Friday, March 15, 2013


A Naval Yarn

Alcohol does different things to different people.

Alcohol opens you up.

Alcohol reduces inhibitions.

A few drinks loosen you up and help release your inner pent-up emotions.

Alcohol helps you express feelings which you may have suppressed within you, knowingly or unknowingly.

Alcohol helps bring out what is hidden within you.

If you are happy inside, after a few drinks you will start physically expressing your happiness boisterously and outwardly by laughing, cheer and bonhomie.

When you are in high spirits, you will become more talkative, more expansive and more expressive.

Under the influence of alcohol, you may even articulate your secret unexpressed love, and you become overly romantic and amorous, maybe even sexually expressive.

Alcohol also makes it possible to discover the hidden talents of a person.

You may have noticed that some persons become more creative after imbibing a drink or two, since alcohol unleashes your inhibitions and releases the music, the poetry, the art, the creativity hidden within you.

That is why alcohol flows freely during parties and celebrations since it helps dissolve the walls of inhibitions, self-consciousness and reticence and helps release inhibitions and amplifies inner emotions, talents, passions, sentiments – inner happiness becomes outer happiness and the environment is filled with cheer and bonhomie.

But the converse is also true.

By reducing inhibitions, alcohol may bring out the worst in you by facilitating the release of pent-up negative emotions like anger, envy, dejection, despondency, frustration and these unleashed amplified negative emotions may result in undesirable, unpleasant and even disastrous consequences.

Have you noticed how some people get violent, argumentative, rude or sometimes melancholic, moody, sullen, depressed, unsociable after a few drinks...?

I have always believed that if you want to know the true character of a man, get him drunk, and what is hidden inside him will come out and his true inner self will be revealed.

(During my younger days in the Navy I was quite wary of persons who did not drink – I remember those golden words engraved on the walls of a Navy Bar: Do not trust a man who does not drink)

The fact of the matter is that alcohol can bring out the best in you.

But alcohol can also bring out the worst in you.

I knew one such person who used to get very nasty and quarrelsome after a few drinks – of course I am not going to tell you his real name – so let’s just call him “John”.

Well, there was this beach picnic I was told to organize and I intentionally saw to it that John was not invited.

A day before the picnic I briefed the boss regarding the arrangements – transportation, recreation, music, dance, party games, tombola, water sports, fun for children, restrooms and shacks for ladies and gents, bar and food arrangements, seaside barbeque, gifts and presents, everything...

It was going to be a very enjoyable picnic and we all were going to have a fabulous time.

The boss seemed quite happy.

Then he saw the guest list.

“I don’t see John’s name here,” the boss remarked, “I want all officers and families to attend the picnic – why is John and his family not coming?”

“He has not been invited,” I said.

“Not been invited? Why? Who took this decision?”

“I did, Sir. I decided that it would be best if John did not come for the picnic,” I said.

For a moment the boss looked at me in disbelief.

Then he asked me, “May I know the reason why you don’t want John and his family to come for the picnic?”

“He can’t hold his drinks, Sir.”

“What do you mean?”

“Sir, there is going to be a lot of beer and drinks at the picnic. John invariably gets drunk on such occasions and when he is drunk he gets very nasty and belligerent. He is sure to misbehave and pick up a fight with someone. Things will become very unpleasant and the whole atmosphere will get spoiled, Sir,” I said.

The boss was furious and admonished me, “You don’t give me bullshit. It is the annual picnic. All officers and their families are attending. How can you exclude John just because of your whims and fancies? Do you have any bloody social graces or not?”

“Sir, please listen …” I tried to plead.

“Shut up. You will make sure that John and his family is there for the picnic. You will personally give him the invitation right now. Is that clear? Do you understand?” the boss said.

“Yes, Sir,” I said sheepishly.

The picnic started on a bright note. Everyone – the men, the women, the children, were thoroughly enjoying themselves – dancing, singing, playing, romping on the sands, frolicking on the beach, swimming the blue waters of the sea.

Then things began to happen as I had predicted.

By noon, John got drunk and nasty.

First he picked up a fight over some trivial issue with a colleague. Then he got abusive over not being served snacks properly. He was staggering unsteadily on his feet and shouting incoherently.

Seeing that John was visibly drunk and that he was making a fool of himself, his embarrassed wife tried to restrain him from drinking more beer by telling him that he had drunk too much alcohol already, but this enraged John even further and he abused and slapped his wife in full public view.

The boss tried to reason with John and calm him down. But John got belligerent and abusive with the boss too and threatened to hit him and we had to rescue boss before John thrashed him.   

The ladies and children were terrified.

John’s wife and children were in tears.

We were all disgusted and there was an air of unpleasantness.

Then John picked up a bottle of Rum and walked to a secluded place on the beach and drank himself into a stupor.

In the evening we had to carry a dead-drunk John into the boat. Then he vomited all over the boat and the disgusting stench of his vile hideous puke made everyone sickeningly nauseous.

The picnic was a disaster.

Next morning I went to the boss to show him the picnic accounts.

For some time we looked at each other in silence.

Then the boss said, “You were right.”

“Sir, I was going to tell you something more that day, but you asked me to shut up…” I said.

“What was it? Tell me now,” he said.

“It was John’s wife who told me not to invite them for the picnic.”

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. 

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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.

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