Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

The Story of My Navy Beard

January 17, 2018

Last month – in December 2017 – I visited my professional alma mater INS Valsura Jamnagar for the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of the Stone Frigate. 

There – while walking around the Quarterdeck (Parade Ground) – and looking at the Captain’s Office nearby – I remembered this story… 

THE STORY OF MY NAVY BEARD 

“What if…?”

“What if – I hadn’t joined the Navy…?”

Well – if I hadn’t joined the Navy – three things wouldn’t have happened:

  1. I wouldn’t have become a “drunkard”
  1. I wouldn’t have become a “writer”
  1. I wouldn’t have grown a beard

Yes – I give the Navy full credit for these three things.

These three things wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t joined the Navy.

However – some things have changed now.

I am no longer a “drunkard”.

I am living a life of strict sobriety for 15 years now – ever since I quit drinking alcohol.

Now – I am more of a “Blogger” than a “Writer”.

Yes – from a “Writer” – I have metamorphosed into a “Blogger”

But – as far as my beard is concerned – there is no change.

I still have my glorious beard.

I grew my beard in January 1978 – and – I have kept my beard continuously for 40 years  – and now – in January 2018 – my beard celebrates its 40th Birthday.

Some of my Navy friends kept growing beards and shaving them off from time to time – but – I loved my beard so much – that I never ever thought of shaving it off.

As I said – before I joined the Navy – I was clean shaven – and – I never imagined that I would keep a beard.

So – the full credit for my beard must go to the Navy.

Why did I grow a beard…?

What prompted me to suddenly take a decision to grow a beard…?

Let me tell you the story of my majestic beard…

JOIN THE NAVY – AND – GROW A BEARD 

Link to my original post in my Writing Blog: https://karve.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/the-story-of-my-majestic-beard/

THE STORY OF MY MAJESTIC BEARD By VIKRAM KARVE

If you are an Unemployed Unwanted Uncelebrated “Retired” Navy Veteran like me – what is the best thing to do…?

Reminisce.

Yes – I can hark back in time and reminisce – and I can talk about my “good old navy days”.

But – what do I do if there is no one to talk to…?

I can write about my unforgettable reminiscences.

Well – that is exactly what I am going to do now.

I will hark back in time to my early Navy days – take you back to the 1970’s – and tell you why – thanks to the Navy – I grew my handsome beard – which adorns my face till today.

By the way – if I had not joined the Navy – I probably would not have kept a beard.

Yes – before I joined the Navy – I was clean shaven – and I had never contemplated having a beard.

But then when you join the Navy – everything changes – and you change – whether it is for the better or for the worse – well – that depends on you!

I remember my first day at the Naval Academy in Cochin (now called Kochi).

The moment we reported to the Academy – an army of barbers descended on us to chop off most of the copious hair adoring our heads – and shave the stubble on our faces.

We were given crew cuts – and our faces were shaven clean.

A few young men did have moustaches – but these moustaches were ruthlessly removed.

At the Naval Academy – even moustaches were not permitted – and all trainees had to be “clean shaven”.

“SEAMANLIKE” APPEARANCE

Dear Reader – before I proceed further with my story – let me digress – and tell you a bit about the navy tradition of sailors keeping beards.

After independence – we imbibed our military traditions from our erstwhile rulers – the British – and accordingly – our Navy adopted the customs and traditions of the Royal Navy.

Hence – even on the subject of moustaches and beards – the Indian Navy had adopted, verbatim, the regulations of the British Navy – which required that a naval officer or sailor had either to have both “beard and moustache” or neither.

This means that you had to have a “full-set beard” (a full beard and moustache).

The beard must be complete – joined from sideburns – covering the entire jawline and chin – and joining the moustache.

A Navy Officer or Sailor had to have a “full-set beard” or nothing.

A moustache on its own was not permitted.

You were required to obtain the approval of your Commanding Officer to “discontinue shaving” or to “continue shaving” – every time you wanted to change your appearance.

If you wanted to grow a beard – you had to put in a request to stop shaving – yes – you had to formally seek permission to “cease shaving”.

If your request was granted – you were allowed three weeks (21 days) to grow your beard.

During this time of 21 days – as the beard grew – the beard grower was not permitted to go ashore or to be seen in public until the Commanding Officer felt that the beard was fit for public viewing.

A Naval Officer or Sailor was required to have a rugged, “full set”, masculine looking, well-developed beard which gave you a macho appearance.

Wispy or wimpy looking beards were not allowed – and “designer stubble” was certainly not permitted.

If the Commanding Officer (Captain) approved of your beard – you were allowed to keep a beard.

But – if your Commanding Officer deemed your beard to be “unworthy of a seaman” – you were ordered to “shave off” your beard.

Suppose you were allowed to have a beard – and – you kept the beard for a few years – but later – if you wanted to shave off your beard – you had to seek permission to “start shaving”.

Beards were not permitted in the Army and Air Force – but you were allowed to keep moustaches.

Yes – if you are in the Army or Air Force – you can either keep your face clean shaven – or you can keep a moustache (without a beard).

I am sure the Army and Air Force have regulations governing moustaches which specify the types of moustaches permitted, sizes, shapes, styles etc.

But – I have seen that the Air Force has a fondness for handlebar moustaches – and so do some Artillery Officers.

Sadly – most officers now prefer the “metrosexual” clean-shaven “chikna” look – in the Navy – and in the Army and the Air Force too.

MOUSTACHES IN THE NAVY

Sometime in the 1970’s – due to pressures from youngsters and to be in sync with prevailing customs – the Indian Navy relaxed the provisions governing wearing of moustaches and beards.

The regulations were amended so that – now – the issue of permitting “moustaches without beards” was left to the Commanding Officer’s discretion.

After these amendments – the Captain could permit officers and sailors to wear moustaches and beards or shave them off, if they so desired.

Moustaches and beard could be worn with or without the beard and moustaches respectively.

Side whiskers (sideburns) were permitted right down to the level of the lobe of the ear.

Moustaches, beards and whiskers had to be neatly cut and trimmed.

Of course – this privilege may be withdrawn in cases of untidy growth.

This relaxation has resulted in many Navy youngsters sporting moustaches.

Of course – the seasoned “sea-dogs” preferred “full-set” beards.

WHY I GREW A “FULL SET” NAVY BEARD

After completing our basic Naval Training – we were sent for our specialization course.

As I told you earlier – consequent to the relaxation of “appearance” regulations – a few young officers had started sporting moustaches – and I too felt like having a moustache.

So – the moment we reported for the specialization course – I applied for permission to grow a moustache.

The Commanding Officer (CO) refused permission for me to grow a moustache.

I protested to my training officer – but he showed me the Navy rules and regulations which stated that granting permission for moustache was the Commanding Officer’s prerogative.

“Sir – suppose I seek permission to grow a beard…?” I asked.

“If you apply for permission to grow a beard – the CO will have to grant you permission – at least for three weeks…” the Training Officer said.

My request to “cease shaving” was promptly granted by the Commanding Officer.

I stopped shaving – and my beard started to grow.

Around 15 days later – during Friday morning Divisions (Parade) – the Commanding Officer – while inspecting the Under Trainee Officers Division – he suddenly stopped before me – yes – the Commanding Officer stopped before me and looked at me.

The Commanding Officer looked at my face – as if scrutinizing it – and he said to me:

“You look good in a beard. Your beard suits you well. Keep your beard…”

This happened more than 40 years ago – in January 1978 – and now – in January 2018 – my beloved beard celebrates its 40th Birthday.

Quite funny – isn’t it…?

I actually wanted to grow a moustache – but – thanks to quirks of the Navy – I landed up growing a beard instead.

But – once I grew my beard – I started liking my beard – and soon – my beard became sacrosanct to me – and I never shaved it off.

I love my majestic beard.

My beard has been my loyal companion throughout my entire Naval career – and now – my beard is my faithful friend in my lonely retirement days

I am proud of my beard.

I am glad I have a beard.

In hindsight – I do not know whether joining the Navy was good for me – or whether I would have done better in the “civvy street”.

But – one thing is for sure.

I owe my beard to the Navy.

Had it not been for the Navy – I may not have kept a beard.

I love my beard.

And as I write this – from time to time – I lovingly caress my lovely beard.

QUOTES ON BEARDS

In conclusion – let me give you 3 quotes on beards:

A woman with a beard looks like a man – and a man without a beard looks like a woman

~ Afghan saying

There are two kinds of people in this world that go around beardless – boys and women – and I am neither one

~ Greek saying

He that hath a beard is more than a youth – and he that hath no beard is less than a man 

~ William Shakespeare

So – Dear Reader – this is the story of my majestic beard…

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/me-and-my-navy-beard.html

Revised Version of my story posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 21 Sep 2014 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/09/why-i-have-beard-humor-in-uniform.html  and on 29 April 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/04/join-navy-and-grow-beard-story-of-my.html  and in Aug 2015 at url:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/navy-memories-why-i-grew-beard.html and in May 2016 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/join-navy-and-grow-beard.html

Humor – The Queer “Married Bachelor”

January 17, 2018

If you go to a Defence Officers’ Mess (or a Navy Wardroom) – you will find two types of “single” officers living/dining in the Mess:

  1. Unmarried Bachelors 
  1. Married Bachelors 

Unmarried Bachelors comprise officers who have never married – or officers who are divorced/widowed.

“Married Bachelors” are of two types:

  1. “Permanent” Married Bachelors 

“Permanent” Married Bachelors comprise “in living” officers who are married – but are staying away from their wives for some reason like wife’s career, children’s education, marital discord etc.

“Permanent” Married Bachelors reside as “single” officers in the Officers’ Mess/Wardroom.

  1. “Temporary” Married Bachelors 

“Temporary” Married Bachelors are Married officers who temporarily dine in the Officers’ Mess/Wardroom – because their wives have gone on a vacation/holiday – or their wives are away at their hometown/mother’s place for confinement/delivery of a baby or for some “back-home-type” family occasion/commitment.

Long ago – around 40 years ago – when I was an “unmarried bachelor” – I once met an inimitable character – a rather peculiar type of “Temporary Married Bachelor”.

Here is the story…

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/married-bachelor/ 

THE MARRIED “BACHELOR”

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve 

THE CURIOUS “MARRIED BACHELOR”

Yes – the story I am going to tell you is about a rather curious “married bachelor” I met long back in the Navy.

Let us call him “X”.

This anecdote happened around 40 years ago – in the 1970’s – when I was a carefree “unmarried bachelor” – and I lived in a wonderful Officers’ Mess with some delightful messmates – most of whom were also “unmarried bachelors” like me.

Now – “X” was quite senior to us – and “X” was very much married.

“X” was not a “Permanent” Married Bachelor who lived in the Officers’ Mess as “single” officers in the Officers’ Mess because of a long distance marriage.

“X” lived a “happy married life” with his wife in married officers’ accommodation.

However – though “X” was “happily” married – he spent every evening with us “unmarried bachelors” in the Officers’ Mess.

“X” would arrive in the Officers’ Mess punctually at 7 o’clock in the evening.

“X” would play billiards with us – then he would come with us to the Officers’ Mess Bar – and he would drink with us till closing time – late into the night.

After enjoying the entire evening with us bachelors at the officers’ mess – “X” would go home to his wife – almost at midnight.

This was his routine every evening.

We felt sad for his wife.

Yes – we felt pity for X’s wife – because of the terribly shoddy manner in which “X” treated her – leaving her all alone at home every evening while he enjoyed with us in the officers’ mess.

“X” was indeed a “misogynist” husband.

“X” took his docile wife for granted.

“X” went out every night to have a good time with the “boys” – while his hapless wife had to spend her lonely evenings at home.

Every evening – his devoted wife would dutifully wait for her husband “X” to come back around midnight – to have dinner.

This routine went on for months.

MELANCHOLIC “MARRIED BACHELOR”

One day – suddenly – without any warning – our friend “X” did not turn up at officers’ mess at 7 PM in the evening.

In fact  – “X” did not turn up the entire evening – he did not come to the officers’ mess at all that day.

We missed “X” during the evening.

We thought he was probably unwell.

But – when “X” did not come to officers’ mess for three successive evenings – we decided to go to his house and see if things were okay.

When we reached his home – we were taken aback to see “X” sitting all alone in the darkness.

In his hand “X” was nursing a drink – which he did not seem to be enjoying.

“X” seemed to be in a state of melancholy.

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour – so – we asked “X” what was the matter with him – why was he sitting all alone in the darkness in such a sad mood.

We asked him why he had not come to the officers’ mess in the evenings – as per his usual routine – for the past three days.

“X” simply said that his wife had gone to her mother’s place for a few days – and – he was feeling lonely and miserable.

It was evident that “X” was badly missing his wife.

“If you are feeling lonely and miserable because your wife has gone away – that is all the more reason you should come to the officers’ mess…” we said.

We asked “X” to come with us to the officers’ mess and cheer up.

We told “X” that – since he was feeling lonely – it would be good for him to spend some time with us in the officers’ mess.

We urged him to come with us to the officers’ mess.

We told him that spending some time in our company – playing billiards – and enjoying a few drinks – would surely raise his spirits – and this would help him forget his loneliness and cheer him up.

Surprisingly – “X” refused to come to the officers’ mess with us.

“X” sullenly told us that he was not in the mood – and that he wanted to be left alone.

So – we left him alone at his home – to “mope and grope” – to “moan and groan” – and to “wallow” in his loneliness.

For many days – “X” did not come to the officers’ mess.

HAPPY “MARRIED BACHELOR”

Then – suddenly – one evening – we found “X” entering the officers’ mess promptly at 7 o’clock in the evening.

There was a spring in his step – and “X” seemed to be happy and full of good cheer.

“My wife has come back…” he said happily.

“X” looked delighted and he seemed very happy.

It was evident that he was very happy that his wife had returned back to him.

And then – like earlier days – “X” thoroughly enjoyed the evening with us in the officers’ mess.

“X” was in a really good mood – he was really enjoying his drinks – and by the time it was bar closing-time – he was “happily drunk”

Then – as per his earlier normal routine and natural style – at midnight – a happily drunk “X” staggered back home – where his wife would waiting for him.

For “X” – it was back to the “good old days”.

Once again – after his wife had come back to him – “X” became his original self – a “happily married bachelor”.

Every evening – the “happily married bachelor” “X” would arrive at the officers’ mess punctually at 7 PM – and spend his time with us unmarried bachelors – enjoying himself thoroughly till midnight – and then – swaying in “high spirits” – he would go back home to his beloved wife.

Strange but true – the moment his wife returned – “X” was back to his old “married bachelor” ways.

Yes – once his wife was back  – every evening – punctually at 7 PM – “X” was seen in the evening at the officers’ mess – enjoying himself thoroughly till midnight.

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour.

When his wife was present – “X” seemed to be bored of his married life – so he left his wife behind at home – and he went out to the officers’ mess to enjoy a good time with the “boys”.

But – when his wife went away – “X” was filled with misery and despair – and he spent his time brooding alone at home in lonely melancholy – longing for his wife to come back.

And – the moment his wife returned back to him – “X” was back to his old ways – leaving his wife all alone at home – while he went off to enjoy his evening at the officers’ mess with us bachelor boys.

MARRIAGE IS A MYSTERY – MARRIAGE IS AN ENIGMA

At that time – I was perplexed at the strange behaviour of “X” 

I never understood this amusing paradox of his marital relationship.

When his wife was away – the husband stayed at home – gloomy and melancholic – and he refused to come with us to the officers mess’.

But – when his wife was at home – the husband would come out of his home – and he would happily spend his evenings in high spirits with us in the officers mess’ – leaving his wife all alone at home.

But – soon – I got married.

And – over the years – as I became “much married” – I slowly began to fathom such inexplicable mysteries in marriage relationships and realised that marriage is a enigma.

That is why – even after more than 35 years of married life – I still feel that – marriage is a mystery – an enigma – and – every marital relationship is unique in its own way.

Once I was married – I began to understand the “curious” behaviour of the inimitable and unforgettable “married bachelor” “X”

After marriage – whenever my wife went away to her mother’s place for a few days – I often found myself in similar “Temporary Married Bachelor” situations – and you would find me sitting at home all alone – gloomy – forlorn – feeling “sad” – missing my wife – “moping and groping” – in lonely melancholy – yearning for my darling wife.

And – the moment my wife came back – I was so filled with happiness – that – I would immediately wear my walking shoes – and – with a smile on my lips – and – a spring in my step – I would step out for an enjoyable walk all by myself – leaving my darling wife all alone to “hold the fort” at home.

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/05/the-married-bachelor.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised updated version of my story written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2010 and earlier posted online by me in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/13/2013 11:51:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/08/the-misogynist-husband-and-mystery-of.html and re-posted at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/humor-in-uniform-bachelor-boy-story-of.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/07/the-much-married-bachelor.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/are-you-married-bachelor.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/the-happily-married-bachelor.html

“Kiwi-Dream” – Story of the “Kiwi-Indian” Girl

January 16, 2018

“Hello Uncle…” the girl said

I recognized her at once.

She was the girl who we had nicknamed “Spoiled Brat”.

“Did you recognize me…? I stayed at your place in Mumbai…” she said.

“Of course – I recognized you…” I said, “It is so nice to see you after so many years – and that too – in New Zealand …”

“I live in New Zealand…” the girl said.

KIWI DREAM

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/spoiled-brat-story.html

NB:

The term “spoiled brat” is used to describe a child who is overindulged by their parents.

And – as a consequence of the over-pampering and mollycoddling – the “spoiled brat” becomes lazy, slothful, egocentric, snobbish, snooty and indolent.

Some parents “spoil” their children.

These children become “spoiled brats” or “spoilt brats”.

The words “spoiled” and “spoilt” mean the same thing.

In this story – I will use “spoiled” – the American version.

So – I will use the term “spoiled brat” for the protagonist of the story…

KIWI DREAM – Fiction Short Story by Vikram Karve

PART 1  

THE GIRL AT LAKE TEKAPO

Lake Tekapo – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

“Hello Uncle…” the girl said.

I recognized her at once.

She was the girl who we had nicknamed “Spoiled Brat”.

“Did you recognize me…? I stayed at your place in Mumbai…” she said.

“Of course – I recognized you…” I said, “It is so nice to see you after so many years – and that too – in New Zealand …”

“I live in New Zealand…”

“Really…? Here…? In Tekapo…?”

“No, No, Uncle – I live in Auckland – I have come on a holiday to South Island – I am travelling from Queenstown to Christchurch – and tomorrow morning – I will catch a flight back to Auckland. And you – Uncle…?”

“I am on a “solo-holiday” to New Zealand – right now – I am on the bus from Christchurch to Queenstown…”

“Come Uncle – let’s grab a quick bite – the buses stop here for half-an-hour – for a lunch halt…”

And so – we – “Spoiled Brat” and me – we walked down to a café in the Lake Tekapo “Food Court” – for a quick lunch of delicious “fish and chips”.

Lake Tekapo is located in the heart of Mackenzie County in the Canterbury Region of South New Zealand – halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown.

After leaving Christchurch – you drive past the lush green Canterbury Plains – you cross the towns of Geraldine, Fairlie and Kimbell – and then – you climb up the winding road – and traverse across the Burkes Pass – into a scenic basin – in the heart of the mountainous South Island – called “Mackenzie Country”.

“Mackenzie Country” has fascinating landscapes – and – two lakes – Tekapo and Pukaki – whose waters have a unique turquoise blue colour – this lovely blue colour of the water is caused by the “glacial flour” suspended in the water.

In the heart of Mackenzie Country is located the beautiful Lake Tekapo – with its marvelous turquoise waters – surrounded by magnificent scenery – and the awe-inspiring snowcapped peaks – including the cloud-piercing Aoraki Mount Cook.

Lake Tekapo is truly stunning – a breathtaking sight – with its pure turquoise blue waters – surrounded by spectacular scenery – with a most wonderful view of the Southern Alps – including the snow-covered mountains like Mount Cook.

Christchurch to Queenstown is a 9 hour Bus Journey (covering a distance of approximately 500 kilometers).

Lake Tekapo is situated half-way between Christchurch and Queenstown.

At Lake Tekapo – buses in both directions cross each other at the same time – and – the buses stop for a lunch halt.

After the quick lunch of delicious “Fish and Chips” – we walked to our buses parked next to each other.

While we walked – “Spoiled Brat” said to me:

“Uncle – you must spend some time with me in Auckland on your way back…”

“I wish I could spend some time with you in Auckland – but – on my way back – I am flying down from Christchurch to Auckland – and – I have to catch the connecting flight out of New Zealand – I will have barely 3 hours at the airport – just enough time – to rush from the domestic terminal to the international terminal – and do the check-in, immigration, boarding etc…” I said to her.

“Oh – how sad – I wish we could have spent some together…” she said.

“Spoiled Brat” took out a business card from her purse.

She gave the business card to me and said:

“Uncle – at least – you give me a call from the airport when you reach Auckland – and – in case your flight is delayed or something – I will try and come and meet you…”

Suddenly – the bus drivers called out to the passengers to board their buses.

So – we – “Spoiled Brat” and me – we said goodbye to each other.

We sat our respective buses.

Soon – the buses started off – mine – towards Queenstown – and hers – towards Christchurch.

PART 2

Flashback

12 Years Earlier

“SPOILED BRAT”

Mumbai – India (Circa 2004) 

That girl is a “spoilt brat”…” my wife said.

“It is “spoiled brat” – “spoil” with a “d” – not “t”…” I said.

“Okay. Okay. You keep your English to yourself. But – next time – please don’t invite such “disgusting” and “filthy” people to stay with us…”

“Disgusting…? Filthy…? Are you talking about the girl…?””

Yes – she is “disgusting”, “filthy” and “lazy” – just come and see her room – she hasn’t even made her bed properly – look at crumpled blanket and soiled pillow – her clothes are lying all over the room – some are scattered on the floor – she hasn’t even bothered to fold her clothes and keep them in the cupboard – and – have you seen the bathroom – it is a dirty filthy mess – all her underclothes are lying all over the bathroom – she hasn’t even bothered to flush the toilet – and – did you see the way she looked – so slovenly – did you see her face – so sloppy – and – did you notice her hair – so disheveled – I doubt she even had a bath…”

“She must have been in a hurry…”

“What hurry…? I woke her up at 6 o’clock – but – she kept sleeping – and then – she rushes out – leaving everything in a shabby mess – does she expect me to clean her room and wash her clothes…”

“She must have…”

“I keep my house so “spick-and-span” – in fact – I had specially “done up” the room and bathroom for her – and – she has converted the whole place into a dirty filthy “pigsty”…”

“Maybe…”

“Look at her half-eaten breakfast – she just left her plate on the table – she didn’t even bother to put her dirty plate in the washbasin – does she think I am a waitress…?”

“Maybe she has servants at her home to do all her work – so – she may not be used to doing any work at home…”

“I don’t know about that – but her parents have really spoiled her – she is an extremely “spoiled brat” – lazy, filthy, sloppy – she is the most disgusting girl I have ever seen…”

“Okay – okay – you just have to tolerate her for a day – her exams will be over today – and – tomorrow – she will go back to her home…”

“By then – she will make her room so filthy and unhygenic – that we will have to fumigate it – we will have to disinfect the entire room – maybe even get pest-control done…”

“Come on – don’t exaggerate and make a big issue…”

“Okay – but next time – you please ask me first – before you invite anyone to stay at our home – especially some disgusting “spoiled brat” like her…” my wife said firmly to me.

“Okay. Okay…” I said.

Dear Reader: Let me tell you how “spoiled brat” had come to stay over at our place in Mumbai.

A few months ago – I met a college classmate during an alumni meet at our college – where our batch had assembled on the campus – to celebrate the “silver jubilee” of our “passing out” on completion of our Engineering Degrees.

We exchanged contact details.

Then – suddenly – one day – my classmate called me on phone – and – he requested me – if his daughter could stay at our place for a day or two – she was coming to Mumbai to appear for a Management CET (Common Entrance Test) for admission to Business Schools all over India.

There was no CET Exam Centre in the town where my classmate lived – and his daughter had been allotted a centre in Mumbai – which was located near my house.

So – I said “okay” – and I told him – that his daughter was “most welcome” to stay with us in Mumbai.

And – that is how “Spoiled Brat” came to stay with us in Mumbai for 2 days.

After her stay with us – when “Spoiled Brat” reached back to her home – her father rang up to thank me for our hospitality.

But – after that – we lost contact.

And now – after 12 long years – I had unexpectedly run into “Spoiled Brat” in a remote picturesque place called Lake Tekapo in New Zealand.

When “Spoiled Brat” had come to stay with us in Mumbai – she must have been around 20 years old.

Now – when I met her in New Zealand – she would have been in her early 30’s.

PART 3

Back to the Present

One Week After I Met “Spoiled Brat” at Lake Tekapo

“MISSED CONNECTION”

Christchurch/Auckland – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

After spending a week enjoying the stunning scenery and awe-inspiring sights of South New Zealand – breathtaking Fiords, fascinating Glaciers, pristine Lakes, spectacular cloud-piercing Snow Covered Mountains and scenic Alpine Forests – I sat in the aircraft at Christchurch Airport waiting for the early morning flight to Auckland to take off.

The entire schedule had gone off beautifully like clockwork – and – I was most happy with my tour of New Zealand – especially South Island.

Now – it was just a one hour twenty minute flight to Auckland – and – I would be well in time to catch my flight out of Auckland on my way home.

And then – Murphy’s Law happened (if anything can go wrong – it will).

There was some “last minute glitch” in the aircraft at Christchurch.

All passengers were asked to disembark.

As we sat in the lounge – I heard an announcement that our flight would be delayed by one hour.

Already – half an hour had passed since the scheduled departure of my flight.

I got anxious that I may miss my connecting flight from Auckland – so – I pleaded with the ground-staff to accommodate me in the earliest flight to Auckland.

The ground-staff said that my flight would depart in one hour for Auckland – and – they assured me – that I would reach Auckland in time to catch my connecting flight.

But – the flight got delayed further – due to bad weather.

And – I missed my connecting flight by a whisker.

PART 4  

“NO-SHOW” 

Same Day

Auckland Airport – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

The moment my flight from Christchurch landed at Auckland Airport – I rushed from the domestic terminal to the international terminal – but – I was just a few minutes late – my flight had just taken off a few minutes earlier.

“Sorry, Sir – your flight has just departed…” the girl at the check-in counter said, looking at my ticket.

“Oh My God…” I said, panicking.

“Sir – if you want – we can book you on tomorrow’s flight…”

“Tomorrow…?”

“Yes, Sir – we have only one flight from Auckland…”

“Isn’t there a flight today…?”

“Sir – you can try the other airlines – but – it is holiday season – and all flights are likely to be fully booked…”

I thought about it.

Out here in New Zealand – I just had my “Forex Card” – so the blunt fact was that I did not have money to book a ticket all the way back to India by another flight.

So – I said to the girl: “Okay – I hope you will keep me in a hotel…”

“Sir – you are a “No Show” passenger – so the airline is not responsible…”

No-Show…?”

“Yes, Sir – you did an online “check-in” yesterday – and still – you did not turn up for your flight on time…”

“But – it is not my fault that my flight from Christchurch got delayed – due to which I missed my connecting flight…”

“I know, Sir – but that was a different domestic airline on which you had booked a “low cost” discount ticket separately – and – with us – you have a separate international “non-refundable” ticket for your trip from Mumbai to Auckland and back…”

“This is really sad…” I said, “So I will have to wait at the airport for 24 hours…”

“Sir – if you want – you can try the hotel outside the airport…”

“I don’t have any money to stay in a hotel…”

“Sir – you don’t have any cards…?”

“I just have a “Forex Card” – and – I think I have almost exhausted it – today was supposed to my last day here…”

“Oh – Sir – then how are you going to pay for your new ticket from Auckland to Mumbai…?”

“New ticket…?”

“Yes, Sir – since you are a “No Show” passenger – you will have to buy a new ticket…”

“What about this ticket which I have…?”

“From your ticket – it seems that you bought your ticket through a travel agent…”

“Yes. I told a Travel Agency to plan my entire New Zealand itinerary…”

“Sir – you can cancel the unused segments of the ticket – and – whatever money you are entitled – will be credited to you via your travel agent…”

“Travel Agent…?”

“Sir – I am not very sure – but – I think whatever refund is due to the “No Show” passenger is generally credited to the same account or card from which the booking was done – and – in your case – it seems that the Travel Agency paid the Airline for your ticket…”

“Yes. They booked the tickets, hotels, tours, travel arrangements everything – and – I just paid them the total amount by cheque…”

“So – you will have to but a new ticket…”

“But – I don’t have money to buy a new ticket from Auckland to Mumbai…” I pleaded, “I told you that I am only carrying a “Forex Card” which has hardly any balance now – since I used the card for my entire New Zealand trip…”

“Sir – maybe you have someone here in New Zealand who can help you out…” the girl at the check-in counter said.

I thought about it:

“Did I know anyone here in New Zealand who could help me out…?”

Yes – there was one person – “Spoiled Brat”

I was in a big trouble – stranded at Auckland Airport.

Trapped in this hapless situation – I had no choice – but to call “Spoiled Brat”

From my wallet – I took out the “Visiting Card” that “Spoiled Brat” had given me in Tekapo – and – I dialed her mobile number.

“Spoiled Brat” seemed delighted to hear my voice.

I explained my predicament to her.

“Uncle – which is the airline on which you booked tickets…?” “Spoiled Brat” asked me.

I told her the name of the airline.

“Oh. That’s good. The airline office is very near that place I work – and – I know someone who works there…” she said, “Uncle – you do one thing, Uncle – you just take the “SkyBus” Airport to City Shuttle Bus – and come here – the ticket is quite cheap – and – you can pay with your “Forex Card” –  you will find a SkyBus Ticket Kiosk just outside the airport terminal – there is a bus every 10 minutes – you just get down at the last stop – at the terminus on Queen Street – and – the moment you reach there – just give me a call – I will come in 5 minutes…”

After the comforting conversation with “Spoiled Brat” – I walked out of Auckland Airport – I located the SkyBus Ticket Kiosk – bought a ticket – walked to the Bus Stop – boarded the bus – and soon – I was travelling in the spacious bus – through the scenic city of Auckland – towards the Central Business District (CBD) – to Queen Street – where the SkyBus Terminus was located.

PART 5  

“BROKE” IN AUCKLAND 

Same Day

Queen Street/Central Business District (CBD) – Auckland New Zealand (Circa 2016)

As the comfortable Bus approached the terminus almost an hour later – I took out my mobile phone – to call “Spoiled Brat” the moment the bus stopped.

But – I did not have to call her – as – I was delighted to see “Spoiled Brat” waiting for me at the Airport Shuttle Terminus.

She was wearing a pretty dress – and – she looked lovely – glowing face, hair properly styled, well-groomed appearance, full of poise – refined, polished, elegant, neat and clean – a total transformation from her earlier shabby, unkempt, slovenly, clumsy, disheveled appearance – when she stayed us in Mumbai many years ago.

She looked very charming – chic, graceful and elegant.

Yes – “Spoiled Brat” looked really “Tip-Top” – smart, glamorous, pleasing and attractive.

“Hello – Uncle…” she said with a friendly smile, “so we are destined to meet again…”

“Yes…” I said.

“Uncle – is this all the luggage you have…?” she asked – pointing to my bag.

“Yes – only one small bag – with wheels – I like to travel light – especially on “solo-tours” where you have to cart your luggage all over…”

“That’s great. So first – we will walk down to the Airline Office and get your ticket issue sorted out…”

As we walked on Queen Street – “Spoiled Brat” said to me:

“Uncle – I have a friend who works in the airline office – she is a “Kiwi” of Indian Origin – I am sure she will help us out. I have already called her and she is waiting for us…”

Yes – the friend was waiting for us in the airline office.

She did her best possible – so that I was charged the minimum penalty – and – she facilitated that – instead of the undergoing the laborious process of obtaining a refund – I got a new ticket for the next day’s flight by just paying the difference between refund and fare.

“Spoiled Brat” paid for my air ticket by using her credit card – and soon – I had my ticket from Auckland to Mumbai in my hand.

“Thanks a lot…” I said to “Spoiled Brat”.

“It is okay, Uncle – did I say “Thanks” when I stayed with you in Mumbai…?”

I smiled to myself when I remembered the “terrible memories” of her stay at our place in Mumbai.

“I owe you a lot of money…” I said to “Spoiled Brat”.

“Don’t worry, Uncle – you don’t have to pay me now – I have a bank account in India – I will give you the details – when you get back to India – just transfer the money to my bank account in India – I will use the money when I come to India for my summer vacation…”

“Okay – Thanks a lot. So now – I have around 24 hours to spend in Auckland – can you find some accommodation for me – some “Backpackers” place or Hostel – not too expensive…”

“You are staying at my place, Uncle…” she asserted.

“No – No – please – I will manage on my own – I don’t want to trouble you…”

“What trouble, Uncle…? Didn’t I stay at with you in Mumbai…? Was I any “trouble” to you…?

I tried to suppress my laughter – wondering what my wife would say.

It seemed that “Spoiled Brat” read my thoughts – and – that is why she had said:

 “Uncle – was I any “trouble” to you in Mumbai…?”

Just imagine what my wife would say if she heard those words of “Spoiled Brat”

The thought of my wife suddenly made me realize that – I hadn’t informed my wife that I had missed my flight – and I would be arriving one day late.

“Hey – I must call my wife and tell her that I am arriving a day late…” I said to “Spoiled Brat”

On hearing this – “Spoiled Brat” said to me:

“Uncle – it is one o’clock in the afternoon over here in New Zealand. In India – it will be very early in the morning – so – you can call later – from my house – I have good internet – if you want to talk to her on Skype or Facebook…”

“Thank you. Hey – I forgot to ask – what about your office – your work…?”

“I have taken an extended lunch-break. You must be hungry. I will cook a quick meal – we will have lunch – then – you can relax – and – I will go to my office – finish off my work – and – come back early – so we can go out in the evening- then – you can sleep at my place – get up early – have breakfast – and I will put you on the Airport “SkyBus” well in time for your flight…”

“I am feeling quite awkward taking undue advantage of your hospitality – especially sleeping at your place…”

“Spoiled Brat” looked at me and said:

“Don’t worry, Uncle – my place is small – but it is quite comfortable – I live by myself in a small flat – but there is a spare bed – a sofa-cum-bed…”

“You live alone…?” I asked.

“Yes. I live all by myself in a small apartment – on the 9th floor of a high-rise building – the view is stunning…”

“Then – how can I stay with you…?”

“Why, Uncle…? I told you there is a spare bed – we will easily manage – I will sleep on the sofa-cum-bed if it is uncomfortable for you…”

“No. No. It’s not that. How can you and me – I mean – just you and me – how can we stay together in a small flat for the entire night – wouldn’t it be improper…?”

“Come on, Uncle – this is New Zealand – not India. Out here in Auckland – it’s a modern broadminded permissive society – no one bothers about these things – and – everyone minds their own business…”

“Still – I am feeling a bit awkward – I think I will prefer to stay somewhere else – a hostel or “backpackers” dorm or something…”

“Please, Uncle. In Auckland – you will do as I say. No more discussion. You are staying with me – and – that is final…”

“Okay – if you insist. But…”

“No “ifs and buts”. Let’s go – my place is not very far – only a 10 minute walk. Or – if you are tired – we can take a taxi…” “Spoiled Brat” said to me.

“No. No – I prefer walking…” I said.

While we walked – I dreaded to imagine how her home would be like.

Going by past experience of “Spoiled Brat” – remembering the disgusting state of her filthy nauseating room in Mumbai – I knew that I would have to somehow survive the next 24 hours in a filthy stinking “pigsty”.

But – as they say – “beggars can’t be choosers”.

I was almost “broke” – and – I was at her mercy.

So – I walked along with her – towards her house.

PART 6

“BETTER LIFE” 

Same Day

Auckland – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

The weather was pleasant – and – it was easy to walk on the smooth uncluttered pavements.

10 minutes later – we reached a high-rise building – where “Spoiled Brat” lived – she entered the PIN code at the ground floor entrance – the glass sliding door opened – and soon – we were in the lift – travelling up to her 9th floor flat.

Her flat was towards the end of the corridor.

As “Spoiled Brat” opened the door – I expected the worst.

I prepared myself to seeing a shabby, dirty, stinking, unkempt house.

But – when she opened the door – I was stunned.

Her house was “spick-and-span”

I was amazed at the neatness, tidiness and orderliness of her home – everything was organized immaculately – and – her house was spotlessly clean.

It was a small apartment flat – a kitchenette at the entrance – a small space – a bedroom – and – a bathroom – with minimalist yet aesthetic furniture – TV – Fridge – Oven – and the necessary gadgets – everything of utility value – neatly arranged in a most ingenious manner

It was something like a “1 BHK” apartment we have in India – but much smaller in size – around 250 square feet or so.

The flat reminded me of my tiny one-room apartment on Curzon Road in New Delhi – when I was newly-married – over there – we had a small balcony – but here – there was no balcony – just a large glass sliding window.

But – as I said – the flat was really “spick-and-span” – nice, clean, light and airy – and the place generated “positive vibes” in me.

“Uncle – did you like my house…” “Spoiled Brat” said.

“Yes – your house is wonderful…” I said, “You have kept everything so neat and clean – and – the view is really spectacular…”

“Yes – the view is really good – you get a panoramic view of Auckland harbour…”

I was enjoying the view – of the sailboats anchored in the harbour – the impressive Auckland Harbour Bridge – and hills beyond – when I heard “Spoiled Brat” saying:

“Uncle – you go and freshen-up in the bathroom – and – I will cook you a quick lunch…”

As I walked towards the bathroom – I remembered my wife’s description of how “Spoiled Brat” had dirtied and soiled our bathroom in Mumbai – and – I expected the worst.

But – when I saw her bathroom – I was amazed – it was probably the cleanest, hygienic and most fragrant bathroom I had ever seen.

I washed – and – when I came out – I saw that lunch was ready.

“You cooked lunch so fast…?”

“Yes – I cook on Sundays – and – I keep the food frozen – so – I can just heat and eat…”

“Spoiled Brat” opened the fridge and showed me food packets neatly wrapped in foil – kept systematically – in an orderly manner – with a “post-it note” on each packet – indicating the dish and day of the week.

The kitchen was spotlessly clean – with everything organized “ship-shape” – as we say in the Navy.

“You are really well organized…” I said.

“Here – I have to do everything myself – so – I plan and organize everything properly…” she said.

I was tremendously impressed.

I could not believe that this was the same disorganized and shambolic girl who had stayed with us in Mumbai.

I had expected everything to be in shambles – but she had stunned me beyond belief by her neatness, tidiness and organization.

I was awestruck by the metamorphosis in “Spoiled Brat”.

She looked very chic and smart – perfectly well-groomed and pretty – really “Tip-Top” – and – her house was absolutely “spick-and-span”.

PART 7

“KIWI DREAM” 

Same Day

Auckland – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

It was heartening to see the total transformation in “Spoiled Brat” – her elegant “Tip-Top” appearance – her immaculate “spick-and-span” house – her meticulousness – it seemed that she had metamorphosed into an entirely new person.

It was great to eat Indian Vegetarian Food after a long time – she had heated up a simple lunch of mixed vegetables and “chapatti” – both “ready-to-eat” and frozen – and quickly heated up the microwave oven

The food was delicious.

I asked her about herself.

I asked her why and how she had come to New Zealand.

“I felt I had better prospects here – so I decided to come here. If you want to settle down here in New Zealand – it is best to use the “student pathway” – all of us are doing that – we come here on a student visa – do a course in a “skill shortage” subject – take up a job – get a work visa – and then – try for permanent residency – so we can live here indefinitely – and our ultimate aim is New Zealand citizenship…” she said.

“Oh – so you came here as a “student”…”

“Yes. Accountants and Finance Managers were on the “skill shortage” list when I decided to migrate to New Zealand. I had already done my MBA (Finance) and had some work experience too – so – I came here to Auckland and did a course in Finance and Accountancy – and – I got a good job – and so – I got a work visa. Now I am getting further qualifications by part-time study – also doing my CA course – so that it becomes easy for me to get residency…”

“Residency…? So – you intend settling down in New Zealand…? Is it easy for youngsters to settle down here…?”

“Of course – everyone who comes to New Zealand wants to permanently settle down here. There are many vocations like Engineering, IT, Hospitality on the “Skills Shortage List” – but – the list keeps changing and you must update yourself – so you can choose the proper course….”

“Tell me – do you really want to stay here in New Zealand for your entire life…?”

“Of course – I want to live here – that’s why I am so desperate to get my permanent resident visa – so that it will be easy for me to get New Zealand citizenship…”

“You want to realize your “Kiwi Dream”…?”

“Ha Ha – “Kiwi Dream” – yes – you can say that…”

“So – you don’t want to return to India…?”

“No. I don’t think I will return to India…”

“Don’t you ever feel like visiting India – your hometown…?”

“For holidays – yes – but permanently – I would like to live here in New Zealand…”

“But – why…?”

“It’s a “Better Life” over here…”

“A “Better Life”…?”

“Yes – a “Better Life” – everyone who comes here wants to stay here – no one wants to go back – because – it’s a “Better Life” over here…”

I wanted to ask her exactly what she meant when she said that it was a “Better Life” in New Zealand as compared to India.

Maybe – she sensed what I wanted to ask her – so – she said:

“Uncle – I have to get back to work. You relax here – and – in the evening we will go to a pub for drinks and dinner – I will call some friends – who have migrated here from India – and – they will all tell you – how it is a “Better Life” over here in New Zealand.

(About the wonderful evening in the pub – the lively conversation with young “diaspora” who were living their “Kiwi Dream” – I will write all about it in my blog.

The bright youngsters had migrated from India to New Zealand – and – all of them desperately wanted to settle down in New Zealand.

Whether it is actually a “Better Life” in New Zealand as compared to India – that – I will tell you my views later – in my blog – I will write about my experiences and observations in due course…)

But now – let me get back to the “protagonist” of this story – “Spoiled Brat”

By migrating to New Zealand – whether “Spoiled Brat” was enjoying a “Better Life” – I am not sure.

But – one thing is sure.

By migrating to New Zealand – “Spoiled Brat” had certainly changed for the “Better”

Yes – her passionate ambition to achieve her “Kiwi Dream” had transformed “Spoiled Brat” for the better – she wasn’t a “Spoiled Brat” anymore…

So – Dear Reader – if you have a pampered “spoiled brat” at home – you know what to do.

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2018/01/new-zealand-migrant-tales-kiwi-dream.html  and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/kiwi-indian-girl-in-auckland/  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/spoiled-brat-story.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised re-post of my story SPOILED BRAT written by me in April 2017 and posted online in my blog on April 12, 2017 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/spoiled-brat-story.html

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/spoiled-brat-story.html  and re-posts https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/the-girl-at-lake-tekapo/  and https://www.quora.com/profile/Vikram-Karve/Writing-by-VIKRAM-KARVE/The-%E2%80%9CKiwi-Indian%E2%80%9D-Girl

 

 

 

Do You Want to Migrate for a “Better Life”…?

January 16, 2018

Whenever I ask Indian origin NRI’s/PIO’s who have migrated abroad:

“Why did you migrate away from India to a new country…?” 

the “migrants” always say: 

We migrated for a “Better Life”…

I did not exactly understand what they really meant by “Better Life”.

During my two visits to New Zealand in 2015/2016 – I met a few “Kiwi Indians” who had migrated to New Zealand for a “Better Life”. 

I have written a few “Migrant Tales” in my Blogs. 

Here is one such story…

MIGRANT TALES

THE “KIWI INDIAN” TAXI DRIVER 

A Story By Vikram Karve

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/07/migrant-tales-kiwi-indian-taxi-driver.html

Circa 2016 (In the Lobby of a Hotel in Auckland – New Zealand)

“Good Morning, Uncle…” the young man said.

I recognized him at once.

He was my friend’s son.

“Oh – Hello…” I said, “it’s so nice to see you here…”

“Yes, Uncle…”

“What are you doing out here…? Holidaying in New Zealand…?” I asked him.

“I live here…” he said.

“You live here…? In Auckland…?”

“Yes, Uncle – and you’ve come on a holiday…?”

“Yes – I reached Auckland 3 days ago – I saw the sights here – now I am going on a week’s tour of South Island – in fact – I am flying to Christchurch by the morning flight – the hotel has called a taxi to take me to the airport – I am waiting for the taxi to arrive…” I said.

“Oh – I think I am the taxi…” he said.

“You…?”

“Yes, Uncle – I will just check at the reception…” he said – and he went to talk to the receptionist.

He returned soon – and said to me:

“Come, Uncle – I’ll drop you at the airport…”

He picked up my bag and we walked to the taxi which was parked outside.

Soon – we were travelling to the airport – which was half-an-hour’s drive away.

“Uncle – I hope you are spending a few days in North Island too – there is a lot to see here too…” he said.

“Yes – after I return from South Island – I am spending a week here…”

“That’s great – I’ll give you my number – you must have dinner with me – and – of course – I will drive you around whenever you want to hire a taxi…”

I was curious as to why he – such a well-qualified boy – was driving a taxi – but – I did not want to embarrass him – so – I asked him:

“When we met last – you were doing your MBA – weren’t you…?”

“Yes, Uncle – around 5 years ago – in Mumbai – that’s the last time we met – you had come over to our place – I was finishing my MBA…”

“Yes – it was more than 5 years ago – I lost contact with your Dad after that…” I said.

And then – I asked him:

“When did you come to New Zealand…?”

“I came here 3 years ago – I wanted a “Better Life”…” he said.

“Better Life…?”

“Yes, Uncle – I got a job after my MBA – but – I was not happy in India – so – I decided to migrate to New Zealand – and – the best way to migrate to New Zealand was through the “student pathway”…”

“Student Pathway…? What’s that…?” I asked him.

“All of us – we migrate using the “student pathway” – first “student visa” – then “work visa” – then “residency” – and finally – “citizenship” of New Zealand – and – once you get the coveted “New Zealand Passport” – the whole world is open to you…”

“Oh – I thought Indian students come here for higher education…”

“No one comes here for “genuine education” – we do these courses because – the “student pathway” is the easiest route to residency and citizenship…”

“Oh…”

“Here – even as a student – you are allowed to work part-time 20 hours a week and full-time on weekends. And then – you can easily get a “post study work visa” – and you can work full-time on any type of jobs you can manage to get. Compared to India – the minimum wage here is quite good – more than 15 New Zealand Dollars per hour – so you can make a decent amount of money – if are prepared to work long hours – at inconvenient times – and – if you are ready to do anything – any sort of work…”

“And – there seems to be “dignity of labour” here too…”

“That’s only on the surface. The ground reality is that we immigrants have to do those jobs that the locals don’t want to do…”

“Really…?”

“It is simple – we migrants have to do the jobs that “Pakeha” Kiwis don’t want to do…”

“Pakeha…?”

“Pakeha means a “White New Zealander” – a New Zealander who is of “European descent”…”

“Oh…”

“I think they do it purposely – they trick youngsters from developing countries like India to come here for education – by showing them a “rosy picture” – they make money from “international” students – and then – they make these “immigrants” do jobs that New Zealanders don’t want to do – but – we immigrants are ready to do any type of job – just for the sake of getting residency…”

“We used to call these jobs “The 3 D’s” – Dirty Difficult Dangerous Jobs…” I joked.

“Yes, Uncle – those are the jobs most migrants do – especially those from countries like India – but it’s okay – but – as I told you – compared to India – the minimum wage here is quite good – so you can make good money if you work long hours at any time of the day or night and are ready to do anything…”

“Oh – so are all Indian immigrants doing such jobs – even after doing Higher Education courses over here in New Zealand…?”

“Yes, Uncle – most of us…”

“That’s sad…”

“Uncle – this whole “student pathway” migration business is a money-making racket – in which Education Agents back home in India, several Educational Institutions out here in New Zealand and some Kiwi Employers are all involved in exploiting and making money from Indian students…”

“Really…?”

“Back home in India – the so-called “Education Consultants” painted a rosy picture of employment opportunities in New Zealand after doing a course in New Zealand – so – I landed in New Zealand as an international student and completed another Degree in Management. I thought I would be flooded by job offers – but – I didn’t get a job. The employment opportunities here are not as rosy as painted by the “education counsellors” in India – it is very difficult to get a job – especially if you are an immigrant – and that too from India. I experienced racism too…”

“Racism…?”

“Yes, Uncle – there is plenty of Xenophobia, racism, discrimination over here – but – they don’t do it openly – it is subtle. They prefer to employ “Kiwis” – or people from “developed” countries – someone even advised me to change my Indian first name to a foreign sounding one…”

“Change your name…? Why…?”

Uncle – a “Kiwi” friend advised me:

“You change your name to an “English” sounding one – then – you will stand a better chance of getting a job…”

“At first – I laughed at him – but later – I realized that he had a point – some of my Indian migrant friends with “English” sounding names were getting more calls for interviews – and jobs too….”

“It’s unbelievable…”

“It is funny – but sad. In India – we give preference to foreign “expats” – but here – they don’t care about Indian migrants. In fact – my Indian degrees and work experience did not count much here in New Zealand. Out here – it was New Zealand educational qualifications and “Kiwi” work experience that mattered. I had a New Zealand Degree – but I didn’t have New Zealand work experience – so I just couldn’t get a good job…”

“That’s sad – you had a double MBA – one from India and one from New Zealand – but still you didn’t get a good job…?”

“Uncle – my father spent 20 Lakh Rupees for sending me to New Zealand for Education. I thought I will get a good job when I completed my course – but – I could not get a job. Though I was well qualified – I found my Indian ethnicity a barrier to getting a good job – and – though not officially stated – it was clear that there was covert racial discrimination – and once in a while – I heard racist slurs as well – though they didn’t say it directly on my face…”

“It must have been terrible…”

“At that point of time – I should have gone back to India – but it would be a big “loss of face” – so – I kept applying for jobs – I was in need of money – I did not want to ask my father for more money – since he had already spent a huge amount of money for sending me to New Zealand and on my education over here – so I was ready to do whatever job was available – at one point I was doing 3 part-time jobs at the same time – as a petrol pump attendant at night – washing taxis and tourist buses in the morning in bone chilling winter – and delivering pizzas during the day. Then – I was lucky – the owner of the taxi company where I washed cars and buses – he offered me a job as a Taxi Driver – and – I am driving taxis ever since…”

I felt sad seeing my friend’s son – such a well-qualified boy – driving taxis – and enduring such a tough life – so I said to him:

“Let me give you some advice. You forget about “loss of face” etc. Why don’t you return to India…? With your management qualifications – I am sure you will get a good job in India. I have some contacts in the industry – I will try and help you out…”

“Thanks, Uncle – but there is no way I am going to return to India…”

“But why…?”

“It is a “Better Life” over here in New Zealand…” he said.

The taxi reached the airport.

The young man – my friend’s son – he took out my bag from the taxi and placed it by my side on the walkway.

He gave me his mobile number – which I stored on my mobile phone.

“Uncle – please call me the moment you return to Auckland from your South Island tour…” he said.

I said “Yes” – and – I paid him the taxi fare.

He took the money – he said “Good Bye” to me – he sat in his taxi – and he drove off.

As I watched him drive away – I thought to myself:

“He was a highly qualified boy. 

Had he remained in India – or even if he returned home to India now – he could easily get a good corporate job and work in a comfortable managerial position in India. 

But here – in New Zealand – he was slogging a Taxi Driver. 

Despite this – he called it a “Better Life”…”

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/07/migrant-tales-kiwi-indian-taxi-driver.html

Army Day Reading – My Favourite War Novel – “All Quiet on the Western Front”

January 15, 2018

Yesterday – I saw a movie called THE POST

This movie (The Post) depicts the true story of the journalists who published the Pentagon Papers – classified documents regarding undisclosed information about the involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War.

The Pentagon Papers exposed how warmongering politicians systematically lied to the public about the Vietnam War – and how they kept sending soldiers as “cannon fodder” to fight in Vietnam – despite knowing the fact that the war was an exercise in futility.

These powerful politicians did this unethical act mainly to avoid a humiliating military defeat – which would hurt their ego – and puncture their mendacious lies.

Today is Indian Army Day

All this reminds me of my favourite War Novel – ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Erich Maria Remarque

Here is book review of “All Quiet on the Western Front” that I had written a few years ago…

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

Soldiers don’t start wars.

Politicians start wars.

But – Politicians don’t die in wars.

It is the Soldiers who die in wars.

And – on many occasions – after soldiers from both sides have massacred each other – the wily politicians negotiate with each other – and make deals to stop the wars they have started – treaties, armistice, truce, cease-fire – rendering the sacrfice of the soldiers futile.

Even if a war is won – it is the politicians who take credit for victory – relegating the soldiers to the background.

To put it in a nutshell – politicians use soldiers as “cannon-fodder” to suit their needs.

This is the gist of the classic war novel  ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT  – the most authentic war novel – I have ever read.

Dear Reader:

Here is my updated Book Review of  All Quiet on the Western Front  by  Erich Maria Remarque which I first wrote a few years ago.

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/soldiers-dont-start-wars-politicians.html

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Erich Maria Remarque

Book Review By Vikram Karve

NB: In my Book Review below – the generic term “soldier” encompasses all uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force)

PSYCHE OF A SOLDIER

I have observed that most civilian citizens – including the “powers-that-be” – do not understand the “psyche” of a soldier.

If you watch TV News – you will see that there are wars and conflicts going on in various parts of the world.

Almost every day – we see news of soldiers being martyred while fighting terrorists or on the Line of Control (LOC) with our hostile neighbour.

But – the common man remains indifferent to this news since it does not affect him – and – some insensitive politicians go to the extent of making outrageous remarks like “soldiers are paid to die” etc

In the recent past – we saw the tragic sight of military veterans on hunger strike for OROP (One Rank One Pension) and seeking parity in in CPC pay and perks with civilian employees and correction of anomalies.

We dismiss the OROP imbroglio as “any other issue” – thinking that military veterans protesting and agitating is similar to industrial workers, civilian employees or students going on strike – which happens quite frequently.

In recent times – there have been news reports about Soldiers taking recourse to Social Media to project their grievances.

Many grievances of the Military and Veterans like Pay Commission Anomalies remain unresolved for many years.

In 2015 – we saw Jingoistic Politicians “celebrate” the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 War – while Military Veterans who actually fought in the 1965 War were ignored.

We confuse “Jingoism” with “Patriotism”

I have seen that many people feel that jingoism means patriotism – whereas – in actual fact – there is a big difference between jingoism and patriotism.

Most civilians have a fancy image of the Armed Forces – because they see the “pomp and show” of smartly dressed soldiers marching during the Republic Day Parade and other ceremonial occasions – or they observe the elegant social life of military officers in peacetime cantonments.

But very few civilians know about the harrowing time experienced a soldier in the field – where he is subjected to extreme physical strain and mental stress – not only in war, border skirmishes and counter-insurgency combat operations – but even in “peacetime” – when he is deployed on hazardous “aid to civil power” duties for maintaining law and order or in dangerous disaster rescue and relief or on “internal security” duties in anti-militancy/anti-terrorism and Counter-Insurgency (CI) operations.

There is a stark contrast between “peacetime soldiering” in exquisite military cantonments and the harsh life in the field (and at sea on warships) – and – sadly – only the former is visible to civilian citizens.

For a civilian citizen – it is difficult to grasp the psychology of the average combat soldier – who lives in an environment of dread and fear – and survives each moment with death tagging him at the elbow.

Over time – the soldier becomes reproachful of those who enjoy safety and security – sitting in peaceful comfort – far away from danger – be they politicians, bureaucrats, civilian citizens, or even his own senior officers or the non-combatant “tail” of the Army.

And – this feeling of antipathy further alienates the soldier from civil society – and increases the chasm between the military and the civil society.

In order to bridge this gulf – it is necessary to apprise the common man about the life of a soldier.

Sadly – we have failed to do this.

Our Mainstream Media tends to hype and dramatize military news/issues for TRPs.

Though Hollywood has produced some realistic War Movies – in India – most Bollywood War Films are jingoistic and overly dramatic in nature.

Curiously – even the Armed Forces indulge in hype and propaganda whenever their PR machinery puts out reports in the media.

Even in their recruitment advertisements – the defence services project the “goody goody” part of “peacetime soldiering” – while downplaying the tough realistic aspects of military life.

If you read military literature – to see whether there are any literary works which discern between hype and truth – you will realize that most war novels tend to romanticize war – accentuating jingoistic and romantically appealing concepts such as glory, honour, patriotism, sacrifice, adventure, heroism etc – which are far removed from reality.

When I asked myself whether there were any authentic military novels which realistically depict the “psyche of the soldier” – I remembered that indeed I had at least one such book on my bookshelves.

So – I delved into my bookcase and pulled out my ancient dog-eared copy of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT – which is the most authentic war novel I have ever read.

As is the case with most of my books – I picked up this book long ago from the pavement bookstalls located on the footpath opposite the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) near Hutatma Chowk (Flora Fountain) in Mumbai.

Whenever I buy a book – I always write the date and place – and I see – that I have bought this book 40 years ago in 1978 in Mumbai (then called Bombay).

So – Dear Reader – let me tell you a bit about this classic war novel which authentically describes the horrors of war and portrays the psyche of a soldier in a most realistic manner.

AUTHENTIC MILITARY LITERATURE

DETAILS OF THE BOOK

Title: All Quiet on the Western Front

Published: 1958 (Fawcett Crest) Paperback 175 Pages

Author: Erich Maria Remarque

ISBN: 44901634095

Edition language: English (Translated from German)

The above details pertain to the copy of the book I have with me.

For details of various editions of “All Quiet on the Western Front” – just “Google” the title – or click the url link below:

https://www.goodreads.com/work/editions/2662852-im-westen-nichts-neues 

Also – if you do a google search – you will see that this classic book is freely available online on the internet.

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT – An Authentic Military Novel

There are very few authentic military novels.

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is the most authentic war novel that I have read.

The author Erich Maria Remarque was a German War Veteran and this novel is based on his first hand combat experiences during World War I.

Writing with stark authenticity, Erich Maria Remarque realistically depicts the horrors of war as seen through the eyes of a simple soldier – the violence, brutality, fear and terror soldiers experience at every moment – and the novel vividly brings out the effect of combat on the psyche of a soldier.

A novel tells a story.

But – storytelling alone can never produce a great novel – a classic.

What makes a novel a classic is whether the novel has a message – a “moral of the story” – and how effectively the author succeeds in conveying this message to the reader – so that the “moral of the story” has a lasting impact on the reader.

As elaborated by EM Forster in his book “Aspects of a Novel”  –  two most important aspects – or indeed – the sine qua non – of a good novel is that – the story must move in time – and more importantly – the story must impart “value” to the reader – and this “value” is encapsulated in the “moral of the story”.

Erich Maria Remarque achieves this brilliantly – writing in present tense to move the story in time – and using flashbacks to effectively convey the “moral of the story”.

The novel emphasizes that soldiers are normal human beings like everyone else.

Soldiers have feelings like you and me.

Soldiers have families, children, relatives, friends – and love them.

Soldiers are sensitive individuals – not emotionless zombies.

The narrator – a young man only 19 years of age – joins the German Army and fights on the French Front in World War I (the “Western Front”).

The narrator speaks to you in the first person – and gives you his “worm’s eye view” of his war experience.

From time to time – by way of flashbacks – the narrator takes you into his “mind’s eye” – as he reflects on his own views, feelings and emotions on warfighting.

And right at the end of the story – while delivering his coup de grace – Erich Maria Remarque suddenly switches to ‘third person past tense’ – and you remain numbed by the epiphany.

As you read the story – you realize the narrator’s growing awareness of the emptiness of such concepts as patriotism, glory and honour when faced with the reality of war.

When they start fighting on the frontline – the young newly inducted soldiers perceive the huge dissonance between peacetime hype and wartime reality.

THE FRONT-LINE ISN’T A PARADE-GROUND

The essence of the book can be encapsulated in the comment – “… the front-line isn’t a parade-ground…” – expressed in ruminations of the narrator in Chapter 5 of the book.

I too realized the significance of this military truism (“… the front-line isn’t a parade-ground…”) – around 42 years ago – in the 1970’s – during my nascent days in the Navy – when I joined a front-line warship after completing my training.

Here – on the warship – the focus was on operational excellence and professionalism – in stark contrast to the emphasis on parades, drill and “spit and polish” – during our naval training in “stone frigates”.

The story in “All Quiet on the Western Front” begins when – immediately on completion of their basic military training – the narrator and his friends are sent to the front-line to fight on the battlefield.

Fighting on the frontline – the raw soldiers realize the military truth – that – in the “fog of war” – the harsh reality is that – “the front-line isn’t a parade-ground” – and that all that parade drill and ‘spit and polish’ they had endured during training was futile – and is of no use in brutal warfighting on the frontline.

Subjected to the horrors of war – the narrator and his fellow soldiers realize the “absurdities of saluting and parade” – and – in a rare expression of dark humor – one of his comrades in uniform sarcastically comments:

“You take it from me – we are losing the war because we can salute too well…”

As they fight a brutal battle on the front-line – the soldiers realize the huge difference between “peacetime soldiering” and actual warfighting.

In peacetime – the Army is a reliable, decent job.

However – peacetime rules and hierarchy lose their relevance in the fog of war and amidst the chaos on the battlefield.

In wartime – rules and hierarchy are pretty useless and silly – especially in the merciless cruel atmosphere of ruthless ferocious conflict.

On the battlefront – it is straight and simple:

“…Kill – or be killed…”

As the narrative progresses – we see the protagonist’s growing awareness of the emptiness of such jingoistic concepts as patriotism and honour when faced with the reality of war.

He realizes that most civilians seem to know nothing about military life.

War may be an adventure to a jingoist sitting comfortably at home – but it is a terrible experience for the combat soldier who is actually confronted with the possibility of being blown to pieces at any moment.

As he engages in brutal merciless infantry combat – attacks and counterattacks – bombings and artillery barrages – seeing dead and wounded comrades around him every day – he is overcome by fear and a sense of fatalism – and he becomes obsessed with survival.

I am sure most soldiers have experienced similar emotions.

No soldier wants to die – or worse – get injured and become disabled for life.

A soldier just wants to complete his “tour of combat duty” – and return home in one piece – safe and sound.

Forget about full scale war – this is true even in so-called “peacetime” deployments in the field, especially on turbulent borders and in counterinsurgency operations.

I remember that whenever we were deployed – all that the crew wanted was to return safe and sound and waited eagerly for our warship to return to our base port.

SOLDIERS DON’T START WARS

A soldier does not like war – because it the soldier who suffers most in war.

Soldiers don’t start wars.

It is the politicians who start wars.

But – politicians don’t die in the war – it is the soldiers who die in the war.

And later – when the war has been won – it is the jingoists who celebrate war-victories – and most of these jingoists are civilians who probably have never seen a shot fired in anger.

Earlier – in the days of monarchy – the King would lead his Army on the battlefield.

The King would lead his soldiers from the front – he would lead by personal example – fighting on the battlefield.

Sometimes – the King would be killed on the battlefield.

If he lost the war – the King would be imprisoned – and most likely – he would be executed or tortured to death by the victor.

Nowadays – in modern democracies – politicians rule nations.

But – politicians do not lead soldiers on the battlefield.

In fact – politicians have nothing to do with the fighting.

Politicians remain safe and sound – securely ensconced in peaceful comfort – far away from danger.

Politicians exhort soldiers to sacrifice their lives for the nation – but – politicians themselves are unwilling to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the soldiers and risk their lives for the nation.

So – during the war – politicians keep themselves safe and sound.

And – when the soldiers win the war – the politicians emerge from their safe cocoons – to “celebrate” and take credit for the war victory.

Politicians benefit from war without risking their own life and limb.

Politicians use soldiers as “cannon-fodder” to suit their needs

GIST (MESSAGE) OF THE BOOK

The inherent message in “All Quiet on the Western Front” is that:

whether the war is won or lost – it is the soldier who is most affected by the war 

In fact – all soldiers are affected by the war.

Some soldiers are martyred in the war – and they die on the battlefield.

Among those who survive – there are no “unwounded” soldiers.

Some soldiers are injured – and many of the injured soldiers may get physically disabled for life.

But – all soldiers who go through a brutal war – they are “mentally scarred” for life.

The author wants to convey that “war destroys men”

War can kill them – it can cripple them – it can leave them mentally traumatized for life.

Even if soldiers survive the war in one piece – it leaves them changed for life.

While the book focuses on the extreme physical and mental stress faced by soldiers during the war – it also delves on the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the battlefront.

Whilre depicting the difficulty of soldiers to revert to civilian life after having experienced extreme combat situations – Erich Maria Remarque says:

“…men – even though they may have escaped its shells – (they) were destroyed by the war…”

CONCLUSION

If you have noticed – while I have delved on the theme – I have not divulged the story of “All Quiet on the Western Front” – because I want you to enjoy the book fully when you read it.

Of course – in subsequent blog posts – I am going to discuss some salient excerpts from this book – and try and relate then to present times.

I recommend you read this classic war novel – in fact – I would say that this is a “must read” book – especially if you are thinking of joining the Army or the Armed Forces.

Of course – if you are already in the Army – you must have already read this book as a part of “essential reading” during your cadet training days – and – I am sure this review will motivate you to read “All Quiet on the Western Front” once again.

Do read the war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front”.

As I said earlier – you can easily get the book – in print – or digital version – and it is freely available on internet too.

Written in German language – “Im Westen nichts Neues” was first published in serial form in the German Newspaper Vossische Zeitung from November 10 to December 9, 1928.

It was published in book form the following year (1929) and became a big success.

The 1929 English translation of this book by Arthur Wesley Wheen had the title: “All Quiet on the Western Front”.

The literal translation of “Im Westen nichts Neues” is “In the West Nothing New” – with “West” referring to the “Western Front” – and the phrase referring to the content of an official communique at the end of the novel.

“All Quiet on the Western Front” earned Remarque international popularity – and by the time of his death in 1970 – perhaps fifty million copies of the novel had been sold – and it had been translated into fifty-five languages.

“All Quiet on the Western Front” is still widely regarded by many readers and critics as the greatest war novel of the twentieth century.

I love reading military literature – especially war fiction – and I have read many war novels – but “All Quiet on the Western Front” is my all time favourite.

The writing style is unique – owing to its stark authenticity – and this book has left a lasting impression on me.

I am glad I read this superb novel – and – I am sure that you will find reading this engrossing book a fulfilling and enriching experience.

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. I have expressed my thoughts and interpretation in this book review. Readers are requested to derive their own interpretations.
  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)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/soldiers-dont-start-wars-politicians.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Revised re-post of My Book Review of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT posted by me online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal blog on August 28, 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/all-quiet-on-western-front-book-review.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/11/combat-is-not-parade.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/01/a-must-read-book-for-youth-thinking-of.html

Musings on Army Day – Élan and OLQ (Officer Like Qualities)

January 15, 2018

ARMY DAY MUSINGS 

ÉLAN and “OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES” (OLQ) 
 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2018/01/army-day-musings-olq-officer-like.html

India has had 30 Army Chiefs since Independence (4 C-in-C + 26 COAS) (General Rajendrasinhji held both posts)

Of these, two outstanding and inimitable Chiefs Field Marshal S.F.H.J. (Sam) Manekshaw and General K Sundarji  have made a special mark and have achieved “unforgettable” status.

Many consider General KS Thimayya as an outstanding General.

Well – he may have been a brave officer, a proven combat leader, and a distinguished General – but many Veterans feel that he lost much of his sheen during his tenure as Army Chief when he allowed himself to be browbeaten by Politicians.

This diminished his stature – and he lost much of the respect and reverence he had earned during his long and distinguished service.

Had General Thimayya stood his ground – the 1962 debacle may never have happened.

Long back – 32 years ago – in 1986 – when I was on the faculty of IAT Pune – an Army colleague showed me an open letter that his Chief General K Sundarji had written to all Army Officers.

It was an open letter – exhorting each and every officer to live up to the high standards of professionalism, élan and values expected of each and every officer (“officer like qualities”).

It was a very inspiring letter which left a lasting impression on me.

A few years ago – while preparing a induction training “pep talk” for some young trainees – I remembered this letter.

I searched for it on the internet and I found just one link – yes – at that point of time – I found just one link – to this famous letter.

We must thank that one person for preserving this motivating piece in cyberspace for posterity.

Today (the 15th of January) is ARMY DAY

Though this letter by General K Sundarji was written 32 years ago – in 1986 – I feel that this inspiring letter is most relevant today when the Indian Army is going through difficult times – especially on the moral and ethical front – with frequent media reports of so many senior officers getting embroiled in scams, scandals and indulging in unethical activities.

In these challenging times, it would be apt for all officers, senior and junior, to read this inspiring letter – ponder on the various points discussed – introspect and reflect on the reasons for the falling standards of OLQ (Officer Like Qualities) in the Army – take corrective action – and aim for self-improvement and upholding service values and ethos.

I am giving the url link below – and – for your convenience – I am also posting the letter below for you to read.

(Courtesy Commander Debashis Mukherjee’s Website url:   http://debashis1.tripod.com/sundarji/sundarji.htm )

OPEN LETTER BY THE ARMY CHIEF GENERAL K SUNDARJI TO ALL OFFICERS OF THE INDIAN ARMY

General K Sundarji, PVSM, ADC

Army Headquarters, New Delhi-110 001

1 Feb 86

Dear Brother Officer,

  1. It is imperative that we have a totally combat effective Army to support the revitalised Indiaof tomorrow in her rightful place in the world. This involves getting the ‘man-machine mix’ just right, improving the quality of both and placing them in a structure which will be effective in the battlefield milieu of the Nineties and the early decades of 2000. It is an exercise as exciting as it is challenging and I am fully confident that we will succeed.
  1. Briefly mentioning the ‘machine’, we have thus far modernised only by discrete changes of weapons systems and equipment. We were also dependent mostly on imported equipment, which apart from not being designed to suit our exact requirements, were also not ‘state of the art’ and at least a generation behind those used by more modern armies. Much of this has changed and is fast changing. Our R & D has come of age and having had a close look at the scene for some years, I can assure you that we are on the verge of take-off. There are still some problems of translation of R & D into production, but these are also being solved fast. Therefore, the time has now come for us to take a total look at technology, threats, tactics and organisations in order to restructure our Army and develop doctrine for the future. This is in hand, and want each one of you to be involved in the process.
  1. However, no amount of modernisation of arms, equipment, tactics and organisations can produce results unless we have the right kind of man in the right state of mind, manning the system. And that is what this letter of mine is about.
  1. The fact that the Army is one of the national institutions which has, comparatively speaking, weathered the post-independence years and yet remains effective, should not make us complacent. Field Marshal Cariappa used to say, “Good officers – good Army; bad officers – bad Army”. This is as true today as it was then. We should, therefore look at ourselves first and be not only frank but hypercritical. As a whole, the Corps of Officers has lost much of its self esteem, pride and élan; it is becoming increasingly careerist, opportunist and sycophantic; standards of integrity have fallen and honour and patriotism are becoming unfashionable. Paradoxically, all this is happening, while in the narrow sense, professional competence has been going up at all levels since 1947. Broad-based though our intake has become, our young officers have proved in every action which they have fought, that they are brave and lead from the front – our officer casualty ratio in every action testifies to this. Where then, are we going wrong?
  1. First, let us look at ourselves — the senior officers; most of us are senior to some of the others and so this includes almost all of us. We have obviously NOT set the right example. Many of us have not professionally kept ourselves up-to-date, doctrinally or technologically; we have felt that that we have ‘got it made’, and rested on our oars; we do not read enough; we do not think enough, and some of course, have been promoted well beyond their capability! In the practise of our profession, we have not insisted on standards being maintained and turn our eyes away from irregularities (living in a glass house?); we have not been tolerant of dissent during discussion and encourage sycophancy (a result of our having ‘switched off’ professionally?) we have not been accepting any mistakes (due to hankering after personal advancement?), thus encouraging our juniors to either do nothing worthwhile or to oversupervise their juniors, who in turn are not allowed to develop professionally or mature as men. This leads to frustration. Finally, some have perhaps unthinkingly developed a yen for 5-star culture and ostentation which flows from new-rich values in our society, where money is the prime indicator of success and social position. This adoption of mercenary values in an organisation like the Army which depends for its élan on values like honour, duty and country above self, is disastrous for its élan and for the self-esteem of the individual in it. And once we start thinking of ourselves as third class citizens, it is not long before our civilian brethren take us at our own valuation, and some of them perhaps not without a touch of glee!
  1. I am not suggesting that woefully inadequate pay and poor compensation packages for hard and turbulent service conditions, and being forced to live slummily with a poor quality of life do not prevent the development of élan and self-esteem. They do. It is also a fact that the overall compensation package of the servicemen is poor and has deteriorated rapidly over the years. So is it a fact that the present dispensation is inequitable as far as the armed forces are concerned as compared to their peers in other government services. These facts have been brought forcefully to the notice of the Pay Commission and the Government and I will continue to press hard for a fair and equitable deal. I would also like to add that all my contacts with the authorities so far, have convinced me that they are sympathetically aware of our problems. The Prime Minister himself is aware of the psychological problems caused by the unwarranted and continued degradation of service officers in the Warrant of Precedence. He has ordered that this problem be analysed and put up to him. But to tell you all this is not the purpose of this letter; I want to dwell on what we can do, in-house, to increase the élan and self-esteem of the Officer Corps.
  1. The bed-rock of élan is the professional competence of individuals and leaders, and the faith, confidence and pride in the effectiveness of the group – the section upwards, to the Army as a whole. In developing professional competence, I would like to emphasise developing an active technological curiosity without which one cannot cope with the battlefield of tomorrow. I want that we read more and seriously, think more and seriously, discuss more and seriously and write more and seriously about professional matters. This last, has been inhibited by our exaggerated and self-defeating system of security classifications and centralised clearance requirements. I intend putting this right speedily. As regards developing group effectiveness, we have to do much more towards making our training mission-oriented, interesting, competitive and effective inspite of the various constraints of which we are well aware. We should certainly avoid training for training’s sake which not only gets to be boring but moves further and further away from the realities of battle conditions. Let us not get to the mentality of the British Colonel of the regular army who is said to have remarked on 11 Nov 1918, “Thank God the war is over; now we can get back to some serious soldiering”!
  1. All of us talk about ‘Officer Like Qualities’and about being officers and gentlemen. I am not sure whether to many of us these terms means the same thing. Being a gentlemen does not mean Westernisation and becoming a poor imitation of a ‘White Sahib’; it does not mean a tie and a jacket or the ability to handle a knife and fork just so! It refers to the ‘Sharafat’ that is ingrained in the best of Indian culture; of honour and integrity; of putting the interests of the county, the Army, the unit and one’s subordinates before one’s own; of doggedness in defeat; of magnanimity in victory; of sympathy for the underdog; of a certain standard of behaviour and personal conduct in all circumstances; of behaving correctly towards one’s seniors, juniors and equals. I am very concerned about the increasing sycophancy towards seniors which unless checked will corrode the entire system. Much of this, I realise, is due to the pernicious system of recompense and financial advancement being totally linked to higher ranks. These are of necessity limited due to functional compulsions, and which notwithstanding cadre reviews, are microscopic compared to prospects of our peers in other Government services. And finally, prospects of promotion in rank, being totally dependent on the reports of the seniors. I am hopeful that the introduction of the ‘Running Pay Band’, which would offer equitable prospects without being fully tied to ranks, would break this vicious circle and help us to develop strong back-bones and guts. I would like to make a point regarding those officers who are unfortunate not to be cleared for promotion to various selection ranks. Barring a very small minority, the bulk of them have not been cleared, not because they are not good, but because the system functionally cannot absorb them in a higher rank, and generally it is a difficult choice. In any of the civil services, these officers would have passed through their respective selection grades with ease. The fact that they are retained in the Service upto the ages of 50, 52, 54 or 56 depending upon their rank, is not an act of philanthropy, but because the Army needs them for a vital function. They are not discards or deadwood; they are the salt of the earth and are required to lead companies, squadrons and batteries in war and it is at this level that actions are won or lost and fill equally vital positions in the various higher ranks at which they have got blocked. A running pay band will recompense them for the job they continue to do well and also restore their self-esteem.
  1. On the symbolic and psychological plane, I would like to see much less of obsequious and compulsive ‘sirring’. A ‘Sir’ on the first meeting for the day ought to be adequate, followed up in later conversation by ‘Major’ or ‘Colonel’ or ‘General’ as the case may be. I am not suggesting familiarity or impertinence – seniors ought to be treated with due respect and courtesy but cringing must be avoided.
  1. On the part of the seniors, there is an unfortunate tendency today of more or less sticking to one’s own rank level even in social intercourse and not mixing adequately with junior officers. This must be put right. We cannot afford to have a caste-system within the Officer Corps. In dealings with peers and juniors also, courtesy, consideration and good manners are equally essential. There is none so disgusting as a person who boot-licks the senior, boots the junior and cuts the throats of his peers. I also notice that of late there has been a regrettable communication gap developing between officers and men. I attribute this primarily to selfishness on the part of the officers and not caring enough about the men. This must be corrected. At all levels, we must insist that we live up to the Chetwodeian motto.
  1. There is a lot that we can do to improve our quality of life. The standards of officers’ messes in all areas have deteriorated badly. Dust, dirt and grime, sloppily turned out mess staff, chipped and cracked crockery, unpolished furniture and silver etc, are more and more in evidence. A pseudo-plush decor is attempted, with expensive and garish curtains and upholstery, wall to wall carpeting and so on; these cannot compensate for lack of care, attention to detail and maintenance of standards; nor can aerosol room fresheners substitute for fresh air and cleanliness. Messes are generally run down and seedy on a daily basis and though special efforts are made to spruce them up for special occasions (generally following the aerosol route) the lack of standards still comes through. This must be put right by the painstaking method of insisting on standards. We must keep the messes traditional without opting for a 5-star decor. The standard of food is generally poor and lacking in variety, not because the ingredients are not available but because of lack of attention to organisation and poor training of cooks. With free rations, there is no reason as to why we cannot spend a little on training our cooks and modernising our kitchens. While on the quality of life, I must mention that by custom and usage of service, some privileges do go with added responsibility and senior rank, and I am sure that none would grudge these if used sensibly. However, in some cases senior officers tend to get delusions of grandeur and overdo their privileges on a Moghul style. This is bad and must stop. Otherwise privileges themselves might be withdrawn.
  1. We must encourage our officers to make full use of the opportunities that the Service provides of developing a wide range of interests. We serve in all parts of the country, including inaccessible areas, to get where civilians have to invest in money and effort. We have the advantage of infrastructure available country-wide. Apart from opportunities for all kinds of adventure activities, interests in astronomy, photography, fishing, wild life, bird-watching, conservation and so on can be cultivated with little expense. There is a lot going for life in the Service and we must make the most of it.
  1. Let us all resolve that we will :-

(a) Shed the dead weight of mediocrity and strive for excellence, each one in his own sphere.

(b) Hold fast to all that is best in our traditions and the finest in values, while doing away with the useless and meaningless.

(c) Avoid ostentation.

(d) Not sell our souls for a good ACR and promotion.

(e) Constantly enhance and update our professional competence.

(f) Sensibly decentralise authority and responsibility.

(g) Permit maximum initiative to our subordinates, and accept a fair quota of honest mistakes as necessary payment for their professional growth and maturity.

(h) Encourage dissent and new ideas at the policy formulation and discussion stage and insist on implicit obedience in the right spirit, post-decision, at the execution stage.

(j) Cultivate a justifiable pride in ourselves, our units, formations, the Army and the Country.

(k) And finally, live up to the motto:

“The safety, honour and welfare of your Country come first, always and everytime. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last always and everytime”.

  1. Before I close, a word to our professional cynics! I can almost hear some say, “Well, we have known all this for quite a while but what’s been done? I’ll believe that something is going to be done when I see something happening on the ground”!
  1. As a people, thus far, we have generally been waiting for initiatives from on top; for neatly gift-wrapped solutions from ‘authority’; we have waited for the ‘Sarkar’ or ‘Bhup Singh’ or whoever, to do it.
  1. I put it to you, that YOU have to do something about ittoo. We have everything — the brains, the bravery, the technology, the skills, the ability — all we have to do is to get YOU moving and ‘Get our Act together’and there is no stopping us!

God Speed!

Yours sincerely,

General K Sundarji

Isn’t this a truly inspiring letter…?

Notice the frequent use of the term “élan”.

That is what we believed in – when we were in the Navy: 

The Navy is not just a career  the Navy is a way of life – and Élan and Self-Esteem are the bedrock of Navy Life (and Military Life).

Greetings on Army Day to all the brave men and women of the Indian Army 

Dear Faujis and Veterans – Wish You a Happy Army Day 

VIKRAM KARVE

“Glad Eye” and “Nubile Nymph” – A Romance

January 13, 2018

One of my favourite readers used the term “Glad Eye” while commenting on one of my stories. 

This reminded me of this hilarious romantic story from my Navy Days…

Story of a ROVING EYE (“GLAD EYE”) and a NUBILE NYMPH” 

Disclaimer:

Dear Reader – before you start reading this story – please make sure that your sense of humor is still intact – this yarn is a fictional spoof – a tall story – satire – pure fiction – just for fun and amusement – no offence is meant to anyone – so you must take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.

And, yes – this story is for mature adults only – so if you are a kid – or an overly gender sensitive type – please skip this story.

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/humor-in-uniform-nubile-nymph-and.html

WINE WOMEN and OLQ (Officer Like Qualities)
A Fictional Spoof
Adult Fiction – A Tall Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

PROLOGUE

There is a saying in the Navy:

“If you want to know the true character of an officer – ask his coursemates…”

Seniors will have one view of an officer – juniors will have another view – but it is his peers who will know the officer inside-out – especially his course-mates who have seen the officer from close quarters from academy days.

So – if you want to know about me – what type of Naval Officer I was – please ask my Navy coursemates – or ask my shipmates – who are of roughly of my seniority – who were my peers in uniform.

However – in the Navy – as far your career prospects are concerned – your character does not matter much.

It is your image (spoken reputation) which matters most.

This is because – unfortunately – in the Navy – your course-mates do not write your all-important ACR (Annual Confidential Report) which is the “be-all and end-all” Performance Appraisal Report in the Defence Services.

Your ACR is written by your seniors – known as “superior officers” in the Navy.

And – as far as your “superior officers” are concerned – they will mark your ACR depending on how they perceive you.

Yes – you will be judged by your image – rather than by your performance

So – in a nutshell:

Image replaces Performance…”

This dictum is very true in the Navy.

The key to career success is “Image Management”.

Unfortunately for me – for no fault of mine – owing to series of happenings beyond my control – in the Navy – especially as far as my senior officers were concerned – I developed a rather “notorious” image.

And once you are branded with a “notorious” image – fate conspires in such a way – that it is a downhill spiral all the way.

Even “good deeds” boomerang – as this story illustrates.

Once again let me say:

Dear Reader – before you start reading this story – please make sure that your sense of humor is still intact – this yarn is a spoof – pure fiction – just for fun and amusement – no offence is meant to anyone – so you must take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. And, yes – this story is for mature adults only – so if you are a kid – or an overly gender sensitive type – please skip this story.

I am sure you have heard of the 3 vices:

“Wine Women and Horses”

Now – here is a story about:

“Wine Women and Officers” 

Instead of “horses” we have “officers” – yes – officers in lieu of horses – as they say in the Navy.

The “wine” in the story is not really wine – it is something much stronger – liquor – booze – an alcoholic spirit called Rum.

And – maybe – instead of “officers” – it is more a story about OLQ (Officer Like Qualities).

So – it may be more appropriate to call the story:

“Wine Women and OLQ”

This happened long back – around 25 years ago – in the 1990’s – so you must take yourself back in time – relax – and enjoy this story in a leisurely manner.

“DRAMATIS PERSONAE” (MAIN CHARACTERS)

There are a few women in the story – but there is only one “main character” – the “heroine” of the story – a beautiful “Nubile Nymph” – let us call her “N”.

The other women in the story are side characters – like “extras” in a movie.

And as far as the male protagonists are concerned – there are 4 Naval Officers in the story:

“C” – The Horny Commodore with a “Roving Eye” who has the “hots” for “N” (the “Nubile Nymph”) and he constantly gives her a “Glad Eye”

“A” – The Ambitious Husband of “N” (the “Nubile Nymph”)

“S” – A Naval Officer – The maverick neighbour of “A” and “N”

To describe “S” in a nutshell – well – let’s say that:

“S” is more interested in “Wine” – rather than “Women”

And – of course – the 4th protagonist is “ME” – “Yours Truly”.

Yes – I am the 4th protagonist in this story – the narrator of this story – yes – I am the one who is going to tell you the story.

So – there are 5 protagonists in this story:

  1. “N” (“Nubile Nymph”)
  2. “C” (Horny Commodore with a “Roving Eye” who has the “hots” for Nubile Nymph “N”)
  3. “A” (Ambitious Husband of “N”)
  4. “S” (Maverick neighbour of “A” and “N”)
  5.  Me (Narrator of this Story)

Let’s start with “N” – the “heroine”.

As I told you – we had nicknamed her “Nubile Nymph”

But – in reality – she was neither “nubile” – nor was she a “nymph”.

In fact – she was very much married.

Also – before you start getting wrong ideas about the “nymph” part – let me tell you that in actual fact “N” was not a sex maniac – she was just a tease – she acted seductive and sexy – just to arouse the Horny” Commodore.

Yes – “Nubile Nymph” “N” was a tease – from time to time she gave the Horny Commodore the “come hither look” – which got him all excited.

From the moment she had met him – Nubile Nymph “N” had observed that the Horny Commodore “C” had a “Roving Eye”.

“N” had instantly noticed that “C” had the “hots” for her.

“N” knew that she was sexually attractive – and that most men were mesmerized by her.

If “N” had wanted – she could have had the Horny Commodore on a platter.

Yes – “C” was going crazy about “N” – desperately waiting for an opportunity to “steal her affections”.

But – “N” was not interested in romancing with the Commodore.

“N” was not at all interested in having a full-fledged affair with “C”.

She was interested in furthering her own husband’s career.

“N” knew that in the Navy – a wife’s status depends on her husband’s rank

“N” knew her husband’s limitations.

Her husband “A” was quite a mediocre type as compared to his competitors.

But – “N” had overcome all that by enticing the Horny Commodore “C” by her tantalizing charms.

“N” was an accomplished tease – and she sure knew how to keep men drooling for her.

“N” teased the Horny Commodore “C” – she titivated for him, wearing sexy outfits –  and gave him impish looks – and flirted with him – just to keep his hopes alive.

“N” had succeeded in doing this for the last one year – her efforts had ensured that her husband “A” had got the best possible performance appraisal – what they call in the Navy a “Thumping ACR” – from “C”.

Now “N” knew that she had to continue to keep the “fires burning” in the Horny Commodore’s loins – till the Horny Commodore “C” wrote her husband’s next ACR – just before the promotion board.

“N” was clear about her strategy.

Once her husband was promoted – and they moved on – there would be a new boss who she would have to work on – to mesmerize – and to bring under her spell.

Meanwhile – the Horny Commodore “C” was going crazy.

He had heard wild rumours about stealing affections, wife swapping, swinging and key-chain parties – but all those fantastic orgies lay in his imagination – since in his actual life – he had never seen anything like that happening.

But now – things seemed to be looking up – and the way “N” was tempting him – his hopes had been kindled.

The Horny Commodore “C” desperately wanted to have a go at the Nubile Nymph “N” – but – he did not have the “guts” to go ahead.

Of course – in his imagination – “C” had wild fantasies about himself rollicking with “N”.

But – in actual life – “C” was unable to realize his fantasies with “N” – because he was shit-scared and terrified of his own lawfully wedded wife – who was a shrew – and a real tough cookie.

The Horny Commodore’s wife knew of her husband’s proclivity for beautiful young women – especially his officers’ wives – and that is why she kept an “eagle eye” on him.

She let her husband’s eye “rove” a bit – but she kept her husband in firm check.

The Horny Commodore’s wife let him give “Nubile Nymph” the “glad eye” – she let her husband “C” flirt with “N” – but otherwise – she kept him on a “tight leash”.

Metaphorically speaking – the Horny Commodore’s situation was akin to a drooling dog desperately yearning for a bitch in heat – but unable to go ahead and mount her – since he is held back firmly on leash by his “master”.

I told you about “C” (the Horny Commodore).

I told you about “N” (the Nubile Nymph).

Now let me tell you about “A” – the husband of Nubile Nymph “N”.

There are two types of ambitious officers in the Navy.

The first type of ambitious officers take their Naval Careers seriously from the moment they join the Navy.

The second type of ambitious Naval Officers comprise carefree bachelors – who suddenly turn ambitious the moment they get married.

“A” was of the second type – he was a carefree bachelor who had become ambitious after marriage.

His wife “N” was the driving force behind him – as far as his career was concerned.

“A” was quite happy with what “N” was doing.

“A” knew that it was thanks to his wife N’s efforts – that he had become the Commodore’s “blue-eyed boy”.

The Careerist Officer “A” knew that his ambitious wife “N” would help him reach great heights of success.

THE STORY

Now that I have told you about the characters – let me begin to tell you the story.

It was a Monday evening – my “non-drinking day” – and I was walking along the banks of the nearby lake – enjoying the resplendent spectacle of the orange sun being swallowed up by the calm blue waters.

My reverie was disturbed by “A” who suddenly came behind me – almost dashing me with his scooter.

He wanted some Training Handbook.

“Hey – I am on my evening walk. The book is in my house. I will give it to you tomorrow in office…” I said.

“I want it urgently to prepare for tomorrow – I have a lecture in the morning…” he said, “I had gone to your house – but your wife told me you would be here.”

Irritated – I went with “A” on his scooter to my house.

I asked “A” to wait outside – and I went inside – to my study – to get the book he wanted.

I was disappointed to see him sitting in the drawing room – my darling wife had invited him in.

I gave “A” the book he wanted.

Meanwhile – my wife had got him a glass of water – and she asked him whether he would like to have a cup of tea.

“A” looked at his watch – then he looked at me – and he said to me:

“Tea…? It’s already past sunset – let’s have a drink.”

“It is my “non-drinking” day…” I said rudely.

“So what…? You can surely offer your guest a drink…” my wife said – giving me a rude look of disbelief at my atrocious social graces and bad manners.

I made him a rather stiff drink of Rum.

“How about you…?” he asked.

So – just for appearances – I poured myself a very mild drink of Rum and Water (Rum-Pani)

Though I enjoyed my drinks – especially “Rum-Pani” – the fact was that I was not in the mood for drinking on that day – especially in the company of “A”.

I noticed that “A” was drinking quite fast – he had already finished his first drink – so I poured him one more.

“A” gulped down his second drink too – he drank very fast – down the hatch.

I poured him one more drink of Rum.

I was amazed at the speed at which “A” was drinking.

“A” was drinking as if it was his last day on earth.

Meanwhile – as was his habit – “A” was bumming my cigarettes too – lighting up cigarette after cigarette.

“I am enjoying myself…” said “A” – slurring, drinking and puffing away.

Looking quite drunk – “A” said to me:

“My wife does not let me smoke – she does not let me drink – she keeps nagging me – so now – I am really enjoying myself…”

Suddenly – the cigarette dropped from his lips – and sweat broke out on his forehead.

I knew the signs.

“A” was heavily drunk.

In fact – he was terribly drunk.

I wondered what to do.

But – before I could do anything – suddenly – “A” got up swiftly – he staggered out of the house – and he started his scooter – and he drove off.

I noticed that “A” was driving his scooter in a meandering fashion – like a sinusoidal wave.

“Go fast…” my wife said, “and see that “A” reaches home safely.”

I took my scooter – started it – and started driving towards his house.

There was no trace of “A” or his scooter.

Suddenly – I heard a voice calling out to me.

It was “S” – who was the next door neighbour of “A”.

“S” was walking on the road – on his way to the officers mess bar – for his daily evening drinking session – when he saw “A” miss a turning on the road and driving his scooter straight into a ditch.

Yes – a totally drunk “A” had fallen into a ditch along with his scooter. 

Now – as far as drinking alcohol was concerned – “S” enjoyed a much “better” reputation than me.

If I was a “drinker” – then – “S” was a “drunkard”.

But right now – “S” was dead sober.

I stopped my scooter.

We went down into the ditch – and we saw that “A” had passed out unconscious – he was dead drunk.

Luckily – “A” was not injured.

We – “S” and Me – we both hauled up “A” – and we dragged him up the slope.

“His scooter is still down there…” I said.

“S” said to me:

“Sir – let the scooter be there – I will send someone to retrieve it in the morning.”

“Shall we take him to the MI Room…? It think it is best we call the doctor to the MI Room too…” I asked.

“S” looked at “A” – and then – “S” said to me:

“Sir – “A” is not hurt much – he just has a few bruises – let’s take him home. Anyway – the Doctor stays in our block – so – if required – I will call him.”

So – we mounted the drunken “A” on my scooter – with Me sitting in front – driving the scooter – “A” in between – and “S” sitting behind and holding the limp and lifeless “A” tightly in his grip.

It was a most difficult scooter drive – as the dead drunk “A” swung from side to side with “S” desperately clinging on.

Finally – we reached our destination.

It was not even 8 o’clock at night – and there was quite a big crowd outside the block.

A birthday party was just over – and lots of children – and their parents – officers and their wives – they were all standing there – chit chatting – before they went home.

We – “S” and M– we both lifted the dead drunk “A” on our shoulders – “S” taking the left arm of “A” – and the right arm of the inebriated “A” over my shoulders.

Dear Reader – please try to picture the scene.

Officers, their Wives, Children and Servants – all of them watching us carrying a totally intoxicated dead drunk “A” towards his house.

Suddenly – Nubile Nymph “N” came out on her first floor balcony.

Obviously – “N” was shocked to see her husband “A” in this pitiable drunken state – being carried by “S” and Me

It must have been embarrassing for “N” to see her drunk husband “A” being carried by “S” and Me – both of us were the two known acknowledged “drunkards” of the place.

Some officers came to help us – and we carried the totally intoxicated “A” up the stairs – and we deposited him on his bed.

GETTING THE BOTTLE

Next morning – the Horny Commodore “C” called me to his office.

“C” was furious.

“I know “S” is a bloody drunkard – but I did not expect you to do this…” he shouted.

“Sir – please listen…” I pleaded.

“C” interrupted me – and he started shouting at me:

“Why did you force drinks on “A” and get him drunk…?

Do you know how upset his wife “N” is…?

She was so distressed that she rang me up at night – and I had to rush to her place.

You buggers had got “A” so badly drunk that he was puking and vomiting all over the place – and I had to call the doctor.

I am very disappointed with you.

And – as far as “S” is concerned – I am going to take disciplinary action against him…”

Horny Commodore “C” went on and on – and he kept shouting at me.

I pleaded to the Horny Commodore “C”:

“Sir – “S” wasn’t even there.

It was “A” who came to my house.

It was “A” who asked me for a drink – and then he got drunk.

In fact – yesterday was Monday – my “non-drinking day” – you can ask my wife.

And – when “A” fell off the scooter – it was “S” who helped him out.

Sir – it is “A” who is the real culprit – not “S” or Me…” 

I kept pleading with him – but the Horny Commodore “C” was in no mood to listen to me – and he shouted at me:

“Don’t give me bullshit.

I know buggers like you.

And – I know your bloody dirty game – you get a husband drunk and…”

“Sir – please don’t insinuate …” I interrupted angrily.

Seeing my angry tone – “C” held his tongue.

I looked at “C”  and I said to him:

“And Sir – by the way – your “blue-eyed” Boy “A” – he is not a “Baby” – who can be forced to drink – by thrusting a nipple into his mouth…”

Then – I angrily left his office without saluting him.

That evening – I sat with “S” in the Officers Mess Bar.

As we enjoyed our drinks – we laughed at the whole episode.

It was “A” who had behaved like a jackass.

And it was we two – the both us – “S” and Me – who got a “bad name”.

EPILOGUE

Out of the three of us – “A”“S” and M– who do you think was the most “successful” in his Naval Career…?

You guessed right.

“S” and Me – both of us – we “fell by the wayside”.

And – it was “A” who reached high rank – duly propelled upwards in his career by his ambitious wife “N” – the Nubile Nymph

Ha Ha – “Roving Eye” – the Horny Commodore (“C”) with a “Glad Eye” – maybe he is still desperately yearning for Nubile Nymph” (“N”) – even after his retirement.

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/humor-in-uniform-nubile-nymph-and.html

This story was written by me Vikram Karve around 4 years ago in January 2014 and earlier posted online by me Vikram Karve on 22 March 2014 at 3/22/2014 12:02:00 AM in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/03/humor-in-uniform-wine-women-and.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/03/humor-in-uniform-wine-women-and.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/07/humor-in-uniform-bottle.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/humor-in-uniform-wine-women-and-olq.html etc

Humor : An Officer Never Gets Drunk – He Only Feels “Nice”

January 13, 2018
“Booze OLQ” 
There is a Navy Saying: 
Officers are never late – they only get delayed
Officers are never drunk – they only feel nice 

This “Old Navy” Wisdom implies that only sailors are “late” for duties – but – officers have the privilege of coming at their pleasure.

More importantly – this Navy “Dictum” postulates that only sailors get drunk – but – Officers Never Get Drunk – they only Feel “Nice”.

Yes:

“An Officer Never Gets Drunk – He Only Feels “Nice”…” 

This means that a Naval Officer must have “Booze OLQ” 

(“OLQ” is the acronym for “Officer Like Qualities”)

The Navy taught me many things.

One of the things I learnt in the Navy was that an Officer must have “Booze OLQ”.

Talking of “Booze OLQ” reminds me of this story from my Navy Days…

THE PICNIC 

Short Fiction Story – a Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/the-picnic.html

THE PICNIC

I once knew an officer who used to get very nasty and quarrelsome after a few drinks.

Of course – I am not going to tell you his real name.

So – let’s call him “John”.

Our newly arrived Boss wanted to have a picnic with all officers and families.

So – we decided to have a beach picnic on a Sunday – and I was told to organize the picnic.

I intentionally saw to it that John was not invited to the picnic.

One day before the picnic – I briefed the Boss regarding the arrangements – transportation, recreation, music, dance, party games, tombola, watersports, fun for children, restrooms and shacks for ladies and gents, bar and food arrangements, seaside barbeque, gifts and presents, everything…

It was going to be a very enjoyable picnic  and we all were going to have a fabulous time.

The Boss seemed quite happy.

Then – he saw the guest list.

“I don’t see John’s name here…” the boss remarked, “I want all officers and families to attend the picnic – why is John and his family not coming…?”

“He has not been invited…” I said.

“John has not been invited…? Why…?” my Boss asked me.

“We felt that is was best not to invite him for the picnic…” I said.

“What nonsense…? Who took this decision…?” my Boss asked me.

“I took the decision not to invite John for the picnic. Sir – I feel it is best not to call John for the picnic…” I said.

“You took a decision not to call John for the picnic…? Are you crazy…? I can’t believe that you could do such a stupid thing. Who the hell do you think you are…? What’s wrong with you…?” the Boss said, looking annoyed.

“I feel it would be best if John did not come for the picnic…” I said.

For a moment – my Boss looked at me in disbelief.

Then – he angrily asked me:

“May I know the reason why you don’t want John and his family to come for the picnic…?”

“He cannot hold his drinks, Sir…”

“What do you mean…?”

“Sir – there is going to be a lot of beer and alcoholic punches and drinks at the picnic. John invariably gets drunk on such occasions – and when he is drunk – he gets very nasty and belligerent. He is sure to misbehave and pick up a fight with someone. Things will become very unpleasant – John will spoil the whole atmosphere  and the picnic will get ruined…” I said.

My Boss was furious and he admonished me:

“Stop giving me bullshit. I have specially planned this picnic. All officers and their families are attending. How can you exclude John just because of your whims and fancies…? Do you have any bloody social graces or not…?”

“Sir  please listen …” I tried to plead.

“You shut up and listen to me. You will make sure that John and his family are present for the picnic. You will personally give him the invitation right now. Is that clear…? Do you understand…?” my Boss commanded me.

“Aye Aye, Sir…” I said, sheepishly.

The Beach Picnic started on a bright note.

Everyone – the men, the women, the children, were thoroughly enjoying themselves – dancing, singing, playing, romping on the sands, frolicking on the beach, swimming the blue waters of the sea.

Then – things began to happen exactly as I had anticipated.

Around 11 AM in the morning – we opened the Liquor Bar – and we started enjoying our drinks.

I could see that John was drinking away and enjoying himself thoroughly.

Just after noon – around 12:30 in the afternoon – John got drunk and nasty.

First – he picked up a fight with an officer over some trivial issue.

Then – he got abusive over not being served snacks properly.

John was staggering unsteadily on his feet – and shouting incoherently.

Seeing that John was visibly drunk – and that he was making a fool of himself – his embarrassed wife tried to restrain him from drinking more beer.

John’s wife pleaded with John to stop drinking.

She told him that he had drunk too much alcohol already – and he was misbehaving.

But – this enraged John even further – and he abused and slapped his wife in full public view.

Our Boss tried to reason with John and calm him down.

But – John got belligerent and abusive with the Boss too – and John threatened to hit our Boss – and we had to rescue our Boss before John thrashed him.

The ladies and children were terrified.

John’s wife and children were in tears.

We were all disgusted – and there was an air of unpleasantness.

Then – John picked up a bottle of Rum – and he walked to a secluded place on the beach.

John kept drinking – till he drank himself into a drunken stupor.

In the evening – we had to carry a dead-drunk John into the boat.

John was in a terribly intoxicated state – in a semi-conscious inebriated condition – and beads of sweat formed over his face – as he lay sprawled in the boat.

As the boat started sailing over the sea – rolling and pitching – John got violently sick – and then – he vomited all over the boat.

The disgusting stench of his vomit – and the sight of his vile hideous puke – made everyone sickeningly nauseous.

Everyone was disgusted.

The picnic was a disaster.

Next morning  I went to my Boss to show him the picnic accounts.

For some time  we looked at each other in silence.

Then  my Boss said to me:

“You were right about John. It would have been better if we had avoided calling him for the picnic. He ruined everything by his disgusting behaviour. I feel sorry for his wife and kids  they must be feeling so embarrassed.”

“Sir  I was going to tell you something more on that day  but – you asked me to shut up…” I said.

“What…? You were going to tell me something more on that day…? What was it…? Speak up. Tell me now…” my Boss said.

“Sir  it was John’s wife who told me not to invite them for the picnic…” I said.

“What nonsense are you talking…? Why would John’s wife not want to come for the picnic…?” my Boss said.

I looked at my Boss – and I said to him:

“John’s wife told me that she did not want to come for the picnic – especially with John. 

She knew – that after a few drinks – her husband John would misbehave – he would get nasty – he would indulge in outrageous antics  and he would spoil the atmosphere.

And – all this would be embarrassing for everyone. 

She said that John’s drunken behaviour in front of everyone – it would be very painful for her – and it would be very traumatic for their young daughter. 

That is why John’s wife pleaded with me not to invite John for the picnic. 

So – I did not invite John for the picnic – but – you overruled me…”

MORAL OF THE STORY

I told you before that there is a Navy Saying:

Officers are never LATE – they only get DELAYED

Officers are never DRUNK – they only feel NICE… 

This “Old Navy” Wisdom implies that only sailors are “late” for duties – but – officers have the privilege of coming at their pleasure.

More importantly – this Navy “Dictum” postulates that only sailors get drunk – but – Officers Never Get Drunk – they only Feel “Nice”.

Yes – “An Officer Never Gets Drunk – He Only Feels “Nice”…” 

This means that a Naval Officer must have “Booze OLQ.

“OLQ” is the acronym for “Officer Like Qualities”

And – one essential “Officer Like Quality” in the Navy is the ability to “hold your liquor”.

An Officer must be capable of drinking his sailors under the table.

Yes – an officer should have much higher drinking capacity (alcohol tolerance level) than his sailors.

As an Officer – you should be able to continue drinking and remain sober after your sailors have completely “passed out” dead-drunk and inebriated.

During my wonderful Navy days – I observed that – sailors respect an officer who can “outdrink” them.

That is why there is a saying in the Navy:

An Officer Never Gets Drunk – He Only Feels Nice

This “Officer Like Quality” is called “Booze OLQ”

“Booze OLQ” is an essential aspect of what they call OLQ or “OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES” – because drinking alcohol is an essential part of social culture in the Defence Services – where alcohol flows freely on every occasion, every celebration, every party.

In fact – with all so-called Military Facilities and Perks extended to Civilians – the only “perk” that remains exclusive to the Defence Services is concessional liquor from CSD Canteens (and “duty free” liquor for the Navy on Ships) – though I hear that even this cheap booze facility is being extended to paramilitary/police and others.

Hence – at least till now – one of the main attractions of joining the Defence Services is concessional CSD liquor – which is an incentive for “Faujis” to drink – especially at an impressionable age when youth join the Military (“Fauj”).

Drinking together is a time-tested way of developing camaraderie with your fellow officers and with your sailors.

So – if you are an officer – you must have “Booze OLQ” – which means that you must be able to drink much more than your sailors and be able to drink them under the table – and – you must be able to hold your liquor.

This is what I call the “Alcohol Test” of OLQ.

Alcohol will make a good officer feel nice  never nasty.

But – if a person gets nasty, unpleasant, disagreeable and ill-tempered after a few drinks – then that person is not fit to be a Naval Officer – because he has failed in the “Alcohol Test” of OLQ – and hence – he does not possess “Booze OLQ”.

Alcohol does different things to different people.

Alcohol opens you up.

Alcohol reduces inhibitions.

A few drinks loosen you up – and alcohol helps release your inner pent-up emotions.

Alcohol helps you express feelings which you may have suppressed within you – knowingly or unknowingly.

Alcohol helps bring out what is hidden within you.

If you are happy inside – after a few drinks – you will start physically expressing your happiness boisterously and outwardly – by laughing, cheerfulness and bonhomie.

When you are in high spirits – you will become more talkative – more expansive – and more expressive.

Under the influence of alcohol – you may even articulate your secret unexpressed love – and – you become overly romantic and amorous – maybe – even sexually expressive.

Alcohol also makes it possible to discover the hidden talents of a person.

Alcohol can help unleash your latent creativity.

You may have noticed that some persons become more creative after imbibing a drink or two – since alcohol unleashes your inhibitions – and releases the music, the poetry, the art, and the creativity hidden within you.

That is why alcohol flows freely during parties and celebrations – since alcohol helps dissolve the walls of inhibitions, self-consciousness and reticence and helps release inhibitions – and amplifies inner emotions, talents, passions, sentiments – inner happiness becomes outer happiness – and the environment is filled with cheer and bonhomie.

But – the converse is also true.

By reducing inhibitions – alcohol may bring out the worst in you – by facilitating the release of pent-up negative emotions like anger, envy, dejection, despondency, frustration – and these unleashed amplified negative emotions may result in undesirable, unpleasant and even disastrous consequences.

Have you noticed how – after a few drinks – some people get violent, argumentative, rude – or sometimes melancholic, moody, sullen, depressed, unsociable…

I have always believed in the dictum:

If you want to know the true character of a man  get him drunk 

Once a man is drunk – what is hidden inside him will come out – and his true inner self will be revealed.

And this certainly applies to women who drink too.

During my younger days in the Navy – I was quite wary of persons who did not drink.

I remember those golden words engraved on the walls of a Navy Bar:

DO NOT TRUST A MAN WHO DOES NOT DRINK

The fact of the matter is that alcohol can bring out the best in you.

But – alcohol can also bring out the worst in you – and this indicates that you do not have “Booze OLQ”.

In the Navy – and in the Army and Air Force too – as an essential part of Service Etiquette and Social Graces – an Officer is required to have “Booze OLQ”

Yes – if an individual who feels “nice” after consuming a substantial quantity of alcohol – then he has “Booze OLQ”.

On the contrary – if a person gets nasty after a few drinks – he does not have “Booze OLQ” – he lacks a vital OLQ (Officer Like Quality) – and he is not fit to be an officer.

Maybe they should introduce an “Alcohol OLQ Test” at the Services Selection Board (SSB) – to test and ascertain whether an officer candidate has “Booze OLQ”.

Dear Reader: 

Cheers…!!! 

Have a drink  as long as you feel “nice”  and not “nasty”.

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/the-picnic.html

Revised Version of my Story THE PICINIC written by me Vikram Karve around 5 years ago in the year 2013 and posted online earlier in my blogs at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/the-alcohol-test-of-olq-or-officer-like.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/10/the-picnic.html   and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/04/humor-in-uniform-social-drinking-and.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/humor-in-uniform-booze-olq-social.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/picnic-party.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/an-officer-never-gets-drunk-he-only.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/10/humor-in-uniform-olq-officer-like.html

 

A Story of “Inappropriate Love”

January 13, 2018

The moment the man sees the woman – he shouts at her:

“What are you doing here…?”

“I came to see you…” the woman says.

“Why have you come to see me…? I told you very clearly that I don’t want to see your face for the rest of my life…”

“Even I don’t want to see your face – but – I desperately need your help…” 

Read on – Dear Reader – A Story of  “Inappropriate Love”… 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/08/inappropriate-love.html

INAPPROPRIATE LOVE

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve

Place:

A Corporate Office in Mumbai

Dramatis Personae:

A Man

A Woman (His Ex-Wife)

Their Daughter (Pooja)

A Lady Office Colleague of the Man (Mala)

Inappropriate Love – A Story by Vikram Karve 

The moment the man sees the woman – he shouts at her:

“What are you doing here…?”

“I came to see you…” the woman says.

“Why have you come to see me…? I told you very clearly that I don’t want to see your face for the rest of my life…”

“Even I don’t want to see your face – but – I desperately need your help…”

“Help…? You need my help…? What help…?”

“You will have to look after our daughter…”

“What…? You want me to look after Pooja…?”

“Yes. You will have to take care of our daughter Pooja from now on. I want her to live with you…”

“You want Pooja to live with me…?”

“Yes…”

“I just don’t understand. I still remember how viciously you fought the custody battle for Pooja – you called me a “dangerous” man – you said that our daughter’s life would be in danger if she lived with me – because I was a “violent brute” – and now – you want to leave our daughter with me…?”

“I made a mistake…”

“Your lawyer – he threatened me – that if I didn’t give up custody of our daughter – you would even file “domestic violence” and “dowry harassment” cases against me – and you would get me arrested…”

“I am sorry – he told me to do it…”

“You made all sorts of false allegations against me. You told them that I regularly beat up Pooja – you told them that Pooja won’t be safe with me…”

“Please…”

“By peddling all sorts of lies – you managed to win custody of our daughter – and worse – you even managed to curtail my visiting rights by projecting me as an “evil influence” …”

“I told you – what I did was very wrong – I am sorry…”

“And now – you want to hand over our daughter Pooja to me…?”

“Yes…”

“But why…? Why do you want Pooja to live with me…?”

“She is not safe in our house…”

“Pooja is not “safe” at your place…? What do you mean…?”

“My husband…”

“What about him…?”

“I suspect that he indulges in “inappropriate behaviour” with her…”

Inappropriate Behaviour…? What do you mean by “inappropriate behaviour”…?”

“You know what I mean. Please don’t ask me anything…”

“No. You will have to tell me exactly what “inappropriate behaviour” your husband is doing to Pooja. Is he…?”

“Please. Please. Please. I don’t want to speak on this disgusting topic – otherwise I will break down. You please take Pooja with you. I beg you…”

“Bloody Pervert – Let’s go right now and report him to the police…”

“No. No. Please…”

“What do you mean “NO” – the filthy bugger is sexually abusing our daughter – he must be arrested and taught a lesson he won’t forget…”

“I don’t have any proof…”

“What do you mean that you don’t have any proof…? You just said that he indulges in “inappropriate behaviour”…”

“I have not actually seen him…”

“You have never seen him doing anything wrong – like touching her inappropriately…?”

“No…”

“Then – how can you…?”

“I can see it in his eyes…”

“What…?”

“The way he looks at her – I can see the lechery in his eyes…”

“So – you just suspect that he has evil intentions…?”

“I know…”

“You know…? Did Pooja say anything…?”

“No – she is too small to understand these things…”

“So – are you just imagining all these things…?”

“No – my “motherly instinct” tells me that something is wrong…”

“Motherly instinct…? I really don’t know whether to believe you or not. Knowing your devious nature – I wonder whether you have some ulterior motive…”

“No. No. Please believe me. He is a filthy pervert. Our daughter Pooja is unsafe with him…”

“Well – when I saw him last – he certainly didn’t look like an obscene pervert – in fact – he looked like a suave gentleman – so refined and soft-spoken…”

“Yes – he looks like a polite gentleman – but – that’s from the outside – for the sake of society. From the inside – behind closed doors – he is a depraved disgusting sadist…” the woman says, and she breaks into tears.

“Did he do anything to you…?” the man asks the woman.

“I don’t want to talk about it. You just take our daughter Pooja away from him…”

“But how can you continue living with such a sadistic pervert…? Why don’t you leave him…?”

“How many husbands can I leave…? My first husband turned out to be an alcoholic – I left him. Then – my second husband – you – you were a “wife-beater”…”

“How dare you call me a “wife-beater”…? I beat you only once – and – you deserved it…”

“What do you mean “I deserved it”…?”

“You committed adultery – you betrayed my trust – you were unfaithful, disloyal – you were cheating on me – and I caught you red-handed in bed with that filthy swine – who is now your husband…”

“You thrashed us badly – violence is not justified…”

“What did you expect me to do in the situation…? I cannot tolerate betrayal of trust – and – you betrayed my trust…”

“Even if I was wrong – you shouldn’t have beaten me so badly…”

“I lost control of myself…” the man says.

The man pauses for a moment.

Then – he looks at the woman – and he says to her:

“Tell me one thing.

How do you know that I won’t lose control of myself again…?

That is why I am asking you again.

At the custody hearing – you kept on saying that I am a “violent brute”.

If that is so – why do you want to leave Pooja with me…?”

The woman says to the man – her Ex-Husband:

“Pooja will be safe with you. I know that you love her – you will care for her well – you will never harm her…”

The man says to his Ex-Wife:

“I don’t know about that. But – I can’t trust you. You have a devious and vindictive nature. My inner voice tells me that you have some ulterior motive…”

“Please – I beg you…” the woman says to her ex-husband.

“Tomorrow – you may say that I have kidnapped Pooja – and you will get me arrested…” the man says to the woman.

“Please – I promise you…”

“Ha Ha – a “promise” – and from a cheat like you…?”

“I will give you whatever you want in writing – I will sign any paper you want…”

“Okay – we’ll see about that. But – before that – tell me how did you know that I would be here in Mumbai today…?”

“I know that you come to the Mumbai Head Office every month…”

“But – how did you know that I will be here today…? Have you got a “spy” in my office…? Who told you…?”

“I promised her that I will not tell you…”

“Mala…?”

“Yes. Mala told me. In fact – our daughter Pooja is sitting in her office…”

“What…? You have brought Pooja here…?”

“Yes – along with her bags…”

“You packed her bags and brought her here…?”

“You take Pooja with you to Delhi in the evening…”

“Are you crazy…?”

“Mala said that she will manage the air ticket on the same flight…”

“I am not talking about the air ticket. What have you told Pooja…? I doubt she even knows that I am her father. She was so small when you took her away.”

“I have told her about you…”

“You told Pooja that I am her father…?”

“No. I told her that you were an “Uncle” – I have shown her your picture – I have told her you are taking her on a holiday for a few days because I have to go abroad for a few days on work…”

“She doesn’t even know me. She won’t come with me…”

“She will come with you. In fact – she is quite excited about the flight journey and all the things you are going to show her in Delhi…”

“You are a wily scheming woman – aren’t you…? And – what about your husband – that filthy lecherous pervert…?”

“He is away on tour…”

“Have you told him that you are sending Pooja with me…?”

“No…”

“He knows you have custody. He may create trouble later…”

“He cannot do anything. She is my daughter – not his…”

“I am not very comfortable with all this…”

“I told you – I will sign whatever document you want – on “stamp paper” – anything you say…”

“I will talk to Mala – she is the legal…”

“I have already told Mala – she is preparing the papers for us to sign – she said she will get all the formalities done…”

“What…? Mala never told me all this…”

“Please. Don’t say anything to her. She is just trying to help…”

“I am really angry with Mala. She has no business to interfere in my personal life…”

“She is just trying to help. Please try to understand…”

“I still feel that you should leave your husband and live separately with Pooja. If you are short of money – I will try and help you out…”

“I can’t leave him…”

“Why can’t you leave him…? You divorced twice – do it once more. With your “talent” – I am sure you will easily find one more husband. Of course – with your luck – he may turn out to be even worse your previous husbands…”

“Please don’t be cruel…”

“You will have to tell me why you can’t leave this bloody filthy pervert…”

“I love him…”

“What…? You love him – that depraved sadist – the sick paedophile…”

“I can’t leave him. I don’t want to talk about him. You please take Pooja with you. Please – Pooja is your daughter – do you want something terrible to happen to her…? I beg you – please take Pooja with you…” the woman says – and she breaks down totally and collapses into the chair.

“You go and sit in Mala’s office. You are a cunning woman. I am still not sure of your motives. Let me think the whole thing over…” the man says.

The woman composes herself – and she says to the man:

“Please don’t take out your anger on Mala…”

“I need some time to think. You please go and sit in Mala’s office. I will come there and tell you my decision…”

The woman leaves.

The man sits in a chair – he closes his eyes – and thinks about the whole thing.

15 minutes later – his decision made – he picks up the intercom and calls Mala.

Mala picks up the intercom at the other end – and she says:

“Hello…”

The man says to Mala:

“Mala – please tell her to take Pooja and go away – I cannot look after Pooja…”

“You wife has already gone away…”

“She is not my wife…”

“Sorry. I mean your “ex-wife” – she has already gone away…”

“That’s good…”

“But – your daughter Pooja is here in my office…”

“What…?”

“Yes, Sir – your “ex-wife” – she left Pooja here with me – and she went away. She told me that you were taking her to Delhi with you. I have already booked Pooja’s ticket on your flight….”

“Who told you to do that…? I am not taking that girl with me…”

“Sir – your daughter is so cute – she is such a darling – I am bringing her to you – you will love her so much – I am sure you will take her along with you…”

Three hours later – the small girl called Pooja – full of innocence – she sits with her father in the car – and they travel to Mumbai airport to catch the flight to Delhi. 

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/08/inappropriate-love.html

Inspirational Gem of Wisdom from Swami Vivekananda

January 12, 2018

Today  January 12  is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902).

I first learnt about Swami Vivekananda  sometime in the early 1960’s  in 1962/63, I think – when I was a small boy  and my father had taken us to visit Belur Math near Kolkata (then called Calcutta). 

At Belur Math – I acquired a tiny pocket book called “Thus Spake Vivekananda”.

Whenever the chips were down – or I felt dejected – I referred to the inspiring gems of wisdom – distilled from the complete works of Swami Vivekananda – for instant motivation and strength.

On the occasion of his birth anniversary – let me tell you about my favourite saying of Swami Vivekananda – which inspired me – and which I try to implement in my day-to-day living.

HOW TO BE HAPPY
INSPIRATIONAL WISDOM FROM SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2018/01/inspirational-tonic-from-swami.html

AN INSPIRATIONAL GEM OF WISDOM FROM SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

Here is an inspirational gem of wisdom – a phrase – from the sayings of Swami Vivekananda:

“Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually – reject as poison” 

I feel that the word “weak” is all encompassing.

The term “weak” embraces anything that creates in you a stressful situation.

Thus – “weakness” includes all negative emotions – and negative feelings like anger, irritation, fury, worry, anxiety, frustration, despondency, depression, demoralization etc – in a nutshell – any emotion that causes you unhappiness.

These negative emotions disturb your inner tranquility and equanimity – they drain you emotionally and intellectually – and make you feel “weak”  just like physical weakness.

UNHAPPINESS IS WEAKNESS

Unhappiness is a negative emotion which drains you.

Hence – Unhappiness is Weakness.

Unhappiness is Poison for the soul.

Conversely – Happiness is Strength.

Happiness is Tonic for the soul.

Now – Dear Reader – how do you “reject as poison” – the “weakness” of unhappiness…?

The first step is to identify your “Unhappiness Creators”.

IDENTIFY YOUR UNHAPPINESS CREATORS

Now sit down in a quiet tranquil place – close your eyes – introspect – and try to think of all the things that make you feel negative, unhappy and stressed out.

Yes – think of all the things and people that create negative emotions within you.

Reflect and introspect on all your unhappiness-creators and unhappy situations.

These unhappiness creators can be anything – tangible and intangible – things, activities, persons etc.

“Unhappiness Creators” include:

  1. Toxic individuals andincompatible persons – who irritate, annoy and hassle you.
  1. Foodsand Beverages – which do not suit you – and which are physically detrimental to your health and well-being.
  1. Activities – social and personal – which may inititally appear pleasurable – but which actually drain you out.
  1. Technology and Gadgets –like your cell-phone –which disturb your peace of mind.
  1. Strained Relationships –which are a source of unhappiness and cause you stress and anger.
  1. Any activity – or a thing –that causes a guilty consciencewithin you
  1. Disagreeable PersonsandUnpleasant Activities – which are a stimulusfor negative emotions – like anger, worry, fear, etc – and create negative vibes within you.

Dear Reader – Please close your eyes – introspect – and think about all aspects of your life – your work life – your home life – your social life.

Think about all the personsactivities and things that generate negative vibes,create stress and unhappiness in you – all the things that make you feel “weak”.

Then – follow Swami Vivekananda’s advice:

Anything that makes you weak – physically, intellectually, and spiritually – reject as poison 

Yes – you can do it in actual life.

Just “reject” all these “poisonous” things and people – by avoiding them as far as possible.

Make an exhaustive list of all your “unhappiness creators”  all the things and people that make you “weak” – and try to reject them as “poison”. 

At first – you may be a bit skeptical about this approach.

But – when you start implementing this “mantra” in your day-to-day life – you will be surprised by the extent to which it is in your own control to prevent unhappiness.

SAY NO TO UNHAPPINESS CREATORS and WELCOME HAPPINESS CREATORS

While – on the one hand:

You reject the things that make you “weak” and unhappy

simultaneously – on the other hand:

You must reinforce the things that make you feel “strong” and happy

Say NO to UNHAPPINESS CREATORS

Say YES to HAPPINESS CREATORS  

Yes – if unhappiness is weakness” – then happiness is strength.

So – simultaneously – reflect and contemplate.

Make a list of things and persons that give you strength and joy – and make you happy and productive.

In your “Happiness Creators” list – include all the things and people that create “positive feelings” in you.

Then – try to devote maximum time and energy towards doing these positive things – and interacting with these morale boosting people – that give you strength – and make you feel good and happy.

MANTRA FOR HAPPINESS (and UNHAPPINESS) – IN A NUTSHELL 

To put it in a nutshell – if you want to be happy:

  1. Try your best to generate “happiness vibes” by doing things which make you “strong” and happy
  1. Try to reduce or even eliminate negative “unhappiness vibes” by “rejecting” those things which make you “weak” and unhappy.

And – if you want to be unhappy – just do the opposite – keep wallowing in “negative vibes” by encouraging your “unhappiness creators” and avoiding your “happiness creators”…

HOW TO CREATE HAPPINESS and HOW TO CREATE UNHAPPINESS

Whenever I feel unhappy – I realize that it is because I have allowed myself to be overwhelmed by my “unhappiness creators”.

And – the moment I envelop myself with my “happiness creators” – I start feeling happy.

Remember this saying of Swami Vivekananda:

Anything that makes you “weak” – physically, intellectually, and spiritually – reject as poison

Conversely – I say: 

Anything that makes you feel “strong” – imbibe as nectar

Implementing this inspiring gem of wisdom from Swami Vivekananda is breathtaking in its simplicity.

Try it – experiment – discover your “happiness creators” and “unhappiness creators”.

Start making your two lists – and then you know what to do.

This works for me – and I am sure it will work for you.

I do feel stressed out and unhappy at times – but I know why – and I know what to do.

So – I try my best to make my “unhappiness creators” disappear – and I overwhelm myself with “happiness creators”.

Wish you a stress-free life filled with happiness.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2018/01/inspirational-tonic-from-swami.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Updated, Abridged and Revised version of my article written more than 25 years ago and Posted by me Vikram Karve at 9/26/2009 03:50:00 PM in this blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2009/09/stress-management-made-simple.html  and http://creative.sulekha.com/wisdom-from-swami-vivekananda_561671_blog  and   http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/01/inspirational-wisdom-from-swami.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/inspirational-tonic-from-swami.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/01/inspirational-teachings-of-swami.html etc

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