Thursday, November 7, 2013




I saw plenty of humour in uniform.

And I saw plenty of humour “out of uniform” too.

Here is one such anecdote: 

Humor – A Hilarious Story

“You are neutral,” the middle-aged lady with suspiciously black hair said to me.

I was stunned, totally bewildered.

In my life, especially in the Navy, I had been called all sorts of names.

But, no one had ever called me “neutral”.

This happened more than 21 years ago, in early 1992.

It was my welcome party at the officers’ mess of the inter-service institution in Pune to which I had been recently appointed.

The lady, a senior officer’s wife, asked me, “How many children do you have?”

“Two. I have a boy and a girl,” I said.

Hearing this, she remarked, “You are neutral.”

On seeing my puzzled look, she elaborated on her remark.

She pointed to my boss, a Commodore, and said, “Look at him. He is so lucky. He has two sons. It is a double lottery. And look at me. I have two daughters. I am so unlucky. But you have one son and one daughter – at least you are neutral – neither lucky nor unlucky.”

“How does it matter whether you have sons or daughters?” I asked her.

The lady (let us call her “Mrs. G”) explained to me, “You modern Maharashtrians won’t understand. But we come from an upcountry state, and that too we belong to a business community, and in our community all this matters a lot. I wish I had at least one son.”

“Then why don’t you have one?” I said, tongue-in-cheek.

“We tried. We wanted to have a son. But then I had some gynaec problems…” she said most candidly.

I was not interested in hearing explicit details of her gynaecological problems, so I politely excused myself and headed for the bar.

A few days later, during my evening walk, I met Mrs. G along with her two teenage daughters.

They invited me over for a cup of tea.

As I talked to them, I was mighty impressed by the girls – they were smart, intelligent, poised, and full of social graces.

Any parent would feel proud of such accomplished daughters.

But Mrs. G would keep whining and carping about her misfortune of having two daughters.

Two years later, we heard that her elder daughter had secured a merit ranking in the CET and was selected for admission for the MBBS course at the premier medical college in Mumbai.

We went to congratulate Mrs. G on her daughter’s success.

“What congratulations? I am sunk,” Mrs. G said despondently.

Stunned into silence for a moment, I asked her in amazement, “What are you saying? Your daughter is going to become a doctor – her career, her life is made.”

“That is what I am worried about,” Mrs. G said.

“Worried?” I asked her.

“Now we will have to find her a doctor – a status match – and do you know what the going rate for a doctor is?” Mrs. G said matter-of-factly.

“Dowry? Are you talking about dowry in this world and age?” I asked, surprised.

Mrs. G gave me an incredulous look, and then irritably said to me: “Which world are you living in? Of course, you city-bred Maharashtrians won’t understand, but in our society if you want a status match it is an expensive affair. That is why I warned my husband not to let her appear for CET. I wanted my daughter to do her BA at Fergusson or Wadia College. We could have found some nice fauji boy for her – some nice army, navy or air force officer. Or better still, maybe she would have found some good Maharashtrian boy for herself and settled down here in Pune – then there would be no problem of any dowry too!”

“Maybe your beautiful daughter will find some nice Maharashtrian boy in her medical college,” I said optimistically.

Mrs. G looked at me for some time, then her face brightened up and she said to me, “I hope so. I really hope so. If what you say happens I will give you a big treat - Agar Aisa Hua To Tumhare Muh Me Ghee Shakkar

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.

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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