AN INTRIGUING STORY
Pune – circa 1985
This story happened 36 years ago – when I was appointed as faculty at
IAT Pune – a premier tri-service post-graduate training institution in advanced
A young lady scientist was appointed to my department to work with me.
She was a graduate in electronics and communications engineering from a
prestigious institution – and – was appointed to IAT immediately after her
induction training. Her name was Jayashree.
I had taught Jayashree during her induction training and found her to be
very keen, diligent and intelligent. Once she started working with me – I
realized that she was brilliant – and she was very beautiful too – a true
“beauty with brains”.
Normally – scientists were appointed to various Research and Development
(R&D) Labs after their induction training at IAT – but Jayashree had
requested for a posting to Pune – and she was appointed on the teaching faculty
of IAT Pune – and – since there was a vacancy for her specialization in our
department – we had agreed to accept her – though she was quite young (she was
just 24 when she joined my department)
Dear Reader – as I told you – Jayashree was professionally proficient
and conscientious by nature – a good Teacher – and creative research scientist.
Within a few months of her joining – we had completed a small research project
– and published a research paper.
One day – the Dean summoned me to his office.
He asked me about Jayashree.
I was all praise for her and told the Dean that her performance was
“Why aren’t you giving her leave…?” the Dean asked me.
I was taken aback by his question since I didn’t recall Jayashree having
applied for leave.
“Sir – she hasn’t applied for leave…” I said to the Dean.
“I was told that she applied for 10 days leave – but – you refused to
give her leave…” the Dean said.
“That is not true, Sir. Who told you all this…?” I protested.
“Her father…” the Dean said.
“What…? Her father…?” I said, confused.
“Jayashree’s father and I were classmates in Engineering College. Now –
he is a senior officer in a PSU in Bangalore – he called me up this morning –
he wants Jayashree to go to Bangalore for some important family function – he
had asked Jayashree to take 10 days leave and come to Bangalore – but he said
that Jayashree told him that you had rejected her leave application. Why are
you refusing just 10 days leave to her – is there some important work…?” the
Dean said to me.
“Sir – she hasn’t even applied for leave – I will tell her to submit a
leave application immediately – and I will grant her whatever leave she wants
today itself…” I said to the Dean.
“You do that…” the Dean said to me – and then – he started talking about
the courses I was conducting and the research projects I was doing.
The moment I returned to my office – I called Jayashree.
I told her what had happened in the Dean’s Office.
“I am sorry, Sir…” she said.
“Please submit your leave application right now – I will approve your leave
immediately – and – you can leave for Bangalore in the evening…” I said to
“Sir – I don’t want leave…” she said.
“What do you mean…? Your father called up the Dean and told him that he
wants you in Bangalore for some important family function…” I said to
“Sir – I don’t want to go to Bangalore…” she said.
“I just don’t understand what’s going on…” I said, exasperated.
“Sir – it’s my private matter…” Jayashree said to me.
“See – Jayashree – it may be your private matter – but – you have
involved me – you have told a lie to your father – that I refused to give you leave
– which is not true – and – he has complained to the Dean – and – you have put
me in a very awkward position…” I said to her.
“I am sorry, Sir…” she said.
“No. No. Don’t be sorry – just tell me the truth – and – I will try to
help you…” I said to her.
“Sir – I can’t tell you – it’s very personal…” she said.
“Okay – I will call up your father and talk to him – I will get his
number from the Dean…” I said to her.
“Please don’t call up my father, Sir…” she said, in a beseeching voice.
“Then – please tell me the truth – I deserve to know…” I said, “Why are
you firing the gun from my shoulder…?”
Jayashree remained silent – she averted her eyes – to avoid
looking at me.
I picked up the telephone on my desk and called the Dean’s Personal
“There is a scientist Jayashree in my department…” I said to the Dean’s
PA, “her father had called up the Dean in the morning – I want his telephone
number – it is a Bangalore telephone number – Dean has asked me to speak to
“Please, Sir…” Jayashree implored me.
The PA said he would ask the Dean and tell me.
I put the telephone back on the receiver.
“Sir – I will tell you everything – but – you must promise to keep it to
yourself…” Jayashree said.
“Okay…” I said to her.
“Sir – my parents have called me to Bangalore to “see” a Boy…” she said.
“For marriage…?” I asked her.
“Yes, Sir…” Jayashree said, “the Boy has come down from the US…”
“Oh – I see – and you don’t want to go to America…!!!” I said to her.
“It’s not that, Sir…” she said.
“Is there some problem with the Boy…? You don’t like him – even without
meeting him…?” I asked her, “Do you know anything about him…?”
“My mother says that the Boy is from our society – he comes from a good
family – he has done his B. Tech. from IIT – then – he has done MS from an Ivy League
University in America – he has got a good job in the US and is planning to
settle down over there…” Jayashree said.
“In short – he is a “perfect match” for you…” I said to her.
“That’s what my parents feel…” she said.
“Then – why don’t you go down to Bangalore and meet him…? You can always
say “No” – if you don’t like him…” I said to her.
“Sir – I find this “girl seeing” ceremony very humiliating. I still
remember that evening a few months ago when a “boy” came to “see” at my home in Bangalore. I was
made to “deck up” and made to wear a fancy saree as if I was an “exhibit” to be
“paraded” before the Boy and his parents and relatives. A few days later – I
came to know that I had been “rejected”. I felt so terribly degraded and my
self-esteem was hurt so badly that I decided that I was never going to allow
myself to be “paraded” before a boy and his parents again. I hate this commodification. That’s why I don’t
want to go for the demeaning “Girl Seeing” ritual again…” Jayashree said – I
could see tears build up in her eyes.
“Come on, Jayashree – you don’t have to let one bad experience affect
you so much – this Boy is from the US – he may have a modern outlook – you can
meet him informally…” I said to her.
“If the boy was so modern – he would have got married to some girl over
there in the US…” Jayashree said, “Sir – my folks are very conservative – and –
so is our society – the Boy may be settled in America – but – his mindset will
remain Indian – just like his parents – typical patriarchal – that is why he has come here to get married to a “back home type” girl…”
It was all very confusing to me – what was the real reason Jayashree was
reluctant to “see” the Boy – was it due to the humiliation she had felt after
being “paraded” and “rejected” – had her ego been hurt so badly by that episode
– or – was it something else – that she wanted to get married to someone else –
or – that she didn’t want to get married at all.
I looked at Jayashree and said to her: “I agree – it is your personal
matter – and – I appreciate your being so frank with me. But – you have told
your father that I refused to give you leave – and – he called up the Dean who
is asking me for an explanation – so – I want you to talk to your father and
clear the misunderstanding…”
“Yes, Sir – I will talk to my father…” Jayashree said.
“If you want – you can book a trunk call from my office phone…” I said
“Thank you, Sir – but – I will talk to my parents in the evening from
the STD Booth…” she said.
36 years ago – in 1985 – when this story happened – there existed only
landline telephones – and – mobile phones came much later – in the end 1990’s.
STD was the acronym for Subscriber Trunk Dialling for making Trunk Calls to various cities in India.
I don’t know whether Jayashree talked to her father or not – but – I
spoke to the Dean and cleared the misunderstanding.
From then on – I maintained a strictly professional relationship with
Jayashree – and she continued to work in a most exemplary manner.
This episode was never discussed between us again.
One year later – I was transferred to a frontline warship – and I lost
touch with Jayashree.
In fact – I never saw Jayashree again – because when I visited IAT nine
months after joining my ship to pick up my family at the end of the school
academic session and move them to Vizag – I learnt that Jayashree had been
transferred to Bangalore soon after I had left.
A few years later – I learnt that she had resigned her job and gone to
the US for higher studies.
30 Years Later – circa 2015
Incheon International Airport
I ran into Jayashree 30 years later at Incheon International Airport on
my way from Mumbai to Auckland.
“So nice to see you after so many years…” I said to Jayashree.
“Yes, Sir…” she said, “please sit down, Sir…”
I sat down next to Jayashree.
“I am on my way to New Zealand – for a vacation…” I said to her.
“That’s great, Sir. I am going back home after a vacation in Thailand…”
“I heard that you had gone to the US for higher studies…” I said to her.
“Yes, Sir – they transferred me from Pune to Bangalore. Within one year –
I resigned and came to the US for my Masters. Now – I have permanently settled down
in America…” she said.
“Married…?” I asked her.
Jayashree smiled at me.
Then – Jayashree shifted her gaze over my shoulder – as if she was
looking beyond me – and she said to me:
“My partner is coming…”
I turned around – and – I saw a woman walking towards us.
The woman was carrying a cup of coffee in each hand.
Jayashree introduced her partner to me.
I smiled at the woman and introduced myself.
The woman smiled and she said to me: “Want a cup of coffee…?”
“Thank you so much – but I’ll go now – it’s time for my flight…” I said
to the woman.
Then – I turned to Jayashree and said:
“Goodbye, Jayashree – wish you
all the best…”
“Thank you, Sir…” Jayashree said, “It was a pleasure meeting you after
so many years…”
I walked towards the departure lounge.
After a few steps – I turned around and looked – Jayashree and her
partner were engrossed in each other – oblivious of me.
I never met Jayashree again after that day.
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 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.
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.