Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Fastidiousness

FASTIDIOUSNESS

Fiction Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

______

Long ago – before I got married – I read a story called “Don’t Delve Too Deeply” by Alberto Moravia.

The story is about a man whose wife has suddenly left him after two years of married life.

The man does not understand why his wife has left him and gone away without any warning.

He analyses their life together – and comes to the conclusion that he was a “perfect husband” – he was a most caring husband who looked after his wife well – so – he just can’t fathom the reason why his wife has left him.

The man keeps introspecting and analysing – trying to discover the reason why his wife has left him – and – as we read the story – it starts becoming evident that the reason his wife has left him is because of his fastidiousness.

The wife probably couldn’t tolerate her husband’s perfectionist nit-picking nature.

So – she left her husband.

They say that there is a thin line between truth and fiction.

After I got married – I realised that in our marriage – it was a similar story.

I am meticulous – my wife is careless (and forgetful).

Yes – Dear Reader – I am extremely fastidious – I believe in orderliness – everything must be kept in its proper place – so that it can be found easily.

Maybe I developed this habit of orderliness in boarding school where we were taught to keep things neat and tidy and in their proper place and punished if we didn’t do so.

Later – the Navy too – we were trained to “secure” things properly and keep everything “shipshape” – organised and spick-and-span.

In Navy lexicon – it is called “Batten Down” and “Secure” – close all hatches and stow all gear securely and properly.

Doors and Hatches were closed tightly – all items were put in the proper and correct manner in their assigned place – secured properly – and stowed in accordance with the stowage instructions.

My wife leaves her things all over place in a most careless fashion – and she can never find them.

If that is not bad enough – she does not “batten down” – but she keeps cupboard doors open, drawers and racks hanging out – windows open – sometimes – in a most dangerous manner (I have banged my head a number of times – and hurt other parts of the body too).

On the other hand – I am very particular about “securing” everything properly and safely.

I have a designated place for each and every thing and make sure I keep things in their proper places.

When I come from outside – I meticulously perform the ritual of Keeping my Wallet, Identity Card and Keys in their designated places in the earmarked drawer – then – take of my shoes and stow them properly – then hang my clothes neatly in the cupboard – or put them for wash in the clothes bin.

On the other hand – you will my wife’s shoes, chappals, clothes, purse etc thrown all over the place – scattered everywhere in a most unkempt manner.

She can never find her Hair Pins/Clip (which I call “Crabs”), combs, nail-cutters, scissors, nail polish, creams, cosmetics etc – which are strewn all over in the most unlikely places.

She always misplaces things – she can never find her things – especially when there is urgency.

I wake up in the morning – get the milk packet hanging outside our door – wash it – and open the kitchen drawer below the gas stove – to get the scissors to cut the milk packet – and – I find that the Scissors are missing from their specified place.

Since we are talking about kitchen drawers – once – she misplaced her spectacles – we searched all over the house but couldn’t find them.

Next morning – when she opened a kitchen drawer – to take out a vessel – she found her spectacles kept there.

I never tell her to keep things properly – because – whenever she keeps things “properly” – she forgets where she kept the item – and we have to launch an all-out search.

In a nutshell – my wife is careless, disorganised and disorderly.

And – I am the opposite – I am just like the fastidious husband in “Don’t Delve Too Deeply”.

But there is a difference between the story “Don’t Delve Too Deeply” and our story.

My wife has not yet left me and gone away.

In the story – the wife leaves her husband after 2 years of marriage – but – my darling wife continues to tolerate my fastidiousness and “Symmetry OCD” for 39 Years 3 Months and 21 Days.

Yes – Dear Reader – that’s what they call the “disease” I suffer from – “Symmetry OCD” – you are very particular about everything being “shipshape” – and you get angry and irritated if things are not put in their proper place – or if things are not arranged or “secured” in the appropriate way and correct manner.

By the way – I knew a couple who were the exact opposite of us – the husband was careless, disorganised and disorderly – and the wife was a fastidious perfectionist.

What about you – Dear Reader – and your Spouse – do you also have a “fastidiousness mismatch”…?

If so – who is the careless, disorganised, disorderly one of you two – and – who is the finicky “Symmetry OCD” type…? 

_________ 

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:
1. This story is a fictional 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. 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.
 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Break Journey – Story

BREAK JOURNEY

Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

 

______

Disclaimers:

1. This story happened 45 years ago in the 1970’s much before the advent of internet, emails and mobile phones – and at that point of time – writing letters and sending them by post was the normal mode of communication which happened at “snail’s pace” unlike the Instant Messaging, WhatsApp, Zoom Calls etc. in vogue today.

2. In the story – I have used names of cities prevalent at that time – in the 1970’s – Mumbai was called Bombay – Chennai was called Madras – Kochi was called Cochin – but – Pune was called Pune – the name of Pune had been changed from Poona to Pune – a few years earlier – in the 1960’s.

______

It was a “spur of the moment” decision – to “break-journey” at Pune.

The time was around 11 PM – late at night – as the Madras Bombay Mail approached Pune Railway Station.

And suddenly – I felt a desperate yearning to meet Nisha.

So – I went to the Train Conductor (TC) and told him that I wanted to “break-journey” at Pune.

The TC came with me down the corridor to the First-Class coupe compartment which I was occupying alone and asked me for my ticket.

I handed him my Military Railway Warrant and Check Soldier Ticket (CST).

“Cochin Harbour Terminus to Bombay VT via Madras Central…” the TC said to himself – as if calculating something – and then – he said to me: “Sir – you have travelled more than 1500 kilometers – you can break journey for 48 hours – 2 days…”

“I want to stay one day in Pune – that’s all…” I said to him.

“No problem, Sir – you can stay longer if you want to…” he said.

The TC endorsed “Break Journey at Pune” – wrote the date – and time (2300 Hrs) – on the reverse of the Railway Warrant.

I quickly rolled up and secured my “hold-all” which was spread on the berth – then – I pulled out my steel trunk from under my seat – and – I picked my handbag from the overhead luggage rack.

Soon – the train stopped on the platform – and – the TC sent a porter to my compartment.

I deposited my steel trunk and “hold-all” in the left-luggage cloak room – and with handbag around my shoulder – I walked out of Pune Railway Station – hailed an auto-rickshaw – and told the driver Nisha’s home address.

Though I was visiting Nisha’s home in Pune for the first time – I knew Nisha’s home address by heart – I still had in my wallet the chit she had given me in Cochin – and – I had written so many letters to her in the last three months.

Nisha’s 2 BHK flat was in a residential society not far from the railway station.

I rang the doorbell of Nisha’s flat – and – I waited for the door to open.

The door remained closed.

Maybe – Nisha was asleep.

I wondered how Nisha would look – disheveled – woken up from her bed at midnight.

But – I knew she would look good – because she was a natural beauty.

And – of course – if you are desperately in love with a woman – she always looks beautiful to you.

I rang the doorbell again.

The door opened.

It was a man who opened the door.

I felt puzzled.

I had expected to see Nisha – and instead – a strange man was standing in front of me.

“I wanted to meet Nisha…” I said to the man, “does she live here…?”

“Yes – she lives here…” the man said, “I will call her. You wait here…”

I noted that the man had not asked me to come inside – he had asked me to wait outside.

He went inside.

A few minutes later – Nisha emerged – along with the man – who stood next to her.

When Nisha saw me – she looked at me as if she had seen a ghost.

“What are you doing here…?” Nisha said, “you had written that you would be joining your ship in Bombay…”

“I have to join ship on Monday morning – so – I decided to “break journey” at Pune and spend the weekend with you…” I said to Nisha.

“Oh…” Nisha said to me – still looking a bit befuddled.

Then – she looked at the man standing next to her – and she said to him: “You go inside…”

The man went inside – to another room.

“Won’t you ask me to come in…?” I said to Nisha.

“Yes. Yes. Please come in…” she said.

“You don’t seem to be happy to see me…” I said to her.

“It’s almost midnight – I was in deep sleep – and suddenly – you land up here out of the blue – unannounced – so – obviously – I am feeling a bit confused…” she said.

I went inside – I kept my handbag on the table near the door – and – I walked towards the sofa in the living room.

In front of the sofa – there was a table – on which there was a half-finished bottle of whisky – an ash-tray full of cigarette stubs – two empty glasses – and a jug of water, ice-bucket and a bottle of cola. There was also an empty carton of a famous brand of pizza.

“Having a party…?” I asked Nisha.

“No – we just ordered a pizza…” Nisha said, “why don’t you sit down…? Should I get you something – a glass of water…?”

“No…” I said, sitting down.

Nisha sat down on the sofa opposite me.

“I didn’t know you smoke and drink…” I said to Nisha.

“Not me – it was him…” Nisha said.

“Who is that man…?” I asked Nisha.

“He is my husband…” Nisha said.

“What…? He is your husband…?” I said, taken aback – then – I looked at Nisha and said, “You told me that you were divorced…”

“I meant ex-husband…” Nisha said, “Yes – I am divorced…”

“Are you properly divorced – or are you just separated…?” I asked her.

“We got divorced one year ago…” Nisha said, looking anxious, “Do you want to see the papers…?”

“No…” I said, “but – I want to know what he is doing here…?”

“He came to visit our daughter…” Nisha said.

“He divorced you – what is the need for him to come here to your house…?” I said angrily.

“He has got visitation rights – I have got custody of our daughter – but he can visit her on weekends…” Nisha said.

“But – why does your ex-husband want to keep seeing your daughter even after divorcing you…?” I asked her.

“He is her father – he loves our daughter – he has got every right to meet her…” Nisha said.

“He can meet her outside…” I said, indignantly.

“Where outside…?” Nisha said, “He lives in Delhi – he flies down to Pune once or twice a month to see our daughter – this time he has come after nearly a month…”

“If he loves your daughter so much – why doesn’t he take your daughter to live with him in Delhi…?” I said, agitatedly.

“What are you saying…?” Nisha said, looking distraught, “My daughter is just 3 years old – that’s why I have got custody…”

“But – he will keep visiting you to see your daughter forever…?” I said, brusquely.

“He is her father – he has got visitation rights…” she said.

“Stop saying the same thing again and again…” I said curtly, “forget about the legal aspects – you just tell him not to come – you firmly tell him that there is no need for him to visit your daughter now that you have divorced him – tell him to move on in life – maybe he will listen to you if you tell him firmly…”

“Please be reasonable…” Nisha said, “a small child needs the affection of both parents – my daughter loves her father – and he loves her too…”

“I am very uncomfortable seeing him in your house…” I said to Nisha.

“Actually – it is his house – he owns this flat – after our divorce – he moved to Delhi – and – he let us stay here…” Nisha said.

“But – why the drinking – smoking – and sleeping inside…?” I said, snappily.

“He is sleeping in a separate room – my daughter and I are in the main bedroom – and he is in the guest bedroom…” Nisha said.

“So – there is no place for me…” I said, tersely.

“We will manage – first – I will make you some coffee – or – would you like to have a drink…?” Nisha said, looking at the bottle of whisky.

“I am going…” I said, “I made a mistake – breaking my journey in Pune to see you – I should have gone straight to Bombay as planned…”

I got up from the sofa.

“Please stay…” Nisha said, looking distraught, “if you want – I will ask him to go – he can go and stay in a hotel or something…”

“How can you ask your ex-husband to go…? He owns this house – doesn’t he…?” I said, sarcastically.

I walked to the door and picked up my bag.

Nisha came to me and held my hand.

“Please don’t go – please – please – please – please – please – I beg you – please don’t go…” she beseeched me.

I could see tears well up in her eyes.

I shrugged off her hand – and – I turned around.

Then – I opened the door – I walked out – and – shut the door.

I walked towards the railway station – the long walk helped me calm down and compose my thoughts.

I decided to close this “Nisha” chapter of my life – and move on.

________

 

EPILOGUE

A few months later when my ship berthed in Cochin – I had a visitor – Nisha’s brother – my course-mate.

“What happened…? Nisha wrote so many letters to you – but you didn’t reply. You didn’t reply to my letters too…” he said, “we thought you would marry Nisha – you knew all about her – you said you were ready to accept her daughter…”

“Yes – I am ready to accept her daughter – but – I am not ready to accept her husband...” I said to Nisha’s brother.

“Didn’t you read Nisha’s letters…? She has told her ex-husband that she wants him totally out of her life once she gets married to you – she has told him that he cannot visit his daughter – and – he has agreed…” Nisha’s brother said.

“That’s a cruel thing to do…” I said, “A child has the right to affection of both parents – she needs the love and care of both her mother and her father…”

_________ 

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:
1. This story is a fictional 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. 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.
 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Ginger Lemon – Refreshing Drink

MUMBAI MEMORIES – GINGER LEMON 

Refreshing Ginger Lemon Drink  – My Favourite Pick-Me-Up “Sundowner”
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

I love to exercise in the evenings – it makes you feel good and ensures sound sleep. 

In my heyday I used to play games or swim till I was physically exhausted and then I would soothe my tiredness by having a relaxing warm water bath. 

After that  as the sun set and twilight engulfed the sky  I would sit with a glass of Rum Pani (or occasionally Whisky-Soda)  sipping slowly  allowing the alcohol to gently permeate through my inner self  till I was soaked in that wonderful feeling of drowsy relaxation  which I cannot describe in words.

I have realized that if you want to really enjoy your food  you should build up an appetite for it. 

It is the same for drinking – to get the best out of alcohol  you have to build up an “appetite” for it. 

It has been my personal experience that I have truly enjoyed drinking the most  whenever I had created the proper inner ambience for the enjoyment of alcohol.

But – those were my halcyon days. 

Now  a retired “senior citizen” well past 60  every evening  I go for a long walk – and  after that I have the same relaxing warm water bath. 

Then  I sit in my tall open balcony  watching the sun set in the western horizon to my right  the orange ball of fire being swallowed and doused by the tranquil waters of the river Mula. 

Soon  after the riot of colours in the sky is over  twilight engulfs the surroundings  and there is the awesome spectacle of twinkling lights on the Bangalore Mumbai highway in the distance and in the tall buildings in Pune across the river even farther away.

But  in my hand  there is no longer a glass of Rum Pani or Whisky Soda. 

Nowadays  I gently sip from a glass of my favourite sundowner – chilled Ginger Lemon Soda.

It was on a typical hot sultry Mumbai afternoon in Dadar  many years ago  that I had my first taste of Ginger Lemon Drink – and – it was Tina’s Ginger Lemon

The first sip was so refreshing and fortifying  that I got hooked to this superbly tasty invigorating drink ever since. 

This delicious thirst quencher Ginger Lemon Cool Drink was available all over Mumbai  and  in my neighbourhood restaurant – Vihar Cafe  near Churchgate  they blended Ginger-Lemon in a mixer  so that it looked like an emulsion. 

I used to pick up bottles of Tina's Ginger-Lemon (my favourite brand)  and make a glass of Ginger Lemon with Soda at home  whenever I felt like having a stimulating pick-me-up.

Soon  I quit drinking alcohol  and  I realized that a cold glass of Ginger Lemon Soda was the ideal substitute – the refreshing and stimulating drink I enjoyed most. 

I love its sweet and sour tangy taste and instant feel-good restorative effect.

In Pune – I could not find my favourite Tina’s Ginger Lemon – so I make do with Mapro Lemon Ginger Squash – but then – I prefer Tina’s Ginger Lemon. 

Sadly – despite my best efforts – I could not find Tina’s Ginger Lemon in Pune. 

So – I decided to improvise and try to make Ginger-Lemon at home.


RECIPE for Home Made Ginger Lemon Squash

It is easy to make Ginger Lemon Squash at home too. 

Put one cup of sugar  two cups of water – and  a spoon of freshly crushed ginger paste (with all its fibres) in a vessel on slow fire – and keep stirring till it becomes syrupy. 

Then add half a cup of fresh lemon juice  stir a bit  and your Ginger Lemon Squash is ready. 

If you want fibres (to give you that extra “kick”) – don’t strain the squash – otherwise you can strain it if you want the squash clear.

Transfer to a bottle and keep in your fridge – you must keep it in a cool place  and finish it quite fast  since there are no preservatives.

A refreshing glass of Ginger Lemon Soda is not only much tastier  but also much healthier than your customary evening glass of Whisky Soda or Rum Pani  and it is an excellent appetizer too. 

Both Ginger and Lemon have many beneficial health properties – and  a glass of Ginger Lemon Soda a day will surely keep the doctor away.

That calls for a “drink”...!!!

Cheers...!!!

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. 

This is a revised repost of my food blog posted online by me earlier a number of times including at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/03/sundowner-ginger-lemon-day-will-keep.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/02/refreshing-ginger-lemon-drink-my.html etc 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Humor in Uniform – “Collateral Damage” – Parts 1 and 2

 HUMOR IN UNIFORM

“COLLATERAL DAMAGE”

Fiction Short Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

_______

Part 1

PEACETIME “WARS” and “BATTLES”

_______

A warrior needs an enemy.

During war – the enemy is clearly specified – the adversary against whom the war is being fought is the enemy – and – all military personnel know who the enemy is.

The ambiguity arises in peacetime – when – officially – there is designated as the “enemy”.

But – as I said – a “warrior” always needs an “enemy”.

So – in peacetime – military personnel use their imagination to find their own “enemy” – some imagine that politicians are the “enemy” – some feel that bureaucrats are the “enemy” – and some find their “enemy” within the service (or services).

Hence – if you have served in the Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) – you must have witnessed various peacetime “wars” (at the macro level) and “battles” (at the micro level).

During my long military service in the navy – I have observed these “conflicts” – within the Navy – in inter-service institutions – and – at higher levels too – Personality Clashes – Ego Battles – Turf Wars – Power Struggles – various types of rivalry – resulting in all sorts of internal friction and internecine “warfare” that sometimes can be most debilitating for day to day functioning of an organization as it generates internal stress which affects discipline and saps morale.

This tendency to engage in “peacetime wars” sometimes continues even after retirement.

Don’t we see Veterans “fighting it out” on Social Media…?

As it happens in all wars – innocent victims suffer “collateral damage”.

I have written about the WAR OF THE MESSES of 1981/82 which was “fought” between Generals and Admirals – but – it was the junior officers who suffered “collateral damage”.

_____

Part 2

SUCCESSION WAR

_____

If you were in the Navy in the end 1980’s and early 1990’s – you would surely have seen the “succession war” – between the “East” and the “West” – which was ultimately won by the “East”.

During those days – the “East” had declared “West” as the “Enemy” – and – vice versa – and – though there was an operation going on in the South – the major “conflict’ in the Navy was the internal “War” between the “East” versus the “West”.

Though this “succession war” was being “fought” between two Admirals – the antagonistic feelings percolated to lower levels – especially among “more loyal the king” type sycophants – resulting in antagonism and “ill will” among fellow officers who were on opposite sides – some of them were probably course-mates.

Though this East versus West “War” was a “Succession War” – it was reminiscent of the “Turf War” between fellow American Generals Peckem and Dreedle described in the classic war novel Catch-22 

If you have read Catch-22 – you may remember this hilarious episode (p 316):

A Colonel (Scheisskopf) reports to General Peckem’s HQ as a Staff Officer.

General Peckem briefs him in front of a large map of the combat zone – showing him various enemy positions. Then – General Peckem comes to the point (let me quote from the book – suitably paraphrased):

“…Our immediate goal is right here…” General Peckem said to Colonel Scheisskopf – and General Peckem swung his pointer south to the island of Pianosa and tapped it significantly upon a large word that had been lettered on there with black grease pencil. The word was DREEDLE.

(At that point of time – Colonel Scheisskopf does not know that Dreedle is a fellow American General fighting on the same side. Colonel Scheisskopf probably thinks DREEDLE is the name of a place in enemy territory…)

Colonel Scheisskopf said:

“I think I understand – our first job is to capture DREEDLE away from the enemy…”

General Peckem laughed benignly and said to Colonel Scheisskopf:

“No, Scheisskopf – Dreedle is on our side – and Dreedle is the enemy. General Dreedle commands four bomb groups that we simple must “capture” – to expand our jurisdiction (in order to win the “Turf War”)

______ 

Story to be continued in Part 3...

______ 

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:
1. This story is a fictional 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. 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.
 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Why Marriages Fail

WHY MARRIAGES FAIL

Story

By

VIKRAM KARVE

______

Mumbai (then known as Bombay) – circa 1978

______

Part 1

LOVE MARRIAGE

_____

When my course-mate Ashok got divorced within one year of his marriage – instead of sympathizing with him – I chastised him.

“I told you not to get married to that “fleet auxiliary” – but you wouldn’t listen to me…” I said to Ashok.

“I know – I should have listened to you…” Ashok said, contrite.

“You come from such a conservative background – I told you that your parents would never accept her…” I said to him.

“You were right – my parents did not approve of her at all…” he said.

“Despite your parent’s disapproval – you defied your parents – and you got married to her…” I scolded him.

“I was in love with her…” he said.

“Love…? If you were in love with her – why did you divorce her…?” I asked him.

“We were just not compatible…” he said.

“Compatible…!!! How could you be “compatible” with her…? Outwardly – you may act “modern” – but in your mind – you are still a “small town boy” – I told you all this – but you just wouldn’t listen to me…” I said to him.

“I wish I had listened to you…” he said.

“There is a difference between a “girlfriend” and a “wife” – especially if the girlfriend is a “fleet auxiliary” – no one marries a “fleet auxiliary” – you have a “good time” with them – and then – you get married to the “back home type” girl that your parents have chosen for you…” I said to him.

“I was so much in love with her – that I even went against my parents – and I didn’t even listen to your advice…” he said, full of remorse.

“Yes – love made you “blind” – and – she exploited you – she is a bloody shameless “nympho” – after having a “good time” with others – she trapped you into marriage…” I said to him.

“You are right…” he said, “she “knew” so many people – shipmates, course-mates – even seniors…”

“She was 5 years older to you – past her prime – and you fell for her…” I said, “she really made a fool of you…”

“Yes – I married in haste – and now – I am repenting at leisure…” he said, “next time – I am going to be careful…”

“Yes…” I said, “marriage is serious business…”

“You are right…” he said, “I took it very lightly – and I paid a heavy price…”

“What are your plans now…? I heard that you have asked for a compassionate grounds transfer…?” I asked him.

“Yes – I want to get away from this place – and – I want to move on in life…” he said, “I have asked for Vizag – it will be closer to my hometown as well…”

“All the best…” I said to Ashok, “and in case you are thinking of getting married – go in for an arranged marriage this time – and choose carefully…”

“Yes…” Ashok said – he gulped down the remains of his drink – he smiled a goodbye to me – and he left the wardroom.

______

10 Years Later

Kochi (Cochin) – circa 1988

______

Part 2

ARRANGED MARRIAGE

______

 

10 years later – my ship visited Kochi (then known as Cochin)

 

In the evening – I walked down to the Navy Club – and – I saw Ashok sitting on the lawn – all by himself.

“You must have heard that I got divorced again…?” he said to me.

“Yes…” I said, “what happened…?”

“I don’t know…” he said, “this time I was careful – I saw so many girls that my parents had lined up for me – and then – after shortlisting the girls I had liked – I selected the girl who was an ideal wife for me – she had all the qualities that I wanted in my wife – I thought we had a happy marriage – but – one day – she suddenly just walked out…”

“That’s sad…” I said, commiserating with him.

“Yes…” Ashok said, “she was the ideal wife for me…”

“She was an ideal wife for you – but – were you an “ideal” husband for her…?” I asked him.

“What do you mean…?” Ashok said.

“You checked out the girl’s qualities – but – did you check out your own qualities…?” I said to him.

“What are you trying to say…?” he asked me.

“You were a mismatch in your love marriage – and – you were a mismatch in your arranged marriage too. You need to introspect – why do your marriages fail…?” I said to Ashok.

“You are right…” Ashok said, “I must check my own compatibility too – I will surely do that – next time…”

“Next time…?” I said, surprised.

He sure had perseverance.

There is a saying: “Third Time Lucky”.

I hoped he would be lucky the 3rd time – and – his next marriage would be a success.

_______

20 Years Later

Pune – circa 2008

_______

Part 3

THIRD TIME LUCKY…?

_______

I was happily surprised to see my course-mate Ashok at a Navy Veterans Get-Together in Pune.

“It’s been a long time…” I said to Ashok, “you totally went “off the radar” – I lost all track of you…”

“I quit the Navy a few days after we met last time…” Ashok said.

“Yes – that’s what I heard – that – you had suddenly resigned…” I said, “what happened…?”

“I got a good job offer in the gulf – so – I decided to go over there – and since then – I have been globetrotting…” he said.

“That’s great…” I said, “but what are you doing in Pune…?” I asked him.

“Like you – I too have finally “retired” – and I have decided to settle down in Pune – I just came one month ago from the US…” he said.

“Where do you live in Pune…?” I asked him.

“At present I am living in a serviced apartment – but I have just bought a house – and I will be moving in there soon…” he said.

He told me the name of the township where he had bought a house – it was an exclusive cosmopolitan township – most posh and elite. To be able to afford a house in that classy “highfalutin” township – Ashok must have done well for himself after leaving the Navy.

Ashok looked at me and said, tongue-in-cheek:

“You didn’t ask me if I was married…?”

“Are you…?” I said to him, “Or – did you get married and divorced again…?”

“No. No…” he laughed, “I took your advice seriously. I introspected – and I realized that I wasn’t “marriage material” – so – I didn’t get married again…”

Someone called out his name – so – Ashok excused himself and he went to meet the person.

The moment Ashok had gone away – my wife suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

“Why were you talking to that disgusting man…?” she said, angrily.

“Disgusting man…? He is my course-mate Ashok. He left the Navy long ago. I will introduce you to him…” I said to my wife.

“I don’t want to be introduced to him…” my wife said, “and you better keep away from him…”

“What happened…?” I asked my wife.

“The ladies were talking about him. He is an immoral man…” she said.

“Immoral…?” I said, surprised.

“Don’t you know…?” my wife asked me.

“What…?” I said, curious.

“He is “living in sin” with a woman…” my wife said.

“Are you sure…? He told me that he was unmarried…” I said to her.

“That’s what I am telling you…” my wife said to me, “he is unmarried – but he is “shacked up” with a woman half his age – lecherous fellow – you better keep away from him…”

_________ 

VIKRAM KARVE

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