Monday, June 22, 2009

The True Meaning of Love


[Short Fiction - A Love Story]



I do not know how the idea entered my brain in the first place; but once conceived, it haunted me with such urgency that a strange force took charge of me, impelling me to act. I tucked the packet under my arm and walked towards my destination, looking around furtively like someone with a guilty conscience.

The moment I saw her photograph I knew that I had to see her. A man’s first love occupies an enduring place in his heart. Ten years. Ten long years. She had married money. And status. I was heartbroken. Yet I bore her no pique or rancor. Never will. How can I? I had truly loved her. I still love her. I will always love her. Till my dying day.

I was desperately eager to impress her. To give her a gift would be too obvious. I did not know how much she had told her husband about me, about us, about our unrequited love!

Her children should be the same age as mine. Maybe slightly older. They say the best route to a married woman’s heart is through her children. I looked at the packet under my arm. A gift. A gift for her children. The deluxe set of children’s encyclopedias I had promised my son. And my daughter. Year after year. For the last three years. And did not buy. Because it was too expensive. And now I was going to present it to Anjali’s children. Just to impress her. Why? I do not know.

As I rang the doorbell, I felt a tremor of anticipation. Suddenly I realized that I did not know whether Anjali would be happy to see me or pretend she didn’t recognize me. The door opened. Anjali looked ravishing. She gave me her sparkling smile and welcomed me with genuine happiness, “Sanjiv! After so many years! What a delightful surprise. How did you manage to find me?"

We looked at each other. Anjali had fully blossomed and looked stunning. She looked so exquisite, so dazzling, that I cannot begin to describe the intense emotion I felt as I looked intently into her radiating eyes, totally mesmerized by her beauty.

“Stop staring at me, “Anjali said, her large expressive eyes dancing mischievously.

“You look so beautiful. And so young!” I said with genuine frankness.

“But you look old. Even your beard has becoming grey.” Anjali paused, probably regretting what she had said.

Then suddenly she held out her hand to me and said, “I am so happy to see you, Sanjiv. Come inside.”

Her house was extravagant. Wealth and opulence showed everywhere. Anjali carried herself majestically with regal poise; her demeanor slick and confident. No wonder! To ‘belong’ had always been the driving force of her life. Money, status, social prestige, success – she had got everything she wanted. I couldn’t help feeling a pang of envy, and failure.

“You like my house?” she asked. “Sit down. And don’t look so lost.”

I sat down on a sofa and kept the gift wrapped packet on the side-table.

Anjali sat down opposite. “How did you know I live here? We shifted to Mumbai only a month ago.”

I took out the wallet from my pocket and gave it to her. “Your husband’s purse. I saw your photograph in it.”

Anjali opened the purse and started to check the contents.

“You don’t trust cops, do you?” I said with a smile.

Anjali blushed. She kept the wallet on the table. Then she looked at me with frank admiration in her eyes. “IPS? That’s fantastic. I never thought you would do so well! What are you? Superintendent? Deputy Commissioner?”

Now it was my turn to blush. “No,” I said sheepishly. “I am only a sub-inspector.”

“Oh!” she said, trying to hide her disappointment. But I had read the language of her eyes. The nuance wasn’t lost on me. Suddenly she had changed.

“Is Mr. Joshi at home?” I asked.

“He is still at the office,” Anjali said.

“Oh! I thought he would be home,” I said.

“I’ll make you some tea,” she said and started to get up.

“Please sit down, Anjali. Let’s talk.” I looked at my watch. “It’s already six-thirty. Let’s wait for Mr. Joshi. Maybe he’ll offer me a drink. And dinner.”

“My husband comes home very late,” Anjali said. “After all, he is the Managing Director and the CEO. There is so much work. And conferences. Important business meetings. He is the top boss – a very successful and extremely busy man.” She couldn’t have spelt it out more clearly. I got the message loud and clear.

Anjali changed the topic and asked, “Where did you find my husband's purse?”

“It was deposited in the lost-and-found section last evening,” I lied, trying to keep a straight face.

“It’s strange,” Anjali said. “He didn’t mention anything.”

“He may not have noticed,” I said, tongue-in-cheek, “After all Mr. Joshi is a very busy man to notice such minor things like a missing purse.”

“Yes,” she said, giving a distant look. Anjali opened the purse once more and examined his credit cards and driving license. At first she appeared confused. Then she gave me a cold hard look. But she didn’t say anything. There was a long period of silence. Grotesque Silence.

Anjali kept staring at me. Looking directly into my eyes. A distant look. Almost dismissive. I began to feel uneasy. Suddenly I remembered the gift wrapped packet I had brought and exclaimed enthusiastically, “Anjali, where are your children? I have got a gift for them. Just a small present for your kids!”

From the look on her face, I immediately sensed that I had said something terribly wrong. I saw tears well up in her eyes. All of a sudden, Anjali looked small, weak and vulnerable. I felt a sense of deep regret as comprehension dawned on me. I looked at her helplessly, pleading innocence, but it was of no use. Some day Anjali might understand my actions, but at that moment it was hopeless to try and explain. The hurt was deep, and I had to let it go in silence.

We just sat there in silence, not knowing what to say. A deafening silence.

It is strange how moments you have rehearsed for end up with a different script.

I could not bear it any longer. I quickly got up and started walking swiftly towards the door. Suddenly I realized that I had forgotten to pick up the packet – the gift. But I did not turn back. Why? I do not know.

“Don’t go, Sanjiv. I want to talk to you,” Anjali spoke coldly.

I stopped in my tracks. I could hear Anjali footsteps behind me. I turned around to face her. She seemed a bit composed.

“You lied to me, Sanjiv,” Anjali said. “I want to know where you found this wallet.”

I did not know what to say. I tried to avoid her eyes.

“Tell me,” Anjali pleaded.

When in doubt, I speak the truth, so I told her the truth, “We raided one of those exclusive classy joints last night,” I stammered. “A posh call-girl racket……….” I could not I mumbled, “I am sorry. I did not know...”

“I know! Oh yes I know!” Anjali said mockingly. “That impotent creep! Trying to prove his virility to himself.”

With those few words, she had bared the secret of her marriage. I looked at her. Her manner was relaxed and nonchalant; her fury was visible only in her eyes.

I was nonplussed. Suddenly I blurted out, “Don’t worry Anjali. I have dropped the charges. I’ll hush it up.”

I still don’t know why I uttered those words but the moment she heard my words there was a visible metamorphosis in Anjali. Suddenly she became flaming mad. She looked so distraught and angry that I felt very frightened. I was terrified that she would go berserk and attack me, slap me, or something, so I instinctively stepped back. But Anjali suddenly turned and left the room. I waited, dumbstruck, pole-axed, frozen for a moment and after regaining my composure decided to leave and started to move towards the door.

“Wait!” I heard her scream. I stopped in my tracks and turned around.

Anjali quickly walked towards me and thrust out her right hand. She held a bundle of five hundred rupee notes. “So this is what you have come for, isn’t it? A bribe to hush up the case, isn’t it? Even from me! You unscrupulous swine, I didn’t expect you to fall so low. Here - take the money and get out. This is all I have at home. If you want more, you know where to find my husband; don’t you?”

“No, Anjali,” I recoiled in horror, “Please don’t ………..”

“Cheap!” Anjali spat out. There was contempt in her eyes. “Cheap riffraff! That’s what you always were, Sanjiv. Get out you filthy blackmailer.” She threw the bundle of notes at me. It hit my chest and fell on the ground, the money scattering near my feet.

“I love you, Anjali,” I said, trying to sound sincere.

“Love,” she exclaimed, her radiating eyes burning with anger. “So you have come to see how your barren old flame is flourishing, isn’t it?” She paused and said sarcastically, “So you are pleased aren’t you? Happy to see how successful my marriage is, isn't it?”

Her sly and sarcastic suggestion that I might be happy at her misfortune hurt me more than anything else. I turned around and walked out of the house. As I walked towards the gate something hit me on my back. I winced in pain. The three volumes of the expensive Children’s Encyclopedia were scattered on the ground, their silver paper gift wrapper torn. I knew that Anjali was standing in the door looking at me. But I did not look back at her. I gathered the books and walked away into the darkness.

Next morning, as I gradually came into consciousness from my drunken stupor, I realized that I was in my bed.

Though sunlight filtered in through the open windows, everything looked blurred.

Slowly things began to come into focus.

My daughter was sitting beside me on the bed. She touched my arm with tenderness.

There were tears in her eyes.

My son stood aloof on the other side of the bed.

There was fear in his eyes.

My wife looked at me with loving pity and said, “The children want to thank you for the lovely gift. They are so happy!”

She was holding the set of encyclopedias in her hands.

I smiled and reached out to them.

They held my hands and smiled back.

I looked at the pure unadulterated joy in their eyes.

For the first time in my life I experienced a deep genuine true love for my wife and children.

A love which I had never felt before.

Tears of joy welled up in my eyes.

I had discovered love.

Yes, I had discovered the true meaning of love.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Horror Story - This is no Joke

THIS IS NO JOKE - Sheer Horror

Short Fiction



Read this slowly and carefully.

Take your time.

Savour every word.

Try to enjoy it.

For it is going to be the last thing you ever read, because you’re not going to read much after this.

That’s because by the time you finish reading this, I am going to finish you off.

Yes. You read right.

I am going to finish you off once and for all.

Murder you in cold blood.

Till you are dead.


Requiescat in pace.

Or is it requiescant in pace?

It just doesn’t matter.

But you for sure are going to rest in peace.

That’s right. Rest in Peace.

Rest in Peace!



You think this is a big joke?

It is not a joke. Yes, my friend, this is no joke.

I’m going to terminate you.

I’ve been watching you for days. You’re so nice and healthy. That is why I have no compunctions, as I firmly believe that my victim ought to be in good health, since it is barbarous to kill anybody who is weak or of a sickly disposition.

After you finish reading this, just sit back and relax.

But don't turn around and look behind you.

That's right - DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU.

I know you can find excuses to hang around your house, or your office, or wherever you are reading this; but sooner or later you’re going to have to get up and go out.

That’s where I’ll be waiting for you.

Or maybe I am closer to you than that.

Maybe I am in this very room where you are sitting.

You think of death as something far distant, don’t you?

It is not! Death is very near, very close to you. Maybe just behind you.

Believe me. I’m dead serious. Your death is just lurking behind your back.

Do not look behind you.

Come on, dear Reader. Tell me. Where are you reading this?

In your room late at night on your PC, or in your office, or on your laptop, in bed, or outdoors, or while traveling, or on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

Or have you taken a printout and are reading this propped up on your pillow in bed late at night?

It doesn't matter. It just doesn’t matter.

Because I’m going to come and get you the moment you finish reading this.

You can take my word for it.

If you are home while reading this, maybe I’m in your house with you right now, maybe in this very room, stealthily creeping right behind you, waiting for you to finish the story.

Do not look behind you.

Maybe I’m watching surreptitiously though your office window, or maybe I am standing menacingly right behind you as you sit at your work desk staring at the monitor, waiting to pierce you with the deadly needle of the venom filled hypodermic syringe the moment you finish reading this.

Just sit still and keep reading.

Do not look behind you.

Or maybe I’m sitting covertly right next to you in the Internet cafĂ© where you are reading this.

Don’t look! Please do not turn around and look.

Just keep reading.

Maybe I’m waiting outside for you.

But don’t look around.

You’ll be happier if you don’t know – if you don’t see the needle coming.

So please do not look behind you.

But wherever you are reading this, I’m near you, watching and waiting for you to finish.

And then I’ll silently slither right behind you.

And from the right pocket of my trousers I’ll carefully take out the lethal syringe.

Don’t be scared.

You won’t feel a thing.

Maybe just a wee little scratch, a teeny weeny prick of a tiny microscopic needle.

And you will die instantly.

It’s much better killing this way – instantaneous, effortless, clean, clinical. I like it this way.

When I kill people this way they don’t even come to know.

Unless they turn around and look.

So don’t look behind you!

I am warning you, just don't turn around and look behind you.

You don’t believe in the macabre, do you?

You think my imagination is running wild and this is just my amateurish attempt at writing a short story, don’t you?

Go on; smile to yourself, thinking this is just a joke, a fib, a yarn.

This is no joke.

Don’t look behind you. Please do not look behind you.

You don't believe me?

Okay, don’t believe me – until you feel the gentle prick of the hypodermic needle penetrating deep into your spine.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009




A Glorious Day in Pune



Musings on the Art of Leisure from my delicious Foodie Adventures Book
Appetite for a Stroll

Art of Loafing

Please tell me, Dear Reader: What is loafing? Idling away your time on useless things?

Aimless Loitering?

Loitering! Sounds a bit derogatory, isn't it?

Okay let’s say it is aimless wandering – Perfectly useless time spent in a perfectly useless manner!

Yes. That’s how I would like to define the art of loafing - spending perfectly useless time in a perfectly useless manner!


And what, Dear Reader, is foodwalking?Loitering, or rather walking, in search of good food. Not so aimless loitering!

That's what I did once – long back. I loafed in Pune.

Foodwalked. In search of good food.

I spent a perfectly useless day in a perfectly useless manner – “Foodwalking in Pune”.

I still have fond nostalgic memories of that glorious day. Let me tell you about it.

A Glorious Day

It is a beautiful morning. I try to furtively slip out of my house unnoticed, but I am stopped in my tracks by my wife's piercing voice, "Where are you going"? "I don’t know?" I answer truthfully, and this adroit answer probably precludes the next question she is about to ask me, "What time are you coming back?" for she knows I will again truthfully answer, "I don’t know".

It’s true – I really don’t know where I am going!"Take the mobile with you," she shouts, but I pretend not to hear and make myself scarce and disappear as fast as possible for I do not want the manacles of technology to ruin my day. Dear fellow loafer - If you want to truly enjoy life beware of the technology trap!It's a bright day. I feel good.

Flush with a sense of carefree irresponsibility, I walk with a spring in my step. I am going to enjoy my leisure. Should I turn left? Should I turn right? Should I cross the road and go straight ahead?

I am free. Free to go wherever I desire. Free to enjoy my day as I want.

True freedom – to be able to travel at will with no destination to reach, no task to complete, no deadlines to meet.

Just Loaf. Aimlessly. Timelessly. Pure Leisure.

Spend a perfectly useless day in a perfectly useless manner. I see a bus. I stop it and hop in. "Where do you want to go?" the conductor asks. "Where does this bus go?" I ask. "Pune Railway Station."
"Okay. One ticket to Pune Railway Station," I say holding out a tenner. The conductor gives me an amused look and hands me a ticket and a rupee coin.

I sit down on a vacant window-seat.

I think interesting thoughts and enjoy the view through the window.

On these trips of mine I prefer travelling by bus and, of course, I love to walk on foot.

Driving my car on the terrible potholed, crowded and chaotic roads in the terrible traffic of Pune makes me go crazy, and, at my age, I dare not venture out too far on my scooter, lest I land up with broken bones in hospital or, worse, lifeless in Vaikunth or Kailas crematoriums! That's what I sometimes do on these glorious trips of mine. Just jump into the first bus that comes along and let it take you wherever it goes.

Just go where life leads you.

Last time I landed up in the heart of Pune near Shaniwar Wada.

In Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi loafing is even more exciting, as there are so many more routes and choices, trains, buses, walks, and you can serendipitously explore so many novel and exotic places you would not dream of going to in normal course. The bus reaches the Pune Railway Station. It’s been a smooth ride.


I get down and admire the magnificent heritage stone building of Pune Railway Station. I stand in the porch and look inside. Trains, crowds, announcements, horns, cacophony, and chaos – I love the “railway” atmosphere.

On impulse, I enter, and stroll on the platform, panning my gaze all over, and stopping once in a while to feast my eyes on any attractive object that arrests my attention. "Want a seat?" a porter asks. "No," I say. "Where are you going?" he pursues. "Nowhere," I say. "Waiting for someone," he asks, probably in anticipation of porterage. "No," I say. He stares at me for a moment and walks off with a look of perplexed dejection.

I look around. Everyone is waiting to go somewhere, or for someone. I am waiting to go nowhere, and for nobody.

So I walk out of the station and head for Shiv Kailash Milk Bar bang opposite on the other side of the road. If you arrive at Pune by train on a hot morning, never make the blunder of heading for the rickshaw stand. You'll get all stressed up waiting in the never-ending queue and haggling with the rickshawallas trying to con you.

Just cross the road to Shiv Kailash, sit under the shade on one of the stainless steel stools placed on the pavement, invigorate yourself with a tall glass of cool refreshing lassi (which is guaranteed to banish the depleting effects of the tiresome train journey) and tell the waiter to hail a rickshaw from the many hanging around.

This is what I have been doing for so many years, during my numerous homecomings, since the days when Pune was called Poona. Shiv Kailash serves the best lassi in Pune. It’s almost as good as the one at Pehelwan at the end on Lanka near BHU in Varanasi. The lassi freshly made in front of you topped off with a generous dollop of soft fresh cream. The sumptuous fulfilling soothing lassi is thick, lip-smacking, nourishing, and gives me a heavenly feeling.

I sip slowly, relishing every mouthful, almost eating the delectable fluid after letting it perambulate on my tongue, as I watch the world go about its business outside.

People come in a jiffy; gulp their glasses of lassi down the hatch in a hurry, and rush away, while I blissfully savour each and every drop of the delicious creamy lassi. I walk leisurely towards Camp. Past Mira College, GPO, Zero Milestone, Police Headquarters, Nehru Memorial Hall, where I cross the Moledina Road admiring the imposing Lal Deval Synagogue, and turn left, past the place imperial Dorabjee Store Building used to be once. Now there is a huge shopping complex and a glitzy mall opposite. I reminisce. West End, New Empire, all the adorable landmarks gone. Now there are Malls and modern places like Landmark. Landmark – you know it don’t you?

Landmark is Pune’s swanky new music-cum-book store. Like Crossword – giving competition to the grand old Manney’s, International, Popular, TBS and the bookshops at Appa Balwant Chowk.

I walk in. The place is swarming with chic salesgirls and sales-boys. No one pays any attention to me. Maybe I blend well with the surroundings.

I realize the tremendous advantages of obscurity and the benefits of anonymity.

Had I been a successful person, rich and famous, or someone with a striking personality, people would notice me and I doubt I would have been able to enjoy myself with such carefree abandon.

Only non-achievers like me can truly enjoy a life of carefree irresponsibility and the unadulterated joys of genuine leisure. I roam around the ground floor music section. There are no music stations where you can listen to music like they have in Rhythm House and Planet-M in Mumbai. So I go the first floor bookstore. It’s spacious, neatly laid-out and looks impressive.


The books are arranged subject-wise, clearly visible from anywhere. There are cushioned stools to sit and browse and also two long sofas below the huge tinted windows towards the far side.

I start from the left side. Food, Philosophy, Self-Help, Travel, Coffee Table, Erotica, Classics, Fiction, Computers, Children, Indian Writing there are books on every topic you can think of.

The tranquil ambiance is so soothing and conducive that I browse to my hearts content, loosing myself into that wonderful state of timelessness I experience sometimes when I am totally immersed into doing something I love. By the time I leave Landmark, cerebrally satiated, it is almost three in the afternoon, I am hungry, and in desperate need of gastronomic satiation. So I walk past Manney’s, West End, turn right on Main Street, cross Aurora Towers, turn right, walk past ABN Amro Bank, and turn left on Dastur Meher Road, a walk leisurely towards Sarbatwala Chowk till I reach Dorabjee and Sons.

A Leisurely Meal

I dive in through the low entrance and look around. The eatery is crowded, with noisy families bashing away regardless greedily devouring the heaps food before them. The mouth-watering aroma, and the sight of the appetizing food, creates in me such ravenous pangs of hunger that I quickly sit on the only vacant table and order a Mutton Biryani the signature dish of Dorabjee. As is the hallmark of specialty cuisine restaurants the menu is select just a few choice dishes a single page. There's Sali, Curry, Masala and Biryani in Mutton and Chicken; Kheema, Brain, Eggs, and combinations thereof, cutlets in gravy, and a few Veg dishes, for appearance sake. On Sundays, you can have Dhansak, maybe on your way to the races in the season.

Pune may have changed but heritage institutions like Dorabjee still preserve the flavour of yesteryear Pune. I spoon some Biryani onto my tongue, seal my lips, close my eyes, turn my senses inwards with full consciousness to imbibe and savour the unique medley of juices released by the succulent piece of mutton, the bitterish-sweet taste of the slightly burnt crisp fried onions, and the spicy flavoursome rice. It is superlative delicious authentic cuisine at its best. Dorabjee serves the best heritage mutton biryani in Pune – no doubt about it. [Blue Nile and Good Luck are nearly as good].The fervent atmosphere of the place and exquisite quality of the food is such that one eats enthusiastically, with wholehearted zest and gusto; not apologetically and self-consciously, as one tends to do, trying to be prim and proper, in highfalutin restaurants.

At Dorabjee, you can enjoy every morsel of your food with passionate ardour.

And as I reach blissful satiety I realize that a well-filled stomach radiates a kind of spiritual happiness.

Art of Leisure

The ideal way to end this rich spicy repast is to cool it off with a Falooda.

So I walk down Sachapir Street, cross Main Street, and head for Badshah on East Street to down a deliciously sweet and chilled Rose flavored Royal Falooda.

And then to Kayani, down East Street, to pick up some Shrewsbury Biscuits and Chocolate Walnut Cake. I stand outside Kayani, wondering what to do. Maybe I can go to Manney’s and browse some more. If Landmark has got the ambiance, Manney’s got the books!

And then just loiter down Main Street admiring pretty looking things, till I am tired and hungry.

Maybe I will have some sandwiches, a roll and cold coffee at Marzorin. Or pastries and a softy at Pasteurs.

Or a Burger at Burger King, or a Chopsuey at East End, down East Street.

Maybe Kathi Rolls at Olympia, Chicken Masala at George, Chana Bhatura at Monafood, Sev Barfi at Bhavnagri, Wafers at Budhani, or Sizzlers at The Place next to Manneys, or one more Biryani at Blue Nile near the GPO.

The possibilities are endless!Or should I see the movie at Victory opposite, or at West End nearby?

Maybe I'll jump into the first bus I see and let it take me wherever it goes.

How about going for a long walk on Laxmi road into the heart of town?

Or an idyll beside the river in Bund Garden, or Saras Baug, or Sambhaji Park?

Or maybe I will just head home.

Oh, yes indeed, the possibilities are truly endless!

I am free to do whatever I choose to do!

I can loaf to my heart's content!

To continue to spend a perfectly useless day in a perfectly useless manner!

Relish moments of perfect leisure.You can take my word for it, dear reader.

There is nothing you will enjoy more than loafing.

It is only when you cease to do the things you have to do, and do the things you like to do, and you want to do, that you achieve the highest value of your time.

The freedom to enjoy life is the ultimate reward.

Why should you defer happiness waiting for some elusive abstract rewards?

What reward could be greater than a life enjoyed as it is lived? If you do not find happiness as you are, where you are, here and now, you will never find it.

There is always plenty in life right now to enjoy for one who is determined to enjoy it.

The feast of life is before you.

Do you have the appetite to enjoy the feast of life? So my dear friend, discover the art of loafing, and you will redeem the art of living from the business of living. The Art of Travelling, The Art of Happiness, The Art of Eating, The Art of Living, The Art of Loafing, The Art of Leisure - all inextricably intertwined, isn’t it?

Dear Reader, do tell us about your glorious carefree leisurely loafing experiences in your favourite city too!

I’ll end with a recap on how to realize the highest value of your time: “It is only when you cease to do the things you have to do, and do the things you like to do and you want to do, that you achieve the highest value of your time”

Liked this article?

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Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


A Love Story




She stands in front of the full-length mirror and looks at herself. She cringes a bit for she does not like what she sees.

The jeans make her look fat. And the tight blue top – it’s all wrong!

So she wears a loose dress – Churidar, Kurta and Dupatta – to hide her bulges.

She looks at her new high-heels – should she? They’ll make her look tall, less fat. No. Not today.

Now it’s got to be walking shoes. A brisk invigorating walk from Chowpatty to Churchgate rejuvenating her body breathing the fresh evening sea breeze on Marine Drive is what she needs to cheer her up.

She stands on the weighing machine at Churchgate station and, with a tremor of trepidation, puts in the coin. Lights flash. Out comes the ticket. She looks at it. Same as yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. No change – yes, there is never any change in her weight or her fortune!

Her face falls. She’s trying so much; exercising, dieting. But it’s no use. She looks longingly at the Softy Ice Cream counter.

There is a smart young handsome man with two Ice Cream cones, one in each hand. He looks at her for that moment longer than necessary. She averts her eyes, but he walks up to her and says, “Hi! How are you?”

She looks at him confused. His face seems vaguely familiar.

“You are Sheena’s roommate, aren’t you?” he asks.

She remembers him. He is Sheena’s boyfriend from HR.

“Here,” he says, coming close, proffering an Ice Cream cone.

She steps back awkwardly, perplexed and taken aback by the man’s audacity.

“Take it fast. It’ll melt,” he says.

She hesitates, confused.

“Come on. Don’t be shy. I know you love Ice Cream. Sheena told me.”

She takes the Ice Cream cone from his hands.

“I’m Mohan. I work in HR.”

She doesn’t say anything.

“Let’s walk,” he says, “and hey, eat your ice cream fast before it melts”.

They start walking. As they walk slowly out of Churchgate station towards Marine Drive, they slowly lick the creamy yummy softy ice cream off their cones.

“You walked all the way?” he asks.

“Yes,” she speaks for the first time.

“All alone?”


“You come here everyday?”


“All alone?”

“No. On other days we come together.”

“And today?”

“Sheena’s gone out.”

“For the office party at the disc?”


“And you?”

She’s furious. But she controls herself. Says nothing. No point getting on the wrong side of HR. She hastens her steps and says, “Okay. Bye. Time for me to go! And thanks for the Ice Cream.”

“No. No. Wait. Let’s have a Pizza over there,” he says pointing to the Pizzeria on Marine Drive by the sea.

“No. Please. I’ve got to go.”

“Come on. Don’t count your calories too much. And don’t weigh yourself every day.”

“What?” she goes red with embarrassment! This is too much! So this guy has been stalking her - watching her every day. Outwardly she fumes. But inside, she secretly feels a flush of excitement.

“Yes. Don’t get obsessed. Like Sheena.”


“She keeps nagging me about my weight?”

“But you’re not fat!” she says.

“Then what would you say I am?” he asks.

“Let’s say you’re on the healthier side?”

“Healthier side? That’s great!” he says amused. “Then you too are on the healthier side, aren’t you?”

“Oh yes. We both are on the healthier side.” She laughs. He laughs. They both laugh together. Healthy laughter!

They sit in the sea breeze and relish, enjoy their pizzas. He is easy to talk to, she has much to say, and the words come tumbling out.

And so they enjoy a ‘healthy’ date. Relishing delicious Pizzas, and other lip smacking goodies, to their hearts’ content, capping the satiating repast with the heavenly ice creams at Rustom’s nearby.

“Where were you?” Sheena asks when she returns to their room in the working women’s hostel late at night.

“I had a date.”

“You? Fatso? A date?” Sheena says disbelievingly

“Of course. At Churchgate.”

“A date at Churchgate? Wow! Things are looking up for you yaar!”

“Yes. And you Sheena? How was your date?”

“All ruined. That creep Mohan. He stood me up. Didn’t turn up at the disc and kept his mobile off.”


“You’ve met him.”

“Mohan? You’ve not introduced me to any Mohan.”

“Of course I have. He’s come here to pick me up so many times. He comes over to meet me at our office too. He works in HR.”

“Oh the guy from HR - the chap on the healthier side! That’s your darling Mohan, is it?”

“Darling? My foot! " Sheena says angrily, "Bloody ditcher, that’s what that Mohan is - how dare he stand me up - to hell with him!” Sheena mutters and goes off to sleep.

But our heroine cannot sleep. She eagerly waits for sunrise. For at six in the morning her newfound beau Mohan has promised to meet her on Marine Drive opposite the Aquarium - for a ‘healthy’ jog on Marine Drive. And they will be meeting in the evening too - at Churchgate - for ice cream, pizza and a lovey-dovey date.

She feels happy, full of anticipation and zest.

Happiness is when you have something to look forward to.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

How to Communicate with your Pet Dog


How I Taught My Dog Sherry the Human Language



Part 1: Donkey Language

Before I tell you how I taught my pet dog Sherry the human language here is an apocryphal story:

A wise man, a renowned teacher, once publicly vowed that he would eradicate illiteracy and teach everyone to read.

Some mischievous boys brought a donkey to the teacher and asked him if he could teach the donkey to read.

The wise teacher stunned the students by taking up the challenge and said, “Give me the donkey for a month and I will teach it to read.”

The teacher went home and began to train his donkey to read. At first he put the donkey into the stable and gave him no food for some days. Then he found a thick book and put some hay between the pages. In the beginning the teacher turned the pages and gave the donkey the hay between the pages.

After a while the donkey learnt to turn the pages with his tongue to find and eat the feed by itself. Each time when the donkey finished the book and found no more feed between the pages it would bray: “Eee aah, Eee aah!”

Three days before the one month period was over the teacher stopped feeding the donkey till the poor donkey after fasting for three days without a morsel of food was voraciously hungry.

On the fateful day when the whole school assembled to see the miracle of the donkey reading, the wise teacher brought the ravenously hungry donkey onto the stage. He asked for a big book and put it in front of the donkey.

The hungry donkey turned the first page of the book with its tongue and when it could not find any feed the donkey brayed: “Eee aah, Eee aah!” and turned one more page, and again not finding any hay it cried: “Eee aah, Eee aah!”

The famished donkey kept turning the pages of the book one by one with its tongue and when it could not find any feed between the pages its braying grew louder and louder and soon the hapless donkey was turning the pages and shrieking in a loud voice: “Eee aah, Eee aah!” till it reached a crescendo.

Proud of his achievement the wise teacher said to the gathering: “You all have seen that the donkey has turned the pages of the book and he read it.”

One of the naughty students asked: “But we could not understand anything.”

The wise teacher replied: “Of course you could not understand what the donkey read because it was donkey language. In order to understand it you have to learn donkey language. Come to me for tuition in the evening. I will teach you donkey language.”

[To be continued…]


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work