Archive for the ‘weblog’ Category

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

May 25, 2015

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

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

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

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

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

THE BOOZY NAVY
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


TÊTE-À-TÊTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…”

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

“Yes – Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

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

“Yes – Sir…”

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

“Yes – Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…?”

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPILOGUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

 

Humor in Uniform – AN UNFORGETTABLE “OILY” TRAIN JOURNEY

May 4, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – “OILY” NAVY” – AN UNFORGETTABLE TRAIN JOURNEY.

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

HUMOUR IN OF UNIFORM 

“OILY” NAVY
AN UNFORGETTABLE TRAIN JOURNEY
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

PREAMBLE

This story happened 35 years ago – in the year 1980.

Today – “fauji” officers are a pampered lot – all officers travel by air from the day they are commissioned into the armed forces.

But in those “good old days” – air travel was a luxury permitted only for senior officers above the rank of Colonel/Captain/Group Captain – a rank very few achieved – and that too after slogging in cut-throat competition for around 25 years.

So – most defence officers travelled by the magnificent Indian Railways – and long train journeys were an essential part of military life – while travelling on duty and while going home on leave – and we still remember many of those memorable train journeys.

Nowadays – since defence officers and their families mostly travel by air  – they miss out on the romance of train journeys.

But in those “good old days” – The Indian Railways were an integral part of the romance of military life.

Here is the story of one of a memorable and unforgettable train journey during my Navy days.

PREFACE

“OILY” NAVY

You may have heard of the WAVY NAVY – RNVR (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve)/RINVR (Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve) whose officers wore “wavy” rank stripes (while Royal Navy (RN) Officers wore straight rank stripes)

You may have also heard the witty quote by a famous World War 2 “wavy navy” Officer of the RNVR:

…“the difference between the “straight navy” (RN) and “wavy-navy” (RNVR) is that the RN look after the Navy in peace-time while the RNVR do the fighting in War…”

…hinting that Regular (RN) Officers “fight” in “peacetime” whereas Reservists (RNVR) fight the war (highlighting the difference between “peacetime soldiering” mainly done by Regular Officers and warfighting mainly done by the Reservists).

So, now you have heard of the WAVY NAVY.

But have you heard of the OILY NAVY?

Well, I certainly hadn’t heard of the “Oily Navy” – till this rather comical incident happened to me.

So, Dear Reader, let me delve into my “Humour in Uniform Archives” and narrate to you, once more, this hilarious story of peacetime “soldiering” :-

PROLOGUE

The best thing that happened to me in the navy were the two glorious years I spent in Mumbai (then called Bombay) 35 years ago.

Both my ships were based at Bombay.

We sailed for a few days, sometimes visiting various ports, but for the remaining days we were tied alongside in Bombay Dockyard which is in the heart of the city.

I loved sailing,

But more than that, I loved spending time in a harbour like Bombay, which was most exciting as the vibrant metropolis had so much to offer for young bachelors like me with a zest for life.

It was the happiest time of my life.

And like I said, it was the best thing that happened to me in the navy.

The worst thing that happened to me in the navy was my unexpected to transfer to Jamnagar, which put an end to my happy time in Bombay.

I was looking forward to an appointment to a shore billet in Bombay, which would enable me to continue to enjoy the life of bliss in “maximum city” to the fullest.

In fact, a few months earlier, I had been informally told by a senior naval officer that I would be appointed in the Naval Dockyard at Bombay, as was the norm for young technical officers after appointments at sea.

But, someone pulled strings, and I was on my way to Jamnagar.

After a fantastic time in Bombay, the desolate naval base at Jamnagar was most disappointing, especially for a young bachelor like me who had a zest for life.

My only aim was to get out of that dreary place as fast as possible.

That is why, when the first opportunity came, a temporary duty to Bombay, I jumped at the opportunity.

And on my journey from Jamnagar to Bombay, happened this “Oily Tale” which put me on a “Slippery Slope”.

OILY TALE

PART 1

1000 Hours (10 AM) Sunday 26 October 1980 Navy Base (INS Valsura) Jamnagar

I was all set to proceed on Temporary Duty to Bombay.

(Mumbai was known as Bombay then and I shall refer to Mumbai as Bombay hereinafter – since that was the name of the city when this story happened – though I personally prefer the name Mumbai).

The 3-tonner truck arrived at my cabin in the Wardroom (Officers Mess) to pick me up.

“Why have they sent a bloody 3-tonner for an officer? I am going on duty. I thought they would send me a staff car or jeep,” I asked the driver.

“Sir, both staff cars are out – one is with CO who will be going to town with his wife for shopping and lunch – the other staff car has been taken by the Commodore who has come from Delhi – he left early in the morning with his family for pilgrimage to Dwarka and Okha – and the XO has taken the jeep to town – he has gone to see a movie with his family,” the driver said.

I seethed at the feudal culture still prevalent in the services where senior officers treated government resources as if they were their own personal fiefdom.

As an officer proceeding on duty I had the first claim on a staff car – but I would have to ride in a truck since senior officers had commandeered the cars for their personal enjoyment.

I took my small bag and got in beside the driver.

Instead of proceeding to the main gate, the driver diverted the vehicle to the Married Officers Accommodation.

Lieutenant Commander “X” (a “Schoolie” Education Officer) was proceeding on leave to Madras (now called Chennai) with his family and was taking a lift in the transport meant for me.

I got down, let “X” sit with his wife and small daughter in front with the driver, and I sat behind in the 3-tonner.

At the guard room, there were a few sailors and their families, proceeding on leave, and some liberty-men, waiting to take a lift in the 3-tonner, to Teen-Batti, near the Jamnagar Railway Station.

In those good old “metre-gauge” days, there were only two trains from Jamnagar:

1. The Saurashtra Mail, which originated at Okha and passed through Jamnagar at 11 AM (1100 Hrs)

and

2. The Saurashtra Express which originated at Porbandar and passed through Jamnagar at 5 PM (1700 Hrs)

The morning Mail was convenient for those going towards Bombay and the south.

The evening Express was ideal for those going towards Delhi and “up-north” in the through slip coaches via Mehsana which were later attached to the connecting metre-gauge Ahmedabad Delhi Mail.

Of course, both trains had connecting broad gauge trains at Viramgam towards Bombay.

At the guard room, I reported to the Officer of the Day (OOD).

The OOD made an entry in the ship’s log book that I was leaving “ship” and proceeding on Temporary Duty.

Lieutenant Commander “X” had also followed me into the OOD office to make an entry regarding his proceeding on annual leave.

As I started to walk out, the OOD said: “Wait – you have to carry some items to Bombay.”

“Items?” I asked.

“Yes, you have to carry three oil tins,” the OOD said.

“Oil tins?” I asked.

“Yes, you have to carry 3 oil tins and deliver them to these addresses,” the OOD said.

He gave me a chit with the names of 3 Commodores, their designation and phone numbers and their home addresses in NOFRA Bombay, written below each name.

Now, in those good old days, as far as Naval Officers were concerned, Jamnagar was famous for five things:

1. The Unique Colourful Bandhani (tie and dye) Sarees

2. Soft Lohi Blankets-cum-shawls from Digjam Mills

3. White Uniform Buckskin Shoes made to order by a cobbler in the heart of old Jamnagar city (nowadays, buckskin shoes are not permitted, I think)

4. Luscious Rasgullas and lip-smacking Farsan from Shrikhand Samrat near Mandvi Tower (The Best Rasgullas I have ever tasted)

And, last but not the least,

5. Groundnut Oil (because groundnut refined cooking oil was much cheaper in Saurashtra than in Bombay)


I would have had no problems if someone had requested me to carry the other items.

But there was no way I was going to carry three huge cumbersome 16 Kg tins of groundnut oil.

I came out of the OOD office.

I saw some duty sailors loading three large 16 Kg groundnut oil tins into the 3 tonner.

The OOD had also come out of his office and was watching the proceedings.

I looked at the OOD and said: “Sorry – I can’t take these oil tins with me. Please ask the sailors to unload them from the truck.”

The OOD looked at me in disbelief and said: “What…? You are going on Ty Duty to Bombay – aren’t you?”

“Sir, I am not going on Ty Duty to deliver those bloody oil tins – the purpose of my Ty Duty is something else,” I said.

“Don’t act smart. The Commanding Officer (CO) desires that you have to carry these 3 oil tins and deliver them to the 3 Commodores whose names are written in the chit I gave you,” the OOD said.

I tried to reason with the OOD: “Sir, please try to understand. I just have one small bag. In Bombay, a Lieutenant does not get transport, so I intend taking Bus No. 123 from Bombay Central to RC Church and walk down to Command Mess. I can’t lug these three huge oil tins around, and I don’t intend hiring porters just to carry these bloody oil tins – and who is going to trans-ship these bulky oil tins from metre-gauge to broad gauge at Viramgam?”

“Look here, I told you once – you don’t try to act smart – the CO has directed that you carry these oil tins. All officers going to Bombay on Ty Duty carry oil tins,” the OOD said.

“Well, I am not going to carry these bloody oil tins for sure,” I said, “and now I have to go – otherwise I will miss my train.”

“Don’t try to take “panga” – I told you that the CO has ordered you to carry these oil tins,” the OOD said.

“Then you can tell him that I am not going to carry these bloody oil tins,” I said firmly.

“If you act funny and disobey orders, they will transfer you out,” the OOD warned me.

This was music to my ears.

So, I said to the OOD: “I would be the happiest person if they transferred me out of this godforsaken place.”

Lieutenant Commander “X” was hearing the argument between me and the OOD.

“X” looked at me and said in a patronizing manner: “Why are you making such a big issue out of this – everyone going on Ty Duty takes some items that senior officers want delivered.”

Bolstered by the support from “X”, who was a Lieutenant Commander, the OOD said, “You will bloody well have to obey the orders of the CO – do you understand?”

I had my doubts whether the CO had actually ordered me to carry the oil tins to Bombay, so I asked the OOD: “Why didn’t the CO tell me personally about the oil tins? I think you are bluffing.”

“Are you accusing me of telling lies?” the OOD said getting angry.

“I didn’t say that,” I said.

“You will not leave the base unless you take those oil tins – do you understand?” the OOD shouted at me.

“Listen, Sir – I told you very clearly that I am not taking those oil tins with me. I am getting late and I will miss my train. If you detain me any further I will not proceed on Ty Duty,” I said firmly.

As I said earlier, I thought that the OOD was bluffing that the CO had ordered me to carry the oil tins.

But it seemed that the CO had indeed done so, because on hearing my refusal, the OOD went all berserk – he picked up the phone, dialled furiously, and then started talking excitedly, about my refusal to carry the oil tins.

I wondered who the OOD was talking to, but the way he was saying “yes sir, yes sir” in an animated manner, it was either the CO or someone senior at the other end of the phone line.

Soon, I heard the OOD mention the name of Lieutenant Commander “X”.

And then, the OOD gave the phone to “X”.

Now, it was “X” saying “yes sir, yes sir” on the phone.

The upshot of the conversation was that now, instead of me, “X” would carry the oil tins to Mumbai.

On reaching Mumbai, “X” would dutifully deliver the 3 oil tins to the 3 Commodores in Bombay, and then he would catch the Dadar – Madras Express in the afternoon and proceed to Madras (Chennai) to enjoy his annual leave.


PART 2

1200 Hours (12 noon) Sunday 26 October 1980 on board the Okha Viramgam (metre gauge) Saurashtra Mail just departed from Jamnagar Railway Station

I sat in the old style first class compartment (which you see in old black and white Hindi movies) in the metre gauge train which ran from Okha to Viramgam.

The berths were fore-and-aft, the compartment was bright, airy and roomy due to the three large windows on each side alongside the lower berths.

The train had left Jamnagar at 1130 (11:30 AM) and would reach Viramgam at 19:30 (7:30 PM) – covering a distance of roughly 300 kilometers in 8 hours – so you can imagine the slow speed of the train as it chugged along unhurriedly pulled by an archaic steam engine belching smoke and soot as it puffed along.

It was a most boring journey, with hardly any big railway stations, except Rajkot – and for a foodie like me, the only thing available was various kinds of fried “bhajji” (pakoras).

But I had come well stocked – a bottle of Hercules Rum, my favourite set of plastic tumblers which accompanied me on my journeys, a “surahi” of drinking water (acquired at Jamnagar station and topped up with cool water from the water cooler) – and some “small eats” like boiled eggs, aloo parathas and potato fingers (packed from the Officers Mess).

My co-passengers in the compartment were the “schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X”, his wife and their small 3 year old daughter – and, of course – the 3 big oil tins – placed strategically at a safe place near the bathroom door and guarded zealously by “X”.

The moment the train started from Jamnagar – I opened the bottle of Hercules Rum and poured a drink.

In those good old days – passengers were permitted to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes in first class compartments – provided other passengers did not object.

There was no question of the “schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” objecting – since I had poured him a drink too – though his wife was giving me dirty looks as if I were spoiling her husband.

At the first stop – a small station called Hapa – the Train Conductor (TC) appeared – and he asked us if we wanted to order lunch at Rajkot.

His eyes lit up the moment he saw the bottle of rum.

I offered him a drink.

He pulled out a large stainless steel glass from his bag – and I poured in a generous tot of rum.

The TC did not add water to the neat rum – but to my utter surprise – he drank the neat rum in one gulp – straight “down the hatch”.

The spirits seemed to have raised his morale.

“Sir – you don’t worry,” the Train Conductor said, “the railway refreshment room food in Rajkot is not that good – I will get chicken dishes for you from Sher-e-Punjab so you can enjoy your drinks – the train stops for 20 minutes and the hotel is just outside the station.”

It is great to see the sense of camaraderie between the railways and defence services – and it warmed the cockles of my heart.

Three hours later – at around 3 o’clock – with half a bottle of Rum and generous amounts of tandoori chicken, butter chicken and rotis inside me – I was satiated enough for my afternoon siesta – and the moment I hit the bunk – I fell into deep sleep.

I woke up around 6 o’clock in the evening – and had a cup of refreshing masala tea – at largish station called Surendranagar Junction – where the train had halted for a long time for a crossing.

The moment that train started – I had a shower in the spacious old-style bathroom of the first class compartment – and I was ready for the evening action – commencing with a “sundowner”.

It was still one hour to go for Viramgam – there was time for a drink or two.

The “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander X” and his wife were sitting on the opposite berth with their daughter – and all of them were looking utterly bored.

The Lieutenant Commander’s eyes lit up the moment he saw me taking out the rum bottle – but his wife gave him a stern look and he refused my offer of a drink.

I noticed she had been giving me angry looks throughout the journey.

Maybe – it was because I had made her husband drink in the afternoon.

Or – maybe – it was because she was annoyed that her husband was saddled with the three bulky oil tins – thanks to my refusal to carry them.

I think it some frustration was building up inside her – and she could hold it no longer – so she said to me: “We were thinking of visiting my relatives in Matunga and then catching the Madras Express in the afternoon at Dadar. And now we have to go all the way to Colaba to deliver these oil tins. Our full morning will be wasted. It is all because of you.”

“All because of me…?” I protested.

“Yes – you refused to carry the oil tins – so my husband is forced to carry them,” she said.

“He could have also refused,” I said.

On hearing my words, the “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” said bitterly to me: “It is very well for you to say this – you are a non-bothered ‘couldn’t-care-less’ type – and you are a junior Lieutenant – but I am a Lieutenant Commander in the promotion zone – my Commander’s board is next year – and as it is – in the Education Branch there are just one or two vacancies – and it is very difficult to get promoted – so I have to do whatever they tell me…” 

I felt sorry for him.

But I was not going to be emotionally blackmailed by him or his wife into taking on the burden of carrying and delivering the oil tins.

So I just looked away out of the window at beautiful sight of the setting sun and sipped my “sundowner” rum-pani and nibbled into the “mirchi pakoras” which I had picked up at a tiny station called Lakhtar where the train had halted for two minutes – these “bhajjis’ or pakoras were the only “small eats” available on this rather desolate stretch of railway.

By the time I finished my rum-pani – it was dark – and I could see that we were approaching the marshalling yard of Viramgam Junction, and the train was slowing down.

So – I secured my bag – and got ready to shift to the broad-gauge Saurashtra Mail which would take us to Bombay.

“X” was hovering around his precious cargo – the 3 large groundnut oil tins.

“Sir – why don’t you just leave the bloody oil tins over here in this metre-gauge train – and you can tell the CO that you forgot the oil tins in the train,” I joked.

“Please keep quiet – you need not worry about the oil tins,” he said angrily.

“To hell with him,” I thought.

And I took my bag – and I got down on the platform.

“X” was haggling with the porters for carrying the 3 oil tins.


PART 3

2000 Hours (8 PM) Sunday 26 October 1980 on board the 6 UP Viramgam – Bombay (broad gauge) Saurashtra Mail just departed from Viramgam Railway Station

The new broad gauge first class compartment seemed spacious as compared to the ramshackle metre gauge coach.

Once again my companions in the four-berther compartment were the “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” and his wife and small daughter.

In the broad gauge, the 3 oil tins fitted in below the berth where “X”, his wife and daughter were sitting.

I sat on the opposite berth.

I polished off the remains of the bottle of rum.

I had offered “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” the last drink remaining in the bottle – but again – “X” politely declined my offer of a drink – scared of the stern looks his wife was giving him whenever he looked longingly at the rum bottle.

By the time I killed the bottle – it was almost 9 PM – and Ahmedabad Railway Station had arrived.

I had a quick dinner of Puri Bhaji on the platform.

And then – I hit the sack.

I let “X” and his wife take the two bottom berths and I slept on the top berth above “X” – the oil tins were on the opposite side below the berth where Mrs. “X” slept with her daughter.

I was in deep sleep – when there was a big bang.

Suddenly – everything went topsy-turvy.

The compartment had toppled – and was lying on its side.

My legs were on top of my head.

I realised that our train had derailed.

Suddenly the lights went off – and it was dark.

“X” and his wife were shouting: “What happened? What happened?”

I told “X” and his wife that the train had derailed – and that they should remain where they were till I got the door open.

Luckily the compartment door was on the upper side of the toppled compartment.

The moment I swung my legs down – I hit oil.

Yes – an oil tin had burst – or probably all the three oil tins had burst – and there was oil all over the compartment.

Nevertheless – I got down – and I tried to pull myself up to the door.

It was a slippery slope – and soon I was fully covered with groundnut oil.

“X”, his wife and daughter were looking at me curiously – I motioned to them to remain where they were.

Suddenly – the compartment door was yanked open.

It was the Train Conductor with some people.

They had a torch.

They threw in a blanket and told us to hold it tight.

Then – and one by one – they yanked us out into the corridor – the lady and her daughter, “X” and me – and then we carefully climbed out of the derailed bogie.

Soon – after a small walk along the railway track towards the rear of the train – we were sitting on a bench on the platform of Miyagam Karjan Railway Station.

I looked at the station clock – it was 2 AM (0200 Hours on 27 October 1980, to be precise).

Talking to people – we came to know that it had been a freak accident.

Some wagons of a goods train coming from the opposite direction had got derailed seconds before our speeding train passed it – and our engine had hit the derailed wagons and gone off the rails, derailing the first few bogies off the track.

Luckily – ours was the last bogie to be derailed – the bogies in front had got badly smashed.

I thanked my stars that I was alive and well.

Suddenly “X” asked me: “Did all the oil tins burst – or only one?”

“I don’t know. I was worried about saving our lives – not about the bloody oil tins,” I said.

“I think we should go back and try and get the oil tins out of the compartment,” he said.

“Are you crazy? I just about managed to get our bags out. The bloody train is derailed. The bogie is lying topsy-turvy. It is pitch dark. Sir – please lets thank God that we are safe and sound – and for heaven’s sake please forget about those wretched oil tins,” I said.

“But the CO will be angry if I don’t deliver the oil tins,” he said.

“Sir – what’s wrong with you? Be happy that you, your wife, your daughter – all of you have narrowly escaped death. You want to go in there again to get those damned oil tins? Suppose you break your legs – or even smash your head and die? Is it worth it – just for the sake of a few oil worthless tins ?” I said.

Suddenly his wife interjected – and she said to her husband: “Yes – Yes – it is too dangerous. You don’t go anywhere.”

We spent the whole night at Miyagam Karjan.

At around 3 AM I saw the station master – I told him I was a Defence Officer and showed him my Identity Card – and he kindly allowed us to sit in his office – and put a couple of benches for us to lie down.

I woke up at 6 AM – washed up in the Station Master’s bathroom and got ready.

“X” and his family were nowhere to be seen.

I asked the Station Master about them.

“Oh, your companions got up early and must having tea on the platform. A relief train has already arrived from Baroda (Vadodara). They have almost finished removing the derailed goods wagons from the ‘down’ track. The moment the ‘down’ track is cleared of the derailed wagons we will send you in the relief train to Bombay (Mumbai),” the Station Master said.


PART 4

1130 Hours (1130 AM) Sunday 27 October 1980 on board the Relief Train to Bombay just departed from Miyagam Karjan Railway Station

The railway accident repair team did a spectacular job – and by 1100 Hours – they had cleared the down track.

First – a test engine was sent across the repaired track – and shortly thereafter – our relief train was on its way to Bombay.

As I came to my seat – I saw Mrs “X” and her daughter – but “X” was not there.

“Where is your husband?” I asked Mrs “X”.

“He has gone to the brake van?” she said.

“Brake van?” I asked, surprised.

“Don’t you know? He finally went and retrieved those oil tins – two of them are intact. The railway porters were removing luggage from the brake van on the derailed train – he paid them some money and they got out the oil tins from the compartment and they have put them in the baggage compartment of the brake van of this relief train. So he has gone to check whether they are secured properly,” she said.

“Is he crazy?” I said – instantly regretting my words.

“I don’t know what will happen now? We will miss our connecting train, Dadar Madras Express…” she said, looking worried.

“Don’t worry, Ma’am. We should reach Bombay Central latest by around 8 o’clock at night – maybe even earlier. You can catch the Bombay Madras Mail which leaves around 10 PM from VT. I know someone in Central Railway – I will see to it that you get a berth…” I said.

“But he will insist on delivering the oil tins…” she said, sounding anxious.

“You don’t worry about those oil tins, ma’am – I will deliver the oil tins,” I said in a reassuring tone to Mrs “X”.


PART 5

1900 Hours (7 PM) Sunday 27 October 1980 Bombay Central Railway Station

We – Lieutenant Commander “X”, his wife, his daughter, and I – all of us were walking towards the exit of Bombay Central Railway Terminus when a man stopped us.

“Are those your oil tins?” the man asked – pointing to the 2 oil tins being carried by the porter.

“Yes,” I said.

“You have to pay octroi,” he said.

“Octroi?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, “if you bring anything for sale you have to pay octroi.”

“But the oil is for my personal consumption,” I said, “and I am a Defence Officer.”

“Oh – then show me the octroi exemption certificate,” he said.

I was in no mood to argue – and the octroi amount wasn’t that much – so I paid up.

“The next time someone asks me to get an oil tin from Jamnagar – considering the porterage and octroi we have paid – I will just give him the difference in oil tin price between Mumbai and Jamnagar – and tell him to buy the oil tin in Mumbai,” I remarked sarcastically to “X”.

We took a taxi to Bombay VT (now called Mumbai CST).

I dropped off “X” and his family at VT Railway Station – and I proceeded to the Navy Command Mess with the two oil tins.

Luckily – one of the Commodores on the list was posted in Headquarters – where I had go for my work.

The Commodore was not in office – so I told his PA to have two oil tins collected from my cabin in Command Mess.

I told her that I had instructed my civilian bearer accordingly – so the tins could be collected anytime.

I gave her the list of 3 Commodores – and told the PA to request  her Commodore to deliver the second oil tin to any one of them.

When I reached back to my cabin in Command Mess in the afternoon – the civilian bearer told me that the two oil tins had been collected.

Disappointed at having lost one day in Mumbai due to the train accident – I caught the 5 Down Saurashtra Mail back to Jamnagar that evening as per my return reservation.


EPILOGUE

One month later – after returning from his leave – the “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” landed up in my office at Jamnagar.

“Did you deliver the oil tins?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, “Commodore “Z” collected both the oil tins.”

“The canteen officer is asking for money?” he said.

“What money?”

“For the 3 oil tins.”

“Didn’t you tell him we had an accident?”

“Yes. He said he will write off one oil tin – but he wants the money for the other two. Didn’t Commodore “Z” give you money? Did you ask him for it?”

“Well – I didn’t even meet Commodore “Z” – his PA had the oil tins collected from my cabin – and I didn’t even know that I had to ask for the money – in fact – I don’t even know how much the bloody groundnut oil tin costs,” I said.

“Then what do we do?”

“Well – tell the canteen officer to ask the CO to write a DO letter to that freeloading Commodore “Z” to pay up the money for the oil tin.”

“That’s a good idea,” Lieutenant Commander “X” said.

“And Sir – make sure you include the porterage, the octroi charges, the taxi fare, and some ‘sweat money’ for me as well,” I said, tongue-in-cheek.

Apparently – “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” did not learn any lessons from the “Oily” experience.

The very next month I saw him standing near the OOD Office.

He was on his way to Bombay on Ty Duty.

And yes – believe it or not – he was carrying three 16 Kg groundnut oil tins…

Of course – a few months later – when the promotion board results were announced – “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” was promoted in his first shot to the rank of Commander.

Cheers to the “Oily” Navy…

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 stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


This is a revised version of my Story earlier posted by me Vikram Karve in my blog at 6/02/2014 11:13:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…and partly postedby me Vikram Karve in my blog at 5/23/2014 08:12:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/05/humor-in-uniform-oily-tale.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 

blogspot.in

5/04/2015 02:22:00 PM

MAHARSHI KARVE (18 April 1868 – 09 Nov 1962) – His Life Story in His Own Words – Looking Back – Autobiography

April 17, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: MAHARSHI KARVE – His Life Story.

Article Link:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/04/bharat-ratna-maharshi-dhondo-keshav.html

Article also posted below for your convenience to read:

MAHARSHI KARVE
His Life Story in His Own Words

LOOKING BACK By DK KARVE (1936)

 
The Autobiography of Bharat Ratna Dhondo Keshav Karve
 
(Book Review by Vikram Waman Karve)
 
Tomorrow 18 April 2015 is the 157th Birth Anniversary of Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve (18.04.1858 – 09.11.1962).
 
I felt that, on this occasion, it would be apt to tell you about his life and work as written by him in his autobiography titled LOOKING BACK published in 1936.
 
Dear Reader, you must be wondering why I am reviewing an autobiography written in 1936.

Well, sometime back, for six years of my life, I stayed in a magnificent building called Empress Court on Maharshi Karve Road at Churchgate in Mumbai.

I share the same surname ( Karve ) as the author.

Also, I happen to be the great grandson of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. 

 
But, beyond that, compared to him I am a nobody – not even a pygmy.
 
Maharshi Karve clearly knew his goal, persisted ceaselessly throughout his life with missionary zeal and transformed the destiny of the Indian Woman.

The first university for women in India, SNDT University, and educational institutions for women under the aegis of the Hingne Stree Shiksan Samstha Poona, later renamed Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha (MKSSS) Pune, covering the entire spectrum ranging from pre-primary schools to post-graduate, engineering, vocational and professional colleges bear eloquent testimony to his indomitable spirit, untiring perseverance and determined efforts.

 
In his preface, Frederick J Gould, renowned rationalist and lecturer on Ethics, writes that “the narrative is a parable of his career” – a most apt description of the autobiography. The author tells his life-story in a simple straightforward manner, with remarkable candour and humility; resulting in a narrative which is friendly, interesting and readable.
 
Autobiographies are sometimes voluminous tomes, but this a small book, 200 pages, and a very easy comfortable enjoyable read that makes it almost unputdownable.

Dr. Dhondo Keshav Karve writes a crisp, flowing narrative of his life, interspersed with his views and anecdotes, in simple, straightforward style which facilitates the reader to visualize through the author’s eyes the places, period, people and events pertaining to his life and times and the trials and tribulations he faced and struggled to conquer.

 
Dr. Dhondo Keshav Karve was born on 18th of April 1858. In the first few chapters he writes about Murud, his native place in Konkan, Maharashtra, his ancestry and his early life– the description is so vivid that you can clearly “see” through the author’s eye.
 
His struggle to appear in the public service examination (walking 110 miles in torrential rain and difficult terrain to Satara) and his shattering disappointment at not being allowed to appear for the examination (because “he looked too young”) make poignant reading.
 
“Many undreamt of things have happened in my life and given a different turn to my career” he writes, and then goes on to describe his high school and, later, college education at The Wilson College Bombay (Mumbai) narrating various incidents that convinced him of the role of destiny and serendipity in shaping his life and career as a teacher and then Professor of Mathematics.
 
He married at the age of fourteen but began his marital life at the age of twenty! 
 
This was the custom of those days. 
 
Let’s read the author’s own words on his domestic life:
 
 “… I was married at the age of fourteen and my wife was then eight. Her family lived very near to ours and we knew each other very well and had often played together. However after marriage we had to forget our old relation as playmates and to behave as strangers, often looking toward each other but never standing together to exchange words … We had to communicate with each other through my sister … My marital life began under the parental roof at Murud when I was twenty …” 
 
Their domestic bliss was short lived as his wife died after a few years leaving behind a son.
 
“Thus ended the first part of my domestic life”… he concludes in crisp witty style.
 
An incident highlighting the plight of a widow left an indelible impression on him and germinated in him the idea of widow remarriage.

He married Godubai, who was widowed when she was only eight years old, was a sister of his friend Mr. Joshi, and now twenty three was studying at Pandita Ramabai’s Sharada Sadan as its first widow student.

 
Let’s read in the author’s own words how he asked for her hand in marriage to her father – “I told him…..I had made up my mind to marry a widow. He sat silent for a minute and then hinted that there was no need to go in search of such a bride”.
 
He describes in detail the ostracism he faced from some orthodox quarters and systematically enunciates his life work – his organization of the Widow Marriage Association, Hindu Widows Home, Mahila Vidyalaya, Nishkama Karma Math, and other institutions, culminating in the birth of the first Indian Women’s University (SNDT University).
 
The trials and tribulations he faced in his life-work of emancipation of education of women (widows in particular) and how he overcame them by his persistent steadfast endeavours and indomitable spirit makes illuminating reading and underlines the fact that Dr. DK Karve was no arm-chair social reformer but a person devoted to achieve his dreams on the ground in reality.
 
These chapters form the meat of the book and make compelling reading. 
 
His dedication and meticulousness is evident in the appendices where he has given date-wise details of his engagements and subscriptions down to the paisa for his educational institutions from various places he visited around the world to propagate their cause.
 
He then describes his world tour, at the ripe age of 71, to meet eminent educationists to propagate the cause of the Women’s University, his later domestic life and ends with a few of his views and ideas for posterity. 
 
At the end of the book, concluding his autobiography, he writes:
 
“Here ends the story of my life. I hope this simple story will serve some useful purpose”.
 
Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve wrote this book in 1936. 
 
He lived on till the 9th of November 1962, achieving so much more on the way, and was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters ( D.Litt.) by the famous and prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Varanasi in 1942, followed by University of Poona [Pune] in 1951, SNDT Women’s University in 1955, and the LL.D. by Bombay [Mumbai] University in 1957.
 
Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve received the Padma Vibhushan in 1955 and the India’s highest honour the “Bharat Ratna” in 1958, a fitting tribute on his centenary at the glorious age of 100.
 
It is an engrossing and illuminating autobiography, written in simple witty readable storytelling style, and it clearly brings out the mammoth contribution of Maharshi Karve and the trials and tribulations he faced.
 
 
Epilogue
 
I was born in September 1956, and I have fleeting memories of my great grandfather Maharshi Karve, when I was a small boy, during our visits, till 1962, to Hingne Stree Shikshan Samstha (now called Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha).

My mother tells me that I featured in a Films Division Documentary on him during his centenary celebrations in 1958.

 
Here is a picture of me with my great grandfather Maharshi Karve taken in the year 1958.
 
 

Vikram Waman Karve with Maharshi Karve (1958)

 
It is from some old timers, a few relatives and mainly from books that I learn of his pioneering work in transforming the destiny of the Indian Woman and I thought I should share this.
 
I have written this book review with the hope that some of us, particularly the students and alumni of SNDT University, Cummins College of Engineering for Women, SOFT, Karve Institute of Social Sciences and other educational institutions who owe their very genesis and existence to Maharshi Karve, are motivated to read about his stellar pioneering work and draw inspiration from his autobiography.
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 
 
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.
 

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…

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

ARE NRI CHILDREN ASSETS or LIABILITIES?

January 3, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: NRI CHILDREN – ASSET or LIABILITY?.

Link to my original post in my academic and creative writing journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

NRI CHILDREN – ASSET or LIABILITY?
Short Fiction – An Apocryphal Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

My peer group comprises my classmates from school and college, my ex-navy and ex “fauji” military veteran buddies, and my friends, all in their late 50’s or early 60’s.

Whenever we meet, I realize that one notable fact pertaining to my peer group is that almost everyone has NRI children.

[I use the term NRI (Non Resident Indian) quite generically for all Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) settled abroad, including those who have adopted citizenships of their host countries]

At one such gathering, I met a friend – my school classmate.

She was an “NRI Mother” – or to put it correctly – she was the “mother of an NRI daughter”.

Her only child, a 27 year old married daughter, had settled down abroad in America with her husband.

“Nice to see you after a long time,” I said to my friend.

“Yes – I was abroad for almost one year – in the US,” she said.

“America? Wow!” I said.

“Last year, my daughter got pregnant – so she called me to America to look after her during her pregnancy days – and then, after her delivery, she wanted me to stay and look after the baby – so I stayed on there in the US for almost 6 months,” she said.

“Isn’t it our tradition that daughters come home, to their mother’s place, for their first delivery? Your daughter could have come here to Pune for her delivery,” I said.

“Are you crazy or something?” she asked.

“Why?”

“My daughter wanted her child to get US citizenship by birth. If the baby is born here in India, how will the baby get American citizenship?”

“Oh!” I said, “So you stayed there in America for 6 months after her delivery, did all the baby care, and then came back,” I said.

“Yes – but my daughter called me again for child-care “nanny” duties, till her baby was old enough for day-care, since she wanted to get back to work – it was important for her career that she started working as quickly as possible,” she said.

“So you went to America again?”

“Yes – for 6 months – till the baby was almost one year old,” she said.

“Oh – but now it is finally all over – and you’ll be staying here in Pune now…” I said.

“No – I am going again…” she said.

“You are going again to America…? Why…?”

“My daughter’s job is very hectic – so she wants me to do “nanny” duties and look after her child.”

“But your daughter’s child must be around one year old now – can’t the child be kept in a day-care centre?”

“I don’t know,” my friend said, “but my daughter insisted that I come because she wants her child to be looked after properly by me – so that the child imbibes our culture.”

“Culture…?” I said, astonished – and as I recovered my wits – I noticed that an old lady had walked over and joined us.

I knew the old lady – she was my friend’s mother.

I knew the old lady’s husband (my friend’s father) too.

My friend – their daughter – was their only child.

The old couple lived in a beautiful bungalow in the Lonavala – a picturesque hill station near Pune – and I had once visited them over there a few years ago.

I did not see the old lady’s husband around, so I asked the old lady, “How is uncle?”

“You don’t know…?” the old lady asked me.

“What…?”

“My husband died 3 months ago…” the old lady said.

“Oh – I am very sorry…”

“It’s okay – he was 84 years old – but he was absolutely fit till the last day. Though I miss him very much, one consolation is that he died when he was fit and healthy…” she said.

I did not say anything.

The old lady looked at me, and she said to me, “And by the way – I have shifted to an old age home…”

“Old Age Home…?” I asked, shocked.

“What to do…? I cannot live in that huge secluded bungalow all alone…” the old lady said.

“But why go to an old age home…? Why don’t you live with your daughter in Pune…?” I asked.

“Of course I would like to live with my daughter,” the old lady said, “given a choice, I certainly would not like to live in an old age home – but do I have a choice…?”

I did not say anything – I just kept looking at the old lady, not knowing what to say.

Seeing the confused look on my face, the old lady said, “Didn’t my daughter tell you? Her daughter, my granddaughter, has called her to America for babysitting and nanny duties – she will be away in America for 6 months – and then she may have to go back to America again and again – for the next delivery – and babysitting and nanny duties for the next child – so who is going to look after me here? I am 80 now – so it is better for me to live in an old age home…”

I looked at my friend, and wondered at her predicament.

On one side stood her recently widowed mother, pleading not to be sent to the old age home.

On the other side stood her daughter, beseeching her to come to America to take care of her baby.

She had a duty to look after her old widowed mother.

But she felt the strong pull of motherhood towards her daughter.

She was torn between her loyalty to her mother and her love for her daughter.

And in her case – her motherly love for the daughter had prevailed over her filial duty towards the mother.


EPILOGUE

Persons of my generation, in their 50’s and 60’s, who are parents of “NRI Children”, are in a Catch-22 situation.

They are expected to look after their parents, who may be in their 70’s and 80’s.

But their “NRI Children” also have “expectations” from them – especially from their mothers – during childbirth for “midwife” duties, and later, for baby care and surrogate parenting “nanny” duties.

That is why I often wonder:

Are “NRI Children” an asset or a liability?

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)


Posted by Vikram Karve at 1/03/2015 03:35:00 PM

FOOD TRAVEL BLOG – MOUTHWATERING MUMBAI MEMORIES – NALLI NIHARI in BHENDI BAZAAR

October 26, 2014

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: MUMBAI MEMORIES – FOOD WALKS – Part 1 – NALLI NIHARI at BHENDI BAZAAR.

Link to my original post in my academic and creative writing journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

MOUTHWATERING MUMBAI MEMORIES

I Spent the Six Best Years of My Life in Mumbai – 6 glorious years from the years 2000 to 2006

During these six best years of my life, I lived in EMPRESS COURT – my all time favourite home – the best house I have ever lived in during my entire life.

I wish I could have had my retirement home in that lovely neighbourhood, or nearby, but then, can an honest naval officer afford a house in South Mumbai?

Maybe a Merchant Navy Officer can afford a house in “So Bo” (South Bombay) – but if you have spent your life honestly serving the nation in the “Fauji” Indian Navy, forget about Mumbai, you will not be able to afford a home in the heart of Pune, and you would probably have to settle down in some faraway suburb like Wakad or Baner, or in one of those military veteran “ghettos” like Mundhwa, Kondhwa or Mohammadwadi.

But in your mind’s eye, you can always hark back and relive your “good old days” with nostalgia. 

That is what I did on this lovely Sunday morning – I reminisced about my glorious Sunday Morning “Food Walks” in Mumbai.

Let me tell you about my memorable Sunday mornings in Mumbai.

MUMBAI FOOD WALKS – Part 1

NALLI NIHARI at BHENDI BAZAAR
Mouthwatering Memories of an Early Morning Food Walk followed by a Sumptuous Nourishing Breakfast
By 
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Foodie Archives:

I love good food.

I am a foodie – I am certainly not a snobbish “high-falutin fine-dining foodie” – but I would rather describe myself as a simple Trencherman.

As I said, I love good food.

And I love walking around searching for good food. 

So, whenever I get an opportunity, I set off on my frequent “food walks” searching for good food.

It was in “maximum city” Mumbai that I enjoyed my best food walks.

Let me tell about one of my favourite food walks – a fulfilling early morning food walks culminating in a nourishing breakfast.
 
This is probably my first piece of Foodie Writing. 

I wrote this in the year 2000, more than 14 years ago, after returning from one of my food walks.

So, Dear Reader, here are some mouthwatering memories of a glorious early morning food-walk in Mumbai culminating in a wholesome breakfast.

EARLY MORNING FOOD WALK IN MUMBAI  a mouthwatering memoir by Vikram Karve

I start early, at dawn, from my house near Churchgate.

I admire, in the early morning pre-sunrise light, the impressive silhouettes of the magnificent Gothic structures of the High Court and Mumbai University across the Oval.

I hear the clock on Rajabai Tower strike 6.

I walk briskly past Oxford Bookstore, KC College and CCI towards Marine Plaza Hotel.

Then I cross the Marine Drive, turn right and start off towards Chowpatty.

I greet with a smile the morning joggers and walkers and rinse my lungs with the fresh invigorating sea breeze.

I walk briskly on Marine Drive. 

Soon I am past Marine Lines, Taraporewala Aquarium, Charni Road, Chowpatty, Wilson College and after the brisk vigorous walk of about 30 minutes I break out into a slight sweat as I reach the northern end of Marine Drive.
 
Here I ponder for a moment. 
 
Should I turn left up the Walkeshwar Road to Teen Batti and Banganga? 
 
Or should I turn right towards Babulnath?
 
Or should I turn back towards Nariman Point? 
 
I experience a sense of true freedom. 
 
I can make whatever choice I want and go wherever I desire. 
 
That’s freedom!
 
I choose to cross the road, and walk fast, straight up the steep path towards Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill, trying to exercise my heart and lungs. 
 
I take a round of garden atop the water tank near Kamala Nehru Park (is it called Phirozeshah Mehta Udyan?). 
 
Then I canter down to Kemp’s Corner where I turn right, a U-turn really, past Crossword Bookstore, down Hughes Road.

I turn left past Gamdevi towards Nana Chowk and cross the railway over-bridge and keep going onto Grant Road past Novelty Cinema.

Then I turn right at Delhi Durbar on Falkland Road, reach VP Road, walk past Gol Deval, Alankar cinema and soon I am at Bhendi Bazar.

My destination Noor Mohammadi Hotel is right in front of me across Mohamedali Road.
 
Almost two hours of brisk walking has built up in me a voracious appetite and I am ready to devour a sumptuous breakfast. 
 
I am hungry. 

And I eat only when I am hungry.
 
I enter Noor Mohammadi Hotel, a Spartan no-nonsense eatery, and order aNalli Nihari and Roti. 
 
Within a minute a bowl of piping hot gravy, with a generous chunk of succulent meat floating in it, and a fluffy khaboosh roti is placed in front of me. 
 
I dip a piece of the soft roti in the spicy rich gravy, let it soak for a while, put it in my mouth and close my eyes to luxuriate in and relish the gastronomic experience in its entirety.
 
I can feel the juicy gravy soaked roti melting on my tongue, releasing its delicious flavours and spicy aroma which permeate into my soul. 
 
I am in seventh heaven and keep on attaining higher states of sheer heavenly bliss with every succulent bite of the mouth watering concoction.

They say it’s a bone marrow and wheat gravy, but I don’t delve too much on the contents of a dish.

It’s the taste, delicacy, eating experience and ultimate divine feeling of satiation that matters.
 
It is a delectable beginning to a delightful day as the luscious taste of the delicious Nalli Nihari lingers on my tongue indefinitely. 
 
Yes, it is epicurean satiation of the highest order – a blissful experience I can never forget.
 
Dear Reader, if you happen to be in Mumbai and are ready for a sumptuous non-vegetarian breakfast, take a brisk stimulating food walk early in the morning and begin your day with Nalli Nihari at Noor Mohammadi in Bhendi Bazar. 
 
I assure you it will be a fortifying and stimulating experience.
 
Don’t forget to tell us how you enjoyed the food-walking experience.
 
But remember one thing. 

If you want to truly appreciate this splendid Heritage Gourmet Trencherman’s Breakfast Dish to its fullest, you must build up an appetite for it.

Happy Walking. 

Happy Eating. 

Happy Food-Walking.

Remember, in order to enjoy your food first build up an appetite and then satiate it.

Yes, remember the FOOD-WALK DICTUM:

First build up an appetite and then satiate it

First – WALK WALK WALK

Then – EAT EAT EAT

Once more, let me wish you Happy Food-Walking

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

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

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



Written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2000 and First Posted on my Foodie Blog by me Vikram Karve at url: http://creative.sulekha.com/heri…

Posted by Vikram Karve at 10/26/2014 02:08:00 PM

SILENCE IS THE FIRST STEP TO INNER PEACE – SELF HELP for STRESS MANAGEMENT

October 2, 2014

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: OUTER SILENCE and INNER PEACE – SELF HELP for STRESS MANAGEMENT.

OUTER SILENCE and INNER PEACE 
SELF HELP for STRESS MANAGEMENT

Link to my original post in my academic and creative writing journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

OUTER SILENCE – THE FIRST STEP TO INNER PEACE
WORDS ON A BENCH IN MUSSOORIE
Meditation
By
VIKRAM KARVE

I am feeling hassled. 

I close my eyes. 

I sit in silence.

I relax. 

And I remember those insightful and profound words engraved on a bench in Mussoorie.

I read those words long back, but those meaningful words that have remained etched in my mind forever.

Agar Aap Shanti Chahate Ho To Pehele Shaant Rehena Seekho 


अगर आप शांति चाहते हो तो पहेले शांत रहेना सीखो


Long back, around 20 years ago, I visited Mussoorie.

During one of my long walks, probably on Camel’s Back Road, or maybe near Lal Tibba in Landour, I saw some words inscribed on a bench.

Those words were a truism that has had a profound impact on me ever since.

I will never forget those interesting words written in Hindi on a bench in Mussoorie:


अगर आप शांति चाहते हो तो पहेले शांत रहेना सीखो 


(Agar Aap Shanti Chahate Ho To Pehle Shaant Rehna Seekho)


Roughly translated into English this means:

IF YOU DESIRE PEACE THEN FIRST LEARN TO REMAIN SILENT 

Of course the word  शांत  (shaant)  also means PEACEFUL 

Yes, SILENCE is the sine qua non for PEACEFULNESS.

Once your mind is calm and peaceful you will experience a sense of inner peace.

If your inner peace is disturbed, there will be turbulence inside you, and you will feel stressed out.

The root cause of stress is lack of inner peace.

The first step to stress management is to restore your inner peace, and not allow your inner peace to be disturbed.

And why does your inner peace get disturbed?

Your inner peace gets disturbed because there is too much “noise” in your life.

There is Physical Noise, Information Overload Noise, Emotional Noise.

There is internal noise and external noise.

There is noise around you and noise within you.

There is all sorts of noise and cacophony. 

Noise hassles you, disturbs your tranquility and is the biggest impediment to attaining peacefulness. 

The first step to inner peace is to get rid of all that noise around you and within you. 

Yes, if you want peace you have to shut out the noise from your life.

Go to a quiet place where there is minimal external noise, switch off your noise-making gadgets like cellphones, shut out the cacophony on TV, shut out all the emotional noise which hassles your peace of mind. 

Sit silently in solitude, close your eyes and see how your inner silence dissolves the noise within you and you will experience inner peace and you will be in harmony with yourself.

That’s what I do every morning. 

I sit in silence in the spacious airy balcony of my ninth floor flat in Wakad.

I absorb the tranquil scenic view of the placid waters of the Mula River quietly flowing below, the peaceful verdant hills in the distance, the still atmosphere, the pure fresh air, and I feel a halo of soothing serenity permeate within me. 

Then I close my eyes and let my silence dissolve the internal noise in my mind and body.

It is only then that I experience inner peace and I realize that I am in harmony with myself.

Yes, if you want to be in harmony with yourself, you must have inner peace.

And, outer silence is the first step to inner peace.


अगर आप शांति चाहते हो तो पहेले शांत रहेना सीखो 

If you want peace then first learn to remain silent


Remember this simple piece of wisdom.

Try it. 

Experience the power of silence in calming your mind.

It works. 

You can take my word for it.

Remember the mantra: Outer Silence is the first step to inner peace.

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

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


This Self Help Article Written by me in 1994 and First Posted by me Vikram Karve in this blog on 16 Sep 2011 at 9/16/2011 01:36:00 PM at url:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Posted by Vikram Karve at 10/02/2014 11:25:00 AM

An Alcoholic in Born – Not Made : ALCOHOLICS ARE BORN – NOT MADE

October 19, 2013

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: ALCOHOLICS ARE BORN, NOT MADE.

 
ALCOHOLICS ARE BORN, NOT MADE
An Alcoholic is Born, Not Made
Incoherent Ramblings of an Alcoholic
By
VIKRAM KARVE
Disclaimer: These are my personal views based on my personal life experiences
I am an alcoholic.
I am an alcoholic who does not drink alcohol.
Yes, at present, I am a “teetotaller”.
I am an alcoholic.
And I am a teetotaler.
So I guess you call me an “alcoholic teetotaller”.
You think I am crazy?
Let me explain.
You must have heard a saying:
“All those who drink alcohol do not become alcoholics. But all alcoholics drink alcohol”.
I agree with the first part of the saying – yes, “all those who drink alcohol do not become alcoholics”.
But I do not agree with the second sentence of the saying which says that: “all alcoholics drink alcohol”.
This is not entirely true.
There are many “alcoholics” who do not drink alcohol.
For example, I am an alcoholic who does not drink alcohol.
Of course, there was a time when I drank plenty of alcohol.
My life can be divided into 3 phases:
1. From Birth to Adulthood (0 – 21 years) – my student days when I did not touch alcohol.
2. The Prime Years of my Life (21 – 46 years) – my drinking days when I drank plenty of alcohol.
3. My Acme Years (46 years onwards) – my temperance years of teetotalism after I quit drinking alcohol at the age of 46.
You may ask me: “How can you be an alcoholic if you could quit drinking alcohol?”
Let me elucidate.
You must have heard a saying:
LEADERS ARE BORN, NOT MADE
In a similar vein, I would like to say:
ALCOHOLICS ARE BORN, NOT MADE
Yes, an alcoholic is born, not made
I was born an alcoholic.
However, I did not get a chance to drink alcohol till the age of 21.
So, I remained a “latent alcoholic” (or you may say a “potential alcoholic”).
At 21, after I had joined the navy, I had my first drink of alcohol.
This first drink activated the “alcoholism switch” in my brain.
I realized how much I loved drinking alcohol.
I enjoyed drinking – and alcohol became an important part of my life.
In the Navy, the environment was conducive to drinking alcohol.
I realized that, if you are an “alcoholic”, the Navy is probably the best place to be in.
Naval life revolved around drinking alcohol.
In the Navy, alcohol was the social lubricant which fostered friendship and camaraderie.
Sitting in the bar, onboard and ashore, strangers become friends as they drank together.
Those glorious drinking scenes of bonhomie established enduring bonds of comradeship and friendship which have lasted even till today.
Yes, alcohol was the golden bond of fellowship.
My best friends were my navy drinking buddies, cutting across rank, seniority and age.
In the Navy, every occasion calls for a drink.
Any event, official, social or personal, was celebrated by drinking copious amounts of alcohol.
“Make and mend” days or “stripe wetting” ceremonies were celebrated by “elbow bending” PLDs (Pre Lunch Drinks) where beer was guzzled by the gallon.
Though you did not drink when sailing, whenever you were in harbour, or posted in a shore billet, you drank almost every evening – there were cocktail parties, mess nights, or informal get-togethers of friends, or you just went across to the wardroom, mess or club for a drink.
The best of duty-free liquor was available on ships, and ashore too, the bars and canteens were well stocked.
In a nutshell, the naval social environment encouraged and eulogized drinking.
If you were a robust drinker who could hold his liquor well, you were considered a good officer.
On the other hand, a teetotaller was considered a sissy.
Drinking was considered “macho” – a sign of manliness – and non-drinkers were mocked and ridiculed as effeminate weaklings.
In fact, I too wondered why these non-drinkers had joined the navy, since alcohol was the main attraction of naval life.
Almost every naval officer drank alcohol, and there were hardly any teetollalers.
Drinking was the mainstay of naval social life.
As I told you earlier, PLDs, Cocktail Parties, Formal Mess Nights, Formal Social Calls and informal drinking binges were a regular feature and I felt pity watching the few teetotallers as they suffered a torturous time holding a soft drink for hours while all of us enjoyed our booze during those glorious naval parties.
This environment which enthused and provoked drinking was ideal for a “latent alcoholic” like me to turn into a “full blown alcoholic”.
Since I was a “born alcoholic” I already had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism (alcoholism is in my DNA).
Till I joined the navy, because I did not drink alcohol, I remained a “latent alcoholic”.
The various reasons that I did not drink alcohol as a young student can be summed up as: “my environment was not conducive to drinking alcohol”.
The moment I joined the navy, the environment became very conducive for drinking alcohol, and gave an opportunity for my “latent alcoholism” to transform into “full blown alcoholism”.
Thus, “Alcoholism” is a combination of “genetic predisposition” and “environmental provocation”
Alcoholism = genetic predisposition + environmental provocation
I had the genetic predisposition or propensity for alcoholism.
But, in my younger student days, there was an absence of environmental provocation – so I remained a “latent alcoholic”.
The moment I joined the navy, the conducive environmental provocation triggered my genetic predisposition – the “alcoholism switch” was activated in my brain – and my penchant for alcohol was allowed to manifest and flourish.
Before I realized it, I was on the road to alcohol dependence and full blown alcoholism.
But a time did come when I did realize that I if continued drinking alcohol I would eventually slip into the abyss of alcoholism to the point of no return.
I had seen this happening to a few of my seniors, who had become alcohol dependent, and some had turned into full blown alcoholics.
The first “wake up call” I got was when once at a cocktail party I drank 11 large pegs of whisky (almost a full bottle) and there was no effect on me (In fact, a friend told me next morning about the enormous amount of whisky I had drunk and he was surprised to see me behaving absolutely soberly – he wondered as to how I could be normal after consuming 11 large pegs of whisky when just 6 pegs got him drunk).
This meant that my alcohol tolerance level had increased enormously – and this was the first danger signal of impending trouble if I continued drinking alcohol.
I decided to stop drinking alcohol.
I had no choice.
I had a “genetic predisposition” to alcoholism.
Alcoholism was in my DNA and there was nothing I could do about it.
So the only option was to tackle “environmental provocation”.
I drastically changed my lifestyle and tried to be in a “non-alcoholic environment”.
Even now, more than 10 years since I quit drinking, I try to avoid “environmental provocation” to drink alcohol.
This has certainly affected my social life.
I avoid occasions and places where alcohol is served.
I don’t keep alcohol at home and ever since I stopped keeping booze at home a lot of my friends have stopped visiting me.
To you, these may seem extreme steps, and you may laugh at me – but then you are not a “born alcoholic”.
Whether I like it or not, I am a “born alcoholic” – and that is why I have to be careful.
How do you discover that you are a “born alcoholic”?
If you never drink, you will never come to know and that is the best thing.
But the moment you have your first drink, and the “alcoholism switch” triggers n your brain, you will come to know that you are a “born alcoholic” – you will start loving alcohol more than anything else.
And then you know what to do – just control the “environmental provocation” so that it doesn’t impel you towards drinking.
Otherwise, the deadly combination of “genetic predisposition” and “environmental provocation” can make you “alcohol dependent” and gradually turn you into a “full blown alcoholic”.
Remember that “Alcoholics are Born, Not Made”.
So, like me, if you are a “born alcoholic”, isn’t it better to be frank like me and candidly say: “I am an alcoholic and that is why I do not drink alcohol”
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 
Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB:
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.

 
Did you like this article?

I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html

COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com

Twitter: @vikramkarve
      

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICT – AGONOLOGY versus SATYAGRAHA

October 3, 2013

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HOW TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT.

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Two Contrasting Approaches – AGONOLOGY and SATYAGRAHA
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Link to my original article in my journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/10/how-to-deal-with-conflict.html

HOW TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT
Ruminations
By
VIKRAM KARVE
CONFLICT RIDDEN ENVIRONMENT
We live in a conflict-ridden environment and we do not know what to do about it.
It seems that we are confused.
There are so many conflicts going on right now.
There are problems with our not-so-friendly neighbours at our borders, especially the frequent skirmishes at the LoC and intrusions and incursions at the LAC.
There are internal security issues and law and order problems within.
Politicians and political parties are perpetually in a state of conflict with each other.
And there is antagonism and ill-will between sections of society.
There is an environment of rancor and bitterness everywhere.
For example, look at the acrimony between ex-servicemen and “babus” or for that matter the bad-blood between the uniformed military and the civil services.
In other places too, there is increasing resentment between various cadres of employees and between competing businesses.
There is an increase in “gender conflict” too, at home, at work, and in society, and this leads to violence against women at both the domestic and societal levels.
It seems that these conflicts are allowed to fester because we seem confused and do not know how to deal with all these issues.
You cannot neglect the issue and allow conflicts to go on indefinitely in the hope that the conflicts will resolve themselves.
If you adopt this approach, conflicts will aggravate and things may worsen to such an extent that you will have to pay a heavy price.
Conflicts have to be resolved.
And, in order to resolve conflict, you cannot “look the other way” and be indifferent and hope for the best and wish that the immortal panacea “time” or some divine miracle will solve your problems, or someone else will resolve your conflicts for you.
You have to deal with and resolve your own conflicts yourself – you cannot “outsource” this because outsourcing conflict resolution may create an even bigger problem, as history has shown.
How do you resolve conflicts?
Which approach do you adopt?
There are contrasting approaches to resolving conflict – and all these approaches lie in between the two extreme theories of conflict resolution.
CONTRASTING APPROACHES TO CONFLICT MANAGEMENT – THE TWO EXTREMES
The two extreme approaches to resolving conflict are:
1. AGONOLOGY
2. SATYAGRAHA
AGONOLOGY
Agonology employs a strategy of deceit.
The objective is to defeat the opponent by using whatever means, violent and non-violent, which may be expedient.
The cardinal principle of Agonology is to make the opponent’s position as difficult as possible.
Escalate the conflict, especially if it creates more difficulties for your opponent than you.
Strike first at the opponent’s most vital parts.
Attach the opponent frontally and internally.
Make him bleed externally and internally by giving him a “thousand cuts”.
Destroy and degrade his resources, and if possible, subvert his resources and try to use his own resources against him.
Deceive your opponent; never disclose your “true” intentions, motives and tactics.
Commit “irrational” acts from time to time to confuse opponent
Go in for the “kill” at the earliest favourable opportunity.
Push your opponent against the wall, into a tight corner, and leave your opponent with only one way out and that is to surrender to your wishes.
Make him resolve the conflict on your terms without any “give and take”.
SATYAGRAHA
Gandhian Satyagraha employs a “truth” strategy.
In this context, “Truth” means a resolution of the conflict without compromising your own cardinal principles, beliefs and values.
The objective of Satyagraha is to achieve an agreement with the opponent acceptable to both sides by engaging him in a search for “truth”, using only nonviolent means.
The basic premise of Satyagraha is to engage your opponent by non-violent means in a search for “truth” which will lead to a mutually favourable solution and amicable resolution of the conflict.
Satyagraha is based on ethical principles.
You never take undue advantage of your opponent’s difficulties.
You try to cool down the conflict and search for avenues of cooperation on honorable terms, in a spirit of “give and take”.
You protect the opponent’s person and his resources.
You do not take any actions that will make your opponent “lose face”.
You never lie, you never hold anything back and you keep your opponent informed of your actions.
You reduce your demands to a minimum consistent with “truth”.
You try your best to extend areas of rationality in searching for a mutually acceptable solution.
You launch direct action only after exhausting all efforts to achieve an honorable settlement, but all your actions are strictly non-violent.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Agonology and Satyagraha are two extreme contrasting approaches to resolving conflict.
You cannot swing from one extreme to another as this causes confusion and exacerbates the conflict rather than mitigate it.
For each conflict, you have to formulate a specific conflict resolution strategy
You may, at first, take a middle-of-the-road approach.
If you can resolve the conflict, it is well and good.
Otherwise, you will have to move towards one of the extremities and decide between Agonology and Satyagraha.


So do tell us, for the various intractable “unresolvable” conflicts going on in our present-day scenario, which approach do your suggest – Agonology or Satyagraha?
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB:
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)
Did you like this article?

I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html

COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com
Twitter: @vikramkarve
      

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
%d bloggers like this: