Sunday, June 20, 2010

HUSBAND SWAP The Love Experiment

Science Fiction  -  a Short Story  -  a Romance

From my archives: Sci Fi -  an experimental fiction story - for a change...

Failures avoid school reunions. It is painful, and shameful, for a loser to be in midst of winners.  
But this time I decided to go.  Sucheta would be there. She had rung up from New York.  And of course her husband Anand was also coming with her. Maybe that’s the real reason I wanted to go.  

It was fifteen years since we passed out from school and the reunion was a grand affair in the best hotel at this picturesque ‘queen’ of hill stations on the slopes of the awesome mighty Himalayas where our school was located. 

As I said the reunion was followed a lavish dinner and dance party for ours was an elite and famous boarding school, valued more for its snob appeal rather than for its academic excellence. 

‘Bookworm’ was an exception.  He had topped the board exams and had become a distinguished scientist, always inventing something mysterious and experimenting something esoteric.  

“Hi, Bookworm…!” I said, genuinely happy to see him.  

“Moushumi, my name is Doctor Kedarnath Joshi.  Not Bookworm”, he said angrily, “I am a Professor.”  

“Professor Bookworm..,!” I teased him. 

“That’s better,” he said, with smug look on his face.  

“So, Professor, what are you inventing nowadays?” I asked. 

“I’m researching in the frontiers of Psycho-cybernetics.” 

“Pyscho-what…? Stop the mumbo jumbo, Bookworm. Tell me in simple language. Who are you and what do you do?” 

“Okay. I am a neurologist. A psychiatrist.  A psychologist. And I also hold a doctorate in Electrical Engineering. Currently I am researching in mind-transference,” Bookworm said proudly. 

“Mind-transference…?” I asked confused.  

“You have seen star-trek haven’t you?”


“There they transfer persons in space. H G Wells’ time machine transferred entire persons in time,” he said.  

“Time Machine…you’re making a time machine…?” I asked incredulously. 

“No..No… I am working on something more complicated…Brain Transfer…I can put your mind into someone else’s body and vice-versa – that is, someone else’s brain into your body!” 

“It sounds very spooky to me.  Is it ESP…?  Or some kind of occult stuff…?”  

“Not at all,” Bookworm said, “Nothing supernatural, esoteric or mystical.  It’s a purely scientific technique.  I’ve developed a pilot system for trials. The machine is upstairs in my hotel room.  Why don’t you give it a try?”    

A strange curious wicked thought crossed my mind. I surveyed the expanse of the majestic ballroom with my eyes and soon my eyes found Anand.  His dashing physique and his magnificent beard made him look prominent in the crowd.  He looked a decisive, hot-blooded and dangerous man, but he also looked vulnerable. 

He wore a lonely and rather perplexed expression, as though he were at the party but not enjoying it.  And beside him stood his wife Sucheta radiating the natural pride of possession that any woman feels when she has the ownership and company of a man that other women desire.  

I reminisced. There were four of us who grew up together. The same group of classmates and friends - in school and in college - Anand, Mohan, Sucheta and Moushumi (that’s me) – the famous four – inseparable friends. All of us loved each other.  

I had the first choice since both Anand and Mohan were desperately in love with me and both had proposed to me. 

I chose Mohan, leaving Anand for Sucheta.  

And since that moment I kept tormenting myself wondering if I had made the wrong choice.
Physically I lived with Mohan but longed for Anand, repenting, and trying to imagine what my life would have been like if I had married Anand instead of Mohan.  

I looked at Anand, and then at Bookworm.  

Serendipity...! Yes. It was indeed Serendipity... pure luck... 

I felt the adrenalin rush. 

This was my golden chance to find out what life would have been like if I had married Anand... and I was going to seize the opportunity.  

I waved out to Sucheta and five minutes later both of us were lying side by side on the double-bed in Bookworm’s hotel room.  

There was a mesh of wires with electrode-transducers connected to our heads (like an EEG), a laptop-like special computer and a briefcase-size electronic device which Bookworm described as the ‘Electrophoresis Signal Processor’.  

“Good,” Bookworm said, “both your brainwave frequencies are in ‘beta’ state around 15 hertz.  I’ll give you both a high frequency burst to momentarily raise your brain-states to ‘K-Complex’ and instantaneously commence the electrophoresis.”  

Looking at me, he said, “Moushumi, you will be Sucheta as far as the outside world is concerned. So when you wake up, go straight to Anand.  Let’s see if he suspects.” And then to Sucheta he said, “Sucheta, you go straight to Mohan. He will think you are Moushumi.”  

“It’s dangerous. I’m scared,” Sucheta said.  

“Come on, Sucheta. Be a sport. It’s just for fun,” I said.  

“It’s not fun. We’re doing this experiment to validate my research – in vivo – to see if the concept of mind-transference it works. Just for half-an-hour,” Bookworm said, “then both of you come back and I’ll reverse the process, everything will be the same as before, and you can leave as your own total selves – your same mind in your own same body.”  

I closed my eyes in trepidation wondering whether I was doing the right thing. Suddenly I felt my brain go blank and then there were vivid flashes in a void.  

Half an hour later, when I was in a state of ecstasy, in seventh heaven, gliding in Anand’s strong arms, enjoying the dance, in blissful trance.  

Bookworm suddenly appeared by my side, started tugging my arm and telling me with urgency in his voice, “It’s time. Let’s go, Moushumi.”   

“Moushumi…? Why are you calling her Moushumi…?” an incredulous Anand asked Bookworm.  

“She is Moushumi,” Bookworm said pointing at me.   

“Are you drunk or stoned or something…?” Anand snapped angrily. “Can’t you see she’s Sucheta, my wife...? Moushumi must be with her husband Mohan.  I last saw them having a drink near the bar.”   

Instinctively I turned and looked towards the bar. I could not spot Sucheta. Nor was Mohan there. I hurriedly scanned the room. There was no sign of them. They had disappeared.  

Bookworm was in a state of panic and shouted incoherently: “Anand...Anand...Try to understand...Your wife Sucheta has gone away with Mohan.  And this lady here in front of you is Moushumi – Mohan’s wife. This is only Sucheta’s body. Inside her is Moushumi’s brain. Moushumi’s mind is in Sucheta’s body. My in vivo experiment was successful – my psycho-cybernetics discovery is validated – the mind-transference has been achieved...!”  

“Psychocybernetics…? Mind-transference…? Stop talking nonsense…!” Anand shouted angrily at Bookworm and taking my arm he said to me, “Come on Sucheta. Let’s go. Bookworm has gone crazy. And it’s getting late. We’ll drive straight down to Delhi. I’ve got a busy day tomorrow before we catch our flight back home to New York.”  

As we walked through the parking lot towards the luxury limousine Anand had hired for his visit I noticed that ‘our’ car was missing.  It was cold and I glanced at ‘our’ small cottage on the hill slope for the last time. ‘They’ were probably cuddling up in ‘our’ bedroom by now.   

I thought I was smart, but it was Sucheta who played the double game.   

For me it was only a half-hour experiment, but Sucheta had upped the ante and turned the tables on me.  

Will Mohan ever find out…? And Anand…will he still think I am his wife Sucheta…? Will this psychocybernetic mind-transference last forever…? Am I beyond the point of no return…? 

I shiver with tremors of trepidation as I think of my future. From now on it’s going to be a tightrope walk.  Every moment I’ll have to be on my toes.

I’m excited…very excited…and a bit terrified and scared too. It’s going to be dangerous fun.  

Yes, this crazy psycho-cybernetics love experiment is going to be dangerous fun.  

But one thing is sure.  

Now I will really know what life would have been like if had I married Anand instead of Mohan. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
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 19, 2010


Pure Romance   -  a love story 


From my Archives: one of my earliest mushy love stories. ...

            HIS STORY
Sanjay stared blankly at the TV set, never so frightened, never so alone.  He couldn’t believe the news.  The plane had crashed.  There were no survivors.  His wife was dead.  This was one contingency that he had never reckoned with.
  Sanjay had spent a good deal of time worrying about what would happen to Shalini, if he had died.  In fact, he had always presumed, and even taken for granted, that he would die first and had accordingly planned meticulously and made elaborate and adequate financial provisions for her in case something should happen to him.

  But he had never for a moment considered what would happen to him if Shalini died.  She had been an integral part of him and he couldn’t even imagine living without her.  He felt emotionally shattered.  He wanted to cry but tears refused to come in his eyes and his throat felt dry.  He lapsed into a zombie-like state of shock.

            His recollections of the next few days were just vivid flashes in a void.  At first, in desperate hope he had rushed to the airport to check the passenger list, hoping that by some miracle she had not been on board.  Little realizing that it was he who had seen her off.  Then there were condolence visits, and the airlines insurance forms.  He didn’t want any money, or condolences.  He wanted his wife back.  Heartbroken with grief and a strange fear of loneliness, Sanjay had sunk into a state of suspended vacuum, devoid of cognizance.  
            As he gradually came into consciousness from his drunken stupor, Sanjay realized that he had lost control over his life.  He opened his eyes with trepidation.  Everything looked blurred.  Slowly things began to come a little more into focus.  He was in a train – lying down on the lower berth in a first class compartment.  On the opposite berth sat a family – a young man, his wife and their small daughter.  The man was looking at him in disgust, the wife with pity, and the daughter with fear.  Sanjay felt ashamed of himself and closed his eyes, in embarrassment, trying to escape from reality.  As he lay on the berth indulging in self-commiseration, Sanjay had the lonely realization that there is indeed a moment when a man has no friend.  There was no one to share his grief.  Wallowing in a mood of self-pity in his private self-created hell, Sanjay had developed acute social phobia.  He was afraid of meeting people, attending social gatherings.  He had internalized his feelings to such an extent that he had even become a victim of agoraphobia - a fear of being in open or public places.  It was a crippling illness.  He was scared of leaving his home, afraid of even going to his office and meeting his colleagues.  Sanjay was rapidly sinking into the depths of a loneliness induced melancholic depression – to the point of no return.  The end of the road was in sight.

            “The most important thing is the ability to loosen and get rid of something that is worrying you, and forget your sorrow,” advised Anand, Sanjay’s boss.  “Life must go on.  What you need is break, a change of scene.  There is a technical seminar in Chennai next week.  I am sending you to attend it.  It should be of professional interest to you – in fact, I have intimated the organizers that you shall be giving a lecture regarding the successful project you completed last year.  Get busy and banish your sorrow.”

            “It’s easy to mouth platitudes,” thought Sanjay.  He tried to prepare the lecture but could not concentrate.  He had been totally overcome by feelings of hopelessness and a sense of failure.  He had lost his self–confidence.  He looked at his watch – it was six o’clock in the evening; his train was at eight o’clock .  The thought of traveling, facing so many people at the seminar and delivering the lecture – all these induced a strange fear in him.  He was overcome by phobia.  In his frustration, for the first time in his life, he began to drink.  Trying to escape from reality, he drank quite a lot – almost the whole bottle of whisky.  He could vaguely remember Anand taking him to the railway station and helping him to the train.  Anand’s parting words had an ominous ring about them,  “It’s your last chance Sanjay.  To get hold of yourself.”
            Sanjay entered the auditorium and stood near the door, his eyes adjusting to the darkness.  Slowly things began to come into view.  He was late.  The seminar was already in progress.  The auditorium was small and compact.  It was shaped like a quadrant of a circle, with a raised podium in the central.  The rows of seats were arranged in the fashion of curved arcs, split radially in the centre by the aisle.  Each row was raised behind the one in front, in elevated steps, thereby affording each member of the audience a clear view, not only of the speaker, but also of each person sitting in the audience.  Sanjay sat down on a vacant seat in the last row and surveyed his surroundings.  His eyes had adjusted themselves to the subdued lighting and he could see clearly now.  Most of the participants appeared to be professionals, smartly dressed in formal suits, with a sprinkling of academics easily distinguishable by their patent attire of bush-shirts and sandals.  There was also small group of women, dressed in formal saris, sitting diagonally opposite across the aisle.

  As he surveyed the group, his eyes suddenly lit upon a stunningly attractive woman wearing a blue sari.  She was a real beauty.  She radiated an extraordinary sensuousness; of such a degree that Sanjay just could not take his eyes off her.  He felt as if his eyes had locked on to her face.  She exuded a captivating aura about her, which ravished his now hungry eyes.  He feasted his eyes on her lovely face.  She looked pristine – so fresh, so pure.  He was oblivious of his surroundings; he only had eyes for her.  Sanjay was in a haze of delight.  For the first time since his wife’s death did Sanjay feel completely relaxed; once again, he was in harmony with himself.

 At first, didn’t notice the lights being switched on.  He had been completely absorbed by her radiant sensuousness, almost in a trance.  As she got up from her seat, the woman turned and looked at him.  Their eyes met.  He hoped that his genuine adoration had not gone unnoticed.  She gave him a glance that could have meant anything.  No response.  He was disappointed.  But he was not going to give up so easily.
 He caught her eyes again, looking steadily and directly:  passionate admiration and yearning radiating from his eyes.  She held his gaze in a kind of challenge, there was a lengthy pause and then she smiled.  He felt relieved, and elated.  The frank admiration in his eyes had won him a smile.  Her large youthful eyes were now fastened on his.  There was a language in her eyes, which Sanjay could not fully fathom.  Happy and gay, her eyes conveyed a certain naïveté tinged with curiosity, possibly approval.  For Sanjay, it was a moment of supreme satisfaction.  He felt renewed and refreshed.  Suddenly, contact was broken as somebody blocked his line of sight.

  Everyone was walking towards the exit for the tea break.  Sanjay had now lost sight of her.  She had gone out for tea.  Sanjay kept sitting.  The auditorium was now empty.  He closed his eyes in introspection.  He felt calm and serene.  In his mind’s eye he could clearly visualize her exquisite face and magnetic eyes.  And her tantalizing smile – teasing, almost naughty.  Sanjay could not begin to describe the sensation.  She evoked in him.  Certainly it was pleasurable and had a soothing effect on his frayed nerves.  A much needed palliative.

            When Sanjay opened his eyes he noticed that the woman had shifted her seat and was sitting alone, across the aisle, much closer than before, affording a better view.  She was looking at him in a canny manner, and when he caught her eye, she quickly turned her gaze towards the podium.  Sanjay experienced an encouraging flush of self-confidence.  He got up from his seat, moved forward, and took up a strong tactical position.  He now had an unobstructed, clear view of her from the most favorable aspect.  He noticed that her eyes had been tracking him.  He looked into her eyes and smiled.  There was a conspiratorial look in her expressive eyes, at once inviting, and taunting.  She was teasing him with her eyes, as if her stimulus had evoked a response; or was it vice – versa.   
            Encouraged by her enthusiastic response, Sanjay indulged himself lavishly.  He made love to her with his eyes.  She responded with unrestrained zeal, genuine exhilaration pouring out of her eyes.  As their mutual visual interplay became intense, Sanjay was transported to an ecstatic state of supreme bliss.

            Mesmerized in her enchanting eyes, Sanjay was in a delightful trance, oblivious of his surroundings, forgetting his grief.  This immensely enjoyable experience had, at least momentarily, liberated him from his inner tyranny.
            As he walked back to his hotel in the evening Sanjay was bubbling with joy.  He experienced a unique state of awareness and self–confidence.  Renewed and invigorated, he felt on top of the world.  His lecture was scheduled the next day.  His would work hard and make it a success.  He had to do it, at least for her.
 She was his inspiration.  He felt confident.  He was going to give an impressive performance; make a lasting impression on her.  She would never forget him.  Luckily he had got his chance and he was going to make the most of it.  As his thoughts ran on, he felt charged with energy. Sanjay had bounced back into life again.  He felt buoyant, as though he had traveled through a long dark tunnel and, suddenly, burst out into the bright open countryside again. 

            Rajashree lay on her bed, sleep eluding her.  She was in a state of pleasurable excitation.  She felt good; on top of the world.  The day had passed in a haze of delight.  Rajashree had never imagined that such a seemingly trivial experience would give her so much pleasure and bring happiness into her life.  But this was no synthetic experience.  It had been genuine and real – had actually happened to her – and was profoundly affecting her.  She explored her own feelings, the stimulus of the welter of events and her response.
            When she had first noticed the handsome, bearded man staring at her, she had uncomfortable but had resigned herself to his ogling – what she believed was a masculine propensity in Indian society.  Maybe he was just looking in her direction, since she was sitting with a group of women.  She decided to ignore it. In any case, she couldn’t do anything about it.  
But curiosity got the better of her.  After some time she looked in his direction through the corner of her eyes.  He was still looking at her.  She got confused.  “What was his motive?” she wondered.  Was he trying to seduce her?  She dare not smile back or appear too friendly lest he misinterpret it as a sign of easy availability.  Rajashree felt irritated at the invasion of her private space.  His visual intrusion was disturbing the equilibrium of her personal inner zone. 
            Suddenly the lights came on. As she got up she came into eye contact with him.  She tried to avoid his gaze.  But she could not avert the magnetic pull of his eyes.  She looked straight into his eyes, trying to project defiance.  But when she saw the genuine ardor and frank admiration in his eyes, her defenses broke down and she smiled.

            At the tea break, as she picked up a cup of tea, Rajashree searched for him.  He had not come out.  Rajashree sat down in a remote corner.  Sipping her tea, she explored her feelings.  The seemingly trivial encounter had definitely raised her spirits.  She felt good.  Fresh, buoyant and youthful, Rajashree was no clairvoyant to look into the province of Sanjay ’s mind, but she was curious to know the extent of his feelings.
            “What does he want from me? “ she wondered.  “Is he really attracted to me or is it my vicarious imagination titillating me?”

            Rajashree made a spontaneous decision, trusting her intuition.  If he was playing a game, she too would join in.  A bit of harmless flirtation never hurt anyone.  She went into the auditorium and sat on a vacant seat much closer to him.  She noticed that the man was sitting silently with his eyes closed, as if he were meditating.  Even as she was feeling a flush of disappointment, he suddenly opened his eyes.  The astonishment evident in his surprised eyes made her realize that she had been ogling at him unabashedly.  She quickly turned her eyes away in momentary sense of guilty embarrassment, and then recovered.

  He had shifted to a better position and was smiling at her.  She felt a tremor of anticipation at his positive response and teased him with her eyes.  She surrendered herself and her inhibitions to the mysterious rhythm of their spontaneous interaction and locked her eyes into his, radiating unconcealed feelings of joy.  As they made ethereal love to each other with their eyes, she experienced immense enjoyment and unparalleled pleasure.  It was the first genuine physical attraction she had felt for anyone since her bitter divorce.  It had been a long time ago, and not since then had the mere sight of a man aroused the womanhood in her to such an extent.

            Sanjay delivered the lecture with newfound verve, radiating self-confidence and professional competence. Rajashree was sitting in the first row.  From time to time, Sanjay looked at her.  She was directly concentrating on him; the language of her eyes clearly projecting approbation, assurance and encouragement.  Silently, she cheered him on.  She was Sanjay’s inspiration, his motivation and, at that moment, his raison d’etre.

            “As the applause died down, Sanjay sat down on the stage.  He looked at Rajashree.  She gave him a canny look of congratulation, got up from her seat and left the auditorium.  Sanjay, desperately wanted to follow her, but he was helpless.  The chairman was delivering the vote of thanks for him and Sanjay couldn’t possibly leave the stage.
 Time crawled.  Sanjay became anxious.   The chairman was going on and on with his long-winded speech.  Sanjay looked at his watch.  He realized that the chairman had spoken only for five minutes.  But these five minutes were the longest five minutes of Sanjay’s life.

  He was desperate to meet her; afraid he would lose her, forever.   She was the one bright spot in his present life.  He did not want to lose her.  In his frustration, he mentally cursed the speaker for taking so long.  Finally, he could take it no longer.  He excused himself and left the auditorium.
 Outside, he frantically searched for her.  But there was no joy – he drew a blank wherever he looked for her.  Sanjay was crestfallen.  His mind went blank.  Suddenly he felt a tap on his shoulder.  He turned around in anticipation.  He was disappointed.  It was some other woman – one of the seminar delegates.  Probably wanting to compliment him on his lecture.
            “Mr. Sanjay Kulkarni?” the woman delegate queried, her eyes arched.

            He nodded in affirmation.

            “A letter for you,” she said, giving him a synthetic smile; and before he could react, quietly walked away.

            Sanjay tore open the envelope and began to read the letter.  His pulse had quickened and it was only with difficulty that he could concentrate and focus his eyes.

            “Dear Mr. Kulkarni,” the letter began, “or shall I call you Sanjay? Don’t wonder how I have found out your name.  It was announced before your lecture.  I cannot express in words, or begin to describe, the sentiments and feelings you have evoked in me.  The language of our eyes was something that surpassed the language of words and speech.

  I want to cherish those wonderful moments - the sublime experience.  It was the one bright spot in my depressingly vapid life.  I never imagined that such a seemingly trivial occurrence would have such a profound influence on me.  The appreciation and love in your eyes aroused the dormant woman in me.  For years, after my bitter divorce, I had repressed my natural feelings, forgotten the simple joys of living.  
 I saw true love in your eyes and that is why I am afraid of meeting you.  I do not want our beautiful sublime relationship degenerate into something physical.  I feel as if I am caught between two fires – my sense of values and my emotions.  I am experiencing the conflict between the practical and poetic vision of life.  Our strange and brief encounter has awakened the womanhood in me.  I feel youthful and invigorated, but also lonely and vulnerable.  I have fallen in love with you.  That is why I am scared of facing you.  I am afraid I shall ruin everything by succumbing to temptation.  It may lead to something that we both may later regret.

            It may sound strange but the lively experience has also awakened the motherhood in me.  It may appear irrelevant and trivial, but it is true.  I had put my daughter in a boarding school in Ooty.  Maybe I wanted to shield her. Maybe I felt I had no time for her. Only my ambitions, my career mattered.  I had got my priorities wrong.  I was chasing rainbows. 
            Thanks again for the wonderful and enchanting experience.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  I now feel in harmony with myself; don’t want to hide from myself.

  I shall always remember this wonderful encounter and cherish the simple joys of living.  As we made love to each other with our eyes, it appeared as if I had journeyed inwards to explore my true feelings and discover myself.  It has been an enjoyable romance – for this once. Let’s keep it that way.

            With love and best wishes,

                        Sanjay felt jubilant.  Rajashree had fallen in love with him.  He rushed to find the woman who had given him the letter.  Rajashree was staying in the guesthouse – about a mile away.  Sanjay was tired, exhausted, but he walked his fastest mile to the guesthouse.  He saw Rajashree standing at the entrance, a suitcase beside her.  As she saw him, she blushed with surprise.  She felt like a prisoner being caught while escaping.
 “Where are you going?” he asked her.

            Rajashree had recovered enough to smile back, “I am going to Ooty to meet my daughter in boarding school – to bring her home.”

            “I am coming with you,” said Sanjay, and he took Rajashree in his arms held her tightly and whispered in her ear, “From now on, we shall make our journey together.”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Delicious Dining in Pune

A Delicious Maharashtrian Thali in Pune



On the 30th of May, a Sunday, we celebrated our 28th Wedding Anniversary, and celebrated it with a sumptuous family meal, as always, for the past few years, with a hearty delicious pure vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali at Shreyas Siddhi, the airconditioned swanky branch of the original Shreyas on Apte Road near Deccan Gymkhana in Pune.

If you are a true-blue Punekar, I am sure you know all about Shreyas and have savoured the delicious dining experience I am about to describe.

Nowadays, I prefer their branch called Shreyas Siddhi near Swar Gate on Satara Road not only due to its proximity to my home but mainly because of the excellent ambience which facilitates relaxed fulfilling family dining in cool comfort.  

One of my notable marital achievements is that I have managed to transform my darling wife into an avid [or should I say voracious] foodie. Now this is quite a remarkable feat considering that she hardly ever ate anything or never even noticed what she was eating when we first met…in fact earlier she used to eat to survive, now saying that she lives to eat maybe in extremis” but she certainly has developed a penchant for good food and relishes a tasty hearty meal.
Outside the restaurant, in the covered patio, hungry patrons wait patiently for their turn. Maybe they want to make you wait for your food and help build up an appetite and they believe in the adage that if you truly want to enjoy good food you must build up an appetite for it.

The moment you enter the cool confines of Shreyas Siddhi you are greeted by the glorious spectacle of devoted foodies enjoying their food with rapt attention and divine expressions of satiation.

You are guided to a table and you sit down. There is already a sparkling clean
taat with vatis in front of you. There is no menu card and no need for you to waste your time and effort wondering what to order. The waiters will immediately start serving and filling up your plate. You go to Shreyas to eat their delectable and matchless thali, and if you so desire, you can have a sweet dish like Gulab Jam, Modak, Fruit Salad, Basundi, Aamras or Amrakhand to accompany.
The fare varies, and on our latest visit for lunch this Sunday, there was the inimitable ambrosial Aloo Chi Bhaji, excellent Matki Usal, Soothing Soul Kadhi, delicious Umti, zesty Batata Bhaji, Soft melt-in-the-mouth Surali Chya Wadya, Soft Chappaties, Puris, Veg Pulao, Rice with Waran and a liberal topping of pure ghee, Rich Masale Bhat, and the usual Koshimbir, Chutney, Papad, with cool refreshing taak (buttermilk) to wash down the meal.

My darling wife relished her mandatory steamed
ukdi cha modak with pure ghee and my son polished off a lip smacking basundi
- I tasted both - simply superb!

You can eat to your heart's content –
as they say – as all the dishes, everything, is unlimited. And as a grand finale to the fulfilling meal they serve a very refreshing Vida (paan) to enhance the intoxicating sensation you will feel after relishing this magnificent meal.

Did I say “intoxication”?

Yes… intoxication…not the alcoholic kind, but non-alcoholic intoxication at its best. If you truly want to savor this delicious pure vegetarian cuisine, you must build up an appetite for it, and don’t make the mistake of ruining your experience by having a pre-meal appertif before you start off for the place. I think that’s true for all gourmet food, isn't it…?
I will not try and describe the delicious dishes. I cannot. Words fail me to recreate the pristine impeccable flavors, aromas, textures and tastes. It’s unmatched delectable top-quality authentic Puneri Maharashtrian cuisine at its best. It’s an “unlimited” meal and you can feast and satiate yourself to your heart’s content.
If you are in Pune, or the next time you visit Pune, have a delicious unforgettable meal at Shreyas. It is truly value for money authentic cuisine, a hundred and forty rupees for a thali (they give a discount for senior citizens too). Do have a meal at Shreyas. You will carry with you mouthwatering memories of the delightful feast for a long long time.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work 

If you are interested in Good Food and believe in the adage: There is no greater love than the love of eating then I am sure you will like my foodie adventures book  Appetite for a Stroll