Friday, November 11, 2022

My Name is “Nisha” – Short Story

 

My Name is “Nisha”

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MY NAME IS “NISHA”

Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

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MY NAME IS “NISHA”

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My Home in Pune

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10 AM – Monday Morning – I am busy writing my latest story on my laptop.

I am disturbed by the sound of the doorbell.

Irritated – I get up and walk to the door – wondering who it is who is disturbing my solitude.

I open the door.

It is a woman.

I look at her.

She looks so chic.

Blue Jeans, bright red tucked-in T-Shirt, fair creamy flawless complexion, jet black hair neatly tied in a bun – and – dark Ray-Ban sunglasses of the latest style.

She is a good-looking woman with smart feminine features – elegant – fashionable – chic – graceful – well-groomed.

“Good Morning…” I greet her.

“Good Morning to you…” she says with a sweet smile.

I wonder who she is – maybe – she has come to meet my wife.

My thoughts are interrupted by her mellifluous voice.

“Won’t you ask me to come in…?” she says to me.

“I am all alone in the house…” I say to her, “my wife has gone to work – she will come at 5 in the evening…”

“I have come to meet you…” she says with a smile.

“Me…?” I say – taken aback.

From her bag – she pulls out a copy of my book – my anthology of short stories.

She points a finger at my name on the cover and looks at me.

“This is your name – isn’t it…? You have written all these stories…” she says to me.

“Yes…” I say to her.

“My name is “Nisha”…” she says to me.

“Nisha…?” I repeat.

“Does my name ring a bell…?” she asks me.

“No…” I say to her.

“Oh really…?” she says, “that’s surprising…!!!”

“I don’t know you – or anyone named Nisha…” I say to her.

“I am the “heroine” of most of your stories – Nisha…” she says matter-of-factly.

On hearing her words – I am flummoxed – dumbstruck.

“Since you haven’t asked me to come in – I am inviting myself in…” she says.

And – she pushes past me – walks to the sofa – sits down – and – she looks at me.

I am still at the door.

“Come and sit near me – I want to talk to you…” she says to me.

I go and sit near her.

“Would you like to have a cup of tea – or – a cool drink…” I ask her – but – she interrupts me.

“Thank you for asking – but – no – I just want to talk to you for a few minutes – and then – I have to go back to Mumbai – I have a flight to catch tonight…” she says,

“Mumbai…? Flight…?”  I ask – confused.

“I drove down from Mumbai just to meet you…” she says.

“Taxi…? How did you get my address…?” I ask her – curious.

“Your contact details are all over the internet – you are a blogger – an influencer – you keep updating your status and location on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google – everywhere – it is very easy to track you down…” she says matter-of-factly.

She pauses for a moment before speaking.

“Let’s get to the point – I just want to know one thing – “Who is Nisha…?”…” she asks me – looking directly into my eyes.

“Who is Nisha…?” I repeat her question – feeling a bit nonplussed.

“I told you when I introduced myself – my name is “Nisha”…” she says.

“Yes…” I murmur.

“In all your stories – the name of the heroine is “Nisha” – my name…” she says, “I want to know why…” she asks me in an imperative voice.

“Well – just like that…” I stammer.

“What do you mean “just like that…?” Why are you using my name again and again…?” she questions me.

“It’s nothing, really – just like Hemingway used the name “Nick” for the protagonist of his early short stories – I use the name “Nisha”…” I explain to her, “Nisha is a fictional character…”

“I don’t think so…” the woman named Nisha says.

I remain silent – confused what to say.

Nisha opens the book in her hand – to the contents page – looks at me – and speaks in a serious voice.

“You are writing about me. You have selectively taken incidents from my life and dramatized them into stories…” she says, accusingly.

“How can I write about incidents in your life…? I don’t even know you. This is the first time I am meeting you…” I say to her.

“Exactly…” she counters, “without even meeting me – how do you know so much about me…?”

“I don’t know…” I start mumbling – but she interrupts me.

“There is a slice of my life in all your “Nisha” stories – it is outrageous – why are you writing stories about my personal life…? How do you know so many things about me…?” she says – in an accusing voice.

“How can I write about incidents in your life…? I don’t even know you. This is the first time I am meeting you…” I say to her.

“Then how do you know so much about me…? About my past…? Who is telling you all those private and intimate things about my life…? “Why are you prying into my personal life…?” she asks me.

“No one is telling me anything about you – and – I am not prying into your personal life…” I say to her, “Can you give me a specific example…?”

“How did you know I was “Bi” …? she asks me.

“Bi…?” I say, confused.

“Don’t act dumb – you know what “Bi” means – I like both men and women – just like your heroine “Nisha” does…” she says, sardonically.

I try to speak – but – she cuts me short – and – she continues speaking.

“In three of your stories – Nisha makes love to women – the way you have described these incidents in your stories is similar to what happened in my life – of course – you have been smart enough to change the names of the other women – but your main protagonist is always “Nisha” – why…?” she asks me, pointedly.

“I don’t know…” I say, unthinkingly.

“You are very cunning…” she says.

“Cunning…?” I say – taken aback – no one has called me “cunning” before.

“You change the names of all the other characters – or write in first person – but the name of the protagonist is always “Nisha” – me…” she says, resentfully.

Nisha opens my book and points to a story.

“And – this is the bloody limit of your brazenness – in this story – you haven’t even bothered to change the other woman’s name…” she says, angrily.

“Which woman…?” I say, confused.

“Anjali – my lover in the story – and – you have described things exactly as they actually happened – how did you know we made love in the railway retiring room at Dehradun…? You have even mentioned the year correctly – Anjali read the story and she was aghast – she called me – she is furious with me – she thinks I told you about our affair…” Nisha says to me.

“Show me…” I say – and – I take the book from her hand – I look at the story – and speak to Nisha.

“I wrote this long back – I really don’t remember…” I try to explain – but Nisha interrupts me.

She grabs the book from my hand – looks at the contents – and opens the page to another story.

“And this one – lovemaking in train…” she says.

“In this you are making love to a man…” I am saying – when she interrupts.

“Me…?” she shouts.

“No. No. I meant the heroine of the story…” I say, contrite.

For some time – there is silence.

Then – Nisha speaks.

“Do you have the power of clairvoyance…?” she asks me.

“No…” I say to her.

“I don’t believe it – how can you know about my secret tattoo – about my lesbian affairs that I have tried to keep secret…” she says, looking anxious.

“I told you – it’s my imagination…” I say to her.

“It’s bizarre – you seem to have some supernatural powers to peep into my life…” she says, giving me a strange look.

“No. No…” I begin to say, when she interrupts.

“Why are you writing stories about my personal life…?” she asks me.

“I don’t know…” I say to her.

“Why is the heroine of your stories named “Nisha” – who is Nisha…?” she asks, desperately.

“I don’t know…” I say, exasperated.

We look at each other for some time.

Then – I speak.

“You have a really complicated life…” I say to her.

“Yes – fodder for your stories…” she says with sarcasm.

“Please…” I say, “I am being honest with you – it is just a coincidence…” I say, sincerely.

“I don’t believe you – but then – I have no choice – if you keep insisting that all these real-life stories about me are products of your imagination…” she says.

“Please believe me…” I say to her.

Nisha looks at the wall-clock.

“I have to go now – I don’t want to be late for my flight…” she says.

“Where are you going…?” I ask her.

“Auckland – New Zealand – I live there – like the “Nisha” of some of your stories…” she says.

“You migrated there…” I ask her.

“Yes – a few years ago…” she says.

Then – she looks at me and speaks in a beseeching voice.

“I have one request – from now on – please don’t have “Nisha” in your stories – I am sure you can find much better names…” she says to me.

I smile at her.

She picks up her bag and stands up.

“You’ve forgotten the book…” I say to her – picking up her copy of the anthology of my short stories.

“I don’t want to read about my own life…” she says, “you can keep it – to remind you not to have any “Nisha” in your stories…” she says – and – she walks towards the door.

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After she leaves – I sit down at my desk.

I decide to write a new story – a murder mystery.

The name of the murderer – “Nisha”.

Yes – “Nisha” – a devious wicked woman – the “heroine” of my story.

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A few days later – I get a call from a friend – a retired police officer.

“I read your latest story…” he says.

“The murder mystery…?” I ask him.

“Yes…” he says, “tell me – is the story based on a true incident…?”

“No…” I say, “it is fiction – my imagination running wild…”

“Amazing coincidence…” he says, “there was a murder case a few years ago – exactly as you have described it – a man died from poisoning – with Ricin – a woman was the suspect – but we could do nothing – as the trace couldn’t be established – just like in your story…”

“Oh…” I remarked, “quite a coincidence…”

“Hear the next part…” he says, “the name of the woman was “Nisha” – yes – the murder suspect was a woman called “Nisha” – exactly like in your story – that’s the bizarre coincidence…”

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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.
3. E&OE

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.
 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Maharshi Karve : His Life Story in His Own Words

MAHARSHI KARVE

His Life Story in His Own Words
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LOOKING BACK by DK KARVE (1936)

Autobiography of Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve
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(Book Review by Vikram Waman Karve)
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Today – the 9th of November – is the पुण्यतिथि (Death Anniversary) of Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve (18.04.1858  09.11.1962).

I feel that  on this occasion  it would be apt to tell you about his life and work as written by him in his autobiography titled LOOKING BACK published in 1936. 

Here is a picture of my copy of the book. 

Looking Back by Dhondo Keshav Karve 

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Dear Reader  you must be wondering why I am reviewing an autobiography written in 1936.

Well 
 around 20 years ago  from 2000 to 2006 – for 6 years of my life  I stayed in a magnificent building called Empress Court on Maharshi Karve Road opposite the Oval at Churchgate in Mumbai.

I share the same surname (Karve) as the author.

Also 
 I happen to be the great-grandson of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve

But  beyond that  compared to him  I am a nobody – not even a pygmy.
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Maharshi Karve clearly knew his goal, persisted ceaselessly throughout his life with missionary zeal and transformed the destiny of the Indian Woman.

The first university for women in India 
 SNDT Women’s University  and educational institutions for women under the aegis of the Hingne Stree Shikshan Samstha Poona  later renamed Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha (MKSSS) Pune  covering the entire spectrum ranging from pre-primary schools to post-graduate, engineering, vocational and professional colleges – all these institutions bear eloquent testimony to his indomitable spirit, untiring perseverance and determined efforts.
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LOOKING BACK by DK KARVE (1936)
(Book Review)
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In his preface  Frederick J Gould, renowned rationalist and lecturer on Ethics, writes that “the narrative is a parable of his career” – a most apt description of the autobiography. 

The author tells his life-story in a simple straightforward manner, with remarkable candour and humility  resulting in a narrative which is friendly, interesting and readable.
 
Autobiographies are sometimes voluminous tomes  but this a small book  just 200 pages.  

It is a very easy comfortable enjoyable read  written from the heart in engrossing storytelling style – that makes the book unputdownable.

Dr. Dhondo Keshav Karve writes a crisp, flowing narrative of his life, interspersed with his views and anecdotes 
 in simple, straightforward style  which facilitates the reader to visualize through the author’s eyes the places, period, people and events pertaining to his life and times and the trials and tribulations he faced and struggled to conquer.
 
Dr. Dhondo Keshav Karve was born on 18th of April 1858. 

In the first few chapters he writes about Murud, his native place in Konkan, Maharashtra  his ancestry and his early life – the description is so vivid that you can clearly “see” through the author’s eye.
 
His struggle to appear in the public service examination (walking 110 miles in torrential rain and difficult terrain to Satara)  and his shattering disappointment at not being allowed to appear for the examination (because “he looked too young”– all this make poignant reading.
 
“Many undreamt of things have happened in my life and given a different turn to my career” he writes  and then – he goes on to describe his high school – and later  his college education at The Wilson College Bombay (Mumbai) – narrating various incidents that convinced him of the role of destiny – and the role of serendipity in shaping his life and career as a teacher and then Professor of Mathematics.
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He married at the age of 14  but began his marital life at the age of 20...!!! 

This was the custom of those days. 
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Let’s read the author’s own words on his domestic life:

 “… I was married at the age of fourteen and my wife was then eight. Her family lived very near to ours and we knew each other very well and had often played together. However after marriage we had to forget our old relation as playmates and to behave as strangers, often looking toward each other but never standing together to exchange words ... We had to communicate with each other through my sister ... My marital life began under the parental roof at Murud when I was twenty…” 
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Their domestic bliss was short lived – as his wife died after a few years leaving behind a son.

“Thus ended the first part of my domestic life...” he concludes in crisp witty style.
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An incident highlighting the plight of a widow left an indelible impression on him and germinated in him the idea of widow remarriage.

He married Godubai 
 who was widowed when she was only 8 years old – she was a sister of his friend Mr. Joshi  and now – she was a 23 years old widow  and she was studying at Pandita Ramabai’s Sharada Sadan as its first widow student.
 
Let’s read in the author’s own words how he asked for her hand in marriage to her father: 

“I told him – I had made up my mind to marry a widow. He sat silent for a minute and then hinted that there was no need to go in search of such a bride...”

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He describes in detail the ostracism he faced from some orthodox quarters and systematically enunciates his life work - his organization of the Widow Marriage Association, Hindu Widows Home, Mahila Vidyalaya, Nishkama Karma Math, and other institutions, culminating in the birth of the first Indian Women’s University (SNDT University).
 
The trials and tribulations he faced in his life-work of emancipation of education of women (widows in particular) and how he overcame them by his persistent steadfast endeavours and indomitable spirit makes illuminating reading and underlines the fact that Dr. DK Karve was no arm-chair social reformer but a person devoted to achieve his dreams on the ground in reality.
 
These chapters form the meat of the book and make compelling reading. 

His dedication and meticulousness is evident in the appendices where he has given date-wise details of his engagements and subscriptions down to the paisa for his educational institutions from various places he visited around the world to propagate their cause.
 
He then describes his world tour, at the ripe age of 71, to meet eminent educationists to propagate the cause of the Women’s University, his later domestic life and ends with a few of his views and ideas for posterity. 

At the end of the book, concluding his autobiography, he writes:

“Here ends the story of my life. I hope this simple story will serve some useful purpose”
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Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve wrote this book in 1936. 

He lived on till the 9th of November 1962 – achieving so much more on the way  and was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) by the famous and prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Varanasi in 1942, followed by University of Poona (Pune) in 1951, SNDT Women’s University in 1955, and the LL.D. by Bombay (Mumbai) University in 1957.
 
Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve received the Padma Vibhushan in 1955 and the India’s highest honour the “Bharat Ratna” in 1958  a fitting tribute on his centenary at the glorious age of 100.
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“LOOKING BACK” is an engrossing and illuminating autobiography  written in simple witty readable storytelling style  and it clearly brings out the mammoth contribution of Maharshi Karve and the trials and tribulations he faced.
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PERSONAL EPILOGUE 
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– Vikram Waman Karve – I was born in 1956  and I have fleeting memories of my great grandfather Maharshi Karve – when I was a small boy  during our visits  till 1962  to the Hingne Stree Shikshan Samstha (now called Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha).

My mother tells me that I featured in a Films Division Documentary on him during his centenary celebrations in 1958.

Here is a picture of me with my great grandfather Maharshi Karve taken in the year 1958 when he was 100 years old.



Vikram Waman Karve with Maharshi Karve (1958)

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It is from some old timers, a few relatives, and mainly from books  that I learn of his pioneering work in transforming the destiny of the Indian Woman  and  I thought I should share this.
 
I have written this book review in the hope that some of us  especially young people and particularly the students and alumni of Maharshi Karve Stree Skikshan Samstha (MKSSS), SNDT Women’s University, Cummins College of Engineering for Women, SOFT, Karve Institute of Social Sciences and other Educational Institutions who owe their very genesis and existence to Maharshi Karve  are motivated to read about his stellar pioneering work  and draw inspiration from his autobiography.
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VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The “BLIND SIDE”

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ARE YOU AWARE OF YOUR “BLIND SIDE”

Learning from Fables By Vikram Karve

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You must have heard of an Aesop’s Fable called: “The One-Eyed Doe”.

Once upon a time – there was a doe (female deer).

The doe had lost one of her eyes.

Therefore – she could not see anything on the side with her blind eye (her “blind side”).

Whenever the doe used to feed near the seashore – she used to stand in such a way that her “good eye” looked towards the land – so that she could see if any hunters were approaching – and could make a quick escape in case she saw any hunters on the land.

The doe kept her “blind eye” towards the sea – since she did not expect any threat from that side.

One day – some sailors came rowing in a boat from the sea.

They saw the doe blissfully grazing near the seashore.

Since her “blind side” was towards the sea – the doe did not see the sailors coming from the sea.

One of the sailors took aim with his gun and shot the doe.

As she was dying – heaving her last breath – the doe cried to herself:

“What a mistake I made…!!! 

I was safe on the land side where I expected to be attacked – but I was attacked from the direction of the sea which I thought was safe…”

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MORAL OF THE STORY 

“Danger often comes from the least expected source or direction...”

Military History shows us many examples of this “moral of the story” – where armies have been attacked from their “blind side”.

Armies and Nations are attacked by surprise from directions where they least expected to be attacked – or – in ways they least expected – or – by “enemies” who they did not expect to be adversaries.

We see many such examples in military and war history and in the intelligence domain – where one discovers dangers from directions, places and people that one thought were “safe”. This aspect of being aware of and guarding the “blind side” is all the more important in information warfare and informationised warfare.

While this fable has a lesson for the military and security forces – isn’t this fable metaphorically relevant in many other aspects of our life as well – at work, in society, in relationships – and especially in our personal life …?

Aren’t we most vulnerable from our “blind side” – emotionally – materially – in happenings – in business – in relationships – from people towards whom we have a “blind side” because we love and trust them…?
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So – you must remember: 

1. Introspect – and – discover if you have a “blind side”. 

2. Be aware of your “blind side”. 

3. Never neglect your “blind side” (or “blind sides”)
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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. 


© vikram karve., all rights reserved.