Tuesday, August 3, 2021

New Horizons – A Love Story

 Blog Fiction


NEW HORIZONS
A Love Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Here is one of my early pieces of amateurish writing  a love story I wrote long ago, in the 1990’s  abridged, edited and updated – for easy reading on the digital screen.

Do tell me what you think of this rather Mushy Romance”...


NEW HORIZONS – A Love Story by Vikram Karve


Part 1 – DEPARTURE

As he wished her Good Night, and said good bye, Arun Rao was already regretting that he had put the matter so lightly.

He was forty-three, on the threshold of middle age, and terribly weary of his lingering bachelorhood. 

Sadhana could be his last chance.  

As the boat pulled ashore, Sadhana looked at the imposing figure of Arun Rao standing on the deck of the huge ship recede into the darkness.

She waved a good-bye, feeling in her heart the very same sentiment, the same churning of emotions, which Arun was experiencing at that very moment.

For Sadhana, it had been a long time since she had been attracted towards a man. 

And she had sensed tender warmth in Arun’s behaviour towards her.

She had been very curious to see his ship – a massive oil tanker – and how he lived. 

Arun had even taken her to his cabin – a privileged excursion into an exclusively masculine word. 

It was impressive. 

Nothing can be as neatly arranged as a sailor’s cabin.

But Sadhana was depressed by its neatness and organization. 

This was the home of a self-sufficient man. 

He hardly needed a wife.

Her son, Sunil, was talking animatedly to a sailor who was pointing out the various lights on the ships at anchorage. 

Sunil had been full of excitement and had thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Arun’s ship. 

Sunil was ten years old and needed a father figure – a real man. 

Her son Sunil seemed to have liked Arun, and they had got along well, with Arun patiently answering Sunil’s numerous questions.

She wondered why Arun had treated them so lavishly and given them such expensive presents – especially that marvelous exclusive perfume he had insisted she try on there and then.

Sadhana was sure Arun had fallen in love with her.

She sensed that he wanted to marry her.

But why had he hesitated? 

Was it because of her son, Sunil? 


Part 2 – COMMISERATION    

On the ship, Captain Arun Rao lay down on his bunk and closed his eyes in self-commiseration. 

It was only too easy to remain a bachelor in the Merchant Navy and, after the early susceptible years, it became easier still. 

The insularity of ship-borne life suited a bachelor. 

But now, after meeting Sadhana and Sunil, Arun did feel keenly the lack of a family.

He knew he should have asked her, but he had remained tongue-tied – afraid of rejection – waiting for Sadhana to make the first move. 

But how could she? 

After all she was a woman. 

And there was Sunil, her son. 

Maybe Sadhana had doubts whether her son Sunil would accept Arun as a father?

Arun wished he had asked Sadhana directly and frankly. 

It was the fear of rebuff, and maybe his ego, that had come in the way. 

He had to move fast. 

He had to act now, before it was too late.

Tomorrow was his last day in harbour. 

And then he would sail away, far away from Sadhana’s life, for a long time, maybe forever. 

Arun took out his cell-phone and he dialed his sister’s number.

In fact it was in his sister’s house that he had met Sadhana for the first time, just two days ago.

As the boat approached the wharf, Sadhana turned around, and looked at ship’s lights dotting the sea, trying to locate and discern Arun’s ship. 

In the enveloping darkness, it was impossible to make out his ship.

She felt the same sensation one feels at the end of a happy dream, when one is jolted to reality. 

It was over.

Tomorrow Arun would sail away from her life, forever. 

And she would be back in her routine as a teacher and single mother.

She was so lost in her thoughts, that it was only when she felt Sunil tugging at her hand that she noticed that the ferry boat was already berthed alongside.

They disembarked on the jetty.

“I wish we could sail with Uncle Arun,” Sunil said. “He is so nice.”

“We can’t sail on his ship,” Sadhana said, “It is not allowed. And what about your school? Merchant Navy ships sail for days together, across the seas, round the world.”

“We can go during the summer holidays,” Sunil interjected, “Uncle said that families are allowed on board for short periods.”
         
“But we are not his family,” Sadhana said.

“Then why don’t you marry him?” Sunil blurted out.

The directness of her son’s question rendered Sadhana dumbstruck. 

She looked at her son incredulously. 

Even he had understood, and accepted.

Now, she would have to act fast  for her sake, for her son’s sake.

She had to talk to Arun quickly. 

Time was running out. 

Sadhana was tempted to ring him up there and then on his mobile.

But she restrained herself – this had to be done delicately.


Part 3 – RENDEZVOUS

Sadhana hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take her to the house of Priti, Arun’s sister, where Sadhana had first met Arun. 

She had met Arun at Priti’s son’s birthday party. 

Sadhana generally never attended any parties after she had been so cruelly widowed. 

But Priti’s son was a classmate of Sunil’s. 

And her ex-pupil too. 

And Priti’s husband Praveen had been a colleague of her late husband. 

They had insisted that she come for the birthday party. 

And she just could not refuse.

It was during the party, as Sadhana drifted towards the balcony for some fresh air, that had noticed Arun, standing in the balcony, all alone by himself, lost in his thoughts, in a corner. 

He wore a lonely and rather perplexed expression, as though he were at the party but not a member of it. 

His height and his beard, which was almost entirely gray, made him prominent. He looked a decisive, hot-tempered and dangerous man, with his broad square face, heavy-lidded eyes, and majestic beard. 

But he also looked vulnerable.

“That’s my elder brother,” Priti said following Sadhana’s gaze, “Come, I will introduce you to him.”

They were introduced. 

Probably Priti had told Arun about Sadhana for he didn’t ask the inevitable questions about her late husband. 

Nor did he express the superficial pity and lip sympathy – those empty platitudes she had become so used to.

Arun simply said, “At least you have got your son to keep you company. But I am all alone.”

“I am sorry,” Sadhana said, I didn’t know you were also…”

“No, No,” interrupted Arun, “I am just a bachelor. One of those who looks before he leaps – and never leaps.” 

He smiled, and said, “And now it is too late to get married. It looks like I will be a confirmed lifelong bachelor. I have learnt to live with myself and how to live a life without a wife.”

They talked.

Sadhana found that Arun was easy to talk to.

And soon she began experiencing a sense of release, and a rare feeling of elation.

In these moods there was so such to say, and the words simply came tumbling out.

She told him everything. 

About her husband, his sudden unexpected death, about Sunil, her son, and how she was struggling along the lonely road of life.

She noticed that Arun didn’t express the usual response of pity, sympathy, or patronizing attitude. 

He listened with his disarming smile, and from time to time egged her on. She unburdened herself. 

Arun also felt good. 

He realized that it was comforting to converse with someone who needed comforting.

They would have gone on and on, but her son Sunil interrupted them, “Mummy, aren’t you going to eat something?”

Young Sunil was fascinated when he knew that Arun was a Merchant Navy Captain – Master of a Ship. 

Arun had invited them on board to see the ship the next day.

Though, at first, Sadhana was reluctant, she could not refuse, seeing Sunil’s enthusiasm. 

Besides it was a Sunday.

She accepted Arun’s invitation. 

For her son’s sake. 

Maybe for her sake too?

“We’d love to come,” Sadhana said, “It would be nice to do something different on a Sunday for a change.”

She flattered Arun by looking steadily at him without letting her eyes stray. 

Sadhana wore a simple off-white sari with a brooch pinned on her right shoulder. 

Her forehead was too broad, her nose too long, for her to be called a beauty, but when he looked at her, Arun Rao experienced that delightful giddy feeling of achievement, that same lift of the spirit, as one feels when one conquers a high mountain peak, and first sees the breathtaking view of the expanse below him.


Part 4  NEW HORIZONS

As the taxi reached Priti’s house, Sadhana began having second thoughts.

There is a time to make thing happen.

And there is a time to let things happen.

Sadhana decided to let things happen, take their natural course, relying on her instinct.
         
Priti gave Sadhana a canny look when she opened the door. 

“Come in,” Priti said, “I am so happy for both of you.”

“What…?” Sadhana said confused.

“Arun just called …” Priti said teasingly.

Sadhana blushed, and said, “Priti, I want to meet him before he sails off. I don’t want to lose him.”

Don’t get impatient,” Priti said putting her arm around Sadhana affectionately, “Arun’s ship is sailing tomorrow evening. But he is on his way right now in the ship’s boat. He felt too shy to speak to you so he is getting a letter for me to deliver personally to you.”

“Letter? He’s proposing through a letter? What an old fashioned chap?” Praveen (Priti’s husband) exclaimed, appearing as if from nowhere. 

Then Praveen looked at them and said, “This old fogey Arun needs some shock treatment. Hurry up. Let’s surprise him at the jetty. I’ll take out the car.”

Arun got off the boat and walked up the steps of the jetty.

Suddenly, he unexpectedly saw Sadhana.

His heart thumped giddily with the glee of a man who anxiously yearns for his beloved and suddenly finds her a thousand times more beautiful than he imagined.

He could not control the rising force of the latent bottled up love within; neither could she. 

Oblivious of the surroundings, they ran towards each other and embraced tightly.

Warm and secure in his arms, Sadhana, once again, felt tender, cherished and loved. 

After an age when her heart had been frozen, she was going to begin her life anew.

Shadows lengthened, it started getting dark, Sadhana and Arun looked at the horizon and watched the glorious spectacle of sunset. 

They watched the fantastic metamorphosis at sunset, the orange sun being gobbled up the calm blue sea, crimson petals dancing in the sky, twilight enveloping – romance was in the air.

Arun and Sadhana held each other tightly, looked at the distant horizon, and thought of the happy life of togetherness that lay ahead.

VIKRAM KARVE
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.

Disclaimer:
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 Story was written by me in the 1990's and First Posted Online by me 

___________

Monday, August 2, 2021

Travel Memories – New Zealand – Lake Tekapo Sheep Dog Memorial

FOR DOG LOVERS

TEKAPO DOG MEMORIAL
Bronze Sheep Dog Statue Monument
Memories of New Zealand
By
VIKRAM KARVE

During our visit to New Zealand 6 years ago in 2015 – while travelling from Christchurch to Queenstown - I was pleasantly surprised to see a Bronze Statue of a Dog – a memorial for James Mackenzie’s legendary Sheepdog (Collie).

It was the first time that I had seen a monument dedicated to a dog.

The sheep dog statue stands proudly on the shores of the unique exquisite turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo – amidst breathtaking scenery of snow capped mountains of the Southern Alps.

Lake Tekapo is located in the heart of Mackenzie County in the Canterbury Region of South New Zealand – halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown.

After leaving Christchurch – you drive past the lush green Canterbury Plains – then cross the towns of Geraldine, Fairlie and Kimbell – and then you climb up – and traverse across the Burkes Pass into scenic basin in the heart of the mountainous South Island called ‘Mackenzie Country’.

Mackenzie Country has fascinating landscapes and two lakes Tekapo and Pukaki whose waters have a unique turquoise colour caused by glacial flour suspended in the water.

At the heart of Mackenzie Country is the beautiful Lake Tekapo with its marvelous turquoise waters surrounded by magnificent scenery and the awe-inspiring snowcapped peaks including the cloud-piercing Aoraki Mount Cook.  

(The Mackenzie Country was free of human beings until several hundred years ago with the arrival of the Maori in search of food. The Moa, a large flightless bird now extinct, and other birds were hunted and eels fished for in the area. The Maori called the area Takapo – meaning “To leave in haste at night”. The current name – Tekapo – is possibly a corruption of Takapo).

As I told you earlier – Lake Tekapo is nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. The lake lies at the foot of the Southern Alps, which rise to a height of 3 kilometres. New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook (Aoraki) is a short drive away and rises to 3,753m (12,313ft).

Lake Tekapo is truly stunning – a breathtaking sight with its turquoise waters and surrounded by spectacular scenery and a most wonderful view of the Southern Alps including the snow-covered mountains like Mount Cook. 

Here is a picture of Lake Tekapo with Mount Cook in the distance which I took on my smartphone on 26 December 2015.

Lake Tekapo

COLLIE SHEEP DOG STATUE

Standing proudly on a large rock on the shores of Lake Tekapo is a bronze statue of a Collie Sheep Dog.

In 1855 James Mackenzie – a Scottish Shepherd discovered this basin that now bears his name (Mackenzie Country).

As per local folklore – James Mackenzie was a “Sheep Stealer”.

The story goes on to say that “Sheep Thief” James Mackenzie had a loyal Collie Sheep Dog named “Friday” who used to protect his sheep and hustle the flocks of stolen sheep into his sheep farms.

By stealing sheep from the Canterbury Plains and driving them inland across mountain passes into this remote area with the help of his Collie Dog ‘Friday’– James Mackenzie had become a prosperous sheep farmer.

One day James Mackenzie’s deeds caught up with him.

James Mackenzie was arrested and sent to jail.

The authorities went up the Burkes Pass into the “Mackenzie Basin” to retrieve the stolen sheep and return them to their rightful owners.

However – James Mackenzie’s loyal Collie Sheepdog continued to protect his sheep.

Mackenzie’s highly intelligent dog ‘Friday’ continued to drive the sheep without his master’s control.

The Sheepdog ‘Friday’ could not be restrained – and the dog aggressively attacked anyone who tried to come near his sheep.

Finally – Mackenzie's Collie Sheep Dog ‘Friday’ was shot and put down by the authorities.

The loyal Dog resolutely performed his duty towards his Master till his last breath and gave up his life for his Master.

The capture of James Mackenzie, for being “in the company of a thousand stolen sheep” as he rustled them with his dog ‘Friday’, through a remote alpine pass into “a plain of immense extent” resulted in his deeds being immortalized and his name being given these highlands ever since – hence the area is called “Mackenzie Country”.

Many years later – the residents of Mackenzie Country decided to construct this monument in memory of James Mackenzie’s legendary Collie Sheepdog ‘Friday’ and all the hardy working Collie Dogs without the help of which the grazing of this mountainous country would have been impossible.

Like Mackenzie – in the 19th century – many Scottish shepherds came to work on the pastoral runs of the Eastern South Island – and the high country could not have been farmed successfully without the Border Collies they brought with them.

Thus - in addition to ‘Friday’ – this monument at Lake Tekapo honours all these ‘Canine Scots’ of Mackenzie Country.

This monument is dedicated to all good and faithful Collie sheepdogs who always gave their best irrespective of the weather or hardships, in burning heat and frozen snow.

It is a unique monument dedicated to a dog – I wonder if there is any such memorial dedicated to a dog elsewhere in the world.

The bronze dog statue was commissioned by Mackenzie Country residents in recognition of the indispensable role of the sheepdog in their livelihoods. The sculptor was Innes Elliott of Kaikoura, with a dog called Haig, belonging to a neighbour, being the model. Elliott reported the sculpting process took approximately 15 months. Clay for the model came from the insulator works in Temuka, with a plaster cast of it made and sent to London in 1966, where the statue was cast.

The statue was unveiled on the 7th of March 1968 by Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, Governor-General of New Zealand.

The inscription on the monument plaque reads:

“This monument was erected by the runholders of the Mackenzie County and those who also appreciate the value of the collie dog, without the help of which the grazing of the mountain country would be impossible.

Unveiled on March 7, 1968, by Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, BT, GCMG, KCVO, CBE, Governor General of New Zealand

‘Beannachdan Air Na Cu Caorach’ (which in Gaelic means “blessings on the sheep dogs”).”


Here are a few pictures of the ‘Tekapo Dog Memorial’ which I took on my smartphone during my visit to Lake Tekapo on the 26th of December 2015.

Collie Sheep Dog Statue


‘Friday’  - the sheepdog belonging to Mackenzie, the folk hero who was the first European to find the route into this mountainous Basin – and all sheepdogs are remembered with the phrase “Beannachdan Air na Cu Caorach” (which means “Blessings on the Sheep Dog”) on the monument plaque. 





Different Aspect Views of the Tekapo Sheep Dog Statue 









On the shores of the Turquoise Waters of Lake Tekapo 




Lake Tekapo is a scenic resort with picturesque surroundings and breathtaking views. The air is pure and the sky is clear. For those interested in astronomy, this place has the darkest night skies and observatory open to public. There is plenty to do in the beautiful tranquil environment and good facilities for accommodation and food. Lake Tekapo is conveniently connected  located midway between Christchurch and Queenstown  a 3 hour drive from either place  and is an ideal stopover for all types of tourists  a good honeymoon destination too. On our next visit  we will certainly spend a day or two in Lake Tekapo.

VIKRAM KARVE
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. 

My Source Blog Post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve URL: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/02/for-dog-lovers-tekapo-dog-memorial.html