Monday, December 3, 2012


Most people retire at 60.

Some retire even later at 65 or 70.

And some people do not retire at all.

But in the Navy (and the Army and Air Force) they pack you off on superannuation much earlier - you have to retire in your early 50s if you are an Officer, or even earlier if you are a sailor (aka PBOR).

Now what do you do when you retire so early?

Either you take up a second career and keep slogging.

Or you sit at home and rumble and grumble. 

Well, that is what I have chosen to do - sit at home and carp, complain and grumble.

Let me share with you, dear reader, some of my grumblings ... 

Part 1

According to my wife, work means physical effort.

In her parlance, work is associated with physical labour. 

There must be some visible physical effort, some movement involved.

Yes, physical movement is the key attribute defining work.

That’s why when I was in the Navy my wife was very happy, since, according to her, I was “working” very hard. 

In the Navy there is a lot of physical movement, everyone and everything is moving all the time, and so was I.

There is a saying in the Navy:

If it moves, salute it

If it doesn't move, pick it up

If you can't pick it up, paint it

In the Navy (and the Army too): Work is associated with Movement

The more you were seen moving, the more hardworking you were considered. 

It did not matter whether you were achieving anything or not.

So, since everyone wanted to appear hardworking, everyone was on the move all the time – saluting people, picking up things and painting things they could not pick up.

My wife loved to see me on the move all the time and when I returned home physically exhausted after a hard day of “work” she was convinced that I was working very hard. 

“I wish you had never retired,” my wife moans, “you just don’t do any work now-a-days. 

All you do is sit at home in front of your laptop whole day.”

“What about those techies – those IT Nerds?” I ask, “they sit on their backsides all day in comfortable air-conditioned offices, are transported back and forth to office in company buses, have a relaxed five day week and all the perks – they don’t even have to lift a finger.”

“They earn loads of money,” my sister-in-law says.

Oh, so that’s the second definition of work.

Work is associated with earning money

The more money you earn, the more you are working – the amount of work you do is directly proportional to the amount of money you earn.

That’s funny.

Whereas physical effort counts as work, whether you earn money or not, intellectual effort does not count as work, unless it earns you a lot of money.

To put it in gobbledygook:

Physical Work and Money may be mutually independent of each other; whereas Intellectual Work and Money are mutually interdependent, in fact, the quantum of intellectual work is measured the amount of money you earn for doing that work.

Now-a-days I am a wannabe writer. 

I spend my whole day reading, writing, surfing the internet and blogging and in doing these activities there is hardly any visible physical effort involved. 

So in my wife’s parlance I do not do any work.

Also, at present, my writing does not earn me any money. 

Yes, I have published a couple of books.

(My books have not earned me much money, at least till now). 

I am an avid blogger and write a blog post almost every day.

(Blogging does not earn me any money since I have not monetized my blog). 

And the novel I am trying to write (my wife wonders whether it will ever see the light of day) – I don’t know whether or when it will earn me any money. 

So, as per the second definition too, I don’t do any work.

Yes, it is so simple – while I engage in creative writing and blogging:

1. I am not seen making any physical effort


2. I don’t make any money from my writing and blogging

So, as per the two definitions of work, I don’t do any work – QED. 

I am a lazy good-for-nothing guy who is wasting my time and doing nothing.

Maybe the novel I am writing will become a bestseller and earn me some money. 

Maybe someone may buy the movie rights of my novel and I may rake in the moolah.

Maybe my Blog may become famous and someone will offer me an attractive proposition or lucrative job.

Then the “effort” I am putting in my writing will qualify as “work”.

Till then, as far as my darling “hard working” wife and “money making” sister-in-law are concerned, the only “work” I do is to take my pet dog Sherry for long walks in the morning and in the evening!

“You are such a qualified, experienced and talented guy. Why are you not working? 

 Why do sit at home whole day doing nothing? I am sure you can get a good job. 

As an Engineer, Designer, Manager, Consultant, even as a Professor – you don’t know your true worth – you can earn lots of money. So why are you wasting your time? Why don’t you do something instead of sitting at home all day?

Even if you want to write, the least you can do is write some professional stuff instead of writing fiction.”

I have to hear all these taunts all the time from all sorts of people.

Yes, it is true:

I have got many lucrative job offers. 

I can easily get a good job and “work” whole day.

But why don’t they understand? 

I don’t want a “job”. 

I want to write fiction. 

I want to write a novel. 

I want to write stories.

I want to Blog.

I have found my “calling” – I have discovered my metier, my true vocation – creative writing and Blogging.

I want to spend the rest of life writing, surrounded by my books and my diaries in which I have made notes all these years, in front of my laptop, researching on the internet, hammering away at the keyboard, writing fiction and Blogging away.

Yes, I am going to write.

I will write my novel.

I will write on my blog.

I will write short stories.

I will write whatever I want to write – but I am going to write, and I am going to focus on writing what I like best - fiction.

Well, if you think I am wasting my time doing nothing – so be it.

To those who say that I don’t do any work, good luck to you – I just don’t care what you say.

Because I am going to be busy writing. 

I know that this is hard work and I am working harder than I ever worked in my whole life, though it is not visible to you – either by way of physical effort or earning money.

And whenever I get the writer’s block, I’ll go off on a walk thinking creative thoughts with my pet dog Sherry who seems to be the only person who understands me.

I’ll end with an anecdote, a true story, narrated by a famous writer.

The writer’s wife scolded him: You say that you are a writer but I hardly see you writing. Most of the time you relax in your chair with your eyes closed.”

“Yes, I am “writing” all the time,” the writer said, “do you know what creative writing is? Writing is 90% creative thinking and only 10% is the physical process of writing.”

And to those of you who think I am doing nothing after my retirement and I am wasting my time, I will tell you this - just Google my name VIKRAM KARVE and you will be surprised to see how much I have “worked” after my retirement.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Did you like reading this blog post?
I am sure you will like all the 27 stories in my book  COCKTAIL an anthology of Short Fiction.
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:

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Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
Professional Profile Vikram Karve:
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Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog:
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


HG Harsha said...

Follow your heart. It can never mislead you. All your writings make compulsive reading. It retains interest till the last sentence, which is every writer's dream. Wishing you luck on this Navy Day...

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ HG Harsha - Delighted to see your comment. Yes, that is what I am doing - following my heart. And enjoying what I do too.

Anand Sonsale said...

Enjoyed the article sir. May the
creative writers worth and work
be recognized, with or
with out earning "money".
-Anand Sonsale

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Anand,
So nice to hear from you. I am glad you enjoyed the article.
Thank you so much for your comment and wishes.