Saturday, March 17, 2018

“Vultures” – Short Story

Short Fiction 


The old man was dying in hospital.

Everyone wanted him to die.

Except me. 

I did not want him to die.

I was the only one who did not want him to die.

I wanted him to live – because I would lose everything if he died.

They wanted him to die – because they would gain something from his death.  

Like vultures  circling around their prey  these human “vultures” waited for him to die  so that they could swoop down and grab their pound of flesh.

I did not want anything.

I did not want any “pound of flesh”.

I just wanted my old man to come back to me  hale and hearty.

I dreaded to imagine what would happen to me  if the old man died.

I looked at all the human “vultures” – eagerly waiting to seize their share in the “pie”. 

And – it was a huge pie  because the old man was very rich and wealthy. 

He was a self-made man. 

He had earned all his wealth slogging it out – sailing on the high seas – for over 40 years.

I did not want any share in the pie. 

I just wanted my old man to live. 

The old man was the only thing I had in this world. 

Without him  I had nothing to live for. 

I hoped and prayed that this time too it would be a false alarm  like so many times before  and my old man would come back to me hale and hearty  like he always did.

We all waited on the spacious verandah of his majestic bungalow – the old man’s most prized possession – a magnificent mansion on the banks of the Mula river near Wakad with a huge compound enclosing the vast expanse of land. 

The old man had bought the land for a pittance more than 30 years ago  when Wakad was a nondescript remote village in the back of beyond  some distance away from the town of Pune.

On this huge plot of land – he had built a beautiful bungalow on the banks of the Mula River.

The old man loved to be close to nature  and  during his vacations ashore from sea  he had spent his time hiking  and rowing his boat on the river.

Now  everything had drastically changed.

Wakad was now an up-market suburb of Pune and a most sought after destination owing to its proximity of the InfoTech Park at Hinjewadi where thousands of young upwardly mobile overpaid “Techies” (IT Nerds and Software Geeks) worked.

The old man’s bungalow was called Anchorage

Till a few years ago  Wakad was a solitary place.

But  with the advent of the Information Technology and Software Industry in Pune  there was an IT Boom” – which resulted in the “Real Estate Boom” – and there was fervent construction activity all over Wakad.

Soon  the sprawling bungalow was surrounded by posh high rises and residential townships. 

For the last few years so many persons, promoters, builders  even his own kith and kin  had their eyes set on this prime property. 

For them it was an eyesore  a huge undeveloped piece of land in the centre of lucrative real estate.

Over the last few years  so many builders and developers had tempted the old man with the best of deals. 

They offered him the choicest of apartments in Pune and Mumbai. 

They said they would give him hard cash if he wanted  lots of cash. 

They even tried to coerce him  with subtle threats and hints of intimidation.

But the old man would not budge  and he had firmly refused to sell his bungalow.

Only I knew the real reason why the old man did not want to sell his bungalow.

Yes – only I knew why he preferred to live a lonely life in this desolate mansion  rather than shift to the comfort of a modern high-rise apartment in the heart of the Pune.

Some thought he was a shrewd man.

The more he held on to his bungalow, the more the price would increase. 

A few years ago the offers were in Lakhs of Rupees  but today  the price of this prime real estate was worth Crores of Rupees  many crores  maybe 10 Crore  20 Crore  maybe even more.

That was the reason why all the “vultures” had gathered. 

No one was willing to forfeit their share of this bonanza – they were sure to get at least an apartment in the township which would come up here or maybe enough money to buy a flat wherever they wanted. 

And maybe  they would get a share in his wealth too. 

Hardly anyone ever visited the old man in his bungalow  but now as he lay dying in the hospital  so many relatives and well-wishers had appeared out of nowhere.

In fact  they had all rushed to the hospital and crowded the ICU eagerly awaiting the news of the old man’s death  but the doctors had thrown them out of the hospital.

The doctors had allowed no one to enter the old man’s ICU room and sit beside him except his best friend and a long time shipmate  who the old man jokingly called Captain Haddock.

That’s why all of them impatiently waited at the old man’s bungalow in anticipation of  the “good” news.

The old man had been fallen ill many times before  he had been admitted to ICU a couple of times too  he had given them so many false alarms  but this time they hoped that he would die, once and for all.

Suddenly  I saw Captain Haddock’s car enter the porch. 

He got out the car walked towards the verandah.

“What happened?” they all eagerly asked him the moment he entered the verandah, hoping to hear the “good” news.

“His condition is the same.”

“Why don’t they remove life support?” the old man’s son, who had flown down from Delhi asked.

“You go to the hospital and ask them,” Captain Haddock said angrily, “The best doctors in town are being consulted. The top specialist is coming over from Mumbai and if required we will fly your father in an air ambulance to Delhi or wherever required, even abroad, for the best of treatment. We will make all out efforts till the very end to save his life. I have told them not to worry about the money.”

“Not to worry about money? You told them not to worry about money?”

“It’s not your money,” Captain Haddock shouted at the old man’s son, “The hospital bills are being paid from the old man’s own hard earned money. I have a Power Of Attorney for that, so you don’t worry.”

“It’s not that,” interjected the old man’s daughter. She had come all the way from Bangalore.

“It is precisely that,” Captain Haddock said bluntly to the old man’s daughter, “You don’t want money spent on his treatment as you feel that your share will become less.”

The old man’s daughter winced. 

She wanted to talk back  but her husband gestured to her to remain calm. 

The old man’s son-in-law had insisted on accompanying his wife to Pune. 

He had “insider” information from the ICU Intensivist (who had been his classmate in school) that this time it was not a false alarm and indeed the old man was sinking and he was most likely to die.

The old man’s son-in-law feared that his MBA brother-in-law, the old man’s son, who was street smart and cunning, would surely try his best to con them and try to grab maximum share in the old man’s property.

The son-in-law knew that his wife’s older brother was so wily and devious  that he would have no compunctions in cheating his own sister  who was a simpleton Techie  and giving her a raw deal.

I looked at the old man’s biological children. 

They had his blood flowing in their veins. 

And  they wanted him to die.

I did not have the old man’s blood flowing in my veins. 

Yet  I wanted him to live.

At a distance stood a man with shifty eyes.  

He was a real estate developer who was desperate to get hold of the old man’s property. 

He had come, ostensibly, to help out in case any assistance was needed  but he actually wanted to ensure he was at the scene of action and to make sure he did not lose any opportunity. 

He had already talked with the old man’s son  who had assured the real estate developer that he would convince his sister – and the moment the old man died  they would negotiate and strike a deal.

There were many other “vultures” who would come and go, to check whether their “prey” had died so that they would not miss their share of the “feast”.

And there were numerous smaller vultures watching from a distance, their “beaks” in readiness to “peck” at whatever “flesh” remained. 

No “vulture” wanted to miss the opportunity – they all knew that old man was wealthy and prosperous – he had plenty of “flesh” and if they swooped down at the right time they may get lucky.

One “vulture” had an eye on the old man’s booze collection – the choicest liquor from all over the world.

Another “vulture” fancied the rare books in the old man’s library.

One more “vulture” coveted the old man’s vintage automobile.

Yet another “vulture” wanted his paintings, his exquisite art collection, probably worth a fortune.

Some other “vultures” eyed the chandeliers, the artifacts, the curios, the maritime mementos collected by the old man during his voyages around the world. 

Some of these human “vultures” even wanted his antique furniture. 

The old man had a lot of possessions and the “vultures” wanted everything – you name it – and the “vultures” wanted it.

And they all waited for the old man to die.

Except me.

I did not want anything belonging to the old man.

I just wanted my old man – I wanted him to live.

Suddenly Captain Haddock’s cell-phone rang. 

Captain Haddock put his mobile to his ear – and he listened for some time.

Then he just said a soft “Yes” into the phone  and kept the cellphone in his pocket. 

After keeping his mobile phone in his pocket  Captain Haddock gave a poignant look. 

Captain Haddock nodded to everyone – and he began walking towards his car. 

He abruptly he stopped – and turned around – as if searching for someone.

Captain Haddock saw me – and his eyes focused on me.

He looked at me in a sympathetic manner – as if consoling me.

Then  he got into the car and drove away.  

My heart sank. 

I feared the worst. 

I was shattered. 

But there was nothing I could do except wait and pray. 

It was unimaginable agony. 

I wished I would die – rather than be rendered an orphan.

But everything turned out well.

My old man did not die. 

He came home hale and hearty.

On seeing the old man return home hale and hearty  all his “near and dear” ones – his “kith and kin” – were disappointed.

Yes – they were disappointed that the old man had survived and got well.

They all wanted the old man to die. 

Because they are all humans – “vultures” – who wanted to feast on his “flesh”.

I am happy. 

I am happy that my old man survived the illness  and I am happy that he is now hale and hearty. 

I do not want my old man to die. 

I want him to live.

I want my old man to live  because I am not a human being. 


I am not a HUMAN BEING 

I am not a “VULTURE” 

I am a DOG  

Human Beings can become “vultures” – and feast on the “flesh” of their loved ones – but a Dog will always remain loyal to his Master. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in this story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Mysore Sandal Soap – A Refreshing “Feel Good” Bath

A “Feel Good” Bath

Mysore Sandal Soap

I am feeling good. 

Summer has arrived in Pune. 

It is a sultry hot morning  blazing sun, terrible heat. 

Yet – I am feeling good. 

I am feeling good because I have just had a bath with Mysore Sandal Soap

I feel clean and refreshed. 

I smell very nice and pleasant – with the lingering spicy fragrance of Sandalwood. 

I clearly remember my first tryst with Mysore Sandal Soap

Way back in the 1960s  we used to travel twice a year  from the “upcountry” – to Pune – for our vacations. 

Those days – Air Travel was a luxury – and – everyone travelled by the Indian Railways. 

Those days – there were no direct trains from upcountry” stations to Pune (then known as Poona)  and – we had to travel via Mumbai (then known as Bombay). 

So – we came down from the upcountry by famous trains  like the Frontier Mail, the Howrah Mail, the Calcutta Mail or the Punjab Mail  feeling all scruffy and weary  covered with coal dust.

In Mumbai  we got off Dadar in the morning – and went to my grand-aunt’s house in Hindu Colony nearby.

The old-style house had a huge spotlessly clean tiled bathroom  and  it was there that I first discovered Mysore Sandal Soap

It was a leisurely relaxed bathing experience  the soothing lather of Mysore Sandal Soap softening my skin.

And – I would emerge from my bath – fully refreshed – exuding the tantalizing yet subtle lingering fragrance of sandalwood.

Then – after a sumptuous breakfast  we would board a bus from Dadar TT – or catch a local train from Dadar Station to Mumbai CST (then known as Bombay VT)  spend the day loafing in South Mumbai – window shopping, browsing books, a movie and a meal – and then head to Mumbai CST Railway Station – to catch the Deccan Queen to Pune.

Since then  Mysore Sandal Soap is my all time favourite bathing soap  and  I truly enjoy the luxurious bathing experience every morning  and  in the evenings too. 

Being an “old timer” – I prefer the subtle lingering natural fragrance of sandalwood – rather than the overpowering synthetic scent of present day deodorants. 

I believe that it is better to maintain body cleanliness and personal hygiene  which prevents body odour – rather than try to mask your foul body odour by spraying your body copiously with strong smelling deodorants and perfumes. 

A nice soothing bath  skin feeling soft and nourished  feeling clean and refreshed  smelling natural  gently exuding the lingering gentle comforting fresh fragrance of sandalwood   that is what makes me feel good – rather than the present day practice of profusely deodorizing one’s body – till one reeks of artificial overpowering standardized perfume all day. 

Mysore Sandal Soap celebrated its centenary (100 years) two years ago in 1916.

(Mysore Sandal Soap has been manufactured since 1916 when Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, the King of Mysore, set up the Government Soap Factory in Bangalore) 

Here is a picture of the carton of Mysore Sandal Soap. 

I am sure you have tried out Mysore Sandal Soap”.


You haven’t used Mysore Sandal Soap yet...?

Then  you must have a bath with Mysore Sandal Soap soon. 

Do have a tantalizing bathing experience with Mysore Sandal Soap”  especially on a hot summer day  and tell us how you liked it.

Morning and evening  on a hot summer day  have a bath with Mysore Sandal Soap 

You will smell nice  you will feel clean  and  you will feel good”.

You can take my word for it. 

Have a nice day...!!! 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.