Sunday, July 31, 2016

Library Girl – A Romance

I love reading books.

During my student days – and later – during my Navy days – I had easy access to good libraries – and  I could easily satisfy my appetite for reading books. 

After retirement – since there are no libraries (or bookstores) near my home – I have to drive a long distance to my library to read there and pick up my dose of books – and – owing to the distance – and – the terrible traffic scene in Pune  I can do this once or twice a month. 

Last week – I met a lady who lives near the library. 

“You are so lucky – you live so very near the library – that – you can go there every day to read...” I said to her. 

“I have plenty of work to do – I have no time to waste reading books...” she said. 

“Surely you can find an hour or two to go to the library which is so near your house...” I said. 

The lady suddenly lost her cool – something seemed to have snapped inside her – and she shouted at me: “I am not idle like you – I am a busy housewife – I have no time to waste reading books – also – I hate reading books...” she said. 

So – that was the real reason she did not ever visit the library which was so near her home – she hated reading books. 

Of course – I observed that she had plenty of time to see movies – to spend the entire day shopping in malls – and – to attend various social functions and kitty parties – but – she had no time for reading books. 

All this reminded me of a story I had written sometime ago – of a girl who was exactly the opposite of the lady I have mentioned above.

Here is the story...

Story of a Girl Who Liked Books
A Romance

“Excuse me – are you returning that book…?” a feminine voice said in my left ear.

I was standing in front of the library counter.

I looked towards my left.

She was a good looking girl – of my age.

The girl was pointing to a book I had kept on the counter – an ‘Anthology of Short Stories’ – a newly arrived book in the Library.

“No. I am not returning the book. In fact – I am borrowing this book for reading…” I said.

“Oh – I thought you are returning that book – I have been desperately wanting to read it ever since I saw the cover on the “new arrivals” notice board…” she said.

“I too want to read this book. You can borrow it from the library when I return it…” I said.

If the girl thought that she could charm me into giving her the book – she was mistaken.

I will never “sacrifice” a good book – even for the most beautiful girl.

The librarian across the counter asked for my library card – stamped the return date on the book – and gave the book to me.

The ‘good looking girl’ was still standing beside me.

“May I see the book…? the girl asked.

I gave the book to the girl.

She looked at the cover – browsed through the book – and she gave it back to me.

“I really want to read this book. When will you be returning it…?” she asked me.

“Next Sunday. I will return the book next Sunday…” I said.

“You come to the library every Sunday…?”

“Yes. I come to library on Sundays…” I said.

“I come to the library every day. I study in the college down the road and live in the girl’s hostel next door…” she said.

“Well – I live in the Engineering College hostel…” I said.

“Oh – that’s quite far away…”

“Yes. That is why I can come on only Sundays…”

“Oh – I am lucky I live in the hostel nearby. I come to the library every evening after classes – and – nowadays – sometimes – I come on Sunday mornings too…”

“What are you doing – BA – B.Sc. – or…?”

“Of course I am doing my BA in Literature – I told you that I love reading…” she said.

“Well – I am not as lucky as you are – I too love literature – but – I am stuck with boring ‘Engineering’…” I said.

As I smiled a ‘goodbye’ to her and started walking towards the exit – she said to me: “Don’t forget to bring the book next Sunday. And – make sure you give it to me. I will be waiting here in the library from 10 o’clock onwards…”

When I went back to the hostel and started reading the book – I thought of the girl I had met in the library – and – in my mind’s eye – I nicknamed her ‘Library Girl’.

Next Sunday – I reached the library at 10:30 in the morning – and – I found the good looking ‘Library Girl’ waiting for me in eager anticipation – well – she was waiting eagerly for the book – not me…”

From then on – the ‘Library Girl’ and I met every Sunday – in the Library – mostly in the ‘Fiction’ section – especially searching for Short Story Books on the “Short Fiction” Book-Racks.

I discovered that – our reading interests were similar – like me – ‘Library Girl’ too loved reading ‘Short Stories’ – and – we often discussed the short stories we had read – and we recommended books to each other.

I looked forward to meeting ‘Library Girl’ every Sunday.

I enjoyed being with her – as we browsed the library bookshelves together – and talked about books and our favourite short stories.

Believe it or not – but – we did not take our relationship to the ‘next level’.

I was a “shy type”.

And – maybe – she was the “shy type” too.

Ours was a unique friendship – an exquisite ethereal relationship – a platonic love so delicate – that one wrong move might destroy everything.

So – we both probably wanted to keep it this way – and – our beautiful Sunday morning ‘bookish’ relationship went on for a long time.

Days passed – months – years – and – one Sunday – after our morning ‘Library Time’ – as I said ‘goodbye’ to ‘Library Girl’ – she said to me: “Wait – I want you to meet ‘someone’…”

“It’s already 1:15 – our mess closes at 2 – and it will take me at least half an hour to cycle down to my hostel…” I said.

“Please wait. I will treat you to lunch. I want you to meet someone…” she insisted.

So – I waited – I sat down next to her in the reading room browsing through a literary magazine.

I could see that ‘Library Girl’ was eagerly looking at the entrance – waiting for her ‘someone’ to arrive.

Suddenly – she nudged me.

I looked up – and – I could see that ‘Library Girl’ was smiling at her ‘someone’ who was standing at the entrance.

We walked to the foyer of the library.

‘Library Girl’ introduced her ‘someone’ to me.

“He is my fiancé…” she said to me.

Then – ‘Library Girl’ introduced me to her fiancé .

“He is my ‘Library Boyfriend’ – the one I told you all about…” she said to her fiancé.

Her fiancé treated us to lunch in a classy restaurant – after all – he was a rich businessman – a smart guy from New Delhi.

Notwithstanding her ‘engagement’ – my Sunday morning friendship with ‘Library Girl’ continued.

But – soon – her BA course was over – and – we met for the last time in the library.

“My course is over – I am winding up my things here and I will be going home tomorrow…” ‘Library Girl’ said.

For her – ‘home’ was Bangalore – where her Army Officer father was posted then.

“Why don’t you do your MA in Literature here in Pune..?” I said to ‘Library Girl’.

“No chance of further studies for me,” she said, “my wedding is fixed next month. They were just waiting for me to complete my BA. And frankly – I am not really interested in studies – I just want to read plenty of books.”

“You will be living in Delhi after marriage..?” I asked her.


“You are very lucky.”


“Delhi is the best place for book lovers.”


“Yes – there are so many excellent libraries – and wonderful bookstores where you can browse – and – every year – in winter – there is a magnificent Book Fair at Pragati Maidan...” I said to her.

“Wow – it’s going to be so exciting – I am really going to read books to my heart’s content,” she said, “I am already feeling like going to Delhi…”

“Yes. Delhi is a Book Lover’s Paradise. You are so lucky…” I said.

“And you…? What are your plans…?” she asked me.

“Well – I have got one year to go to finish my Engineering – then – maybe I will take up some job in the industry – let’s see…” I said.

Then – we said our last ‘goodbye’.

I did not ask for her address – and – neither did she ask my address.

Why ask for the address of a destination where it is not desirable for you to go…?

We knew that our platonic friendship was destined to be a transient relationship – like passing ships – and – we ourselves had intentionally kept it that way.

So – we said our last ‘goodbye’ – and – ‘Library Girl’ and I – we parted company.


Three years later – I saw ‘Library Girl’ in the Library.

She was browsing books in the ‘Fiction’ section.

‘Library Girl’ saw me too.

She smiled at me.

I smiled back at her – and – I walked towards her.

“What a pleasant surprise…” I said to her.

“Yes – I am so happy to see you too. So I can see that you have continued your ‘Sunday Morning Date’ with the Library…” she said.

“Yes – I still come here every Sunday morning…” I said.

“You work now…?”

“Yes – in a factory.”

“That’s great…” she said.

“And you – what brings you to Pune…? I asked her.

“My Dad retired from the Army last month – and my parents have settled down in Pune…” she said.

“Oh – so you have come on a holiday…?” I said.

“No – I have come to Pune permanently…” she said.


“Yes – I have come to Pune permanently.”

“What happened…? Don’t tell me that your husband has relocated to Pune…?” I said.

“No – he hasn’t relocated here – I have left my husband – I going to divorce him…” she said.

I was taken aback – and involuntarily – I uttered: “Oh…”  

For some time – I was confused as to what I should say to her.

Then – I said to her: “I am very sorry…”

“It’s okay…” she said.

We looked at each other in silence – I did not know what to say.

After some moments of silence – ‘Library Girl’ looked at me and she said: “Do you know the reason why I am divorcing my husband…?”




“My husband – and his folks – especially my ‘mother-in-law’ – they did not like my ‘reading habit’…”

“What do you mean…? How can anyone not like someone else reading…? It is such a harmless and quiet activity.”

“It was a joint family – lot of socializing – plenty of relatives and guests visiting all the time – and – my mother-in-law always wanted me hanging around – especially – if someone came over to visit – and people were always coming over to visit us throughout the day…”


“So – whenever I went to my room to read a book – my mother-in-law would keep disturbing me and calling me out – even when there were no visitors – she wanted me to sit with her and watch soaps on TV…”

“You could have read books at night…”

“Ha Ha – at night – well my husband certainly wasn’t interested in reading books with me in bed…”

“I am sorry – I didn’t mean…”

“The fact is that no one in that house was interested in reading. You told me about libraries – browsing in bookstores – visiting book fairs – that Delhi was a paradise for book lovers. But – whenever I tried to go – they would put some obstacle – some social commitment would always pop up – either someone was visiting us – or – we were visiting someone – or going for some ‘event’…”

“But – you could have mutually adjusted – talked to your husband. Why the extreme step of divorce…?

“I did not like them ridiculing my reading habit all the time – I told my husband – “you can criticize me – but don’t ridicule reading – and – don’t denigrate books and literature…” – but he did not listen – no one showed me any consideration – and they – my ‘in-laws’ and all their relatives – they kept mocking me for my interest in reading books – it was very humiliating…”


“One evening I had gone for a book launch to a famous bookstore – the book was an anthology of short fiction – and while an author was reading out her story from the book – my husband barged in – and – he literally dragged me out saying that his business partners had suddenly decided to come home for dinner and I was required to be present at home immediately to ‘host’ them…”


“Something snapped inside me – and – I decided – ‘enough is enough’ – and – I left my husband’s home the very next morning – and – I haven’t gone back since…”

“I am very sorry to hear all this…” I commiserated with her.

“Hey – I am okay – there – in my husband’s home – I was feeling ‘suffocated’ – now I am feeling much better after I escaped from that stifling atmosphere…” she said.

“That’s good – so we will see you in the library every Sunday…” I said to her.

“Of course – in fact – I have decided to do my MA in Literature at the college nearby – so I will be here in the library more often…” she said.

“Wow – that’s great…”

‘Library Girl’ looked at me – and – she said to me: “Hey – I kept talking about myself all the time. What about you…?”

“I told you I work in a factory – in the auto sector…”

“Are you still a bachelor – or have you got married…?”

“I got married – 6 months ago…” I said.

“Oh – Congrats – so where is your wife – haven’t you brought her to the library…?” she asked.

I looked at ‘Library Girl’ – and I said to her: “My wife hates books…” 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This story is 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This blog post is a revised repost of my story MY LIBRARY GIRLFRIEND posted online by me on April 28, 2016 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url:

Civil and Military Matrimony – Humor in and out of Uniform



How to Find a Suitable Husband
A Spoof




This happened more than 33 years ago  in the early 1980– when I was a “Babu in Uniform  pushing files in Delhi.

A smart pretty young woman  maybe 20 or 21  entered my office.

The young woman said that she had been asked to report to me.

“Me?” I asked, pleasantly surprised.

I looked at her appreciatively  since she was very beautiful.

She smiled coyly at the undisguised admiration in my eyes.

Then  demurely  she said, “Sir, you are the administrative officer…?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Sir  I am a new recruit LDC. I have got orders to join this office. I have come for the reporting interview.”

“Oh, please sit down,” I said.

The young woman sat down  and she handed a folder to me.

The folder had her appointment letter and various certificates – educational, sports, dramatics.

I saw that she was a very intelligent, well qualified and talented girl. 

She had done her schooling in a good New Delhi Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV)  and she had completed her graduation from a prestigious college in Delhi. 

She seemed overqualified and over-talented for this job of a LDC (Lower Division Clerk).

I looked at the young woman and I asked her: “You have done so well in your graduation – you have a first class with distinction – and you have so many talents  and you have excelled in so many extra-curricular activities. You should study further. Or you should try to become an officer somewhere. Why don’t you give the Civil Services exam or Banking Probationary Officers exam or apply for some Class 1 Officers post or try for a job in the Private Sector? Why do want to do this clerical job as an LDC?”

“To improve my marriage prospects,” she said, matter-of-factly.

When I heard this incredulous answer  I was flabbergasted.

I looked at her in silence  not knowing what to say.

The young woman looked at me demurely and said: “Sir, please don’t get angry – I am not joking. It is the truth. This is the real reason that I am taking up this clerical job – I am taking up this job of LDC to improve my marriage prospects.” 

“Can you please explain to me how doing this LDC job is going to help your marriage prospects?” I asked, curious.

“Yes, Sir. I will explain to you. Sir  I am the fourth daughter from a lower middle class family. My father works here in the government secretarial service. He joined as an LDC and now he is a Section Officer now. He is retiring next year. He wants to get me married before he retires. He wants to finish off all his responsibilities before he goes back to his village to settle down there,” she said.


“This is a non-transferable job, Sir  and I will remain in Delhi throughout my life. It will be easy for them to find a suitable boy in the same service – some LDC  or maybe an UDC. Both of us will be working in offices here in the secretariat only. We will never be transferred out of Delhi. And we will get quarters in Delhi where we can stay for our entire careers. It is all so convenient,” she said.

“Come on,” I said, “You will easily get an Officer husband.”

She blushed at the disguised compliment  and she said, “I know Sir. But we cannot afford the dowry for a high status match. It is best for us to remain within our class. Here  everyone wants a girl with a secure, easy and non-transferable 9 to 5 five-day-week government job  like this one. Besides  if I get someone from the same service  he will be elder than me and also senior to me  so he will get more pay than me – and there will be no ego problems.”

I looked at her. 

I had never seen so much candidness before.

I smiled at her and I said, “I really appreciate your talking to me so honestly. Welcome to the office. I am sure you will do well.”

Six months later she came to give me the good news.

Her marriage was fixed to a UDC working the neighbouring office.

In fact  it was a love marriage – love-cum-arranged – she had liked the boy  and she had told her parents  and they had fixed the match.

Soon she would be married and her father would retire peacefully  all his familial duties done.

Then she and her UDC husband would get a government quarter nearby where they would probably live for the next 40 years  till they both retired  hopefully as Section Officers.

They could look forward to a blissful married life  commuting up and down to office together  and have a stress-free unexciting secure working life  getting slow and steady time bound promotions  and enjoying all the benefits that come with a government job – especially a comfortable white-collar clerical government job in Delhi.

Years passed  I got transferred all over, did so many appointments  I met so many people  and this story went into a remote recess of my memory.

Then  more than 30 years later  after I had retired from the Navy  another interesting incident happened  and suddenly I remembered this story.

I will tell you all about that hilarious incident in Part 2 of this Blog Post.

Meanwhile – ponder over this story – especially if you are a woman – and tell me what you think of the moot question: Do Women take up a Job to improve their Marriage Prospects?




Around 6 years ago – I was invited to deliver a lecture at my erstwhile institution – an inter-service training institution – where I had spent a considerable part of my career as Faculty on instructional duties.

In the audience  comprising officers of the army, navy and air force  I noticed a familiar face.

She was wearing Army Olive Green (OG) Uniform.

She was the only Lady Officer in the lecture hall.

During the tea break, she came to greet me, and said, “Hello Sir – you have retired?

“Yes,” I said to her, “what a pleasant surprise to see you in uniform. I did not know you had joined the army.”

“Yes Sir,” she said.

“Tell me, the last time we met, you were doing your computer engineering, weren’t you?” I asked her.

“Yes Sir,” she said.

“I thought you would join some Software Firm, work in the IT Sector – or maybe go abroad for further studies. So I am really surprised to see you in uniform – and that too in OG Uniform. What are you doing here in the Army?”

“I am looking for a husband,” she said.

I almost choked  and the teacup nearly fell out of my hands.

Seeing the expression on my face, she said, “Sir  I will be frank with you. I have no illusions about how I look. There is too much competition in the Software Sector. In an IT firm  where there are so many attractive “Techie” girls  do you think that any decent boy will give me a second look?”

“Don’t say that. You look very pretty  and you are a smart young woman,” I said.

“Beauty is all relative, isn’t it? Out there in the IT Sector  almost 50% are girls  there are so many beauties – there is just too much competition. Here  in an Army unit  I am the only girl. Sir  just look there – see the way all those male officers are eyeing me?”

I looked.

She was right.

She was indeed the centre of attraction.

Most of the male Army Officers were looking at her with undisguised affection. 

Some drooled in anticipation.

I looked at her, smiled, and said, “You have a point.”

“You see – here  in the Army  I have no competition  and I can pick and choose,” she said impishly.

So you joined the army for better marriage prospects?” I asked.

“Yes, Sir – that is exactly why I joined the Army – to find a good husband. You are quite surprised  aren’t you?” she said.

“Yes  at first I was surprised. But now I can understand. Your logic seems perfectly rational to me,” I said.

For some time  we sipped tea silently.

“So  have you found anyone?” I asked, breaking the silence.

“Yes Sir – I have found quite a few prospective “fauji” grooms. Now I am shortlisting the candidates,” she said, with a naughty smile on her face.

“It’s a good career move too – both husband and wife in the Army,” I said.

“Sir  to be frank  I am not a career type of girl. In fact  I want to get married, have children, and settle down to a life of cozy domesticity.

What?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes, Sir. Once I get married, I will quit the army the moment my first short service commission tenure of 7 years is over – maybe even before that – if they allow me to leave,” she said. 

“You want to quit the army once you find a husband? So you joined the Army just to find a husband?” I asked in amazement.

Tell me, Sir  what can be better than being the wife of an Army Officer?” she said.

“You do have a point there. Being an Army Officer may be tough. But an Army Memsahib really enjoys a good life,” I said.

I always dreamt of being a fauji memsahib – and living a good life. I love the ambience of the cool tranquil cantonments  the clubs  the parties  the social life  so many perks  and, most importantly  the batmen and sahayaks to do all your work,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Ah – batmen and sahayaks – so that’s why you did not join the Navy.”

“Maybe,” she said tongue-in-cheek, “but there is one more reason.”


“The competition is much tougher in the Navy – there are so many women officers are in one place – and besides  you have to compete with the chic and savvy beauties in Mumbai. Sir – unlike male Army Officers – who do not have much choice – male Naval Officers have so much to choose from  and  frankly  I knew that with my looks  I just won’t stand a chance out there in the Navy – and here  in the Army  I am like a Beauty Queen...” she said, most candidly.

Then she looked mischievously at me  gestured with her eyes at all the young male Army Officers ogling hungrily at her  and she said, “Sir  look at all those desperate fauji officers. Almost every guy is looking at me  waiting for me to give them the slightest cue. Here  in the Army  it is me who can pick and choose  isn’t it? As they say  I can have the pick of the litter ... !!!  

I laughed. 

She laughed. 

We laughed together.

Everyone was looking at us. 

It was quite embarrassing.

Mercifully  the tea break was over  and we all went in for the remaining part of my lecture.



Later  while driving home  I thought about it.

There was a ring of truth in what the smart young Lady Army Officer had said.

Most Women Army Officers seem inclined to marry their male colleagues (so-called “brother officers” in service parlance).

There are so many “in-service” marriages – it happens quite a lot in the Army.

And I have seen such “incestuous relationships between “brother officers” and “sister officers” happening in the Navy and Air Force too  where erstwhile “sister officers” metamorphose into memsahibs

Yes  in the Army  today’s “sister officers” stand a good chance of becoming tomorrow’s memsahibs.

Maybe the Army can coin new recruitment slogans for attracting young women into the Army:

“ Join the Army for Better Marriage Prospects ” 

“ Join the Army and Find a Husband ” 

or maybe an even better slogan 


So – now you know “How to find a Husband” – especially a Fauji” Husband  as enunciated in Part 2 on “Military Matrimony

And – Part 1 of this Story is for those girls who want Civil Matrimony.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is an updated version of my story LOOKING FOR A HUSBAND first written by me more than 3 years ago in 2013 and earlier posted online by me on my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 08 July 2013 titled LOOKING FOR A HUSBAND Musings on Career Women and Marriage Prospects which featured the above Two Stories  THE SMART YOUNG WOMAN and THE SMART YOUNG LADY ARMY OFFICER at url: and