Tuesday, November 26, 2013



An Apocryphal Story


I once knew a very ambitious naval officer.

He was a total careerist and had no other interests.

His favourite line was: “I am married to the navy”.

His sole aim was to become an Admiral.

He would have been happy to remain a bachelor all his life.

This way he would have no distractions of domestic life.

Being a bachelor would enable him to focus all his attention totally on his naval career.

This would help him achieve his whole and sole aim of becoming an Admiral.

But his parents insisted that he get married.

So he agreed to see a girl.

He honestly told the girl about his career ambitions.

He clearly told her that his career would come first above everything else.

He then emphatically quoted his favourite dialogue: “I am married to the navy”.

The girl liked this career-conscious officer mainly because he did not have any vices - he was a strict teetotaller and non-smoker - he did not touch alcohol or tobacco - a rarity in the navy those days.

Yes, as far as other major and minor vices were concerned too, he was quite unlike most other naval officers.  

The girl thought he would change after marriage.

She was sure he would “accommodate” her in his “marriage” with the navy, even if he treated her as the “other woman”.

She was wrong.

This devoted sailor was strictly a “one woman man”.

And the one “woman” he was married to was the navy - the navy was his first “wife”.

He had not time for the other “woman” in his life - his human wife.

Yes, he was so loyally and devotedly married to the navy that he had absolutely no time for “other women” like his lawfully wedded human wife.

Fed up of being neglected, she (the “other woman”) walked out of the marriage so that her husband could devote himself to his “first wife” (Navy).

(By the way, in contrast to the above story, I have seen some navy wives who actively help their naval husbands achieve success in their naval careers by willingly playing second fiddle and such ambitious naval wives are ready to go to any extent to promote the careers of their husbands)


Well, that was the Naval Yarn.

Now I am facing a similar predicament.

Till I was in the navy I had only one woman in my marriage and that was my lawfully wedded wife.

(Unlike the careerist naval officer, I was not desperately “married” to the navy).

But ever since I retired from the navy and became a full time writer, I am in a quandary.

Sometimes I feel the same way as the famous writer Anton Chekhov (a doctor by profession) who so aptly expressed his dilemma in a letter to a friend:

“Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. 

When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other. 

Though it is irregular, it is less boring this way, and besides, neither of them loses anything through my infidelity”.

In my case, since I have retired from the navy, my Wife is my lawful wife and Writing is my mistress.

Or is the other way round?

I really do not know.

It is difficult to live a dual life.

I have been a loyal husband.

I never had a mistress before.

So I really have no clue as to how to simultaneously handle a “wife” and a “mistress”.

Ever since I acquired this “mistress” of writing, my wife has started cribbing. 

She hates my “mistress”.

But now that I am bitten by the “writing bug” I like my “mistress” deeply and I cannot get rid of her.

I do not want to get rid of my much married wife.

I cannot get rid of my “mistress”.

Maybe my wife may dump me as she hates my writing.

She may give me an ultimatum to get rid of my “writing mistress” saying that there can be only one woman in a marriage.

I love my wife and I love my “mistress” too.

Now I am soon going to start writing my ambitious novel so I will have to devote a lot of attention to my “mistress”.

How will my wife react?

It going to be a difficult life.

Will I be able to “handle” both my wife and my “mistress”?

Can they both co-exist?

Or will I have to get rid of one.

I don’t know what to do.

I seek your advice, especially if you are one of those lucky ones who have had the experience and the dexterity to simultaneously handle a wife and a mistress.

Please tell me what to do.

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 book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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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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