“Yes – the Merchant Navy is much better – especially moneywise…” he said.

“So – are you going to Pune…?” I asked “X”.

“No – I am driving down to Mahabaleshwar…” he said.

“You’re going to Mahabaleshwar – with your ‘Maid’…?” I asked, shocked.

“She is no longer my ‘Maid’….” he said.

“What…? She is no longer your ‘Maid’…? Don’t tell me that you have married her…!” I said, totally baffled.

“Not yet…” he said, nonchalantly.

“Not yet…! What do you mean by ‘Not Yet’…? Are you saying that you intend marrying your ‘Maid’…? So that means that you two are living together…?” I blurted out, baffled out of my wits.

“X” did not say anything – he looked down at the table.

His silence spoke volumes.

For me – the whole thing was unbelievable – most bizarre.

Then – after I recovered my wits – I looked at “X”  and I said to him, “Have you gone crazy…? You have dumped your wife for your ‘Maid’…?”

“X” did not answer – he just looked away.

I followed his gaze – and I saw the ‘Maid’ come out of the washroom and walk towards us.

I got up from my seat.

“Okay – Bye – it is time for me to move on…” I said to “X”.

Meanwhile the ‘Maid’ had reached our table and was smiling at me – so – I looked at the ‘Maid’ – and I said to her: “All the Best, Ma’am…”

Last time – calling her “Ma’am” was a faux pas on my part – but – now – as my course-mate’s consort – she had earned the right to be called “Ma’am”.

Then – I turned – and I walked towards my car.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Posted by Vikram Karve at 7/13/2015 01:14:00 PM

HOW TO WRITE FOOD REVIEWS AND RATE RESTAURANTS – Guide

May 30, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: FOOD REVIEW – HOW TO RATE RESTAURANTS.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

FOOD REVIEWS

HOW TO RATE RESTAURANTS
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This happened 37 years ago in the 1970’s during my early days in the Navy.

We were sitting in our ship’s wardroom enjoying our first drink of the evening – when some shipmates peeped in and asked me: “Hey – we are thinking of going to ‘XXX’ restaurant for dinner…”

“…3 Large…” I said.

My shipmates promptly downed 3 Large Pegs of Whisky each – and then proceeded for dinner to ‘XXX’ restaurant in the heart of Mumbai.

I was – and I still am – an avid ‘Foodie’.

During my early navy days – I was lucky to be appointed on ships based at Mumbai – which gave me great opportunity to explore the culinary delights of the best foodie city in India.

If you have read ‘food reviews’ – you will notice that most restaurant reviewers rate restaurants on a scale of 1 to 5 – with 5 meaning ‘Excellent’ – 4 (Very Good) – 3 (Good) – 2 (Average) – and – 1 (Poor).

These food reviewers consider various parameters like food, service, ambience etc to rate a restaurant (and some even give sub-ratings for each parameter).

Some restaurant reviewers use ‘stars’ instead of numbers – but it is basically the same rating system.

My restaurant rating system is different.

I rate restaurants on the number of pegs of booze (rum/whisky) you are advised to imbibe before proceeding to eat food in the restaurant.

Yes – I rate restaurants on a scale of ‘0’ to ‘6’ – ‘0’ Pegs’ to ‘6 Pegs’ to be precise – and – of course – the ‘Peg’ referred to is a ‘Large Peg’ – which is ‘60 ml’ of rum/whisky.

And yes – this rating mainly applies to Indian Cuisine.

It is my experience that alcohol does not go well with Indian Cuisine which is highly flavorsome.

Alcohol dulls the taste buds, and olfactory sensation, and encumbers the unmitigated enjoyment of good food.

So – if you are going to have an authentic Indian ‘Pure Vegetarian Thali Meal’ prepared hygienically with pure ingredients in clean surroundings – you will ruin the eating experience if you drink alcohol before, or along with, this pristine food.    

This will therefore qualify for a ‘0’ Large or ‘Zero Peg’ rating.

On the other hand – hard-core street-food like oily spicy greasy mutton curry prepared in most unhygienic earthy manner and eaten in noisy, crowded, polluted, filthy surroundings – ‘robust’ food which requires a ‘cast iron stomach’ to digest and fit only for a seasoned trencherman – will qualify for a‘6 Large’ rating.

You have got the drift – haven’t you?

At one end of the scale (‘Zero Large’) was delicate refined pristine food to be savoured by the high-falutin gourmand.

At the other end of the scale (‘6 Large’) was fiery robust earthy food fit only for a tough trencherman.

My shipmates were going to a ‘3 Large’ eatery for Mutton Biryani in the heart of the city.

There was a ‘2 Large’ eatery nearby too which served a more “refined” biryani – and – of course – there were a few ‘5 Large’ street-joints where you got earthy “Kababs” and “Bheja” dishes too.

In my entire life – I have rated only one eatery with the top ‘6 Large’ rating – and I have never dared to go there again.

Of course – I have eaten in many ‘pristine’ restaurants which qualified for a‘Zero Large’ rating.

Later – I started applying this ‘0’ to ‘6’ “Large” rating whenever someone called me home to dinner.

Those days – I was known to be a passionate drinker.

We had been invited to dinner at a friend’s place – and my friend was surprised when I declined his offer of my favourite ‘Rum-Pani’ drink.

“You don’t want a drink…? What’s wrong with you…?” my friend asked me.

“Nothing is wrong with me. Your wife is such an excellent cook – and I have seen in the kitchen all the delicious dishes she has made for dinner – so I don’t want to spoil my eating experience by drinking alcohol…” I said.

Another friend’s wife overheard our conversation – and she gave me an angry look.

She had called us for dinner a few days ago – and I had downed 5 Large Pegs of Rum at her place before daring to sample her cooking.

In fact – after tasting her ‘mutton curry’ – I had insisted on ‘one more drink’ – yes – it was truly a mutton curry worthy of a ‘6 Large’ rating…


PS:

You may ask me why limit the rating to ‘6 Large’…?

Simple.

‘6 Large’ is nearly half a bottle of rum/whisky – and after drinking so much alcohol – your taste buds will hardly be able to discern the taste of the food you are eating… 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This article is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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)


Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/30/2015 12:05:00 PM

 

Humor in Uniform – THE HAPPY NAVY – Hilarious “Memoir” from My Wonderful Navy Life

May 25, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – THE BOOZY NAVY.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

Here is a “memoir” from the happiest days of my life – my early days in the Navy.

This hilarious story happened more than 37 years ago – in the 1970’s …

THE BOOZY NAVY
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


TÊTE-À-TÊTE

Lieutenant “Z” was transferred to Kolkata (or Calcutta – as the city was called in the 1970’s – but I will use the present name Kolkata in this story).

The “powers-that-be” thought Lieutenant “Z” would be very happy since Kolkata was his hometown.

But Lieutenant “Z” seemed very upset and he rushed to his ship’s Captain to get his transfer cancelled.

“We thought you would be happy – Kolkata is your hometown,” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to leave the ship…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Oh – it’s good to see that you are a true ‘sea-dog’ and you like the tough life at sea – but then – you have to go ashore…” the Captain said.

“But – Why – Sir…?” Lieutenant “Z” asked.

“See – you got your ‘watch-keeping ticket’ last year – and you have served for more than one year on board as a sea watch-keeping officer – and you will be due for your ‘Long Course’ after 2 years…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – I can spend these 2 years on board this ship – or some other ship – but I don’t want to go to Kolkata – especially in that shore appointment…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

The Captain was getting exasperated – so he said a bit angrily: “Look here Lieutenant “Z” – there is a bloody shortage of ships and sea billets – and we have plenty of young officers waiting for their watch-keeping tickets – so you will have to cool your heels ashore for 2 years till your ‘Long Course’ comes through…”

“Okay – Sir – if I have to go ashore – then please change my transfer to some other place – I do not wish to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“I just don’t understand you – what’s wrong with Kolkata – it is your hometown – you can be with your parents, family and friends – I personally talked to DOP to get you this appointment – your CO at Kolkata is my friend and he is an excellent officer – he will give you a thumping ACR…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to go to Kolkata…”

“Lieutenant “Z” – I am warning you – if you act funny – we will send to ‘Kala Pani’ in the Andaman…” the Captain said threateningly.

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…”

“Are you crazy…? Why don’t you want to go to Kolkata…? Have you some family problems…?” the Captain asked.

“Sir – Booze is expensive in Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said, matter-of-factly.

“What…? What do you mean ‘Booze is expensive in Kolkata’…? Is that the reason why you do not want to go there…?”

“Sir – the only worthwhile perk we get is ‘concessional liquor’ – that is why I want to remain on board ship so that I can enjoy ‘duty-free booze’ – but if I have to go ashore – please send me to a place where ‘Military Booze’ is cheap – Sir – the price of CSD Quota Liquor in Bengal is 3 times more expensive than the price out here in Maharashtra…” Lieutenant “Z” said.


(This story happened in the 1970’s – when CSD Quota Liquor was cheapest in Maharashtra. However – since tax concessions are given by State Governments – and local taxes/concessions keep changing from time to time – the situation may be quite different now – but even now – the prices of CSD Quota Liquor vary from state to state – so ‘Military Booze’ is cheaper in some states – and more expensive in others)

Now – after this brief aside – let us continue with the interesting tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain…


“So – you wanted to remain on board this ship so that you can enjoy cheap ‘duty-free booze’…?” the Captain asked.

“Yes – Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“And you even prefer to go to the Andamans because booze is cheaper there…?”

“Yes – Sir…”

“It seems that you joined the Navy to drink liquor…!”

“Yes – Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…?”

“Sir – the main reason I joined the ‘Boozy Navy’ was to enjoy the best of ‘duty-free’ booze – that is why I want to be on ships – but if I have to go ashore – the least I can do is to enjoy my full quota of CSD ‘Military Liquor’ at the cheapest possible rates…”

“Are you mad…? Are you saying that the only reason why people should join the defence services is to drink alcohol…? That means – according to you – teetotallers should not join the Navy – or the Military…?”

“Sir – I told you before – the only worthwhile perk we get in the defence services is ‘concessional liquor’ – so what is the point of wasting your life in the military if you are not going to enjoy this exclusive ‘Fauji Perk’ of ‘Military Booze’…? And if you don’t drink – if you are a teetotaller – you might as well take up a civilian job, live a comfortable life, and earn plenty of money…” Lieutenant “Z” pontificated.

“I am a strict teetotaller – I don’t touch alcohol…” the Captain said, “…are you saying that I am wasting my time in the Navy…?”

“Sir – just think of all the ‘Duty-Free’ Booze and CSD Quota Liquor you have missed out on in all these 25 years of your service…” Lieutenant “Z” said – with genuine regret in his eyes.

“You are a crazy bugger…! Just get out my cabin…” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.


EPILOGUE

Two things happened after this amusing tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain.

Firstly – the Captain picked up the phone and spoke to the DOP who was his course-mate.

The DOP had a big laugh when the Captain told him the reason why Lieutenant “Z” wanted his transfer changed.

Since there was no billet available in the Andamans (where booze was the cheapest those days) – DOP did the next best thing possible – and – Lieutenant “Z” was transferred as a Divisional Officer to NDA near Pune where the price of CSD Quota Liquor was the same as in Mumbai since both were in Maharashtra State.

Secondly – the Captain asked his steward to serve him a chilled can of premium imported beer (available dirt cheap at ‘duty-free’ rates on board ship).

This was his first sip of booze ever since he joined the Navy more than 25 years ago.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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

 

MY LOVE STORY – THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE

May 9, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: MY VERY OWN LOVE STORY – THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

MY VERY OWN LOVE STORY

Do you want to read an old fashioned romance?

Here is a love story from my creative writing archives, once more, for you to read:

THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE
My Very Own Love Story
Short Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Part 1 – THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE
(Mumbai – Thursday, 14 October 1976)
  
Do you remember the happiest day of your life…?

I do…!

Yes, 39 years may have passed, but I clearly remember what happened on the happiest day of my life.

Here’s how it began…

“Excuse me,” a feminine voice said from behind me. 

I turned around.

“Mr. Avinash…?” she asked.

I stared blankly at the smart young woman, tongue-tied. 

“I’m Sheetal…” she said with a lovely smile.

“Oh, Hi…” I stammered, quickly gathering my wits.

I looked at her. 

Avinash had been terribly wrong in describing how Sheetal looked like.

The Sheetal standing in front of me was no podgy pedestrian suburban unpretentious “back-home-type behenji female” as he had imagined.

She was a real beauty, chic, smart, ravishing, a stunner, and I could not take my eyes off her.

Her eyes were extremely beautiful – enormous, dark, expressive eyes. 

And suddenly her eyes began to dance.

Sheetal must have seen the frank look of genuine admiration in my eyes.

So she gave me smile so captivating that I experienced a delightful twinge in my heart.

“You are Mr. Avinash, aren’t you…?” she asked mischievously.

“Yes…” I lied, “How did you recognize me…?”

“You were the only person looking lost and out of place out here…the odd man out…” she laughed vivaciously.

“Oh…” I said unconsciously.

I stood still, mesmerized by her gorgeousness, and by my natural instinct, I let my eyes linger, travel all over her exquisite body.  

“Hey – are you going to stare at me all day or should we grab a bite? I am hungry,” she said playfully.

“Yes…Yes…” I said.

“Okay…come…let’s go to Samovar…we can talk there in peace too…” she said.

Sheetal led me from the art gallery to Samovar, the restaurant in the veranda.

Thus began the happiest day of my life.


Part 2 – LIFE IN THOSE “GOOD OLD” DAYS
(Pune – 1976)

Dear Reader, please permit me to tell you a little bit about how it all started.

In order to tell you this story, I am going to transport you back into time 37 years into the past.

Yes, we are going 37 years back in time to 1976, when Pune was a Pensioners’ Paradise.

Believe it or not, Dear Reader, but, in the 1960s and 1970s, Pune, the Queen of the Deccan, with its lovely climate, pure fresh air, lush green environs, salubrious, spacious and friendly laid back atmosphere, was indeed a “paradise”.

Yes, those days, Pune was indeed the best city to live in.

In fact, 37 years ago, in 1976, Pune was not even a “city” in the literal sense.

Imagine a Pune without Malls and the Multiplexes, with hardly any traffic on the roads, when the bicycle was the popular mode of travel.

The nearest “city” was Mumbai (those days, in the 1970’s, Mumbai was called Bombay – and much earlier in the 1960’s, Pune was called Poona).

The best way of going to Mumbai was to travel by the Indian Railways, by charming trains like the Deccan Queen, enjoying the scenic beauty of the lush green Sahayadri Ghats while savouring the delicious piping hot breakfast served by the restaurant car.

There was no expressway, and the “Bombay – Poona Road”, as it was called, was quite terrible, and it took around six hours to drive down, as the winding road through the Khandala Ghats was quite treacherous.

Just imagine – there were no mobile cell-phones, no internet, no PCs, no STD.

You had to book trunk-calls on a landline telephone and wait for hours for the call to materialize, or if you were in a hurry, then you had to make expensive “lightening” calls.

Black and White Television had just arrived and was a novelty which very few lucky prosperous people possessed.

And everyone in the neighborhood barged into their homes to watch popular TV programmes like chitrahaar, chayyageet, or a cricket match. 

The main thing was that there was no internet, and hence there was no email, and one had to write letters and send them via post as there were no courier services either.

Of course, gadgets like mobiles were a long way off, so you could not even imagine things like SMS and applications like “whatsapp”.

Social interaction was face to face, relishing yummy bhel in the numerous picturesque parks, or over tea, in the Amrutatulayas, Irani cafes and Kattas, as there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Google, no Blogging, no cell phones, no blackberry, no iphones, no smartphones, no SMS, no MMS, no nothing, and as I said, way back then, the concepts of “cyberspace” and wireless mobile technology just did not exist.

Those days, a B. Tech. from an IIT did not get you a huge pay packet – yes, an IIT degree surely ensured that you got a good job, but once you were in the job you were on par with the other guys from various Engineering Colleges. 

Yes, only guys did engineering then, maybe there were a few gals, the rare exceptions, but I hardly met any pursuing a career as an engineer, maybe most of them got married, or shifted to softer professions.

Both of us, my IIT Classmate Avinash and I, joined a leading engineering company located in the suburbs of Pune.

Well that was the trend at IITs those days.

Either you went abroad, to America, to pursue higher studies.

Or you got a good job in the campus interview in a prestigious engineering firm, unless you were one of those few who preferred to be a white-collared manager via the MBA route.

Way back then there were hardly any management institutes, I think maybe there was just one IIM, at Ahmedabad, or maybe there were two, and there was FMS at Delhi and Jamnalal Bajaj at Mumbai.

The majority of engineers studied engineering to practice engineering, so we were quite happy to hit the shop floor doing hard core engineering.

We worked hard, for six days a week including Sundays, and we had our weekly off on Thursdays – the industrial holiday in Pune.

We rented a house near Deccan Gymkhana from where we commuted to work and back by the company bus.

Life was good. 

It was easy to be happy. 

The threshold of happiness was so low that small things made us happy.

Yes, simple things like a relaxed chat over a cup of tea made you happy.

I can never forget those happy moments.

Yes, every evening after work, we would get down from the bus at Deccan Gymkhana bus stop, relax over a Bun-Maska and Chai at Café Good Luck or Lucky, and then walk down to our rented apartment on Bhandarkar Road nearby.

One of our most enjoyable highlights was our weekly Thursday visit to Pune Camp – to see the latest Hollywood Movie in royal style relaxing on those unique easy chairs at the inimitable West End Cinema, relishing tasty mouth-watering bites and soothing thirst-quenching sips at the Soda Fountain during the interval, followed by delectable Mutton Samosas, Bun Maska and refreshing Irani style Chai at Naaz, then a leisurely stroll on Main Street (now called MG Road) and East Street, window-shopping, bird-watching and snacking, sandwiches, chicken rolls and cold coffee at Marz-o-rin, maybe a browse at Manney’s bookstore, and then a hearty Chinese meal at Kamling or Chung Fa, or a Mughlai repast at Latif, or Punjabi Food at Kwality, Biryani at Dorabjee or George, or Sizzlers at The Place (which boasts of being the first Sizzler Place in India) next to Manney’s.

And then we would end the day with a Meetha Masala Paan at George to carry home the lingering flavour and fragrance of the delightful evening.


Part 3 – AVINASH ASKS ME A FAVOUR
(Pune – Wednesday Evening, 13 October 1976)

When there are two close friends, one assumes the role of a leader and the other becomes a de facto follower. 

Amongst the two of us, Avinash, a tall, strapping, confident, flamboyant, handsome man endowed with an excellent physique with a dominating personality, was the natural leader. 

“Shekhar, can you do me a favour?” Avinash said to me one Wednesday evening while we were sipping chai at Good Luck cafe in Deccan.

“Favour?” I asked.

“Go down to Mumbai tomorrow and see a girl in my place,” he said nonchalantly.

“See a girl…?” I looked at him, confused.

“Let me explain to you. There is some back-home-type behenji girl.”

“Back-home-type behenji girl?”

“Yes. Someone visited my parents in my hometown with a marriage proposal for me. They want me to marry their daughter. She works in Mumbai. My parents want me to see her, but I am least interested in getting involved with any back-home-type behenjifemale.”

“So?”

“So, you go to Mumbai and see her and come back. And I will tell my parents that I did not like the girl,” Avinash said.

“You want me to go and meet her? Are you crazy! Tell me, why don’t you go to Mumbai and meet her?” I asked.

“Listen yaar – I have managed to patao a solid cheez – I met her during that management seminar which I attended last week…” he said.

“But you didn’t tell me…” I said.

Arre Bhai … first let something happen … kuch hone to do … but uske liye you will have to help me out. I have fixed up a solid date with her tomorrow taking her for a drive on my bike around Lonavala and Khandala – we planned it during the seminar, she agreed after lots of my pleading. And, suddenly this morning, my mom calls up in the office and tells me to go to Mumbai tomorrow to meet this marriage proposal girl. I told my mother that I was not interested, but she said that she had given her word, so I had to go and meet the girl tomorrow as a formality. Please Shekhar. Help me out. Just go to Mumbai tomorrow and see the girl. I told you that it is just a formality. Then we can all forget about it,” Avinash said.

“But how…?” I protested.

“I have already booked your ticket both ways by Deccan Queen. Just go in the morning and come back in the evening. This girl I am supposed to see is called Sheetal and she will meet you in the Jehangir Art Gallery at 11 o’clock. It’s a working day for her and she told my mother that she would take some time off and be there to meet me at Jehangir Art Gallery which is near her office.”

“But how can I masquerade as you? She must be having your photo. I will get caught and it will be very embarrassing,” I said.

“There is no photo, nothing – she doesn’t know how I look like and I even don’t know how she looks like. It all happened so suddenly. Our parents got talking back home last evening, my mother spoke to the girl by trunk-call. My mother knows I have Thursday off, so she fixed up the meeting with the girl and then my mother rang me up this morning to go and see the girl tomorrow.”

“But what is the crashing hurry? You can meet next Thursday.” I said.

“It seems that the girl is going back to her hometown near our place, in themofussil, by the Friday evening train. She is going away for a month’s leave and there are some boys lined up there for her to see – apparently my mother is quite keen on this girl, her family is good, she is the only child, so maybe they promised plenty of dowry. But I am just not interested. She is seeing so many boys back home, I am sure she will like someone and she will forget about me; I mean – you, she’ll forget you” he said.

“No…No. I am not going…the whole thing is preposterous…I can’t do this…” I protested.

Yaar please – don’t ditch me – I have already told my mother that I will meet the girl at 11 tomorrow in Jehangir Art Gallery,” he said.

“I don’t understand all this…” I said.

“I have told you all this before. My mother said her office is in Kalaghoda – so Jehangir Art Gallery is the nearest and best place – there in Mumbai. She works on Thursdays – only we here in Pune have industrial off on Thursdays – so they fixed up tomorrow as the girl has to leave for her place on Friday evening on a holiday. Don’t argue – just get it over with. You have to meet her for 10-15 minutes, that’s all. Then she will go back to her office. You loaf around in Colaba, have some biryani at Olympia or Delhi Darbar, and see a movie at Regal, Eros or Sterling, New Empire, Metro or somewhere – there is so much to do there. Then catch the Deccan Queen at 5 o’clock in the evening. I will come to pick you up at Pune railway station. And, after you come back, from the STD booth there I’ll ring up my mom tomorrow night and I will tell her I did not like the girl and the whole thing will be a closed chapter,” Avinash said.

“No. I don’t like all this,” I protested.

Then Avinash put his arm around my shoulder and pleaded, “Please Shekhar – I have to go for this Lonavala date – the female is too good yaar and it is a solid opportunity. I promise you Shekhar – agar woh pat gayee – if things work out and my Lonavala romance succeeds – I will give you a big treat – whatever you want.”

So, for the sake of friendship, early next morning, I boarded the Deccan Queen to Mumbai masquerading as Avinash for my rendezvous with Sheetal.


Part 4 – RENDEZVOUS IN JEHANGIR ART GALLERY
(Mumbai – Thursday Morning, 14 October 1976)

The Deccan Queen reached Mumbai at 10:30.

I walked down DN Road, past Hutatma Chowk (or Flora Fountain as it is polpularly known), and by the time I reached Jehangir Art Gallery at Kalaghoda it was almost 11.

For a few moments I stood in the foyer, looking around at all the girls, searching for someone looking like a back-home-type behenji female who may be Sheetal.

Dear Reader, I know it will be difficult for you to imagine how different and archaic things were in those days, 37 years ago.

Today if you want to find out about someone, you can just Google their name, and, presto, so many details will show up about that person – you can easily see everything about her, her present, her past, her family and friends, the places she has visited, where she has studied, worked, you can even see her pictures, her entire web identity.

Today, pictures can be instantly clicked and sent on mobile phones; even photos can be scanned and sent instantly on mobiles and by email.

In the 1970’s, the only way to send a photograph was by post and a letter took many days to reach.

That is why it was not possible for Avinash and Sheetal to exchange photos.

That is why I could masquerade as Avinash.

And that is why, at 11 AM on the 14th of October 1976, I was standing in Jehangir Art Gallery waiting to meet a girl called Sheetal but I was totally clueless about how Sheetal looked like.

After a few moments, I went into the exhibition hall and started admiring the paintings.

“Excuse me,” a feminine voice said from behind me. 

I turned around.

“Mr. Avinash…?” she asked.

I stared blankly at the smart young woman, tongue-tied. 

“I’m Sheetal…” she said with a lovely smile.

“Oh, Hi…” I stammered, quickly gathering my wits.

I looked at her. 

Avinash had been terribly wrong in describing how Sheetal looked like.

The Sheetal standing in front of me was no podgy pedestrian suburban unpretentious “back-home-type behenji female”.

She was a real beauty, chic, smart, ravishing, a stunner, and I could not take my eyes off her.

Her eyes were extremely beautiful – enormous, dark, expressive eyes. 

And suddenly her eyes began to dance.

Sheetal must have seen the frank look of genuine admiration in my eyes.

Yes, I was genuinely admiring her beauty with the unspoken language of the eyes which was worth more than a thousand spoken compliments.

Sheetal must have felt it, so she gave me smile so captivating that I experienced a delightful twinge in my heart.

“You are Mr. Avinash, aren’t you…?” she asked mischievously.

“Yes…” I lied, “How did you recognize me…?”

“You were the only person looking totally lost and out of place over here – like the odd man out,” she laughed vivaciously.

“Oh…” I said unconsciously.

I stood still, mesmerized by her gorgeousness, and following my natural instinct, I let my eyes linger on her, travel all over her exquisite body.  

“Hey – are you going to stare at me all day or should we grab a bite? I am hungry,” she said playfully.

“Yes…Yes…” I said.

“Okay…come…let’s go to Samovar…we can talk there in peace too…” she said.

Sheetal led me from the art gallery to Samovar, the restaurant in the veranda.


Part 5 – A ROMANTIC DATE WITH THE “BACK-HOME-TYPEFEMALE”
(Mumbai – Thursday Afternoon, 14 October 1976)

Samovar restaurant was situated next to the art gallery in a long rectangular veranda and resembling a Railway Dining Car.

We sat down opposite each other, on the comfortable cane chairs, and I looked at the expansive green lawns of adjoining Museum.

The moment we sat down a waiter came and asked us what we wanted to eat.

“I am hungry,” she said, and she ordered stuffed Parathas and Dahi Wada.

“I’ll have a cutlet,” I said, “and some Pudina Chai after that.”

“You’ve come here before,” she asked.

“Just once, a few years ago, when I was at IIT,” I said.

“Oh yes, you studied at IIT Powai – but that’s quite far away.”

“We sometimes came down on Sundays, to have a loaf around Fort, Colaba and Churchgate, and see movie once in a while.”

“I come here quite often. My office is nearby. That’s why I suggested this place – we can sit here and talk undisturbed for as long as we want and get to know each other better. This is a nice place for a relaxed chat over lunch.” she said.

I was in no mood for a relaxed chat over lunch.

In fact I was feeling nervous.

The more I talked to her, the more was the chance of me being unmasked – suppose I slipped up, and what if she came to know that I was not the Avinash she was expecting, but a phony masquerading as Avinash – it would be terrible – I could not even imagine the consequences.

I also felt qualms of conscience.

I had taken a liking to this girl Sheetal, sitting in front of me, and I felt I was not doing the right thing by pretending to be Avinash.

I could not bear the mendacity – telling a blatant lie and cheating this decent girl.

So, I blurted out, “Hey, Sheetal. I think I need to go. I cannot do this any longer. Bye, I must go now.”

“Go now? Is anything wrong? Are you feeling okay?”

“No, I am not okay. And, everything is wrong.”

“What happened?” she asked looking surprised, and worried.

“I want to tell you something. I want to confess…” I said.

“Confess? What?” she asked.

“I am not who you think. I am not Avinash. My name is Shekhar,” I said.

She gave me a puzzled look, and then she said, “Why don’t you tell me everything.”

I told her everything.

Yes, I told her everything – from the beginning to the end – each and every thing.

I felt relieved once I had got it off my chest.

I thought she would get angry.

But she smiled and said, “So you are Shekhar who has come to see the marriage proposal for Avinash – that is me – the prospective bride.”

“Yes,” I said sheepishly.

“And the real Avinash is having a good time with the hot-chick in Lonavala.”

“Yes.”

“So you will make a fool of me by masquerading as Avinash and pass some time with me and go back to Pune.”

“Yes.”

“And the moment you reach Pune, Avinash will ring up his mother and tell her that he did not like the girl – that is me.”

“Yes.”

“What was the need to for this charade?”

“I don’t know – Avinash said it has something to do with your conservative families – if he refuses to see you then relations may get spoiled. But please, I don’t want to discuss all this – I am feeling very bad doing this to you – I am very sorry.”

“You don’t be sorry – it is your friend Avinash who should be sorry.”

“I’ll go now?”

“You are booked by the evening Deccan Queen, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“So, now that we are stuck with each other, why don’t we make the most of it?” she said.

“I don’t know…”

“Don’t worry – I am not going to eat you up. We’ll do whatever time-pass you were planning to do after getting rid of me.”

“But you have got office – that is what Avinash told me.”

“I have taken the day off. Come, let’s spend some time together – then you can catch the Deccan Queen and I will go back to my hostel on Marine Drive.”

Our food order arrived.

Sheetal asked for extra plates and we shared the stuffed parathas and the cutlet.

“Now what?” Sheetal asked, after we had finished eating.

“Let’s see the Museum,” I said, looking out towards the imposing Museum building.

“The Museum?” she asked, looking surprised.

“You don’t want to go – okay, whatever you say.”

“No. No. Today you are taking me out on a date. I will come with you wherever take me,” she smiled and said, “come to think of it, I have been in Mumbai for 6 months, work so close by, and have not seen the Museum.”

I must say that Sheetal was really beautiful, and as we walked side by side, I realized that all the men were looking appreciatively at her; in fact some men were giving her quite yearning looks.

For the first time in my life, I felt the natural pride of possession that any man feels when he has the company of a woman that other men desire.

After we came out the Museum, she asked me, “Now what?”

“Let’s walk down Colaba Causeway. We can go to Olympia for a Biryani, and then have Gulab Jamun at Kailas Parbat.”

“Okay.”

“Now what?” she asked.

“Let’s browse books.”

“Browse books?”

“Yes, on the pavement bookstalls near the CTO – sometimes you get good books there quite cheap.”

“And how are we going there? I hope you are not going to march me down!”

“Yes – I was thinking it will be a good walk.”

“Please – I am feeling quite tired – and my legs are aching – the high heels I am wearing are not exactly made for cross country walking!”

“Okay – let’s take the bus.”

“Bus? You want to take your date in a bus?”

“Why? Is something wrong? I have no experience in these sorts of things.”

“You haven’t dated a girl before?”

“No.”

“Okay, let’s go by bus.”

We browsed books.

Then we went to a quaint Maharashtrian restaurant opposite VT called Kelkar Vishranti Gruha and had Sabudana UsalKanda Thalipith washed down by a delicious Piyush.

Sheetal looked at me and said, “I have gone out with so many boys, but you are different.”

“Different?”

“No one has made marched me down in the hot sun, no one had has made me browse books on pavement stalls – and no one has taken me to these food joints which I didn’t know even existed.”

“You didn’t enjoy?”

“Of course I did – but what I am saying is that I have never seen anyone like you – you are different from the rest – you are so simple, you act so natural – I have met all kinds of men, but you are truly an original,” she said.

I felt good, blushed – but maybe she was just being kind.

We strolled in Fort, window shopping.

I lost all track of time.

The day had passed in a haze of delight – for the first time in my life I had experienced the joy the company of a girl can bring in a man’s life.

We passed a shop selling clocks.

Sheetal looked at the clocks and said, “Hey it is already 4:45 – you have to catch the Deccan Queen, isn’t it – I think we better head to the station.”

“Okay, bye…” I said.

“What do you mean, bye – I am coming to see you off,” she said.

I did not refuse.

I longed for a few more moments of her delightful company.


Part 6 – THE CLIMAX OF THE STORY
(Mumbai – Thursday Evening, 14 October 1976)

It was 5 o’clock in the evening.

The blue-and-cream Deccan Queen stood beside the platform waiting to start its evening journey from Mumbai to Pune.

We, Sheetal and me, stood on platform outside my coach.

“You are the first boy I have met who did not try to impress me,” Sheetal said.

“I know. But what can I do? I told you that I have no experience of dating girls. But I should have tried and treated you better. I am sorry,” I said.

“Hey, why are you sorry? You are really nice decent guy. I really enjoyed your company.”

“You are just saying that to console me. I am such a bore, and such a cheapie. I am sure I ruined your day.”

“No. No. I really enjoyed your company. I have never gone a date like this before. It was real fun.”

“Thank you, Sheetal. I am feeling so good that you said that.”

“It is true, Shekhar. You make me feel good. No one has made me feel so good before. I really enjoy your company. You are one person with whom I can be myself – yes with you I can be my own self. I don’t have to fake it. I don’t have to put on an act. I don’t have to wear a mask. I don’t have to be someone else. I can just be myself and forget about all those social graces.”

“Me too…” I said.

“Maybe we should see more of each other. I think I will come down to Pune next weekend.”

“What? You want to come to Pune?”

“Why? Don’t you like my company?”

“No. No. Of course I like you. But Avinash will be there in Pune. It will be very awkward.”

“Avinash? To hell with him! In any case, I am not getting married to Avinash now. In fact, by tomorrow he would have told his parents that he has rejected me. That is what he told you, isn’t it?”

“Yes. In fact, Avinash told me that he would call up his parents tonight only, the moment I reach Pune.”

“Shekhar, you make sure Avinash calls up his parents tonight. Because I am going to call up my parents from the STD booth over there the moment the Deccan Queen leaves and tell them that I don’t want to marry such a dope.”

“Dope? But Avinash is not a dope. He is not like me,” I said.

“And suppose I told you that Sheetal is not like me,” she said, looking at me directly in the eye.

“Sheetal is not like you? What do you mean? You are Sheetal aren’t you?”

“You still think I am Sheetal, don’t you?” she looked at me mischievously.

“Yes,” I said, a bit bewildered.

“You know, Shekhar – I like you so much – you make me feel so good – and you were so frank and honest with me – I can’t cheat you any longer,” she said.

“Cheat me…?”

“Yes. I have been deceiving you and making a fool of you. But you are such a good guy that I have to be honest with you. I am going to come clean.”

“Come clean?”

“Shekhar, in the morning you told me the truth that you are not Avinash – now it is my turn to tell you the truth. I want to confess…”

“Confess …?”

“I am not Sheetal …” she said.

“What? You are not Sheetal? You are not the girl Avinash was supposed to see?” I asked – I was totally taken aback, feeling puzzled and perplexed.

“Yes, Shekhar – I am not Sheetal,” she repeated.

Then who are you…?” I asked her, trying to recover my wits.

“Shweta – my name is Shweta. I am the girl Avinash he was supposed to meet in Lonavala,” she said.

“Lonavala? Don’t tell me that you are that hot-chick who Avinash was so crazy about. He was desperate to patao you…!” I blurted out, instantly regretting my words.

She laughed.

She really gave a hearty laugh.

I looked at her dumbstruck, feeling embarrassed.

Then she said, “Yes, I am the hot-chick your friend Avinash met last week at the management seminar.”

“Why have you not gone to Lonavala to meet him as planned? Poor Avinash. He must have waited for you all day. Why did you ditch him?”

“Don’t worry. I have sent Sheetal to Lonavala to meet Avinash.”

“What? Sheetal? You have sent Sheetal to Lonavala to meet Avinash?”

“Yes, the same Sheetal – well, she happens to be my best friend.”

“Oh?”

“Sheetal told me that her mother was forcing her to see a boy called Avinash who was coming down from Pune. She told me that she did not want to see any boy – in fact, Sheetal is not that interested in getting married so fast.”

“So?”

“When she told me details of the boy I got a bit suspicious – could it be the same Avinash who had called me to Lonavala? How could he be in Lonavala and Mumbai at the same time? Was he two-timing me? Or was he going to stand her up? I was curious, very curious.”

“So you decided to swap dates?”

“And we wanted to get to the bottom of things – to find out who is who and what is what – doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani – as they say in Hindi.”

“So you came to meet me masquerading as Sheetal,” I said.

“Yes, and the actual Sheetal has gone to Lonavala by the same morning train on which I was supposed to travel. Sheetal must have been there on time at the rendezvous point where Avinash was going to meet me. I am sure they have met each other.”

“Oh, My God…”

“Why? How do you know that they won’t like each other? We liked each other didn’t we? I am sure they are spending some quality time together. You never know – they may even decide to get married,” Shweta said, with a mischievous smile and twinkle in her eyes.

Suddenly I heard the guard blow his whistle.

It was almost 5:10 – time for the Deccan Queen to leave.

“The train is going to start. I have to go now…” I said to Shweta.

“Let the train go,” she said.

“What?”

“I want to spend some more time with you. Let’s walk on Marine Drive. Watch sunset. Then we’ll go to Chowpatty. Let’s walk on the sand by the sea, having some yummy bhel. And then you can treat me to that green chilly ice cream you were telling me so much about…” she said.

Suddenly the train jerked and started moving.

“Hey, the train is leaving.”

“Let it go,” Shweta said, and she pressed my hand.

I pressed her hand back as I watched the Deccan Queen leave without me.

The evening passed in a haze of delight.

Never before had I enjoyed the company of someone so much.

For the first time in my life I experienced a new emotion – a kind of thrilling happiness and blissful joy that the right girl can bring in your life.

And Shweta was certainly the right girl for me.

I realized the meaning of love – I knew what it was like to be in love.

We sat on the parapet enjoying the cool night sea breeze on Marine Drive opposite the working women’s hostel where Shweta lived.

Time flew.

I looked at my watch – it was 11:15.

The last train for Pune, the overnight Passenger, left at 11:45.

It was time to say good bye, at least for now.

I called a Taxi.

“Bye,” I said to Shweta.

“Bye,” she said.

“I want to ask you something,” I said.

“I know what you want to ask me and my answer is YES,” she said.

My heart ached as the taxi moved and the distance between us kept on increasing till she disappeared into the distance.

But I knew that this was the beginning of a long and lovely relationship.


EPILOGUE

Shweta and I got married.

And, by the way, Sheetal and Avinash got married too.

Two best friends married two best friends.

What an irony of life – the conservative me, I got married to the mod-chick Shweta – and the mod-guy Shekhar got married to the “back-home-typebehenji” Sheetal.

We got married in 1977 and it has been a long time since, more than 36 years, and till this day, we all live happily ever after.

All is well that that ends well.

We always taunt them, Avinash and Sheetal, that ours is a “Love” Marriage and theirs is an “Arranged” Marriage.

We have all relocated to Mumbai.                                                                    

Do you want to meet us?

Okay, try your luck on Sunday evenings at Bachellor’s opposite Chowpatty and you may chance upon us enjoying Green Chilly Ice Cream.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)



First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my blog at 10/14/2013 08:19:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

STORY OF ARMY BATTLE HONOURS MESS – WAR OF THE MESSES – Humor in Uniform

May 8, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – BATTLE HONOURS – WAR OF THE MESSES.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOR IN UNIFORM

Last week I met an Army Officer currently posted to New Delhi.

He said that he lived in Battle Honours Mess.

“Oh – the one on SP Marg?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“I have lived there almost 35 years ago, in 1981-1982,” I said.

“How is that possible? The Army Battle Honours Mess is for Army Officers only,” he said.

“Those days it was a combined inter-service officers mess,” I told him.

Then – I told him the story of the “War of the Messes” where “Battle Honours” were won.

So – Dear Reader – let me delve into my “Humor in Uniform” archives and tell you the story of the “War of the Messes”… 

THE WAR OF THE MESSES
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Various Wars have been documented, studied, discussed and analyzed – and relevant literature is readily available online and offline for all those interested in the subject.

But have you heard of the “War of the Messes”?

Do you know that this “War of the Messes” took place in 1982 on the “battlefield” of New Delhi?

This was a unique “war”.

In conventional wars – junior officers and men do the fighting – while Generals and Admirals watch on.

The “War of the Messes” was “fought” by Generals and Admirals – while junior officers watched on.

This is what happened.

Till 1981, Army and Navy had two common Officers’ Messes in New Delhi – a brand new mess at SP Marg and a rather antediluvian mess at Kota House.

Young Army and Navy Bachelor Officers lived together in these Officers’ Messes in great harmony with a spirit of camaraderie.

Of course, the Air Force, which always believes in keeping a safe distance from the “pongos” and the “sea dogs”, had its iconic Central Vista (CV) Air Force Officers’ Mess on Janpath.

If you were a young bachelor – you could choose your mess.

The ageing Kota House Mess was conveniently located in the heart of New Delhi and was preferred by the slightly “elder” bachelors.

The younger officers preferred the modern SP Marg Mess located at faraway Dhaula Kuan.

(35 years ago Dhaula Kuan was considered a “distant” place on the “outskirts” of New Delhi).

SP Marg Officers’ Mess was a lively place with a laissez faire atmosphere.

I spent some of the best days of my life in SP Marg Officers’ Mess – and even today – as I hark back to my Navy Days – I fondly cherish my glorious days at SP Marg Officers’ Mess.

Relations between us Naval Officers and our Army Messmates were excellent.

We made a lot of Army friends.

In fact, it was at SP Marg Officers Mess that I first made close friendships with fellow Army Officers – lasting friendships which endure even till today.

We young bachelor officers lived happily together in SP Marg Officers Mess and there was an atmosphere of bonhomie in the evenings when we all sat together on the lawns or in the bar enjoying our drinks.

If you wanted to see an example of authentic “jointmanship” and genuine “inter-service camaraderie” – SP Marg Officers” Mess was a shining example.

I am sure it was the same happy spirit at Kota House too.

Everyone was living happily – but, sadly, it was not going to be a case of “happily ever after” – because suddenly the “War of the Messes” erupted.

Most of us junior officers did not even know that a “war” had broken out.

As I said earlier – this was a unique “war”.

This “war of the messes” was not fought on the “battlefield” of SP Marg and Kota House Messes.

Conventional military tactics and weapons were not used in this “war”.

This “war” was “fought” in air-conditioned offices by Generals and Admirals using the far more potent bureaucratic weapon – paper.

The “war of the messes” was not a physical war – it was a “paper war”.

By the time “cease fire” was declared, the Generals seemed to be on the brink of victory – and the Admirals appeared to be on the verge of defeat.

The “spoils of war” were divided.

The “victorious” Army won the coveted modern SP Marg Officers’ Mess.

The “vanquished” Navy was banished to the ancient decrepit Kota House Officers’ Mess.

To commemorate their “victory” over the Admirals in the “war of the messes” – the Generals renamed the SP Marg Officers Mess as the Army “Battle Honours” Mess.

It was a well-deserved coveted “Battle Honour” won exclusively by the Generals (without the help of their “Troops”).

In order to further “celebrate” their “victory” in the “war of the messes” – and in the true spirit of “jointmanship” – the Generals evicted all Naval Officers from the SP Marg Officers’ Mess.

In a retaliatory gesture of “jointmanship” – the Admirals evicted Army Officers from the Kota House Officers’ Mess.

It was quite sad to see friendly messmates who were living together as buddies being wrenched apart and separated as per the colour of their uniform just to suit the whims and fancies of a few Generals and Admirals.

The scene was reminiscent of partition days – when friends who were living amicably together had to leave their homes and go to another land just because of the decisions of a few politicians.

Metaphorically, junior officers were like happy children who had to separate due to the “divorce” of their parents – one parent getting “custody” of one child, and the other parent of the other child.

While the senior officers fought the “war of the messes” with each other – it was the junior officers who suffered as a result of these internecine turf wars, ego battles and personality clashes.

The biggest irony was that none of the Generals or Admirals actually lived in these two Officers’ Messes which were primarily a home for young bachelor officers.

Another amusing paradox was that many of the officers involved in “fighting” this “war of the messes” with each other were products of the famous “joint training institution” – the National Defence Academy (NDA).

Of course, now – each service has its own separate Officers’ Mess in New Delhi – so that the Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals can have their own separate fiefdoms.

On many occasions, I have heard Senior Officers lecturing and pontificating about the need for “jointmanship” in the Indian Armed Forces.

But tell me one thing.

What so-called “jointmanship” are you talking about when you can’t even have a “Joint Officers’ Mess” where Officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force can live together, drink together and eat together with camaraderie and build lifelong friendships?

I think the first step towards achieving genuine jointmanship is to convert all Officers’ Messes in New Delhi into tri-service combined officers’ messes for officers of all three services.

Then, this “tri-service officers’ mess” concept can be implemented in other stations where the services co-exist.

On the one hand – we talk of “integrating” our three defence services.

On the other hand – each service wants to build its own separate “empire”.

I feel that the first step in “fighting together” is learning to “live together”.

And only after the 3 Services have learnt to “live together” in a combined mess, should they talk of grandiose highfalutin concepts like having a combined Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

Do you agree?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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 written by me in the year 2014 and posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog on 23 Jan 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 

blogspot.in

5/08/2015 10:27:00 PM

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