Sunday, April 30, 2017

Inspiration from Literature – “Unrequited Love” and “Self Actualization”

My love life is a story of unrequited love.

I fell in love with many girls – but – sadly – not even one girl fell in love with me. 

Even today – my saga of unrequited love continues. 

Maybe – that is why – The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond is my favourite story.

So – let me tell you about my all time favourite short story – The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond

Inspiration from Literature

Part 1 – Unrequited Love

I love reading short stories. 

You can read a short story in one sitting and it immediately fills you with an exquisite sense of satisfaction.

I love writing short stories too.

I am sure you have read many of my short stories in my creative writing blogs and in my book of short stories COCKTAIL which has 27 short stories about relationships.

Dear Reader: Let me tell you about my all time favourite short story – The Night Train At Deoli  by Ruskin Bond.

The Night Train at Deoli is a beautiful story of inchoate and unrequited love. 

Each one of us has experienced this wonderfully painful emotion of unrequited love.

Dear Reader: I am sure you too have experienced the delightful heart-ache of longing, yearning – an alluring attraction for someone who is out of reach – a one way love – a love unreciprocated 
 a love unrequited.

 I am quite familiar with the delicate tenderness of unrequited love. 

In fact 
 my life story is a story of so many inchoate unrequited loves.

The Night Train at Deoli is narrated in first person by a college boy who travels by the night train from Delhi to Dehra Dun every year to spend his summer vacations at his grandmother’s place. 

On its journey up the hills of the terai, early in the morning, the train stops at Deoli, a lonely station in the wilderness.

The protagonist wonders:  

“...Why it stopped at Deoli. I don’t know. Nothing ever happened. Nobody got off the train and nobody got in…and then the bell would sound, the guard would blow his whistle, and presently Deoli would be left behind and forgotten...”

Isn’t the description brilliant 
 so breathtaking in its simplicity.

On one such journey the boy sees a girl at Deoli 
 selling baskets  and he is smitten by her… 

“I sat up awake for the rest of the journey. I could not rid my mind of the picture of the girl’s face and her dark, smouldering eyes...”

The boy looks out for her on his return journey 
– and he is thrilled when he sees her:

… “I felt an unexpected thrill when I saw her…I sprang off the foot-board and waved to her. When she saw me, she smiled. She was pleased that I remembered her. I was pleased that she remembered me. We were both pleased, and it was almost like a meeting of old friends”…

Superb writing, isn’t it...? Simply superb...

It is time for the train to leave 
 and for the lovers to part: 

… “I felt the impulse to put her on the train there and then … I caught her hand and held it … ‘I have to go to Delhi...’ I said … she nodded, ‘I do not have to go anywhere...’ … the guard blew his whistle…and how I hated the guard for doing that…”

Beautifully poignant, marvellously written, the story touches the very fragile chords of your heart.

I will not tell you the rest of this story, but I can assure you, that if you are a lover at heart, you will be touched with compassion for the protagonist and as the story elevates you to the romantic mood you will relate your very own tale of unrequited love.

I am sure you have read this story, but if you haven't it is a must read.

The Night Train At Deoli is probably Ruskin Bond's most anthologized story and you will find it in many collections including the one published by Penguin titled The Night Train At Deoli and Other Stories. 

Though The Night Train At Deoli is my all time favourite 
 I like many stories in this anthology  especially  The Woman on Platform 8, His Neighbour’s Wife and Death of a Familiar.

If you are a lover of romantic fiction you must read this story 
 it is sure get you in a blue mood  nostalgically yearning for your unrequited love.

Do read this story.

And  if you have read this lovely story  read it again.

Dear Reader – Please do read Part 2 below – and see how I got inspired by reading The Night Train At Deoli

Part 2 – 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 – 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.

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 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 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)

ALKA and ULKA – a romance

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon here in Pune.

Let me delve deep into my creative writing archives  and pull out a story that I wrote more than 13 years ago  in the year 2004 – after a trip to Hyderabad.

I hope this flirty love story will cheer you up on this hot Sunday afternoon.

Do comment and tell me if you liked this rather amateurish romance.

Have a great week ahead.

And Hey  Dear Reader – please remember that I wrote this story 13 years ago  in 2004  when online e-ticketing was not prevalent and you bought air tickets from a travel agency.

Short Fiction - A Flirty Romance

“Ulka. It’s Ulka – I will spell it out for you   L   K  A – that’s my name  not Alka...” screamed the furious lady.
“I’m sorry Ma’am. It’s just a small mistake...” the ticketing clerk, a young girl, said apologetically.
“Small mistake...? You spell my name wrongly – and you call it a small mistake...?” the beautiful lady fumed.
“I must have heard wrongly on the phone...”
“It’s carelessness. Anyway – you change the ticket...”
The ticketing clerk took the ticket from the lady.

Then – with her pen the ticketing clerk overwrote ‘U’ in place of the ‘A’ – changing Alka to Ulka.
“What nonsense is this...?” the lady flared up – she looked livid.
“How does it matter, Ma’am...? It’s just a minor change of spelling. Besides – your surname is spelt correctly.”
“Minor change...? You need an attitudinal change...!”
“Excuse me, Ma’am...!”
“What do you mean excuse me...? You just cancel this ticket and issue a new one with my correct name.”
“You will have to pay cancellation charges if you cancel the ticket...”
“Cancellation charges...? What nonsense...! Why should I pay...? It’s your mistake. You think I am a fool...?” the lady shouted  beginning to lose control of herself..
Till this moment  I was just watching from the sidelines.

But now  it was time for me to intervene.
“What’s the matter...?” I asked the ticketing girl.
“She is creating a big fuss over a minor issue...” the ticketing girl said to me.
“Big fuss...! You change my name and it’s a minor issue...? Suppose the plane crashes – what happens to the insurance...? You are incompetent. I will have you fired from your job...! Who is the top man here...?” the lady said, trembling with fury.
“Excuse me, Madam...” I said, “May I help you...?”
“I want to see the top man here...” the lady shouted  her enormous brown velvety eyes flaming  her flawlessly smooth cheeks flushed  her slender upturned nose luminous, almost translucent – her deliciously juicy lips quivering – in her anger – she looked devastatingly beautiful .
“I am the top man here...” I said to her.

Then  I turned to the ticketing clerk  and  I said firmly: 

“Issue a fresh ticket with the proper name. Don’t make any mistakes...!”
“But, Sir...?”
“Just do what I say. Do you understand...!!!” I snapped at the hapless ticketing girl.

Then  I turned to the angry lady  and I said politely to her: 

“Ma’am  please come to my cabin.”
After a glass of water  a freshen up – and a cup of coffee  composed and appearing a bit contrite  with the fresh ticket with her correct name on the table in front of her  the beautiful lady said to me: 

“I am sorry for creating a scene  but I get very upset when I am called Alka instead of Ulka. My name is Ulka – and – I do not like to be called Alka....
“I can understand...” I said. “One’s name is important – and people do get touchy if there is a mistake. But then  Alka and Ulka  both names suit you.”
“What do you mean...?” she asked, confused.
“‘Alka’ means a girl with curly hair. Just like you...!”
She blushed  and she asked me: “And ‘Ulka’...? What does ‘Ulka’ mean...?
“Well  Ulka’ means a meteor  a star falling on the earth from the heavens, fire, a torch – or a firebrand...”
“Are you telling me that I am a hothead firebrand – or – do I look like a meteor...?” she smiled mischievously. 

The ice had broken. 

Her anger melted.
“Alka and Ulka. They sound so similar that one can easily confuse Ulka with Alka which is a more common name...” I said.
“I know. But – because of this Alka-Ulka slip-up – I have paid a heavy price for it...” she said.

And then – Ulka began to tell me her story. 

I am easy to talk to  and her words came tumbling out.
“Around 10 years ago  when I was in my final year at college  a boy saw me in our college canteen – and he fell head over heels in love with me...” she said.
“Wow...!” I said.
“He was so desperate  that after we had left  he asked a waiter my name  and the stupid waiter made the same mistake – instead of telling the boy that my name was ‘Ulka’ – the waiter told the boy that my name was Alka...”
“But the boy was in your college, isn’t it...?”
“No. No. I never noticed him. Must be one of those rich types just hanging out in our college – to ogle at girls. He had fallen so madly in love with me – that he tried to find out my address from our college office.”
“Then what happened...?”

“I told you – instead to telling the boy my correct name ‘Ulka’ – the waiter told the Boy that my name was ‘Alka’...

“Oh...!” I said, waiting for Ulka to continue her story.
Ulka looked at me and said: “So the Boy went to the college office and he asked for ‘Alka’ – and unfortunately there was an ‘Alka’ in my class  so they gave him Alka’s address...

“A goof up...?”

“Now listen to this...” Ulka said, “the Boy takes the address  and then the guy goes to his parents – he gives them the address  and he tells his parents them to meet Alka’s parents and ask for her hand in marriage.”
“And then...?”
“They saw each other  the Boy and Alka. The Boy realized his goof-up – and he told Alka – he described me accurately to her  and told Alka that he had fallen for me – not her. But – Alka is smart  very smart. She wasn't going to let go of such a prize catch. I don’t know what she did. Maybe she told him there was no one like me in her college  or maybe she lied to him that I was from some other college  or some such yarn  but she must have sure worked on him with all her wily charms  and finally – they did get married. And now  Alka is having a ball of a time loaded in dough  the wife of a wealthy businessman  while I slog it out all alone like a slave  day in and day out...”
“You never met the boy after that...?”
“No. I never met him in my life. I don’t even know how he looks...

“How is that possible...? 

I told you that I did not notice that the boy was looking at me in the college canteen. He was looking at me – but I did not know that he was looking at me – there was so much rush in the canteen and I was sitting with my group of girls  so I didn’t even seen the boy looking at me...


“In fact – till yesterday  I did not even know all this story that I told you just now...” Ulka said.
“You did know all this till yesterday...? Then how did you come to know...?” I asked.
“Alka told me...” she said.
“Alka...? Here. In Hyderabad...?”
“I ran into her at Abids last evening. At the jewellery shop. I was just looking at a string of pearls. Too expensive for me. But Alka bought a lovely pearl necklace and an exquisite diamond studded watch.”
“A diamond studded watch...?”
“Yes – just imagine – I couldn’t even afford one pearl necklace – but Alka bought a pearl necklace and an expensive diamond studded men’s watch too. Alka’s husband must be rich  she must be loaded with money...”
“And then...?”

“I noticed that she was staring at me – so I smiled back. Then  Alka came towards me and introduced herself  I am Alka’...  she said to me. Then  she told me that she had recognised me – and she asked me: “Your name is Ulka’  isn’t it?...

“Really...? She directly asked you whether you were Ulka...? And then what happened...?”
“Yes. Then Alka took me out to dinner in a restaurant. Do you remember that I told you that the Boy had told her everything about the name goof-up  well the Boy had accurately described me to her. Alka teased me that her husband still remembers me...”
“Alka didn’t invite you home...? To meet her husband...?” I asked
“I asked her to take me to her home. I told her that I wanted to meet her husband – the Boy who had fallen for me in our college canteen – but who I had never seen. But – she made up some excuses. Maybe – Alka is scared of letting her husband meeting me. After all  a man’s first love always has an enduring place in his heart...”
“That’s really sad...!” 
“Yes. Just one small ‘Alka-Ulka goof-up – and look at the consequences. She is glowing in matrimony in the lap of luxury  and me  in the abyss  all alone...”
“All alone...? You did not marry...?”
“Well  I just don’t seem to like any boy – maybe  I still haven’t got over that Boy, I guess...!” Ulka said.

I paused for a moment.

Then  I looked into Ulka’s eyes  and I said: 

“Well  let me tell you – that what you are imagining – may not be that true...”
“What do you mean...?” Ulka asked, looking a bit confused.
“Alka’s husband  the Boy who fell head over heels in love with you – he is not a hot-shot businessman. Alka’s husband is just the owner of a modest travel agency...” I said.
“You know him...?” Ulka asked me.
“Of course I know him. That Boy is me. I am Alka’s husband...” I said.
She froze. 

Then – she melted. 

And then – she broke into a smile. 

We – Ulka and Me – we looked wistfully into each other’s eyes in silence for a long long time.
After Ulka left my office  there were just two thoughts perambulating in my mind.
Firstly  I wondered what life would have been like if had I married Ulka.
Secondly  I wondered why my wife Alka was hiding things from me.

Whereas – my darling wife Alka had gleefully shown me the lovely pearl necklace the moment I reached home last night  I wondered why she had not told me about the exquisite diamond studded men’s watch she had bought along with the pearl necklace at Abids last evening...!!!

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.