Archive for the ‘storytelling’ Category

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…

 

 

“Lovey Dovey” Couple in Uniform

August 4, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION (PDA).

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

PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION – PDA
Story of the “Lovey Dovey” Couple 
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION (PDA) IN UNIFORM

My first unforgettable memory of Public Display of Affection (PDA) was almost 40 years ago – in the late 1970’s – during my early days in the Navy.

There was a young newly married couple who just could not take their hands off each other.

A Naval Officer is not permitted to get married before the age of 25.

But in this case – the Navy had made an exception.

In a rare gesture – the Navy had shown “compassion” for “passion”.

It was a whirlwind romance – and parental opposition had necessitated a quick “hush-hush” wedding – and the Navy was presented with a fait accompli.

The young Sub Lieutenant bluntly stated that he was prepared to quit the Navy for the sake of his “ladylove”.

So – permission was granted as an exceptional case – and the young couple was allowed to stay in the Wardroom (Officers Mess).

They were allotted a cabin in the old barrack where married officers awaiting allocation of proper married quarters lived temporarily.

The newly married husband and wife were passionately in love.

Their fervent love was visible to one and all – because the handsome husband – and his beautiful wife – demonstrated their obsessive affection for each other quite explicitly in public in a most uninhibited manner.

Dear Reader – remember this was the India of the 1970’s – and this brazenPublic Display of Affection (PDA) was happening in a remote cantonment – in full view of sailors and their families – who were mostly from rural areas – and had rather conservative values.

Now – in the orthodox and conformist environment of a cantonment – an officer and his wife indulging in such titillating physical Public Display Of Affection (PDA) was viewed as scandalous conduct.

The officer was warned to mend his ways.

The wife was “counselled” by ladies.

But there was no effect.

In fact – the “advice” seemed to have the opposite effect.

The young lovey-dovey couple continued their amorous PDA with even greater ardour and passion – which seemed to be attaining new heights.

One evening they were observed kissing and “making out” in the dark corners of the base cinema hall – with their hands all over each other – when the lights suddenly came on.

Next morning – the officer was read the riot act – and threatened with disciplinary action if he did not mend his ways.

“We will throw the book at you…” he was warned.

“We will charge you with Section 53 (indecent behaviour) and Section 54 (conduct unbecoming the character of an officer) of the Navy Act…” they threatened him.

But despite all this – there was no salutary effect of the officer and his wife – who continued their brazen PDA with increasing passion.

Soon everyone turned a blind eye to the PDA – because all realized that the officer and his wife were madly in love with each other.

The officer completed his training a few months later – and was transferred to a ship based at Mumbai.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief – in a cosmopolitan place like Mumbai – PDA was no big deal – even the Navy in Mumbai had a progressive culture as compared to other places.


3 YEARS LATER

I saw the officer three years later at an official function.

He looked like a ghost of his earlier self – as if he had gone through a serious bout of illness.

When I commented on his emaciated appearance – someone said to me: “Don’t you know what a terrible tragedy the poor chap has gone through? He has been through a most acrimonious and nasty divorce – and the distressing marital discord and bitter divorce has taken a big toll on his health.”

“Divorce…?” I was stunned.

I could never imagine that such a lovey-dovey couple who publicly demonstrated their intense love for each other would ever get divorced.

How could a husband and wife who were so passionately in love with each other get divorced?

It did not make sense.

The couple had been so much in love – that they did not hesitate to publicly display their affection for each other despite societal disapproval – how could they get divorced?


20 YEARS LATER

Twenty years later – I once again met the officer – this time at an airport.

He told me that he had quit the Navy – and that had taken up a job in the industry.

There was a lady standing next to him along with two children.

He introduced his wife and children.

So – he had got remarried.

Looking at his kids – I estimated that he must have got remarried around 10 years ago.

I remembered the officer and his first wife – the lovey-dovey couple – and their passionate, unrestrained and uninhibited Public Display of Affection (PDA).

But – now – there appeared to be a sea change in his demeanor with his new wife.

There was absolutely no Public Display of Affection (PDA) between him and his new wife.

In fact – from the way they were conducting themselves in public – it did not even appear that they were husband and wife.

What an irony?

The “lovey-dovey” marriage with PDA had broken up within one year.

And – the “loveless” marriage without PDA had lasted for more than 10 years – and it looked like this marriage would last forever.

I still cannot fathom the paradox.

A relationship with “100% PDA” is fragile.

But – a relationship with “Zero PDA” is durable.

Such are the mysteries of marriage, romance, love and relationships.

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.



Revised Version of My Story PDA – PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in this blog on 21 Jan 2015 at url:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/04/2015 10:10:00 PM

Humor in Uniform – Military Wives – “Lady Like Qualities” (LLQ)

August 1, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: The Navy Wife with “Lady Like Qualities” (LLQ).

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

The Navy Wife with “Lady Like Qualities” (LLQ)

It is heartening to see so many “faujans” (Military Wives) in the Blogosphere. 

I am sure there are many talented Bloggers among Defence Wives who write on a variety of subjects. 

I particularly like 3 Blogs which feature interesting posts about the unique life of Army Wives:

1. A Curious Army Wife 

2. Aditi’s Monologue 

3. Half a Cup of Happyness 

I hope to discover more such blogs about “fauji” life as I am sure there are many “faujis” “faujans” and veterans blogging away in the blogosphere.

Browsing through these blogs and reading delightful posts about life of Army Wives evokes memories of some unforgettable Navy Wives I came across in my long Navy Career – so – here is one memoir about The Navy Wife with Lady Like Qualities (LLQ)


THE NAVY WIFE WITH “LADY LIKE QUALITIES” (LLQ)
Hilarious Memories of My Wonderful Navy Life
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Officers of the Defence Services (Army Navy and Air Force) are required to be Gentlemen.

Accordingly  Wives of Defence Service Officers are expected to be Ladies – hence the term “Lady Wife” for Wives of Military Officers.

All Military Officers are required to possess OLQ (OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES)

But do all Wives of all Military Officers display LLQ (LADY LIKE QUALITIES) ?

Let me delve deep into my Humor in Uniform archives and pull out this story for you to enjoy and ponder over:


LLQ – LADY LIKE QUALITIES (A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE)


Part 1 – THE OFFICER

“Can you carry a small packet and deliver it to my wife?” the officer asked me.

“Sure Sir,” I said.

“Thanks. Just some Ayurvedic Medicines, that’s all. I’ll come on board your ship tomorrow and give it to you,” he said.

“Sure Sir, no hurry, we are leaving day after tomorrow morning,” I said.

The officer was a friend of my ex-shipmate who had been posted to Cochin a few months ago and with whom I was having a drink in the Navy Club at Cochin (now Kochi).

The officer had joined us for a drink – my ex-shipmate had introduced me – and when the officer came to know that my ship was going to Bombay (now Mumbai) he requested to me to carry a packet and deliver it to his wife in Bombay.

Since my ex-shipmate was calling him “Sir” – I too addressed him as “Sir” – and when he came on board the next day – I noticed that though he wore two stripes of a Lieutenant like me, he had the green 9 year long service ribbon.

(Those days it took 3 years to become a Lieutenant – and then one remained a Lieutenant for 8 long years – so there were “junior” Lieutenants like me – and “senior” Lieutenants like him).

Next afternoon just before lunchtime, the officer came to my cabin onboard my ship and gave me the packet.

He also gave me a slip of paper on which was written his home address in NOFRA.

“I am stuck here in Cochin for the next 3 months doing a bloody course,” he complained, sipping his beer.

“Cochin is a lovely place,” I said.

“I know – but my wife is in Bombay – and, as they say, there is no life without wife,” he remarked.

“Sir, we are stopping over for two days at Goa and we plan to reach Bombay by Friday, so I will deliver your packet on Saturday or Sunday,” I said.

“No problem – I have already posted a letter to my wife in the morning about the packet,” he said.

(36 years ago – when this story happened – writing letters was the common mode of communication – because junior officers did not have landline phones at home – so – a “trunk call” was inconvenient – telegrams were for emergencies – and – of course – mobile phones had not yet been invented).


Part 2 – THE OFFICER’S WIFE

On Saturday evening I rang the bell of a flat on the 6th floor of a high-rise building that housed Married Accommodation for Lieutenants.

A beautiful young lady opened the door.

I introduced myself.

“Yes, yes, do come in,” she said in a mellifluous voice, “I got my husband’s letter two days ago – I have been expecting you today.”

“Sorry Ma’am, I could not come in the morning…” I said – and I handed her the packet her husband had sent from Cochin.

“Oh, come on – it was so nice of you to get the packet – do sit down – I will get you something to drink – what will you have?” she said.

“Just a glass of water…” I said – and I sat down on the sofa.

I looked at the lady as she opened the fridge – took out a bottle of water – poured some in a glass – and brought the glass in a tray towards me.

I was impressed by the way she carried herself – she had so much élan, grace and poise.

She excused herself, went into the kitchen and then she came out and asked me: “Come on – have a drink – the bar is over there – and then we will have dinner – you like chicken, don’t you – or are you a vegetarian?”

“Ma’am – please don’t take the trouble…”

“What trouble? There’s no trouble at all – my maid will do the cooking while we talk – in fact it is you who have taken the trouble to deliver the packet and the least I can do is to offer you a meal,” she said.

I felt uncomfortable having a hard drink alone in her company – so I asked for a soft drink – and she had one too.

I think she realized that I was feeling a bit awkward – so she tried to put me at ease.

We talked – we had dinner – and the evening passed in a haze of delight.

As I rode my scooter back to ship I thought about her – she was a perfect navy wife – her social graces, her etiquette, her polish, her refinement, her poise – well, it is difficult for me to describe everything about her in words – so I will just say that she had all the “Lady Like Qualities”.


Part 3 – THE OFFICER and HIS WIFE

A few months later – I ran into her in the US Club Library.

“Good evening, Ma’am,” I wished her.

“Oh, hello – how are you?” she said politely.

Suddenly – her husband came in.

He looked at me – he recognized me – and he smiled and said to me, “Hi – How are you?”

“Hello, Sir – welcome back to Mumbai,” I said.

“Come – why don’t you join us for a drink – let’s go to the bar,” he said.

“Sure Sir,” I said.

I walked down to the bar with the Naval Officer and his wife.

We sat down in the club bar.

Those days – it was the custom that the senior officer signs for the drinks – so the officer signed the bar chit to order drinks.

I noticed that his lady wife was giving me a rather curious look.

I smiled at her.

“Why are you calling my husband “Sir” – you are senior to him – aren’t you?” she asked me.

“No Ma’am – your husband is senior to me,” I said.

“Really? Are you sure? I thought that you are senior to my husband,” she said.

“Of course I am sure – your husband is senior to me,” I said.

“That is surprising. You look so old and mature – that is why – when you came home the other day – I thought that you were senior to my husband,” she said.

I did not know what to say.

I certainly did not look that “old” – as if I were an elderly senior citizen.

But with my copious beard – bulky body size – and rather podgy physique – I certainly looked older than my age.

So – I said, “ Yes, Ma’am – you are right – I do look a bit older than my age – and many persons do think that I am more senior than I actually am – in fact – once a senior Lieutenant mistook me for a Lieutenant Commander – and he was surprised when he saw me in uniform next morning.”

“Oh – all that doesn’t matter,” remarked her husband, the senior Lieutenant.

It may not have mattered to him – but it did matter to his wife.

As far as his wife was concerned – it was obvious that my inter-se seniority with her husband did matter to her.

The moment she realized that I was junior to her husband – her demeanor towards me changed drastically.

Earlier – she had treated me with courteous obsequiousness – on the day I had visited her home when she thought that I was senior to her husband.

But now – the moment she realized that I was junior to her husband – her behaviour changed totally – and she was cold and frosty towards me.

The disdain with which she ignored my presence – her scornful vibes – all this made me feel uncomfortable – and I excused myself from their company after a drink – saying that I had to go somewhere.

On my way back to the ship – I had a big laugh.

It was evident that her “Lady Like Qualities” – her LLQ – was quite selective.

Yes – she certainly had selective LLQ.

In fact – to put it bluntly – this Naval Officer’s Wife was lacking in “Lady Like Qualities(LLQ)

Her Naval Officer husband may have been a “Gentleman” – but she certainly did not display the attributes of a “Lady”.


Epilogue – LADY LIKE QUALITIES (LLQ)

THE NAVY OFFICER’S WIFE 

(Hope this is applicable to Army/Air Force Officer’s Wives as well)

Here is quote from a NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association) booklet which encapsulates some prudent advice for a Naval Officer’s Wife:

“You don’t wear his (your husband’s) stripes … there is no such thing as a ‘Senior Wife’. There are Senior Officers. They have wives. There are Junior Officers and some of them have wives. All wives are ladies … You will not fawn over others and not expect others to fawn over you. You will be yourself. And your own manners, breeding and natural charm will shine through leaving you with no need for any borrowed stripes or other borrowed plumage”

I have seen many such elegant navy wives who were perfect ladies – military wives who had excellent LADY LIKE QUALITIES or LLQ

Do tell us if you have seen military wives with perfect LLQ?

And also do tell us some hilarious episodes about “faujans” sans LLQ – stories of military officer’s wives who are not “Ladies”

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

Disclaimer:
1. This blog post is a 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)

Revised, Updated and Collated Version of My Humor in Uniform Stories Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 6/10/2014 12:09:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…and url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/01/2015 02:14:00 PM

Wit and Wisdom – THE SUNDIAL – Inspirational Teaching Story

July 30, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE SUNDIAL – Inspirational Teaching Story.

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

THE SUNDIAL
Inspirational Teaching Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

THE STORY OF THE SUNDIAL

Long ago – there was once a King who cared for his populace.

His kingdom was in an undeveloped part of the world – and the people were very backward. 

The king wanted his people to progress. 

So – the king decided to visit the developed part of the world – to see for himself how he could harness the fruits of development for his people.

During his visit he saw a sundial. 

Curious – he asked the local people what this strange contraption was.

“A sundial is a device that determines the time of day by the position of the Sun. You can tell the time by looking at the shadow cast by the Sun as it shines on the pointer of a sundial. As the sun moves across the sky – the shadow-edge aligns with different hour-lines. Thus – you can tell the time of the day,” they told him,

The King was fascinated as he witnessed the working of sundial.

The next day that he bought the sundial.

The king took the sundial back to his Kingdom.

He had the sundial installed in the town-square of the city as a gift for his people.

The sundial changed the life of the people in the kingdom. 

They began to differentiate parts of the day.

Thanks to the sundial – the people became time-conscious – and started to divide up their time and plan their work accordingly.

In short – they became adept at time management – and became more efficient.

The sundial made the people of that kingdom conscious about the concept of time.

Before the advent of the sundial – they knew only about night and day. 

The populace became more punctual, prompt, orderly, reliable and industrious – thereby producing great wealth – and achieving a high standard of living.

The sundial had enabled them to realize the importance of the adroit use of time – which resulted in great prosperity for the people of the kingdom.

One day – the king died.

After giving their king a grand funeral – his devoted subjects gathered together in the town-square to decide how they could pay a fitting tribute to their beloved king.

When they enumerated the king’s achievements – they all thought of the Sundial – which their benevolent king had gifted them long back.

They looked at the magnificent sundial installed in the town-square.

The Sundial symbolized the king’s generosity and love towards his people.

The Sundial which was the main reason for their prosperity and success.

So – as a fitting tribute to their departed king – the citizens decided to build a grand temple with a golden cupola around the Sundial.

Yes – the people unanimously decided to build a fabulous temple – with a beautiful golden dome to adorn the sundial. 

Everyone thought that this magnificent temple adoring the sundial would be a fitting honour to the departed king – since the sundial was the best gift he had given them.

Soon the awe-inspiring temple – with a dazzling golden dome – was built around the sundial.

But – when the magnificent temple was built – and the imposing golden cupola soared above the sundial – the rays of the sun could no longer reach the gnomon of the sundial.

Yes – since the sundial was now completely covered by the magnificent temple with its impressive golden dome – the sun’s rays could not reach the sundial – and the shadow disappeared.

Now – the covered sundial did not work since its shadow had vanished. 

It was the shadow which had told the time to the citizens of the kingdom – and now there was no shadow to indicate the time of the day.

Now – since the sundial did not work – the citizens could not discern the time of the day – and they started losing their sense of punctuality and promptness.

Deprived of their standard of time – they forgot about the importance of time and time management. 

Soon – the citizens of the kingdom soon reverted back to their old ways – and started adopting their erstwhile disorganized laid-back lifestyle of the pre-sundial days.

It was just a matter of time before their prosperity dissipated away – and the kingdom collapsed.


MORAL OF THE STORY

The metaphor of the Sundial Story is relevant in so many aspects of life.

When you communicate – imagine that the person talking is the sun – and the person listening is the sundial – and the temple represents the barriers to communication. 

In marriage – the seamless relationship between husband (Sun) and wife (Sundial) can be encumbered by “obstructions” like your parents, in-laws, children – or intangibles like – ego – mindsets – attitudes – social mores – or – the baggage of the past.

If you look at our education system – the Teacher (Sun) is not allowed to illuminate the Students (Sundial) – because of the Education System (Obstruction). 

Let me elaborate on this example.

Imagine that the Sun is a Teacher and the Sundial is the Student.

If you allow the Sun (Teacher) to seamlessly illuminate the Sundial (Student) – then the best learning will take place. 

But if you put a barrier or obstruction between the teacher and student (like covering the sundial with a structure of temple and dome) – this can badly impede the learning process. 

This “obstacle” can be the “education system”, the “administrative hierarchy”, the “rules, regulations and red tape”, the “academic environment” in the particular place – anything which is detrimental to seamless teaching and effective learning. 

I have experienced this phenomenon during my teaching days.

I have also experienced this many times in my career – when I was hindered from delivering my best – because of the sundial metaphor.

You can see examples of this “Sundial Phenomenon” everywhere – especially at your workplace – hindering inter-personal relationships – and acting as a barrier to effective communication.

Even within your internal self – there can be taboos, hang-ups, phobias, complexes, values and beliefs – which act as internal “impediments” – and inhibit you from realizing your full potential.

Apart from red tape, rules and regulations – sometimes – things like Rituals, Customs and Traditions, Cultural and Societal Pressures can also be akin to the “cupola dome” between “Sun” and “Sundial” – and hamper your aspirations.

If you observe carefully – you will see this metaphor of the sundial in all aspects of life. 

Indeed this sundial phenomenon is prevalent in all aspects of management – especially relationship management – both in inter-personal and intra-personal relationships. 

Remember the story of the sundial – and think about this phenomenon – and how it will affect seamless communication when you are thinking of outsourcing customer relationship management or consumer care or any process via ITES or BPO.

Sometimes – these “temples” you build to cover your “sundials” – may be well-meaning with good intentions.

It is for you to ensure that you do not build “temples” around “sundials” – you must let the “sun” shine brightly and unhindered on your “sundial”.

And – it is for the powers-that-be to ensure that they do not “build temples” around “sundials” – which act as a barriers to efficiency and progress.

We must let the “sun” shine brightly and unhindered on the “sundial”.

Think about the Sundial Story – let the metaphors perambulate in your mind – look around – and apply the allegory to your real life – and try to make sure that you remove barriers – and let the “sun” shine brightly and unhindered on the “sundial”. 

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


This article is an updated version of my article earlier posted online by meVikram Karve in my blogs at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 7/30/2015 11:28:00 AM

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

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

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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…

APRIL FOOL – All Fools Day Story

March 31, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: APRIL FOOL – Humor in Uniform.

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

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

“APRIL FOOL”
Delightful Memories of My Navy Life
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Tomorrow is the 1st of April – April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day (also known as All Fools’ Day) is celebrated annually on the first day of April. 

It is a time for the traditional playing of pranks on unsuspecting people – the victim of such a prank being called an April Fool.

One of my weaknesses is my trusting nature – I easily trust people.

Because of my simple trusting nature it is easy for anyone to take me for a ride – yes – you can easily make a fool of me – and – I have been made an “April Fool” so many times right from my childhood.

In fact – owing to my trusting nature I a simpleton – quite a gullible person – and therefore – a prime target for April Fool Pranks.

When I hark back and think of the occasions when I was made an unsuspecting victim of April Fool Jokes – and when I recall all the April Fool Pranks I was subjected to – I can never forget how I was made a total “April Fool” – 32 years ago – on the 1st of April 1983.

Here is my “April Fool” story – have a laugh…

HOW I WAS MADE AN “APRIL FOOL”
(a “Memoir” by Vikram Karve)

01 April 1983   (New Delhi)

It was 10 AM (1000 Hrs in Navy Parlance) on the 1st of April 1983 – and I busy with my research work in IIT Delhi.

(Yes – after slogging for 5 years in the Navy – afloat and ashore – I was selected to undergo the prestigious 2 year M. Tech. post graduate course in Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi aka IIT Delhi from July 1981 to July 1983)

It was the last (4th) semester of my 2 year M.Tech. Course – and I was busy with my dissertation work.

My ex-shipmate entered the Tropo Lab.

He was also doing M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – but in a different specialization.

He said excitedly, “Hey Vikram – congratulations – your appointment has come – you will be going to IAT Pune after your M. Tech.”

I was very happy and joyfully excited to hear this.

Pune is my hometown.

I had never expected a posting to Pune in my naval career – as I thought that – except for a few billets at NDA – there were hardly any billets for naval officers in Pune – especially for technical officers.

In fact – I was worried that they may transfer me back to INS Valsura Jamnagar – where I had spent less than one year (1980-81) on instructional duties – before escaping from there as I was selected for my M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – and I had no desire of going back to that godforsaken place again.

“You don’t seem to be happy?” my friend said.

“I am very happy,” I said, “but how do you know about my appointment?”

“I had gone to INS India Supply Office for some work. I saw your name in a NA List over there. I have just come from there and I came straight here to tell you the good news.”

[Those days Naval Headquarters (NHQ) published a weekly Navy Appointments (NA) List which listed all appointments (transfers/postings) issued during that week]

“What about you? Is your name in the NA list? Has your new appointment come too?” I asked him.

“No – I saw only your name in the NA list. Why don’t you go down to NHQ and personally get your appointment letter?” he prompted.

As I said – I was really delighted to be transferred to Pune – my hometown.

So – so I immediately drove down on my scooter to NHQ.

First – I went to INS India Supply Office – and I checked the NA List folder.

Yes – my name was very much there – at Serial No. 12 of the list of 20 names – and entry in the NA list said that I was appointed on instructional duties to IAT Pune July DTBR.

I wrote down the relevant details of the NA list.

Then – I went to the Base Supply Officer – and I asked him if my appointment letter had come.

The Base Supply Officer called for the NA List folder – he looked at the NA List – and he said, “This NA list has just been issued. It will take some time for the letter to reach here. They take their own sweet time to dispatch the letters. Why don’t you go across to DOP and get your personal copy?”

(DOP was the acronym for Director of Personnel)

Those days we were very scared to go anywhere near DOP – because they were always on the prowl looking for “murgas” to transfer to “kala pani” – and other such remote places.

But I was so excited – that I drew up courage – and I walked into the office of the DDOP who looked after our appointments.

I was delighted to see an officer who I knew very well sitting in the chair of DDOP – he was a course-mate of my previous ship’s XO.

He used to visit our ship often – and we had spent many evenings drinking together.

The DDOP too was happy to see me.

He told me that he had just taken over as DDOP just a day earlier on the 31st of March.

He enquired about me – about my M. Tech. course – and then he asked me what I wanted.

I told him the story – gave him details of the NA List – and asked him if I could have a copy of my appointment letter.

He called his deputy – handed him the chit with NA List details – and told him to give me a copy of my appointment letter.

The officer looked at the NA list – and looking confused, he said, “Sir, we haven’t yet issued any appointment letters for officers doing M. Tech. at IITs – anyway I will just check and get back to you, Sir.”

After a few minutes he came back and said, “The NA list with this number has still not been issued.”

“What? How can that be?” the DDOP said.

Then the DDOP looked at me – and he said, “Are you sure you saw the NA list in the INS India Supply Office?”

“Yes,” I said, “it is right on top in the NA list folder in the base supply office.”

The DDOP picked up the phone and he dialled a number.

He seemed to be speaking to the Base Supply Officer. 

The DDOP read out the number of the NA list – then waited for some time – then he listened to the voice on the other side – and then he said to me, “Just go down to the Base Supply Office and get the NA list folder – I want to get to the bottom of this.”

As I was leaving – I could hear him speak on the phone, “I am sending the officer to you…”

The moment I reached the hutments where the Base Supply Office was located – I found a big gang of my friends waiting outside for me with broad smiles on their faces.

Among my friends – standing prominently with a big smile on his face – was the Captain of my previous ship (now a Commodore posted in NHQ) – and it was he who had orchestrated the whole practical joke.

I knew I had been made an “April Fool”.

That afternoon – I had to treat everyone to beer in the INS India wardroom – and the DDOP and Base Supply Officer (who were also parties to the “April Fool” prank) also joined in the “elbow bending” PLD session for a glass of chilled beer.


EPILOGUE

During the PLD beer session – I put on a mask of cheerfulness – but deep inside I was feeling terrible.

I think the Commodore (my ex ship’s CO) and the DDOP noticed this – so they asked me for my choice of transfer on completion of my M. Tech.

“IAT Pune,” I said tongue-in-cheek, “but if that is not possible then anywhere except Jamnagar.”

Three months later – I was transferred to a billet in New Delhi as an Asst Director in R&D.

Two years later – in June 1985 – one day – out of the blue – I saw an appointment letter placed on my table.

I had been appointed for instructional duties to IAT Pune July DTBR.

Was it as a recompense for the “April Fool” prank – from the DDOP and my ex ship’s CO – and all those who had played the “April Fool” joke on me?

All is well that ends well.

HAPPY ALL FOOLS’ DAY

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.



Earlier Posted by me Vikram Karve on 01 April 2014 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 4/01/2014 11:39:00 AM at url:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HOW TO STEAL YOUR FRIEND’S HUSBAND aka A HUSBAND – A WIFE – AND THE “OTHER WOMAN”

March 18, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: A HUSBAND – A WIFE – AND THE “OTHER WOMAN”.

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

A HUSBAND – A WIFE – AND THE “OTHER WOMAN”
A Love Story
Short Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE
Rohan – The Husband
Lata – The Wife
Nisha – The “Other Woman” (Narrator of the Story)

A HUSBAND, A WIFE, AND THE “OTHER WOMAN” – Love Story by Vikram Karve

I look at myself in the mirror.

I do not like what I see.

My face looks terrible – my skin, my lips, my eyes – they all look haggard.

And my eyebrows, my hair – they look unkempt.

Everything about me looks awful.

To put it bluntly – I look horrible.

I desperately need to go the beauty parlour.

I must have a good makeover to make myself presentable.

Today is Sunday.

I’ll go to that exclusive beauty salon near Churchgate – and I’ll get the full works done – from head to toe.

My mobile phone rings.

It is Rohan.

If it was anyone else – I would have rejected the call – or ignored it.

But since it is Rohan – I pick up my cell phone – and I say, “Hi Rohan. What happened? Calling so early in the morning?”

“It’s 8 o’clock,” Rohan says.

“It’s Sunday – I just woke up – I was about to brush my teeth,” I say.

“Oh – I am sorry – but I wanted to come and see you. Are you free? Can I come now – or should I come later?” Rohan says.

If it was anyone else – I would have told them to come later – because I would not want them to see me in my horrible unsightly state.

But with Rohan it is different – with him – I can be myself.

“Come over,” I say, “I’ll brush my teeth and shower. I should be ready by the time you drive down.”

“I am standing outside your door,” Rohan says.

“What…? You are already here?” I say, surprised.

“Yes – if you want – I’ll go down and wait for you in the lobby,” he says.

I look at myself in the mirror once more.

I really look ghastly.

But it is okay.

As I told you before – with Rohan – I can be myself.

“Hey Nisha – what happened…?” Rohan interrupts my train of thoughts.

“Just wait there – I am coming to open the door,” I say.

I disconnect Rohan’s call on my mobile phone – and I walk towards the door.

I open the door.

Rohan looks all dressed up, freshly bathed, smelling good.

“You look good,” I say.

“You look terrible,” he says, “and you are reeking of rum – in fact, you smell like a distillery.”

“I know – I drank too much rum last night. Rohan – you please sit down – I’ll quickly have a shower and get ready,” I say.

“Hey – I picked up some hot idlis and coffee for you on the way. Why don’t you have some coffee first to cure your hangover?” Rohan says, taking out a parcel and a flask from his ubiquitous backpack.

“No – I haven’t even brushed my teeth – just give me a few minutes to freshen up…” I say.

When I come out of my bedroom – I see that Rohan has already laid out the plates with the idlissambar and chutney.

“Should I pour the coffee?” he asks.

“Not now – we’ll have coffee after we eat,” I say.

“Okay,” he says.

“So – what brings you here so early in the morning?” I ask.

“Nothing – I just felt lonely…” Rohan says.

“Lonely…? Where is Lata…?” I ask.

“She has gone to play golf,” Rohan says.

“Golf…? Here at the club…? Why didn’t you go to play with her…?” I ask.

“No – not here – Lata has gone to some fancy golf course near Pune…”

“Really…? But you could have gone with her…”

“She did not want me to come…”

“What…? Lata did not want you to go with her…?”

“Yes – she did not want me to go with her…”

“But why…?”

“She feels embarrassed by me…”

“Embarrassed…? What are you saying…?”

“She is out of my league now – so she feels embarrassed that I am her husband…”

“Just shut up – you are talking all nonsense…”

“No – it is true – ever since she joined that MNC – my wife is ashamed of my ‘middle class mentality’ – especially in front of her bosses and colleagues…”

“I can’t believe it – ‘middle class mentality’ – what does she mean by that…?

“Well, I don’t know – you better ask her that…”

“So – what happened…?”

“Yesterday afternoon I came back after a long sailing – I wanted to spend some together at home – but Lata had to go for this corporate party – all the top bosses of her company have come over for a review from abroad – so I tagged along – I am sure Lata did not want to take me along – but her boss insisted that she get her ‘sailor’ husband…”

“So you enjoyed the party…?”

“Yes – the party was good – excellent booze and delicious food – but I got into an argument with a drunken ‘firangi’ who was speaking derogatory things about India – so Lata got miffed because I was rude to him…”

“Rude…? Argument…? Why…?”

“The snobbish bugger was criticizing everything in India – I listened for some time – but when he crossed all limits and continued talking ill of us – I gave it back to him nice and proper…”

“Good…”

“What do you mean ‘good’…? The ‘firangi’ bugger turned out to be a big shot – he is the ‘Top Man’ in Lata’s MNC – so Lata kept apologizing to him for my behaviour…”

“But why has Lata gone outstation to play golf…?”

“Well – all the top bosses of her company have come from Singapore, Hong Kong – from all over the world – and when they learnt the Lata played golf – they invited her to come along with them – they are going to play a round of golf – and then all the company bigwigs will spend the evening partying at the golf resort – I think it is more of corporate networking than golf…”

“But you could have gone with her – doesn’t Lata come for all our Navy parties? It was rude of her boss not to invite you – especially when you play golf so well…”

“Her boss did ask me to come along for the golf trip. But before I could say anything – Lata told him that I was working today…”

“But why should she do that…?”

“I told you – didn’t I …? Why are you asking me again and again…? Lata feels embarrassed of me in front of her office colleagues – she feels that I lack ‘social graces’ – and she is especially angry after what happened last evening when I gave it back to that ‘firangi’ guy – she is scared I may open my big mouth and say something that may offend her top bosses. So she has pushed off to enjoy the weekend with them and left me high and dry. I am feeling terrible…”

“Come on Rohan – cheer up – let Lata play golf with her bosses – we’ll spend the day together… ”

“I never thought Lata would become so ambitious – she has become desperate for success – and the way she is behaving nowadays, it looks like she will do anything to get it – she may even sleep with that bloody ‘firangi’ top boss…”

“No – don’t say that – I know her – Lata is a simple girl…”

“Oh, yes – Lata was a simple small town girl – but that was before we got married – now she has changed – especially after joining this MNC. Now – Lata feels that she has overtaken me in status – she feels that she has gone way ahead of me – and now she is out my league…”

“Out of your league…?”

“Tell me Nisha – you know Lata’s background – what was she before marriage? Wasn’t she a bloody rustic ignoramus ‘plain jane’…? Whatever she is today is because of me…”

“Well, that is true, Rohan – Lata was just a nondescript BA from an unknown small town college. Yes – you are right – what Lata is today – it is all because of you…”

“I was the one who encouraged her to do her MBA…”

“I remember…”

“And tell me – had she ever seen an officers’ club in her life – and golf – who taught her golf – would she ever have got an opportunity to play golf had she not married me…?”

“Lata always wanted to marry an officer – and she was desperate to escape from her backward hometown and live in modern society – she told me that…”

“And you fixed her up with me…?”

“Her parents asked me if there was a suitable boy I knew – preferably an officer – and I told them about you – and then all of you arranged the marriage…”

“When I asked you to marry me – you refused…”

“Well – at that time – I did not feel it was right for me to marry a fellow officer – I thought ‘in-service marriage’ would be like fraternization…”

“Ha Ha – ‘in-service marriage’ – that’s a load of bullshit – and what bloody ‘fraternization’ are you talking about? Most of the female officers are marrying male officers. And it’s the same in the army and air force too…”

“I know. No civilian wants to marry a ‘fauji’ female – even my own relationship broke up because of this…”

“You were in a relationship…? We are such good friends and you never told me about this before…”

“It happened much before I met you – even before I joined the academy…”

“So – who was it…?”

“He was my classmate at IIT – in fact – after B. Tech. – both of us were placed at the same IT company at Pune – and we worked in same Software Development Project – they even sent us abroad to the US for a few months for onsite work – that is when we got close – so when we came back to India we started dating each other…”

“So – why didn’t you get married to him…?”

“Because – in a burst of jingoism – I decided to join the Navy…”

“You didn’t tell him…?”

“At first he thought I was joking – then when the SSB call came – he told me not to go – but I said I was just going for fun – but then I got selected – and I decided to join the Navy…”

“So – what happened…?”

“He was furious – and he dumped me…”

“He dumped you – why…?”

“He said that he did not want a ‘gun-toting’ wife – and that having a ‘fauji’ wife did not fit into his life plans. He pleaded with me not to join the navy – he asked me to continue in the Software Firm – he said that he had plans for both of us – we were being sent to the US again in a few months – and then we both would both to stay on in America forever…”

“And then…?”

“I made the biggest mistake of my life – I quit my lucrative and promising software job and joined the navy – and I lost everything…”

“Lost everything…? What do you mean…?”

“On the personal front – my boyfriend dumped me – and on the career front – I was doomed to teaching algebra and geometry to newly recruited sailors…”

“Algebra and geometry…? What are you saying…?”

“Well – after the academy – the first posting they gave me was to the sailors’ basic training unit – and what do Education Officers do anyway – teach sailors – or look after libraries like I am doing now – you know – had I stayed on as a Techie in the IT industry – I would have been working in a top software job in Seattle – happily married and all…”

“Seattle…?”

“Yes – that’s where he is – actually he had discreetly talked to our clients about a job for me too – so that when both of us went to Seattle for our next onsite assignment – we would quietly switch over jobs after a few months – and remain there…”

“Wow…”

“And – suddenly – like an impulsive fool – in a fit of jingoism – I joined the Navy. He was so angry with me – that after dumping me – he got married to one of our colleagues – must be on the rebound – but anyway – both of them are doing well out there. And what did I do…? I screwed up my life nice and proper by joining the Navy. Just imagine – I was doing well as a Techie – I had great career prospects – I was going steady with a boy I liked – I had everything going for me – and now – everything is finished – my life – my career – everything…”

“Come on Nisha – don’t say that – things are not that bad – and you should reduce your drinking – and why do you drink all alone in your cabin – at least you can go and drink in the wardroom bar, or in the club, and make some friends…” Rohan says.

“Friends…? Where can I find friends to drink with in the bar…? All my course-mates are married – and no young bachelor wants to date a 34 year old hag…”

“You are 34…?”

“Yes, Sir – I am 2 years older than you – you joined straight after graduation – I worked for 3 years after my engineering and then I joined the navy…”

“It is surprising – we are so close to each other – but you never told me all this about being dumped before…” Rohan says.

“Maybe I never felt so lonely before…?”

“Lonely – you are feeling lonely – that is exactly how I am feeling – lonely. In fact – it was because I was feeling so lonely that I came here so early in the morning…”

“But why should you feel lonely…? You are married…?”

“What marriage…? Lata is busy with her job – and her obsession to break the glass ceiling. And in any case, Nisha – marriage or no marriage – I am certainly going to be very lonely for the next 2-3 years – and the worst part is that even you won’t be there…”

“Why…? What are you saying…?”

“I have got my first command – but the ship is based in Port Blair…”

“Wow – you’ve got your command so fast – you should be celebrating…”

“I know – but Lata is refusing to come with me to Port Blair…”

“Her job…?”

“Yes…”

“She can take a few years off – a ‘sabbatical’…”

Rohan starts laughing – and in a sarcastic tone – he says, “Lata taking a ‘Sabbatical’ – are you crazy or something? Aren’t you hearing what I am saying all this time…?”

“Why – what happened…?”

“Forget about taking a few years off – Lata has bigger plans – she is planning to relocate to Singapore – she is desperately lobbying for a prized job at the company headquarters there – and I am sure she is going to get what she wants – why do you think all this ‘golf diplomacy’ and partying is going on…?”

“But what about your family life…?”

“What family life…? First, she postponed having kids till she completed her MBA. Then – she wanted to wait till she settled down in her career. And now – it looks like she will be off to Singapore – while I languish all alone in Port Blair. I don’t think she is interested in having kids – or in family life – in fact, sometimes I feel that Lata has no use for me now – she has used me as a stepping stone – and now she is busy in her career rat-race on her way upwards to break the glass ceiling…”

“Why don’t you talk to her…?” I say.

“I did…”

“And…?”

“Lata asked me to quit the Navy…”

“She asked you to quit the Navy…?”

Yes – Lata told me that she is quite sure she would get that coveted job in Singapore – and then she had the audacity to tell me that she would wangle some job in HR for me out there…”

“So what’s wrong…? At least you two can stay together…”

“But why the hell should I quit the Navy and take up some insignificant nondescript HR job and play second-fiddle to her? I like the Navy – and I have got my ship command so early – I have a bright future here…”

“Yes – at least you have a future in the Navy – but for me – both my personal life and career are screwed up nice and proper…” I say.

“Why…? What happened to your career…?” Rohan asks.

“Don’t you know…? My 10 years are getting over soon – and I will be out of the Navy – high and dry…”

“You can sign up for 4 years more…”

“And do what…? At least now I am a 34 year old hag – I still have a chance of finding someone – 4 years more – and I will become a 38 year old shrew – and the way things are going – I may land up becoming ‘alcohol dependent’ as well…”

“Maybe you can find someone in the Navy…?”

“Do you have someone in mind…?”

“Anyway – let’s talk something better,” Rohan says, “I am leaving for Port Blair on Thursday. Today is the last Sunday we have together – so let us have a good time – you get ready fast – let’s go for the morning show at Eros or Regal – both the movies are good – then we can have lunch wherever you want – and maybe after that we can go to the races…”

In the evening – when we were walking on Marine Drive – Lata called up Rohan to tell him that she would be coming home only the next morning as she had to attend a campfire party with her company bigwigs at the golf resort. Lata also told Rohan that she was getting the Singapore job which she had desperately wanted and she had spoken about his HR job too.

I looked at Rohan.

He looked disappointed – and he said, “See – I told you – this is the last Sunday before I leave for Port Blair – and – instead of spending some time with me – she is busy furthering her career.”

I marveled at the metamorphosis in Lata.

The way she had transformed herself from a simple, small-town girl into an ambitious careerist was incredible.

Yes – now – as Rohan was saying – Lata was indeed putting her career before her marriage.

Lata is my friend.

I do not want to steal her husband.

But if Lata wants to throw her husband into my arms – then there is nothing I can do about it.

Yes – if Lata wants to throw Rohan into my arms – then I am quite willing to have him there.

Next morning – the moment I reach office – I tell my boss that I want to sign up for 4 more years.

“That’s good,” the Commodore says, “but you have already spent 3 years here in Mumbai – and if you sign up for an extension – you may have to go on a transfer.”

“Sir – is it possible to get a choice transfer?” I ask.

“I’ll try – tell me – where do you want to go…?”

“Port Blair…” I say.

“Are you sure…?” the Commodore asks, looking surprised.

“Yes, Sir – I want to go to Port Blair,” I say.

“Well – Port Blair shouldn’t be a problem at all – consider it done – I am so happy that lady officers like you are volunteering for tough stations like Port Blair…” the Commodore says – and he picks up the phone to make a call.

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 Vikram Karve at 

blogspot.in

3/09/2015 06:14:00 PM

MY HUSBAND IS HAVING AN AFFAIR – TETE-A-TETE WITH MY HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND

February 21, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HAPPENSTANCE – TETE-A-TETE WITH MY HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND.

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

HAPPENSTANCE
TETE-A-TETE WITH MY HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND
Short Fiction – a naughty love story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From My Creative Writing Archives : 

Here is a zesty Mumbai story I wrote around 15 years ago, in the year 2000, after a browse in the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kalaghoda in Mumbai.

I saw two women in an animated conversation – and suddenly this story was conceived in my mind – so I went home and wrote it.

I am sure you will enjoy this naughty romance…

TETE-A-TETE WITH MY HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND – naughty story by Vikram Karve

“Excuse me, are you Urvashi Mukherjee by any chance?” a feminine voice said from my right.

I turned my face and looked at the smart young woman wearing a red top and dark blue jeans.

The woman was not ‘fair and lovely’ in the conventional sense.

But she looked very desirable, in a sensual kind of way.

Chic and sexy, flowing hair, with just the right amount of make-up, she exuded confidence.

And as she looked at me with those wonderfully radiant, large and expressive dancing eyes, I felt a strong attraction for her, even though I too was a woman.

“Yes. I’m Urvashi Mukherjee,” I said.

“Hi… I’m Babita. Babita Khanna,” she said.

“Sorry Ms. Khanna, but I don’t think we’ve met before.”

“Sad isn’t it? But I know everything about you my dear Urvashi,” she gave a vivacious laugh.

Then she reached out to my arm displaying a rather impulsive and gratuitous intimacy and said to me, “I recognized you instantly, the moment I saw you. You look exactly like you do in your photograph…”

“My photograph…?” I asked, pulling away my arm.

“Yes. You look lovely. You look exactly as in the photo Milan keeps in wallet.”

Photo? 

Milan? 

I did not like the way she said “Milan” 

How dare she casually refer to my husband in such a familiar manner, and that too by his first name.

And she had called me Urvashi too …

I was truly flabbergasted. 

Who was this woman? 

Why was she acting so intimate and talking to me on first name terms? 

And how had she seen my photo in Milan’s wallet?

“You know Milan?” I asked

“Of course. We work in the same office. Hasn’t Milan told you about me?”

“No. I don’t think so. At least I don’t remember.”

“That’s surprising. Well, I know everything about you. But you know nothing about me” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She looked at me, and in a rather patronizing manner, she said: “Milan should have told you about me. He’s told me everything about you.”

“Milan has told you everything about me?” I repeated.

“Yes. He always talks about you,” she said.

I was taken aback, quite bewildered.

I did not want to talk to this woman.

So I turned my face away from her and looked straight ahead at the painting in front of me.

Then I turned towards her and said, “Well, well. Quite intriguing. Milan has told you everything about me. But he hasn’t told me anything about you!”

“Hey, Milan didn’t tell me you were an art-buff. I never imagined I would run into you here – at the Jehangir Art Gallery.”

“I’m no aficionado,” I said, trying to sound sarcastic, “I’m just killing time here till it stops raining.”

“Aficionado? That’s a good one! I never imagined you’d speak such highbrow English considering you’ve studied in a vernacular school,” she said sarcastically.

This insult was too much. 

Anger began to rise inside me.

But the woman persisted, and she said, “You know Urvashi, Milan keeps telling me of your hilarious malapropisms when you were newly married.”

“I’m sure he has told you about our honeymoon too?” I blurted out in anger.

I instantly regretted my words, the moment they left my mouth.

“Of course I know everything about your hilarious honeymoon,” she said with a mischievous smile.

“What?” I asked, stunned.

She smiled and said, “He told me about the way you got all sozzled on your first night on the beach in Goa when he mixed Feni in your juice hoping to remove your inhibitions.”

Now I was really furious.

I did not want to talk with this woman any longer.

So I said, “Good Bye, Ms. Khanna. It must have stopped raining outside. Time for me to go. I’d hate to come in between the beautiful paintings and a true connoisseur of art like you.”

“Hey. Come on. I’m no connoisseur of art. I too ran in here to take shelter from the heavy rain,” the woman laughed.

Then she said, “And listen – don’t call me Ms. Khanna, just call me Babita. I’m calling you Urvashi isn’t it?”

“Okay. Nice talking to you,” I said, and I walked out of the gallery hall into the foyer of Jehangir Art Gallery.

It was still raining.

So I stood at the entrance looking out towards Kalaghoda waiting for the rain to stop.

To my horror I noticed that the woman had followed me and was standing next to me which made me feel quite uneasy and uncomfortable.

She was a real mystery.

How come Milan had never mentioned her?

He always told me everything about his life. 

That’s what I had thought. 

At least till now.

I had plans for the afternoon and did not want this woman clinging to me like a parasite.

“Let’s go shopping,” the woman said, as if reading my mind through clairvoyance. 

“No. I have got some important work,” I said.

She looked at me with a curious expression and said, “Work? What work will you do all alone at home?” 

So she knew.

Milan had told her even that.

I looked at her firmly and said, “I’m really not keen on shopping right now. Besides I have to get home early. We’re going out for a movie and dinner tonight.”

“No, you aren’t,” she said confidently

“What do you mean we aren’t? He’s already bought the tickets.”

“Maybe he has bought the tickets, but Milan is not going to turn up before midnight. You can take my word for it.”

“He promised me,” I said defiantly.

“Promises are meant to be broken. He won’t come. He’ll be busy doing my work since I have taken the day off. And then he has to go to a business dinner.”

“Doing your work? Business Dinner?” I asked, flabbergasted.

“Don’t delve too much,” she said

“What nonsense? I’ll ring him up right now,” I said, and took out my mobile phone.

“No point trying to call Milan now,” she said, “his mobile will be switched off right now. He’ll be in a meeting. But don’t worry. Milan will ring you up at around six to cancel your movie date and dinner programme. He’ll tell you he has to work late. Of course, Milan won’t mention the ‘business dinner’ part though.”

“Business dinner? How do you know all this?” I asked, confused and angry.

She winked and said, “I told you. Milan tells me everything. There are no secrets between true friends.”

Friends? 

True Friends? 

Milan and this woman called Babita Khanna who I had never heard of before?

This was getting murky.

First she was a colleague.

Now she’s suddenly become a friend of my husband … a true friend … just imagine … she is a true friend … and me … what about me?

The whole thing was bizarre. 

It was incredible and unbelievable.

No secrets between Milan and his girl friend.

But plenty of secrets between Milan and me, his lawfully wedded wife.

The rain was down to a drizzle. and she said, “Come let’s go shopping. And then we’ll enjoy ourselves. We’ll go to all your favourite places. And we will do all the things you like.”

I wondered why she was doing this to me? 

Why was she chatting me up? 

What was her motive? 

Was she trying to tell me something?

Was this really a chance meeting, a pure coincidence, happenstance, serendipity?

Or was it a contrived coincidence?

I had to get to the bottom of it all.

So I said to the woman: “Okay Babita. Let’s go on a date. I want to find out whether Milan has really told you everything about me.”

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)


This story written by me in the year 2000 and posted online earlier in June 2006 in my creative writing blogs at urls:
http://creative.sulekha.com/happ… 
and 
http://vikramwamankarve.blogspot…

Posted by Vikram Karve at 2/21/2015 12:17:00 PM

26 JANUARY – A Story For Republic Day – Blog Fiction

January 25, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: JANUARY 26 – Republic Day Story.

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

In the occasion of Republic Day, here is a story from my Creative Writing Archives.

I wrote this story 2 years ago on the eve of Republic Day – on 25 January 2013 – to be precise.

I feel it is still relevant.

Do tell me if you like it.

Wish You a Happy Republic Day 26 January 2015.

JANUARY 26
Republic Day Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

January 26

Republic Day of India.

6:30 AM.

A cold morning.

A woman sits on a bench on the solitary platform of Girinagar Railway Station.

She looks at her watch.

Then she looks towards the Railway Track.

She has a worried expression on her face.

The Station Master comes out of his office holding two flags, one green and one red.

He sees the woman and smiles at her.

The woman gets up from the bench and asks the station master, “Is the shuttle late?”

“Yes, the shuttle has been delayed. The express train is being stopped here. The shuttle has been detained at the outer signal and will arrive here after the express train goes away.”

“Oh, My God…!!!”

“What happened?” asks the station master.

“I don’t want to be late for the Republic Day function in our school,” the woman says.

“What time is the function?”

“7:30. The normal school time.”

“Oh.”

“I hope I will reach in time,” the woman says anxiously.

“I don’t think so,” the station master says.

“Why? What happened?” the woman asks.

“Well, normally the shuttle leaves here at 6:25 and reaches the Junction at 7:10,” the station master says.

“That’s right. And it is just a 10 minute walk down to school. I’ll reach in time even if my train is a few minutes late, isn’t it?” the woman says.

The station master looks at his watch, then looks at the woman, and he says, “Well, I really can’t say. From here to the junction, it is 45 minutes running time for the shuttle train. The express is expected to arrive at 6:45 and will be detained here for about 10 minutes. By the time the shuttle arrives and leaves it will easily be 7 o’clock. Even if it makes up time, the shuttle train will not be able to reach the junction by 7:30. And then, you still have a 10 minute walk to school. I don’t think you will be able to reach your school by 7:30.”

“Oh, My God. I will be in trouble if I am late for the Republic Day function. It will be so humiliating,” the woman says in an anxious voice with nervousness written all over her face.

“You have got a first class pass, haven’t you?” the station master asks.

“Yes,” the woman says.

“Then don’t worry. You can travel by the express in the air-conditioned coach. I will tell the TTE to permit you. The express will take less than 15 minutes to reach the junction and you will be there latest by 7:10 and you can easily reach your school well before 7:30.”

“Thank you so much.”

“What ‘Thank You’? You are like my daughter. This is the least I can do for you.”

“Why is the express stopping here?” the woman asks.

“The express train is being stopped here for Colonel Ashok,” the station master says.

Suddenly the telephone rings and the station master rushes inside his office.

The woman closes her eyes and remembers the station master’s words:

“The express train is being stopped here for Colonel Ashok”

Those words slice through the woman’s heart like a knife slices through butter.

“So Ashok is a Colonel now. A big shot. Big enough to get the express train stopped for him at Girinagar where even the fast passenger does not halt,” the woman says to herself.

Then the woman is filled with hate and regret.

As the woman remembers her days with Ashok – her thoughts become bitter – and she says to herself:

“Had it not been for the scheming bitch Menaka who mesmerized Ashok with her enticing charms and stole him away from me – today I would been Mrs. Ashok – Yes, it is me who should have rightfully been Mrs. Ashok – I would have been a Colonel’s Wife – a Memsahib.”

Suddenly, the shrill whistle of the diesel engine of the express train disturbs her train of thoughts and the express train arrives on the platform.

The air-conditioned coach stops right in front of her. 

In the door of the coach stands Menaka, Ashok’s wife.

Menaka sees the woman on the platform and smiles at her.

But the woman does not return the smile. 

The woman turns her face away from Menaka.

But the woman furtively looks at the door of the air-conditioned coach with the corner of her eyes trying to catch a glimpse of Ashok.

The big show-off that he is, the woman is sure that Ashok will be all dressed up in his resplendent army uniform strutting like a peacock.

But there is no sign of Colonel Ashok.

Instead she sees a young officer in army uniform getting down from the train with Menaka.

Then both of them  Menaka and the young army officer  start walking together towards the end of the train.

“Come on, get in fast,” the station master motions her towards the door of the air-conditioned coach. 

The Station Master says something to the TTE.

The TTE tells the woman to go inside and sit on Seat No. 30.

She sits on Seat No. 30.

A family – a man, a woman and a small boy sit on the seats around her.

There is a jerk, the tug of the engine, and the train starts moving and picks up speed.

The woman looks at her watch.

6:50.

She heaves a sigh of relief.

She will be well on time for the Republic Day function.

The TTE arrives to check her pass.

The woman asks the TTE: “Why did the train stop here?”

“To detach the refrigerated van at the end of the train,” the TTE says.

“Refrigerated van?” the woman asks.

“The refrigerated van was carrying the body of an army officer who died in action and sacrificed his life for the nation. The dead army officer’s widowed wife was sitting right here on Seat No. 30 – the same seat where you are now sitting,” the TTE says.

“Army Officer? Dead?” the woman asks.

“His name was Colonel Ashok,” the man sitting in front says.

“Ashok? Colonel Ashok?” the woman asks with disbelief.

“Yes. The brave martyr’s name was Colonel Ashok. And hat’s off to the courage of the Colonel’s wife. Despite losing her husband the courageous lady was so poised and calm. It is because of the supreme sacrifice of such brave soldiers and their families that we can celebrate Republic Day … ”

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)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.



This Story is a Revised Version of My Story Earlier Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 1/25/2013 10:08:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Posted by Vikram Karve at 1/25/2015 11:41:00 PM

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