Tuesday, September 29, 2015



My family has a grouse against me that I never took them out holidaying to various popular destinations.

“Everyone goes out on at least one vacation every year – but we go nowhere,” they complain.

This is particularly so after my retirement 5 years ago – because ever since I have retired – I have hardly gone out of Pune – and – in fact – I like to stay in my home most of the time  and I venture out to Pune City only when absolutely necessary.

Most of my ex-Navy buddies and their families have travelled all over the world on vacations after retirement.

But – we have gone nowhere.

So – my wife is quite justified in nursing this grievance against me that I have become a house-bound bore – an asocial recluse – after my retirement.

My children feel that I am unhappy and that I need a vacation.

What they do not realize is that I am most happy sitting at home doing my reading, writing and blogging – taking leisurely walks in the mornings and evenings – hearing old songs on the radio – and watching a bit of TV.

Yes  I am happy and content with my present staid unadventurous routine – and I do not want to go anywhere.

Throughout my life – till my retirement – I have had a nomadic existence – frequently relocating wherever my father was posted – then 6 years in boarding school where we had to keep changing dormitories – then 5 years in hostel studying engineering (even here we had to change our hostel every year) – then more than 33 years in the Navy where we were always on the move – till finally – I retired and settled down in my own house.

I was fed up of moving all my life  so I enjoyed the stability – and the feeling  that now  I can remain where I am – and – “I have to go nowhere”.

I am doing what I always wanted to do.

I am living the life that I always wanted to to live.

Please let me be.

I do not want to go anywhere.

Please leave me alone.

I want to go nowhere.

I do not need a vacation.

Every day at home is my “vacation”.

How can I explain this?

No one understands.

So – maybe – I will post this introspective article I had written around 3 years ago – with the hope that my family and friends will understand my point of view.

Are You Living the Life that You always Wanted to Live ?
Philosophical Musings of a Navy Veteran on the verge of Self-Actualization

Literature teaches you more about the art of living rather than sermons and moral lectures.

I learnt more from literature  than from high-falutin philosophy or spiritualism.

And of all genres of literature  it is short stories which gave me insightful tips on the art of living and vignettes on philosophy of life.

You must have heard of the term: Self-Actualization”.

I first came across the term Self-Actualization” in the 1970s when I read about Abraham MaslowHIERARCHY OF NEEDS while studying the management module during my engineering course.

We were told that the Hierarchy of Needs has 5 levels of Human Needs:

1. Physiological

2. Safety and Security
3. Love and Belonging

4. Esteem
5. Self-Actualization

I understood what the first four needs meant.

But for many years I wondered as to what was the meaning of the term self-actualization.

One day I read a fiction short story called THE NIGHT TRAIN AT DEOLI written by Ruskin Bond.

The Night Train at Deoli” by Ruskin Bond is my favourite Love Story.

It is a simple story of inchoate and unrequited love  which happens to all of us in our youth.

An eighteen year old boy meets a girl at a quaint railway station called Deoli  where the train halts for a few minutes.

It is love at first sight.

On the return journey after his vacation, the boy eagerly searches for the girl the moment the train reaches Deoli.

He is delighted to see her on the platform.

They look at each other.

They spend ethereal moments of unspoken love, they delicately hold hands.

Suddenly the guard blows his whistle and the train starts moving.

“I have to go to Delhi,” the boy says.

The girl replies, “I do not have to go anywhere.”

This is exactly what I felt one morning  during my walk in the lush green park on the banks of the Mula River  and I said to myself – I do not have to go anywhere.”  

I felt that I have achieved everything I wanted to achieve.

I have accomplished whatever I wanted to accomplish in life.

I have done whatever I wanted to do.

I am living the life that I always wanted to live.

Now  I am satisfied with life  I am happy where I am – I am content with what I have.

And so  I can say to myself: I do not have to go anywhere.

Now  I realize what self-actualization means.

Self Actualization is a state of mind when you can say to yourself:

I do not have to go anywhere

Yes – you have reached the stage of self-actualization when you can say to yourself: “I do not have to go anywhere”.

You have realized your full potential.

What you can be  you have become.

You are living the life that you always wanted to live.

You have reached where you wanted to reach – so now  you do not have to go anywhere.

Have you reached this stage of supreme satisfaction in life?

Are you are happy wherever you are?

Are you content with what you have?

Can you say to yourself:

“I have reached where I wanted to reach  and now  I do not have to go anywhere

If you can say this to yourself – “I want to go nowhere” – you have achieved Self-Actualization.

Self Actualization is  when you do not have to go anywhere – and – you do not want to go anywhere.

Self Actualization is a great feeling.

You can take my word for it.


I hope all the people  who want me to take vacations – who want me to take up assignments – who keep offering me lucrative jobs – who want me to be more social – all of them – understand my point of view – that – I am happy where I am – and  “I want to go nowhere”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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1. This is based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do due diligence before trying out this technique.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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