Posts Tagged ‘stories’

Romance : The “Perfect” Husband

July 31, 2016

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

THE PERFECT HUSBAND

A Fictional Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

Dramatis Personae

Me (The “Imperfect” Husband)

My Wife

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

Slimy’s Wife

‘Shutterbug’ – My Friend

The Perfect Husband – Story by Vikram Karve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where to…?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

“What…?”

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

“It’s my next-door neighbor…”

“You mean ‘Slimy’…?”

“Yes…” I said.

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

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

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

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

“Oh…”

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

“He is such a ‘devoted husband’….”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why…? What’s wrong with you…?”

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

“And – what about Slimy’s wife…?”

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

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

“What happened…?” I asked him.

“Nothing – I was just thinking…”

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

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

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

“So…?”

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

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

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

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

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

I continued drinking till closing time.

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

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

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

Luckily – it was a Sunday.

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

I looked around the house.

My wife was missing.

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

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

I opened the door.

I saw the maid.

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

What…?

My wife was in Slimy’s house…?

Was she complaining to him about me…?

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

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

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

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

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

Some officers were hanging around.

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

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

“No…” I said.

My coursemate took me aside.

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

Bloody Hell…!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPILOGUE

Three things happened after this episode:

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

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

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

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

 

Leisure Management – Contrarian Wisdom : Do You Party on Weekends

February 20, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Do You Party on Weekends

Humor in Uniform

On this Saturday evening – Let me share some “Wisdom” I applied in the Navy on the ART OF PARTYING

DO YOU PARTY ON WEEKENDS…?

A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

(This happened long back when we worked for 6 days in a week in the Navy and all government offices)

PARTY TIME

“You think you are too damn smart – but I have found out something about you,” the PMC said.

“What is it, Sir?” I asked – curious – wondering which ‘secret’ of mine the PMC had discovered.

“You avoid having parties on Saturdays,” he said.

“Is it so?” I said, smiling like a Cheshire Cat.

“Ever since you have taken over as Mess Secretary you always schedule parties on working days – on weekday evenings. Every time we want to have a party on Saturday evenings, you get the party re-scheduled on a weekday on some pretext or the other. Now you have crossed all limits – you even want a Saturday afternoon Pre-Lunch Drinks (PLD) preponed to Wednesday afternoon,” he said.

“There is no such word as ‘preponed’, Sir…” I said.

“Shut up. Don’t try to change the topic…” he said.

“Sir – but Wednesday is also a make-and-mend (half-day) routine – and the officer whose farewell party it is – he wanted it on Wednesday – he said it was more convenient…”

“Don’t bullshit me – the officer said that it was you who told him that Wednesday would be convenient…” the PMC said.

Now that the cat was out of the bag – I decided to make a clean breast of it.

“Sir, you are right – I don’t like to have parties on Saturdays,” I said.

“Any particular reason – something religious – do you fast on Saturdays?” he asked.

“No, no, Sir – it is something totally different – nothing religious or spiritual about it, Sir – maybe philosophical – but you won’t believe me if I tell you,” I said.

“I want to know – you have to tell me,” the PMC insisted.

“I work to enjoy my leisure,” I said.

“You work to enjoy your leisure?” he repeated my words, looking puzzled.

“We all do, don’t we? Don’t we all work so that we can enjoy our leisure? We slog 6 days a week – so that we can enjoy that one Sunday we get off. And in the Navy – we have to do duties on some Sundays too, so even some of the few Sunday routines we get are ruined anyway,” I said.

“But what the hell has all this got to do with not having parties on weekends?” he asked.

“I don’t like to have a hangover on a Sunday morning – I prefer to have my hangover on a working day and in working hours,” I said.

“What?” he asked, looking puzzled.

“I drink because I am in the Navy – it is the Navy that taught me how to drink, it is the Navy that motivates me to drink by giving me the choicest top quality duty free and subsidized liquor – and don’t we have an official party culture that encourages drinking?” I said.

“How can you say that?” he asked.

“Sir – I never touched a drop of booze in college. And most probably – I would never have started drinking alcohol had I not joined the Navy. So – since I drink alcohol because I am in the Navy – the effects of drinking alcohol like a hangover must be suffered in working hours. Also – Sir – most navy parties are official parties – so the aftereffects of these ‘official’ parties must be ‘officially’ endured in official working hours…” I explained.

“You are talking all nonsense…” the PMC said.

“Sir – please try to see it logically – the Navy is responsible for my drinking  so the Navy must bear my hangover. Why should I ruin my valuable leisure hours suffering a hangover on the one beautiful Sunday morning I get for myself – in fact – I like to get up early on Sundays – so I can enjoy my well deserved holiday to the fullest…” I said.

From the incredulous look on his face – it appeared that the PMC was not convinced by my logical reasoning.

And to prove that he was the boss – when the next occasion for an official farewell party arose – the PMC decided that the party was to be held on a Saturday evening.

The weekend party was vetoed by the PMC’s wife – who unequivocally told her husband: “Why are you having an official party on Saturday evening? Why don’t you have the farewell party on a weekday evening like you normally do? I am not going to ruin my weekend attending your boring party which goes on and on till the wee hours. Have the party on a weekday evening – and – on Saturday evening – you take me out for shopping and a movie.”

What the PMC did not know was that a few days ago I had a discussion on the same subject with his wife – and she seemed to enthusiastically agree with my views about “No Partying on Weekends”.

EPILOGUE

I tried my best to follow my NO PARTYING ON WEEKENDS dictum throughout my Navy career – so that I could fully enjoy my well-earned Sundays as I pleased.

(A few years later– after the 5-day week was introduced – my “NO PARTY WINDOW” was extended from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening).

Sometimes – this did annoy some seniors – who found me missing from weekend evening cocktails or afternoon Pre-Lunch Drinks (PLD).

In one organisation – despite my best efforts to convince them to have parties on weekdays – they insisted on having all parties on weekends.

I avoided most of these weekend parties.

Once when one of my bosses asked me why I was missing from parties – I gave him one of my classic retorts: “Sir – I do not attend parties because I am an alcoholic.”

What happened after that?

Well – that is another story which I will tell you some other time.

Meanwhile – remember the “Moral of the Storyof this article:

The worst way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning is by sleeping in bed having a splitting headache suffering from a hangover due the excesses of late night weekend partying.

Why ruin your valuable leisure hours…?

Why ruin your Sunday…?

Why ruin your weekends by weekend partying…?

Remember – you work on weekdays to enjoy your leisure during weekends.

If you must party – why not do it on working days (weekdays) evenings – and “enjoy” the hangover in working hours…?

You agree with me – don’t you?

Do remember the essence of partying:

Party on Weekdays – and Enjoy your Weekend.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Revised and Updated Version of my Story First Posted Online by me Vikram Karve at 7/04/2014 12:20:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/07/humor-in-uniform-weekend-blues.html  and later at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/leisure-management-contrarian-wisdom.html

“Nightie” Story : Humor “Out of Uniform”

January 24, 2016

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

Humor “Out of Uniform”

Story of the Nightie

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

So – I went to a boutique.

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

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

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

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

I beat a hasty retreat.

And – I remembered this story from my Navy Days.

“NIGHTIE” 

Hilarious Memories of my Glorious Navy Days

By

VIKRAM KARVE

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

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

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

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

We could park our scooters/motorcycles near his house.

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

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

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

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

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

He said his wife was getting ready.

It was almost time for the Navy Ball.

We were anxiously waiting for his wife to get ready.

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

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

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

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

Slowly – I could see her shock turn into anger.

She was looking at me with blazing eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later – the ladies joined us in the Navy Ball.

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

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

EPILOGUE

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

I was just hanging around.

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

I wished her.

She smiled back.

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

“Oh? I must meet her,” she said.

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

“Sure…” she said.

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

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

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

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

I smiled at her.

She started laughing.

I joined her in her laughter.

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

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

 

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

Humor in Uniform – My Love Life

September 23, 2015

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

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

MY LOVE LIFE
Dating Romance Marriage
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

A GIRL IN EVERY PORT

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

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

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

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

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

TALENT FOR ROMANCE

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

“Me too,” I said.

My friend succeeded.

I failed.

I just did not have the talent for romance.

Everything had been handed down to me on a platter.

All the conditions to get a girlfriend were ideal.

I was on the best ship.

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

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

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

But – I had drawn a blank.

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

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

DO GIRLFRIENDS MAKE YOU HAPPY…?

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

Suddenly – I was rudely jolted awake.

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

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

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

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

His girlfriend was an airhostess who flew on international routes.

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

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

“So – get married,” I said.

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

And then – he went on and on…

He told me his entire ‘sob story’…

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

I thought that having a girlfriend made you happier.

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

He appeared to have become miserable after falling in love.

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

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

FOOD = FIXED DEPOSIT

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

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

It was a stable situation.

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

ROMANCE = STOCK MARKET

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

Acquiring a girlfriend was like trading in a volatile share.

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

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

LOVELESS ‘ZERO-ROMANCE’ BACHELOR LIFE

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

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

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

My few attempts at dating girls ended in disaster.

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

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

EXTRA MARITAL ROMANCE

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

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

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

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

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

My wife followed my gaze.

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

Suddenly – my gaze shifted.

My wife was curious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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

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

Humor in Uniform at the Pune International Literary Festival 2015 (PILF2015)

September 10, 2015

Source: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/humor-in-uniform-shanghaied-to-literary.html

CRAZINESS IN UNIFORM

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

Humor in Uniform at the Pune International Literary Festival 2015

SHANGHAIED TO THE LITERARY FESTIVAL
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Many years ago – much before I joined the Navy – when I was in school – I read a book called CATCH-22.

I am glad I read this inimitable war novel – which marvelously brought out the rather bizarre aspects of military life.

“Catch-22” helped me understand military life – and it saved me from going crazy during my long navy career.

While I was in the Navy – almost every moment – I saw similar characters – and parallel situations – like those in Catch-22.

Life in the military is a crazy affair – universally – and I marvel at the ingenious way in which Joseph Heller has portrayed this “craziness in uniform” in his all-time classic World War II novel “Catch-22”.

Now – even after my retirement – whenever I come across “Faujis” and “Faujans” – I realize that nothing much has changed in the military – and – in fact – things in the “Fauj” are going even crazier day-by-day.

Well – in military parlance – “Fauj” is a generic term for the Military – Army, Navy and Air Force – and hence – a “Fauji” is a Military Man – and a “Faujan” is a Military Wife.

(By the way – it was an Army Wife who introduced me to the term “Faujan”…).

Coming back to “Catch-22” – let me tell you about a hilarious vignette that I witnessed last Sunday at the Pune International Literary Festival 2015 akaPILF2015.

But – before I do that – I shall briefly summon up an amusing anecdote from Chapter 3 of “Catch-22” – which has a remarkable similarity to the incident I am going to describe.

A “pen-pusher” Colonel from Rear-Headquarters comes to a frontline airbase – and the Colonel peremptorily orders Combat Officers to attend USO entertainment shows.

The Military Bureaucracy back home has organized these USO shows to raise the morale of the officers fighting the war.

However – the combat-weary officers are least interested in watching these boring USO shows.

The officers just want to survive the war – complete their required combat missions – and go home in one piece at the end of their tour of duty.

The only thing that will “raise the morale” of these warfighting officers is “orders shipping them home” – not USO entertainment shows.

So – in a “role reversal” – as per directives of higher-ups who have arranged these USO Troupes – the Colonel orders all Officers to attend these USO shows in full strength in order to “boost the morale of the artists” of the USO troupes.

The Colonel assembles all officers and gives them a “pep talk”.

Referring to the USO troupe artists – the Colonel says: “…these people are your guests – they have travelled over three thousand miles to entertain you. How will they feel if nobody wants to go out and watch them? What’s going to happen to their morale? … I want every one of you who isn’t sick enough to be in a hospital to go to that USO show right now and have a good time, and that’s an order.”

Here – the Colonel was ordering his officers to “enjoy a boring event” – like the USO show – just to boost the morale of the artists.

Ha Ha Ha – what an irony – instead of the entertainers boosting the morale of soldiers – the soldiers are asked to boost the morale of the entertainers.

And yes – in the military – you can be “ordered” to have a “good time”.

Such incidents happened many times during my navy days – when we were ordered to attend events which we were least interested in watching – just to boost the “morale” of those who had come to raise our morale.

It must have been in similar style that military cadets were ordered to go to the literary festival to boost the “morale” of the author who had written a book to boost the morale of the cadets.

As I told you earlier – last weekend I attended the Pune International Literary Festival – a truly delightful event.

On Sunday afternoon – there was a book launch of a “military novel” on cadet life.

The author is an accomplished creative writer – a successful novelist – and – in her earlier days – she was a prolific writer of short fiction – and I loved reading her stories published in many magazines.

Also – the author is a “Faujan”.

So – who better than a “Fauji” General to launch her book.

Oh yes – for the book launch – along with the “Literary” General – there was a “Creative” Police Officer too – who regaled the audience with yarns from his police academy days.

Well – the book launch was at 3 in the afternoon – and we sat eagerly in the hall – waiting for the event to start.

Suddenly – we saw one of the organizers going berserk – a young girl – who frantically asked us to move forward as she screamed crazily:

“We need 300 chairs – the cadets are coming – the cadets are coming – 300 NDA cadets are coming…”

I am sure you know that “NDA” is the acronym for the elite “National Defence Academy” located at Khadakvasla near Pune.

The panicky shouts of the girl:

“NDA Cadets are coming – NDA Cadets are coming…” reminded me of the Hollywood Comedy Film I had seen almost 50 years ago in the 1960’s:“The Russians Are Coming – The Russians Are Coming…”

I was flabbergasted.

NDA Cadets – in a Literary Festival – it was unbelievable.

Why on earth would NDA Cadets want to waste a precious Sunday afternoon at a Literary Festival – when they could enjoy their well-earned “liberty” gallivanting on Main Street or FC Road or “birdwatching” in a Mall or watching a movie in a Multiplex?

NDA Cadets on a Sunday afternoon at a Literary Festival – it was baffling.

There could be two possible explanations for this.

Version 1: (Highly Unlikely)

Nowadays – things have changed from yesteryear – and – NDA is full of “literary” cadets – budding “litterateurs” – who were extremely keen to spend their Sunday afternoon liberty time attending a Literary Festival rather than having a good time hanging out in Pune or sleeping in their cabins.

Version 2: (Most Likely)

The “Literary” General had “desired” that he wanted to see a “house-full” – he wanted the entire hall packed with audience – when he launched the book. So all cadets enjoying their Sunday afternoon siesta in their cabins were rudely woken up – and they were rounded up and “shanghaied” into a bus which brought them straight to the Literary Festival venue in time for the book launch.

A witty young “faujan” sitting next to me commented that cadets were being given a taste of the “fauji” life they were going to face later as officers when they would be on duty 24/7 – even in salubrious peacetime.

We waited with trepidation for the onslaught of cadets – but there were no cadets visible even till 3:15

It seems that punctuality is no longer the hallmark of the defence services.

The organizers waited for some time – and – at 3:20 – they decided to start the event.

However – the “Literary” General and “Faujan” Author wanted the Cadets to be present when they launched the book – so the author spent time in “small talk” about how her “Fauji” husband had inspired her to write about cadet life – so it was quite clear who was the “protagonist” in her novel – maybe the “Fauji” husband wanted vicarious creative fulfilment – and he had asked his accomplished “Faujan” wife to write his “slice of life” story.

Around 15 minutes later – well past 3:30 – the NDA cadets arrived.

When asked why NDA Cadets had arrived more than 30 minutes late – we were told a “Tall Story” that the NDA bus had broken down midway.

Maybe the NDA bus had really broken down – but this was quite unlikely in view of the high standards of vehicle maintenance in the military.

Or – maybe – it had taken considerable time to search and round up “volunteers” to have a “good time” at the literary event – since most cadets must have gone into hiding trying to escape from being “shanghaied” to the literary festival.

This second explanation seems more likely – since – instead of the much touted figure of 300 cadets – there were just around 50 “literary” cadets – who the NDA authorities had finally managed to “capture” and “shanghai” to the literary event.

(It is also possible that some cadets may have escaped when the bus broke down midway on its journey to the literary festival).

The noisy cadets – dressed in the prescribed “mufti” civil uniform – soon settled down – and the book launch began in right earnest – and the book was released from its gift wrapping.

The author spoke about her book – and her earlier one – both stories based on cadet life in the premier military academies – NDA and IMA.

The “Literary” General narrated “memoirs” of his NDA days.

Not to be left behind – the “Creative” Cop harked back to his Police Academy days.

It seemed that these reminiscences certainly struck a chord with the “captive” audience – who were probably “enjoying” similar experiences during cadet training at the academy.

Suddenly – the author saw a “celebrated” novelist sitting in the audience and invited him on stage.

The “celebrated” writer told us that – many years ago – he too had been selected for NDA by the Services Selection Board (SSB) – but was rejected on medical grounds.

He lamented that had he been medically fit – he would have been in “X” course of NDA – and he wondered what his rank would have been today.

A smart young man in the audience stood up and said that he was from the same “X” course – and he informed us that was a Lieutenant Colonel.

The “Literary” General commented to the “Celebrated” Novelist that maybe his getting medically rejected was a “blessing in disguise”.

I wonder what he implied – was he saying that the writer would not have been able to achieve much in the “Fauj” – and that being a published author is much better than being a run-of-the-mill “Fauji”…

The cadets were listening intently – or – at least they were making a pretense of attentiveness – because – when you are a cadet – you even learn to sleep with your eyes wide open.

The author read out interesting excerpts from her novel on cadet life.

Then – there was a quiz for the cadets – and winners were given autographed copies of the book.

And – all of a sudden – the organizers announced that time was up – and the next event was about to begin in the same hall.

And so – the literary event ended.

All’s well that ends well.

I walked down to the lawns to attend another event of interest to “Faujis” – a book reading by a Retired Naval Officer who was the first Indian to circumnavigate the world solo under sail.

Yes – this redoubtable Navy Officer had achieved this awesome maritime conquest of sailing around the globe in a sailboat all alone – solo – and he had written a fascinating account of his adventures on the high seas.

I thought the NDA cadets would be interested in hearing the Navy Veteran narrate his nautical adventures first-hand – especially since the Veteran Naval Officer was an ex-NDA cadet.

But – the NDA cadets were nowhere to be seen.

Most probably – the NDA cadets had rushed to Pune City to enjoy what was left of the liberty.

Or – maybe – the cadets had been “shanghaied” right back into the bus – and transported back to NDA – now that their “Mission Book Launch” was over.

Also – I had expected the “Literary” General to attend the book reading session of his “brother” ex-NDA Navy Officer and listen to his seafaring exploits.

However – I saw him driving off in his “staff car” – maybe – to attend to his more pressing Sunday evening “duties”.

Introspecting of the conspicuous absence of the ex-NDA Cadets and Officers at their fellow ex-NDA Naval Officer’s book reading – and that too on a naval adventure – I wondered what happened to all that “camaraderie” – that ex-NDA officers so often boast about?

Hey – I am digressing.

This story was about military life – “humor in uniform” – about how you are “ordered” to “volunteer” – like the NDA cadets who apparently had been commandeered and transported to the Pune International Literary Festival – “shanghaied” and “shipped” – to the book launch – and instructed to have a “good time”.

In the literary festival – on the one hand – I observed the languid NDA cadets – and in contrast – I looked at the lively college students of the same age group.

And – I realized – that – though the world has moved on ahead – the military is still stuck in the past – as if in an antiquated “time warp” – at least culturally.

I was reminded of many such episodes in my Navy life – when we too were “detailed” to “volunteer” – and I must tell you about them – but not now – maybe some other time – right here – in my blog.

That’s the beauty of military life – you learn to have a “good time” – even when you are “ordered” to do so.

And – if you are thinking of a having life in uniform – do read “Catch-22” – it will save you from going crazy.

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

“Hosts” and “Guests”

September 9, 2015

Source: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/do-you-want-to-become-guest-in-your-own.html

MIGRATION POLICY – MUSINGS

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

Do You Want to become a “Guest” in your own “Home” ?

Whenever I see news on the European Migrant Crisis – I feel that Europe is a most magnanimous place – and Europeans are the most compassionate people.

No other country would warmly welcome illegal migrants, refugees and asylum seekers as European Nations are doing.

Because of this generosity of European people – refugees prefer to take the hazardous journey by land and sea all the way to Europe – rather than seek temporary refuge in their neighbouring countries.

Normally – displaced persons will take shelter in close proximity in a neighbouring country so that they can return back to their homes once the crisis is over.

But – in the present European Refugee Crisis – refugees from different continents are travelling long distances to reach Western Europe.

The main reason why these refugees are going all the way to Europe (rather than neighbouring countries) is because most of these refugees have no intention of returning back to their own countries once the conflict is over.

For obvious economic reasons – these refugees want to permanently settle down in Europe.

However – it must be remembered that allowing unabated immigration has ramifications – both in the short term – and more so in the long term.

Surprisingly – Europe does not seem to be concerned about the demographic, social, cultural and security ramifications of encouraging illegal immigration owing to which refugees are being attracted towards Europe.

The magnanimous hospitality extended by Europe to illegal immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees me of this famous teaching story I had posted a few years ago in my blog.

DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A GUEST IN YOUR OWN HOME ?
A Fable and Musings on “Hospitality”
By
VIKRAM KARVE

When I was a small boy – someone told me a fable.

It was an apocryphal teaching story of an Arab and his Camel.

I remember this insightful fable even today.

Whenever I feel overly magnanimous  generous and benevolent – I tell myself this story – and I try to apply the “moral of the story” in my life whenever the need arises.

Are you a magnanimous, benevolent and hospitable person?

Then – you too need to read the story of the Arab and his Camel.

THE STORY OF “THE ARAB AND HIS CAMEL”

It was a cold winter night.

An Arab was resting in his tent.

He had tied his Camel outside.

Suddenly his camel peeped inside the tent.

“What is it?” the Arab asked.

“Master – it is very cold outside. Please allow me to put my head inside your tent,” the Camel said.

The kind master took pity on the poor animal – and he agreed to the camel’s request.

“Okay – put your head inside the tent,” the Arab said to his camel.

The camel put his head inside the tent.

A little later, the camel asked his master: “Master – my neck feels very cold. Please let me put my neck inside your tent as well.”

Once again – the magnanimous master allowed the camel to do so.

A few minutes later – the camel asked if he could put his forelegs inside the tent.

Once again – the compassionate master agreed.

Then – the camel wanted to put his chest inside the tent – to which the master agreed – and taking advantage of his master’s kind nature – the camel kept asking to put his back and then his hump inside the tent.

The Arab agreed to all this.

This went on and on.

The camel asked – and his compassionate master – the kind Arab – agreed to the camel’s requests.

Soon – the entire camel was completely inside the tent.

But now – the tent was too small for both the master and the camel.

They both struggled to remain inside the overcrowded tent.

There was a scuffle – and the much stronger and bigger camel pushed his master out of the tent.

Now the Camel slept comfortably in the warm tent – while his Master shivered outside in the freezing cold.

Yes – the Arab – the Master – was pushed out of his own tent by his Camel.

MORAL OF THE STORY

You should be careful before you extend your hospitality – lest your guests take undue advantage of your magnanimity and generosity.

This fable teaches us lessons at both the macro and micro levels.

MACRO LEVEL MORAL The Problem of REFUGEES, MIGRANTS and SETTLERS

Let us see a “macro level paradigm” ramification.

Suppose there is a war ravaged or strife torn country – where there is so much violence that the life of citizens is in danger.

As a humanitarian gesture – a benevolent neighbouring country may open its borders to allow refugees to come in and live in safety.

Some other countries may also allow immigration of foreigners as a gesture of goodwill.

In other cases – illegal immigrants may enter another country and settle down there.

The “host” country may be charitable to allow them to stay on – and they may not deport them back to their original country.

Many “magnanimous” countries have such “guests”.

Gradually – the number of these “guests” becomes substantial enough to cause demographic change.

Now – like the “Camel” in the story – the “guests” may soon “throw out” the “host” from his own “tent”.

Even if they don’t evict the “host” out of his own “tent” – these “guests” may make life uncomfortable for the “host” in his own “tent” – just like the Camel did to the benevolent and hospitable Arab during the fable – before finally pushing him out of the tent.

Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants – legal and illegal – may take undue advantage of their host country – and these alien immigrants may start dominating the original inhabitants – and – sometimes – like the camel in the story – these immigrants may even succeed in evicting the original inhabitants from their homeland.

History shows many such examples which have happened all over the world where illegal immigrants have started dominating and imposing their will on the original inhabitants.

MICRO LEVEL MORAL – “Guests” who overstay their welcome

At a micro level – this can happen in your own home.

I have seen so many “guests” who overstay their welcome – and so many guests who take undue advantage of the magnanimity of their “hosts”.

Let me narrate a few apocryphal examples.

THE BENEVOLENT HOUSE OWNER AND THE UNGRATEFUL TENANT

I have seen a case where a benevolent large-hearted person rented out his new locked-up house to a friend who was in dire need of accommodation.

The owner, an army officer, was in a transferable job – and he served all over India – while his friend stayed as a tenant in his house.

Many years later – when the house owner retired from the army – and he wanted to settle in his own house – the ungrateful tenant refused to vacate the house – and the hapless owner had to live on rent in another house.

CUCKOO STEALING AFFECTIONS THE MARRIAGE BREAKER “GUEST”

I have heard a story – maybe apocryphal – about a guest stealing the affections of her host’s husband.

A compassionate caring kind-hearted woman invited a cousin sister to live with her in her home in the city – since her newly arrived cousin sister was finding it difficult to find a suitable accommodation in the city where she had found her first job.

The scheming cousin sister responded by seducing and stealing the woman’s husband.

Finally – the wily cousin sister settled down with the woman’s husband – and the hapless kind-hearted woman was turned out of her own house.

Yes – like in the Arab and Camel story – the woman was turned out of her own house (and marriage) by her “guest” – her own cousin sister to whom she had been so magnanimous and hospitable.

LESSON TO BE LEARNT

This fable has a lesson to all of us that you must not be too magnanimous, benevolent and over-generous in extending your hospitality.

Be careful – otherwise there is a danger that you may become a “guest” in your own “home”.

Before you extend your hospitality to anyone – remember the story of the Arab and the Camel.

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This article was first written by me Vikram Karve 10 years ago in 2005 and posted online by me a number of times earlier in my blogs including at urls:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  etc

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 9/09/2015 09:04:00 AM

 

The Front-Line isn’t a Parade Ground

August 28, 2015

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

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

AUTHENTIC MILITARY LITERATURE

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

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

PSYCHE OF A SOLDIER

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

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

But – the common man remains indifferent to this news since it does not affect him – and some politicians go to the extent of remarking that “soldiers are paid to die”.

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

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

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

We confuse jingoism with patriotism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly – we have failed to do this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whenever I buy a book – I always write the date and place – and I see that I have bought this book 37 years ago in 1978.

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

DETAILS OF THE BOOK

Title: All Quiet on the Western Front
Published: 1958 (Fawcett Crest) Paperback 175 Pages
Author: Erich Maria Remarque
ISBN: 44901634095
Edition language: English (Translated from German)

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

For details of various editions of “All Quiet on the Western Front” – just “google” the title – or click the url link: Editions of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

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

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT – An Authentic Military Novel

There are very few authentic military novels.

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

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

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

A novel tells a story.

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

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

As elaborated by EM Forster in his book “Aspects of a Novel” – the sine qua non of a good novel is that the story must not only move in time – but it must also impart “value” to the reader – and this “value” is encapsulated in the “moral of the story”.

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

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

Soldiers have feelings like you and me.

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

Soldiers are sensitive individuals – not emotionless zombies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FRONT-LINE ISN’T A PARADE-GROUND

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

I too realized the significance of this military truism (“… the front-line isn’t a parade-ground…”) – more than 37 years ago – during my nascent days in the Navy – when I joined a front-line warship after completing my training.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the battlefront – it is straight and simple – “kill – or be killed”

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

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

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

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

I am sure most soldiers have experienced similar emotions.

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

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

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

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

SOLDIERS DON’T START WARS

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

Soldiers don’t start wars.

It is the politicians who start wars.

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

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

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

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

Sometimes – the King would be killed on the battlefield.

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

Nowadays – in modern democracies – politicians rule nations.

But – politicians do not lead soldiers on the battlefield.

In fact – politicians have nothing to do with the fighting – they remain safe and sound – securely ensconced in peaceful comfort – far away from danger – while they exhort soldiers to sacrifice their lives for the nation.

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

The inherent message in “All Quiet on the Western Front” is that whether the war is won or lost – it is the soldier who is affected by the war.

In fact – all soldiers are affected by the war.

Some soldiers die on the battlefield.

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

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

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

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

Depicting the difficulty of soldiers to revert to civilian life after having experienced extreme combat situations – Erich Maria Remarque says: “…men…even though they may have escaped its shells, (they) were destroyed by the war…”

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

Do read “All Quiet on the Western Front”.

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

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

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

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

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

“All Quiet on the Western Front” earned Remarque international popularity and by the time of his death in 1970, perhaps fifty million copies of the novel had been sold and it had been translated into fifty-five languages. It is still widely regarded by many readers and critics as the greatest war novel of the twentieth century.

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

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

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

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Story of the Girl at the Airport

August 25, 2015

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/blog-fiction-girl-at-airport.html.

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

Blog Fiction

THE GIRL AT THE AIRPORT
Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

“Hello Sir,” she said.

In the suddenness of the moment – I did not recognize her.

But then – she gave me her typical vivacious smile – her eyes danced – and I knew who she was.

She had been one of my brightest students.

But then – that was quite some time ago.

“Of course I recognize you,” I said, “How can I ever forget one of my best students? But meeting you here at the airport was so unexpected that I was confused for a moment – and you’ve grown up so much – and I too am getting old now…”

“No Sir – you still look handsome – and as young as ever. I am sure all the girls still have a crush on you – like we all did…!” she said naughtily.

I almost blushed – so to change the subject – I asked her: “What you doing here at the airport?”

“I’m going to New York,” she said, “my flight is delayed – so I am just killing time.”

“My flight to Singapore is delayed too,” I said.

“Singapore?” she asked.

“Yes. I’m going for a conference,” I said.

“Oh,” she said.

For some moments – no one spoke.

To break the silence – I said, “Let’s go to the coffee shop. We can sit and talk over there till our flights are announced.”

As we walked to the airport coffee shop – I thought of the young girl walking beside me.

She had abruptly left our school 3 years ago – after completing her 9th Standard.

When we teachers expressed our surprise – the Principal of our school told us – that her parents wanted to shift her to an elite boarding school – faraway in the hills.

We told the Principal that she was a brilliant scholar – one of our best students – who had the potential to top the 10th Board Exams – and she would surely bring laurels to our school by getting into the merit list. 

We also argued that – even from girl’s point of view – it was not prudent to change her school and shift her just one year before the matriculation board examination.

The Principal told us that he had discussed all this with her parents – but they were adamant that the girl be shifted to a boarding school.

So – the bright young girl left our school – and she went away to the elite boarding school at the distant hill station.

I did not see the bright young girl again – or even hear of her – after she left our school.

“Sir – do you know why I had to suddenly leave school?” she asked me – as we sat down for coffee.

“No,” I said, “in fact, we were quite surprised at your unexpected sudden departure.”

“My parents were getting divorced – and they did not want me around – so they sent me away to the boarding school,” she said, nonchalantly – without batting an eyelid.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “that’s sad.”

“Yes,” she said, “it was really sad. They never asked me anything. They just decided to divorce on their own. I felt terrible. I did not like it at all. It was amicable divorce by mutual consent – but no one took my consent. Why is it – that in divorce cases – no one bothers about the children’s consent?”

I did not answer. 

I did not answer – because I did not know the answer to her question – “Why does the family court not take children’s consent before granting divorce to the parents…?” 

She had a point.

Aren’t children stakeholders in a marriage…?

I remained silent.

I looked at the girl.

Though I had met her parents once or twice perfunctorily at school functions – I did not know her parents that well. 

In fact – I do remember most of my students – but I hardly remember their parents.

I sipped my coffee in silence.

I did not say anything.

I waited for the girl to speak.

“I just don’t know why they split,” she said, “we seemed to be such a happy family together.”

“They must have had their reasons,” I said.

“Well – I think I know at least one reason now,” she said.

I just looked at her – waiting for her to continue speaking.

“Do you know what my father did the moment the divorce was through?” she said.

“What?” I asked.

“My dad got married to a woman half his age.” 

“Half his age?” I asked, quite incredulous.

“Yes. The female was his student.”

“Student?”

“You know that my father is a Professor, don’t you?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

The girl looked at me with bitterness on her face – and she said, “Yes – my father married a woman half his age. That girl was his student. She was doing her Ph.D. under him. The wily female snatched him away from us. And it was his fault too – a married man with a family getting involved with a woman so much younger in age than him.  It was terrible – a teacher and a student shamelessly getting married to each other. Just imagine how embarrassing it must have been for me and my mother.”

“Yes,” I said, trying to show empathy.

“And do you know what my mother did?”

“What?”

“Three months later – she too got married to a jerk from her office,” she said, “I hate him – he’s such a crafty smooth-talking fake – a charlatan . I just don’t understand why my mother fell for that slimy scoundrel…? ”

The girl paused for a moment – and she said, “And can you imagine his audacity?”

“Audacity?”

“Yes – this so-called step-father of mine – one day he politely told me that ‘they’ wanted more privacy – so could I please go and stay with my own Dad for a while?”

“Don’t tell me…!”

“Yes – it was disgusting – my mother and my step-father – they were behaving as if they were a ‘honeymoon couple’. And now – my step-father wanted to throw me out of my own house. So – I asked my mother to tell her new husband to shut up…”

“And…?”

“You won’t believe this – my mother just kept quiet and said nothing.”

“So?”

“So – I packed my bags – and I went over to my father’s place – but it was even worse over there.”

“Even worse?”

“Though she did not say so in so many words – my ‘step-mother’ made it quite clear that I was not very welcome – she kept giving me repulsive vibes of fake politeness – you know those terrible negative vibes – I could feel them every moment.”

“That is sad – very sad.”

“So I spent the next two years of junior college – my 11th and 12th – shuttling between my two parents like an unwanted badminton shuttle-cock,” she said.

“It must have been terrible…” I commiserated.

“Yes. It was really very painful for me – so I made a deal,” she said.

“A deal?”

“I told both my parents that I wanted to go abroad to America for my studies – and I wanted them to jointly pay for it – I told them that they must fund my entire studies and my stay abroad,” she said.

“Oh!” I exclaimed.

The girl paused for a moment – she had a sip of coffee – and then – she said: “You know – all of them – my Dad, my Mom, my Step-Father, my Step-Mother – all of them were delighted to hear this – that I wanted to go away from their lives. My Dad used his academic connections – and he went out of the way to get me admission to the best university in the US. As I said – no one wants me here – so – everyone – my very own mother – and even my so-called ‘step parents’ – they are all chipping in to finance my education in America – for as long as I want to study. They are all so happy to get me out of the way.”

“Oh – so that is why you are going abroad to America?” I said.

“Yes. I am running away. To a new life…” the girl said.

Suddenly – her flight was announced – and she got up to leave.

“Thanks for the coffee, Sir,” she said, “it was really so nice meeting you.”

“I am sure we will meet again when you come back,” I said.

“I am not coming back, Sir. There is nothing left here for me to come back to. I am leaving behind the debris of my past – and I am moving on to begin a new life over there – and I am not going to look back…” she said.

“All the Best. Take Care…” I said.

“You too, Sir – Take Care…” she said.

Then she turned – and she walked away.

I watched her for a long time – till she disappeared from sight. 

I thought she would look back. 

I thought she would wave a last good bye. 

But – she did not look back.

Maybe – she did not want to look back at the world from which she had escaped forever.

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised version of my story titled RUNNING AWAY (SHE DID NOT LOOK BACK) posted online earlier by me Vikram Karve a number of times on this blog – first on August 21, 2012 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and later at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… andhttp://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… etc

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/25/2015 01:57:00 PM

 

THE FLIRTY WOMAN ON THE TRAIN – A TRAVEL ROMANCE

August 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do tell me if you like this old fashioned romance…

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

EPILOGUE

Sometime ago – I received a wedding invitation card.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FLIRTING ON THE TRAIN
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

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

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

I was on seat number 30 – a window seat.

A window seat.

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

A disappointment…!

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

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

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

I felt a pang of disappointment.

Maybe she would come at Dadar.

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

I sat down on seat number 28.

In 10 minutes the train reached Dadar.

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

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

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

I and gave her a smile of forced geniality.

Our eyes met.

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

I felt a sense of elation.

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

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

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

Now she would have to sit next to me.

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

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

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

This was one journey I was going to enjoy. 

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

I was taken aback – a bit bewildered.

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

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

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

The silence was grotesque.

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

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

That was true. 

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

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

I looked at her.

I felt totally astounded. 

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

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

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

“New name…?” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you from Pune…?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“When was this…?” I asked.

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

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

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

I smiled to myself at the truth of her statement.

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

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

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

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

“I don’t have a wife…” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Quality of life…?” Manisha Bhide said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I excused myself – and I went to the toilet.

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

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

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

He wanted to know all about ships…!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe – we would have a rocking marriage.

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

Maybe for her – Surely for me.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Nobody’s Navy by Vikram Karve – My Novel on Naval Life

August 22, 2015

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/nobodys-navy-fictional-spoof-by-vikram.html.

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

NOBODY’S NAVY
My Navy Novel
Literary Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Every Naval Officer has a book hidden within him.

This is my book – a Novel.

Though apocryphal, and a spoof, this fiction story is based on my first hand experience about life in the Indian Navy.

I have not seen a similar novel written in India which is set on a warship depicting the excitement and trials and tribulations of naval life.

Most people think that the Navy is like any other “job”.

The Navy is not a Job.

The Navy is a Way of Life.

I want to give my readers an authentic taste of the naval life we experienced first-hand in the navy, which is quite different from the jingoistic mumbo-jumbo in recruitment advertisements or the heroic hogwash exhibited in most action movies or the “Colonel Blimp” or “Captain Haddock” type caricatures shown in Bollywood films.
                                                                                       
The protagonist of my novel is Sub-Lieutenant Nobody. 

Yes, his name is “Nobody”.

That is why the novel is called NOBODY’S NAVY

This story covers a one year period in the life of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

I intend to write a sequel, maybe a trilogy, or a series of follow-on novels, to cover the hilarious yet poignant adventures of this fictitious naval officer called “Nobody” as he plods his way through naval life and progresses through his naval career.

The theme of my novel is simple: “THE NAVY BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN YOU”

This part was true in my own life – The Navy did bring out the best in me.

Around 4 years years ago, sometime in December 2010 / January 2011, I prepared a book proposal for my novel which I titled NOBODY’S NAVY

As per the guidelines given by various reputed publishers, the book proposal comprised a synopsis and three chapters of the novel.

I sent my book proposal to some reputed publishers, one after another.

I was disappointed with the response.


RESPONSES FROM PUBLISHERS

The responses I received from publishers were of four types:

1. Some did not bother to acknowledge receipt and I heard nothing from them (Maybe, they dump all “unsolicited” proposals into the slush pile or the waste paper basket)

2. Some sent my proposal back with regrets saying that they were already booked for the next 2 or 3 years with novels lined up for publishing and I should try after that.

3. Some asked me the business prospects of my novel – how was I going to market my book, how many copies would it sell, would I guarantee financial viability. (Well I do have Management Qualifications, but I specialized in HR and not in Marketing. Besides, as a creative writer, I thought my job was to write an engrossing book with Page Turning Quality (PTQ) and the “business” aspects would be looked after by the publisher)

4. The remaining sent me financial details for self-publishing my novel.

In the present day scenario of book publishing in India, it seems that self-publishing my novel is the only option left for me if I wish to publish my novel as a printed book.

Though self publishing may satisfy my vanity, I know now difficult it will be to seamlessly make available the book to maximum readers since I neither have the skill nor the wherewithal to distribute and sell the book by getting it into the bookstores.

I wish to be creative writer, not a marketing manager.

I browsed in bookstores in order to ascertain the “market” for novels.

It seems the only fiction books in vogue are “metro reads” (mushy romances) and contrived campus love stories.

I may be wrong, but to me it seems that present day readers don’t have the inclination nor the appetite to read an authentic “no-holds barred” novel on naval life.

I am not going to abort my novel because I have to tell my story.

I have two options before me:

1. Complete the novel (despite having no assurance of publication) and then spend my time peddling my “unsolicited” manuscript to reputed publishers.

This may turn out to be a very harrowing experience. It takes a lot of emotional and physical effort to complete a novel and, after putting in all that effort, I will find it quite humiliating to peddle my manuscript.

So in order to preserve my dignity and to ensure that my creative work sees the light of day, I may have no option but to self-publish my novel and undergo the frustration of my book not getting its due appreciation and success because of impediments in distribution and owing to sub-optimal marketing.

2. The second option is to upload my book proposal, the synopsis and a few chapters on my Blog for everyone to read.

I think the second option has three advantages.

1. Some readers may give me feedback and tell me if this is a good story which people want to read and how to make it more interesting.

2. Some of my benevolent readers may tell some literary friends of theirs about Nobody’s Navy or they may even refer me to a literary agent or an editor in a publishing house and maybe I would be able to strike a deal.

3. The best thing would be if some reputed publisher reads this and makes me an offer I cannot refuse.

Is anyone interested in publishing my novel NOBODY’S NAVY ?

The synopsis and six chapters of Nobody’s Navy are ready.

If you are game (or know publisher who is interested) do let me know. 

We can take it forward from here.

Meanwhile do stand by for a chapter or two from NOBODY’S NAVY, my novel about the adventures of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, which I may be posting on my Blog for you to read.

Here is the link to Chapter 3 – OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES aka OLQ – THE ART OF COMMAND 

OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES aka OLQ – THE ART OF COMMAND

Do click the link above and read the story – the link will open in a new window

My next post in this blog will be Chapter 1 of my Navy Novel NOBODY’S NAVY

Happy Reading

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

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)
 

Abridged and Updated Version of my blog post posted in June 2013 
NOBODY’S NAVY at url:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

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