Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

Romance : The “Perfect” Husband

July 31, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: The Perfect Husband – A Story

THE PERFECT HUSBAND

A Fictional Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

Dramatis Personae

Me (The “Imperfect” Husband)

My Wife

‘Slimy’ – My Neighbour (The “Perfect” Husband)

Slimy’s Wife

‘Shutterbug’ – My Friend

The Perfect Husband – Story by Vikram Karve

As I had expected – I saw ‘Shutterbug’ standing at Land’s End – taking photographs of Sunset.

Sunset – on the west coast of India is a glorious sight – a breathtakingly beautiful spectacle – as the tranquil blue Arabian Sea begins to swallow the orange ball – and – the crimson rays – dancing in the sky – slowly change their colour – from red to orange to yellowish green to bluish grey – and – dissolve into twilight.

I sat on a bench – and I waited for ‘Shutterbug’ to finish taking his photographs.

‘Shutterbug’ (nicknamed because of his passion for photography) had quit the Navy to follow his first love – and – he was now an accomplished professional photographer.

He had got a prestigious assignment from an International Travel Magazine to compile a series on “Sunsets”.

For the last few days – he would come to Land’s End every evening – to take photographs of Mumbai’s resplendent sea sunsets.

“It’s good you came today – I have finished my work here – and – I am off to a new location tomorrow morning…” he said, packing his camera.

“Where to…?” I asked.

“Australia – New Zealand – Antarctica – and then – some islands in the Pacific…” he said.

“Wow…” I said, “Come – let’s have a drink…”

We walked down the seaside promenade – and – a few minutes later – we were sitting by the seaside – in the club annexe – enjoying the cool sea breeze – sipping whisky-soda.

‘Shutterbug’ looked at me and said: “Come on – get it off your chest…”

“What…?”

“I know you are upset – you want to tell me something – so – tell me…”

“It’s my next-door neighbor…”

“You mean ‘Slimy’…?”

“Yes…” I said.

(Now – in the Navy – almost everyone has a ‘nickname’ – like my friend sitting opposite me was called ‘Shutterbug’ because of his interest in photography – likewise – my next-door neighbour was nicknamed ‘Slimy’ – no prizes for guessing why – he was a really ‘slimy’ character – a ‘slick’ operator)

“Oh – ‘Slimy’ – bloody ‘poodle-faker’ – dicey bugger – he’s a sly ‘smooth’ operator…” remarked ‘Shutterbug’.

“Do you know him…?” I asked ‘Shutterbug’.

“Of course I know ‘Slimy’ – we did a training course abroad…”

“Oh…”

“So – what’s your problem with ‘Slimy’…?”

“He is such a ‘devoted husband’….”

“Ha Ha – “devoted husband” – Ha Ha…” ‘Shutterbug’ interrupted.

“Why…? What happened…?” I asked, taken aback.

“No – No – nothing. Sorry for interrupting. So – if ‘Slimy’ is such a “devoted husband” – as you say – what is your problem…?” ‘Shutterbug’ asked me.

“Well – ‘Slimy’ is such a perfect husband that he has become a “Role Model Husband” for my wife – in fact – he is so smart – so suave – so debonair – so handsome – so well-mannered – and – so physically fit with such an excellent physique – and – my wife admires him so much – that – she has started comparing me with him – and – I feel like a “loser”…”

“Your wife thinks you are a “loser”…?”

“Yes – it’s all because of that bugger ‘Slimy’…”

“I hope ‘Slimy’ is not trying to seduce your wife – “steal her affection” – so to speak…”

“No – No – not at all. He is the epitome of gentlemanly behaviour – my wife says that he is a true “officer and gentleman” – and – she feels disappointed that I am not like him…”

“Why…? What’s wrong with you…?”

“I told you. All this comparison has started after ‘Slimy’ moved in as my next-door neighbour. Before that – my wife had no problems with me…”

“And – what about Slimy’s wife…?”

“Oh – Slimy’s wife is a really elegant lady – she is besotted with her husband – she effusively praises ‘Slimy’ 24/7 – Slimy’s wife says that ‘Slimy’ is the best husband in the world – she keeps talking with admiration about all his qualities – about the exotic destinations where he takes her for holidays – about the expensive gifts he gets for her – about his “caring and sharing” nature – Slimy’s wife always says that ‘Slimy’ is the “perfect husband”…”

“Ha Ha – “caring and sharing” – “perfect husband” – Ha Ha…” ‘Shutterbug’ laughed.

“What happened…?” I asked him.

“Nothing – I was just thinking…”

“Everything was fine with my married life before ‘Slimy’ came on the scene – I am even thinking of asking for a transfer…” I said.

“Transfer…? Why the hell should you ask for a transfer…?”

“I told you – ‘Slimy’ has created such a powerful impression on my wife – that – she literally worships him – in fact – she has put him on a pedestal – and – she wants me to ‘emulate’ him in all aspects – and – that is impossible for me – because – ‘Slimy’ is everything that I am not…”

“So…?”

“Just imagine – the whole day and night – I have to hear my wife’s nagging – ‘Slimy’ is this – ‘Slimy’ is that – ‘Slimy’ does this – ‘Slimy’ does that… I am totally fed up with my wife comparing me with ‘Slimy’… You won’t understand… You are not married…”

“I can understand. Don’t worry – I’ll do something about it…” ‘Shutterbug’ said.

“You’ll do something about it…? How…? When…? You are flying off going to Australia and New Zealand tomorrow morning…”

“You don’t worry – you just leave it to me. Now – let’s forget ‘Slimy’ – and – let’s enjoy our drinks…” ‘Shutterbug’ said.

After sometime – ‘Shutterbug’ left – saying that he had to catch the early morning flight.

I continued drinking till closing time.

I reached home at midnight – totally drunk – and – even in my drunken state – I could hear my wife’s nagging:

“You don’t even know how to drink – look at him (referring to ‘Slimy’) – he drinks like a refined gentleman – and you – you are an uncouth lout – you drink like a pig…”

Next morning – I woke up late – with a terrible hangover.

Luckily – it was a Sunday.

I expected to hear my wife’s harangue – her nagging – but – I was surprised by the silence in the house.

I looked around the house.

My wife was missing.

Had she left me and gone away to her parent’s place in Pune…?

As it is – she was fed up living with a “loser” like me – and – my last evening’s drunkenness may have been the last straw…

I opened the door.

I saw the maid.

“Memsahib is next door…” the maid said to me.

What…?

My wife was in Slimy’s house…?

Was she complaining to him about me…?

Confused – I walked out of my house – and – I rang the doorbell outside Slimy’s flat.

A man opened the door – I recognized him – he was my coursemate who lived opposite our house.

Slimy’s wife was crying – and – a group of ladies was trying to console her.

My wife was among the group of ladies consoling Slimy’s wife.

‘Slimy’ was sitting at the dining table with his head in his hands – looking distraught.

Some officers were hanging around.

“What’s going on…?” I asked my coursemate who had opened the door – “Is someone dead or something…?”

“Don’t you know…?” my coursemate whispered.

“No…” I said.

My coursemate took me aside.

Then – he took out his ‘smartphone’ – and – he showed me the screen.

Bloody Hell…!!!

There were intimate pictures of ‘Slimy’ and a sexy woman frolicking on a beach – in the skimpiest of clothing – kissing, necking, making out – doing all sorts of “lovey-dovey” antics – in a variety of “compromising positions”…

As I looked at the “erotic” pictures of ‘Slimy’ and the sexy woman – my coursemate said:

“Bloody hell – that bugger ‘Shutterbug’ – he has uploaded these steamy photos of ‘Slimy’ and this “firangi” woman on Facebook – and – he has tagged everyone. By now – the whole world must have seen these indecent pictures…”

“Indecent…? Why do you say these pictures are “indecent”…? A bit “passionate” – yes – “amorous” – yes – but – certainly not “indecent” – look at the pictures – ‘Slimy’ and this woman seem to be passionately in love with each other…” I said, tongue-in-cheek.

I looked at the complete album of “lewd” photos of ‘Slimy’ and the sexy woman on the screen of the smartphone – by now – the pictures would have surely gone viral on our groups and seen by all “friends” who mattered.

Shutterbug’s “status update” said: “Memories of Our Wonderful Navy Days” – with the date and name of the place where the photos had been clicked.

It was a deft “slam dunk” – yes – ‘Shutterbug’ had slam-dunked ‘Slimy’ nice and proper – and – he had done it for my sake.

EPILOGUE

Three things happened after this episode:

  1. That very evening –Slimy’s wife left for her parents’ place.
  1. Slimy was transferred to a “non-family” station on a remote island in the back-of-beyond.
  1. My darling wife never mentioned the name of ‘Slimy’ again – and – she stopped comparing me with other husbands.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a spoof, 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 Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/the-perfect-husband-story.html

 

Romance via the “Rear Window”

April 14, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Romance : Rear Window

ROMANCE VIA THE “REAR WINDOW”

A Fictional Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer: 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.

Part 1 : REAR WINDOW

I am sure you have seen the classic movie REAR WINDOW – directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

Rear Window is a quintessential Hitchcock style mystery thriller made in 1954 – and – in my opinion – Rear Window is one of Hitchcock’s best films – a masterpiece – an awesome movie – despite its simplicity.

The Story is simple – a newspaper photographer with a broken leg passes time recuperating by observing his neighbours through his window.

After he breaks his leg during a dangerous assignment – the main protagonist – a professional photographer (James Stewart) is wheelchair bound and confined to his Apartment, while he recuperates.

His rear window looks out onto a small courtyard and several other apartments.

During the hot summer – he passes time by watching his neighbours – who keep their windows open to stay cool.

Each of the “objects of attention” – occupants of the other apartments who are being observed by our protagonist – depict insightful interpretations of the entire gamut of human relationships – as the main protagonist “watches” them through his “rear window” – and – we – the movie viewers – share his voyeuristic surveillance – as the movie takes mysterious twists and turns till it reaches a terrific climax.

Rear Window is an engrossing film – a fascinating portrayal of our tendency towards curiosity and voyeurism.

The movie exposes many facets of the loneliness of city life and it tacitly demonstrates the impulse of human curiosity. It explores our fascination with looking at persons, objects and things – and – the attraction of “objects of our attentions”.

I am sure you have had many such “rear window” experiences.

Well – I have had my share – especially when I lived in high-rise “gated communities” – or – in residential complexes which have rows of high-rise buildings where balconies face each other – giving you a clear view – like in Curzon Road Apartments in New Delhi.

Part 2 : MY “REAR WINDOW” STORY

Let me tell you about a rather amusing “rear window” story that happened to me.

Once upon a time – we lived in a high-rise residential complex – and from the rear balcony (“Rear Window”) of our top floor apartment – I had a “grandstand view” of the apartments of neighbouring building.

One day – when I was shopping in a Mall – a beautiful woman looked at me – she smiled – she walked up to me – and she said: “Hello – so nice to meet you in person.”

I was flabbergasted.

Seeing my bewilderment – the lovely lady said to me: “Don’t you recognize me…? I live in the neighbouring building – right opposite your balcony. We have been “looking at each other” for more than 3 months now. It’s been quite a long “long distance relationship” – and – I was wondering whether we would actually meet face-to-face. It is such a pleasure to meet you. By the way – my name is ‘XXX’…” she said, proffering her hand.

I shook her hand – I introduced myself – and I said to her: “I am really sorry for not recognizing you…”

“Really…? You did not recognize me…? Every time I see you standing in your balcony – you seem to be looking intently at me. I think you better get your eyesight checked…” she said with a mischievous smile.

And then – she said goodbye – and she walked away to continue with her shopping.

I felt hungry – so – I walked to the ‘Food Court’ in the Mall.

There – I saw another “long distance” “rear window” “object of my attention” – a pretty young girl – who – it seemed – was recently married.

In the food court – she was sitting with her husband – who I had seen occasionally in his balcony.

I confidently walked up to pretty young girl – and I said to her: “Hello…!!! Great to see you here. It feels so nice to meet you…”

The girl gave me a perplexed look.

“Don’t you recognize me…? We look at each other every morning across our balconies – especially when you hang your clothes to dry…” I said to her.

The girl looked away – she seemed embarrassed.

But – her husband gave me a fierce look and he angrily said to me: “Have you been staring at my wife…?”

“NO. NO. It is not what you think…” I said – and I beat a hasty retreat.

Part 3 : EPILOGUE

Next morning – as usual – I was standing at my “Rear Window” – observing the “goings on”.

I saw the beautiful lady – the first “object of my attention” (the first woman I had met in the Mall).

She was standing in her balcony with a cup of tea in her hand.

I could see her clearly – since I was wearing my newly acquired spectacles

(Yes – as advised by her – I had got my eyes checked immediately at the Optician’s Shop in the Mall and obtained a pair of spectacles)

She waved out to me – I waved back.

Then – she went inside – probably to get ready for office.

I shifted my gaze downwards.

I could see the second “object of my attention” – the newly-married girl whose husband had angrily scowled at me.

As she did every morning – she was hanging the washed clothes on the clothesline to dry.

I tried to avert my eyes.

But – she looked towards me – and – she smiled at me – and she gave me jovial wave.

I vigorously waved back to her too.

One thing is clear – as far as women are concerned (maybe it applies to some men too):

“One look of genuine admiration is worth a thousand compliments.” 

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a spoof, 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/humor-in-romance-rear-window.html

Morning “Constitutional”

March 29, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Morning “Routine”

MORNING “ROUTINE”

Slice of Life Story By VIKRAM KARVE

This morning – at around 7 AM – I was on my morning walk – when – I saw an elderly man standing on the side of the road.

The old man was wearing spotless white Kurta-Pyjama and a clean freshly starched white “Gandhi Topi” Cap (which is common local attire)

The elderly man was carrying a walking stick.

The way he was tapping the walking stick – it seemed that he was having difficulty crossing the road.

I decided to help the man cross the road.

When I went closer – I noticed than the man was wearing thick spectacles – and it appeared that he could hardly see anything – maybe – he was visually impaired .

I helped the man cross the road.

I asked the old man where he was going – as I wanted to escort the old man to his destination – but the man politely declined my assistance.

The old man said to me that he was going nearby – and that he knew the way to his destination – since he walked on this route every morning.

However – I followed him – since I was apprehensive of his safety (since he was near-blind) – and – I was also curious to know where this elderly man was going so early in the morning.

Believe it or not – his “destination” was the “Country Liquor Bar”.

Yes – the elderly man in spotlessly white clothes and cap walked down the road – straight to the “Country Liquor Booze Shop”.

(I have noticed that Country Liquor Shops/Bars open early in the morning and close past midnight – and there are “patrons” flocking these bars for booze at all times of the day and night – from the “crack of dawn” to the “wee hours past midnight”)

I watched the old man effortlessly negotiate his way into the Country Liquor Bar.

Remember – he had told me – this was his route and destination every morning – and he seemed to be familiar with the place.

I smiled to myself at the “morning routine” of the elderly man.

Soon – like many other “patrons” of the Country Liquor Bar – he would probably pass out “dead drunk” in the lane next to the Booze Shop – and – then – a few hours later – he would wake up and walk home – or maybe – go into the Country Liquor Bar once again for another “Quarter”

 

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a spoof, 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 Academic and Creative Writing Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/morning-routine.html

Are Love and Trust the Same Thing…?

January 31, 2016

Source: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/do-you-trust-your-lover.html

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/do-you-trust-your-lover.html

LOVE and TRUST – Short Fiction Story by Vikram Karve

“Good Morning.”

“Good Morning, Sir.”

“Please be seated.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“As the HR Head – it is my duty to advise you regarding a few matters – I hope it is okay if I ask you a few personal questions.”

“Yes, Sir – it is okay – please freely ask me whatever you want to.”

“You got divorced 6 months ago.”

“Yes.”

“But I see that you have not changed your nomination for provident fund, company group insurance etc – the nominee is still your ex-husband.”

“Yes.”

“I suggest you change the nomination…”

“No.”

“No?”

“I do not wish to change the nomination – I want my ex-husband be the nominee for all my financial affairs…”

“But why…?”

“Because I trust him – I totally trust my ex-husband.”

“You trust your ex-husband even after divorcing him – that’s amazing…”

“Of course I fully trust my ex-husband. He did not cheat me – I was the one who cheated him by having an extramarital affair – that was the reason for our divorce…”

“Oh…”

My ex-husband was always faithful to me – it was I who was unfaithful to him…”

“But…”

I have full faith in my ex-husband – in fact – he still manages all my financial affairs – my bank accounts – my stocks and mutual funds – my investments – he pays all my bills – everything – I don’t even know how much money I have in the bank – I do not have a clue as to what my investments are – or what bills I have to pay – my ex-husband does everything – just like it was before – when we were married…”

“Really…?”

“Yes – our bank accounts remain the same – including my salary account – and my ex-husband does all the banking and he operates all my accounts – he does everything – he keeps the passbooks – does the internet banking – I do not even know the login and passwords…”

“What are you saying…? It is unbelievable…”

“Yes – we have a safe deposit locker with all my jewellery – he handles that too…”

“All that was fine when you were married to him – it may have been okay when you were just divorced – but now…?”

“But now…?”

“Well – I understand that you have remarried…”

“That is right – I got remarried 3 months ago – I submitted the marriage declaration along with the marriage certificate…”

“Yes – that is why I have called you – to advise you – that you should now put your new husband’s name as the nominee for your provident fund, insurance etc…”

“Is it a compulsion…? Is it mandatory for me to nominate my new husband…?”

“No – No – you are free to nominate whoever you wish – but normally – it is advisable to nominate your ‘next-of-kin’ – which happens to be your spouse – your new husband – so it is my duty to advise you to nominate him…”

“I do not wish to nominate my new husband…”

“But why…?”

“I do not trust him…”

“What…? You do not trust your new husband…? Why…?”

“Because he is a cheat…”

“What are you saying – that your new husband is a cheat…?”

“Yes. Like me – my new husband too is a cheat. I cheated on my ex-husband – he cheated on his ex-wife – we had an extramarital affair – we got caught – our spouses divorced us – and then – we two lovers got married…”

“Oh…”

“Tell me – how can I trust a man who was unfaithful to his wife…?”

“If you do not trust him – why did you marry him…?”

“Because I love him…”

“It’s amazing – you love your new husband – but you do not trust him…”

“Yes – I love him – but I do not trust him.”

“So – you do not wish to change your nomination – you wish that your ex-husband is the nominee for all your financial affairs – your provident fund, insurance, bank accounts etc…”

“Yes – I want my ex-husband to be the nominee and look after all my financial affairs…”

“Okay.”

“Sir – I have one request…”

“Yes – go ahead…”

“I hope our conversation will be kept confidential.”

“Of course – you can rest assured that not a word will go outside this room.”

“Thank you, Sir – may I go now…?”
“Yes – thank you for your time – it was a most enlightening conversation…”

“Enlightening conversation…? Sir – what do you mean by that…?”

“I always thought that love and trust meant the same thing. I thought that love implies trust – but now – after talking to you – I have realized that love and trust are not connected with each other – you can love someone  but not trust him – and – you can trust someone  but not love him…”

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)

Revised Version of My Story LOVE AND TRUST posted online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog on September 28, 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/love-and-trust.html  and revised and reposted later on October 27, 2015 at url:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/10/do-you-trust-your-ex.html

“Nightie” Story : Humor “Out of Uniform”

January 24, 2016

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal ->  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/nightie.html

Humor “Out of Uniform”

Story of the Nightie

This morning I wanted to give my “Better Half” a surprise gift – a “Nightie.

So – I went to a boutique.

I saw some lovely “half nighties” (short nighties) hanging on a rack (these are the type of “nighties” my wife likes to wear at home).

While I was selecting a suitable “nightie” for my wife – a salesgirl appeared and she asked me: “Sir – can I help you?”

“I want a good ‘nightie’ for my wife…” I said.

“Sir – these are not ‘nighties’ – these are Ladies ‘Kurtas’ – ‘Ladies Long Kurtas’…” the salesgirl said to me.

I beat a hasty retreat.

And – I remembered this story from my Navy Days.

“NIGHTIE” 

Hilarious Memories of my Glorious Navy Days

By

VIKRAM KARVE

I was – and maybe I still am – an old fashioned prude – and a bit puritanical by nature.

Let me tell you a hilarious anecdote – a result of my rather prudish behaviour, which happened long back when I was in the Navy.

It was the evening of the Navy Ball – the much awaited grand finale of the Navy Week in Mumbai (then called Bombay).

It was decided that all ship’s officers who did not live in the Navy Township (NOFRA) would assemble with our wives in the home of a shipmate who lived in NOFRA near the Navy Command Officers Mess – the venue of the Navy Ball.

We could park our scooters/motorcycles near his house.

(Yes – those days most navy officers had scooters/motorcycles – and could not afford cars)

We would then all walk down to the Command Mess Lawns for the Navy Ball.

Accordingly – my wife and I reached my shipmate’s house half an hour before the commencement of the Navy Ball.

Some officers and wives were already there – some trickled in – and our shipmate had generously opened a bottle of rum – and told us to help ourselves while they got dressed.

My shipmate came out of his bedroom smartly dressed in Navy Uniform Dress No. 6 – “monkey jacket” – bow tie – miniature medals and all.

He said his wife was getting ready.

It was almost time for the Navy Ball.

We were anxiously waiting for his wife to get ready.

After some time the bedroom door opened – and my shipmate’s wife stepped out.

I was most disappointed to see that she had still not got ready.

“What is this Ma’am? The Navy Ball is about to start and you are still in your nightie?” I blurted out.

The lady looked at me with an expression of total shock – it seemed as if she was stunned.

Slowly – I could see her shock turn into anger.

She was looking at me with blazing eyes.

She pointed towards the clothes she was wearing – and she shouted at me: “You are calling this a “nightie…? This is a haute couture designer dress. Do you know how much money I spent on this exclusive custom made dress…?”

“Haute Couture…?” I mumbled – I had never heard the term “haute couture” before.

I looked at my shipmate’s wife with regret in my eyes – and a contrite expression on my face.

But I saw the expression on her face change from anger into anxiety – and soon the expression of anxiety changed into one of panic.

My shipmate’s wife looked at my wife – the she looked at the other ladies – and she said: “Tell me – is this dress really looking so bad?”

After that – my shipmate’s wife burst into tears – and she ran back into her bedroom.

The fact of the matter was that my shipmate’s wife was very chic and fashionable.

She had got this most fashionable skimpy western style dress exclusively “made-to-order” from a top designer (“haute couture”) especially for the Navy Ball.

Being an old-fashioned prude – I did not realize that what she was wearing was not a “nightie” – but an exclusive haute couture latest fashion skimpy dress which she had got specially made for her by a leading fashion designer.

My wife gave me a glaring look and told me to disappear – lest I say or do something even more stupid that would further aggravate matters.

Then – my wife and the other ladies went inside to console my shipmate’s wife.

It was decided that all the gentlemen would proceed for the Navy Ball – and the ladies would join later.

I apologized to my shipmate: “I am very sorry – I did not mean to insult your wife.”

“Oh, come on – forget it,” he said, “In fact – after hearing your comments – I almost burst out laughing myself.”

“But your wife must be angry with me?” I said.

“Don’t worry – she’ll be okay – she spent a fortune on that designer dress – that is why she is so upset,” he said.

Later – the ladies joined us in the Navy Ball.

My shipmate’s wife was the centre of attraction in her haute couture skimpy fashionable dress.

I wanted to apologize to her – but my wife had given me strict instructions to keep my mouth shut – lest I put my foot in my mouth again.

EPILOGUE

Many years later – my wife was shopping in the Ladies’ Garments Section of a famous Mall in Pune.

I was just hanging around.

Suddenly I saw the same chic and fashionable lady – my ex-shipmate’s “haute couture” wife – standing near me.

I wished her.

She smiled back.

“My wife is in the trial room…” I said.

“Oh? I must meet her,” she said.

I looked at chic “haute couture” lady – and I said: “Ma’am – I want to ask you a favour…”

“Sure…” she said.

I pointed to the colourful nighties hanging nearby on a rack – and I said to her:

“Ma’am – if you don’t mind – can you please help me select a “nightie” for my wife – she likes “half nighties” – short nighties – like these “nighties” over here on this rack…”

My ex-shipmate’s chic “haute couture” wife burst out laughing – and she said to me:

These are not “Nighties” – these are “Kurties”  or “Tops – they are certainly not “Nighties” – Ha Ha – you are still as clueless as ever – aren’t you…?”

I smiled at her.

She started laughing.

I joined her in her laughter.

I knew that she had forgiven me for my “faux pas on that Navy Ball Evening – many years ago.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

 

Updated Re-Post of my Story titled FAUX PAS First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog in April 2014 at 4/26/2014 08:09:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/04/faux-pas-hilarious-memories-of-my.html and in Nov 2014 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/my-shipmates-chic-wife-hilarious.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/06/humor-in-uniform-chic-haute-couture.html

The “Feminist” and “Gender Equality”

October 11, 2015

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: “Gender Equality” in Marriage : Story of a “Feminist”

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

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/10/gender-equality-in-marriage-story-of.html

“GENDER EQUALITY” IN MARRIAGE

STORY OF A “FEMINIST

Short Fiction

By

VIKRAM KARVE

THE FEMINIST” – Fiction Short Story by Vikram Karve

“Hey – will you please pick me up from ‘XXX’ Bookstore on your way back from office…?” my wife said over the phone.

“Okay – but I can only come after 6 o’clock…” I said.

“No hurry – I am going for a book launch – it starts at 5:30 – it will go on till 6:30 at least…” she said.

I reached the bookstore around 6:15 in the evening.

There was quite a crowd for the book launch.

At the entrance of the bookstore – there was a big poster of the book being launched.

The title of the book was: GENDER EQUALITY IN MARRIAGE.

The moment I saw the photo of the author – my heart skipped a beat.

It was the ‘Feminist’.

I walked to the book-launch area – and I quietly sat down on a vacant chair in the last row.

The ‘Feminist’ was speaking about her book – and as I expected – she was delivering a diatribe against men in general and the patriarchal system in particular.

I could see my wife in the first row – listening attentively – lapping up every word.

After finishing her tirade against the masculine gender – the ‘Feminist’ began waxing eloquent about marital abuse and domestic violence – and she exhorted women not to tolerate any dominating behaviour from their husbands – “there was no need for women to suffer an abusive marriage” she emphasized – and then she explained various legal remedies available to women who suffer abuse at the hands of their husbands.

At the end of her speech – after concluding her bitter rant against all men in general and husbands in particular – the ‘Feminist’ looked in my direction – and she gave me a smile of recognition.

Then – after her book was launched by a ‘VIP’ – the ‘Feminist’ was whisked away by the organizers to autograph copies of her book.

I walked to my wife – and I said to her: “Come on – let’s go.”

“How can we go now?” my wife protested.

“Why? The book launch is over?” I said.

“I want an autographed copy of her book…” my wife said.

“You want to buy this useless book…?”

“How can you call this book useless…?”

“Anyway – I just heard her bigoted views – I don’t want you to read such inflammatory books…?”

“Inflammatory..?”

“Yes – such provocative books will only spoil our marriage…”

“Now I know – you are one of those ‘MCP’ husbands she was talking about…”

“What nonsense…”

“Till now you have managed to subjugate me – but now – I will read what is written in the book – and I will teach you a lesson…” my wife said.

My wife joined the queue to get an autographed copy of the book.

I saw that the publishers had organized ‘high tea’ in the rear section of the bookstore where the book launch had taken place – so I walked there and poured myself a cup of tea – then I sat down on a table enjoying my tea.

After a few minutes – my wife came with a copy of the book in her hands – she was ecstatic as she showed me the autograph of the ‘Feminist’ – who had written my wife’s name with a message: “Wish you a ‘gender equal’ marriage”.

“See – she has already started corrupting you with her prejudiced views – even before you read the book,” I said to my wife.

“Hi Arun – may I join you,” a feminine voice said from above.

I recognized the voice at once – and I felt a tremor of discomfort.

I looked up at the ‘Feminist’ and said, “Oh – Hi Rita – of course – please join us.”

The ‘Feminist’ (Rita) pulled a chair and sat down to my left – with my wife to her left – opposite me.

I cannot describe the expression on my wife’s face – to put it mildly – she looked ‘amazed’.

The ‘Feminist’ looked at me and said: “So – Arun – ‘long time no see’ – I was quite surprised to see you here – sitting in the last row – listening to my talk…”

“Actually – I came to pick up my wife – she had come for your book launch…” I said.

“Oh – yes…” the ‘Feminist’ said looking at my wife.

Then – the ‘Feminist’ looked at me and said: “Arun – won’t you introduce your wife to me…?”

I introduced them.

My wife smiled at the ‘Feminist’ and asked her: “You know my husband…?”

“Of course I know him – we were classmates in college…” the ‘Feminist’ said.

“Really…?” my wife said, surprised.

“Of course – Arun and I had a real good time together in college – we were the best of friends – inseparable buddies – in fact – I even proposed to him…” the ‘Feminist’ said to my wife.

“You proposed marriage to Arun…?” my flabbergasted wife asked the ‘Feminist’.

“Of course – I wanted to marry Arun – but he turned down my marriage proposal – didn’t Arun tell you about me…?” the ‘Feminist’ said to my wife.

Suddenly – a man appeared – looked at the ‘Feminist’ – and gestured towards his watch.

“Oh – I have to go for a TV interview…” the ‘Feminist’ said.

The ‘Feminist’ got up from her seat – looked at my wife – and smiled: “It was so nice meeting you – do watch my interview at 8 about my book on TV…” the ‘Feminist’ said to my wife, mentioning a news channel.

Then – the ‘Feminist’ looked at me and said: “Arun – it was great meeting you after so many years…”

I smiled at her and said: “Yes – all the best…”

After the ‘Feminist’ had walked away – my wife asked me: “You didn’t even ask her for her mobile number…”

“Why should I ask her for her mobile number…?” I said.

“Don’t you want to rekindle your ‘old flame’ – your first love…?” my wife teased.

“You shut up – it was nothing like that – we were just classmates…”

“Oh – but she proposed to you – she wanted to marry you – and the way she was looking at you – it is clear that she is still in love with you…”

“But – I was never in love with her…”

“Why…?”

“Because she is a ‘masculine’ woman…” I said.

“What nonsense – she looks quite ‘feminine’ to me – in fact – she is a very beautiful woman…” my wife said.

“I was not talking about her looks – it is about her strong views…” I said.

I wanted to end this conversation – so I got up from my chair – and said to my wife: “Let’s go home…”

In the car – my wife started off again about the ‘Feminist’.

“Why didn’t you marry her…?” my wife asked me.

“Because I was scared of her…”

“Scared?  You are twice her size…”

“I was not scared of her physically – I was scared of her views…”

“Why…”

“She is a man-hater…”

“Oh – she does not like men – surprising – she does not look ‘that type’…”

“What do you mean by ‘that type’…?”

“You know – ‘that type’ – there were a few girls in our college hostel – they did not like boys – they preferred… – you know what I mean – ‘that type’…?

“No – No – No – I did not mean it that way – she is not ‘that type’ – tell me – if she was ‘that type’ – would she have proposed marriage to me…?”

“Oh yes – you are right – that means she likes men…”

“On the contrary – she hates men…”

“But – she liked you…”

“She may have personally liked me – but in general – she is a ‘feminist’ – in fact – she is a ‘misandrist’ who is strongly prejudiced against men – and I did not want a wife who hates men…”

“I hate you…” my wife said.

Luckily – we reached home – and I was happy to end this rather irksome conversation.

Later – I saw that my wife was glued to the TV watching the ‘Feminist’ spew venom against the masculine gender in general – with a special diatribe against husbands in particular – as she discussed various aspects of her book.

At night – in bed – I observed my wife avidly reading her autographed copy of the book on ‘Gender Equality in Marriage’ written by the ‘Feminist’.

From the next morning onwards – my wife started asserting herself – putting into practice some the principles written in the Feminist’s book.

From time to time – my wife would watch the ‘Feminist’ on TV debates – and after every such debate – my wife would become more aggressive – demanding ‘gender equality’ in marriage – and the upshot was that I was soon reduced to being a “homemaker” (in addition to being the “breadwinner”).

A few weeks later – one evening – while we were shopping in a posh locality – my wife suddenly said: “Look Look – look there…”

I looked in the direction my wife was pointing.

Across the road – I saw the ‘Feminist’ – she had got out of a car and was walking towards a building – and then – she entered the building.

“She probably lives here – let’s go and meet her…” my wife said excitedly.

“Are you crazy…? We can’t just barge in like that…” I protested.

“Of course you can – after all – you were her first love…” my wife said.

“Please stop it – I don’t want to meet her – as it is she has been a bad influence on you…” I said.

“Bad influence…?”

“Yes – just by reading her book – you have made my life hell. Just imagine what will happen if you actually start meeting her…? She has already ‘liberated’ you enough – I don’t want her to ‘liberate’ you any further. That is why I do not want you to meet her – she is a bad influence and will corrupt you totally…” I said.

“I am going…” my wife said – and she crossed the road – and walked towards the building.

I had no choice but to follow her.

My wife was looking at the board in the foyer.

Suddenly – she located the Feminist’s name and exclaimed: “Ah – there – ‘Rita ….’ – 3rd Floor – see – the flat is her name – looks like she did not get married…”

We went up by the lift – and rang the doorbell.

The door did not open for some time.

“Let’s go – no one is opening the door…” I said.

In response – my wife pressed the doorbell for a long time.

“Who is it…?” a male voice said from inside.

“Rita’s friend…” my wife said.

The door opened.

A man was standing in the door.

From the stink of whisky from his breath and body – and from his disheveled appearance – I realized that he was drunk.

“Let’s go…” I said to my wife.

But – my wife asked the man, “We have come to meet Rita – she lives here – doesn’t she…?”

The man said: “Yes – Rita lives here – I am Rita’s husband – but who are you…?”

I told the man my name.

The drunken man thought for a moment – and then exclaimed loudly: “Oh – so you are her lover boy – her college sweetheart – and you have started seeing her again – haven’t you? Reviving your ‘old flame’ – eh…?”

I was rendered speechless.

My wife gave me a deadly look.

I recovered my wits – and I said to the man: “That is not true – we were just classmates.”

“Well – I am not too sure – but – anyway – come in – let’s see what Rita has to say…” the man said.

Then – the man staggered drunkenly towards the bedroom shouting: “Rita…Rita – look who has come to see you…?”

We – my wife and I – stood in the doorway.

The drunken man went inside the bedroom.

And when he emerged – I saw that he was dragging Rita roughly by the arm.

I was shocked to see Rita.

Her face was swollen up and bruised – her lip was cut and bleeding – it was evident that Rita had been badly beaten up and brutally battered by her husband.

Her body – her clothes – had all the tell-tale signs of violent physical abuse.

“I gave her a nice thrashing just now…” the Rita’s husband boasted, “do you know why…? Do you know why…?”

And then – suddenly – Rita’s husband started slapping Rita on the face…

“You stop it – or I will call the police…” I shouted.

Then – I walked to the Rita’s husband – drew myself up to my full height – and said to him in a loud voice: “You leave her and go inside your bedroom – otherwise I will thrash the hell out of you and hand you over to the police…”

Sensing that I intended to carry out my threat – and realizing that in this situation – discretion was better than “valour” – the man let go of Rita’s arm – and walked away into the bedroom.

“Let’s take her to a doctor…” I said to my wife.

“No – No…” Rita protested, “I don’t want to go to a doctor – I will manage myself – you please go…”

“You look after her…” I said to my wife, “I will call the police…”

“Call the police…? Are you crazy…?” Rita shouted at me.

“Why…?” I asked.

“If you call the police – the whole world will come to know. Do you want me to make me a laughing-stock in society…? Rita said, with tears in her eyes.

“What’s wrong with you…?” I said.

“Please – Please – Please just leave me alone and go away – this is my personal matter – and I do not want you meddling in my personal affairs – I do not want you to make matters worse – please – I beg you – please leave me alone and go away…” Rita desperately pleaded to me.

“But…? How can I leave you like this…?” I said.

“Don’t worry – these things keep happening – I have got used to it – everything will be okay in the morning – he will make up to me and things will be fine – you don’t worry – everything will be fine – but you please go – you please don’t make things worse for me – please leave me alone and go…” Rita beseeched me.

“I still feel…” I said.

“Arun – you promise me one thing…” Rita said.

“What…?”

“Promise me that you will not tell anyone about this – if the world comes to know – my reputation will be ruined – please – I beg you – Arun – you promise me – you promise me that you will not tell anyone…” Rita said to me – her voice full of anxiety.

“I promise…” I said to Rita.

And then – with great reluctance – we left her house.

Later – at night – when we were in bed – my wife said to me: “Shall I say something…?”

“Of course you can say something. What do you want to say…?” I asked my wife.

My wife said to me: “You should have married Rita – then all this would not have happened.”

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a updated re-post of my story titled THE FEMINIST posted online earlier by me Vikram Karve on this blog on July 6, 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/07/the-feminist.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/blog-fiction-feminist.html

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 10/11/2015 10:43:00 PM

Stock Market Story

September 25, 2015

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: STOCK MARKET CRASH

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

STOCK MARKET CRASH
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

He was not a Bull.

He was not a Bear.

He was a Punter.

Yes, that is why we nicknamed him: “Punter”.

He did not bother about gobbledygook like fundamentals or technicals.

He did not have an inkling of financial algorithms and risk heuristics.

He never “analyzed” the share market – he just speculated by sheer gut feeling.

He instinctively knew how to time the market.

That is why he always made money – whether the stock market boomed or it crashed.

He had made so much money that he could have retired and enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle.

But then, he had got addicted to making money by playing the stock market.

Yes – he got a kick out of “making” money rather than “enjoying” his money.

So despite his advancing years he kept on playing the market with more and more vigor and he continued to make more and more money.

Earlier, in the good old days, he would spend his entire time in the “ring” at the Stock Exchange on Dalal Street.

Now he would sit all day, all stressed up, in his room, glued to his TV, flipping all the financial channels, his fingers on his laptop or smartphone for instant online trading via the internet.

He had no interests, no hobbies, no pleasures, no loves.

He just enjoyed one thing – playing the stock market and making money.

One day his lifestyle took its toll and he had a massive heart attack.

They rushed him to the best hospital in Mumbai.

The doctors said he would require a bypass surgery.

So they admitted him to the best room in the hospital.

Instead of relaxing there, he sat whole day watching the stock-market channels on the wall-mounted TV, doing feverish online trading on his smartphone – and he continued making a lot a money and he was very happy.

But the doctors were not happy.

The doctors said that all this share-market business was causing him a lot of excitement which was not good for his already erratic heart.

So one morning they suddenly removed the TV and his smartphone and they even banned all visitors except me, his best friend, and his son, who was a successful investment banker.

“Total rest,” the doctors warned all of us, “he needs total rest, both mental and physical, and only then will he be able to stabilize and be ready for the surgery.”

It was the first time he had to suffer a day of total rest isolated from the outside world.

It was the worst day of his life.

The entire morning he kept asking about stock prices and asked me for my cell-phone to connect up and find out, but I refused since we were told to strictly isolate him from that world.

I could realize that he was passing through hell – unimaginable mental agony at not getting information about the stock market – the very thing that had been his bread and butter – even the raison d’etre of his existence.

After lunch he dozed off.

Then he suddenly he woke up, and he asked me, “What is the time?”

“2:30,” I said.

“Good. There is still time. I want to speak to my son,” he said.

“He is coming at 4…” I said.

“No. I want to speak to him now. It is urgent,” he said.

“Your son will be busy now, in his office…” I said.

“I told you it is urgent. Just get him on the phone…” he said excitedly, his breathing getting heavy.

“Okay. Okay. Calm down,” I said.

I dialled his son’s mobile number.

Soon his son came on the line.

I asked him to speak to his father.

“Sell all shares,” the man shouted at his son via the mobile phone.

“What?” I could hear his son’s surprised voice.

“Don’t ask any questions. You just do what I say. Sell all my shares – do you understand – sell all my shares – everything. Do it now. Today. Before the closing bell. Sell everything online. Right now. You know the user id and password of my trading account, don’t you…” the old man shouted to his son.

“Okay, Papa,” I could hear his son’s voice, before he disconnected.

The old man kept on pestering me to ring up his son and confirm, so I rang up his son half an hour later.

“Yes, Papa – I have sold all the shares in online trading,” the son confirmed.

The old man seemed tremendously relieved and he went to sleep peacefully.

That night, at home, sitting before my TV set, I watched with concern as all the share-market experts on the financial channels predicted that the market was very solid and bullish.

All financial experts recommended that everyone buy shares as the market was going to go up and up and up.

“Invest … Invest … Invest … Buy … Buy … Buy …” all the experts said in unison.

The market was at an all time high but things were looking so good that it was going to rise phenomenally and your investment would probably double in a few months – all the experts predicted.

The experts kept quoting analysis in technical jargon I never understood to substantiate their predictions.

Next morning the stock-market crashed.

It was the biggest fall ever in the history of the share-market.

Most investors were wiped out.

Everyone incurred huge losses – except the old man and me.

Did I say: “The old man and Me?”

Yes, the “Punter” and Me seemed to be the only two people who had made a profit in this stock-market crash.

Dear Reader – you’re surprised – aren’t you?

Let me tell you what I did.

The moment the Punter had finished speaking to his son, I went outside the room.

I called up my broker and told him to immediately sell off all my shares.

The Punter must have made a huge profit selling off all his shares just before the stock-market crashed.

And, as always – playing along with him – I too had made a small fortune by selling off the few shares I had.

As always – I had blindly followed the Punter.

And, as always – I had profited by blindly imitating whatever he did in the stock market.

The Punter heard the news of the stock-market crash from a careless nurse.

The Punter got so excited on hearing the news of the share-market crash, that he almost went crazy with excitement and happiness thinking of the huge amount of profit he had made.

The frenzy of ecstasy caused his blood pressure to go haywire – his heartbeats ran amok – and suddenly – the Punter collapsed and died.

I gave a condolence speech at the old man’s funeral in which I praised him profusely.

I told everyone how I had made a fortune in the stock-market by just following him blindly.

Later, the old man’s son took me aside, and he asked me, “Did you really sell all your shares?”

“Yes,” I said, “I had blind faith in your father.”

“I wish I had blind faith in his mysterious ways. But I am an investment banker. I don’t go by gut instinct, like my father did. I analyze things. I never imagined the stock market would crash so badly. In fact I thought the market would go up and it would be foolish to sell such excellent blue chip shares,” the young man said.

I looked at Punter’s son, and I asked him, “Are you trying to tell me that you did not sell all the shares as your father had told you to do?”

“No. I never sold those shares. I am big fool. Had I listened to my father and sold all the shares, I would have made a big fortune. But I did not sell those shares,” the young man said, with a tone of regret in his voice.

“I cannot believe it. You never sold the shares? Not even a single one?” I said.

“No – I did not sell even one single share,” he said.

“Then why did you lie to your father that you sold all the shares?” I asked.

“Because I wanted him to die happy,” he said, “I lied to my father because I wanted my father to die a happy death.”

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story is a Revised Version of My Story THE PUNTER written by me 4 years ago in the year 2011 and earlier posted by me online in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 25 May 2011 Posted by me Vikram Karve at5/25/2011 11:38:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 9/25/2015 11:10:00 PM

Humor in Uniform – My Love Life

September 23, 2015

Source: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/my-love-life-dating-romance-marriage.html

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

MY LOVE LIFE
Dating Romance Marriage
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

A GIRL IN EVERY PORT

“I have heard that Naval Officers have a girl in every port – but – so far – we don’t have even one single girl in even one port,” my course-mate said.

“Come on – we were under training. Maybe now – things will look up,” I said.

“Yes,” my course-mate said, “we are lucky to have got Bombay based ships.”

(This story happened more than 37 years ago – in the 1970’s – and those days – Mumbai was called Bombay – but I shall use Mumbai from now on).

“Yes – we are indeed lucky as compared to those poor Vizag guys – they are destined to a desolate life,” I said.

TALENT FOR ROMANCE

“The first thing I am going to do in Mumbai is to get myself a girlfriend,” my friend said.

“Me too,” I said.

My friend succeeded.

I failed.

I just did not have the talent for romance.

Everything had been handed down to me on a platter.

All the conditions to get a girlfriend were ideal.

I was on the best ship.

And in those ‘licence-quota-permit Raj’ days – as far as girls were concerned – Navy Officers were in high demand – since we got exotic foreign stuff duty free (especially perfumes) – and these imported goodies were was not available outside – and we had access to the best of clubs and social circles.

(Now – with the advent of liberalization and globalization – the charm of the Defence Services has gone down – since everything – and more – is freely available to civilians).

Most young Naval Officers had girlfriends – and a few ‘Casanovas’ were having a good time with ‘fleet auxiliaries’.

But – I had drawn a blank.

My course-mate had acquired a girlfriend within a few days of our reaching Mumbai – and he was often seen gallivanting with her all over the place.

In my case – having failed to acquire a girlfriend – instead of wasting my time on trying to romance girls – I focused on food and drink.

DO GIRLFRIENDS MAKE YOU HAPPY…?

Once – after imbibing half a bottle of whisky – followed by a sumptuous Biryani at Olympia on Colaba Causeway – and a delicious ‘Triple Sundae’ ice cream at Yankee Doodle on Marine Drive – I returned to my ship in a happy mood – and soon – I was fast asleep – enjoying sweet ‘foodie dreams’ in my cabin.

Suddenly – I was rudely jolted awake.

It was my course-mate who had come over from his ship which was tied up alongside next to my ship.

“I am very upset – I want to talk to someone – and you are my best friend,” he said.

“Yes – once upon a time I was your ‘best friend’ – now you have got your darling girlfriend…” I said angrily.

“It’s about her – I just saw her off at the airport – she is on a long haul flight plan – she will be away for two weeks…” he said.

His girlfriend was an airhostess who flew on international routes.

“Okay – so you can join me for food and drink till she comes back…” I said.

“No – it’s not that – she wants to marry me …” he said.

“So – get married,” I said.

“It is not so simple – my parents won’t agree – her parents want her to continue he job too – and in her airline – an ‘air-hostess’ has to quit the moment she gets married. It is all very complicated – I have realized that falling in love has complicated my life…” he said sadly.

And then – he went on and on…

He told me his entire ‘sob story’…

My lovesick friend totally disturbed my sleep – by narrating his ‘love woes’ till early morning.

I thought that having a girlfriend made you happier.

But – exactly the opposite had happened to my otherwise cheerful friend.

He appeared to have become miserable after falling in love.

I said to myself: “If having just one girlfriend had done this to him – just imagine the situation of those Casanovas with multiple girlfriends…!”

It seemed that a ‘zero-girlfriend’ guy like me was much happier than my counterparts who had girlfriends.

FOOD = FIXED DEPOSIT

I realized that ‘Food’ was a safe investment like a Fixed Deposit.

Yes – focusing your energies on eating good food was like buying a Fixed Deposit in a Nationalized Bank.

It was a stable situation.

Maybe – the ‘returns’ were lower – but for the time and money you spent on food – you got a guaranteed ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI).

ROMANCE = STOCK MARKET

On the other hand – ‘Romance’ was a risky investment like the stock market.

Acquiring a girlfriend was like trading in a volatile share.

Romance is an emotionally volatile relationship – similar to a financially volatile stock market.

Just like the ‘returns’ from the stock market were unpredictable and could vary from high to low – the ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) you got from a romantic relationship could swing between ecstasy and agony.

LOVELESS ‘ZERO-ROMANCE’ BACHELOR LIFE

So – being risk-averse – I was content to spend my ‘zero-romance’ loveless bachelor life enjoying good food and drink.

Of course – I did make some efforts to ‘fall in love’.

But – sadly – No girl was willing to fall in love with me.

My few attempts at dating girls ended in disaster.

So – I resigned myself to the fact that ‘love marriage’ was not in my destiny.

And – hence – I settled for an ‘arranged marriage’.

EXTRA MARITAL ROMANCE

As a newly married couple – my wife and I – along with our pet Lhasa Apso girl Sherry – the three of us – we lived in a lovely one room flat in Curzon Road Apartments in New Delhi.

One evening – we were sitting in Nathu’s Sweets – in Bengali Market – one of our favourite places – where we often walked down in the evenings.

There was a group of beautiful girls sitting nearby – and my eyes were focused on them.

Yes – I was ogling at the pretty girls – as most young men do – or want to do.

One girl seemed particularly attractive – and I was staring at her quite blatantly – with frank admiration in my eyes.

My wife followed my gaze.

She was quite amused to see me looking at the pretty girls so intently – especially the yearning look I gave to that most gorgeous girl who seemed to be the object of my total attention.

Suddenly – my gaze shifted.

My wife was curious.

Was there a new ‘object’ which had captured my attention?

She followed my gaze – to see where I was looking.

On observing the new ‘object of my attention’ – my wife started laughing.

A tray of sweets was being brought in from the kitchen – and my eyes had ‘locked on’ to the mouthwatering sweets like a Radar ‘locks on’ to its target.

The tray was heaped with my favourite sweet – the inimitable ‘Lavang Lata’.

Soon – I was fully focused on eating my Lavang Lata – totally oblivious to my surroundings.

And – I seemed to have completely forgotten about those beautiful girls sitting on the table nearby.

In fact – I was so absorbed in savouring the delicious ‘Lavang Lata’ – and I was enjoying myself so totally – that I even forgot about my wife sitting opposite – who was not quite relishing the dish of ‘Lavang Lata’ that I had ordered for her too.

“So – it seems that you found the ‘Lavang Lata’ more enticing than those beautiful girls…” my wife said to me.

“Of course – I love good food – there is no greater love than the love of food…” I said.

And then – while walking back home – I told her about my failed attempts to romance during my Mumbai days.

I explained to her why I preferred food to romance – about my theory –‘Food is like a Fixed Deposit’ versus ‘Romance is like the Stock Market’.

My wife looked at me and said: “Someone had told me that a Naval Officer has a girl in every port – but looking at you – I am convinced that you did not have even a single girl in any port – in fact – you must have had a ‘foodie joint’ in every port…”

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

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised version of my story A GIRL IN EVERY PORT posted online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal blog on 13 May 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 9/23/2015 11:42:00 PM

The Front-Line isn’t a Parade Ground

August 28, 2015

Source: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/all-quiet-on-western-front-book-review.html

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

AUTHENTIC MILITARY LITERATURE

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Erich Maria Remarque
Book Review
By
VIKRAM KARVE

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

PSYCHE OF A SOLDIER

Recent events indicate that most civilian citizens – including the “powers-that-be” – do not understand the psyche of a soldier.

Almost every day – we see news of soldiers being martyred 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 politicians go to the extent of remarking that “soldiers are paid to die”.

We see the tragic sight of military veterans on hunger strike for OROP (One Rank One Pension).

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

Jingoistic Politicians “celebrate” the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 War – while Military Veterans who actually fought in the 1965 War are 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 realistic aspects of military life.

If you peruse 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 37 years ago in 1978.

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.

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: Editions of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Also – if you do a google search – you will see that this 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” – the sine qua non of a good novel is that the story must not only move in time – but it must also 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…”) – more than 37 years ago – 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.

The front-line is that part of the Army which is closest to the enemy and front-line troops are first-line combat soldiers in the heart of the battle.

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 – they remain safe and sound – securely ensconced in peaceful comfort – far away from danger – while they exhort soldiers to sacrifice their lives for the nation.

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

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 affected by the war.

In fact – all soldiers are affected by the war.

Some soldiers die on the battlefield.

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

Some soldiers are injured and get physically disabled – but all soldiers who go through a brutal war are mentally scarred for life.

The author wants to convey that war destroys men – it can kill them – it can cripple them – it can leave them mentally traumatized for life – and even if they survive 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.

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

THE FLIRTY WOMAN ON THE TRAIN – A TRAVEL ROMANCE

August 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do tell me if you like this old fashioned romance…

A TRAVEL ROMANCE
The Flirty Woman on the Train
A Love Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

EPILOGUE

Sometime ago – I received a wedding invitation card.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLIRTING ON THE TRAIN
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

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

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

I was on seat number 30 – a window seat.

A window seat.

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

A disappointment…!

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

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

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

I felt a pang of disappointment.

Maybe she would come at Dadar.

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

I sat down on seat number 28.

In 10 minutes the train reached Dadar.

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

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

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

I and gave her a smile of forced geniality.

Our eyes met.

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

I felt a sense of elation.

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

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

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

Now she would have to sit next to me.

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

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

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

This was one journey I was going to enjoy. 

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

I was taken aback – a bit bewildered.

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

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

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

The silence was grotesque.

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

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

That was true. 

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

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

I looked at her.

I felt totally astounded. 

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

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

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

“New name…?” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you from Pune…?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“When was this…?” I asked.

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

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

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

I smiled to myself at the truth of her statement.

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

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

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

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

“I don’t have a wife…” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Quality of life…?” Manisha Bhide said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I excused myself – and I went to the toilet.

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

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

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

He wanted to know all about ships…!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe – we would have a rocking marriage.

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

Maybe for her – Surely for me.

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

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

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

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This is a revised version of my story THE RIGHT CHOICE written by me Vikram Karve 25 years ago in the year 1990 and earlier posted online by me an number of times in my various creative writing blogs including at urls:http://creative.sulekha.com/the-…  and  https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.c… and https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.c…  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  etc

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

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