Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Romance : The “Perfect” Husband

July 31, 2016

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


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…”


“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…”


“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…”


“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.


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.


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.


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.


  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:


Romance via the “Rear Window”

April 14, 2016

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


A Fictional Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer: This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

I was flabbergasted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The girl gave me a perplexed look.

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

The girl looked away – she seemed embarrassed.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

She waved out to me – I waved back.

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

I shifted my gaze downwards.

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

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

I tried to avert my eyes.

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

I vigorously waved back to her too.

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

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


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.


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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

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

Living in Wakad Pune : ROHAN TARANG

October 11, 2015

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: ROHAN TARANG


We have spent almost 5 years in Rohan Tarang.

This evening, a young lady who is a member of the managing committee told me that the society wanted to start an in-house magazine (ezine) for residents of Rohan Tarang and she wanted to use a paragraph from a review of Rohan Tarang I had written 4 years ago on completion of our one year stay in Rohan Tarang.

I am posting the paragraph once more for her convenience.


Rohan Tarang is a nice place to live at the best location in Wakad Pune.

Well designed bright and airy apartments, nice friendly cosmopolitan IT crowd, good ambiance and superb view of the Mula River, well connected yet quiet and relatively unpolluted, Rohan Tarang is the only residential complex in South Wakad, quite far away from the din and bustle of North Wakad which has become an overcrowded concrete jungle.

Luckily, this place is not in the middle of a concrete jungle and you do not feel boxed-in by huge buildings surrounding you like in most places in Pune, and in the proliferating townships on the other side of the road in Wakad. Here you have a much better view than your neighbour’s balcony.

There is plenty of natural light, plenty of fresh air, a breathtaking view of the Mula River and its verdant surroundings, and a “feel good” vibe, which fills me with cheer and makes me happy to stay at home.

I must say that the architect who designed these apartments in Rohan Tarang has done a real good job. One gets a feeling of roominess, brightness and liveliness here as this is not one of those ubiquitous cramped matchbox design flats, proliferating all over Pune, where one feels claustrophobic and uncomfortable the moment one enters.

The proximity of Rohan Tarang to Wakad Village enables one to enjoy a nice village-like atmosphere and one can walk down to to the verdant, unpolluted and uncrowded, serene and green park in the Mhatoba Temple Gardens on the banks of Mula River.

Rohan Tarang is easily the best place to live in Wakad.

The cons are the lack of social infrastructure required for modern living and non-availability of Landline Phone and Broadband Internet Connectivity (BSNL, Airtel and other ISPs have not laid optical fiber cables so far to South Wakad) and erratic internet and cell phone connectivity via wireless.

Hopefully things will improve as development takes place.

(Above Review Written by Me in November 2011)

PS: Plenty has changed in Wakad since then (Nov 2011).

The best thing is the proliferation of new restaurants, eateries and shopping places that have sprung up nearby in Wakad and Hinjewadi.

But I am still patiently waiting for the Xion Multiplex to open, since, as of now, there is no cinema anywhere nearby, and you have to go all the way to ESquare Multiplex which is 12 Kms away.

And, of course, there is no Mall in Wakad either, but then, I don’t miss that too much.

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

September 10, 2015



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

Humor in Uniform at the Pune International Literary Festival 2015

A Spoof

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.

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.

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.

The Front-Line isn’t a Parade Ground

August 28, 2015


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


Book Review

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


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.


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 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.


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…”


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.

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.

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.


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:…

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…

The Flirty Woman on the Train
A Love Story


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…

Fiction Short Story

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…?

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.

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:…  and  https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.c… and https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.c…  and…  and…  etc

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

Stealing the Affection of a Brother Officer’s Wife – Humor in Uniform

August 22, 2015

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

An Extract from my Novel – Nobody’s Navy – a Fictional Spoof

Continued from:

1. NOBODY’S NAVY – an Introduction

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve


(How Sub Lieutenant NOBODY became a “Somebody”)


NOBODY’S NAVY – a Fictional Spoof by VIKRAM KARVE



“Stealing the affections of a brother officer’s wife?” thundered the Admiral.

The Admiral looked up from the paper he was reading, glared at Captain standing in front of him, and said, “Kaka, I have tolerated a lot of nonsense from your ship, but I not going to condone sexual misconduct.”

“He is innocent, sir” said the Captain, the Commanding Officer of the mighty warship INS Bijlee, the flagship of the Fleet.

Standing beside the Admiral, a bespectacled Commander with yellow lace between his stripes, the Judge Advocate General, called JAG, noticed that, though the Captain spoke in a soft voice, he looked at the Admiral, his boss, the Fleet Commander, squarely in the eye.

The JAG knew that Kaka, as the Captain was known throughout the navy, was ex-Dufferin, an officer of the old-mould, a tough cookie, unlike some of his more morally pliable counterparts.

The Captain looked a decisive, tenacious and determined man, with his broad square face, heavy-lidded eyes and the deep lines at the sides of his mouth.

The Captain never took things lying down.

And now he was taking on his boss, the Admiral, his own Fleet Commander.

This was going to be difficult.

“What the hell do you mean he is innocent?” shouted the Admiral, “that piddly dope-entry Sub-Lieutenant is caught red-handed screwing a Commander’s wife and you say he is bloody innocent? If he was so frigging horny he could have dipped his bloody wick elsewhere – there are plenty of fleet auxiliaries, so many opportunities all over, the dockside is teeming with sugar girls, come on Kaka, you know all this. If he was so bloody sex-starved he could have rogered a midshipman for all I care – but stealing the affections of a senior officer’s wife? It’s just not acceptable and I won’t tolerate it in my fleet.”

There was silence.

The JAG smiled to himself as he thought of the Admiral’s words.

In the navy it was all a matter of form.

The moral issue was a minor detail.

You could sow your wild oats elsewhere, but stealing the affections of brother officers’ wives was taboo, and if you got caught, you were thrown out of the navy.

“Sir, please listen…” the Captain broke the silence.

“No, Kaka,” interrupted the Admiral, “It’s final. I have spoken to the C-in-C. We are throwing the bugger out.”

He gestured to the JAG who gave him a folder.

The Admiral took out a typewritten sheet from the JAG, looked at it and exclaimed, “Nobody? Sub-Lieutenant Nobody? What sort of name is that? Is he a bloody ding?”

“No Sir. He is a bong. His name is an anglicized version of…”

“Doesn’t matter,” the Fleet Commander interrupted the Captain.

The Admiral gave the sheet of paper to the Captain, and said, “You just get his signature on this and personally give it back to me by closing hours today.”

“Resignation letter? You want him to resign his commission on compassionate grounds?” the Captain said, looking incredulous. 

“That’s the best way,” the JAG spoke for the first time, “the C-in-C doesn’t want a scandal. He’s going to Delhi tomorrow and he’ll get the papers cleared personally. The C-in-C wants this officer out of the navy immediately. And he wants it done discreetly.”

“Yes, Kaka, you get his bloody signature, withdraw his ID card, throw him out of your ship, and put him on a train home today itself. I don’t want to see the filthy bugger on board when we sail out tomorrow,” the Admiral bellowed.

“Nonsense,” the Captain said.

“What?” the Admiral looked stunned.

“I am not a post office. I am the Captain of a warship, the Flag Captain, the Commanding Officer of the Flagship of the Western Fleet. You can’t punish a man without hearing him out. It’s against the principles of naval justice,” the Captain said firmly, raising his voice slightly for the first time.

“Justice my bloody foot,” roared the Admiral, “you get this straight, Kaka. The Commander-in-Chief desires that this officer is thrown out. I am your boss and the C-in-C’s desire is my command. Kaka, don’t be stupid. There is no point jeopardising your career for the sake that dodgy son of a bitch.”

“Sub-Lieutenant Nobody is my officer, Sir, and it is my duty to be fair and just to all officers and men under my command,” the captain said firmly.

“But the C-in-C has desired…”

The Captain interrupted the Admiral, and said bluntly, “The C-in-C is not above naval law. He too is subject to the Navy Act. I respectfully submit, Sir, that due process is followed, and the accused officer be heard, before you take a decision.”

The Admiral winced – he said nothing, and he looked as if he were in deep thought, as if he was weighing his options.

The JAG looked at the two sea-dogs, both tough leaders, but with contrasting styles, the profane hot-tempered volatile Admiral, and the steady soft-spoken Captain, who did not say much, but whatever little he said was sensible and relevant.

“Okay,” the Admiral said, “I will see the officer. Bring him to me as soon as possible.”

“He is waiting outside,” the captain said.

The Admiral smiled, “March him up to me in five minutes.”

“Aye, Aye, Sir,” the Captain put on his peak cap.

The Captain saluted smartly and walked off.

Five minutes later Sub-Lieutenant Nobody stood at attention looking at the Admiral sitting across the polished mahogany table.

His Captain sat on a sofa on the side.

“Where is the JAG?” the Captain asked.

“He’s not required. I don’t want any of C-in-C’s goddam spies eavesdropping,” the Admiral said to the Captain.

Then the Admiral looked at Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, and said, “You are accused of stealing the affections of Commander Kumar’s wife?”

“That’s not true, Sir, I did not steal her affections,” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody said.

“What the hell do you mean it is not true – you were caught red-handed trying to steal her affections,” the Admiral shouted.

“Sir – actually – in fact – it was not me – but it was she – it was she who tried to steal my affections,” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody blurted out.

The Admiral burst out laughing, “Are you some sort of crazy bugger? How the hell can she steal your affections? Tomorrow you will say that a woman can rape a man. Now, don’t give me bullshit. You are up the shit creek, so answer properly.”

“She was drunk, Sir. She wanted me – but I restrained myself.”

“Just tell me one thing, you dirty bugger – why the hell did you stay with her all night? The whole world saw you in there with her – the milkman, the maid, the chowkidar – and, of course, the bloody Flotilla Commander – he has even given a written complaint against you. And, remember, he is a Senior Commodore. It is your word against his – and, in the navy, the senior is always right.”

“Sir, he is the root cause of everything?”

“Root cause – the Commodore?”

“Yes, Sir – he is responsible for what happened.”

“I see – now you are blaming him for your troubles – can you please explain?”

“Sir, I was sitting in Club watching the May Queen Ball when the lady came to me and asked me to dance with her. I told her that I did not know how to dance. In fact I had refused Tanya earlier when she asked me for a dance.”


“My daughter, Sir,” the Captain said.

“I see,” the Admiral hid a smile.

Then the Admiral said to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, “Go on. I am listening.”
“Sir, this lady – she pulled me on the dance floor – and this Commodore tried to cut in – and she told him to go away. The lady – she seemed quite drunk – and she seemed very nervous and frightened – she told me she was not feeling well and asked me to take her to her home on Marine Drive. So I took her in a taxi and dropped her home.”

“It seems a tall story – but suppose I believe you – you dropped her home – so that is when you should have left and come back to your ship. Why the hell did you stay on in her home?”

“Yes, Sir – that is exactly what I wanted to do – but as I was about to leave – the Commodore landed up – and he asked me what I was doing there – and he told me to get out. The lady asked the Commodore to go away – but he insisted on staying – so I asked him to go away – but he didn’t budge – so I pushed him out and I locked the door.”

“You physically pushed him out?”

“Yes, Sir – I had to push him out since he refused to go away on his own, despite the lady asking him to do so.”

“You knew he was a Commodore, a superior officer?”

“Yes, Sir – I know he is the flotilla commander.”

“Then what happened? Why didn’t you leave after that?”

“She asked me to stay. She was scared that he would come back. She said that the Commodore was eyeing her ever since her husband joined the flotilla. And now he had sent her husband away on a course and he was giving her unwelcome attentions – she said he was trying to seduce her – he wanted to sleep with her – she told me that he would come again if I left her alone – so she desperately asked me to stay.”

“So you stayed on to save the ‘damsel in distress’ – come on, young man – tell your story to the marines. You are making all this up to save yourself. I don’t believe any lady would tell a stranger all this.”

“I swear I am telling the truth, Sir – she was drunk, she was very drunk. She told me the Commodore had forced her to drink, maybe even spiked her drinks. I asked her why she went to Club with the Commodore if she knew his intentions and she told me that her own husband was forcing her to sleep with his boss.”

“What nonsense?”

“She said her husband was very ambitious and wanted to get promoted at any cost.”

“I don’t believe all this hogwash.”

“Sir, you will never believe what she told me next.”


“She said that her husband is impotent – he is not able to do it.”

“So she wanted you to do it?”

“Yes, Sir…”

“And you did it…?”

“No, Sir. She tried her best – she pulled me towards her – and she kissed me. I did feel tempted for a moment – but I controlled myself immediately. Then we slept, Sir – and I woke up in the morning by the sound of the bell – and when I opened the door I saw the milkman, the chowkidar, the Commodore, and some others standing outside.”

The Admiral stood up, came around the desk, and put his hands around Sub- Lieutenant Nobody’s shoulders.

“Sit down,” the Admiral told Nobody, gesturing towards a chair.

The Admiral himself sat on the desk, and he said, “I have never heard such a tall story in my life, but I like your brutal frankness, and my inner voice tells me that you are speaking the truth. So I will make it easy for you – and for all of us. In the navy we have a thing called honour. We don’t like to wash our dirty linen in public. And the honourable thing for you to do is to put in your papers. I hear you are an IIT type. You will surely get a job – maybe a much better job than the navy. And if you do have any problem, we will help you out.”

The Captain watched in silence, intrigued at the sudden change in the Admiral’s demeanour.

Instead of his normal brash way, in which he treated subordinate officers like dirt, here, he was almost pleading to the Sub-Lieutenant.

He must be under real pressure from the C-in-C to hush up the matter, lest it blow up into a scandal. 

The Admiral reached across his desk, picked up the typewritten resignation letter, and put it in front of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody read the letter, and said: “I will not resign, Sir – I love the navy – and I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Do you know the alternative?”

“Court Martial, Sir.”

“You will be charged with conduct unbecoming the character of an officer, conduct to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline, maybe even striking a superior officer, and if found guilty, you will be dismissed from the navy with disgrace and locked up in jail for at least three years. And from the evidence at hand – it looks like you will certainly be found guilty. So it is best for you to quit the navy silently, without any fuss, and the honour of the navy remains intact.”

“What about my honour, sir?”

“Your honour – are you crazy – you are up the shit creek – and you are talking of your honour?”

“Yes, my honour, and the lady’s honour. If I resign – it will be an admission of guilt.”

“But you are guilty.”

“I am not guilty, Sir – I did not do anything wrong.”

“Son, don’t be dogmatic. Take the easy choice.”

“Admiral, when they blamed you for that collision at sea accident many years ago, you too could have taken the easy choice, but you elected for a court martial, and you redeemed your honour…”

“Get out of here,” the Admiral shouted, suddenly getting angry.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody saluted the Admiral.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody then looked at his Captain sitting quietly on the sofa.

The Captain indicated with his eyes to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody that he should leave.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody turned and started to walk away – but he stopped in his tracks when he heard the Admiral’s voice.

The Admiral said to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody: “You are up the shit creek. You better choose someone good to defend you at the court martial.”

“I already have, Sir – My Captain will defend me.”

When the Captain heard these words, tears of pride welled up in his eyes.

For a Commanding Officer, this was the ultimate “proof of the pudding” – his officers and men trusted him with their lives.

End of Chapter 1 of Nobody’s Navy by Vikram Karve

To be continued … 

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.

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

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

Art of Naval Command – Humor in Uniform – Excerpt from Novel NOBODY’S NAVY by Vikram Karve

August 22, 2015

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

Excerpt from NOBODY’S NAVY by Vikram Karve

Every Naval Officer has a book hidden within him.

This is my book – a Novel.

Though apocryphal, 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.

Naval life 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.

(If this novel sees the light of day, 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.

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 here is an excerpt from NOBODY’S NAVY, my novel about the adventures of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, which I am posting below on my Blog for you to read and enjoy.

Do tell me if you liked the piece.

Tentative Chapter 3 of  NOBODY’S NAVY – A Navy Novel by VIKRAM KARVE


How Sub Lieutenant NOBODY became a “Somebody”

Calm Blue Sea, Soft Cool Breeze, Sunset, 31st December 1977.

The lights of Mumbai twinkle in the distance as the city gets ready to ring in the New Year.

It was the happiest moment of his life.

Standing on the bridge-wings of the mighty warship INS Bijlee as she entered Mumbai harbour under his command, for the first time in his life, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody felt as if he was a “somebody”.

At this defining moment of his life, he realized the import of the words the distinguished Admiral had uttered while motivating him to join the navy while he was studying at IIT.

“Son,” the recruiting Admiral had said, “The navy is not just another job. The navy is a way of life.”

Ship life seemed good.

Rank, spit and polish and normal naval bullshit did not matter much on a frontline combat ship like INS Bijlee.

Here it was performance that counted.

So everyone was busy doing his job.

As long as you did your job well, you were given a free hand, and after secure was piped, and the day’s work was over, you were free to do what you liked.

Nobody realized that one bothered him since other officers were busy doing his own work and running their departments.

It was much better over here on a combat ship than the Naval Academy where they treated you like dirt and tried to convert you into a brainless obedient robot.

And it was certainly much better than the Naval Technical Officers’ College which boasted of transforming bright young Engineering Graduates into “Technical Zombies”.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody had survived both these ordeals and still retained his sanity.

It all happened so fast.

He had arrived in Mumbai in the morning after a tiresome train journey, and was picked up in a ramshackle truck and dumped at the boat jetty.

There the ship’s boat was waiting for him and after a rough journey on the choppy sea, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody was deposited alongside INS Bijlee anchored far out at sea.

It was almost noon when he clambered with his bag up the accommodation ladder.

He duly saluted the OOD and said, “Sub-Lieutenant Nobody reporting for duty, Sir. Request permission to come on board…”

The ship was rolling and the ladder staggered so he held on to a stanchion. The stanchion gave way, and Sub-Lieutenant Nobody lost his balance and crashed into the arms of the OOD and both of them fell on the deck in a heap.

“Sorry, Sir,” Nobody said as they gathered themselves up.

“You seem to be quite eager to join this ship. What did you say your name was?” the OOD, a two striper Lieutenant asked with a smile.

“My name is Nobody.”

“Nobody?” the OOD asked, incredulous.

“Sir, it’s an anglicised version of …”

“Okay. Okay. You can tell me the story later,” the OOD interrupted, “just give me your appointment letter.”

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody said took his appointment letter from his shirt pocket and gave it to the OOD who looked at it.

“Okay, okay, so you’re the new LO? Welcome on board,” the OOD shook his hand and said, “I’m the TASO. Today is make and mend. Captain is not on board. You can meet him tomorrow. The duty Petty Officer will take you to your cabin. Shower up, change into uniform and meet me in the ward room in ten minutes.”

Ten minutes later, freshly shaved and bathed, dressed in sparkling white shorts and shirt naval uniform, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody entered the ward room to find the TASO, wearing civvies, sitting at the bar sipping a glass of beer.

“Ah…there you are. I am waiting for you,” the TASO said the moment he saw the newly arrived Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

The TASO swallowed his beer in one go, down the hatch.

Then he gave the OOD’s lanyard with a bunch of keys to Nobody, and said, “Hold the deck. I’m off. Don’t bother to see me off. I’ll see you in the morning.”

And with lightening speed the TASO disappeared ashore on the liberty boat even before Nobody could recover his wits.

“Congratulations,” a voice said from behind.

Nobody turned around to see a Lieutenant Commander sitting on a sofa with a huge tankard of beer before him.

“Good morning, Sir,” Nobody said.

“It is already afternoon, my friend” the Lieutenant Commander said extending his hand, “I’m Schoolie, the ship’s Education Officer. You’re the new LO, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Sir,” Nobody said.

“So you are the OOD, the de facto Commanding Officer of the ship now…”

“OOD…?” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody stammered, bewildered and totally taken aback.

“So you are holding the fort for TASO, aren’t you? Smart bugger that TASO. The horny bastard couldn’t even wait one day to screw his wife…”

Seeing the disorientated expression on Nobody’s face, Schoolie said, “Pick up a glass of beer and come and sit here. I’ll tell you what to do.”

Then with breathtaking simplicity, Schoolie elucidated the art of command:

“In the navy, especially on a ship, command is very simple. The art of command comprises just three words – YESNO and VERY GOOD. From time to time, your duty staff will come and ask you something. It’s a good idea to number their questions. You just reply ‘YES’ to the odd numbered questions, and you reply ‘NO’ to the even numbered questions. And if someone makes a report to you, just say:‘VERY GOOD’. You got it?”

“Yes, Sir – Odd numbered questions I say ‘Yes’. Even numbered questions I say ‘No’. And if someone makes a report I just say ‘Very Good’ – is that correct, Sir,” Sub-Lieutenant Nobody asked Schoolie.

“Correct. That, in a nutshell, is the art of naval command,” Schoolie pronounced with finality.

Just then the duty Petty Officer entered, saluted and asked Sub-Lieutenant Nobody and asked, “Request permission to revert to three watches, Sir.”

First question, odd numbered question, so Nobody answered: “Yes”

“Thank you, Sir,” the duty Petty Officer saluted, and went away quite happy that he could secure half his men from duty.

“Sir,” it was the duty ERA, who came a few minutes later, “request permission to shut down boilers.”

Question number two, even numbered question, so Nobody answered: “No”

The ERA nodded, looking quite perplexed, and went away.

“See, you are learning fast,” Schoolie said as they sat for lunch. 

While going ashore Schoolie gave Nobody a parting shot of advice, “Always remember that it is better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you are stupid than to open it and remove all doubt…”

Schoolie, a post graduate, was an Education Officer – the lowest class of officers in the navy who were treated like dirt and who wasted their entire lives teaching basic mathematics to junior sailors who didn’t give a damn, or acting as lackeys to senior officers wives helping them run so-called welfare activities which were more of ego massage and less of welfare.

Once in a while, the brighter among them got posted to ships where they had no work except hang around in the ward room doing nothing and offering unsolicited advice to anyone who cared to listen.

Schoolie enjoyed doing talking to people, pontificating and giving advice on all matters under the sun, to anyone who cared to listen, especially to rookies, like Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, who latched on to each word he said.

It was indeed funny – as far as the officer class was concerned your status and position in the pecking order was inversely proportional to your academic qualifications.

The matriculate cadet entry seamen officers were the prima donnas, the engineering graduate techies and supply guys were the middle rung, and post-graduate schoolies were at the rock bottom of the navy status hierarchy.

“It is port control, Sir,” the Yeoman of Signals woke up Nobody from his beer-induced siesta and asked hesitantly, “they are asking if we want to come alongside.”

Nobody struggled to open his eyes and thought about it.

One, two, three – this was the third question, odd numbered, so he decisively answered: “Yes”

“Thank you, Sir, I will signal them at once,” the delighted Yeoman of Signals said and he rushed towards the bridge to make a signal to port control by Aldis Lamp.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody followed the Yeoman to the bridge wings and watched him exchange visual signals with port control, both lamps frantically flashing. 

“Ballard Pier?” port control asked.

It was the fourth question of the day – an even numbered question, so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody assertively said:  “No”

“Barracks Wharf?”


“Cold move?” port control asked.

“No,” Nobody said decisively.

“Hot move?”


Everyone on the bridge was praising Sub-Lieutenant Nobody’s foresight in not allowing the boilers to be shut down, otherwise the quick hot move would not have been possible at immediate notice and they would have to spend the whole day waiting for the tug to carry out the laborious cold move.

 “Should we call for a harbour pilot?” the duty Midshipman asked.

It was even numbered question, so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody emphatically said: “No”

“Sir, should I prepare the pilotage plan?”


“Shall I chart course between sunk rock and oyster rock?”


“Around Middle Ground?”


“Will you be taking the con, sir?” the Midshipman asked.


“Then I will have the con?”


The Midshipman was filled with happiness and a sense of pride. 

It was the first time that someone had shown so much confidence in him.

The Midshipman smartly saluted Sub-Lieutenant Nobody and said, “I’ll report when ready, Sir.”

This was not a question. 

This was a report. 

So Nobody remembered Schoolie’s advice and said, “Very Good.”

There was no point hanging around the bridge and being exposed, thought Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

So Sub-Lieutenant Nobody told the Midshipman to take the ship alongside.

He then informed the Midshipman that he would be available in the wardroom for any advice.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody then went down to the wardroom, summoned the bar steward, and ordered a double large scotch whisky and soda.

He needed the alcohol fuelled “Dutch courage”.

His spirits high, fuelled by alcohol inspired courage, and brimming with confidence, from then on, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody religiously followed Schoolie’s odd/even command formula with great success, and soon INS Bijlee was underway, sailing smoothly towards the Wharf.

As he sipped whisky in the wardroom, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody was quite clueless as he heard, on the main broadcast, the Midshipman give the conning orders: “Stand-by Main Engines…Haul Anchor…Anchor off the bottom…Anchor Aweigh…Anchor Coming Home…Anchor Sighted and Clear…Wheel Amidships… Dead Slow…Starboard Ten…”

Everything moved like clockwork, everyone knew their jobs.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody also knew what to do. 

In his mind, he had to keep a count of the questions they asked him and quickly determine the question number – odd or even – and answer according to Schoolie’s formula.

For every odd numbered question, he said: “Yes”.

For the even numbered question. he said: “No”.

And from time to time when someone made him a report, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody he would wisely nod, and say: “Very Good.”

It worked. 

The simple “YES” – “NO” – “VERY GOOD” command formula worked.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody strictly followed the formula, and everything went absolutely right.

The ship secured alongside perfectly.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody realized first-hand that the art of naval command was indeed breathtaking in its simplicity.

“Should I announce liberty, Sir?” asked the Duty Petty Officer hesitantly.

it was an odd numbered question, so Sub-Lieutenant Nobody said: “Yes.”

The broad smile on the Petty Officer’s face and the smartness of his salute said it all.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody had mastered the art of naval command.

The crew were happy to be secured alongside rather than tossing and turning at a faraway anchorage out at sea.

And now, thanks to Sub-Lieutenant Nobody, there would be liberty and the ship’s crew would be able to go ashore to enjoy the delights of “Maximum City” after a long hard time at sea.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody became the hot topic of discussion below the deck in the crew messes.

Each and every sailor admired the guts and initiative of Sub-Lieutenant Nobody.

Despite being a non-seaman officer, he had brought the ship alongside by taking effective charge of the midshipman, and by his prompt and clear decisive commands.

Never before had such a thing happened.  

Never before had they seen a greenhorn Sub-Lieutenant demonstrate so much confidence and guts on his first day on board a ship.

Anyone else would have hesitated, dithered – but here was a decisive officer, a natural leader, they all said with awe and in unison.

On his very first day on board this mighty warship, Sub-Lieutenant Nobody earned the admiration, respect and esteem of the crew of INS Bijlee.

The sailors were happy to have Sub-Lieutenant Nobody on board, and they showed it by their body language, especially in the way they saluted him.

Sub-Lieutenant Nobody’s chest swelled with pride.

Nobody had become a “Somebody”.

End of Chapter 3 of Nobody’s Navy by Vikram Karve

To be continued … 

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.

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 two blog posts posted in June 2013 
NOBODY’S NAVY at url:…  



Navy Literature – My Favorite Navy Novels

August 22, 2015

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

Literary Musings

The best thing that happened to me was the Navy. 

Way back, in the 1970’s, when I joined the Navy, life was good.

There was never a dull moment. 

Something was always happening, and I came across a variety of unique personalities – yes, exciting situations and inimitable characters.

Those were the best days of my life. 

Even now, whenever I reminisce about my “good old” Navy days and recall the unforgettable characters I met there.

Whenever I hark back to the hilarious incidents (in hindsight), those cherished memories always fill me with cheer, and sometimes bring a smile, maybe a laugh, to my lips. 

I always liked to read, but it was the Navy that gave a real impetus to my reading habit. 

Junior Officers were encouraged to develop the habit of reading.

Reading was considered an Officer Like Quality (OLQ) and officers were expected to be well-informed on various subjects in addition to being proficient and well-versed in professional matters. 

So, in addition to my professional books and technical literature, I was always reading something literary – maybe a biography (say, military or naval biographical literature to inspire me) or war stories or fiction or a classic from literature. 

The Navy had well-stocked libraries, afloat and ashore, which had a wide variety of books ranging from the rare to contemporary on a wide variety of subjects. 

This easy access to the diverse forms of the best literature really facilitated my reading habit. 

I always had a book in hand and reading formed a part of my daily routine. 

For a student who wants to join the Navy, it will be wise to read biographies/autobiographies/memoirs of famous naval personalities.

It will also be apt to read books on naval history, especially naval battles at sea.

And you must read “navy fiction” too,

Here are 10 “sea novels” which are “must reading” for a young naval officer, a navy cadet or a student aspiring to join the navy for a career at sea:


1. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat…

2. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk…

3. HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean…

4. Run Silent, Run Deep by Edward L. Beach…

5. HMS Leviathan by John Winton…

6. The Captain by Jan de Hartog…

7. Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener…

8. We Joined the Navy by John Winton…

9. Winged Escort by Douglas Reeman…

And last, but not the least, the all time favourite “must read” for anyone who wants to enjoy military life:

10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller…

Read these books.

There are many other good Navy novels, novellas and stories (like THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER by TOM CLANCY and THE SHIP THAN DIED OF SHAME by Nicholas Monsarrat etc), many interesting Navy War Memoirs, Autobiographies/Biographies too.

Do read plenty of Navy Literature.

And then you will get an idea of what life in the Navy is all about.

Humor in Uniform – “Fauji” Doctor at Sea

August 20, 2015

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


My Hilarious Encounters with “Fauji” Doctors – Part 2

Continued from Part 1 – DOC DANEEKA IN UNIFORM

A Spoof

In the Defence Services – once you join a particular service – you remain in that service.

If you join the Army – you remain in the Army.

If you join the Navy – you remain in the Navy.

And – if you join the Air Force – you remain in the Air Force.

Yes – I have seen some grounded air force flight cadets – who are unable to fly – being sometimes sent to the navy or army.

But – once you are commissioned as an officer – you cannot change the colour of your uniform.

The only exceptions are Military Doctors – officers of the Army Medical Corps (AMC) – who often change the colour of their uniform – like chameleons.

I have seen doctors being transferred from the Army to the Navy – and vice versa – and maybe it happens with Air Force Doctors too – strictly speaking there are no “Air Force Doctors” or “Navy Doctors” since all doctors belong to the Army Medical Corps (AMC).

Let me tell you a story about a landlubber “pongo” doctor in Olive Green (OG) who was suddenly transferred to the navy and found himself all at sea.

This happened long back – 38 years ago – in the late 1970’s.

Our ship was not a capital ship – but a frigate.

However – she was a “top heavy” ship – since she was designated as “squadron ship”.

Sister ships of her class were commanded by a Commander – and had Lieutenant Commanders as Heads of Executive, Engineering, Electrical and Supply Departments – and young Lieutenants as specialist departmental officers.

However – our ship – being the “squadron ship” – had a senior Captain in command – a Commander (E) and Commander (L) [squadron Engineer Officer (EO) and squadron Electrical Officer (LO)] – and an extra Education Officer (Lieutenant Commander).

However – the second-in-command – the Executive Officer (XO) – was a Lieutenant Commander – and this caused some friction as EO and LO outranked him.

And – we had a young Medical Officer who was a Surgeon Lieutenant.

One day – the young Surgeon Lieutenant was transferred out to do a Post Graduate (PG) course – and for some time – there was no replacement.

A few days later – just as we were about to cast off to sea – a portly middle-aged gentleman arrived at the gangway.

He was in civilian clothes.

He proclaimed to the OOD that he was the new Medical Officer.

The OOD asked a sailor to take the gentleman to the Sick Bay – and – meanwhile – the OOD informed the XO – and he also told the stewards to get the Medical Officer’s Cabin ship shape.

Later – when the ship was underway – the XO approached the Captain on the bridge: “Sir – the new Medical Officer has reported on board.”

“The new Doc has come? I did not see any appointment letter in the mail,” the Captain said.

“Sir – he has brought his appointment letter by hand – he has come from the Army.”


“Sir – he has been transferred to the Navy on promotion to Surgeon Commander rank.”

“Surgeon Commander…?”

“Sir – have a look at his date of commission – he must have been quite a senior Major – I wonder why they moved him from the Army to the Navy…” the XO said.

The Captain looked at the papers – and he said, “Bloody hell – we have one more headache now – Commander (E) – Commander (L) – and now a bloody Doc who is a Commander. The ship is getting so top-heavy – we may just topple topsy turvy…”

“Yes Sir – as a Squadron Ship – we have too many passengers – all these Commanders – and a ‘Schoolie’ too…” the XO said.

“Where the hell is this new Doc?” the Captain asked.

“Sir – he is violently sea-sick…” the XO said.

“Sea Sick…? In this weather…? The sea is hardly rough…” the Captain remarked.

“Sir – he is a “pongo” – maybe he is not used to it – I think it is his first time on a ship. Shall I get him to your cabin when you go down, Sir…?” the XO asked.

“No. Let him find his bearings. I will see him later…” the Captain said.

Dear Reader – if you are wondering how this “pongo” Doctor got posted to our ship – this is what had happened…

In his previous appointment in a Military Hospital – this Army Medical Officer (let us call him “M”) – who was more of an administrator than a doctor – was considered a “pain in the arse” – and his boss and his colleagues wanted him out.

They repeatedly complained to the “powers-that-be” to post “M” out of the hospital – but M’s reputation was so bad – that no other hospital in the Army wanted him.

So – when the opportunity came – the “powers-that-be” transferred “M” to the Navy – and when he protested – they told him that there was no vacancy of Lt Col in the Army – and – if he wanted to get promoted – he had to go to the Navy.

So – “M”reluctantly came to the navy.

Unfortunately – his reputation had preceded him in Navy medical circles too – so they shunted “M” off to a ship – rather than suffer him in a Navy Hospital.

So – our ship’s new medical officer “M” was extremely unhappy on board the ship.

First – he had the harrowing experience of seasickness.

Secondly – he was very piqued at the way he was being treated on board ship despite his service seniority and rank.

“M” was peeved because the other two Commanders – “E” and “L” – the two Lieutenant Commanders – the XO and the Supply Officer – and even the Navigating Officer (NO) – who was a mere Lieutenant – had better cabins than him – whereas he was consigned to a suffocating cabin in the Lieutenants’ Cabin Flat – which reeked of the nauseating smell of FFO (Furnace Fuel Oil).

His request for a change of cabin to one of the above good cabins was denied – stating that they were marked cabins for respective appointments.

The Captain candidly told “M” that normally a young Surgeon Lieutenant was posted on board this ship as Medical Officer (MO) – and so – a small cabin had been earmarked for the MO – and he could not change it – as cabins for Department Heads were specified.

To add insult to the injury – the XO bluntly remarked that they would have been happier with a younger Medical Officer – but now that “M” was posted on board – “M” would have to make do with the same facilities as the earlier medical officer.

M’s family had not joined him – since he had retained accommodation in previous station – so – “M” had to live on board ship 24/7 – even when the ship was in harbour.

His request for a cabin in the luxurious Navy Officers Mess was turned down since ship’s officers were required to live on board their respective ships.

“M” was also upset that no one gave him any importance on the ship – unlike in the Army – where a medical officer is treated with reverence in the unit.

“M” would vent his frustrations by smoking furiously throughout the day – and drinking sorrowfully in the evenings.

“M” particularly hated the XO – who – despite being a rank lower – tried to boss over him – because – technically – the Medical Officer was subordinate to the XO in the ship’s hierarchy.

Finally – after a long wait – “M” had his revenge.

It was December – time for the Annual Medical Examination (AME).

Earlier – this AME was quite an informal affair.

But “M” – who was a better administrator than doctor – decided to go by the book.

So “M” promulgated the AME roster giving dates for Annual Medical Examination (AME) department-wise.

On the promulgated day – the XO reported to “M” in the sickbay for his Annual Medical Examination.

“M” asked the XO to strip and lie down – and then “M” thoroughly examined the XO with a stethoscope.

“M” then filled up a few forms.

As the XO was buttoning up his uniform – “M” gave him the forms – and said matter-of-factly: “You have got Heart Murmur.”

“Heart Murmur?” the XO asked, bewildered.

“Yes. You will have to get admitted to hospital – get some tests done – and undergo a detailed examination performed by the specialist,” said “M” to the XO.

“You want me to be admitted to hospital…? But – nothing is wrong with me – I am absolutely fit – I just won the navy squash championship…” the XO protested anxiously.

“Why are you getting excited…? It looks like you have hypertension too…!” the doctor “M” said to the bewildered XO.

“Can you please check me again…? I am sure that nothing is wrong with me and I am absolutely fit. I do not want to get admitted to hospital. I am in promotion zone – my promotion board is scheduled in a few months – and you never know – if I get admitted to hospital – those specialist doctors may lower my medical category…” the XO pleaded to “M”.

“M” was happy to see that XO was getting panicky – so to drive home his point – “M”said triumphantly: “Of course – they will lower your medical category – heart murmur is a serious matter – you can even get a heart attack – your health is more important than your career – yes – for a heart condition they will permanently lower your medical category…”

The XO got so rattled and panic-stricken on hearing these words – that it seemed the XO would have an actual heart attack – there and then.

On seeing the XO’s jittery condition – “M” asked him to lie down – and told the Medical Assistant to ask the OOD to summon an ambulance.

And to prove that he was not being vindictive to the XO – his bête noir – and to display his sense of fairness – “M” declared that the other two officers – who had reported for Annual Medical Examination – also had Heart Murmur.

And so – along with the XO – “M” referred these two officers also for hospitalization and further tests and examinations by the specialists.

When the OOD informed the Captain that the XO and two officers were being sent to hospital – he was livid.

“We are under sailing orders. I cannot have my XO and two of my key officers in hospital…” the Captain told “M”.

But “M” threw the book at him – and when the Captain called up some higher-ups to protest – the Captain was firmly told that – in medical matters – the decision of the Medical Officer would prevail.

The Captain was advised to do as his Medical Officer recommended.

They told the Captain that – of course – if the Captain wanted – he could always speak directly to the specialist doctors in the hospital.

So – the XO and the two Lieutenants were on their way in an ambulance to the Naval Hospital to get checked up for Heart Murmur.

The XO had broken out into a sweat – panic-stricken and scared at his uncertain future.

He was terrified that his medical category might be lowered – and Low Medical Category (LMC) would put an end to his dreams of becoming an Admiral – which was his whole and sole aim – ever since he joined the Academy as a Cadet.

The two Lieutenants seemed unconcerned and they tried to cheer up the XO: “Sir, don’t worry. This pongo bugger is a quack. Nothing is wrong with us. What is the harm in getting all the tests done free of cost? We will have a nice time in hospital – we need some relaxation after all this hectic sailing – in the evenings we will enjoy in the club – and after a few days we will come back all refreshed and rejuvenated.”

In fact – the two Lieutenants were looking forward to some R&R in hospital.

But – their hopes were dashed.

While the ambulance was moving towards the hospital – at the same time – phones were ringing – and their Captain was desperately talking to the Medical Specialist, the Heart Specialist and other Medical “powers-that-be”.

When the XO and two Lieutenants reached the hospital for admission – they were instead told to go first to the Medical Specialist.

The Medical Specialist was a classmate of “M” during MBBS.

He knew that although “M” had somehow managed to pass his medical exams – “M” he had absolutely zero acumen to be a good doctor.

The specialist had also heard about “M” on the AMC grapevine.

The specialist smiled to himself.

“M” was truly a “doctor at sea” – literally and figuratively.

Yes –, the Medical Specialist said to himself – “M” was a “Quack” at Sea.

Well aware of the medical incompetence of “M”  the Medical Specialist was inclined to declare all the 3 officers medically fit even without examining them.

The Medical Specialist noticed that whereas the XO seemed anxious – the two Lieutenants looked unconcerned and carefree.

The specialist examined all three officers with his stethoscope.

“Nothing is wrong with you guys,” the specialist said, “take the day off – all of you can go home and relax – then come and see me first thing tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock.”

Next morning – the Medical Specialist took an ECG – and then – he declared all three officers fit.

Other officers on the ship waited till “M” went on leave – and then they got their Annual Medical Examination (AME) done on other ships.

When “M” returned – the ship’s officers made life hell for “M” 

So – “M” spent most of his time sulking in his cabin – while his Medical Assistant ran the show from the sickbay.

Mercifully – “M” was transferred out to the Station Health Organization (SHO) – where he could happily demonstrate his administrative skills supervising hygiene inspections and sanitation management in the cantonment.

His replacement on board ship was a young Surgeon Lieutenant who was an excellent doctor.

As they say: “All’s well that ends well”

To be continued in Part 3…

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.

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 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 Spoof Written by me Vikram Karve in January 2014 and Earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve at 4/25/2014 04:07:00 PM in my blog at urls:…  and…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at

8/17/2015 02:43:00 PM

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