Tuesday, November 28, 2006



My name is Sherry. I am a naughty young girl, I’m over seven months old and I live with my family in a lovely spacious bungalow surrounded by plenty of greenery.

I wake up early in the morning, jump off my sofa, go to my father’s bed, rub my cold wet nose against his hand and give him a lick. He grunts and growls and opens his sleepy eyes, and the moment he sees me his face lights up and he lovingly caresses me and says, “Good Morning, Sherry,” and gets up from bed and opens the main door to let me jump out into the garden, do my ‘little job’ at my favorite place near the mango tree, generally dig in the soft morning mud a bit and sniff around to find out if there are any new morning smells, not forgetting to run and welcome the milkman the moment he comes on his cycle.

When I return I find that my father is back in his bed and my mother is up and about. She pats and cuddles me and goes about her business making tea in the kitchen while I loiter around the house. She surreptitiously sneaks to the bedroom and slyly hands over a tidbit to my half sleeping father under the blanket when she thinks I am not looking. I pretend not to notice, as I do not want to spoil their fun. Earlier, when I was small and impatient, I used to snuffle out the tidbit from my father’s hand, but this spoilt his fun and he became grumpy, and now that I am a mature young girl well experienced in the ways of the human world I have realized that it is better to act dumb and let these humans think they are smarter than me. So I go outside, sit down and put on a look of anticipation towards the gate and pretend not to notice my mother hiding and peeping through the corner of the window and giggling to herself.

The moment the newspaperman comes on his cycle and shouts ‘paper’, I rush to the gate and fetch the newspaper in my mouth, gripping it just right between my teeth, and hold it up to my horizontal father, who gets up, takes the paper from me and gives me the dog-biscuit he’s been hiding in his hand, as my mother, who has rushed behind me, watches me with loving pride in her eyes. My brother and my sister, who till now were fast asleep in the other room, call out my name, and as I dart between their beds wagging my tail, they both hug and cuddle me all over saying, “Good Morning, Sherry. Sherry is a good girl!” Everyone is cheerful and happy and my day has begun!

I love my family, even though they are humans; and I love my house, my surroundings, the place I stay, the life I live – but before I tell you all that, let me tell you where I came from.

My ‘ birth-mother’ is a ferocious Doberman who lives in a bungalow in Kothrud and my ‘dog-father’ is unknown, though they suspect it may be the Labrador next door (but the vet wanted proof, so in the column against breed he wrote ‘Doberman X’). I was a sickly weakling, hardly a month old, the only girl, last of the litter of eleven, and the owners were wondering what to do with me. Nine of my handsome brothers had already been selected and taken away, and the owners wanted to keep the tenth, the most beautiful and healthy of them all. They had kept me all alone separated from my ferocious Doberman mother who was growling menacingly in a cage nearby. No one wanted me and I could hear people whispering how ugly and weak I was and I wondered what fate lay in store for me. It hurt to be unwanted and when I heard people wanting to send me away to a farmhouse, or ‘dispose’ me of, I felt frightened when I wondered what was going to be my destiny.

One evening a few people came over and a gentle woman with kindness in her eyes looked at me, and on the spur of the moment lovingly picked me up, and the way she tenderly snuggled me I felt true love for the first time. This was my new mother. They got into a car and drove across Pune, past Aundh, across the river, till they reached a bungalow. The kind woman was wondering what her husband’s reaction would be. It was dark. I was scared and cuddled up snugly my mother’s arms to feel safer.

Suddenly I found a tough-looking bearded man staring at me. Shivering with fear I looked back at him in terror as he extended his hands towards me. But the moment he held me in his large cozy hands, caressed me lovingly and put his finger tenderly in my mouth, I felt protected, loved, safe and secure. This was my new father and he had already decided my name – Sherry – the same name of his earlier canine ‘daughter’. [‘Sherry’ means ‘beloved’ – not the wine drink you are thinking about!].

“She was destined to come here,” my mother said.
“Yes,” My father said feeding me warm milk.

They made a nice warm bed for me in a basket and put it below theirs. And as I drifted into sleep, they both fondled me with their hands. I felt so wonderful and happy for the first time in my life. I had found my true home and my family.

I am feeling quite sleepy now and I’ll end here and have a nap. If you want to know more about me, my delightfully mischievous life, and the naughty things I do, please let me know and I’ll tell you all about it!

To be continued…

Copyright 2006 Vikram Karve



Friday, November 24, 2006

The Muse by Vikram Karve

(A fiction short story)

What is the best way to kill a lazy hot afternoon in South Mumbai?

You can go window-shopping on Colaba Causeway; enjoy a movie at Eros or Regal; loaf aimlessly around Churchgate, Fountain, Gateway of India or on the Marine Drive; leisurely sip chilled beer at Gaylord, Leopold, Sundance or Mondegar; browse at the Oxford Book Store or in the Mumbai University Library under the Rajabai clock-tower; watch cricket sitting under the shade of a tree at the Oval; visit the Museum; or, if you are an art lover, admire the works of budding artists on display in the numerous art galleries in the Kalaghoda art district.

That’s what I decide to do. At 11 o’clock in the morning I stand at the entrance of the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kalaghoda in Mumbai. I walk into the exhibition hall to my right. The art gallery has just opened and I am the first visitor. Standing all alone in hall, in peaceful silence, surrounded by paintings adorning the pristine white walls, I experience a feeling of soothing tranquility – a serene relaxing calm – and for the first time after many hectic, harried and stressed days, I experience an inner peace and comforting silence within me and, at that moment, I know what it feels like to be in harmony with oneself.

I leisurely look around at the paintings. I see a familiar face in a portrait. An uncanny resemblance to someone I know. The face on the canvas stares back at me. Comprehension strikes like a thunderbolt. It’s me! Yes – it’s me! No doubt about it! Someone has painted my portrait, my own face.

I look at myself. I like what I see. It is a striking painting, crafted to the point of the most eloquent perfection. I am amazed at the painter’s precise attention to detail – my flowing luxuriant black hair, delicate nose, large expressive eyes, even my beauty spot, the tiny mole on my left cheek; the painter has got everything right. Never before have I looked so beautiful; even in a photograph. My face looks so eye-catching that I can’t help admiring myself – like Narcissus.

I look at the title of the painting on a brass tally below – My Lovely Muse. Muse? I’ve never modeled for anyone in my life. Who can it be? Suddenly I notice a wizened old man staring at me. He looks at the painting and then at me, and gives me a knowing smile.

“Excuse me, Sir,” I ask him, “do you know the artist who painted this?”

“I’m the painter,” a gruff voice says behind me. I turn around and look at the man. With his flowing beard, unkempt hair and disheveled appearance he looks like a scruffy scarecrow. Unrecognizable. But the yearning look of frank admiration in his eyes gives him away. No one else has ever looked at me in that way and I know he is still desperately in love with me.

“Do I see the naughty boy I once knew hiding behind that horrible shaggy beard?” I say to him.

“Do I see the bubbly and vivacious girl I once knew hiding inside the beautiful woman standing in front of me?” he responds.

“You look terrible,” I say.

“You look lovely – like a flower in full bloom,” he says.

I feel good. Aditya may be in love with me, but there is no pretence about him. I know the compliment is genuine.

“Come, Anu,” he says taking my arm, “let me show you my work.” And as we walk around he explains the themes, nuances and finer points of each painting.

Here I feel a sense of timelessness – a state of supreme bliss. I wish this were my world; sublime, harmonious, creative. I wish I’d stayed on; not burnt my bridges. Or have I ?

“Let’s eat, I’m hungry,” Aditya interrupts my train of thoughts.

“Khyber?” I ask.

“No. I can’t afford it,” he says.

“I can.”

“The treat’s on me. Let’s go next door to Samovar and have the stuffed parathas you loved once upon a time.”

“I still do,” I say, and soon we sit in Café Samovar enjoying a lazy unhurried lunch relishing delicious stuffed parathas.

“What time do you have to go?”

“I’ll collect the visa from Churchgate at four and then catch the flight at night.”

“Churchgate? I thought the visa office was at Breach Candy!”

“That’s the American visa. It’s already done. The British visa office is at Churchgate.”

“Wow! You are going to England too?”

“Of course. US, UK, Europe, Singapore. Globetrotting. The next few months are going to be really hectic. It’s a huge software development project.”

“Lucky you! It must be so exciting. You must love it!”

“I hate it!”


“It’s unimaginable agony. Sitting in front of a computer for hours and hours doing something I don’t like.”

“You don’t like it? Then why do you do it?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “Aditya, do you know what the tragedy of my life is?”

“My biggest misfortune is that I am good at things I don’t like.”

“Don’t tell me!”

“I hated Maths, but was so good at it that I landed up in IIT doing Engineering, and that too Computers.”

“But you’re damn good. A genius at computers. That’s why they are sending abroad aren’t they? The youngest and brightest project manager! You told me that.”

“Being good at work is different from liking it. You know, the thing I despise the most – sitting like a Zombie in front of the monitor for hours, discussing tedious technical mumbo jumbo with nerds I find insufferable. It’s painful, but then I am the best software expert in the company, the IT whiz-kid!”

“Yes. I know. It’s true. It is indeed a great tragedy to be so good at something you hate doing. That’s why I quit practice and am doing my first love – painting. I don’t know how good I am but I certainly love doing it.”

“But you are so good. Must be minting money.”

“Not at all. I told you I couldn’t afford Khyber. Just about make ends meet.”

“I thought artists make a lot of money. The art market is booming.”

“Only the established ones. I’m still struggling.”

“Come on, Aditya. Don’t joke. Tell me, how can you afford to have your exhibition here in Jehangir?”

“There’s a patron. An old lady. She encourages budding artists like me. She’s given me a place for my studio.”

“Just like that?”

“Yes. There are still a few such people left in this world. I present her a painting once in a while,” he pauses and says, “But today I’m going to be lucky. Looks like My Lovely Muse is going to fetch me a good price. Thanks to you!”

“Thanks to me?”

“You are the model.”

“I never modeled for you!”

“You don’t have to. You image is so exquisitely etched in my mind’s eye that I can even paint you in the nude.”

“Stop it!” I say angrily, but inside me I feel a kind of stirring sensation.

“Tell me about yourself, Anu,” Aditya says, changing the subject.

“I told you. About my boring work. And you won’t understand much about software. Spare me the agony. I just don’t want to talk about it.”

“You still paint?”

“No. I stopped long ago. At IIT.”


“No time. Too much study, I guess. And the techie crowd.”

“You should start. You’re good. You’ve got a natural talent.”

“It’s too late. That part of me is dead. Now, it’s work and meeting deadlines. An intellectual sweatshop.”

“Come on Anu; cheer up. Tell me about your love life?”

“The company is taking care of that too! They are trying to get me hooked to some high flier Project Manager in my team.”

“Don’t tell me? What’s his name?”


“Wow! Anu and Anand! Made for each other!”

“You know they set us up as per their convenience, facilitate working together all the time, encourage office romance, and even give us a dating allowance.”

“Dating allowance? Office romance! It’s crazy! But why?”

“Helps reduce attrition, they say; makes people stay on in the company. Nerds understand each other better; can cope better together, at work and at home. That’s what they say. Smart fellows, those guys in HR - they try and team us up as it suits them. They are dangling carrots too – like this trip abroad. They’ve even promised us a posting together to Singapore on a two year contract, if things work out.”

“It’s great!”

“Great? Are you crazy? Just imagine living full-time with a boring number crunching nerd all my life, doing nothing but being buried in software, day in and day out. I shiver at the very thought.”

“Tell me, who would you like to marry?”

“I don’t know.”

“Someone like me?”

“Come on, be serious.”

“I’m serious. We could paint together, do all the creative stuff you always wanted to do. Live a good life.”

‘Let’s go,” I say changing the topic.

“Anu. Remember. If you love flowers, become a gardener. Don’t curb your creativity. A lifetime of having to curb the expression of original thought often culminates in one losing one’s ability to express.”

“I’ve got to go, Aditya. It’s almost four. The visa should be ready by now.”

“Wait. Let me give you a parting gift to remember me by.”

Aditya calls the curator and tells him to gift wrap and pack My Lovely Muse.

“Sir, we’ll get a good price for it. I’ve already got an offer,” the curator says.

“It’s not for sale,” Aditya says, “It’s a gift from an Artist to his Muse.”

I am overcome by emotion at his loving gesture. I look at Aditya. He is really deeply in love with me. Me too. Tears well up in my eyes. My throat chokes. My heart aches. I find myself imprisoned between the two different worlds – Aditya’s and mine.

But soon the rational side of me takes charge, and as we part, Aditya says, “Bye, Anu. Remember. If you can do something well, enjoy doing it and feel proud of doing it, then that’s your perfect métier. There’s no point living a lie. You’ve got to find yourself.”

I hold out my hand. He presses my hand fondly and says, “Start painting. You must always do what you love to do. That’s the highest value use of time – time spent on doing what you want to do.”

“And the lowest?” I ask.

“Doing what you don’t like just because others want you to do it.”

“Or maybe for money!”


I get into a taxi and drive away form his world, my dream-world; into the material world of harsh reality.

In the evening, I sit by the sea, at the southern tip of Marine Drive and watch the glorious spectacle of sunset. As I watch the orange sun being gobbled up the calm blue sea, and crimson petals form in the sky, my mobile phone rings. It’s Anand, my Project Manager, with whom my romance is being contrived, from the airport. “Hey, Anuradha. The flight is at 10, check in begins at 8; make sure you are there on time. Terminal 2A.”

“I’m not coming,” I say.

“What do you mean you’re not coming?” Anand shouts from the other end.

“I mean I’m not coming,” I say calmly.

“Why? What’s wrong? Someone made you a better offer?”

“It’s nothing like that. I’m going back to the world where I really belong,” I say.

“Where are you? How can you ditch us like this at the last moment?” he pleads.

I know this is the defining moment of my life. It’s now or never. I have to burn my bridges now. “I have made my decision, Anand. I am not coming back. I have to discover my true self, do what I want, be happy from the inside. I’m sorry, Anand. I’m sure you’ll find someone else, at work and for yourself. Best of luck!”

I switch off my cell-phone. I look at it. The last of the manacles! Deliberately, I throw the mobile phone into the Arabian Sea.

And then I begin walking towards the place where I know I’ll find Aditya. And I will return to the world where I really belong to be my own Muse!

Copyright 2006 Vikram Karve



Thursday, November 23, 2006


The Art of HappinessByVikram Karve
The primary aim of philosophy and spirituality is to help ordinary people live a life of happiness, fulfillment and tranquility. Every day you ask yourself - How do I live a happy life? Is it simple to be happy? What is the art of happiness? Let us see what the Taoist philosopher Mingliaotse has to say: “ The art of attaining happiness consists in keeping your pleasures mild.” You know that whenever pleasure is present you are happy – this is a fact that cannot be denied – for a pleasure is an enjoyable event or delightful emotion which is bound to make you happy, at least for that moment.Highfalutin philosophers and spiritual gurus may prescribe various impracticable esoteric paths of renunciation, asceticism or sectarian precepts eschewing enjoyment and pleasure as the sine qua non of happiness but the fact of the matter is that to the ordinary person happiness and pleasure are inextricably intertwined.Discovering enduring pleasures which you can easily and regularly achieve, realize and enjoy in your day-to-day life will produce contentment, fulfillment and happiness.No pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but wanton pursuit of pleasures is counterproductive as it leads to over-indulgence and excesses which bring with them disturbances which are detrimental to our happiness and well-being. In your search for happiness you indulge in extravagant parties, expensive entertainments and try to enjoy everything at once, instant gratification by over-indulgence in wining, dining and dancing, stretching yourself to the maximum limits possible; at first you enjoy yourself and feel happy but when you come to the point of satiety you begin to feel a sense of repulsion, and if you overdo yourself, next morning wake up sick and feeling miserable with a sense of sadness rather than happiness. Grandiose, complicated, ostentatious and intemperate indulgences which you think will make you happy , in actual fact leaves you stressed-out, unhappy and causes you harm in the long run.There is no need to overdo things in order to be happy. Just keep your pleasures mild. Enjoying a simple, tasty and healthy meal with your loved one’s and friends, or just sitting quietly and leisurely reading a good book, taking a walk enjoying melodious music, enjoying your work, leisure, hobbies are some mild pleasures which will make you happy and keep you healthy too.It is simple to be happy. The first thing you must do is to introspect and list your most pleasurable activities – things that give you true joy, happiness and satisfaction – in all aspects of your life. Make your list as exhaustive as possible and from this list select those “mild” pleasures that you can enjoy every day or often. And then fit them into your daily routine. See what happens. Experiment. Delete those “pleasures” that you thought would give you happiness but actually made you stressed-out – things you think would be satisfying but turn out to be unrewarding. Do not be hesitant to add new items to your list – you can always remove them if they fail to produce the desired results. Fine tune and religiously practice your list – and experience happiness every day.This prescription of keeping your pleasures mild will enable you to structure your life in way where your happiness will be in your control and you will find greater joy in your life. It will be feasible and within your control to ensure that you enjoy these mild pleasures daily or at least fairly regularly and, with only so many hours during the day, these enjoyable events will begin to crowd out the neutral, unpleasant, and irrelevant activities in your daily life and make you feel fulfilled and happy.Dear reader, start today and discover the art of happiness. And do let me know your experience – did keeping your pleasures mild make you happier? And which are your mild pleasures?
E-Mail : vikramkarve@sify.com


The Map is not the Territory
Vikram Karve

The map is not the territory
What does this mean ?
Liehtse’s famous parable of the Old Man at the Fort is perhaps apt to illustrate this concept :-

An Old Man was living with his Son at an abandoned fort on the top of a hill, and one day he lost a horse.
The neighbours came to express their sympathy for this misfortune, but the Old Man asked, “ How do you know this bad luck ? The fact is that one horse is missing and there is one horse less in the stables. That is the fact. Whether it is good luck or bad luck – that is a matter of judgment.”
A few days afterwards, his horse returned with a number of wild horses, and his neighbours came again to congratulate him on this stroke of fortune, and the Old Man replied, “ How do you know this is good luck ? The fact is that there are more horses in my stable than before. Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well that is a matter of opinion.”
With so many horses around, his son began to take to riding, and one day while riding a wild horse he was thrown off and broke his leg. Again the neighbours came around to express their sympathy, and the Old Man replied, “ How do you know this is bad luck ?”
A few days later a war broke out and all the able bodied men were forcibly conscripted into the army, sent to the warfront to fight and most of them were killed or wounded. Because the Old Man’s son had a broken leg he did not have to go to the front and his life was saved.
This parable drives home the lesson that there are no such things like good luck and bad luck. What disturbs you are not events but your attitude towards them. You must learn to distinguish between facts and your attitude or judgment towards those facts. It’s all in the mind. Facts are like territory – ground reality. But the way you interpret or judge those facts, your attitude towards them, depends on your mental map.
This mental map is formed due to your values, beliefs and experiences and you tend to view the actual facts or events (territory) through mental filters based on your values, beliefs, biases, prejudices and experiences which form your mental map.
Remember, just like the actual physical geographical territory exists on the ground and its map is drawn on paper, actual facts and events happen in reality and each one of us interprets them depending on the different maps in our minds.
Events, by themselves, don’t hurt you, it is your attitudes and responses ( mental maps) that disturb you and give you trouble. It then becomes your paramount duty to introspect and continuously redesign your mental maps to develop the correct attitude and responses towards external events.
When something happens the only thing in your power is your attitude towards it. We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them. The secret of inner calm lies inside you, in developing the proper mental “maps” and correct attitude in your mind, so that you are not disturbed by the vicissitudes of external events which are akin to the outside “territory”.
Remember, the map is not the territory.


E-mail : vikramkarve@sify.com

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A rare book on Poona or Pune - a book review by Vikram Karve

Book Review



Reviewed by Vikram Karve

It was indeed my good fortune to chance upon this engrossing book on Pune (Poona), the city I was born and live in. I enjoyed reading this book. Let me tell you about it.

Dear Reader, before you read on, please bear in mind that this 1916 vintage book was written for “present-day residents” of Poona by Colonel L.W. Shakespear, who at that time, in 1916, was the AQMG 6th Poona Division, and apparently an eminent military historian who also wrote “History of the 2nd KEO Goorkhas (sic)” and “History of Upper Assam and the North-East Frontier”.

Things change, a lot of water has flown down the Mula and Mutha, the anglicized Poona is now known as Pune (its original Maharashtrian name) and if you want to truly enjoy this delightful book, close your eyes for a while and transport yourself ninety years back in time from the chaotic Pune of today to the Poona of 1916 in order to enable you to lucidly see in your mind’s eye its glorious heritage so vividly portrayed by the author.

Eschewing long-winded prologue, the author, a military man, succinctly states his objective right in the beginning on the first page: “ It is not intended to go deep into dynastic matters, but only to touch on the locality’s earliest days, and then turn to more modern times; calling up items of interest which may make their sojourn here, and perhaps their outings, of greater value to present-day residents.” This is not a definitive work and the reader must keep in mind the author’s intent and point of view for a better understanding of this book.

Tracing the genesis of Poona, Shakespear concludes: “From about A.D. 230 to A.D. 500 no specific information is found concerning this locality; but there is reason to believe that … Poona was ruled by the Ratta clan, which… became sufficiently powerful as to be styled “Maharashtra”, or country of the greater Rattas, from whence the… name Maharatta. The next few pages sketch, in a perfunctory manner, the period till the advent of English troops in 1722 and building of the first Residency west of the Mutha river, at its confluence or Sangam with the Mula river, for Mr. Mostyn, the first British Resident. There is an illustration, of an old-time painting by Henry Salt, depicting the Mula-Mutha Sangam, the City, and Parbatti (Parvati) Hill in the background that gives a good idea of the extent of Pune city before the Bund was built across the river followed by a wooden bridge near the Sangam.

“This brings us to the period when Poona began to possess a personal interest for the English” the author writes and than takes the reader on a series of “rides” or “outings” to vividly describe important historical events against the backdrop of geographical topography. The narrative, interspersed with apt illustrations, is very interesting and even today it would be worthwhile to walk the “rides” and see the various landmarks of heritage value and historical importance like Ganeshkhind, Bhamburda Hills and Plain, Lakdi Pul Bridge, Parvati, Panchaleshwar, the Poona and Kirkee cantonments, Garpir, Ghorpuri, Wanowri, Yerawada, Katraj, Sarasbagh, Gultekdi, Hadapsar, Saswad, Chinchwad, Induri, Talegaon, Lonavla and Peths of Poona City. There is an interesting description of the underground water ducts and conduits from the springs and lakes at Kondhwa, Katraj and foothills of Sinhagarh to bring water to Rasta Peth and ensure pure water supply to the city.

The meticulous account, embellished with maps and sketches, of Poona and its Battlefields, and the battles that took place thereon, has been fluently narrated in easy readable storytelling style and this makes the book gripping and unputdownable once you start reading it. However, the reader must remember that this book is written by a British Army Officer in 1916 and depicts his version of events and point of view and the perspective of that period.

The book describes the defining events in the evolution of the cantonment town of Poona, which was the precursor to the modern day Pune as we know it today. It is an entertaining and informative book, a unique and rare piece of writing about an important period of the history of Poona (Pune) and would be of interest to Punekars and students keen on learning about the heritage of Pune.



Friday, November 10, 2006

Mouthwatering Memories - Rustic Dhaba Chicken Curry - by Vikram Karve


It’s a cold, damp and depressing evening in the back of beyond place where I now live.. There is an ominous wind, menacing lightening and disturbing thunder, and it starts to rain. Predictably, the lights go off, adding to the gloomy atmosphere.
My spirits plummet and I sit downcast in desolate silence and indulge in forlorn self-commiseration mourning the past (which makes me feel miserable), speculating the future (which causes me anxiety) and ruining my present moment (which makes me melancholic).

Whenever I am in a blue mood, two things are guaranteed to lift my spirits – good food and beautiful women – or even merely thinking about them in my mind’s eye. [In fact, I dread that the day I stop relishing good food, or appreciating beautiful women, for on that day I will know that I have lost the zest for living and I am as good as a dead man!]. As I languish out here in this godforsaken environment bereft of gustatory or visual stimulation (Colaba and Churchgate but distant memories), I close my eyes and seek to simulate my senses (that’s the trick – if you can’t stimulate; then simulate) trying to think interesting thoughts, evoke happy nostalgia, and suddenly a mouthwatering memory rekindles my spirits as I vividly remember the tastiest chicken curry I ever eaten and truly relished long back, almost twenty years ago, sometime in the eighties, at a rustic wayside dhaba on the highway near Visakhapatnam , or Vizag as we knew it.

The ramshackle place was called NSTL Dhaba, why I do not know, and maybe it does not exist now, or may have metamorphosed into the ubiquitous motel-type restaurants one sees on our highways. We reached there well past midnight, well fortified and primed, as one must be when one goes to a dhaba, ordered the chicken curry and watched it being cooked.

Half the joy of enjoying delicious food is in watching it being made – imbibing the aroma and enjoying the sheer pleasure of observing the cooking process. And in this Dhaba the food is made in front of you in the open kitchen which comprises an open air charcoal bhatti with a tandoor and two huge cauldrons embedded and a couple of smaller openings for a frying pan or vessel.

They say that the best way to make a fish curry is to catch the fish fresh and cook it immediately. Similarly, the best way to make a chicken curry is to cut a chicken fresh and cook it immediately with its juices intact. And remember to use country chicken or desi murgi or gavraan kombdi for authentic taste.

And that is what is done here. The chicken is cut after you place the order and the freshly cut, dressed and cleaned desi murgi is thrown whole into the huge cauldron full of luxuriantly thick yummy looking gravy simmering over the slow fire.

How do you cook your Indian Mutton or Chicken curries? Do you fry the meat and then add water and cook it, or do you cook (boil) the meat first and then fry it? Here the chicken will be cooked first in the gravy, on a slow fire, lovingly and unhurriedly, and then stir fried later (tadka).

There are a number of whole chickens floating in the gravy and the cook is keeping an eagle eye on each and every one of them, and from time to time gently nurturing and helping them absorb the flavor and juices of the gravy (As the chickens absorb the gravy they become heavier and acquire an appetizing glaze). Once the cook feels a chicken is ready (30-40 minutes of gentle slow nurtured cooking), he takes out the chicken, chops it up, and throws it into a red-hot wok pan to stir fry basting with boiling oil and then ladles in a generous amount of gravy from the cauldron. When ready the chicken curry is garnished with crisp fried onion strips and coriander and savored with hot tandoori roti. We have a bowl of dal (simmering in the other cauldron) duly “tadkofied” as a side dish. The chicken is delicious and the gravy is magnificent. Ambrosia! We eat to our heart’s content – a well-filled stomach radiates happiness!

I still remember how delightfully flavorsome, tasty and nourishing every morsel was, and just thinking about the lip-smacking rustic chicken curry has made me so ravenously hungry that I’m heading for one of those untried and “untasted” Dhabas in my vicinity to sample their wares.

If I don’t find it anywhere I’m going to try and make this rustic chicken curry at home. And if anyone in Vizag is reading this, do let us know whether the highway dhaba still exists or has it vanished.

Till next time,
Happy Eating



Monday, November 06, 2006

The Art of Eating a Gulab Jamun

The Art of Eating a Gulab Jamun
Vikram Karve

The art of eating comprises three simple steps:

First you learn or come to know about good food – you hear from someone, read somewhere, or come across while browsing the net or from TV or the media or even from the menu card.

Next you go there and observe people eating and relishing the delectable cuisine you have heard so much about – the way they are eating and enjoying themselves. The expression of satiation on their faces. This tempts you to taste and savor the cuisine yourself.

And then you actually order the food you have been yearning for, delicately put a piece in your mouth and actually experience the pleasures of eating it, firsthand.

One winter evening I suddenly feel an urge, a craving, a desperate sort of yearning, for my favourite sweet – The “Gulab Jamun”.
I believe that if you want to be happy you must fulfill such feasible and viable desires at once, here and now, so I put on my walking shoes, cross the Oval – the Rajabai Tower Clock is striking Six – turn right at the Mumbai University gate, and the left, and walk towards Kalaghoda, turn right towards Colaba Causeway which is a foodies’ delight and soon reach my destination - Kailas Parbat – at the southern end of Colaba Causeway.

I have heard from my friends that Kailas Parbat is the best place in Mumbai for Gulab Jamuns. I have enjoyed delectable Gulab Jamuns at many places – at Pachkuin Road in Delhi, Pehelwan at the end of Lanka in Banaras, and even in a place called Dumka in the back of the beyond – but now amongst the people eating Gulab Jamun at Kailas Parbat I see a veteran, a connoisseur, relishing it with such satisfaction that I go to the counter and order a Gulab Jamun myself.

Just one hot mouth-watering Gulab Jamun in a liberal amount of thick syrup. It’s nice and hot - Gulab Jamuns must be eaten hot – and very soft and juicy. I spoon a small luscious piece and place it delicately on my tongue and close my eyes to enhance the quality of the gustatory experience – whenever you want to enjoy good food just close your eyes, concentrate on your tongue and drown in sheer bliss.

I just leave the succulent Gulab Jamun piece on my tongue for a while to let the hot sweet viscous syrup permeate deep into my taste-buds and the moment I gently roll my tongue the Gulab Jamun disintegrates and melts in my mouth releasing its delicious cardamom tinged flavor and soothing rose fragrance within me. I eat slowly, deliberately, eyes closed, savoring every moment, relishing the divine taste, prolonging the heavenly experience – it’s epicurean delight of the highest order.

I walk back home in state of supreme bliss, the lingering taste of the delicious Gulab Jamun remains with me for a long long time.

Kailas Parbat serves delicious chaat, dahi wadas, tasty snacks, chola bhatura, falooda and all sorts of sweets (the sev barfi is really good) and their restaurant opposite is arguably the best place for Sindhi, Punjabi and North-Indian pure vegetarian food in Colaba. But it’s their delicious Gulab Jamun which is unrivaled, unsurpassed and reigns supreme.

Vikram Karve


Double Game ( science fiction) by Vikram Karve


Failures and Losers avoid school reunions. But this time I decided to go. Sucheta would be there. She had rung up from New York. And of course 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 Himalayas where our school was located. For ours was an elite and famous boarding school, distinguished more for its snob appeal 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 Pratap Joshi. Not Bookworm”, he said angrily, “I am a Professor.”

“Professor Bookworm!” I teased him.

“That’s better,” he said.

“And what are you inventing nowadays?” I asked.

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

“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.

“And you?” I asked.

“I can put your mind into someone else’s body and vice-versa – someone else’s brain into your body!”

“It sound spooky to me. Is it ESP? 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 thought crossed my mind as I surveyed the room. My eyes rested on Anand. His height and his magnificent beard made him look so prominent in the crowd. He looked a decisive, hot-blooded and dangerous man, but he also looked vulnerable. Even now, he wore a lonely and rather perplexed expression, as though he were at the party but not a member of 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. In school and in college. Anand, Mohan, Sucheta and I. 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 opted for Mohan, leaving Anand for Sucheta. Then I kept tormenting myself living with Mohan but longing for Anand, wondering if I had made the wrong choice, repenting, 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. I felt the adrenalin rush. This was my chance to find out what life would have been like if I had married Anand; and I was going to risk it.

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, 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 seventh heaven gliding in Anand’s strong arms, enjoying the dance, Bookworm suddenly appeared by my side, tugged my arm and said 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 we all turned and looked towards the bar. No sign of them. I hurriedly scanned the room. They had disappeared.

Bookworm was in a state of panic, “Anand. Try to understand. Your wife Sucheta has gone away with Mohan. And this here in front of you is Moushumi – Mohan’s wife. This is only Sucheta’s body. Inside it’s Moushumi’s brain – her self. Moushumi’s mind is in Sucheta’s body. My in vivo experiment was successful – it’s validated – the mind-transference!”

“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.”

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 find out? And Anand? Will this mind-transference last forever? I shiver with trepidation. And what will happen then?

I don’t know. But from now on it’s going to be a tightrope walk. Every moment I’ll have to be on my toes. I’m excited. And a bit scared too. It’s going to dangerous fun. Now I will really know what life would have been like if had I married Anand instead of Mohan.

And soon I shall know whether I made the right choice. And then, maybe, I’ll tell you about it.

Copyright 2006 Vikram Karve



Friday, November 03, 2006

Value For Money Good Food Guide South Mumbai and Pune by Vikram Karve

(Vikram Karve’s Good Food Guide to eating out in South Mumbai and Pune)

I love good food. And I love walking around searching for good food – on my frequent ‘food walks’ as I call them. Let me share with you, dear fellow foodie, some of my favourite eateries. Most of them are in South Mumbai, near Churchgate, where I lived for six of the best years of my life, a few (where mentioned) are in Pune which is my home town and where I stay now.

Read on. It’s my very own Vikram Karve’s Value For Money Good Food Guide. I’ve walked there and eaten there. It’s a totally random compilation as I write as I remember and I may have missed out some of my favourites but I’ll add them on, in subsequent parts, as and when memory jogs me and also keep adding new places I discover during my food walks and trails. Try some places and let me know whether you liked it.

Vada Pav - CTO Vada Pav (Ashok Satam’s Stall) alongside the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) at Flora Fountain ( Hutatma Chowk). Or at Sahaydri at Churchgate. In Pune, the ubiquitous Joshi or Rohit Vadewale but their vadas are not as crisp or zesty as Mumbai’s CTO vada.

Misal Pav – Vinay Health Home in Girgaum . Walk down Marine Drive, cross the road near Taraporewala Aquarium, take the lane between Kaivalyadhama Yoga Centre and Ladies Hostel ( it’s called Income Tax Lane), cross the railway overbridge, walk straight on Thakurdwar Road, cross Girgaum (JSS) Road, walk a bit and Vinay is to your right. In Pune try Ramnath on Tilak Road or Bedekar in Narayan Peth.

Kheema Pav – Stadium. Next to Churchgate Station. Kyani at Dhobi Talao.

Seekh Kebabs – Ayubs (Chotte Mian). Take the lane to the left of Rhythm House Music Store at Kalaghoda and let your nose guide you. Or else head for Bade Mian near Regal or sarvi at Nagpada.

Jeera Butter – Ideal Bakery. Kandewadi, Girgaum. And try the sugarcane juice at Rasvanti next door.

Chicken Stew ( Kerala Style), Malabar Paratha, Mutton Korma, Fish Curry and Appams – Fountain Plaza. In the lane off Handloom House. Fort. [Brings back nostalgic memories of Ceylon Bake House in Ernakulam Kochi (Cochin)]

Chicken Biryani – Olympia. Colaba Causeway. In Pune it’s Dorabjee & Sons restaurant on Dastur Meher road off Sarbatwala Chowk in Pune Camp or Goodluck in Deccan.

Mutton Biryani – Shalimar. Bhendi Bazaar. I like the Chicken Chilly and Raan - it’s exquisite, like Karim’s of Delhi.

Dabba Gosht – Delhi Darbar, Grant Road or Colaba. In Pune try Sadanand at Baner.

Malvani Cuisine – Sachivalaya Gymkhana Canteen. Opposite Mantralaya. Nariman Point. Bombil Fry, Pomfret masala, Kombdi (Chicken) Vada and Lunch Thali.

Gomantak Cuisine - Sandeep Gomantak. Bazargate Street. Fort.

White Chicken, Dabba Gosht, Chiken Masala and Khaboosh Roti – Baghdadi. Near Regal. Off Colaba Causeway.

Nihari – Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar. Near Metro.

Nalli Nihari – Noor Mohammadi. Bhendi Bazaar.

Berry Pulao – Brittania. Ballard Estate.

Puri Bhaji – Pancham Puriwala. Bazargate street. Opposite CST Station (VT).

Kolhapuri Cuisine – I go to ‘Purepur Kolhapur’ at Peru Gate Sadashiv Peth in Pune for authentic Kolhapuri Pandhra Rassa, Tambda Rassa and Kheema vati. In Kolhapur it’s Opal.

Gulab Jamun – Kailash Parbat. 1st Pasta Lane. Colaba Causeway.

Rasgulla – Bhaishankar Gaurishankar. CP Tank.

Khichdi – Khichdi Samrat. VP Road. CP Tank.

Vegetarian Thali – Bhagat Tarachand. Mumbadevi. Zaveri Bazar. And of course, Samrat, Churchgate. In Pune it’s Shreyas on Apte Road and Satara Road, Panchami on Satara Road and Durvankur on Tilak Road.

Navrattan Kurma – Vihar. JT Road. Shanker Jaikishan Chowk. Opp Samrat. Churchgate.

Veg Burger and Chicken Cafreal Croissant – Croissants. Churchgate. Or Burger King at the end of East Street in Pune.

Tea while browsing books – Cha-Bar. Oxford Bookstore. Churchgate.

Just a refreshing cup of Tea, Irani style – Stadium. Churchgate. Goodluck, Pune.

Ice Cream – Rustoms, Churchgate and Bachellor’s, Chowpatty (green chilli ice cream). In Pune Ganu Shinde and Kawre on Laxmi Road. Or Gular Mastani House on Satara Road near City pride for Mastani.

Pav Bhaji – Lenin Pav Bhaji Stall. Khau Galli. New Marine Lines. Near SNDT. Sardar, Tardeo. Sukh Sagar, Opera House.

Jalebi – Pancharatna Jalebi House. Near Roxy. Opera House.

Milk Shakes, Juices and uniquely flavored ice creams – Bachellor’s. Opposite Chowpatty.
Stuffed Parathas – Samovar. Jehangir Art Gallery. Chaitanya, opp Fergusson College, Pune

Grilled Meat, Sizzlers and Steaks – Churchill. Colaba Causeway. Sundance, Churchgate. Alps, behind Taj, Kobe and Sizzlers - The Place on Moledina Road next to Manney’s in Pune.

Sea food – Anant Ashram. Khotachiwadi. Girgaum. And so many places around Fort – Mahesh, Apoorva, Trishna, Fountain Inn, Bharat, Ankur .

Non Veg Multi Cuisine – Jimmy Boy near Horniman Circle

Apple Pie and Ginger Biscuits – Yazdani Bakery. Cawasji Patel Street. Between PM Road and Veer Nariman Road. Fort.

Cakes – Sassanian Boulangerie. 1st Marine Street. Near Metro.

Buns, Breads and Pastries – Gaylord Bake Shop. Churchgate.

Falooda – Badshah. Crawford Market. Shalimar, Bhendi Bazar.

Curds – Parsi Dairy. Princess Street.

Sandwiches – Marz-o-rin. Main Street. MG Road. Pune.

Chole Bhature – Monafood. Main Street. Pune. Darshan, Prabhat Road Pune.

Shrewsbury Biscuits and Choco-Walnut cake– Kayani Bakery. East Street. Pune.

The mere thought of Shrewsbury biscuits evokes in me a sensation I cannot describe. I am feeling nostalgic and am off to Pune - for Shrewsbury at Kayani, wafers at Budhani, Sev Barfi at Bhavnagri, Amba Barfi and Bakarwadi at Chitale, Mutton Biryani and Dhansak at Dorabjee, Misal at Ramnath, Sizzlers at The Place, Pandhra Rassa at Purepur Kolhapur, Mango Ice Cream at Ganu Shinde, Mastani at Kavare, Bhel at Saras Baug and on the banks of Khadakvasla lake, Pithla Bhakri, Kanda Bhaji and tak on top of Sinhagarh Fort, Chinese at Kamling (Oh no. Sadly it’s closed down so I’ll go across to the end of East Street to the East End Chinese takeaway next to Burger King).

And guess what? The moment I reach Pune, I’ll walk across the station and enjoy a refreshing Lassi at Shiv Kailas. And then walk down in the hot sun to Main Street. One thing I’ll miss is the non-veg samosas at erstwhile Naaz on the West End corner at the entrance to Main Street. The good old Naaz and Kamling are two places I really miss.

See you then. It’s one in the afternoon and I’m hungry. I’m going out for lunch – guess where !

Right now I’m near Aundh in Pune and I’m busy discovering interesting eating places. The multicuisine Polka Dots at Parihar Chowk for it’s Roasts, Season’s and Sarjaa for family dining, rasoi looks promising, Spicers for Lamingtons and cakes et al, Babumoshai for roshogullas and lavang lata, Shiv Sagar for Pav Bhaji, and the usual Udipi fare, a place called Thomson which claims to serve Kerala cuisine which I’m planning to try but did not venture into as it was deserted (crowded ambience and busy rapid turnover are the leitmotif of a good eatery), Diwadkars for Bhel, Vada Pav, Misal and Mann Dairy for a delicious lassi.

I foodwalked in Aundh and was thoroughly disappointed. In Aundh there are all the usual fast food pizza and burger joints, some high falutin restaurants and a few nondescript commonplace characterless eateries serving run of the mill stuff; but sadly there are very few authentic value for money down-to-earth no nonsense Spartan eateries around here where I can relish genuine cuisine to my heart’s delight.

South Mumbai is a foodie’s delight! Sadly, Aundh is certainly not a foodie destination. Or is it? Anyone know any good value for money food eateries around here? Or do I have to go all the way to Pune City or Camp?

Dear fellow foodies. Please do send in your comments so I can keep updating.

Happy Eating !



The Art of Eating


Good food must be savored delicately; slowly, attentively and respectfully; in a befitting manner, with finesse and technique, with relish and appreciation and you will experience true gustatory delight. That’s the Art of Eating.

It’s sacrilege to eat in a ravenous and rapacious manner. And never eat when tired, angry, worried, tense, hurried, and at mealtimes refuse to think or talk about unpleasant subjects. It is best to eat alone, mindfully, with yourself, in glorious solitude, in a calm, serene, conducive and unhurried environment. If you must have company, you must always eat with relaxed and tranquil people who love food and whose company you enjoy; never eat with “toxic”, “harried” or “stressed-out” people or in a tense or hurried atmosphere.

If you want to do full justice to good food, you must build up an appetite for it – merely being hungry is not enough. And the first step towards building up an appetite for good food is to think about it – simulated imaginative gustatory visualization to stimulate and prepare yourself for the sumptuous indulgence. An important thing we were taught at boarding school was to read the menu and prepare for the meal by beginning to imagine relishing each and every dish, from soup to pudding, in our mind’s eye.

Remember: First plan your “eat” and then eat your “plan”. It’s true. I eat my food twice. First in my mind’s eye – imagining, visualizing, “vicariously tasting”, fantasizing, strategizing on how I am going to savor and relish the dish to my utmost pleasure and satisfaction till my mouth waters and I desperately yearn to eat it. And then I do the honours – actually go ahead and eat it and enjoy the delightful experience.

Eating is not a gustatory experience alone; it’s visual and olfactory as well. Food must look good, smell good, taste good and, most importantly, make you feel good. The Art of Eating. It’s Holistic. Multidimensional. Encompassing all domains of your inner being.

Eat in silence. Mindfully. With full awareness. Savour the aroma, delicately place the food on your tongue, chew slowly and experience the variety of flavours as the permeate your taste buds, fully aware and sense the nourishment as the food dissolves and sinks deep within you. Chew your food to a pulp or milky liquid until it practically swallows itself. Never mix food and drink – alcohol dulls the taste buds, and olfactory sensation, and encumbers the unmitigated enjoyment of good food.

You must always close your eyes during the process of eating. When you eat, you must eat; nothing else, no seeing, no hearing, no talking. No multitasking. Focus all your senses on your food, eat mindfully, meditatively, and you will attain a state of delightful bliss and happiness.

It’s simple. Create a positive eating atmosphere, honour your taste buds, respect your food and eat it in a proper state of mind, with love, zest, awareness and genuine appreciation and it will transport you to a state of bliss and happiness. Remember there is no love greater than the love of food!

In a nutshell, this is ‘The Art of Eating’.



Thursday, November 02, 2006

Choosing a career


A person’s choice of career should revolve around one’s orientation in life, which comprises three factors: skills, interests and values. If you choose a career that enables you achieve success facilitating optimal utilization of your best skills, doing the kinds of work that relate to your favourite interests and in consonance with your core values, you will derive total job satisfaction in life.

In order to find out one’s orientation in life one has to know oneself. Go to some quiet place, sit down comfortably, close your eyes, and reflect. Consider the various skills you might have: Soft Skills (pertaining to the intuitive, creative and emotional right side of the brain) or Hard Skills (emanating from the analytical and logical left side of the brain). Are you a Soft skills person or a Hard Skills person? Or a blend of both? Think of your best skills. Prioritize them and make a list of skills in order of precedence.

Now list your interests and put them in order of your preference, just as you did with skills. How do you find out your interests? Assume you have enough leisure and plenty of resources; what would you do? How one likes to spend one’s leisure gives a clue to one’s interests. Will the career you choose enable you to satisfy your interests at work, or will you have enough leisure to pursue them on your own.

Now, list all your values. This list might include values like honesty, integrity, loyalty, prestige, happiness, friendship, family life, achievement, independence, education, power, money, independence, freedom and so on. Now prioritize your values in order of importance to discover your core values.

Introspect over your skills, interests and values. If you have conscientiously created and prioritized your lists, you have learned something about yourself, and your orientation in life.

Whilst considering a career see to what degree it is compatible with your orientation in life.

Let’s take an example. Suppose your priority skills include hard skills like mathematical and analytical ability, and soft skills like leadership and communication skills. Your interests include travel, adventure, photography and good food. And your most important values are family life, prestige and achievement. Now let’s consider various career options.

Consider a career as a deck officer in the merchant navy. Your skills and interests seem to be ideally suited but there is mismatch, a conflict, between the demands of a career in the merchant navy and your most cherished value ‘Family Life’ which in the long run could lead to frustration.

Perhaps, if your most important values were money, independence and prestige, the overall harmony and compatibility of your values, skills and interests with the career-attributes would have made merchant navy an ideal career option for you.

One’s values are the most important and critical aspect of one’s career orientation. If you want to enhance certain skills, you can work on it. Similarly, you can change your interests, devoting time to those interests you would like to create, acquire or strengthen. Skills can be learned, interests can be developed, but values are intrinsic. It is very difficult to change your core values. One’s values are the most important and critical aspect of one’s career orientation. If you want to enhance certain skills, you can work on it. Similarly, you can change your interests, devoting time to those interests you would like to create, acquire or strengthen. Skills can be learned, interests can be developed, but values are intrinsic. It is very difficult to change your core values. You may compromise your values, but you can’t change them.

Before you choose your career, introspect and ascertain the compatibility, congruence and harmony between the career and your orientation in life (your skills, interests and values). Don’t make a hasty decision or you may find yourself on the wrong road and then it may be too late to turn back. Devoid of intrinsic motivation to purse a career which is not in harmony with one’s orientation in life, but caught up in the need to retain parental affection, materialistic rewards and extrinsic recognition (peer and societal acceptance), young people often enter careers which never offer them true inner happiness or fulfillment. Thus, though they may appear outwardly successful, inwardly they lament over the reality of an unfulfilled desire.