Sunday, July 24, 2016

Is Longevity a Curse...?

Earlier – I thought that longevity was a boon. 

Now – after seeing the plight of elderly senior citizens – in their 80’s and 90’s – especially old lonely infirm widows waiting for death – I am beginning to change my views – and – I feel that longevity is more of a curse than a boon. 

All this made me remember a story I had written 2 years ago  in July 2014 – after a visit to an uncle.

LONGEVITY – A BOON or A CURSE
Musings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Sometime ago  I visited a distant relative  an uncle.

I had last met him around 35 years ago  when I was a young navy bachelor – and  I used to visit his house in Mumbai – where he worked and lived.

Now  he was 75 years old  and he was living in Pune.

He was not in the best of health – he was a heart patient  he had undergone an open heart surgery a few years ago  he could not hear properly – he was almost deaf  and he had the usual old age ailments like knee pain, blood pressure etc.

His wife  72  a diabetic  was not in the best of health too.

They had two daughters  50 and 48  both married and settled abroad in America (USA)  and 4 grandchildren  all in their 20’s.

“Why don’t you live with your daughters in the US...?” I asked.

“We did,” the old man said, “we used to visit our daughters often  and  after I retired 15 years ago  we even relocated to America and we had decided to stay in the US permanently – but we had to come back to India.”

“You had to come back to India...? Why...?” I asked.

“To look after my mother-in-law...” he said.

“You came back to look after your mother-in-law...?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes. My mother-in-law is bedridden and she is sleeping in the other room. She is 93 years old. My wife is the only child  and there is no one to look after her mother as she was widowed long back  and her only brother died 10 years ago. We cannot even take her with us to America because  even if they do allow it  my bedridden mother-in-law is in no condition to travel abroad. We are stuck here. Do you know that we haven’t visited our daughters in America for the last 10 years because we can’t leave my mother-in-law alone...? So  our daughters come here once a year to visit us. And  as you can see  even we are not in the best of health...” my uncle said.

“It must be very demanding looking after your mother-in-law...?” I said.

He said angrily: “Demanding...? I am so fed up  that I am just waiting for her to … ”

I looked up and I saw why my uncle had interrupted his sentence – his wife had come in with the tea tray.

On my way home  I thought about it.

Till what age are you expected to look after your parents...?

Earlier  parents died in their 60’s and 70’s – when their children were still working  at least before the children retired.

But now  with increasing longevity  with many people living well into their 80’s  and even into their 90’s  and – you are expected to look after your parents even when you yourself have retired and become a senior citizen  and you need to be looked after.

Yes – you have to look after your parents at a time when you yourself need to be looked after. 

Senior Citizens are expected to look after Super Senior Citizens”.

Like my uncle and his wife  who themselves were 75 and 72  and  despite their old age and poor health  they were required to look after the 93 year old mother-in-law.

So  even in your old age  you may have to look after your parents and in-laws.

And  like in my uncle’s case  if your children migrate abroad  there will be no one to look after you in your old age if you remain in India. 

This makes me wonder:

Is Longevity a Boon...?

Or – is Longevity a Curse...? 


EPILOGUE 

I wrote this story 2 years ago in July 2014.

My uncle’s mother-in-law passed away one year ago in 2015.

“Liberated” from the shackles of looking after the old woman – my uncle and his wife have gone abroad to live with their NRI children who are well settled in the US.

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

Disclaimer:
1. These are my personal views based on my observations. The reality may be different. This is just food for thought and should be taken in the right positive spirit.
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.
  

Revised Re-post of my article posted by me online earlier at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/07/longevity-boon-or-curse.html

The Happily Married Bachelor – An Unforgettable Character I Met During my Wonderful Navy Days

ARE YOU A “MARRIED BACHELOR ?

My “darling” wife has gone to her mother’s place for her holidays. 

So  I am “Married Yet Single” – at least for a few days.

This “Married Bachelor Status reminded me of this story from my Navy Days...

THE HAPPILY MARRIED BACHELOR 
An Unforgettable Character I Met During my Wonderful Navy Days
Story of The “Much Married Bachelor
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

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

1. Unmarried Bachelors 

2. Married Bachelors 

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

Married Bachelors” are of two types:

1. “Permanent” Married Bachelors 

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

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

2. “Temporary” Married Bachelors 

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

Long ago – more than 36 years ago  when I was an unmarried bachelor  I once met an inimitable character – a rather peculiar type of “Temporary Married Bachelor”


THE CURIOUS “MARRIED BACHELOR”

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

Let us call him “X”.

This anecdote happened more than 36 years ago – when I was a carefree unmarried bachelor – and I lived in a wonderful officers’ mess with some delightful messmates – most of whom were also “unmarried bachelors” like me.

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

Though “X” was married – he spent every evening with us unmarried bachelors in the officers’ mess.

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

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

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

This was his routine every evening.

We felt sad for his wife.

Yes – we felt pity for X’s wife – because of the terribly shoddy manner in which “X” treated her.

“X” was indeed a “misogynist” husband.

“X” took his docile wife for granted.

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

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

This routine went on for months. 


MELANCHOLIC “MARRIED BACHELOR”

Then – suddenly – without any warning – one evening – our friend “X” did not turn up at officers’ mess. 

We missed “X” during the evening. 

We thought he was probably unwell.

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

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

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

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

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour and we asked “X” what the matter with him was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We urged him to come with us to the officers’ mess as spending some time in our company – playing billiards and enjoying a few drinks would surely raise his spirits  and this would help him forget his loneliness and cheer him up.

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

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

So – we left him alone – to ‘mope and grope’ – to ‘moan and groan’ – and to wallow in his loneliness.

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


HAPPY “MARRIED BACHELOR” 

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

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

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

“X” looked delighted and he was full of good cheer.

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

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

Then – “X” staggered back home happily drunk at midnight.

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

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

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

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

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour.

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

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

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


MARRIAGE IS A MYSTERY – MARRIAGE IS AN ENIGMA

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

I never understood this amusing paradox of his marital relationship.

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

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

But  soon – I got married.

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

That is why – even after more than 34 years of married life – I still feel that  marriage is a mystery – an enigma – and – every marital relationship is unique in its own way

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

After marriage – I often found myself in similar “Temporary Married Bachelor” situations – like I am in right now.

So on these evenings – when my wife has gone away to her mother’s place for a few days – you will find me sitting at home all alone – gloomy – feeling “sad”  missing my wife – ‘moping and groping’ – in lonely melancholy – yearning for my darling wife.

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

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

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

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

This is a revised updated version of my story written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2010 and earlier posted online by me in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Humor in Uniform – The Worst Food in the Fleet

HUMOR IN UNIFORM 

THE WORST FOOD IN THE FLEET
Hilarious Memories of my Delightful Navy Life
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

One thing I found good about the Navy was that the food served in Wardrooms was excellent – both afloat and ashore. 

(Wardroom is Navy Parlance for Officers Mess)

But there were some exceptions.

Like this frontline warship  on which I was serving many years ago.

This ship was reputed to have the worst food in the fleet – perhaps the worst food in the entire Navy.

That is what everyone else said.

But I found the food to be quite okay.

In fact – at times – I found the food to be quite tasty.

There was a “suggestion book” in the wardroom in which everyone gave vent to their anger by writing all sorts of disparaging complaints about the food.

I was the only officer who wrote positive comments about the food – lavishly praising a dish whenever I liked one – and generously praising and complimenting the cooks and stewards for their efforts.

My favourable comments about the food had many ramifications.

The wardroom stewards would pay particular attention to me and give me special service – including choicest helpings of both non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes (which the cook would send up for me from the pantry) – and they would also make sure I got plenty of dessert  since they knew I had a sweet tooth.

After I had finished my meal  the Chief Steward would place the “suggestion book” in front of me – and he would look on eagerly  as I profusely recorded my generous appreciation with lavish praise for the food and service in the most prolix and flowery language.

The “suggestion book” would then be rushed to the PMC  the next senior officer to the Captain  who on this ship  at that point of time – happened to be the Supply Officer (now called Logistics Officer).

After around 3 months  there was the customary Wardroom Mess Meeting.

Each and every officer bitterly complained about the standard of food.

“This ship has the worst food in the fleet...” said all the officers, most vociferously. 

“Yes  if they institute a trophy for “THE WORST FOOD IN THE FLEET” – our ship is sure to win the trophy hands down...” someone said.

The Captain looked at the PMC.

In response  the PMC thrust the “suggestion book” in front of the Captain – and the PMC pointed to my glowing comments which he had highlighted.

With a wry smile on his face  the Captain started going through my appreciative comments of fulsome praise for the food – and he seemed to be enjoying reading all my comments – page by page.

After some time  the Captain looked at me  and he looked at all the officers.

Then  the Captain said: “Well  at least one officer feels that the food in our ship’s wardroom isn’t all that bad. In fact – he has lavish praise for the food served in our wardroom.

The Captain pointed towards me and said: “Look at him – he loves the food in this wardroom – see how prosperous, happy and healthy he looks – I’d rather believe him  rather than all you thin skinny emaciated guys – yes – if he says the food is good – then it must be good.”

(I was probably the “healthiest” officer on board – nice and chubby – just short of the “10% above the ideal weight” upper limit required to maintain my S1A1 medical category).

Then  the Captain looked at everyone  and he said: “So all you cynical and pessimistic guys better stop complaining and learn from him how to enjoy good food.”

The Captain and PMC then gave “sermons” to the assembled officers to stop complaining and give constructive suggestions instead.

With that – the wardroom mess meeting ended – to be followed by the customary PLD.

My wardroom shipmates were furious with me.

“How can you say that this horrible food is good...?” they all said to me in unison.

“I really like the wardroom food...” I said honestly.

“There seems to be something wrong with you – how can anyone actually like this terrible food...?” all the officers said in disgust.

A few days later – when we were in harbour – I invited my Captain and all my wardroom shipmates to my home for dinner.

After “relishing” the inimitable “delicious” food lovingly prepared by my “Better Half” at my home – no officer ever asked me again why I liked the food in the ship’s wardroom. 


EPILOGUE 

Once – when I was posted to IAT Pune – my Boss – a Commodore – jokingly asked me: “When are you inviting us for Dinner...? You haven’t hosted your ACR Dinner” so far...

All Officers had already held their ACR Dinners” and invited the boss and officers with families. 

The ACR Dinner” was a customary dinner in the ACR Season where your wife could impress the Boss and his wife with her culinary skills and earn you “Brownie Points”.

Of course – I am sure you know that ACR means Annual Confidential Report – the “Be-All and End-All” Performance Appraisal that can either boost or doom your military career. 

“So – when are you calling us for your ACR Dinner”...?” the Commodore asked me.

“Sir – it is safest for me not to give an ACR Dinner”...” I said. 

“Why is that...?” the Commodore asked, curious. 

“Sir  if I do not give an ACR Dinner” – there is a still a chance that you may give me a good ACR – but – once you taste my wife’s cooking – you are sure to “screw” my ACR – and you may even give me an adverse report...” I said, matter-of-factly. 

The Commodore burst out laughing. 

We called him and all officers with wives for a dinner well after my ACR was rendered – and – I cooked the main dish – my signature Chicken Do Piaza – which was highly appreciated – as also the dessert I had prepared. 

My “Better Half” played safe and made her typical Dal-Rice which could not go wrong.

Before we got married – my “Better Half” did tell me that she did not know how to cook. 

But – I did not realise how honest she was being. 

After more than 34 years of married life – it won’t be proper for me to say that my wife is a bad cook.

S– I will be polite – and  I will say that  as far as my wife’s culinary skills are concerned – there is considerable scope for improvement.

The Navy taught me that – instead of criticising someone/something – it is better to say: “there is scope for improvement”. 

You must always “motivate” – never demoralise.

Dear Reader: I hope you like my Humor in Uniform memoirs which I post on my blog from time to time. Do let me know. 

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

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

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Revised re-post of my story posted earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/02/humor-in-uniform-foodie-story.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/why-i-like-navy-food.html