Posts Tagged ‘fun’

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

May 25, 2015

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

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

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

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

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

THE BOOZY NAVY
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


TÊTE-À-TÊTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…”

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

“Yes – Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

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

“Yes – Sir…”

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

“Yes – Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…?”

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPILOGUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Humor in Uniform – AN UNFORGETTABLE “OILY” TRAIN JOURNEY

May 4, 2015

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

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

HUMOUR IN OF UNIFORM 

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

PREAMBLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PREFACE

“OILY” NAVY

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

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

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

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

So, now you have heard of the WAVY NAVY.

But have you heard of the OILY NAVY?

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

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

PROLOGUE

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

Both my ships were based at Bombay.

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

I loved sailing,

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

It was the happiest time of my life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OILY TALE

PART 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Items?” I asked.

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

“Oil tins?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, last but not the least,

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


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

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

I came out of the OOD office.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was music to my ears.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I didn’t say that,” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PART 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I offered him a drink.

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

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

The spirits seemed to have raised his morale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“All because of me…?” I protested.

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

“He could have also refused,” I said.

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

I felt sorry for him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“To hell with him,” I thought.

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

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


PART 3

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

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

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

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

I sat on the opposite berth.

I polished off the remains of the bottle of rum.

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

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

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

And then – I hit the sack.

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

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

Suddenly – everything went topsy-turvy.

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

My legs were on top of my head.

I realised that our train had derailed.

Suddenly the lights went off – and it was dark.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suddenly – the compartment door was yanked open.

It was the Train Conductor with some people.

They had a torch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thanked my stars that I was alive and well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We spent the whole night at Miyagam Karjan.

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

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

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

I asked the Station Master about them.

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


PART 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Brake van?” I asked, surprised.

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

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

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

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

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

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


PART 5

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

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

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

“Yes,” I said.

“You have to pay octroi,” he said.

“Octroi?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPILOGUE

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

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

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

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

“What money?”

“For the 3 oil tins.”

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

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

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

“Then what do we do?”

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

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

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

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

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

He was on his way to Bombay on Ty Duty.

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

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

Cheers to the “Oily” Navy…

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

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


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

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 

blogspot.in

5/04/2015 02:22:00 PM

“SUNDAY ROUTINE” – LEISURE MANAGEMENT NAVY STYLE – “SUNDAY ROUTINE” – Unforgettable Memories of My Wonderful Life in the Navy

April 26, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: LEISURE MANAGEMENT NAVY STYLE – “SUNDAY ROUTINE” – A “Memoir”.

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

Unforgettable Memories of My Wonderful Life in the Navy

LEISURE MANAGEMENT NAVY STYLE
“SUNDAY ROUTINE”
A Memoir
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Today is Sunday.

Out here – in Pune – it is a bright Sunday Morning – and it is already getting hot – since we are in the midst of a blistering summer.

Sitting indoors on this sweltering hot Sunday Morning makes me hark back to my halcyon Navy Days – and remember my “Sunday Routines” in the Navy.

Once you retire – every day is a “Sunday Routine”.

But when we were in the Navy – and our ship was tied alongside in harbour – we looked forward to our Sundays – to enjoy what the Navy calls “Sunday Routine” – our well deserved leisure time.

Let me tell you about a few of my typical “Sunday Routines”.

In the Navy – when you are at sea – you are on duty round-the-clock 24/7 – and there is no “holiday” – so there is no “Sunday Routine” in the true sense.

But when your ship is in harbour – you have “make-and-mend” (half day) on Wednesdays and Saturdays – and a “Sunday Routine” on Sundays and Holidays.

Unlike the corporate sector and government civilian babus – an operational organisation like the navy does not have the luxury of a “5 Day Week” – so we worked 6 days a week – and a weekly “off” only on Sundays – unless you were the “Officer of the Day” (OOD) – or you were put on some other “bum job” duty.

So – we eagerly waited for Sunday – and coveted our “Sunday Routine”.

“Sunday Routine” was our own personal time which we could spend as we liked – and we could do as we pleased.

Aristotle has wisely said: “The end of labour is to gain leisure”

We laboured the whole week to gain our “Sunday Routine” – and we were determined to enjoy our well earned leisure to the fullest.

Different individuals spend their leisure in different ways.

How you spend your leisure defines your persona.

There is a saying that if you want to find out the true character of a man – find out how he spends his leisure.

In the defence services – especially in the navy – how you spend your leisure mainly depends on where you are posted.

If you are lucky to be posted in a “maximum city” like Mumbai – there is a plethora of opportunities for enjoying your leisure.

On the other hand – if you are posted to a back-of-beyond remote desolate cantonment – your choices for spending your leisure are limited.

Let me describe to you – to compare and contrast – two typical Navy Style “Sunday Routines” – one in Mumbai – and one in Vizag – almost 10 years apart – both when I was posted on frontline warships – the first in the latter half of the 1970’s – and the second in the latter half of the 1980’s.


INS “XXX” (Harbour Sunday Routine – as an “in-living” officer)
[At Mumbai (then called Bombay) – end 1970’s]

This was the happiest time of my life.

It is great to be on a happy ship.

Ours was a frontline warship – the ship was new – the crew was good – we had a delightful wardroom with friendly officers – and the general atmosphere on the ship was harmonious.

The main reason for the ship being a “Happy Ship” was our Captain – who was a great guy. 

His credo was simple – all he demanded is that we do our jobs properly – and once we did that – we were free to do whatever we pleased.

(I have observed during my long service in the Navy – and in inter-service establishments – that – particularly in the defence services – much depends on the Commanding Officer (CO) – for creating a harmonious the atmosphere in a ship/unit – and a painful “killjoy” CO can make life miserable for all – like we saw on some other ships)

On a Sunday we woke up early.

(If you remember – I told you in an earlier article that I never had late nights on Saturdays – and I preferred to have my hangovers on working days).

Early in the morning – we crossed the gangway and went ashore.

Then we embarked on a long Sunday morning walk cum jog – walking out of Lion Gate, past Kalaghoda, crossing the Oval, past CCI, then onto Marine Drive to jog to Chowpatty – and back to Churchgate – where we picked up a copy of the Cole (for the day’s races) – followed by “chota hazri” at Stadium Restaurant.

Later – in the wardroom – we had a leisurely Sunday breakfast on board ship – of dosas and coffee – while “studying” the Cole – and the racing columns in the newspapers.

Ours was a wardroom of “punters”.

At around 10 or 10:30 we were off again – walking down to our favourite Stadium Restaurant Churchgate – for a brunch of sumptuous “Kheema Pav” followed by a cup of invigorating Irani Chai – while discussing our “forecasts” and “predictions” for the day’s races.

Then we caught a western railway local train to Mahalaxmi racecourse – so that we were well in time for the first race of the day – which began at noon – or sometimes a bit later at 12:30 or 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

(We took the precaution of buying a “return ticket” – for obvious reasons)

I loved going to the races. 

The atmosphere was electric – the bookie ring – the tote – the stands – the racecourse – the crowds – the excitement – the thrill – the horses – and – not to forget – the beautiful lady punters in their Sunday best – it was a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

In the evening – after a refreshing shower – and fortified with a generous quantity of Scotch and Soda – our hip flasks topped-up – we headed out again – for dinner and a late night movie – followed by midnight ice creams or milkshakes.

The restaurant where we went for dinner depended on our luck at the races – either Olympia or Bade Miyan (on a luckless day) – or Gaylord or Kamling (on a lucky day).

Even during the off-season – when there were no races – there was so much to do on a Sunday in a “maximum city” like Mumbai.

Like I said – those were the happiest days of my life – and my most enjoyable “Sunday Routines” too.

I thought these happy days would never end – but two years later – I was yanked off the ship, and posted to Jamnagar (as an instructor) – and it was still a big culture shock for me after my wonderful days in Mumbai.

I was familiar with the dreary place as a “student officer” – but it was a big disappointment – especially after my glorious days in Mumbai.

I suffered and endured almost one year in that horrible desolate place – almost becoming alcohol dependent – since the main leisure activity there was drinking Rum (while listening to old Hindi Songs on Urdu Service).

I escaped becoming an woebegone alcoholic by getting “selected” for the “prestigious” M. Tech. Course at IIT Delhi.

After two years of “paid holiday” – followed by two years in R&D – and then two more years on instructional duties at IAT Pune – and I was back on a frontline warship in Mumbai.

“Bombay days were back again” 

(Yes – Mumbai was still called Bombay in the late 1980s).

It was back to halcyon “Sunday Routine” days – I lived at Vasant Sagar in Churchgate – and for the first few months we had a great life.

As I was living it up – chanting “Happy Days are here again” – our luck ran out – and the base port of our ship was changed from Mumbai to Vizag (Visakhapatnam) – and we were off to the Eastern Seaboard.

I had been to Vizag only once on my earlier ship – but I did not see much of the Naval Base – since our ship was berthed on the iron ore jetty in the port trust – and we were in Vizag just for a day or so – and we spent our liberty hours ashore in the town.

But it seemed that – as far as Vizag town was concerned – nothing much had changed in the last 10 years.

As compared to Mumbai – Navy life Vizag was a big comedown – as you will realize – when you see how I spent my “Sunday Routine” at Vizag (Visakhapatnam)
 

INS “YYY” (Harbour Sunday Routine – as an “MLR” officer)
[Vizag (Visakhapatnam) – end 1980’s]

I was now married (MLR or “Money in Lieu of Ration” in Naval Jargon) – and I was living with my family in Naval Park Vizag.

Sunrise is early on the eastern seaboard – so I would get up at 5:30 on Sunday morning – and I would head for my Sunday morning super-long walk – up Dolphin’s Nose – down to Continental Beach – and then head back straight to the “Sunday Market” in the HSL complex near Scindia – and reach there by 7 – just as the market (haat) was opening up.

The entire naval community would be there at the “Sunday Market” – mostly ladies whose husbands are sleeping off their hangover – and some early riser husbands like me.

In Vizag – this Sunday Morning Market was a “must visit” since you lived far away from town in Naval Park – to pick up your weekly stock of vegetables, fruit and fish.

At around 8 – I returned home – I had a bath – we breakfasted on the idlis I had brought from the Sunday market – and at 9 o’clock – we all settled down before the TV set to watch the epic serial Ramayan.

(Later – when Ramayan was over – we would watch Mahabharat from 9 to 10 every Sunday morning).

Then we (self, wife and son) headed to the swimming pool – and spent an hour swimming and cooling off – and chitchatting with friends.

At 12 noon we were sitting in the makeshift club located in the parking lot of the officers’ mess for the Sunday afternoon Beer Biryani Tombola.

(Yes – in Vizag it was the rather prosaic and boring Tombola at the Navy Club – in lieu of thrilling and exciting Horse Racing at the Mahalaxmi Race Course which we enjoyed in Mumbai)

Then – I headed back home for a “beer and biryani induced siesta” –  which made me feel groggy.

In the evening – maybe we headed for town – full family of 3 on my Bajaj scooter – mostly accompanied by friends – and walked around Ramakrishna Beach – or maybe saw a movie at Jagdamba – followed by dinner at Daspalla.

Then we headed back home – and hit the sack.

Vizag was a big comedown from the glorious “Sunday Routines” of Mumbai.

One thing good in the Navy is that nothing is permanent.

So – 10 years later – in the year 2000 – I was back in Mumbai – and I enjoyed my “Sunday Routines” even better than before – since the Navy gave me a lovely house in Empress Court, opposite the Oval, in Churchgate.

What better location can you ask for in Mumbai – especially to enjoy your leisure? 


EPILOGUE

My best and most enjoyable “Sunday Routines” were in Mumbai (Bombay) and Delhi.

And the most lackluster and dreary Sunday Routines were in Jamnagar – arguably the worst place to be posted to – during my younger days in the Navy.

The Sunday Routines in places like Vizag, Kochi (Cochin) and Pune were somewhere middle-of-the-road – as I have described above.

In IAT Pune – on Sundays – we could go trekking up to Sinhagad or in the hills of Girinagar – or we would head for Pune City – to spend the day with our parents/relatives (Pune is my hometown).

How about you? 

How do you like to enjoy your Sundays?

And especially if you are a “fauji” – do tell us how you enjoyed your “Sunday Routines” in the “fauj” – in the army, the navy or the air force.

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

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


This is a revised version of my article earlier posted online by me Vikram Karvein my academic and creative writing journal blog at 7/08/2014 11:30:00 PMat url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 4/26/2015 10:06:00 AM

 

 

APRIL FOOL – All Fools Day Story

March 31, 2015

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

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

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

01 April 1983   (New Delhi)

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

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

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

My ex-shipmate entered the Tropo Lab.

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

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

I was very happy and joyfully excited to hear this.

Pune is my hometown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wrote down the relevant details of the NA list.

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

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

(DOP was the acronym for Director of Personnel)

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

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

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

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

The DDOP too was happy to see me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He seemed to be speaking to the Base Supply Officer. 

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPILOGUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All is well that ends well.

HAPPY ALL FOOLS’ DAY

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

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

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



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

A Naval Yarn – A FLEET AUXILIARY CALLED SEMAPHORE SIGNAL – A Naval Yarn from THE TALES OF MY HALCYON NAVY DAYS – FLEET AUXILIARIES AND SEMAPHORE SIGNALLING

November 1, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: A FLEET AUXILIARY CALLED SEMAPHORE SIGNAL – A Naval Yarn from THE TALES OF MY HALCYON NAVY DAYS – FLEET AUXILIARIES AND SEMAPHORE SIGNALLING.

Click the link above to read the original story in my creative writing journal

The Story is also given below for you to read and for your convenience:

A FLEET AUXILIARY CALLED SEMAPHORE SIGNAL – A Naval Yarn from THE TALES OF MY HALCYON NAVY DAYS – FLEET AUXILIARIES AND SEMAPHORE SIGNALLING

DELIGHTFUL MEMORIES OF MY HALCYON NAVY DAYS
By
VIKRAM KARVE
Whenever you have the blues, and you feel melancholic and depressed, there is a guaranteed way to lift your spirits, enliven you and cheer you up.
Just hark back into the past, down the timeline of your life, reminisce about your halcyon days and recall a happy incident, an amusing event, a hilarious anecdote, a comical side-splitting experience – think about that funny episode, relive the jovial experience in your mind, and sure enough, instantly, there will be a smile on your lips and cheer in your heart, and you will be filled with happy vibes and you will feel bright and breezy.
Now that I have “retired” into oblivion, this is exactly what I do, whenever I feel glum and gloomy.
I close my eyes and, in my mind’s eye, I mentally go back in time, almost 35 years back in time, to the late 1970s, and reminisce about my halcyon navy days, the happiest days of my life, and let delightful memories of those glorious navy days perambulate in my brain.
This morning, as I delved into my halcyon navy days, floating over my time line, I suddenly remembered that unforgettable episode about the “Fleet Auxiliary” who I had nicknamed “Semaphore Signal”.
Let me tell you about it. Do tell me if you enjoyed reading the story, and I shall spin some more yarns for you.
I enjoy spinning yarns, some true, spiced up with lots of salt and pepper, and some apocryphal.
Like I said, I am going to spin a few naval yarns for you.
Now, Dear Reader, you’ve got to remember one thing. 35 years ago it was an all-male navy, where bawdy jokes, ribaldry and profane language was the order of the day, and concepts like gender-sensitivity were unheard of. So let me reminisce and spin a few yarns for you to enjoy, no offence meant to anybody – I just want to make you laugh and drive away your blues, and mine too. I am sure you have a good sense of humour and you will enjoy these yarns with a pinch of salt.
 
 
DELIGHTFUL MEMORIES OF MY HALCYON NAVY DAYS – Part 1
A FLEET AUXILIARY CALLED SEMAPHORE SIGNAL
A Naval Yarn
By
VIKRAM KARVE
Disclaimer: Please read this apocryphal short story only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof, pure fiction, a fantasy, a figment of imagination. So first convince yourself that you have a sense of humour and only then read the yarn, take it with a pinch of salt, and have a laugh. And yes, this story is for adults only, so if you are a kid please skip this post and go onto something academic in nature …
“FLEET AUXILIARIES”
We had returned to port after a long sailing and in the evening I decided to visit my course-mate Horny on his ship which was parked just ahead of us. Unlike mine, his was a small ship, and the atmosphere was totally informal, with just a Snotty and a sailor leisurely manning the gangway.
I identified myself, told them who I wanted to meet and started walking inside when the Snotty said, “Sir, just a moment, he is busy right now, someone is there with him in his cabin.”
“Busy? Okay. I’ll come later. Just tell him I had come,” I said, and started to walk away.
“Sir, why don’t you speak to him?” the Snotty said and dialled Horny in his cabin and held out the phone to me.
“Hey, don’t go,” Horny said, “just come down to my cabin.”
Horny was waiting for me outside his cabin, and I could see that he was genuinely happy to see me.
“So nice to see you after so many days. Come inside,” he said, opening the door of his cabin.
I was taken aback by what I saw in his cabin.
A woman was lying on his bunk.
On the side-table there was a bottle of my favourite Premium Scotch Whisky.
I was not surprised at seeing the girl – Horny was a known Casanova famous for his peccadilloes.
What surprised me was the bottle of whisky, for Horny was a strict teetotaller.  
Horny introduced me.
The girl made no effort to get up.
She continued to lie down on the bunk in her supine position and smiled at me.
I smiled back.
Then Horny pointed outside and said to me, “Why don’t you sit in the wardroom for some time? We’ll finish off our business and join you in a few minutes. The bar, the fridge, everything is open, so just help yourself to a drink and whatever you want.”
It was just six in the evening, so I poured myself a beer, switched on the TV and relaxed in the wardroom waiting for Horny and his consort.
I was two beers down by the time Horny joined me in the wardroom.
“Girlfriend?” I asked him.
“No,” he said, “She’s just a fleet auxiliary.”
(Let me digress a bit and tell you the difference between a Fleet Auxiliary and a “Fleet Auxiliary”– the former Fleet Auxiliary is a support ship, like an oil tanker, a supply vessel, a depot ship, or a hospital ship, which supports the main fleet, whereas the latter “Fleet Auxiliary” is a moniker, a nickname given to a girl who “supports” the men who man the fleet by having a good time with them and help them quench their carnal passions. It is a no strings attached relationship. Of course, there may have been be a bit of “barter” sometimes where she gets to drink the best booze and gets some gifts like an expensive perfume or some exquisite Swiss chocolates. Let me tell you that in those golden days of the license, quota, permit raj, prized and coveted foreign goodies were was not available in the domestic market and we got them duty-free on board, and a naval officer was quite high up on the social ladder. Regrettably, the advent of liberalisation and globalisation changed everything, and nowadays, a naval officer is no longer the crème de la crèmeof society anymore, because today, money determines your status, and businessmen are the new role models. And as far as “fleet auxiliaries” are concerned, it looks like they have disappeared from the fleet and found greener pastures, because when I asked a young Sub about it a few days ago, he seemed totally clueless).
“Oh. A new Fleet Auxiliary? But she looks quite a Plain Jane,” I remarked.
“Never a judge a chick by her looks,” Horny said, “I can tell you from my own experience. Most of those gorgeous chic beauties who look like sex bombs turn out to be damp squibs, but these prosaic looking Plain-Jane types are terrific. Like this one. She’s real great. Just three drinks and she’s ready for action.”
“Three drinks?” I asked.
“Yes, just three large pegs of neat whisky and she is all primed up – ready for action.”
“Really?” I said, incredulous.
“The first drink, she lies horizontal. The second one, she puts her legs up by 45 degrees. And the moment she has her third drink, her legs go straight up to vertical position and she is ready for action.”
“Like a Semaphore Signal,” I said.
“Semaphore Signal? You mean the flags?”
“No. No. Not Naval Semaphore Signalling. I am talking about Railway Semaphore Signalling,” I said.
“Railway Semaphore Signalling?” he asked, confused.
“Yes. Railway Semaphore Signalling. To be precise your passionate “fleet auxiliary” can be described as a three position Multiple Aspect Upper Quadrant (or MAUQ) Semaphore Signal.”
“Hey, stop the mumbo jumbo and explain to me in simple language,” Horny said.
Now, I am no great raconteur, so I picked up a pencil and piece a paper, drew some pictures and explained the salient aspects of Semaphore Signalling. If you want to know what I told Horny, have a look at the picture below.
                Multiple Aspect Upper Quadrant (MAUQ) Semaphore Signalling
The images above are from the Indian Railways Fan Club (IRFCA) Website Post on Signalling Systems.  Indian Railways Fan Club (IRFCA) is a hobby group for discussing all aspects of railways in India. You you may read the post on semaphore signals by clicking the url link http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-signal2.html
Let’s look at the red coloured signal first.
The arm at horizontal position means “stop”, inclined upwards at 45 degrees means “caution” and the arm in the vertical position means “all clear” and the train can proceed.
Now look at the yellow coloured semaphore signal.
I think, that in the context of this story, the yellow coloured signal seems more apt – STOP, ATTENTION, PROCEED.
Now just imagine that the legs of the girl (our “fleet auxiliary”) in place of the arm of the signal.
First Drink – Legs Horizontal – STOP.
Second Drink – Legs inclined upwards by 45 degrees – ATTENTION
Third Drink – Legs Vertical – PROCEED
On hearing my explanation, Horny burst out laughing and we both laughed for a long time.
We were still laughing when “Semaphore Signal” joined us in the wardroom. She had freshened up. We talked. I liked her. Though she was quite chubby and ordinary looking, she had a very friendly smile and she exuded a sort of affable charm.
Life moved on, Horny moved on, I moved on, and, of course, the “fleet auxiliary” called “Semaphore Signal” moved on, though I did see her a few times circulating around in the fleet.
Many years passed, and I had forgotten all about this episode when I unexpectedly ran into “Semaphore Signal” while browsing in a bookstore.
I recognized her at once.
She was the very same “fleet auxiliary” I had nicknamed “Semaphore Signal”.
Now, so many years later, she had turned a bit plump, but otherwise she looked the same chubby girl with a sincere, friendly smile which radiated the same charming warmth.
I smiled at her.
She did not smile back.
In fact, she totally ignored me, showing absolutely no trace of recognition, and then she turned and walked towards the exit of the bookstore.
She walked out of the bookstore and stood in the foyer.
I followed her with my eyes and positioned myself so that I could clearly see her.
She took out her mobile phone from her purse, dialled a number, held the cell-phone near her ear and spoke briefly.
Then she walked into the food court of the mall and sat down on a vacant table.
I kept down the book I was browsing, walked out of the bookstore, into the spacious food court and sat down on a table from where I could see her clearly.
She knew that I was stalking her but she avoided looking directly in my direction.   
Suddenly a small girl came running and ran into her arms. The girl was followed by a man who smiled at her and sat down opposite her.
They were talking, maybe deciding what to eat – mother, father and daughter – a happy family.
I noticed that “Semaphore Signal” exuded the bliss of domesticity.
I felt happy for her – a “fleet auxiliary” so happily settled down in family life.
It was time for me to leave.
I got up, looked at her for the last time and started to turn.
“Semaphore Signal” looked in my direction, gave me a fleeting glance, a brief smile of recognition, and then she looked down at her daughter and started talking to her.
As I walked away after the encounter I felt happy for “Semaphore Signal”.  She was one of the fortunate “fleet auxiliaries” who had put her past behind, moved on into a new world and settled down into a happy married life – the bliss of domesticity.
Others were not so lucky.
Some could not move on in life and persisted with their ways till age overcame them and the only future the could look forward to was to live a life of a lonely spinster, an old maid, with only reminisces to think about. 
A few managed to “trap” a gullible naval officer into marriage, but many such marriages ended in disaster, since they remained in the same environment and did not escape to a new world. Much as they tried, they could not prevent the shadow of their past life from haunting their present lives.
I don’t know why, but whenever I see a woman drinking I remember “Semaphore Signal” and a smile comes to my lips.
I really don’t know if there is a connection between alcohol and promiscuity, but then as my friend Romeo would boast: “Give me a woman who drinks and I can get her into bed” – and he proved it.
But that is another story, one more yarn I will spin some day. 
Dear Reader: Please give me some feedback. Tell me, did you like this yarn? Do you think I should compile my naval yarns into a book? In today’s world where “Campus Romances” are in vogue, will anyone read such a book on memoirs of my halcyon navy days? Do tell me, for I have many yarns to spin and stories to tell.
By the way, the Railways have replaced Semaphore Signals with Electric Light Signals and I don’t think you will see a traditional Semaphore Signal anymore. Doesn’t matter. The next time you see a railway signal, or a traffic signal, and as you watch it changing colour, do remember this story and have a laugh.
Keep Laughing and have a Happy Day.
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

Did you like reading this story? 
I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in my recently published book of short stories COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html
COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

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

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

 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

POSTIVE VIBES – The Key to Eternal Youth – The Ultimate Anti-Ageing Formula

September 12, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: BIRTHDAY BLOG – HOW TO FEEL YOUNG AND YOUTHFUL FOREVER – The Ultimate Anti-Ageing Formula.

Click the link above to read the article in my journal

Article also posted below for your convenience

BIRTHDAY BLOG – HOW TO FEEL YOUNG AND YOUTHFUL FOREVER – The Ultimate Anti-Ageing Formula

BIRTHDAY BLOG

Today, on the 12th of September 2012, I am 56 years old (chronologically). 

Am I old? 

Or am I young?

Well, you may say that I am old, but I still feel that I am a young boy. 

You may not agree with me but I feel that it is better to be immature rather than mature 

There is a saying that you are as old as you feel”. 

That is why there are “young senior citizens and “old senior citizens”.

Soon, I will be officially a Senior Citizen. Surely, I would like to be a “young senior citizen. How about you?

Here is a piece I wrote sometime back on the subject –  HOW TO REMAIN YOUNG AND YOUTHFUL FOREVER

Do tell me if you like it – I look forward to your comments. 

And hey, dont forget to wish me a Happy Birthday.

HOW TO BE A YOUNG SENIOR CITIZEN 
The Ultimate Anti-Ageing Formula
Zest for Living and Passion for Learning
By
VIKRAM KARVE

There are a number of retired senior citizens in the colony where I live in Pune. 
 
Yes, there are still large numbers of pensioners living all over Pune though Pune is no longer a pensioners’ paradise.

I have noticed one intriguing thing. 

 
Though most are of these persons are of the same chronological age, some are “young” and some are “old” – yes some appear young and some seem old – after all your age is what you feel.

Further observation reveals the anti ageing formula for remaining young: 

 
Zest for Living and Passion for Learning is the best anti-ageing recipe that keeps you young forever.
 
This is the true elixir of life.

Look around you and you will see what I mean. 
 
There are many oldie-goldies who are living life to the fullest and are always eager to learn new things and there are also other old people who have no “juice” left in them as they have lost the spirit to enjoy learning with enthusiasm and relish the pleasures of life to their utmost.

I know a “young” senior citizen who, after retirement, started learning classical music from the scratch, enjoyed studying for 10 years till he completed his sangeet alankar, living life to the fullest in true epicurean style – good food, music, concerts, plays, movies, travel, picnics, swimming, trekking, playing with his dogs, social work, you name it – he did it … and with the advent of internet he is enjoying moments exploring the mysteries of the web, learning new things and latest technologies, actively blogging with passionate fervour, and with gusto doing all sorts of learning activites, creative writing, surfing, social networking, making virtual friends, teaching music – for him variety is the spice of life. 

 
This young-at-heart senior citizen lives a delightfully active life, loves the company of youngsters and has the enthusiasm and energy of a child – and though in his late seventies he is “younger” than even those chronologically many years his junior and it is his zest for life and passion for knowledge that keeps him healthy, happy and youthful.

Remember you are as old as you feel, not as old as you look, and certainly not as “old” as your chronologically age says you are. 

 
It is in your hands to forever remain a “young” senior citizen.

I will end this piece with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:

Live as if you are going to die tomorrow

and
Learn as if you are going to live forever

It is breathtakingly simple to remain young forever, Dear Reader. 

 
It is all in the mind.
 
 
HOW TO FEEL YOUNG AND YOUTHFUL
 
Here are some tips on how to feel young and forget your chronological age.  
 
 
1. Spend time in the company of young happy people
 
It is better to spend your time with cheerful younsters who are enjoying life in the present rather than make yourself miserable in the company of pessimistic, gloomy, cynical old fogies who keep living in the past, carping and complaining about the present, and speculating and worrying about the future
 
It is better to remain with your family and kids rather than go to a retirement home (old age home). If your children have migrated abroad and you have no choice but to live alone, try to seek the company of youngsters rather that old fogies. In the worst scenario, it is better to live alone enjoying your own company rather than in a demoralizing atmosphere.
 
Teaching and mentoring youngsters (never give unsolicited advice or moral lectures) is rewarding and good too – I love to teach as I enjoy the company of cheerful motivated young students and this keeps me young and enthisuastic about learning too.
 
 
2. Get a Pet Dog 
Another useful anti-aging technique is to get a pet dog and enjoy playing with your dog. 
 
Pet parenting and your pet dog’s antics and will keep you happily occupied, cheerful and healthy, besides ensuring regular exercise as your pet dog will ensure you take him out on walks at least twice a day. 
 
There is nothing more joyful than playing with your dog and talking to him. A dog always remains young at heart, and if you play and talk to your dog, you too will remain young at heart.
 
This morning I gave my dog Sherry a vigorous bath and felt really young and energetic. 
 
A dog will bring out the child in you. A pet will keep you active, happy, young and youthful.
 
 
3. Rediscover your childlike enthusiasm  
 
Stop reminiscing about the “good old days” and start living it up every day doing whatever you like with zest and passion to learn new things like bloggingtweeting, social networking, making real friends and virtual friends with common interests and passions, exploring the mysteries internet and enjoying the benefits of information technology. 
 
Yes, keeping oneself uptodate and abreast of the latest technologies keeps one mentally stimulated. Use technology effectively to keep young. You must Blog, you must Tweet and you must be active on social networking sites like Facebook and Google.

 
4. Re-discover your youthful romantic mischievous side
 
Become “naughty” once again, have fun and discover the beauty and romance of life. Why not harmlessfly flirt a bit? 
 
Remember that the moment you stop appreciating and being attracted to beauty, you have become “old   and life is not worth living. Yes, there is a saying that the day you lose interest in good food and stop appreciating beautiful women (or handsome men) you become an old man (woman).
 
 
5. Learn new things, develop new hobbies and nurture your creative interests
 
Try to have a positive attitude and optimistic temperament and keep learning new things and nurture your creative interests, hobbies, exercise, play, travel, eat out, see movies, have a ball.
 
Explore your creative side. Discovering new aspects of your creativity and passionately nurturing your interests works wonders for your health and happiness.
 
Keep learning new things, imbibe the latest technologies and avoid becoming obsolescent or obsolete.
 
 
6. Try to be in an Atmosphere of Positive Vibes
 
Try your best to be in an environment of positive feel-good happy Vibes and avoid people, places and activities which generate negative vibes in you. 
 
Do not waste your time reminiscing and regretting the past or speculating and worrying about the future. 
 
In fact, never think of the past or future.
 
You must live in the present. 
 
And most importantly, you must ensure that the present moment is a happy one, and for this, positive vibes are the key to making you feel good, cheerful and happy, here and now.
 
 
To sum up, if you want to remain young and youthful forever, all you have got to do is to have a zest for living and passion for learning
First thing in the morning, the moment you get up, recite your new Art of Living Motto:
 
“Live as if you are going to die tomorrow, learn as if you are going to live forever”
 
Dear Reader, here’s wishing you eternal youth – may you remain young forever with a Zest for Living and a Passion for Learning.
 
So Cheer Up and Live it Up…!!! 
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like reading this article?
I am sure you will like the 27 stories in COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html
COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

About Vikram Karve

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

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



© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

 

WORRY AMMA – short story

July 2, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: WORRY AMMA – short story.

Click the link above to read the story in my journal

Also posted below for your convenience

WORRY AMMA – short story

Do You Worry?
You do?
Then read this story

WORRY AMMA
Short Fiction Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE


“I am worried,” she said.

“Worried…? About what…?” I asked.

“Marriage…”

“Marriage…? What marriage…? Whose marriage…?”

“My marriage, you stupid…” she admonished me.

“Your marriage…? But you are not getting married…!”

“That’s what I am worried about – why am I not getting married – I may never get married…”

“Of course you will get married…”

“Really…you think so…”

“Of course I think so…you are the most eligible girl…so beautiful…so talented…so educated…the best boys will queue up for your hand…”

She did get married.

Yes, she got married at the right time, to the best boy…but not before a few she subjected me to a few onslaughts of her terrible spells of worry.

Like just before her engagement ceremony she took me aside and said, “I am worried…”

“Not now…!” I admonished.

“Don’t talk to me like that…you are the only one…”

“Okay, okay, tell me…”

“Do you really think we are compatible…?”

“Of course you are compatible…in fact you two are made for each other and your marriage will be a big success…” I assured her.

“Will he let me work after marriage…?”

“Of course, he will let you work…didn’t you both discuss it the other day…”

“Yes, but I am worried that in the heart of his heart he doesn’t want me to work. ”

“I spoke to your fiancé. I asked him very clearly. He wants you to work and have a successful career…” I lied.

“Really…?”

“Yes…”

She had a flourishing marriage and a highly successful career but that did not stop her from bombarding me with her salvoes, fits and spells of worry whenever we met from time to time.

“I am worried. Will I have children?”

She had two – a boy and a girl.

“I am worried about my kids. What will they do in life? It is so difficult, there is so much competition.”

Both her children did very well. Her son got into IIT, then IIM, and got a very good job in an MNC. Her daughter got into AIIMS, became a doctor, specialized in Gynaecology, and was working in a leading hospital, but her blitzkrieg of worries continued unabated.

“I am worried.”

“Now what?”

“My children’s marriage, you fool. Will my son get a good girl, will she get along with me? My daughter….?”

Both her son and daughter got the best of spouses who got along very well with their in-laws. In fact, her daughter-in-law doted on her and they stayed together as a happy joint family and her daughter who had married a colleague doctor lived nearby and visited her almost every day.

“I am worried.”

“Now what?”

“My daughter – her pregnancy – will her delivery be okay?”

“Come on, both she and her husband are the best gynaecologists in town. Surely there is no reason to worry.”

Her daughter had a very smooth pregnancy and delivered a bonny boy. So did her daughter-in-law.”

It seemed to be the end of her worries. She and her husband were well off, had a beautiful house in the posh area of the city, enjoyed the best of health and were looking forward to a satisfying retired life. They were blessed with grandchildren and gave the impression of one happy family. I envied her, she had everything in the world, she was really lucky. Now, there was absolutely no reason for her to worry.

Worry Amma, as I called her, came into my life when I was a small boy studying in the third standard. She was our newly arrived neighbour’s daughter, my new classmate, and I was supposed to “guide” her and “look after her” especially as we travelled to school and back in the public bus (there were no school buses those days). But most of the time it was she who was looking after me and making my life miserable with her constant worrying.

She was always worried – will the bus come on time, will she be late for assembly, will she do well in her exams, her homework, later, how she looked, her crushes, everything. I was her sounding board who she bombarded with her worries. That’s why I secretly called her “Worry Amma.”

She did very well at studies, and so did I, and I thought she, like other girls would study arts, but to my horror she too joined the same IIT as I did and made my life miserable with her worries for the next five years. And then, try as I did, I could not escape her salvoes of worry whenever we met. In fact I seemed to have got so used to her that I missed her whenever we did not meet for some time, like now, I had not met her for over a month as she had gone on a holiday abroad with her husband and entire family.

“Hi, all alone?” Worry Amma accosted me as I was enjoying my SPDP at Vaishali. She did not ask if she could join me – she just pulled a chair and sat opposite me.

“I am worried,” she said.

“Now what? Are you worried that you have nothing to be worried about?” I joked.

“I am worried about you.”

“Me?” I gasped, choking on the food in my mouth.

“Yes. You. I am really worried about you. Look at you. Living all alone. Eating all this junk food. Nobody to look after you. I am really worried about you. But don’t worry, I will find you a nice wife.”

Now, I am worried.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To order the book please click the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html

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

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

  

ART OF LOAFING

March 6, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: LOAFING IN PUNE.

Click the link above and read all about the art of loafing in my journal

AN UNFORGETTABLE INDIAN DERBY

February 4, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: AN UNFORGETTABLE INDIAN DERBY – a Punter Walks Down Memory Lane.

INDIAN DERBY 1980

An Unforgettable Race
A PUNTER WALKS DOWN MEMORY LANE
By
VIKRAM KARVE
It’s been a long time since I visited the race course to watch horse racing, the King of Sport and the Sport of Kings
But Derby Day is fast approaching and I am quite excited as to who is going to win the greatest classic of the season at the Mahalakshmi Race Course the Indian Derby on Sunday. 
I can never forget that exciting afternoon on my very first day at the races, Sunday the 3rd of February 1980, when I was so lucky to witness the crème de la crème of horse races in India – The Indian Derby, run on the first Sunday of February every year since 1943.
I still have vivid memories of that wonderful afternoon, even though 32 years have passed since that delightful Derby day. 
I was working in Mumbai then and a number of my colleagues were avid punters, as race-goers are called.

The excitement started on Wednesday when the declarations appeared in the newspapers and the conversations were abuzz with heated discussions as to would win the Indian Derby – Aristocrat or Everynsky?

Well, Aristocrat and Everynsky were both favourites to win the Derby and each had their passionate followers. But there were other good horses in the fray too, notably a horse called Mohawk.

By Friday the papers, both the newspapers and the race tabloids, were full of predictions, and both Aristocrat and Everynsky had top following, but Mohawk too was tipped to win by a few tipsters.

Come Saturday evening and the Cole Race Books were duly picked up from the bookstall at Churchgate and my punter friends were in a frenzy, calculating, computing, what they were going to wager – in the Derby, and in the other races too, at the bookmakers and at the tote, for the jackpot, the treble and the tanala.

The topic of conversation during our Sunday morning walk on the Marine Drive was the Indian Derby, with “expert opinions” being freely aired. After a brunch of Kheema Pav and Chai at our favourite Stadium Restaurant next to Churchgate Railway Station we took off by local train to Mahalakshmi. We made it a point to purchase “return tickets” in case we had a bad day!

Almost everyone got off at Mahalakshmi and the atmosphere in the race course was electrifying. The air was festive, like a carnival, with there were so many two-legged birds in the most fashionable dresses and exotic hats that I wondered whether I should focus on the horses or the beauties.

To a novice like me the whole process was mind-boggling – first see the horses parade in the paddock, then rush to the bookmakers rings, which was surcharged with excitement, look at the odds, look at your own calculations in your Cole, listen to tips, run once more to the paddock to see the jockeys mount and the horses being led off to the starting dates, and then rush back to the bookmakers betting ring to place your bet.

For me it was fun to watch this spectacle because I was only placing modest bets of five and ten rupees on the tote and had decided to just place one bet in the Indian Derby race of a hundred rupees for a win at the bookmakers, though I had not decided on the horse yet – but it was going to be either Aristocrat or Everynsky, whoever offered better odds.

Just before the Indian Derby, as I watched the horses parade in the paddock, I got a premonition, and following my sixth sense I placed my win bet on Mohawk. Most of my punter friends were betting heavily on Everynsky (it seems they had got a last minute “tip”) and the die-hards were backing Aristocrat, those two were the favourites to win, but there was a frenzy of betting on all horses, Mohawk too, as the odds fluctuated wildly.

In the betting ring I observed a pretty young lady observing me as I place my bet and suddenly she asked me, “Who do you like?”

I wanted to say that I liked her, but true to racing form I said, “I like Mohawk,” so she bet on Mohawk too.

It was a fantastic race. 

All eyes were on Aristocrat, Jagdish astride, who had a stable-mate as pacemaker, and I think it was the famous Vasant Shinde who was riding Everynsky, but Wally Swinburn magnificently steered Mohawk to victory causing a stunning upset as the Mohawk won the race from a fast finishing Everynsky with Aristocrat left far behind out of the reckoning.

My punter colleagues, most of whom had backed Everynsky and a few who had put their money on Aristocrat, were quite surprised at my win, and as I went to collect my win dividends, I noticed the pretty young girl looking at me and smiling with joy as if we shared some secret. She was delighted that she had outwitted her dad, a dyed-in-the-wool punter, who had bet on Aristocrat. Before she said bye and walked towards the members’ enclosure, she hoped I would be coming to races next Sunday and looked forward to some “expert” tips from me. And that was the beginning of a long and lovely friendship for I was punctually there at the Mahalaxmi Race Course on every Sunday afternoon for the rest of the season. What happened to our beautiful punters’ romance – well, that’s another story.

Soon I would have to move out of Mumbai, but whenever I was in Mumbai, I never missed the Indian Derby or any of the other classics. I have enjoyed the races at the magnificent race course at Kolkata, where lady luck favoured me greatly, at Bangalore, where too I was quite lucky, and at Mysore, the most picturesque race course nestling under the Chamundi Hills, and, of course, at the cute little race course at Pune, my home town.

I witnessed many memorable derby races, at Mumbai and elsewhere, but the most extraordinary Indian Derby I remember was in 2003 when a relatively unknown horse called Noble Eagle who was supposed to be a pacemaker flew off from the starting gates, kept galloping at top speed and won the race start to finish causing the biggest upset ever in the Indian Derby.

Guess what – the pretty young lady, who had metamorphosed into a beautiful woman, thanked me once again for the “tip” and this time her winnings were quite a bit. I wonder why I liked Noble Eagle. I looked at the horses parading in the paddock and while they were being led off to the starter gates, suddenly it was a sixth sense that made me wager a place bet on Noble Eagle, though, like my beautiful friend, who seemed to have more confidence in me that I myself had, I wish I had been more daring and placed a win bet and made a small fortune.

But sixth sense doesn’t always work, so it is better to follow the conventional way – do your homework, listen to tips and advice, have a look at the horses in the paddock parade, and observe the goings-on in the betting rings, and the make your own judgement before you get on with your punting.


I love going to the races. There is so much to enjoy – the thrill of punting, the air of excitement, the festive atmosphere, the strong, swift and handsome horses, the beautiful people in their Sunday best and the delicious snacks in between the races.

Why do I like to go for the races? A quote from my favourite philosophical book The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang probably says it all:

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live”

See you at the Indian Derby on Sunday afternoon. Tell me – who do you think will win the Indian Derby 2012? Come on give me a tip.

Happy Punting!

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this article?
Why don’t you read my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL – Stories About Relationships. 

I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html
COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

About Vikram Karve

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

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


© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

 

DRINKING ALCOHOL – GOLDEN RULE No. 1

October 21, 2011

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: DRINKING ALCOHOL – GOLDEN RULE No. 1.

 

DRINKING ALCOHOL – GOLDEN RULE No. 1

The Golden Rule of Drinking Alcohol
Never Drink when you Need a Drink
By
VIKRAM KARVE

DRINKING ALCOHOL – GOLDEN RULE No. 1

 

One evening a friend of mine landed up at my place and said, “I’ve had a really terrible day at work. I need a drink.”


“I’ll get you a cup of tea,” I said.

“Tea…?” he exclaimed astounded, “haven’t you got some whiskey or something…I told you I’m feeling terrible…everything went wrong today…I desperately need a drink…”

“I know you are dying for a drink, craving, yearning, thirsting for that “soothing” sip of alcohol. That’s why you must not drink now. You must never drink when you need a drink,” I said.    

My friend pleaded but I didn’t budge and gave him a cup of tea which he drank with great reluctance, and then he walked off in a huff, calling me all sorts of names. He said that I was  a miser, a “good for nothing” friend, but I knew I had done the right thing.

Don’t drink when you need a drink.
 
Yes, don’t drink when you want that drink. 
 
Don’t touch a drop of alcohol when your mind or body craves for alcohol.

Sounds funny isn’t it…?

Let me try to elucidate.

Never drink when you need a drink.

Don’t touch the bottle when you are feeling any negative emotion like despondency, sadness, anger, irritation, envy, unhappiness, frustration, emotional pain, bad moods, down in the dumps feeling, or any negative vibes for the bottle will “unbottle” and release your pent up negative emotions and make you feel even more miserable and also spoil the mood of all those around you.

Let me tell you something I have observed in real life.

If you want to know the true character of a man, just get him drunk and what is hidden inside him will come out and his true inner self will be revealed.

Alcohol opens you up. That’s what alcohol does, isn’t it…?

Alcohol reduces inhibitions, makes you more talkative, more expansive and more expressive, loosens you up, and helps release, bring out and amplify your inner emotions, talents, passions, sentiments.

That’s why some persons become more creative after imbibing a drink or two since alcohol unleashes your inhibitions and releases the music, the poetry, the creativity hidden within you. 
 
If you are happy inside, after a few drinks you will start physically expressing your happiness boisterously and outwardly by laughing, cheer and bonhomie.
 
In high spirits, you may even articulate your secret unexpressed love, become amorous, romantic, try to realize your hidden desires and reveal without compunctions your inner secrets which otherwise you would never disclose when sober.  

But the converse is also true.

By reducing inhibitions, alcohol may bring out the worst in you by facilitating therelease of pent up negative emotions like anger, envy, dejection, despondency, frustration and these unleashed amplified negative emotions may result in undesirable, unpleasant and even disastrous consequences.

Have you noticed how some people get violent, argumentative, rude or even melancholic, moody, sullen, depressed, unsociable after a few drinks…?

Dear Reader, in my opinion, the best thing is to be a teetotaler and not to have a drink at all, but if you must have a drink please do make sure that you are feeling positive vibes and are peaceful and happy inside and never drink when you desperately “need” that drink. Yes, do not touch alcohol when you are feeling depressed or low or angry or have negative emotions.

Remember this golden rule – If you must drink, always drink when you are happy, in good cheer and full of positive vibes

Remember: Never drink when you need a drink.



VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To order the book please click the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html

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

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


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