Sunday, January 24, 2016

Nightie

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

So – I went to a boutique. 

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

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

“I want a good nightie for my wife... I said.

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

I beat a hasty retreat.

And – I remembered this story from my Navy Days.

“NIGHTIE” 
Hilarious Memories of my Glorious Navy Days
By
VIKRAM KARVE

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

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

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

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

We could park our scooters/motorcycles near his house.

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

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

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

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

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

He said his wife was getting ready.

It was almost time for the Navy Ball.

We were anxiously waiting for his wife to get ready.

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

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

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

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

Slowly  I could see her shock turn into anger.

She was looking at me with blazing eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later  the ladies joined us in the Navy Ball.

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

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


EPILOGUE

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

I was just hanging around.

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

I wished her.

She smiled back.

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

“Oh? I must meet her,” she said.

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

“Sure...” she said. 

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

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

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

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

I smiled at her. 

She started laughing.

I joined her in her laughter.

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

VIKRAM KARVE
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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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