Monday, January 20, 2014


Last evening I attended a nostalgic and memorable get-together where many of my erstwhile colleagues and fellow officers, serving and retired, from the Navy, Army and Air Force were present.

Many friends who had met me after many years, complimented me: “You haven’t changed at all. You look just the same after so many years.

“Stop pulling my leg,” I said.

“Seriously, Sir,” said a young Commodore, who I had taught in this very same institute when he was a young Lieutenant; and then he added, “Sir, we last met in 1993, more than 20 years ago, and you look just the same. 

“Thanks,” I said, accepting the compliment, and then boasted, “maybe I am an ageless wonder!

And then I told them this real life story:

A Real Life Story – The Eternal “uncle”

NEW DELHI (1982)

In 1982, as a newly married couple, we lived in Curzon Road Apartments on Kasturba Gandhi Marg near India Gate in New Delhi.

Me, my wife, and our puppy dog (a small Lhasa Apso Puppy Dog given to us as a wedding gift) – all three of us lived in our neat cosy one room apartment with a small kitchenette and a lovely balcony high up on the top floor.

One evening, while on her way back home from work, my wife went to the convenience store to buy milk and the shopkeeper told her that her father had already bought milk a few minutes ago.

My wife was delighted at the unexpected visit of her father so she rushed to our house and on not seeing her father around my wife asked me, “Where is Daddy?”

“Your Daddy? He must be in Pune,” I said.  

“No. Daddy has come here,” she said.

“Who told you?” I asked.

“The shopkeeper,” she said.

“Let’s go down and ask him,” I said.

So we went down and asked the shopkeeper who pointed towards me and said, “He took the milk. I thought he was your father.”

“He is my husband,” my wife said, pointing at me.

“I am sorry, Sir, but I was really mistaken,” the shopkeeper said apologetically to me.

Then the shopkeeper smiled at my wife and said to her, “Madam, you look so young, like a schoolgirl, so I thought he was your father.”

It was true. 

When we were married, my wife looked very young, just like a schoolgirl. 

She was 21 and I was 25, and though the shopkeeper hadn’t spelt it out in so many words, I did look a bit older than my 25 years, with my “healthy” built and my formidable beard.

Unlike the so-called “metrosexual” men of today, I like to be who I am, so I don’t believe in “cosmetic engineering”.

I believe in the “old-mould” idea that a man must look like a man, tough and manly, and though hygiene and grooming are important, there is no need for a man to be excessively obsessed about his looks.

Of course, whereas having an appropriate dress sense and wearing good quality clothes is a must, there is no need for a man to “deck up”.

That’s why when the first strand of grey hair appeared on my head when I was in my mid 40’s, I never used hair dye, nor did I colour my copious beard when it started greying.

Of course, I must say here, that my wife too has a natural look and she hardly uses any cosmetics and nor does she colour her hair.

The fact of the matter was that my wife did indeed look much younger than me. 


So, even in those days, when a pretty young girl called me “uncle”, I did not mind it very much. Maybe, to her, I did indeed look like an “uncle”.

30 Years Later

PUNE (2012)

This happened a few days ago in Pune.

My wife was getting off an auto rickshaw. 

The fare was 52 rupees. 

She gave the auto-rickshaw driver a 50 rupee note and was desperately searching in her purse for a two rupee coin when the auto driver said magnanimously to my wife, “Never mind Ajji – it is okay if you don’t give me the two rupees.”

Now, in Marathi, the word AJJI means GRANDMOTHER.

I cannot begin to describe the emotion I felt when I heard this.

And just imagine, pretty young girls still call me “uncle”.


Maybe the auto-rickshaw driver needed an eye checkup. 

My wife still looks very young – maybe not like a school girl like she did in 1982, but certainly like a college girl. 

And me? 

Well, I am an ageless wonder – The Eternal “uncle”

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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