Friday, November 27, 2015

YOU ARE “NEUTRAL” : A Love Story

Humor in and out of Uniform

Unforgettable Characters I Met During My Wonderful Navy Life

I saw plenty of humour in uniform.

And  I saw plenty of humour “out of uniform” too, interacting with some delightful “fauji” ladies aka “faujans”.

Here is one such hilarious story from my Humor in and out of Uniform Archives  once more  for you to enjoy.

By the way  the term “Senior Lady” is a misnomer.

Here is a paraphrased extract from a NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association) booklet which encapsulates some prudent advice for Navy Wives:

“There is no such thing as a ‘Senior Wife’ or ‘Senior Lady’. There are Senior Officers. They have wives. There are Junior Officers  and some of them have wives. All wives are Ladies...”

In fact  some ageless ladies my take offence at being called “Senior” a la “Senior Citizen

YOU ARE “NEUTRAL”  a Love Story
Unforgettable Vignettes of my Navy Life
A Spoof

YOU ARE “NEUTRAL”  a Love Story by Vikram Karve

“You are neutral,” the middle-aged lady with suspiciously black hair said to me.

I was stunned, totally bewildered.

In my life, especially in the Navy, I had been called all sorts of names.

But, no one had ever called me “neutral”.

This happened 24 years ago, in December 1991.

It was my welcome party at the officers’ mess of IAT, an inter-service institution near Pune, to which I had been recently appointed.

The middle-aged lady with suspiciously black hair, a senior officer’s wife, asked me, “How many children do you have?”

“Two. I have two children – a boy and a girl,” I said.

Hearing this, she remarked, “You are neutral.”

On seeing my puzzled look, she elaborated on her remark.

She pointed to my boss, a Commodore, and she said: “Look at him. He is so lucky. He has two sons. It is a double lottery. And look at me. I have two daughters. I am so unlucky. But you have one son and one daughter – at least you are neutral – neither lucky nor unlucky.”

“How does it matter whether you have sons or daughters?” I asked her.

The senior lady (let us call her “Mrs. G”) explained to me: “You modern Maharashtrians living in cosmopolitan cities like Pune will not understand. But we come from an upcountry state, and that too we belong to a business community, and in our community all this matters a lot. I wish I had at least one son.”

“Then why don’t you have one?” I said, tongue-in-cheek.

“We tried. We wanted to have a son. But then I had some gynaec problems…” she said most candidly.

I was not interested in hearing explicit details of her gynaecological problems, so I politely excused myself and headed for the bar.

A few days later, during my evening walk, I met Mrs. G along with her two teenage daughters.

They invited me over for a cup of tea.

As I talked to them, I was mighty impressed by the girls – they were smart, intelligent, poised, and full of social graces.

Any parent would feel proud of such accomplished daughters.

But Mrs. G would keep cribbing, whining and carping about her misfortune of having two daughters.

Two years later, we heard that her elder daughter had secured a merit ranking in the CET and was selected for admission for the MBBS course at the premier medical college in Mumbai.

We went to congratulate Mrs. G on her daughter’s success.

“What congratulations? I am sunk,” Mrs. G said despondently.

Stunned into silence for a moment, I asked her in amazement, “What are you saying? Your daughter is going to become a doctor – her career, her life is made.”

“That is what I am worried about,” Mrs. G said.

“Worried?” I asked her.

“Now we will have to find her a doctor husband – a status match – and do you know what the going rate for a doctor is?” Mrs. G said matter-of-factly.

“Dowry? Are you talking about dowry in this world and age?” I asked, surprised.

Mrs. G gave me an incredulous look, and then irritably said to me: “Which world are you living in? Of course, you city-bred Maharashtrians will never understand, but in our society if you want a status match it is an expensive affair. That is why I warned my husband not to let her appear for CET. I wanted my daughter to do her BA at Fergusson College or Wadia College. We could have found some nice fauji boy for her – some nice army, navy or air force officer. Or better still, maybe she would have found some good Maharashtrian boy for herself and settled down here in Pune – then there would be no problem of giving dowry too!”

“Maybe your beautiful daughter will find some nice Maharashtrian boy in her medical college,” I said optimistically.

Mrs. G looked at me for some time.

Then her face brightened up and she said to me, “I hope so. I really hope so. If what you say comes out to be true I will give you a big treat...

Her exact words to me in Hindi were:

Agar Aisa Hua To Tumhare Muh Mein Ghee Shakkar  

( अगर ऐसा हुआ तो तुम्हारे मुह में घी शक्कर )

Literally translated, this means  “If what you say happens then I will put clarified butter (ghee) and sugar in your mouth.


By the way  what I had predicted did actually happen.

Mrs. G’s accomplished daughter fell in love with a nice Maharashtrian Boy studying in her Medical College.

It was mutual love  the nice Maharashtrian Boy also fell in love with Mrs. G’s daughter.

And – the moment they passed out of college  the two doctors happily tied the knot.

Many years have passed since  but I am still waiting for Mrs. G to put Ghee Shakkar in my mouth...

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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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.

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