Saturday, November 1, 2014

BIBLIOTHERAPY aka BOOK THERAPY

BIBLIOTHERAPY
Fun With Books – THE LADIES ORACLE
By  
VIKRAM KARVE

Reading can be fun. 

Reading can also be therapeutic. 

Bibliotherapy may be defined as the use of books to help people solve problems.

Yes, you can benefit from bibliotherapy – use books to solve issues that you may be facing at a particular time  

Many of us use bibliotherapy without realizing it. 

Reading is ameliorative in nature and an enjoyable read always cheers you up and puts you in a good mood.
 
Whenever I am in a blue mood, I browse through my bookshelves and pick up a good book.  

For me, reading is the greatest of all joys.

The moment I start reading a book I enter a different world, and this change of environment has a positive effect on my mood and emotion, and lo and behold, my spirits are uplifted. 

Those who do not have the habit of reading remain imprisoned in their moods and immediate surroundings.
 
I have just picked up a delightful little book called “The Ladies Oracle” by Cornelius Agrippa from my bookcase.


THE LADIES’ ORACLE By Cornelius Agrippa  

Let me tell you about this intriguing book The Ladies’ Oracle and you will see how this book can cheer you up and lifts your spirits too – an ideal book for BIBLIOTHERAPY .
 
Whenever I buy a book, I write down the date and place of purchase on its first page. 

I have duly recorded that I bought The Ladies Oracle on 14 February 1989 on the pavement bookstalls opposite the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) near Hutatma Chowk (Flora Fountain) at Fort in Mumbai.

I don’t remember what prompted me to buy The Ladies Oracle. 

Maybe to present it to my darling wife, or maybe because there was no such book as “The Gentleman’s Oracle” available at the pavement bookstall.

But that is not important now, so let’s talk more about this amusing little book.


HOW TO USE THE LADIES ORACLE FOR BIBLIOTHERAPY
 
Let’s get down to using this delightful oracle.

First choose a question from the ninety five listed in the book from pages (v) to (viii) numbered 5 to 100

(I wonder where the first five questions are?)
 
I select question number 35: – Shall I always enjoy good health...?
 
Now as per the the instructions, I turn to page (i), close my eyes and put my finger on the table of signs.

I open my eyes and see that I have placed my finger on the sign representing a single square.
 
Now I consult the table starting from page ten, follow the line marked by the number of the question (35th  line) till I arrive at the column which has the chosen sign over it, and this figure gives me the number of the page (74).

I open page 74 and look the sign traced by my finger ( a single square) and alongside it I find my answer: – You will always have joy, health and prosperity...!
 
Fantastic...! I’m feeling good already. 

Bibliotherapy seems to be working.
 
Now the next question, number 15: – How many lovers shall I have...?
 
I follow the same earlier procedure as stipulated in the instructions and the Oracle gives me the answer: – A great many, but those that have so many generally choose the worst...!
 
Hey, I have to be careful in love…!
 
The next question, number 91: – What opinion has the world of me...?
 
The Oracle answers: – You are thought to have had more than one adventure...!
 
Wow...! 

Have I really sown my wild oats that much...?
 
Shall I be happy in love...? I ask next.

And the oracle says: – You will find more pain than pleasure...!
 
Oh, Dear…! 

I better steer clear of falling in love...!

So I ask: Will my reputation be always good...?

The oracle answers: It will always be as you make it...!
  
I must take care to build up a good reputation!
 
Shall I go many long voyages...?

The oracle answers:

You will do well not to voyage farther than round your own room...!
 
Great...!

That puts an end to all my travel plans...!

All I am going to do my entire life is go round and round in my room...!

What a gloomy answer...!

And I thought browsing books was supposed to lift my spirits...!
 
Okay, just one last question, and the answer better be something good to cheer me up or else no more ‘bibliotherapy’ for me!
 
I select question number 74: – What is the person that I am thinking about doing at this moment...? 

and the Oracle answers: – She regrets not being with you...!
 
Really…? 

My, My...! 

It seems to good to be true…! 

So I call her up.

She says in her sweet loving voice:

“What a coincidence. I was just thinking of you and the good times we had together – I wish you were here with me…”

Wow…! 

Bibliotherapy really works.

I feel thrilled, jubilant, ecstatic, on cloud nine, in seventh heaven and right on top of the world as I rush off to surprise my beloved sweetheart.

And just imagine, I thought that she never even thought about me...! 

Looks like it is the end of what I thought was my one way unrequited love and the beginning of a new exciting romantic relationship. 

Yes, things are looking up…!!!
 
Long live The Ladies Oracle
 
Oh, Yes...The Ladies Oracle is a delightful little book you can consult from time to time on matters of love and life.

Believe me, you’ll enjoy reading and using this marvellous book.

It may be called The “Ladies” Oracle, but I feel that even men can consult it with satisfying results. 
 
Dear Reader, why don’t you try it out…?

I am sure you can easily get a copy of THE LADIES ORACLE online or at your bookstore.

It is delightfully entertaining reading, guaranteed to lift your spirits. 

I always carry this oracle in my pocket to enliven my moments of waiting – waiting at airports, railway stations, while travelling. 

Take it with you everywhere and you will never be bored. 

It is a small book, pocket-size, easy to carry everywhere.
 
Get a copy of this interesting book – The Ladies Oracle

Then just ask the questions you always wanted to ask, and enjoy the answers…!

Long live Bibliotherapy

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

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

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

This Article Written By Me more than 20 years ago in the 1990s and first posted on my creative writing blog in the year 2004 at url: http://creative.sulekha.com/bibliotherapy_173419_blog

Friday, October 31, 2014

IS YOUR JOB A “MONKEY TRAP” ?

IS YOUR JOB A “MONKEY TRAP” ?

MONKEY TRAP
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:  

Here is a story I wrote almost 21 years ago - in the early part of the year 1994

This story was written for children (and adults too) 

Dear Reader: Do read the story and tell me if you think it is relevant today. 

And if you do feel this story is relevant, please ask your kids to read the story too...

MONKEY TRAP - a story by VIKRAM KARVE for children (and adults too)

“What are we doing tomorrow?” I asked my uncle.

“Let’s catch some monkeys,” he said.

“Monkeys?” I asked excitedly.

“Yes,” my uncle said and smiled,” And if you catch one you can take him home as a pet.”

“A monkey! As a pet?” I asked in astonishment.

“Why not?” my uncle said.

“But monkeys? Aren’t they dangerous?” I asked.

“The monkeys here are quite small and very cute. And once you train them, they become very friendly and obedient – ideal pets.”

And so, next morning, at the crack of dawn we sailed off from Haddo Wharf in Port Blair in a large motorboat. 

Soon we were crossing the Duncan Passage, moving due south; the densely forested Little Andaman Island to our right, the sea calm like a mirror.

I began to feel seasick, so I stood on the foc’sle deck, right at the front end sea-sick, enjoying the refreshing sea-spray, occasionally tasting my salty lips.

I looked in admiration, almost in awe, at uncle who stood rock-steady on the bridge, truly a majestic figure. He signaled to me and I rushed up to the bridge.

“Vijay, it’s time to prepare the Monkey Traps,” he said.

“Monkey-Traps?” I asked confused.

“Tito will show you,” he said. “You must learn to make them yourself.”

Tito, my uncle’s odd-job-man, was sitting on the deck, seaman’s knife in hand, amidst a heap of green coconuts. 

He punctured a coconut, put it to his lips, drank the coconut water, and then began scooping out a small hollow.

I took out my seaman’s knife and joined in enthusiastically with the other coconuts. The coconut water tasted sweet.

“Keep the hole small,” my uncle shouted over my shoulder, “and hollow the coconut well.”

“But how will we catch monkeys with this?” I asked.

“You will see in the evening,” he said. “Now get on with the job.”

We reached a densely forested island at five in the evening. 

It was almost dark. The sun sets early in these eastern longitudes.

And soon we set up our monkey-traps.

Each hollowed-out coconut was filled with a mixture of boiled rice and jaggery (gur) through the small hole. 

Then the coconut was chained to a stake, which was driven firmly into the ground.

And then we hid in the bushes in pin-drop silence.

Suddenly there was rattling sound. 

My uncle switched on his torch. 

A monkey was struggling, one hand trapped inside the coconut. 

In an instant, Tito threw a gunny-bag over the monkey and within minutes we had the monkey nicely secured inside.

By the time we lit the campfire on the cool soft sands of the beach, we had captured three monkeys.

My uncle put his arm around my shoulder and, “Vijay, you know why the monkey gets trapped? The monkey gets trapped because of its greed.”

My uncle picked up a hollowed-out coconut and he explained to me: “Look at this hole. It is just big enough so that the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for full fist filled with rice to come out. Because his greed won’t allow him to let go of the rice and take out his hand, the monkey remains trapped, a victim of his own greed, until he is captured; forever a captive of his greed.”

“The monkey cannot see that freedom without rice is more valuable that capture with it!” he said.

My uncle looked at Tito and commanded: “Free the monkeys.”

And, one by one, the monkeys jumped out of their gunny bags and started running, with one hand still stuck in a coconut. 

It was a really funny sight.

“There is a lesson for us to learn from this,” my uncle said. “That’s why I brought you here to show you all this.”

I looked at my uncle. His name was Ranjit Singh. And true to his name he was indeed a magnificent man! Over six feet tall, well-built, redoubtable; a truly striking personality! 

He stood erect in his khaki uniform, stroking his handsome beard with his left hand, his right hand gripping a swagger stick, which he gently tapped on his thigh.

As he surveyed the scenic surroundings - the moonlight sea, the swaying Casuarina trees, the silver sands of the beach in between - he looked majestic, like a king cherishing his domain. 

Indeed he was like a king here – after all he was the Chief Forest Officer, in-charge of the entire islands – and this was his domain.

Uncle Ranjit was an exception in our family—the odd-man out. 

My father always said that he was the most intelligent of all brothers. 

But whereas all of them were busy achieving success and earning money in Mumbai and Delhi, uncle Ranjit had chosen to be different.

To the surprise of everybody else, uncle Ranjit had joined the Forest Service when he could have easily become an engineer, doctor or even a business executive, for he had always topped all examinations – first class first in merit, whether it be the school or the university.

“So, Vijay, you like it here?” he asked.

“It’s lovely, uncle,” I answered. “And thank you so much for the lovely holiday, spending so much time with me. In Mumbai no one has any time for me. I feel so lonely.”

“Why?” he asked, with curiosity.

“Mummy and Daddy both come late from office. Then there are parties, business dinners, and tours. And on Sundays they sleep, exhausted, unless there is a business-meeting in the club or golf with the boss.”

Uncle Ranjit laughed, “Ha. Ha. The Monkey Trap. They are all caught in monkey traps of their own making. Slaves of their greed! Trapped by their desires,caught in the rat race, wallowing in their golden cages, rattling their jewellery, their golden chains – monkey-trapped, all of them, isn’t it?”

As I thought over Ranjit uncle’s words I realized how right he was. Most of the people I knew in Mumbai were just like that – trapped by their greed, chasing rainbows, in search of an ever elusive happiness.

“Happiness is to like what you do as well as to do what you like,” uncle Ranjit said, as if he were reading my thoughts. “Happiness is not a station which never arrives, but the manner you travel in life.” 
 
He paused, and asked me, “Tell me Vijay, tell me, what do you want to do in life?”

“I don’t know.”

“Come on, Vijay. You are fifteen now. By next year you have to decide, tell me what your plans are.”

“It depends on my percentage,” I said truthfully.

“I am sure you will get around ninety percent marks in your board exams,” he said. “Assume you top the exams. Secure a place in the merit list. Then what will you do?”

“I’ll go in for Engineering. Computers, Software, IT,” I said.

“Computers? Software? IT? Why? Why not something more interesting – like Arts, Literature, Philosophy, History, Humanities?” he asked.

“Job prospects,” I answered.

“Oh!”  He exclaimed. “And then?”

“Management...an MBA... Or I may even go abroad for higher studies.”

“Why?”

“Qualifications.”

“And why do you want so many qualifications?”

“To get the best job,” I answered.

“And earn a lot of money?” uncle Ranjit prompted.

“Of course,” I said. “I want to earn plenty of money so that I can enjoy life.”

Uncle Ranjit laughed, “My dear Vijay. Aren’t you enjoying life right now, at this very moment? What about me? Am I am not enjoying life? Remember - if you do not find happiness as you are, where you are, you will never find it.”

He smiled and asked me,” Vijay, you know what Maxim Gorky once said...?

“What?”

“When work is a pleasure, life is a joy. When work is a duty, life is slavery 

“Slavery!” I exclaimed, understanding the message he was trying to give me. 
 
“Slavery to one’s elusive material desires, one’s greed, slavery to the rat race, chasing rainbows. And then live a life perpetually trapped in a Monkey Trap of your own making.”

“The Monkey Trap!” we both said in unison, in chorus.

It was the defining moment in my life – my Minerva Moment...!

And so, I decided that I will choose a career I loved, do something I liked, and experience an inner freedom.

And guess what I am today?
 
Well, I am a teacher. I teach philosophy.

And let me tell you I enjoy every moment of it. It’s a life of sheer joy and delight – being with my students, their respect and adulation, my innate quest for knowledge and a sense of achievement that I am contributing my bit to society.

I shall never forget uncle Ranjit and that crucial visit to the forests of the Andamans, the turning point, or indeed the defining moment, of my life.

Well, I avoided the monkey trap. 

What about you?

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

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

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

This Story written by me in the year 1994 and first posted on my creative writing blog in the year 2006 at urlhttp://creative.sulekha.com/the-monkey-trap_34896_blog

Thursday, October 30, 2014

“FAUJI MATRIMONY” – MATRIMONIAL STRATEGY FOR WOMEN – PART 2

FAUJI MATRIMONY

MATRIMONIAL STRATEGY FOR WOMEN – PART 2
HOW TO FIND A “FAUJI” HUSBAND and Become a “FAUJI MEMSAHIB”
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

PART 2

THE SMART YOUNG LADY ARMY OFFICER

Continued from Part 1 : http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/10/matrimonial-strategy-for-women-aka-how.html

FAUJI MATRIMONY  A Spoof by Vikram Karve

Sometime ago I was invited to deliver a lecture at my erstwhile institution.

In the audience, comprising officers of the army, navy and air force, I noticed a familiar face.

She was wearing army uniform.

She was the only lady officer in the lecture hall.

“Hello,” I said to her, during the tea break, when she came to greet me, “what a pleasant surprise to see you in uniform. I did not know you had joined the army.”

“Yes Sir,” she said.

“Tell me, the last time we met, you were doing your computer engineering, weren’t you?” I asked her.

“Yes Sir,” she said.

“I thought you would join some Software Firm, work in the IT Sector – or maybe go abroad for further studies. So I am really surprised. What are you doing here in the army?”

“I am looking for a husband, Sir,” she said.

I almost choked, and the teacup nearly fell out of my hands.

Seeing the expression on my face, she said, “Sir, I will be frank with you. I have no illusions about how I look. There is too much competition in the Software Sector. In an IT firm, where there are so many attractive “Techie” girls, do you think that any decent boy will give me a second look?”

“Don’t say that. You look pretty and you are a smart young woman.”

“Beauty is all relative, isn’t it? Out there in the IT Sector, almost 50% are girls, so many beauties – there is just too much competition. Here, in an army unit, I am the only girl. Sir, just look there – see the way all those male officers are eyeing me?”

I looked.

She was right.

She was indeed the centre of attraction.

Most of the male officers were looking at her with undisguised affection. Some drooled in anticipation.

I looked at her, smiled and said, “You have a point.”

“You see – here, in the army, I have no competition, and I can pick and choose,” she said impishly.

So you joined the army for better marriage prospects?” I asked.

“Yes, Sir – that is exactly why I joined the army – to find a good husband. You are quite surprised, aren’t you?” she said.

“Yes, at first I was surprised. But now I can understand. Your logic seems perfectly rational to me,” I said.

For some time we sipped tea.

“So have you found anyone?” I asked, breaking the silence.

“Yes Sir – I have found quite a few prospective “fauji” grooms. Now I am shortlisting the candidates,” she said, with a naughty smile on her face.

“It’s a good career move too – both husband and wife in the army,” I said.

“Sir, to be frank, I am not a career type of girl. In fact, I want to get married, have children and settle down to a life of cozy domesticity.

What?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes, Sir. Once I get married, I will quit the army the moment my first short service commission tenure of 7 years is over – maybe even before that if they allow me to leave,” she said. 

“You want to quit the army once you find a husband? So you joined the army just to find a husband?” I asked in amazement.

Tell me sir, what can be better than being the wife of an army officer?” she said.

“You do have a point there. Being an army officer may be tough. But an army memsahib really enjoys a good life,” I said.

I always dreamt of being a fauji memsahib and living a good life – I love the ambience of the cool tranquil cantonments, the clubs, the parties, the social life, so many perks, and, most importantly, the batmen and sahayaks to do all your work,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Ah – batmen and sahayaks – so that’s why you did not join the navy.”

“Maybe,” she said tongue-in-cheek, “but there is one more reason.”

“What?”

“The competition is much tougher in the navy – there are so many women officers are in one place – and besides, you have to compete with the chic and savvy beauties in Mumbai – well, male naval officers have so much to choose from, and, frankly, I knew that with my looks, I just won’t stand a chance out there in the navy – here in the army, I am like a beauty queen,” she said, candidly.

Then she looked mischievously at me, gestured with her eyes at all the young male army officers ogling hungrily at her, and she said, “Sir, look at all those desperate fauji officers. Almost every guy is looking at me, waiting for me to give them the slightest cue. Here, in the army, it is me who can pick and choose, isn’t it? As they say, I can have the pick of the litter ... !!!  

I laughed. 

She laughed. 

We laughed together.

Everyone was looking at us. 

It was quite embarrassing.

Mercifully, the tea break was over, and we all went in for the remaining part of my lecture.


DO YOU WANT TO BE A “FAUJI MEMSAHIB” ?

Later, while driving home, I thought about it.

There was a ring of truth in what the smart young lady army officer had said.

Most women army officers seem inclined to marry their male colleagues (so-called “brother officers” in service parlance).

There are so many “in-service” marriages – it happens quite a lot in the army.

And I have seen such “incestuous relationships between “brother officers” and “sister officers” happening in the navy and air force too, where erstwhile “sister officers” metamorphose into memsahibs

Yes, in the army, today’s “sister officers” stand a good chance of becoming tomorrow’s memsahibs.

Maybe the army can coin new recruitment slogans for attracting young women into the army like:

“ Join the Army for Better Marriage Prospects ” 

“ Join the Army and Find a Husband ” 

or maybe an even better slogan 

JOIN THE ARMY FOR FAUJI MATRIMONY”  THE EASIEST WAY TO BECOME A “FAUJI MEMSAHIB”

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

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

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

This is Part 2 of the story written by me and posted by me on my blog on 08 July 2013 titled LOOKING FOR A HUSBAND Musings on Career Women and Marriage Prospects which featured Two Stories - THE SMART YOUNG WOMAN and THE LADY ARMY OFFICER at url:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/looking-for-husband-career-women-and.html