Thursday, May 26, 2011

MONSOON WEDDING

MONSOON WEDDING

Please click the link above and read on my creative writing blog on sulekha.
Regards
Vikram Karve

THE PUNTER

THE PUNTER

Click the link above and read the story of a Bull a Bear and a Punter on my academic and creative writing journal
Regards
Vikram Karve

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE PUNTER

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE PUNTER

Please click the link above and read the story on my Academic and Creative Writing Blog
Regards
Vikram Karve
http://karvediat.blogspot.com



Saturday, May 21, 2011

ZOMBIE

ZOMBIE

ZOMBIE
THE SUCKER PUNCH
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
From my Creative Writing Archives - Short Fiction - A Romance
It all started when my wife discovered that I was having an affair.

She flew down to Delhi by the first available flight and confronted me.

Guilt ridden, I confessed the truth.

She asked for divorce.

I agreed.

Under the circumstances she was fully justified.

Also, I had fallen genuinely in love with Anita.

A year later, Alka and I were formally divorced by mutual consent and I married Anita.
Actually it all started because we bought that luxurious 3 BHK apartment in that posh township in Aundh.

We should have been happy and content staying in our cosy little rented apartment in the heart of Pune but the lure of owning one’s own dream house, that too in a high-falutin locality, was too strong a desire to withstand, and everyone said that the way real estate was shooting up, it was a life-time chance and fantastic investment too.
Buying the house meant two things.

First, my wife Alka had to start working again to help pay the housing loan EMIs.

Second, we had to postpone our immediate plans for a second child, a companion for our three year old daughter Sneha.
Everything was fine.

Our work life and our family life – in fact, despite the hiatus she had taken to have the baby, my wife was doing very well, and thanks to the IT boom, she got fast promotions and even her salary had become more than mine.
Then one day, suddenly, my firm was acquired by some wise guy in the States, merged with his bigger firm, who decided to transfer the Pune operations to the main facility at Gurgaon, near Delhi , and sell off the Pune office, its vast real estate and extensive assets for an exorbitant sum of money and make a huge profit.

It made business sense too, having everything in one place.

Though I had to relocate to Gurgaon, it was with a big promotion and huge pay hike.
Alka could have come with me to Gurgaon.

But she didn’t want to give up her job, where she was doing extremely well, and more importantly she didn’t want to leave our dream home in Aundh which we had painstakingly adorned and embellished so lovingly, that locking it up and not staying it would be a pity, selling it or renting it out would be sacrilege.

And Sneha, our darling daughter, was so well settled, doing so well in her excellent school just opposite our house, so engrossed with her friends, her creative hobby classes, her games, her routine, everything, that it would be cruel to dislocate her joyful and happy life.
I could have changed my job and stayed on in Pune too.

But here I couldn’t even dream of getting the position and pay I was being offered in Gurgaon.

Maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, my wife earning more than me here in Pune had irked my male ego, and now, once I went to Gurgaon, I would be way ahead of her, both salary and position wise.

Tell me, which husband likes to be inferior to his wife...?
Or maybe, we both were in competition with each other...!
So we began this long distance marriage.

Meeting whenever could, planning family vacations to exotic locations, trying to spend “quality time” together – but as everyone knows this is all a fa├žade, a masquerade that all actors in a long distance relationship go through, enact, perform, for the others’ sake, maybe to soothe one’s own guilt.
And then it happened - the affair with my colleague Anita.

It didn’t happen suddenly. It was no one-night-stand. It was a full-fledged love affair. It happened slowly and surely, as it probably happens to most lovelorn couples suffering the void of a long distance marriage.
It all started as a harmless workplace friendship. Then a bit of light-hearted flirting, a hint of flippant romance. As time passed we became closer and closer, spent more and more time together, at work and off work, and our relationship blossomed.
It was silly of me to assume that I could keep my friendship with an attractive single woman like Anita purely platonic, for she was as lonely as I.

We started having a passionate affair and fell in love with each other – I still don’t know which happened first...!
It was just a matter of time before rumours reached Alka’s ears.

The way Anita and me were brazenly at it, I wonder how it took so much time...!
And then one day, out of the blue, suddenly, Alka landed up, confronted me, I confessed, we got divorced through mutual consent, and I married Anita.
Three years later we sat anxiously in the clinic. We sat in the clinic because Anita hadn’t been able to conceive a baby.
For the first year of our marriage we planned not to have a baby, focussed on our careers, enjoyed ourselves.
The next year, we were carefree, let nature take its own course, and left it to chance.
The third year, we desperately tried to have a baby, as Anita had crossed thirty. And as time passed, disappointment turned into anxiety, and then the panic set it.
And so we sat in the clinic waiting for the doctor.
“There’s good news for you,” the doctor said to Anita reading the reports.
“I’m okay...?” asked Anita excitedly.
“Absolutely okay...!” the doctor said to Anita, “you are fully fit to have a baby.”
“Then what’s wrong? Why can’t she conceive?” I asked.
“The problem is with you, Sir,” the doctor said to me, “you are sterile.”
“What…?” I shouted dumbfounded.
“But he is so good …” Anita exclaimed incredulously.
“Wait…Wait…Just wait a minute...” the doctor said to Anita, “I’m sure he is good. But please try to understand – there is a difference between impotence and sterility…”
“What nonsense...!” I said angrily, “I am not sterile or anything...! Let me tell you that I am fully virile. I have a daughter from my earlier marriage.”
“Not possible!” the doctor said emphatically, “You could never have fathered a child in your entire life…you have congenital, incurable, permanent…come inside…I’ll explain it in detail…”
“Then who fathered my daughter...?” I screamed hysterically, my brain spinning crazily like a vortex.
“That’s for you to find out...” the doctor said dispassionately, and he continued speaking, but I could not discern a word of what he was saying as my mind went blank in an abyss of silence, a deafening silence, and I continued to stare at him like a zombie.
ZOMBIE
THE SUCKER PUNCH
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
VIKRAM KARVE
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.

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 stories in COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:


About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm

Fiction Short Stories Book


© vikram karve., all rights reserved.



Monday, May 16, 2011

RAMBLINGS OF A WANNABE WRITER

RAMBLINGS OF A WANNABE WRITER

RAMBLINGS OF A WANNABE WRITER
By
VIKRAM KARVE

According to my wife, work means physical effort. In her parlance, work is associated with physical labour. There must be some visible physical effort, some movement involved – yes, physical movement is the key attribute defining work. That’s why when I was in the Navy my wife was very happy, since, according to her, I was “working” very hard. In the Navy there is a lot of physical movement, everyone and everything is moving all the time, and so was I. (There is a saying in the Navy: If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; and if you can't pick it up, paint it. So everyone was on the move all the time – saluting, picking up things and painting things they could not pick up!). My wife loved to see me on the move all the time and when I returned home physically exhausted after a hard day of “work” she was convinced that I was working very hard.

“I wish you had never retired,” my wife moans, “you just don’t do any work now-a-days. All you do is sit at home in front of your laptop whole day.”

“What about those techies – those IT Nerds?” I ask, “they sit on their backsides all day in comfortable air-conditioned offices, are transported back and forth to office in company buses, have a relaxed five day week and all the perks – they don’t even have to lift a finger.”

“They earn loads of money,” my sister-in-law says.

Oh, so that’s the second definition of work. Work is associated with earning money. The more money you earn, the more you are working – the amount you work is directly proportional to the amount of money you earn.

That’s funny. Whereas physical effort counts as work, whether you earn money or not, intellectual effort does not count as work, unless it earns you a lot of money. To put it in gobbledygook: Physical Work and Money may be mutually independent of each other; whereas Intellectual Work and Money are mutually interdependent, in fact, the quantum of intellectual work is measured the amount of money you earn for doing that work.

Now-a-days I am a wannabe writer. I spend my whole day reading, writing, surfing the internet and blogging (hardly any visible physical effort involved). At present, my writing does not earn me any money. Yes, I have published a book (which has not earned me any money, at least till now), I am an avid blogger and write a blog post almost every day (this doesn’t earn me any money too), and the novel I am trying to write (My wife wonders whether it will see the light of day and God knows when it will earn me any money) – so it is simple – I don’t do any work – I am a lazy good-for-nothing guy wasting my time and doing nothing.

Maybe the novel I am writing will become a bestseller and earn me some money. Maybe someone will buy the movie rights of my novel and I may rake in the moolah – then the “effort” I am putting in my writing will qualify as “work”. Till then, as far as my darling “hard working” wife is concerned, the only “work” I do is to take my pet dog Sherry for a walk in the morning and in the evening!

“You are such a qualified, experienced and talented guy. Why are you not working? Why do you sit at home whole day doing nothing? I am sure you can get a good job; as an Engineer, Designer, Manager, Consultant, ISO Auditor, HR Trainer, even as a Professor – you don’t know your true worth – you can earn lots of money. Even if you want to write, the least you can do is write some professional stuff instead of writing mushy fiction which no one reads. Look at that Short Stories Book Cocktail you published recently - how may copies have been sold, how much money have you made from it? Don't be a loser - wake up and get cracking before it is too late - opportunities that are waiting for you now won't last forever. Just get this writing bug out of your head.”

I have to hear all these taunts all the time from all sorts of people. Yes, it’s true, I have got many lucrative job offers. I can easily get a good job and “work” whole day. But why don’t they understand? I don’t want a “job”. I want to write fiction. I want to write a novel. I want to write stories. I have found my “calling” – I have discovered my metier, my true vocation – creative writing.

I want to spend the rest of life writing, surrounded by my books and my diaries in which I have made notes all these years, in front of my laptop, researching on the internet, hammering away at the keyboard, writing fiction. Yes, I am going to write – I will write my novel, I will write on my blog, I will write short stories, I will write whatever I want to write – but I am going to write, and I am going to focus on writing what I like best - fiction.

Well, if you think I am wasting my time doing nothing – so be it. To those who say that I don’t do any work, good luck to you – I just don’t care what you say. Because I am going to be busy writing. I know that this is hard work and I am working harder than I ever worked in my whole life, though it is not visible to you – either by way of physical effort or earning money.

And whenever I get the writer’s block, I’ll go off on a walk thinking creative thoughts with my pet dog Sherry who seems to be the only person who understands me.

I’ll end with an anecdote, a true story, narrated by a famous writer.

The writer’s wife scolded him: “You say that you are a writer but I hardly see you writing. Most of the time you relax in your chair with your eyes closed.”

“I am “writing” all the time,” the writer said, “you know what creative writing is? Writing is 90% creative thinking and only 10% is the physical process of writing.”


To be continued …

VIKRAM KARVE

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: My Monkey Trap

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: My Monkey Trap

My Monkey Trap

MY MONKEY TRAP
A Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE


“Come, Vijay,” Captain Naik said, leading me into his study, “I’ll show you something interesting.”

He opened a cupboard, pulled out a strange-looking contraption and laid it on the table.

I looked at the odd device, confused but curious.

The peculiar apparatus consisted of a whole hollowed-out spherical coconut shell attached to a solid iron chain, about two feet long, with a large metal stake at the other end.

“You know what this is?” Captain Naik asked me.

“No,” I answered.

“I got this in Penang when I was cadet, almost thirty years ago,” Captain Naik said, picking up the coconut in his left hand, holding the chain in his right.

He looked at me and explained: “This is a monkey trap. The hollowed-out coconut is filled with some cooked rice through this small hole, chained to the stake which is driven firmly into the ground.”

Captain Naik pointed to the small hole at the top of the coconut and said, “Look at this hole. It is just big enough so that the monkey’s hand to go in, but too small for his fist filled with rice to come out. The greedy monkey reaches in, grabs the rice and is suddenly trapped. Because his greed won’t allow him to let go of the rice and extricate his hand, the monkey remains trapped, a victim of his greed, until he is captured.”

I listened, curious.

“The monkey cannot see that freedom without the rice is more valuable than capture with it,” Captain Naik said, and then he concluded with these words addressed to me, “That’s what happens to most of us. Probably it’s the story of your life too. Think about it.”

I thought about it and said, “Suppose I quit the merchant navy. What will I do?”

“Why don’t you join me?” Captain Naik suggested, “It’s a comfortable job. It’s professionally satisfying, and you will have plenty of time for your family too. Besides, I need people like you. Of course, you won’t get your thousands of dollars, but the pay here is quite good by Indian standards.”

Captain Naik was the director of a maritime training institute in Goa, running various courses for merchant navy officers. It was a lovely self-contained campus on the shores of the Arabian Sea.

At first I wondered whether he had a vested interest, but I knew that was not true. Captain Naik had been my mentor and well-wisher; it was he who had groomed me when I had been a cadet on his ship many years ago, and always showered me with his patronage later too, when I was a junior officer. That’s why I had made it a point to visit him the moment my ship touched Murmagao port.

For the next six months, as I sailed on the high seas, I could not forget the ‘monkey trap’ – in fact, the story of the Monkey Trap haunted me.

I pondered over the matter; let the story perambulate in my mind, and one day I knew what my decision would be.

But first, I would have to discuss it with my wife.

Truly speaking, that was not really necessary.

My wife would be the happiest person on earth.

For I could clearly recall every word of that vicious argument we had just before I left my home to sail out to sea on my long eight month contract as the Master of this ship about seven months ago.

It was our tenth wedding anniversary and we had thrown a small party.

As I walked towards the kitchen door, I noticed my wife, Anjali, engrossed in a conversation with her childhood friend Meena, their backs turned toward me.

“Tell me, Anjali,” Meena was saying, “If you could live your life again, what is the one thing you would like to change?”

“My marriage…!” Anjali answered.

I was so stunned that I stopped in my tracks, dumbstruck. I recovered my wits and I turned away from the kitchen door and returned to the party.

After the party was over, I confronted Anjali, “What were you doing in the kitchen all the time with that Meena friend of yours? You should have circulated amongst the important guests,”

“I feel out of place in your shippie crowd,” Anjali answered.

“My shippie crowd…!” I thundered. “And you regret marrying me, do you?”

I paused for a moment, and then said firmly, “Listen Anjali, you better stop associating with riffraff like Meena. Please get rid of your middle-class mentality. Think of our status.”

“Riffraff…!” Anjali was staring at me incredulously, “I too was also what you call ‘riffraff’ once. And I was quite happy too with my so-called middle class mentality! What’s the use of all these material comforts and all this money and so-called status? None of it can compensate for the companionship and security of a husband. It is painful for me to stay alone for most of my life when you are away at sea. The terrible loneliness, it is corrosive; and it is eating into me. Sometimes I feel you just wanted a caretaker to look after your parents, your house, and of course, now to bring up your children; a sentry to hold the fort while you gallivant around the world for months at a time. And that’s why you married a simple middle-class girl like me; or rather you bought me! That’s what you think, isn’t it…?”

I winced when she said, ‘bought’.

But in a certain way, I knew it was true, and that is why I lost my temper and shouted, “I don’t gallivant around – It’s hard earned money I have to slog and undergo hardship for! I do it for all of you. And yes indeed! I bought you. Yes I may have bought you…but that is because you were willing to sell yourself. Remember one thing. No one can buy anything unless someone is willing to sell it.”

I instantly regretted my words realizing that they would only worsen the gaps in our relationship – gaps I had failed to fill all these ten years by expensive gifts and material comforts and gaps which kept becoming bigger and bigger with time.

That is what I was always doing – always trying to use money to fill gaps in our relationship.

And now, I was flying home after handing over command – for the last time.

This was my last ship.

I had made my decision.

It was probably the meeting with Captain Naik and the ‘monkey trap’ which clinched the issue, but my decision was final.

I had even written to him that I would be joining him at his maritime training institute in a month or so.

But I did not write or tell Anjali.

For her I wanted it to be a surprise – the happiest moment of her life!

And for me too.

I did not hire a luxury air-conditioned taxi from Mumbai airport to take me directly to my house in Pune like I always did. I knew I would have to get used to a bit of thrift and frugality and have a less lavish lifestyle in the future.

So, from Mumbai airport, I took a bus to Dadar Railway Station and caught the Deccan Express at seven in the morning.

I was travelling light – no expensive gifts this time, and it being off-season, I was lucky to get a seat in an unreserved second-class compartment.

When I reached home at about lunch time, I was shocked to find my wife Anjali missing.

My old parents were having lunch by themselves; my children were at school.

When Anjali arrived at two in the afternoon, I was stunned by the metamorphosis in her appearance – designer dress, fashionable jewellery, hair done up, fancy make-up – painted like a doll; in short, the works.

“What a surprise!” she exclaimed on seeing me. “Why didn’t you call up and tell us you were coming…?”

“Anjali, I want to talk to you. It is something important,” I said.

“Not now,” she said, almost ignoring me. “I am already late. I just came for a quick change of clothes. Something suitable for the races…”

“Races…?” I asked flabbergasted as I could not believe my ears.

“Don’t you know? Today is Derby Day – I am going to see the Pune Derby at the Turf Club in the afternoon. Mrs. Shah is coming to pick me up. You know her, don’t you…the one whose husband is working in the Gulf. And you better buy me a new car.”

“New car…?” I asked dumbfounded.

“The old one looks cheap. I hate to be seen in it. It doesn’t befit our status at all. We must have something good – the latest luxury limousine. I know we can afford it.”

The next few days passed in a haze of confusion, punctuated by one surprise after another from Anjali. She wanted a deluxe flat in one of those exclusive townships, to send our children to an elite boarding school in Mussoorie, membership to time-share holiday resorts, a farmhouse near Lonavala, and so on and on – her demands were endless.

And in between she would ask me, “Vijay, I hope you are happy that I am trying to change myself. I am getting rid of my stupid middle class mentality. It’s all for your sake. You were right. It is money and status that matter. Without a standard of living, there can be no quality of life…!”

I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

That she was once a simple domesticated middle-class girl whose concept of utopia was a happy family life was now but a distant memory to her.

Anjali was no longer the simple girl I once knew - she has metamorphosed into a high-society wife.

To ‘belong’ was now the driving force of her life.

I wish I could give this story a happy ending.

But I will tell you what actually happened.

First, I rang up my shipping agent in Mumbai and told him to get me the most lucrative contract to go to sea as soon as possible.

Then I wrote a long letter to Captain Naik regretting my inability to join him immediately.

But I also wrote in that letter asking him to keep his offer of the teaching job open just in case there was a reverse transformation in Anjali – back to her earlier self.

I am an optimist and I think it will happen someday.

And I hope the day comes fast – when both of us, Anjali and I, can free ourselves from the Monkey Traps of our own making.

Dear Reader, close your eyes and ponder a bit.

Have you entangled yourself in monkey traps of your own making…?

Think about it…!

Reflect…!

And in your mind’s eye visualize all your very own self-created Monkey Traps in which you have entangled yourself.

What are you waiting for?

The solution is in your hands.

Just let go, and free yourself.

But is it that easy?

Ask yourself – What is more important: Freedom or golden manacles…?

What do you value more: standard of living or quality of life…?

I wonder if I shall ever be able to free myself from the manacles of the ‘Monkey Trap’ of my own making and can my high society wife ever become the simple middle-class girl I once knew … ?

I sometimes wonder: “Is it true that without a standard of living, there can be no quality of life ... ?”


VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 stories in COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Fiction Short Stories Book

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.