Do Armed Forces Encourage “Marriage in Uniform” – especially for Lady Officers…?

September 21, 2017

Do the Defence Services encourage “Marriage in Uniform” – especially for Lady Officers…?

Conversely:

For Lady Officers – do the Defence Services discourage Marriage with Civilians…?

Read this story and decide for yourself…

STORY OF THE LADY NAVAL OFFICER WHO MARRIED A CIVILIAN

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/do-defence-services-encourage-marriages.html 

A” was a brilliant young Lady Naval Officer.

“A” had a B. Tech. degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from a premier engineering college.

She had passed out at the top of her class in first class with distinction.

“A” was offered excellent jobs with good career prospects in the best of IT, Computer, Software and Engineering Companies during campus placement.

It was puzzling as to why she decided to join the Navy – despite the fact that she was aware that she would have limited career prospects in the Navy – unlike in the civilian world – where her career opportunities and scope for advancement were much brighter.

Firstly – despite being technically qualified – “A” would have to join the Education Branch (since Engineering/Technical Branches are Seagoing Branches and Women Naval Officers do not serve on Ships at Sea).

Secondly – she was being offered a Short Service Commission (SSC) of 7 years (as was the norm for Women Naval Officers those days).

Being in the Education Branch – “A” would spend most of her time on instructional duties teaching Basic Science and Mathematics to Trainee Sailors.

This surely would not add value to her Technical Experience.

Once “A” left the Navy after 7 years to search for a job – she would be at a professional disadvantage as compared to her “Techie” counterparts – who were gaining valuable relevant experience and domain expertise doing Technical Jobs in the Industry.

We found “A” to be an outstanding officer – and whatever her duties – she performed them cheerfully with efficiency, diligence, sincerity and competence.

Just a few days earlier – the moment she was 25 years of age (the Navy Marriageable Age) – “A” had got married to her college sweetheart – who worked as an IT Professional in a leading software firm in Mumbai.

Luckily – after serving at different places – “A” had been posted to Mumbai for the first time – just 6 months earlier.

The normal station tenure in a big Naval Station like Mumbai was 3 to 5 years.

So – “A” she looked forward to spending the next 3 years with her husband in Mumbai – by which time her Short Service Commission tenure of 7 years in the Navy would come to an end.

“A” was a lively person – full of life and always in good cheer – maybe – because of the first flush of marriage.

She was a delightful person who enlivened the atmosphere of the workplace.

One day – we were quite surprised to find “A” in a sour mood.

We asked her what was the matter.

“I am going to be transferred out of Mumbai…” she complained bitterly.

“That is not possible…” we said, “You have just spend 6 months here and the normal tenure is at least 3 years.”

“I know, Sir…” she said, “but they want to move me out to accommodate my course-mate who has married a Naval Officer. Her Navy husband is under transfer to Mumbai. They want to move her to Mumbai along with him so they can be together. So we have to exchange places – she comes here in my place – and I have to go out of Mumbai to her place. I told them that I too have got married recently – but they said that since my husband was a civilian working in a private company – I was not eligible for “spouse posting” benefit. They are favouring my course-mate because she married a Naval Officer – and – they are discriminating against me because I married a Civilian.”

“Are you saying that you feel that they are victimizing you just because you did not marry a Naval Officer…?” we asked her.

“Yes…” she said indignantly.

“Don’t worry…” we said, “we will do something.”

I rang up a Navy Friend in the Naval Education Branch and told him to find out the true facts.

My friend rang back a few hours later.

He said that – indeed yes – there was an unwritten “spouse posting” policy – that a “Naval Couple” was to be accommodated in the same station – to the extent feasible.

So – in order to accommodate her course-mate – who had a married a Naval Officer posted in Mumbai – our Lady Officer “A” would have to move out.

My friend said that – as it is – there were hardly any vacancies for Education Officers in Mumbai.

And – right now – there was absolutely no other available vacancy for Education Officers in Mumbai – since two other Lady Education Officers in Mumbai had also married their fellow Naval Officers – and “A” was the only one who had not married a Naval Officer.

So – “A” would have to move.

“This amounts to victimization…” I said.

“Victimization…?” he said, sounding surprised.

“Yes. Favoritism and Victimization are two sides of the same coin. It is all relative. If you favour someone – then you end up victimizing someone else. While trying to favour one Lady Naval Officer for marrying a Navy Officer within the service – you cannot victimize another Lady Officer just because she did not marry a Naval Officer…” I said.

I also told him that we were going to take up this matter officially through proper channel.

“Okay – Okay – I will do something…” he assured me.

But – what he said after that was most surprising.

My Navy Friend said:

“Actually – it is the Lady Officer “A” who is responsible for her own problem.

Why did she marry a civilian…?

She should have married a fellow Naval Officer like most Women Navy Officers do.

Then – we would have adjusted her in the same place as her husband under the “spouse posting” policy…”

I was flabbergasted by his argument.

Though not explicitly stated in black and white – it seemed that – the system was encouraging Women Naval Officers to marry fellow Male Naval Officers within the service – by giving inducements like “spouse posting policy” – carry-forward of spouse married accommodation seniority – double rations – double liquor quota etc.

Anyway – the story of “A” had a happy ending.

Her transfer was cancelled – and she was allowed to remain in the same billet in Mumbai.

And – her course-mate Lady Naval Officer who was married to a fellow Naval Officer – she was “accommodated” in some other billet in Mumbai – so that she and her Navy husband could enjoy their “spouse posting” benefit.

“A” remained with us in Mumbai till the end of her tenure.

Thankfully – “A” was able to spend the first few years of her married life with her “Civilian” Husband – till her Short Service Commission (SSC) tenure was over.

And then – she quit the Navy.

MARRIAGE PROSPECTS FOR LADY DEFENCE OFFICERS

Later – after my retirement – I met many young girls who had joined the Defence Services – and I realized that marriage was indeed a dilemma for a girl serving in the Army, Navy or Air Force.

If she married a fellow officer in uniform from within her own service it was fine – and it was the best thing to do.

The “fauji couple” would be looked after – and – as per the unwritten “spouse posting policy” – all efforts would be made to keep them together.

Lady Officers who marry their Male Counterparts in Uniform get various benefits given to “in-service” couples who marry within the service.

But – if a Lady Defence Officer married a Civilian Man – she would have to be prepared for a “Long Distance Marriage”.

And – if Lady Military Officer did not marry while in service – by the time she completed her short service tenure of 7/10 years – she would be well past what is considered to be the “marriageable age” in India – and it would be difficult for her to find a suitable groom.

Considering this predicament – it is no surprise that – most girls who join the Defence Forces prefer to marry a fellow male officer within the same service.

Maybe – there is some merit in encouraging this trend by giving some tacit incentives – though there may be some concomitant disadvantages as well.

I have observed contrasting views regarding “romance at work” and “marriage within the organisation”.

Someone told me that there were old-fashioned “boxwallah” companies – which prohibited marriage between two employees.

If you wanted to marry a fellow employee working in the same company – then one of you – either the man or the woman – had to resign from the company.

On the other hand – there are some “modern” organizations which encourage marriages between employees – and even facilitate “in-house romances” by giving incentives like “dating allowance” etc

And – as we saw in the story you just read:

Are the Armed Forces encouraging “in-house romances” and “in-service marriages” by giving various incentives like “spouse posting policy” etc…?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT 

In the Military great importance is given to camaraderie – the “Band of Brothers” concept.

That is why Fellow Military Officers were known as “Brother Officers”.

Around 25 years ago – in the 1990’s – the Armed Forces started inducting women as officers.

These Women Military Officers were called “Lady Officers”.

So – Lady Officers joined this “Brotherhood” of the “Band of Brothers”

And – just like the Male Fellow Officers were called “Brother Officers” – Lady Fellow Officers were called “Sister Officers”.

Thus – there is a “Brother–Sister” camaraderie between “Brother Officers” and “Sister Officers”.

Yes – there is a “Brotherly–Sisterly” relationship between Male and Female Officers.

In this backdrop – is it proper for Male/Female Officers to violate this “Brotherly–Sisterly” bond of camaraderie and get married to each other…?

Is it morally correct to convert this “Brotherly–Sisterly” relationship into a matrimonial relationship by getting married to each other…?

Is it ethical for the Defence Services to encourage such “Marriages in Uniform”…?

So – in the context of the Defence Services – Army, Navy, Air Force – what do you think…?

  1. Is it a good idea to encourage in-house” romance and promote “military marriagesbetween “brother officers”and “sister officers” within the same service…?
  1. Should romantic fraternization” and military marriages” between “brother officers” and “sister officers” be discouraged in the Defence Services…?
  1. For Male Officers Stealing the Affectionsof Brother Officer’s Wife is taboo. 

With the entry of Lady Officers – stealing the affections of a Sister Officer’s Husband may also be taboo. 

By this logic – how is it considered okay for a Lady Officer to steal the affections of her Brother Officer…? 

Dear Reader:

Please comment and give us your views

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. This story and 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)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/do-defence-services-encourage-marriages.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This article is an abridged extract of my Blog Post WOMEN IN THE NAVY written by me around 5 years ago on November 7, 2012  and posted Online by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/11/women-in-navy-naval-yarn-delightful.html  and also at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/romantic-fraternization-in-navy-story.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/07/marriage-in-uniform.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/10/do-armed-forces-discourage-women.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/humor-in-uniform-do-defence-services.html

Stealing Affections – Double Standards

September 21, 2017

Humor in Uniform 

MILITARY RULES OF LOVE – or – DOUBLE STANDARDS

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/humor-in-uniform-love-rules.html

STEALING AFFECTIONS  Story by VIKRAM KARVE

It was an abrupt end to a promising career.

In the morning – Horny was forced to put in his papers.

In the afternoon there was a brief farewell party – a drab Pre-Lunch Drinks (PLD) in the Wardroom.

The usual boisterous bonhomie and spirit of camaraderie was conspicuous by its absence – and there was an air of awkwardness in the Wardroom.

The farewell PLD for Horny was a mere formality – to be got over with quickly.

The party was muted low-key affair – without the customary boisterous elbow-bending.

Everyone reluctantly sipped their beer in hushed silence – hoping that time would move fast – and the PLD would be over.

But – time did not move quickly – and they all endured the agonizing moments – as time crawled slowly – while they all waited for the uncomfortable proceedings to end.

No one forced “down the hatch” drinks – and “bottoms up” beers – on the departing guest.

There were no “jolly-good-fellow” hoists – and there were no long winded farewell speeches – just one-line perfunctory speeches for the sake of formality.

Typically – a PLD was a jolly affair full of joie de vivre – and the cheer and the beer – both flowed freely.

Normally – the happy high-spirited copious beer-drinking continued for hours together – till evening – and on occasions – the boisterous revelry turned into a full-fledged drunken orgy – late into the night.

But – this PLD finished off within an hour – and everyone heaved a sigh of relief that the embarrassment was over.

All the Ship’s Officers – they all shook hands with Horny – wished him good-luck in the “civvy-street” – and they all went home – or to their cabins – to hit the sack – and to enjoy what was left of the “make-and-mend” – on the hot Wednesday afternoon.

Only Snotty stayed back – and helped Horny pack his bags.

Then – he sent a sailor to get a taxi – and – when the taxi arrived alongside the ship at the jetty – Snotty picked up Horny’s bags and accompanied him to the gangway.

A sailor picked up Horny’s bags – and he put them into the boot of the taxi.

Horny stood at the gangway – expressionless.

Horny did not betray his emotions – but kept gazing in a vacant manner at the taxi.

Horny turned around and smiled at Snotty and the gangway duty staff.

Then – Horny lifted himself to his full height – he stood ramrod straight with chest out.

Horny saluted for the last time – “swallowed the anchor” – and then – Horny marched ashore across the gangway into the “civvy-street” forever.

Snotty felt sad to see Horny go away.

Horny had been his mentor – and Snotty admired him as a role model in the art of seamanship.

Though Horny was his boss – he had always treated Snotty like a younger brother – with benevolence and patience.

Horny was firm, yet compassionate – he was loved and revered by the men he commanded.

Horny ran a happy department – and Snotty had learnt so much from him.

Snotty had really liked Horny – and he was sorry that such a promising career had been abruptly cut short in such a cruel and unjust manner.

Snotty went down to the Ship’s Wardroom – and he sat down for lunch at the Dining Table.

In order to enjoy good food – one has to be in the right mood – and that is why the delicious food which looked so good on the table – the food turned tasteless in Snotty’s mouth.

“What’s wrong, Snotty…?” asked the in-living PMC, who was nicknamed “Sea Dog”.

As is customary – the PMC was sitting at the head of the table.

“Nothing, Sir. It’s about Horny…” Snotty answered.

“What about Horny…? I know he was your boss. You seem to be very sad to see him go…”

“Yes, Sir. Horny was such a nice guy, Sir – and he was so good at his job.”

“I know. I was his training officer on the cadet ship. Horny was an outstanding cadet and a superb officer. He would have reached the very top – but for this thing…”

“It’s totally unfair, Sir – and a very harsh punishment – an abrupt end to a promising career – just because of one small indiscretion.”

“One small indiscretion…? You call it one small indiscretion…? You know what he did – don’t you…?”

“Well – Horny was having an affair with Salty’s wife – that’s all.”

“That’s all…? Do you know how serious the matter is…?”

“Sir – if two people want to have consensual sex – what’s the problem…?”

“What’s the problem…? You are asking me what’s the problem…? Well – my dear friend – let me explain. Horny was married – and so was Salty. And – Horny was having an illicit relationship with Salty’s wife. It’s called adultery. Do you understand…?”

“Sir – it is a personal matter between them and their wives. What has it got to do with our job…? Why has Horny been sacked…?”

“That may so be in the “civvy street” – but here in the Navy – we follow a code of conduct. “Stealing the affection” of a brother officer’s wife is strictly taboo. Such affairs are strictly forbidden. In the Navy – if you are feeling so damn frustrated – you can go and sow your wild oats elsewhere – but you don’t steal the affections of a brother officer’s wife. ”

“Stealing affection of a brother officer’s wife…?”

“Yes. Stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife is just not allowed. It is considered an act of moral turpitude – conduct unbecoming of an officer – and conduct prejudicial to good order and naval discipline. That is why Horny was thrown out. Do you understand…?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Good.”

“Sir, I have a small doubt…?”

“What doubt…?”

“You can’t steal the affection of a brother officer’s wife because it is an act of moral turpitude…?”

“That’s right. It is immoral to steal the affections of your brother officer’s wife.”

“You can’t steal the affection of a brother officer because it is illegal. That is what they told us at the Academy.”

“Of course it is illegal. You cannot “steal the affection” of a “Brother Officer”. Buggery is unlawful. Those bygone seafaring days of the “Rum Bum Lash” Navy are long since over.”

“Sir – please tell me one thing…”

“Yes.”

“You cannot steal the affection of a “Brother Officer’s Wife” because it is “immoral”…”

“Yes.”

“You cannot steal the affection of a “Brother Officer” because it is unlawful”…”

“Yes.”

“Then – why is it permitted to steal the affection of your “Sister Officer”…?”

“Stealing the affections of a “Sister Officer”…? What are you talking about…?”

“Sir – nowadays we have Lady Officers in the Navy.”

“So…?”

“If Male Officers are like our “Brothers” – then – Women Officers are like our “Sisters” – isn’t that true, Sir…?”

“That’s right – Lady Officers are indeed your Sister Officers. And – that is exactly how you must treat them.”

“If you steal the affections of your sister – does that not amount to “incest”…?”

Incest…? What are you trying to say…?”

“Sir – tell me – are you allowed to marry your sister…?”

“No. Of course not.”

“Then why are male officers being permitted to marry female officers…? Why are Brother Officers stealing the affections of Sister Officers – and even marrying them. Isn’t it funny, Sir…? Today she is your “Sister” officer – and tomorrow – she becomes your Wife…

“What’s your point…?”

“It is all very confusing to me, Sir.”

“Confusing…? What is confusing…?”

“You can steal the affection of your “sister officer” – you can even marry your “sister officer” – that is allowed.

Also – “sister officers” can steal the affections of their “brother officers” – and even marry them – that is permitted.

But Sir – please tell me – if “incestuous” relationships between “brother officers” and “sister officers” are considered okay – then – why make such a big hullabaloo if you “steal the affection” of a “brother officer’s wife”…?”

“Very interesting question. I think I will have to ask my wife to answer your question.”

“Your wife…? I thought you were a bachelor, Sir.”

“And why is that…?”

“Because you are “in-living”, Sir – if you are married – why do you live like a bachelor on board the ship…? Why don’t you live with your wife in married accommodation…?”

“Well – my wife is posted to New Delhi. So – at present – I am a “Married Bachelor”.  That is why I am “in-living”…”

“Oh…”

“And – by the way – you will be interested to know – my wife is a “Sister Officer” – in your parlance.”

“What…? Sir…? Your wife is a “Sister Officer”…?”

“Yes – my wife is a Lady Naval Officer. She is a “Sister” Navy Officer. So – it looks like I am involved in an “Incestuous Relationship” – as you put it so succinctly…”

“Sir – I didn’t know. I am sorry – Sir – I am very sorry … ”

“No. No. Dear Snotty. Why are you feeling sorry…? On the contrary – it is Me – who should feel sorry. Yes – I should feel sorry. After all – I am guilty of “stealing the affection” of a “Sister Officer” – isn’t it…?”

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. 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) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/humor-in-uniform-love-rules.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

This story was written by me Vikram Karve around 5 years ago in the year 2012 and posted online by me a number of times including at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/10/stealing-affections.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/02/taboo-forbidden-love.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/02/humor-in-uniform-stealing-affection.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/11/humor-in-uniform-rules-of-love.html etc

The Dead Man and his Whisky

September 20, 2017

THE DEAD MAN’S WHISKY

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/the-dead-mans-whisky-fiction-short-story.html

The Dead Man and his Whisky – Story by Vikram Karve

Part 1 – THE DEAD BODY

I looked at the dead body – at the dead man’s face.

Even in death – he had the stamp of defeat on his face.

“Yes – it is him…” I said to the cop.

They covered the dead body.

We walked out of the morgue.

“The doctors will have to do a post mortem. They’ll do it straightaway – at night – and – we will get the body in the morning…” the cop said.

“Okay…” I said.

“If his family comes tomorrow – we can cremate him and complete the last rites tomorrow itself…” the cop said.

“That’s the problem – how do we inform his wife – his family…?”

“Sir – you don’t have their address – phone numbers – anything…?”

“No. His children have settled down abroad – in the US – and – his wife lives with them in America. I don’t have any contact details of his wife or his children. Tell me – did you not find anything on him – his wallet – mobile – some ID…?”

“No, Sir – I told you – the only thing we found was a piece of paper with a mobile number written on it…” the cop said.

“That’s funny…” I said.

“Looks like he has been robbed…” the cop said.

“Oh – so the robbers may have killed him…?” I said.

“I don’t think so, Sir – most probably he was dead before he was robbed – but – we will wait for the post-mortem report to confirm that…” the police inspector said to me.

Part 2 – DEATH REPORT

Well – Dear Reader – this was what had happened exactly one hour ago.

Around midnight – at 2330 Hours  – or 11:30 PM – to be precise – a police patrol saw a man lying unconscious on the street in a sleazy “red light area”.

Actually – the man had fallen into a filthy gutter by the street.

They thought it was a drunkard – it was quite common to see intoxicated men wallowing dead-drunk on the streets in that squalid area.

However – on a closer look – than man appeared to be dead – so the cops called an ambulance.

The man was declared “brought in dead” by the doctors at the hospital.

On searching the dead man – the cops found nothing – except a piece of paper in his trouser pocket with a 10 digits – which the inspector correctly assumed to be a mobile number.

The inspector called that number – and – my mobile cell-phone rang.

I picked up my mobile phone.

“I am Inspector ‘XXX’ speaking from ‘YYY’ Police Station. A man was found dead and we found your mobile number on a chit in his pocket – you will have to come to the police station…” a voice said curtly.

“It is past midnight…” I said.

“So what – it is a police case…” the cop said rudely.

I identified myself – I told the Police Inspector who I was.

There was a remarkable change in his tone – and – the cop said politely:

“I am sorry, Sir – I didn’t know…”

“That’s okay – where do you want me to come…?” I asked.

“Sir – we are in the civil hospital – I will send my jeep to pick you up…”

“Don’t take the trouble – I will come down myself to the civil hospital – you just give me the directions and tell me where exactly…”

“No, Sir – I will personally come and pick you up – please tell me your address…”

Outside – it was pitch dark – and – it was raining heavily – and – I didn’t quite fancy driving on that harsh night in the torrential rain – so – I accepted the inspector’s offer to pick me up.

I told the police inspector my address.

I changed my clothes – and – I waited for the cop to arrive.

Soon – we – the Police Inspector and I – we were driving in the police jeep towards the hospital to identify the body.

The cop looked at me – and – he said to me:

“Sir – the place where his body was found – Sir – it is a “red light area” – that area is notorious for crime – vagabonds and urchins must have looted everything – there was nothing on him – no wallet, no watch, no mobile phone – nothing – only his clothes – and – this chit with your mobile number written on it…”

I looked at the piece of paper on which I had written my mobile number – and – I said: “I met him in my club – he wanted to have a drink with me – but – I was in a hurry – so – I told him that I would have a drink with him some other time – he told me that he had got a bottle of my favourite single-malt whisky…”

“Single-Malt Whisky…? Imported…?”

“Yes – he told me that he had recently returned from the US after visiting his children and wife there – and – he had got a bottle of my favourite whisky from the duty-free store at the airport…”

“Oh – he must have really liked you…”

“Yes – we were good friends when we were in the Air Force – and – later too – I kept contact with him after he retired long ago – and – after I retired 6 months ago – I met him once at his house – just before he flew down to America…”

“Oh – Sir – what happened at the club…? How did you give him the chit with your mobile number…?”

“Oh, Yes – I told you – I met him in the foyer of the club – near the reception area – he said that he had misplaced the visiting card I had given him a few months ago – and – he asked for my mobile number so – I asked the receptionist for a piece of paper – I wrote my mobile number on it – and – I gave it to him…”

“Sir – you could have given him your visiting card…”

“Actually – I was in a hurry to get home – and – he was totally drunk…”

“He was already drunk – at what time – Sir…?”

“Around 9:30…”

“Sir – you must have seen him drinking in the bar…?”

No – I was attending a private party in the blue room – and – when I was walking towards the foyer of the club on my way out – he suddenly came lurching towards me – he asked for my mobile number – I could have given him my card – but – I was so disgusted seeing him in a drunken condition – that – I just wrote my number on a piece of paper – and – I gave it to him – and then – I walked to my car and drove off…”

“What surprises me is why he went all the way to the filthy “red light area” which is quite far away from your club…”

“Yes – that’s surprising…”

“Or – maybe – the dead body is not your “friend” – oh – I am sorry, Sir…” the cop said.

“It’s okay – I told you – he was a good friend…” I said.

“Sir – I hope the dead body is your friend – the same man who we think it is…” the cop said.

“What do you mean…?”

“Sir – it is possible some other man “mugged” your friend – and – he took the “chit” with your number on it – and – the dead man is that man who mugged your friend and took the chit from him. But – that is a remote possibility – as I said – most likely he died before he was robbed – but – the post-mortem will give us a clue…” the cop said.

It was obvious that the cop hoped that I would identify the dead man – so that – the police could close the case.

Soon – we reached the hospital.

The doctors took us to the morgue.

I identified the body – it was him.

Yes – the “Dead Body” was that of my “Friend”…

They covered the body – and – we walked out of the morgue.

“We will have to do a post mortem. They’ll do the post-mortem straightaway – at night – and we will get the body early in the morning…” the cop said.

“Okay…” I said.

“Sir – I have already put my men on the job to enquire with our informers in the area – so that we can rule out any foul play – and we can give clearance to cremate him once the doctors give their “all okay” report…”

“That’s a good thing you have done…” I complimented the inspector.

“If his family comes tomorrow – we can cremate him and complete the last rites tomorrow itself…” the cop said.

“That’s the problem – how do we inform his wife – his family…?”

“Sir – you don’t have their address – phone numbers – anything…?”

“No. I don’t know the contact details of his wife or children. Tell me – did you not find anything on him – his wallet – mobile – some ID…?”

“No, Sir – I told you – the only thing we found was a piece of paper with a mobile number written on it…” the cop said.

“Okay – let’s go to his house – maybe we will find some clue about the contact details of his family there…” I said.

“You know his house…?” the cop asked me.

“Yes – he had a bungalow in Deccan Gymkhana…”

“A Bungalow…? In Deccan Gymkhana…?”

“Yes – the Bungalow built by his father – and – since he was the only son – he inherited it…”

“Oh – let’s hope he hasn’t sold it off and gone to live somewhere else – he seems to have been an alcoholic – and – alcoholics are always short of money…”

“I don’t think he would have sold the bungalow – he was quite well-off financially – and – he was getting a decent pension…”

“Oh…”

“Well – I had been to his house around 6 months ago – he was living all alone – his wife had gone to live with his children who are settled abroad in America…”

“Sir – you knew him well…?”

“Of course – we joined the Air Force together as cadets – that was 45 years ago – we were ‘course-mates’ at the Academy – he was an ace fighter pilot – he stood first in our course – he won all the flying trophies – we all thought that he would reach high rank…”

“And just see what happened to him, Sir – what a sad end…”

“Yes – a very pitiful end to a good man…”

A doctor gestured to the Police Inspector.

The Inspector excused himself – and – he went across to talk to the doctor.

After some time – the Police Inspector returned – and – he said to me:

“Sir – the doctors say that – prima facie – they don’t suspect any foul play – and – the cause of death seems to be cirrhosis of the liver due to excessive consumption of alcohol – but – they will give a full proper post-mortem report in the morning – then – we can get the death certificate – and – hand over the body for cremation…”

“Shall we go to his house and try to find out contact details of his families…?” I asked.

“Yes – Yes – Sir – let’s go. I will tell them to send some force to break the lock and force the door open…” the cop said, “Sir – can you tell me the address of his bungalow…?”

I told him the location of the bungalow.

The Police Inspector spoke for some time on his mobile – repeating the location that I had told him.

Then – he said to me:

“Sir – let’s go…”

So – we drove to the Dead Man’s House in Deccan Gymkhana.

Part 3 – THE DEAD MAN’S WHISKY

One hour later – we – the police inspector and me – both of us were sitting in the drawing room of the bungalow – while a constable sat in the police jeep parked outside. The rest of the police party had been sent back to the police station.

The door had been forced open – and after a brief search – we found a diary with the addresses and phone numbers of the dead man’s wife and children living in America.

I called the dead man’s wife.

In Pune (India) – it was the unearthly hour of 2 AM.

In America – it must have been afternoon.

The dead man’s wife picked up the phone.

I identified myself.

She recognized me – though it was more than 15 years since we had met – after all – I was her husband’s course-mate and squadron-mate – and – I had kept contact even after her husband had prematurely left the Air Force.

“Is everything okay…?” she asked me.

I gave her the sad news that her husband was dead.

“Oh – it was bound to happen – the way he was drinking himself to death…” she said.

“We will get his body in the morning – I will arrange to keep his body in the morgue till you come…” I said to her.

“Why should I come…?” the dead man’s wife said.

“For his cremation – don’t you – your children – don’t you want to perform the last rites of your husband…?”

“No – you cremate him – I will send you whatever money is required for the expenses…”

“It is not a question of money…” I said to her, “won’t you like to see your husband for one last time…? Or – at least – the children would like to see their father for one last time…?”

“No – No – we are not interested in seeing his dead body – for us – he “died” long back…” the dead man’s wife said.

For a moment – I was dumbstruck.

Before I could recover my wits – the dead man’s wife said on the phone:

“Please cremate him – we really don’t have time to come to India now – but – we will try and come next month during the Christmas Vacations to ‘settle matters’ – please get his death certificate – and – just see that our bungalow is cleaned and locked up properly…”

I smiled to myself at the way the dead man’s wife had said “our bungalow”

She had abandoned her husband – but – she had not abandoned his bungalow.

Yes – it was “his” bungalow – given to him by his father – but his wife called it “our” bungalow.

I did not wish to speak anything further with the dead man’s wife.

Also – it seemed that she too did not want to speak anything to me – so – I said:

“Don’t worry – I am in your bungalow right now – I will do the needful…”

Then – I disconnected the phone.

We looked around the house.

We found empty liquor bottles lying all around – and – there were a few full bottles of Rum – and – some cheap country liquor bottles – but – conspicuous in his drawing room display case – there was a bottle of Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

“This must have been the bottle he bought for you, Sir…” the cop said.

“Yes…” I said – and – I took out the big one litre bottle of Highland Malt Whisky out of the display case.

I noticed that the inspector was looking at the bottle with a look of genuine desire – so – I said to him:

“Come on – let’s “kill” the bottle…”

“Sir…?” he said, confused.

“Well – my friend had got this bottle for me – I was going to drink the whisky with him – but now – he is dead – so why not the both of us have a drink and talk – anyway – we have to kill a few hours till morning – you like “Single Malt” don’t you…?”

“Yes, Sir – I tasted it once – at a party…” he said, “Sir – I will get some glasses from the kitchen…”

We sat on the sofa – sipping the Dead Man’s Whisky.

“Sir, what is the exact story of the “Dead Man”…?” the cop asked me.

“I told you – we were together in the Air Force – and – he was an ace fighter pilot – doing very well in his career – we were sure he would reach high rank – and then – one day – he suddenly resigned and left the Air Force…”

“Resigned…? Why…?”

“Yes – he quit when he was at his best – just when his career was taking off – for the sake of his children’s education…”

“Sir – are you saying that he quit the Air Force for his “children’s education”…?”

“Yes. He had two sons – I think one was in the 9th and the younger was in the 7th class – and – he wanted them to be in the best school in Pune so that could prepare well for the IIT Entrance Exam. In those days – airbases were quite desolate – and – did not have good schooling facilities – and – there were no coaching facilities for IIT and other such competitive exams…”

“Sir – he could have sent his wife and kids to Pune – and – he could have lived alone wherever he was posted…”

“He did that – he lived as a “bachelor” in the officers’ mess for some time – but – once you get used to family life – it is difficult to live alone – and – his wife kept nagging him to quit the Air Force and come and stay with them – as she was finding it difficult to manage the two teenage boys alone. Also – his wife wanted him to take their children’s studies – as I told you – his main aim was that both his sons get into IIT – so – he was willing to do anything to achieve this aim…”

“So – he quit the Air Force at the prime of his career…?”

“Yes – in a nutshell – he gave up his career for the sake of his kids…”

“And – his kids…?”

“His kids did well – both got into IIT. His efforts had borne fruit – he had totally dedicated his life for his children – for 5 years – till his younger son finished his 12thand gave the IIT exam – for all these 5 years – he did not take up a job – but – he focused full-time on his children’s studies…”

“A doting father…?”

“Yes – he was more than a “doting” father – he sacrificed his career for the sake of his children…”

“And his children – they did well – didn’t they…?”

“Yes – both his sons did well at IIT and got excellent grades. Then – like most IIT graduates do – both his kids went abroad to America for higher studies and they settled down permanently in the US…”

“And your friend…? What did he do…?”

“He tried to get a job – but couldn’t get a decent job…”

“You said that he was an “ace” pilot – surely – he could have joined the airlines…”

“Sadly – there was a glut of civil pilots at that time – besides – he was a fighter pilot – and – the civil airlines prefer transport pilots…”

“That’s sad…”

“Yes – that is the time he started regretting leaving the Air Force – he was unemployed – he felt humiliated at being treated as “good for nothing” in the civilian world – whereas he saw all of us doing well in our Air Force careers and reaching high rank…”

“It must have been depressing – you said he was a “flying trophy winner” – the best in his batch – it must have been terrible for him – he must have felt like a man lying in a gutter watching others climbing mountains…”

I smiled at the metaphor “lying in a gutter watching others climbing mountains” – alcohol seemed to be unleashing creativity in the cop.

I wondered whether it was a coincidence that he had used the metaphoric example of a “gutter” – because – my friend – the dead man – he had actually been found lying in a gutter.

I decided to cut the story short.

Why speak ill about a dead man…?

So – I said:

“Well – to put it in a nutshell – things went downhill after that – maybe because of his frustration – he started drinking heavily. Meanwhile his sons got married and had kids – and – his wife kept going to her children in America for long durations abroad for “nanny” duties – and – maybe because of loneliness – he started drinking even more…”

“Sir – he could have gone to America…” the cop said.

“He did – but then – maybe because of his drinking – his children did not want him there for long – so – he would come back – and – his wife would stay on for months…”

“Sad – to be unwanted by the same children for whom he had sacrificed his career…”

“Yes – and then – things got even worse – there were all sorts of sordid rumours that he was seen in unsavoury company…”

“Oh – so that explains why he was found in the “red light area”…”

“His wife must have heard about his sordid affairs – so – she abandoned him here – and – she went to live permanently live with her children in the US…”

“It must have broken him – poor man – it must have been very sad…” the cop said.

“A sad end to a good man…” I said.

I finished off the whisky in my glass.

It looked at my watch – it was almost 5 AM.

So – I said to the inspector:

“Shall we go…? It’s almost morning…”

“Yes, Sir…” the cop said, “I will just check up with the doctors…”

The police inspector made a call – spoke for some time – and then – he said to me:

“Sir – everything is okay – death was due to “cirrhosis of liver” – we can take the body now…”

“That’s good…”

“Sir – “Vaikunth” or “Kailas” – which crematorium do you prefer – I will tell them to make the cremation pass accordingly…”

“Wherever you want – and – I don’t want any rituals – let’s keep it to the bare minimum – I want to get over with his cremation as fast as possible…” I said.

“You are right, Sir – if his own wife and children are not even interested in seeing him for one last time – why should we bother about having rituals and ceremonies…?” the cop said – and – once again – he spoke on his mobile phone.

“Sir – shall we go…?” the cop said.

I got up from the sofa.

The cop picked up the Whisky Bottle – and – he said to me:

“Sir – the “Dead Man’s Whisky” – there is still plenty of whisky left in the bottle…”

“You keep it…” I said.

The cop looked at me and said:

“No, Sir – I think you should keep the “Dead Man’s Whisky” – as a token of remembrance of your friend…”

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/the-dead-mans-whisky-fiction-short-story.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised repost of my story DEAD MAN’S WHISKY posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 18 August 2016 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/08/dead-mans-whisky-short-story.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/11/story-of-doting-father.html

Humor in Uniform – Military “Justice”

September 20, 2017

IS “MILITARY JUSTICE” AN OXYMORON…? 

Musings of a Veteran

A Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/09/is-military-justice-oxymoron.html 

CATCH-22

I am glad I read the classic war novel CATCH-22 before I joined the Navy.

It made my life easier in the Navy – as Catch-22 helped me understand the crazy ways of the Navy – and – I could draw parallels between the characters in Catch-22 and the eccentric characters I encountered in the Navy.

Written by Joseph Heller – Catch-22 is a fictional spoof – satire – but then – isn’t humor the best way to tell the truth…?

In his inimitable satirical style – Joseph Heller encapsulates the essence of the military justice system in Chapter 8 of Catch-22 – which describes the Trial of Cadet Clevinger.

TRIAL OF CADET CLEVINGER 

Dear Reader – With a view to give you a glimpse into the military justice system – I will give you select “nuggets” from Chapter 8 of Catch-22 here (extracts quoted from the book are in italics)

Military Style “Justice” is the theme of Chapter 8 of Catch-22 – which describes Cadet Clevinger’s Trial – a profound satire on institutional justice in general – and military justice in particular.

Clevinger, an Aviation Cadet at Cadet School, is under the command of Lieutenant Scheisskopf, an ambitious officer.

Clevinger is a Harvard undergraduate who is an intellectual genius.

Joseph Heller satirically describes Clevinger as “a very serious, very earnest and very conscientious dope”.

Lieutenant Scheisskopf resents Clevinger’s cerebral intellect – especially the fact that Clevinger is proved right (and Lieutenant Scheisskopf  is proved wrong) every time – so Lieutenant Scheisskopf is waiting for an opportunity to take revenge and “fix” Cadet Clevinger.

“Clevinger was a troublemaker and a wise guy.

Lieutenant Scheisskopf knew that Clevinger might cause even more trouble if he wasn’t watched.

Yesterday it was the cadet officers; tomorrow it might be the world.

Clevinger had a mind, and Lieutenant Scheisskopf had noticed that people with minds tended to get pretty smart at times.

Such men were dangerous, and even the new cadet officers whom Clevinger had helped into office were eager to give damning testimony against him.

The case against Clevinger was open and shut.

The only thing missing was something to charge him with…”

Look at the last sentence above:

“The only thing missing was something to charge him with…”

In normal circumstances – an individual commits an offence – and then – he is charged for that offence.

But here:

First – you decide to “fix” someone.

Then – you decide what “offences” to charge him with.

You follow a “Topsy-Turvy” Procedure.

First – you find a “scapegoat” – or – a “difficult” individual who you want to “punish” (like Clevinger)

Then – you find a suitable “offence” to charge him with.

Dear Reader – have you seen this happen – especially if you have served in the military – or in civilian life too…?

As I told you earlier – Lieutenant Scheisskopf is waiting for an opportunity to “fix” Cadet Clevinger.

One day – Clevinger stumbles while marching to class.

The next day Clevinger is formally charged with “breaking ranks while in formation, felonious assault, indiscriminate behaviors, mopery, high treason, provoking, being a smart guy, listening to classical music, and so on…”

In short – they throw the book at him – and soon – Cadet Clevinger is facing Trial for the “offences” he is charged with committing.

There are 3 “Judges” in the “Action Board” to conduct the Trial of Cadet Clevinger:

  1. A bloated Colonel – with a big fat mustache
  2. Major Metcalf – who is trying to develop a steely gaze
  3. Lieutenant Scheisskopf

Yes – Lieutenant Scheisskopf is a member of the “Action Board”…

“…as a member of the Action Board – Lieutenant Scheisskopf was one of the judges who would weigh the merits of the case against Clevinger as presented by the prosecutor.

Lieutenant Scheisskopf was also the prosecutor.

Clevinger had an officer defending him.

The officer defending him was Lieutenant Scheisskopf…”

Lieutenant Scheisskopf is Clevinger’s “Prosecutor”“Defender”, and a “Judge” in the Trial Board too.

And – of course – as Clevinger’s Commanding Officer – Lieutenant Scheisskopf is the“Accuser” – who has charged Clevinger with the “offences” for which he is on Trial.

Ha Ha – Lieutenant Scheisskopf is a “4-in-1” – the “Accuser”, the “Prosecutor”, the“Defender”, and a “Judge”

The description of Clevinger’s Trial is hilarious – and – you must read it in Chapter 8 of Catch-22.

Clevinger is tried for a list of nonsensical charges that neither Clevinger nor the three judges can make much sense of.

However – since he has been accused – the aim is to find Clevinger guilty.

Guilty of what…?

That does not matter.

He has to be found GUILTY – that’s all.

So – Cadet Clevinger is found “Guilty” – simply because he was “Accused”

In a unanimous decision – the Trial Board finds Cadet Clevinger GUILTY.

“…Clevinger was guilty, of course, or he would not have been accused, and since the only way to prove it was to find him guilty, it was their patriotic duty to do so…”

MILITARY JUSTICE – COURT-MARTIAL – UNANIMOUS DECISIONS  

To the best of my knowledge – a Navy Court-Martial comprises between 5 and 9 Members (Judges) – and – I guess that Military Courts similarly comprise multiple members – probably odd numbers.

So – a Military/Navy Court-Martial is akin to a “Bench” of a Civilian Court – a “Bench” can comprise of a number of Judges.

However – there is one big difference.

A “Bench” of a Civilian Court may give a “unanimous decision” – or may deliver a “majority verdict”.

In case of a majority verdict – all the judgements are made public – including the dissenting judgements.

This is not so in a Navy Court-Martial.

To the best of my knowledge:

  1. In case the findings are not unanimous – and there is difference of opinion between Members of the Court-Martial – the verdict is decided by the vote of the majority.
  1. In case of a majority judgement – the names and views of the dissenting members are not made public – only the decision is announced in open court (unlike in a Civilian “Bench” where names of dissenting Judges and their Judgements are made public)

I don’t know whether it is the same in a Military Court-Martial (Army/AirForce).

But – as far as Navy Court-Martial is concerned – let me quote the relevant sub-sections from Section 118 of the Navy Act, 1957:

Section118 – Drawing up of the finding

(1) The trial judge advocate shall then draw up the finding as announced by the court.

(2) The finding so drawn up shall be signed by all the members of the court by way of attestation notwithstanding any difference of opinion there may have been among the members and shall be countersigned by the trial judge advocate.

(5) Neither the court nor the trial judge advocate shall announce in open court whether the finding was unanimous or not; but the president shall make a record of the division of voting on each finding without disclosing the vote or opinion of any particular member of the court-martial and such record shall be communicated to the trial judge advocate for transmission to the Judge Advocate-General of the Navy.

IS “MILITARY JUSTICE” AN OXYMORON…?

Dear Reader:

After reading this – do you feel that “Military Justice” an Oxymoron…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

  1. This blog post is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. 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) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/09/is-military-justice-oxymoron.html

Ship’s Anniversary Party – Story of False Consensus and Abilene Paradox

September 19, 2017

Humor in Uniform 

SHIP’S ANNIVERSARY PARTY – An Apocryphal Story by Vikram Karve

FALSE CONSENSUS – ABILENE PARADOX

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/07/humor-in-uniform-false-consensus-and.html

FALSE CONSENSUS

“The Ship’s Anniversary is next month – any ideas how we should celebrate it…?” the newly appointed Captain asked his Heads of Department (HsOD) at the end of his first HsOD Meeting.

The ship was going to be 2 years old – so it was the ship’s second anniversary after commissioning.

The Captain was new – but all the Heads of Department (HsOD) – and all the other officers and sailors – they were all from the commissioning crew.

There was silence – each HOD was waiting for someone else to speak first.

Observing that the HsOD were silent – the Captain asked the Executive Officer (XO):

“Okay – “Number 1” – you tell me – how was it celebrated last year…?”

“Sir – last year was the first anniversary – so – we had a Grand Party on board – the C-in-C, Fleet Commander, Admiral Superintendent, all Commanding Officers and XOs, Headquarters’ Staff Officers and Senior Officers of shore establishments – Captains and above – and – various officers connected with the ship were invited…” the XO said.

In his mind – the XO recalled the nightmare getting the ship “shipshape” for the Anniversary Party – the “cleanship” – the painting – the “spit and polish” – the enormous physical effort put in by the sailors just for that one party.

And worse – this time – there was a long sailing – and – the ship would return to harbour just 3 days before the anniversary.

He would have to cancel the “liberty” (shore leave) and get all the sailors working on “cleanship” – the moment they got back to harbour.

The XO was a sensitive officer who cared for his men – and – he felt pity for the plight of his sailors who – despite being tired after a long sailing – instead of going ashore on liberty – would be deployed on the laborious job getting the ship ready for the grand anniversary party.

Postponing an “anniversary” party was out of the question – since – a ship’s anniversary is a sacrosanct day.

As far as the XO was concerned – in his mind – his frank opinion was – that instead of “punishing” the sailors by making them slog for the party immediately after returning from sailing – it would be best to scrap the grand anniversary party.

But – the XO kept his mouth shut – because – he was afraid that if he expressed his opinion about scrapping the anniversary party – he may look like a fool in front of the Captain and his fellow HsOD.

The Captain looked at the XO and said:

“So – you feel that we should have a grand anniversary party like last year…?”

The XO nodded – and – he said to the CO:

“Yes, Sir…”

The Captain looked at the other Heads of Department.

In their minds – the “Technical Heads of Department” (Technical HsOD) felt that their sailors would be tired after the long sailing – and – they would have to be immediately deployed for getting the ship ready for the party – “illuminate ship” – running of Machinery and Gensets to ensure there was no glitch during the party.

Like the XO had felt in his mind – both the Technical HsOD – the Engineer Officer (EO) and Electrical Officer (LO) also felt that it would be best to scrap the grand anniversary party.

But – the Technical HsOD could not read what was going on inside the XO’s mind – especially because the XO had wholeheartedly agreed with the CO that they should have a grand anniversary party.

They thought about it.

The XO had said that he wanted a grand party – and – it seemed that the Captain too wanted an ostentatious anniversary party – since he was enquiring about the previous year’s party.

The Technical Heads of Department did not want to be seen as “dissenters” – so – they said to the Captain:

“Yes, Sir – it would be a good idea to have a grand anniversary party like last year…”

The Captain looked at the Supply Officer

(“Supply Officers” were later renamed as “Logistics Officers”) 

The Supply Officer (SO) was also the Wardroom PMC (President Mess Committee) by virtue of being the senior-most officer in the Wardroom.

For the “Supply Officer” – it was a “double whammy” – since he was both SO and also the PMC.

The ship would return to harbour just 3 days before the anniversary party.

And – as Supply Officer and PMC – he would have to organise everything.

He would have to get the provisions – the food and drink – he would have to plan the menu – and – he would have to motivate the fatigued cooks and stewards who would be weary and exhausted after the long sailing.

Being an “ethical officer” – the Supply Officer felt that such “grand parties” were unfair to the ship’s officers – who would have to pay huge party shares in their mess bills.

Also – one small “faux pas” during the party – and his ACR (Annual Confidential Report) would be on the line.

Last time – a dumb steward had served a prawns “small eat” to the “pure vegetarian” wife of an Admiral – and all hell broke loose – and – the Supply Officer was sure that – the erstwhile Captain had not forgotten this gaffe – when he wrote the Supply Officer’s ACR.

Like the other Heads of Department – in his mind – the Supply Officer was also not too keen on having a grand anniversary party.

(Of course – the Supply Officer did not know what was going in the minds of the others)

He thought about it.

The three other Heads of Department – the XO, EO and LO – all of them had said they wanted to have a grand anniversary party.

The Captain also seemed in favour of an ostentatious anniversary party.

The Supply Officer did not want to be the “lone dissenter” and appear to be a cynical naysayer “Killjoy”.

So – the Supply Officer said:

“Yes, Sir – we should have a grand anniversary party like last year – even more impressive and grandiose than last year’s party.”

The Captain was happy that there was a “consensus” among all the Heads of Department.

(The Captain had spent most of his Navy career in “Staff Jobs” – pushing files in the landlocked “Northern Naval Command” – and – he was a great believer in “participative decision-making”)

And so – a grand anniversary party was planned.

The hapless sailors were deployed on “clean-ship” and “paint-ship” immediately on arrival in harbour.

Of course – there was a symbolic perfunctory “cake cutting ceremony” where the Captain and Youngest Sailor cut the “Anniversary Cake” – but – this was just “tokenism” – and – all efforts were focused on the “Grand Anniversary Party” to be hosted by the Ship’s Officers for the Navy “Big Wigs”.

With their “liberty” cancelled – the sailors cursed the “Ship’s Anniversary” while they physically slogged getting things “ship-shape” after the grueling sailing which had exhausted them.

While working alongside their demoralized sailors – the Ship’s Officers dreaded the huge “party share” for the anniversary party that would almost wipe out their next month’s earnings.

The Captain may score “Brownie Points” by having a grandiose anniversary party – but it was the ship’s officers who would be footing the bill as the “hosts”.

An occasion like Ship’s Anniversary is supposed to raise morale.

Instead – morale had plummeted.

What an irony…?

And – to make matters worse – the “Grand” Ship’s Anniversary Party was an unmitigated disaster.

Yes – the Ship’s Anniversary Party was a total disaster.

Everything had gone wrong.

There was a “goof up” in protocol due to confusion in the inter-se seniority of two Rear Admirals – and the “senior” of the two – who had a bloated ego – claimed that he had been intentionally accorded “shabby treatment” because he was an Admiral from the Technical Branch – and – he had privately made it known to the XO – that he would take his “revenge” and “fix” the Captain and the XO.

To add the woes – the Electric Power Supply tripped thrice during the Party causing chaos.

As if that was not enough – in a repeat performance of last year’s incompetence – the dumb steward served “Fish Tikka” small eats to a “pure vegetarian” Commodore and his wife – who almost threw up when they realized they were eating Fish.

(The steward had told them it was “Paneer Tikka” – from the outside it looked like paneer tikka – and – it was only when the guests took a bite – that they realized they were eating fish) 

The Engineer Officer got gloriously drunk – and – he made a spectacle of himself – swaying from side to side and cracking indecent jokes in a loud voice – and then – when restrained by the Doctor – he smashed his fist into the face of the Doctor and knocked him out cold.

A rival Captain from the Fleet – after enjoying the best of Scotch Whisky and stuffing himself with Food – he wondered why this ship was observing the Ship’s Anniversary on such a “grand scale” when “austerity measures” were in place – and – he even “boasted” that – to observe austerity – he had cancelled his ship’s anniversary party and had just a small cake-cutting ceremony.

This rival Captain sarcastically commented that this ship’s Captain who was now celebrating his ship’s anniversary with full gusto in an ostentatious manner on such a grand scale – this same Captain – when in Naval Head Quarters (NHQ) – this same Captain had issued a letter advising “austerity” in ceremonials and celebrations – thereby implying that the host Captain was a hypocrite.

(Of course – the rival Captain made these nasty comments in full hearing of the “powers-that-be”) 

When things start going wrong – there is a snowballing effect – and – there was a series of blunders and “foul ups” – even the food was terrible – and the dessert turned out to be a disaster.

Not only was the Anniversary Party an unmitigated disaster – but it had caused all-round demoralization and cynicism – a totally wasted effort and counterproductive enterprise.

In a nutshell – to put it euphemistically in “Catch-22 Style” – instead of being a glorious“feather in his cap” – the grand anniversary party had turned out to be a terrible “black eye” for the Captain.

ABILENE PARADOX

Next morning – the Captain held a “post mortem” meeting with his Heads of Department in his cabin.

The Captain said:

“It would have been better if we had not had such a grand anniversary party. In fact – it would have been best if we did not have a party at all.”

The XO said:

“Exactly Sir – those were my thoughts too – but I thought that you very much desired to have a grand extravagant party so – as XO – I did not want to let you down – by dissenting with you. But now – I agree with you that it would have been best – if we had scrapped the party.”

The EO said:

“Yes, Sir – I also was against have a party – I too thought that there was no point wasting so much effort. But – I thought that since you and the XO were so enthusiastic to have a grand anniversary party – I didn’t want to be a “killjoy” – so – I too went along with you.

The LO said:

“Sir, I was apprehensive about the ship’s generators – and – I too did not want to have a grand anniversary party – but – I did not want appear as a negative “spoilsport” – when I saw that all of you were so eager to have a grand party.”

The SO said:

“Sir, I was totally against having a grand party – I was apprehensive that it would turn out to be “flop show”. But – when I saw that everyone was so keen to have a grand party – I did not want to be the sole “naysayer” – so – I too went along with popular opinion.”

All of them – the Captain and the Heads of Department – they were all perplexed.

In their mind – none of them wanted to have a grand anniversary party

But – no one had voiced his frank opinion – because each person mistakenly thought that the others wanted to have the grand anniversary party – and each person wanted to “please” the others and did not want to be the “odd man out”.

Thus – they developed a “false consensus”.

The “actual consensus” (in the minds of everyone) was not to have a party – no one wanted to have a grand anniversary party.

But – due to the “Abilene Paradox” – a “false consensus” emanated to have a grand anniversary party – whereas – in actual fact – not even a single officer wanted to have a party.

I saw plenty of examples of the “Abilene Paradox” in the Navy – and – in personal relationships too – where such “false consensus” develops because everyone wants to go along with what they mistakenly believe is “popular opinion” – and – no one wants to “rock the boat” – or appear as the “odd man out” – by expressing his frank opinion.

How do you steer clear of the “Abilene Paradox” and avoid “False Consensus”…?

It is very simple – and – obvious.

Each one of us must frankly express our opinions – you must speak out what is in your mind – without bothering about what others will think.

Of course – for everyone to be able to express his frank opinion – you must have conducive environment for encouraging free speech – which may not exist in many organizations – especially – in the military – where dissent and contrarian views are frowned upon – and there exists a traditional culture of conformance and “forced unanimity”.

In the Military – individuals are reluctant to publicly say what they privately believe in – especially if the feel that their own views are contrary to the prevailing opinion.

The phenomenon of “False Consensus” thrives in the Military – thanks to the “Abilene Paradox”.

Dear Reader:

Do you know why this Paradox is called the “Abilene” Paradox…?

I will tell you that – and much more – about the “Abilene Paradox” – in subsequent Blog Posts.

Till then – do think of situations in your own life – at work – in inter-personal relationships – and in social occasions – where you observed the “Abilene Paradox”.

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. 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)

 Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/07/humor-in-uniform-false-consensus-and.html

This is a revised repost of my story FALSE CONSENSUS – ABILENE PARADOX posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on June 6. 2016 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/false-consensus-abilene-paradox.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/07/humor-in-uniform-grand-ships.html

If you had to live your life again – will you still select the same profession…?

September 19, 2017

A youngster asked me a question on a forum:

“Does anyone regret joining the Military…? 

I answered thus:

Yes – you will regret joining the Military if you don’t have the requisite aptitude and attitude required for a military career.

If you join the military without “due diligence” – you may be unhappy in the military – due the mismatch between your temperament and military attributes.

Before joining the military – you must study the various unique Military Attributes – required for a military career in the Armed Forces – and you must introspect and analyse whether you fit in.

If your temperament is in harmony with these military attributes – join the Defence Services – and you will be happy in the Military.

However – if there is a mismatch between your temperament and these military attributes – it is best for you to avoid a Military Career – because – if you join the Armed Forces – you may get frustrated and become unhappy – and you will regret joining the Military.

On reading my answer on the forum – a fellow Navy Veteran – a good friend of mine – he commented:

“If I had to live my life again – I will still join the Navy.

If I were given a choice for my next life – I will still love to choose the same profession…” 

His answer reminded me of a blog post I had written more than 4 years ago on March 7, 2013 (and revised later) in which I had asked myself the “quintessential question”:

“If I have to live my life again  will I still join the Navy?” 

Dear Reader: Here is the blog post once again for your perusal…

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/defence-services-as-career-option.html

The Armed Forces as a Career Option – Then and Now

Musings of a Military (Navy) Veteran By Vikram Karve 

I am often asked the quintessential question:

“If you had to live your life again  will you still join the Navy?”

I answer:

“YES – and  NO

Let me explain.

If I could go back in time – and – if I could turn the clock back by 40 years to the 1970’s – then I will certainly join the Navy.

Yes – if I can reverse the clock back in time – 40 years back in time – to the 1970’s – then – I will join the Navy.

But – if I cannot turn the clock back  then I will not join the Navy.

If in today’s world – I possess the same qualifications as I did way back then – in the 1970’s (when I joined the Navy) – B. Tech. in Electronics and Communication Engineering – if today – in present day circumstances – I am a fresh “B. Tech. in Electronics and Communication Engineering” from an IIT – the Navy is certainly not an attractive career option for me – since – nowadays – there are so many impressive, exciting, lucrative, rewarding and prestigious career options available for a bright young Engineer – which are far superior – to a career in the Defence Services.

I think that – the turning point – was the advent of “liberalisation and globalisation” – and – the consequent “paradigm shift” in economic policy in 1991.

In the 1970’s – and in the pre-liberalisation days – there was no great disparity in pay and career prospects – between the Navy and Civilian Jobs.

Those days – I remember that – the salaries and career prospects in the Navy (and Defence Services) were comparable to those in the Civilian Corporate World and Industry.

In fact – there was a glamour attached to uniform – which gave us Naval Officers a sense of pride – which outweighed the slight salary advantage our counterparts in the civvy street enjoyed.

(I call this this “sense of pride” as Psychic Income.  So – in the 1970’s – my overall compensation (Financial Income + Psychic Income) outweighed the compensation my classmates got in the Civilian Corporates/Industry)

After the year 1991 – as liberalisation set in – the economy and scenario began to rapidly change – and now – the flow of liberalisation is unstoppable, inescapable and irreversible.

With increasing liberalisation and globalisation soon there was an investment boom, a financial boom, an industry boom, an IT/ITES and Software boom – there were so many “booms” – the “growth story” – and – everything changed.

Today – there is no glamour attached to uniform – and – in fact – it is the corporate sector – and – careers in Business, Finance and Information Technology that have become glamorous.

Today – everyone knows the names of the Corporate Czars and successful businessmen – and bright young Entrepreneurs are the toast of society.

In contrast – if you talk to youngsters – you will realize that hardly anyone knows the names of our Defence Chiefs (Army, Navy and Air Force Chiefs) – unless they get embroiled in some controversy or scam – which is given publicity by the media.

Yes – frequent media reports of the unethical conduct of senior military officers has certainly taken off the sheen from the erstwhile shining image of the Defence Services – and today – Defence Officers do not enjoy the respect in society which they earlier did in the 1970’s.

In fact – over the years – with every pay commission – the relative status/pay/perks of Defence Services is lowered as compared to the Civil Services – and – this trend is likely to continue – since – in the present system – the Civil Services have much more clout with Politicians than the Defence Services.

Also – thanks to increasing “liberalisation and globalisation” – the Corporate/Industry has gone ahead leaps and bounds.

Change is inevitable.

And – things have indeed changed – with the rapid progress of liberalisation and globalisation.

Unfortunately – the “steeped in tradition” Armed Forces seem to have been caught in a time warp – because of “resistance to change” – owing to the deeply entrenched Auld Lang Syne Syndrome in the Defence Services.

Many feel that the Defence Services have an archaic colonial feudal culture – which is not in sync with modern aspirations.

Yes – the archaic “service culture” seems to be out of sync with the aspirations of the bright young people of today – who are highly educated, knowledgeable, smart, well-informed, career-focussed, success-oriented and ambitious individuals.

Whereas the civilian industry rapidly progressed and has gone way ahead after liberalisation – even the Civil Services are much better off than the Defence Services as far as career prospects are concerned.

Earlier – Salaries and Perks of Defence Services were higher than Civil Services – but – now – with successive pay commissions changing the balance in favour of the civil services – the career prospects of the civil services are far superior to those of the Armed Forces – and – the Defence Services have been reduced to begging for parity with the civil services.

So – if I were a well-qualified engineer from a premier institution in today’s world – rather than join the Navy (or Defence Services) – I would certainly like to explore better career options with excellent career prospects – which are more likely to fulfill my aspirations – and – enable me to grow intellectually and realize my maximum potential by allowing me to make full use of my talents – earn money, create wealth and achieve material success to have a good standard of living and quality of life – and accomplish something significant in life.

In the 1970’s the Navy was a great place to be in – the Navy was not a mere job – the Navy was a way of life.

Yes – in the 1970’s – the Defence Services were a great place to be in.

Now…?

You tell me.

Let me end on a lighter note.

When I joined the Navy (in the 1970’s) – there was a recruitment slogan:

“…JOIN THE NAVY AND SEE THE WORLD…”

Things have turned topsy-turvy – haven’t they…?

Today – you have a better chance of “seeing the world” in a civilian job – especially if you are a “Techie” in the IT Industry or an Investment Banker.

So – in conclusion – I will say – that – in today’s world – if I am fresh Engineering Graduate from a Premier Institution (IIT/NIT etc) – I will certainly not join the Navy (or Defence Services) – but – I will explore the plethora of attractive career options available in the Civilian Corporates/Industry (called “civvy street” in Naval Parlance).

By the way – sometime in the early1990’s – the Navy probably realised – that – with the boom in career opportunities after liberalisation/globalisation – good Engineering Graduates from premier institutions would not be inclined join the Navy – so – the Navy downsized their Flagship “University Entry Scheme” (UES) – and – decided to produce captive engineers “in-house” – via the 10+2 (NEC) Scheme.

The Navy 10+2 (NEC) Scheme was later copied by the Army to produce “in-house” 10+2 (TEC) Scheme to produce “Dapodi Engineers” at the College of Military Engineering (CME) Dapodi.

Of course – now – to the best of my knowledge – all Navy Cadets who pass out of the Indian Naval Academy (INA) are “B. Tech. Engineers”.

CONCLUSION

So – Dear Reader – if you ask me the quintessential question:

“If you had to live your life again  will you still join the Navy?”

I will answer:

“YES – and  NO

“YES  (if I could turn the clock back by 40 years to the 1970’s) 

NO  (in today’s world)” 

Dear Reader: What about you…? If you had to live your life again – will you still select the same profession once again…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

  1. This article is based on my own experience and represents my personal views which may not be universal in nature and may not apply to you. You must make your own career decisions with due diligence.
  2. This is a fictional spoof, satire, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  3. 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)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/defence-services-as-career-option.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised repost of my article WILL YOU JOIN THE NAVY (The Armed Forces as a Career Option – Then and Now) posted online my me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/03/will-you-join-navy.html

 

 

Why did you join the Navy…?

September 18, 2017

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from a Navy friend this evening – we were coursemates at the prestigious Naval Academy.

I was delighted to hear his voice after a long time (we had last met 15 years ago in 2002 at Mumbai).

We talked for a long time – about our Navy Days – about Retired Life – and – when my coursemate reminisced about our Naval Academy Days in Cochin (Kochi) – around 41years ago – in the 1970’s – I remembered this story…

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE NAVY…?

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/humor-in-uniform-mickey-finn.html

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE NAVY…? 

PART 1

Naval Academy Cochin (Kochi) : Circa – 1970’s

The moment we reported to Naval Academy (NAVAC) Cochin (Kochi) – we were asked the quintessential question:

“Why did you join the Navy…?”

Most of us gave unimaginative stereotyped answers which everyone had heard before.

Acting Sub Lieutenant “M” was different.

Sub Lieutenant “M” said:

“I joined the Navy to drink good Booze…”

Those days – the Junior-most Officer Rank in the Army/Navy/Air Force was Second Lieutenant (2nd/Lt)Acting Sub Lieutenant (Ag Sub Lt) and Pilot Officer (P/O) respectively. 

In the year 2006 – thanks to the AVS Cadre Review Bonanza – this junior-most officer rank was abolished – and Defence Officers were commissioned directly as Lieutenants/Sub Lieutenants/Flying Officers in the Army/Navy/Air Force respectively – which were the ranks above the erstwhile “2nd Lt”/“Ag Sub Lt”/“Pilot Officer” respectively – the lowest officer ranks earlier. 

Dear Reader: After this digression – let me start telling you the story from the beginning once again: 

The moment we reported to Naval Academy (NAVAC) Cochin (Kochi) – we were asked the quintessential question:

“Why did you join the Navy…?”

Most of us gave unimaginative stereotyped answers which everyone had heard before.

Acting Sub Lieutenant “M” was different.

Sub Lieutenant “M” said:

“I joined the Navy to drink good Booze…”

“What did you say…?” the Officer-in-charge bellowed at Acting Sub Lieutenant “M”

Acting Sub Lieutenant “M” nonchalantly said:

“Sir – I said that I joined the Navy to drink good booze.” 

The Officer-in-charge and Staff Officers of NAVAC thought “M” was joking – but “M” was dead serious – he had indeed joined the Navy to drink.

We were “University Entry Officers”.

We were selected via the “University Entry Scheme” (UES) – an “Earn while you Learn” Recruitment Scheme – which was highly successful in attracting the best Engineering Talent.

Under the UES – Navy Selection Teams visited premier Engineering Colleges/IITs/RECs (NITs) at the beginning of our pre-final year – and they interviewed and shortlisted suitable candidates – who had to appear before a Services Selection Board (SSB) at Allahabad, Bhopal or Bangalore.

Those selected by the SSB – and found medically fit – were offered a commission as an Officer in the Navy from the beginning of their final year of Engineering.

So – we were Naval Officers drawing handsome pay during our final year of Engineering – owing to which we enjoyed great prestige and relative affluence as compared to our fellow student classmates.

On completion of our B. Tech. / BE courses – we joined the Naval Academy for Basic and Divisional (B&D) Training.

We had heard that during his final year in Engineering College – “M” had taken his appointment letter (as an officer in the Indian Navy) to a Military Unit near his college – and he had managed to get a Liquor Card from the Unit CSD Canteen which enabled him to enjoy his full “Booze Quota” of “Military Rum” during his final year of Engineering.

Coming back to the Naval Academy – on our very first “liberty” a month after joining training – while we headed for Movie Halls and Restaurants in Ernakulam – Acting Sub Lieutenant “M” rushed to nearest Bar to get gloriously drunk.

In fact – “M” enjoyed himself so much – downing peg after peg of Rum – to “cure” his “thirst” – that he passed out ‘dead drunk’ in the Bar.

Luckily for “M” – a ‘Good Samaritan’ saw his Navy ID Card.

The ‘Good Samaritan’ carried the blissfully ‘comatose’ unconscious “M” into his car – then he drove down to the Naval Base – and deposited “M” outside the OOD’s Office.

This episode resulted in some heavy “punishments” and “restrictions” for “M” – including cancellation of his “liberty” – “shore leave” in Navy Jargon – till the end of the term.

The “powers-that-be” realized that “M” meant business – as far as his reason for joining the Navy was concerned.

However – “M” was not to be deterred from his sole aim – his very purpose for joining the Navy – and – within a few days – “M” used his initiative to get access to booze.

As I told you – we were already Officers when we joined the Naval Academy (NAVAC) – and we were drawing full pay and allowances.

So – we dined in the Officers’ Wardroom – the Southern Naval Area (SNA) Wardroom Officers Mess.

[Yes – those days the Southern Seaboard was a Naval “Area” – not a Naval “Command”. In due course –  a few years later – SNA was upgraded to SNC (Southern Naval Command)]

Of course – since we were not allowed to wear stripes during training – we dined in a separate “Gun Room” – but – we were full-fledged members of the Wardroom Officers Mess.

There were no “free” authorized rations those days – so – as Officers – we paid for our food – unlike Cadets – who dined in the Cadet Dining Hall in the Academy and got free food.

During Basic Training – we were not officially allowed to drink liquor – but we were permitted to smoke – and we bought our cigarettes at the Wardroom Bar by signing chits – since we were full-fledged members of the Wardroom Mess.

On working day evenings – we dined in “Red Sea Rig” uniform (Navy Black/White Evening Dress with Cummerband).

On Weekends/Sundays/Holidays – we were permitted to wear “Civvies” (civilian clothes).

One Sunday evening – while we were buying cigarettes at the Bar – “M” asked the steward for a Large Peg of Rum – and – with confident flourish – “M” signed a chit for the Rum.

The steward served “M” a Large Peg of Rum.

It was as simple as that.

From then on – every evening – “M” would sneak out from his cabin during the pre-dinner “Study Hour” – and head for the Wardroom Bar for his daily quota of Rum – and then – after quickly downing a few pegs of Rum “down-the-hatch” – “M” would  join us for dinner in the “Gun Room”.

Once our Basic Training was over – and we passed out of the Naval Academy – we could officially drink all the liquor we wanted to – especially top class premium “duty free” foreign liquor on ships.

For “M” – the choicest “duty free” foreign liquor was a bonanza – the very raison d’être – for which he had joined the Navy.

PART 2

10 Years Later

IAT Pune – Circa: Mid 1980’s

“M” enjoyed his bachelor days “soaked in alcohol” – imbibing all the booze he could lay his hands on.

For “M” – it was the happiest time of his life – and the Navy was the best thing that had happened to him.

Sadly – one day – “M” got married.

And – even worse – “M” got a “tough cookie” wife – who cracked down heavily on his drinking.

In fact – his redoubtable wife banned alcohol in the house – and she kept an “eagle eye” on her husband at parties.

So – “M” would surreptitiously gulp a few quick “down-the-hatch” pegs of Rum whenever he got an opportunity – followed by some cardamom (Elaichi) to mask the smell of alcohol.

A few years later – “M” landed up as a “student” for an advanced specialization course at IAT Girinagar Pune – where I was his instructor.

Every evening – “M” would tell his wife that he wanted to “clear some doubts” about the subject I was teaching him – and he would land up in my house.

Of course – there were no “doubts” he wanted cleared.

“M” would have 3 quick pegs of Rum at my place.

And then – “M” would head home feeling “high” and “happy”.

When his wife questioned him on his “happy” state – “M” would plead that I was his instructor – and I had offered him a drink.

“M” told his wife I would get annoyed if he refused my generous offer of a drink – and this may affect his grades in the course.

M’s wife blamed me for “spoiling” her husband.

One day – M’s wife had her revenge on me.

It happened during the festival of HOLI.

On HOLI evening – when I was taking a long evening walk to sober up from the boisterous morning celebrations – M’s wife waved out to me and she called me to her lawn.

“M” was probably sleeping inside.

While celebrating HOLI with full gusto – “M” had “passed out” inebriated – dead-drunk – in the morning – totally intoxicated after surreptitiously downing huge amounts of a deadly cocktail of  “Rum and Beer”

(“M” had taken advantage of the fact that his “beloved” wife had magnanimously permitted “M” to have one bottle of Beer – as a special case for the occasion of HOLI – so – “M” had heavily fortified his Beer with plenty of Rum – and soon – “M” got totally drunk – yes – “M” collapsed into drunken stupor and had to be carried home). 

Coming back to the story… 

M’s wife looked charmingly at me.

“You drank too much in the morning. I will give you something really good to cure your hangover…” she said with a tender smile.

I accepted her kind invitation.

M’s wife asked me to sit on a chair in the verandah – and then – she went inside.

After some time – M’s wife emerged from kitchen – and – with an innocent smile – she served me a glass of Khus “Sherbet”.

What I did not know was that M’s wife had laced the cool green Khus “Sherbet” with a heavy dose of “Bhang”.

Yes – she had spiked the cool drink with deadly intoxicating Bhang (cannabis)

M’s wife had slipped me a potent “Mickey Finn”.

And – I naively drank the “Bhang” spiked cool drink.

Yes – I unsuspectingly drank the intoxicating “Bhang” fortified “Sherbet”.

I wondered why M’s wife was giving me such a “sweet” smile…?

Was she smiling because she had successfully “Mickey Finned” me…? 

What happened thereafter…?

Well – that’s another story…

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

  1. This is a fictional spoof, satire, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. 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) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/humor-in-uniform-mickey-finn.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Updated, Abridged and Revised Version of My Story WHY DID YOU JOIN THE NAVY posted online by me on November 16, 2015 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/11/why-did-you-join-navy-humor-in-uniform.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/01/humor-in-uniform-why-acting-sub.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/humor-in-uniform-why-did-you-join-navy.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/03/humor-in-uniform-my-coursemate-m.html

Story of a “Macho” Bully and “Namby-Pamby” Sissy

September 18, 2017

Humor in Uniform 

On our ship – there was a “Macho” Bully – a “Sadist” – a senior Lieutenant – let’s call him Lieutenant “J” 

And – there was an Effeminate “Sissy” – a docile “Namby-Pamby” – a junior Lieutenant – let’s call him Lieutenant “K” 

Dear Reader – Here is their story – The Story of a “Macho” Bully and “Namby-Pamby” Sissy… 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/how-to-deal-with-bully-navy-style-sugar.html

SUGAR TREATMENT 

Story of a “BULLY” and a “SISSY”

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Dramatis Personae:

“Macho” Lieutenant “J” – The “BULLY” (a “SADIST”)

“Sissy” Lieutenant “K” – The “SISSY” (a “NAMBY-PAMBY”)

Setting:

On a Naval Ship (Circa 1977)

This happened long back – almost 40 years ago – in the 1970’s.

On our ship – there was a bully – a “Sadist” – a senior Lieutenant – let’s call him Lieutenant “J”.

Now – a Naval Lieutenant is equivalent to an Army Captain – and those days – in the 1970’s – you remained in the rank of Lieutenant for 8 long years before you were promoted to Lieutenant Commander – equivalent to Major.

And – after you were commissioned as a Navy Officer – you became a Lieutenant after 3 years – so it took you 11 years commissioned service to become a Lieutenant Commander.

But – suddenly in the year 2006 – the AVS Cadre Review Bonanza changed everything – and now everyone becomes a Lieutenant Commander in just 6 years commissioned service – and the prestige of rank has been diluted.

Those days – on a ship – except for the Captain – and Heads of Department (XO, EO, LO) – all officers were Lieutenants – and – of course – sometimes – there were a few under-trainee Sub Lieutenants and Midshipmen too.

Now – after this “aside” – let me come back to our main story…

As I told you earlier – Lieutenant “J” – the Gunnery Officer – was the senior-most Lieutenant in the Wardroom.

And – there was Lieutenant “K”  the Senior Engineer Officer – who was the junior-most recently promoted Lieutenant.

Lieutenant “J” was more than 7 years senior to Lieutenant “K”.

Lieutenant “J” was a “Cadet Entry” Executive Officer with an imposing personality and intimidating manner – he was one of those “quintessential” haughty puffed-up “macho type” ex-Military School, ex-NDA officers – who thought they were prima donnas in uniform.

Lieutenant “K” was a rather meek looking docile Direct Entry Technical Officer – who had been directly commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant under the University Entry Scheme.

The contrast between the two Lieutenants was stark.

Lieutenant “J” was a terror on the ship – as he moved around with a pompous swagger – full of bluster and bombast – bullshitting the hell out of anyone who came in his way.

Lieutenant “K” was a simple unpretentious officer – a thorough professional engineer – who kept to himself – and who quietly performed his duties efficiently – and did his job in a humble modest sort of way.

Lieutenant “J” was a sadistic bully – he had a terrible reputation of ragging and physically abusing his juniors – and one heard all sorts of “scuttlebutt” about his brutal exploits – maybe it was all “bilge” – but the gossip was so scary – that most officers kept clear of him – and the Sub Lieutenants and Midshipmen were especially terrified of him – as they heard wicked rumors that – Lieutenant “J” was a “bum bandit” – on the prowl for “peg boys”.

Lieutenant “J” made life hell for sailors too – they steered clear of him – and – in fact – some sailors even avoided going ashore on “liberty” when Lieutenant “J” was on duty – in order to avoid encountering Lieutenant “J” on the gangway – since they did not want to risk the danger of being put on charge as a “defaulter” – for some trivial issue.

Lieutenant “J” took special delight in bullying Lieutenant “K”.

Maybe – Lieutenant “J” had some wicked ulterior nefarious designs in his mind – for which he was trying to subjugate Lieutenant “K”.

Or maybe – Lieutenant “J” liked to target Lieutenant “K” – just because he was a University Entry Officer – because Lieutenant “J” thought himself to be a “cat’s whiskers” Cadet Entry Officer – and he considered Lieutenant “K” a lowly “poltroon” – who did not deserve to wear stripes.

(Lieutenant “J” derisively called “Direct Entry” Officers as “Dope Entry” Officers)

Once – in full view of all the sailors – Lieutenant “J” belittled Lieutenant “K” by publicly shouting at him.

Lieutenant “J” shouted at Lieutenant “K”:

“We cadet entry officers go through the full tough grind – I got screwed for 6 years in military school – then we were rogered for 3 years at NDA – then toiled as a sea cadet – sweated it out as a midshipman – and then I got my stripe after so many years of jiggering – and you ‘dope entry’ buggers just walk into the Navy with a stripe on your shoulder.”

“Sir – how does entry matter – once we are in the navy – we are all equal officers…” retorted Lieutenant “K”.

“You consider yourself equal to me…? My foot..! You are a bloody sissy who can’t even take charge of your sailors – just look at the way your engine-room sailors move around in a bloody slothful manner – you are a bloody disgrace to uniform – a sissy with zero OLQ…”

Lieutenant “K” felt humiliated at being insulted in front of sailors.

But – Lieutenant “K” did not want to get into an argument with Lieutenant “J”.

So – Lieutenant “K” walked away – and – he went straight to his boss – the Engineer Officer (EO) – and Lieutenant “K” complained to his boss the EO:

“Sir – ever since I have come – Lieutenant “J” has been talking to me in an insulting manner – and today he humiliated me in front of sailors…”

“Go and tell the Executive Officer (XO) – he is the Head of the Executive Department – XO is Lieutenant “J”’s HOD – so you must complain to him…” the Engineer Officer (EO) said.

The EO had no guts to admonish Lieutenant “J” – so he passed the buck to the XO.

Lieutenant “K” went to the XO  and he complained to the XO about Lieutenant “J”.

“Go to your EO – he is your Head of Department – an officer must always come through his HOD…” the XO said.

“Sir – I had gone to the Engineer Officer – he told me to come to you since you were the HOD of Lieutenant “J”…”

“Don’t act like a bloody sissy and come crying to me – you are an officer – so you sort out your own problems yourself…?” the XO bullshitted Lieutenant “K”.

The fact of the matter was that both the EO and XO were scared of Lieutenant “J” – though both the EO and XO outranked Lieutenant “J.

As I told you earlier – Lieutenant “J” had an imposing personality.

And to add to his “macho” image was his impressive motorcycle.

Yes – Lieutenant “J” had a mighty Bullet Motorcycle which was his prized possession.

Lieutenant “J” was passionate about his motorcycle.

Lieutenant “J” had “jazzed up” his motorcycle with all sorts of glitzy adornments, ornate accoutrements and fancy gadgets – shining electroplated exteriors, klaxon horns, showy lights, special wheels etc – in a word – his motorcycle looked magnificent.

On Sunday morning – at around 11 AM – Lieutenant “J” was seen kicking his motorcycle and driving off in style.

As usual – Lieutenant “J” had painted the town red on Saturday evening till past midnight – slept late on Sunday morning – woken up around 10 AM – hurriedly got ready – and as per his Sunday routine – Lieutenant “J” was on his way to the Mahalaxmi Racecourse for the Sunday Races.

Lieutenant “K” smiled cannily – as he saw Lieutenant “J” drive off on his motorcycle – and Lieutenant “K” too decided to go ashore.

Lieutenant “K” did not have a vehicle – so he would walk down to Colaba – spend some time browsing on the Causeway – have a Biryani lunch at Olympia – and then maybe see a movie at Regal or Eros – then spend the evening loafing on Marine Drive.

When Lieutenant “K” returned on board ship in the evening – he saw that Lieutenant “J” had lined up the OOD and the Duty Watch Sailors near the Gangway – and – Lieutenant “J” was shouting at them furiously.

Lieutenant “J” seemed to be in a foul mood – so Lieutenant “K” quietly went down to his cabin.

Later – when Lieutenant “K” went down to the Wardroom for dinner – he found the “Officer of the Day” (OOD) sitting there.

“Sir – why was Lieutenant “J” shouting on the gangway – did he lose money at the horse races…?” Lieutenant “K” asked the OOD.

“His bloody motorcycle packed-up – the engine conked-off and stalled while he was driving to the racecourse…” the OOD said.

“So what is Lieutenant “J” so angry about – any machine can fail – surely he can get his bike repaired…” Lieutenant “K” said.

“It’s not so simple – Lieutenant “J” said that his motorcycle engine has seized – the entire system has got fouled up – the mechanic said that the bike required complete engine overhaul or maybe even a new engine – and it’s going to cost him a fortune…” the OOD said.

“Oh – so that’s why Lieutenant “J” is so upset…” Lieutenant “K” said.

“That’s just one part of the story – actually Lieutenant “J” is financially quite well-off – so money is not a problem for him – the bigger issue is that his pride has been hurt – Lieutenant “J” thinks it is sabotage…” the OOD said.

“Sabotage…?”

“The mechanic told him someone put some mucky stuff into the petrol tank – probably sugar…”

“Sugar…? So what happens if you put sugar in a motorcycle petrol tank…?”

“You tell me – you are the Engineer on board this ship – aren’t you…?” the OOD said to Lieutenant “K”.

Lieutenant “K” remained silent.

The OOD looked cannily at Lieutenant “K” – and – the OOD said to Lieutenant “K”:

“Well – in the Wardroom we are not supposed to stand drinks to fellow officers – but – I think I’ll buy you a drink – you certainly deserve one…”

“Sir…? Drink…? Me…? You want to buy me a drink…?” Lieutenant “K” asked, surprised.

The OOD said to Lieutenant “K”:

“Well – let me tell you about two unrelated incidents: 

  1. The Steward reported to me that a bag of Sugar is missing from the Pantry

and

  1. The Quartermaster told me that you went ashore early in the morning – at around 5:30 – even before “Hands-Call”– and he saw you walking on the jetty – near the vehicle park…”

Lieutenant “K” smiled like a Cheshire Cat – but said nothing.

For some time – Lieutenant “K” remained silent.

Then – Lieutenant “K” smiled at the OOD – and he said to the OOD:

“I think I will have that drink…”

“Sure – but you better be careful – Lieutenant “J” is sure to find out the truth – and then – he will have a go at you – so – you keep a sharp lookout…” the OOD warned Lieutenant “K”

“Let him find out – he won’t do anything – Lieutenant “J” is a bloody bully – and all bullies are cowards…” Lieutenant “K” said.

“What do you mean…?” the OOD said.

“Have you read the novel “Godfather”…? Or – have you seen the movie “Godfather” starring Marlon Brando…?”

“Yes…”

“Do you remember the horrific “horse-head” scene – where the movie producer finds the bloody severed head of his horse in his bed…”

“Yes…”

“And the arrogant producer is so shaken up – that he meekly submits to Godfather Don Corleone’s request – doesn’t he…?

“So…?”

“Well – this time I fingered his motorcycle. Next time – who knows what will happen…? And – Lieutenant “J” knows this…”

On seeing the cold unemotional manner in which the meek-looking Senior Engineer Lieutenant “K” spoke these words in a soft chilling tone – the OOD felt a tremor of fear himself.

On a ship – it is difficult to keep anything secret.

“Scuttlebutt” spreads fast.

Soon – and soon the ship’s grapevine was abuzz with the story of how the docile looking unpretentious Senior Engineer Lieutenant “K” had deflated the Haughty Gasbag Lieutenant “J” – by giving him the Sugar Treatment…”

The Docile “Sissy” Lieutenant “K” had “slam-dunked” the Sadistic “Macho” Lieutenant “J” nice and proper.

To cut a long story short:

From then on – the “Pompous” “Macho” Lieutenant “J” kept clear of the “Coy” “Sissy” Lieutenant “K” 

And – after this episode of “Sugar Treatment” – everyone on the ship treated the Senior Engineer Lieutenant “K” with healthy respect and admiration.

VIKRAM KARVE

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.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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) 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/06/how-to-deal-with-bully-navy-style-sugar.html

This fictional spoof was written by me Vikram Karve more than 2 years ago on 16 April 2015 and posted online by me earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/04/humor-in-uniform-sugar-treatment.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/how-to-deal-with-bully-navy-style-humor.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/07/humor-in-uniform-macho-sissy-and-sugar.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/11/bully-and-sissy-humor-in-uniform.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/humor-in-uniform-slam-dunk.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/humor-in-uniform-sissy.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/11/humor-in-uniform-sugar-treatment.html etc

Humor – Oily Navy – A “Memoir” from My Jamnagar Navy Days

September 17, 2017

Humor in Uniform 

A “Memoir” from My Jamnagar Navy Days

HOW THE “OILY NAVY PUT ME ON A “SLIPPERY SLOPE

An Unforgettable Train Journey

Hilarious Memories of My Delightful Navy Days

A Fictional Spoof by Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/humor-in-uniform-how-oily-navy-put-me_42.html

PREAMBLE

This story happened around 37 years ago – in the year 1980.

Today – “Fauji” (Military) Officers are a pampered lot.

All Defence Officers travel by Air from the day they are commissioned into the Armed Forces.

But – in those “good old days” – air travel was a luxury permitted only for senior officers above the rank of Colonel/Captain/Group Captain – a rank very few achieved – and that too after slogging in cut-throat competition for around 25 years.

So – most Defence Officers travelled by the magnificent Indian Railways – and long train journeys were an essential part of military life – while travelling on duty and while going home on leave – and we still remember many of those memorable train journeys.

Nowadays – since Defence Officers and their families mostly travel by air  – they miss out on the romance of train journeys.

But – in those “good old days” – The Indian Railways were an integral part of the romance of military life.

Here is the story of a memorable and unforgettable train journey I enjoyed during my Navy days.

PREFACE

THE “OILY NAVY

You may have heard of the WAVY NAVY – RNVR (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve)/RINVR (Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve) whose officers wore “wavy” rank stripes (while Royal Navy (RN) Officers wore straight rank stripes)

You may have also heard the witty quote by a famous World War 2 “Wavy Navy” Officer of the RNVR:

…“the difference between the “straight navy” (RN) and “wavy-navy” (RNVR) is that  the RN look after the Navy in peacetime  while the RNVR do the fighting in War…”

…hinting that Regular (RN) Officers “fight” in “peacetime” – whereas Reservists (RNVR) fight the war

This highlighted the difference between “peacetime soldiering” mainly done by Regular Officers – and “warfighting” mainly done by the Reservists.

So – now you have heard of the WAVY NAVY.

But – have you heard of the OILY NAVY…?

Well – I certainly hadn’t heard of the “Oily Navy” – till this rather comical incident happened to me.

So  Dear Reader – let me delve into my “Humour in Uniform Archives” and narrate to you – once more – this hilarious story of peacetime “soldiering” :-

PROLOGUE

The best thing that happened to me in the Navy were the two glorious years I spent in Mumbai (then called Bombay) in the 1970’s – almost 40 years ago.

(Hence – in this story – for Mumbai – I shall use the old name “Bombay” – which was the name of Mumbai when this story happened)

Both my ships were based at Bombay.

We sailed for a few days – sometimes visiting various ports – but for the remaining days we were tied alongside in Bombay Dockyard which is in the heart of the city.

I loved sailing.

But more than that – I loved spending time in a harbour like Bombay – which was most exciting as the vibrant metropolis had so much to offer for young bachelors like me with a zest for life.

It was the happiest time of my life.

And – like I said – it was the best thing that happened to me in the Navy.

The worst thing that happened to me in the Navy was my unexpected to transfer to Jamnagar – which put an end to my happy time in Bombay.

I was looking forward to an appointment to a shore billet in Bombay – which would enable me to continue to enjoy the life of bliss in “maximum city” to the fullest.

In fact – a few months earlier – I had been informally told by a Senior Naval Officer that I would be appointed in the Naval Dockyard at Bombay – as was the norm for young technical officers after appointments at sea.

But – someone pulled strings in Delhi – and – I was on my way to Jamnagar.

After a fantastic time in Bombay – the desolate Naval Base at Jamnagar was most disappointing – especially for a young bachelor like me who had a zest for life.

My only aim was to get out of that dreary place as fast as possible.

That is why – when the first opportunity came – a temporary duty to Bombay – I jumped at the opportunity.

And – on my journey from Jamnagar to Bombay – happened this “Oily Tale” which put me on a “Slippery Slope”.

AN OILY TALE

AN UNFORGETTABLE TRAIN JOURNEY

PART 1

1000 Hours (10 AM) Sunday 26 October 1980 Navy Base (INS Valsura) Jamnagar

I was all set to proceed on Temporary Duty to Bombay.

(Mumbai was known as Bombay then and I shall refer to Mumbai as Bombay hereinafter – since that was the name of the city when this story happened – though I personally prefer the name Mumbai).

The 3-tonner truck arrived at my cabin in the Wardroom (Officers Mess) to pick me up.

“Why have they sent a bloody 3-tonner for an officer? I am going on duty. I thought they would send me a staff car or jeep,” I asked the driver.

“Sir, both staff cars are out – one is with CO who will be going to town with his wife for shopping and lunch – the other staff car has been taken by the Commodore who has come from Delhi – he left early in the morning with his family for pilgrimage to Dwarka and Okha – and the XO has taken the jeep to town – he has gone to see a movie with his family,” the driver said.

I seethed at the feudal culture still prevalent in the services where senior officers treated government resources as if they were their own personal fiefdom.

As an officer proceeding on duty I had the first claim on a staff car – but I would have to ride in a truck since senior officers had commandeered the cars for their personal enjoyment.

I took my small bag and got in beside the driver.

Instead of proceeding to the main gate, the driver diverted the vehicle to the Married Officers Accommodation.

Lieutenant Commander “X” (a “Schoolie” Education Officer) was proceeding on leave to Madras (now called Chennai) with his family and was taking a lift in the transport meant for me.

I got down, let “X” sit with his wife and small daughter in front with the driver, and I sat behind in the 3-tonner.

At the guard room – there were a few sailors and their families, proceeding on leave – and some “liberty-men” – waiting to take a lift in the 3-tonner – to “Teen-Batti” – near the Jamnagar Railway Station.

In those good old “metre-gauge” days – there were only two trains from Jamnagar:

  1. The Saurashtra Mail – which originated at Okha and passed through Jamnagarat 11 AM (1100 Hrs)

and

  1. The Saurashtra Express–which originated at Porbandar and passed through Jamnagar at 5 PM (1700 Hrs)

The morning Saurashtra Mail was convenient for those going towards Bombay and the south.

The evening Saurashtra Express was ideal for those going towards Delhi and “up-north” in the through slip coaches via Mehsana which were later attached to the connecting metre-gauge Ahmedabad Delhi Mail.

Of course – both trains had connecting broad gauge trains of the same names at Viramgam to take you towards Bombay.

At the guard room – I reported to the Officer of the Day (OOD).

The OOD made an entry in the ship’s log book that I was leaving “ship” and proceeding on Temporary Duty.

Lieutenant Commander “X” had also followed me into the OOD office to make an entry regarding his proceeding on annual leave.

As I started to walk out, the OOD said: “Wait – you have to carry some items to Bombay.”

“Items?” I asked.

“Yes, you have to carry three oil tins,” the OOD said.

“Oil tins?” I asked.

“Yes, you have to carry 3 oil tins and deliver them to these addresses,” the OOD said.

He gave me a chit with the names of 3 Commodores, their designation and phone numbers and their home addresses in NOFRA Bombay, written below each name.

Now, in those good old days, as far as Naval Officers were concerned, Jamnagar was famous for five things:

  1. The Unique Colourful Bandhani(tie and dye) Sarees
  1. Soft Lohi Blankets-cum-shawlsfrom Digjam Mills
  1. White Uniform Buckskin Shoesmade to order by a cobbler in the heart of old Jamnagarcity (nowadays, buckskin shoes are not permitted, I think)
  1. Luscious Rasgullasand lip-smacking Farsanfrom Shrikhand Samrat near Mandvi Tower (The Best Rasgullas I have ever tasted)

And, last but not the least,

  1. Groundnut Oil(because groundnut refined cooking oil was much cheaper in Saurashtra than in Bombay)

I would have had no problems if someone had requested me to carry the other items.

But there was no way I was going to carry three huge cumbersome 16 Kg tins of groundnut oil.

I came out of the OOD office.

I saw some duty sailors loading three large 16 Kg groundnut oil tins into the 3 tonner.

The OOD had also come out of his office and was watching the proceedings.

I looked at the OOD and said: “Sorry – I can’t take these oil tins with me. Please ask the sailors to unload them from the truck.”

The OOD looked at me in disbelief and said: “What…? You are going on Ty Duty to Bombay – aren’t you?”

“Sir, I am not going on Ty Duty to deliver those bloody oil tins – the purpose of my Ty Duty is something else,” I said.

“Don’t act smart. The Commanding Officer (CO) desires that you have to carry these 3 oil tins and deliver them to the 3 Commodores whose names are written in the chit I gave you,” the OOD said.

I tried to reason with the OOD:

“Sir, please try to understand. I just have one small bag. In Bombay, a Lieutenant does not get transport, so I intend taking Bus No. 123 from Bombay Central to RC Church and walk down to Command Mess. I can’t lug these three huge oil tins around, and I don’t intend hiring porters just to carry these bloody oil tins – and who is going to transship these bulky oil tins from metre-gauge to broad gauge at Viramgam?”

“Look here, I told you once – you don’t try to act smart – the CO has directed that you carry these oil tins. All officers going to Bombay on Ty Duty carry oil tins,” the OOD said.

“Well, I am not going to carry these bloody oil tins for sure,” I said, “and now I have to go – otherwise I will miss my train.”

“Don’t try to take “panga” – I told you that the CO has ordered you to carry these oil tins,” the OOD said.

“Then you can tell him that I am not going to carry these bloody oil tins,” I said firmly.

“If you act funny and disobey orders, they will transfer you out,” the OOD warned me.

This was music to my ears.

So, I said to the OOD: “I would be the happiest person if they transferred me out of this godforsaken place.”

Lieutenant Commander “X” was hearing the argument between me and the OOD.

“X” looked at me and said in a patronizing manner: “Why are you making such a big issue out of this – everyone going on Ty Duty takes some items that senior officers want delivered.”

Bolstered by the support from “X”, who was a Lieutenant Commander, the OOD said, “You will bloody well have to obey the orders of the CO – do you understand?”

I had my doubts whether the CO had actually ordered me to carry the oil tins to Bombay, so I asked the OOD: “Why didn’t the CO tell me personally about the oil tins? I think you are bluffing.”

“Are you accusing me of telling lies?” the OOD said getting angry.

“I didn’t say that,” I said.

“You will not leave the base unless you take those oil tins – do you understand?” the OOD shouted at me.

“Listen, Sir – I told you very clearly that I am not taking those oil tins with me. I am getting late and I will miss my train. If you detain me any further I will not proceed on Ty Duty,” I said firmly.

As I said earlier, I thought that the OOD was bluffing that the CO had ordered me to carry the oil tins.

But it seemed that the CO had indeed done so, because on hearing my refusal, the OOD went all berserk – he picked up the phone, dialled furiously, and then started talking excitedly, about my refusal to carry the oil tins.

I wondered who the OOD was talking to on the phone – but the way he was saying “yes sir, yes sir” in an animated manner – it was either the CO – or someone senior at the other end of the phone line.

Soon – I heard the OOD mention the name of Lieutenant Commander “X”.

And then – the OOD gave the phone to “X”.

Now – it was “X” saying “yes sir, yes sir” on the phone.

The upshot of the conversation was that now – instead of me – Lieutenant Commander “X” would carry the oil tins to Mumbai.

On reaching Mumbai – “X” would dutifully deliver the 3 oil tins to the 3 Commodores in Bombay, and then he would catch the Dadar – Madras Express in the afternoon and proceed to Madras (Chennai) to enjoy his annual leave.

PART 2

1200 Hours (12 noon) Sunday 26 October 1980 on board the Okha Viramgam (metre gauge) Saurashtra Mail just departed from Jamnagar Railway Station

I sat in the old style first class compartment (which you see in old black and white Hindi movies) in the metre gauge train which ran from Okha to Viramgam.

The berths were fore-and-aft, the compartment was bright, airy and roomy due to the three large windows on each side alongside the lower berths.

The train had left Jamnagar at 1130 (11:30 AM) and would reach Viramgam at 19:30 (7:30 PM) – covering a distance of roughly 300 kilometers in 8 hours – so you can imagine the slow speed of the train as it chugged along unhurriedly pulled by an archaic steam engine belching smoke and soot as it puffed along.

It was a most boring journey, with hardly any big railway stations, except Rajkot – and for a foodie like me, the only thing available was various kinds of fried “bhajji” (pakoras).

But I had come well stocked – a bottle of Hercules Rum, my favourite set of plastic tumblers which accompanied me on my journeys, a “surahi” of drinking water (acquired at Jamnagar station and topped up with cool water from the water cooler) – and some “small eats” like boiled eggs, aloo parathas and potato fingers (packed from the Officers Mess).

My co-passengers in the compartment were the “schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X”, his wife and their small 3 year old daughter – and, of course – the 3 big oil tins – placed strategically at a safe place near the bathroom door and guarded zealously by “X”.

The moment the train started from Jamnagar – I opened the bottle of my favourite “Hercules Rum” and poured a drink.

In those good old days – passengers were permitted to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes in first class compartments – provided other passengers did not object.

There was no question of the “schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” objecting – since I had poured him a drink too – though his wife was giving me dirty looks as if I were spoiling her husband.

At the first stop – a small station called Hapa – the Train Conductor (TC) appeared – and he asked us if we wanted to order lunch at Rajkot.

His eyes lit up the moment he saw the bottle of Rum.

I offered him a drink.

He pulled out a large stainless steel glass from his bag – and I poured in a generous tot of rum.

The TC did not add water to the neat rum – but to my utter surprise – he drank the neat rum in one gulp – straight “down the hatch”.

The spirits seemed to have raised his morale.

“Sir – you don’t worry,” the Train Conductor said, “the railway refreshment room food in Rajkot is not that good – I will get chicken dishes for you from Sher-e-Punjab so you can enjoy your drinks – the train stops for 20 minutes and the hotel is just outside the station.”

It is great to see the sense of camaraderie between the railways and defence services – and it warmed the cockles of my heart.

Three hours later – at around 3 o’clock – with half a bottle of Rum and generous amounts of tandoori chicken, butter chicken and rotis inside me – I was satiated enough for my afternoon siesta – and the moment I hit the bunk – I fell into deep sleep.

I woke up around 6 o’clock in the evening – and had a cup of refreshing masala tea – at largish station called Surendranagar Junction – where the train had halted for a long time for a crossing.

The moment that train started – I had a shower in the spacious old-style bathroom of the first class compartment – and I was ready for the evening action – commencing with a “sundowner”.

It was still one hour to go for Viramgam – there was time for a drink or two.

The “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander X” and his wife were sitting on the opposite berth with their daughter – and all of them were looking utterly bored.

The Lieutenant Commander’s eyes lit up the moment he saw me taking out the rum bottle – but his wife gave him a stern look and he refused my offer of a drink.

I noticed she had been giving me angry looks throughout the journey.

Maybe – it was because I had made her husband drink in the afternoon.

Or – maybe – it was because she was annoyed that her husband was saddled with the three bulky oil tins – thanks to my refusal to carry them.

I think it some frustration was building up inside her – and she could hold it no longer – so she said to me: “We were thinking of visiting my relatives in Matunga and then catching the Madras Express in the afternoon at Dadar. And now we have to go all the way to Colaba to deliver these oil tins. Our full morning will be wasted. It is all because of you.”

“All because of me…?” I protested.

“Yes – you refused to carry the oil tins – so my husband is forced to carry them,” she said.

“He could have also refused,” I said.

On hearing my words, the “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” said bitterly to me: “It is very well for you to say this – you are a non-bothered ‘couldn’t-care-less’ type – and you are a junior Lieutenant – but I am a Lieutenant Commander in the promotion zone – my Commander’s board is next year – and as it is – in the Education Branch there are just one or two vacancies – and it is very difficult to get promoted – so I have to do whatever they tell me…”

I felt sorry for him.

But I was not going to be emotionally blackmailed by him or his wife into taking on the burden of carrying and delivering the oil tins.

So I just looked away out of the window at beautiful sight of the setting sun and sipped my “sundowner” Rum-Pani (Rum with Water) and nibbled into the “mirchi pakoras” which I had picked up at a tiny station called Lakhtar where the train had halted for two minutes – these “bhajjis’ or pakoras were the only “small eats” available on this rather desolate stretch of railway.

By the time I finished my Rum-Pani – it was dark – and I could see that we were approaching the marshalling yard of Viramgam Junction, and the train was slowing down.

So – I secured my bag – and got ready to shift to the broad-gauge Saurashtra Mail which would take us to Bombay.

Lieutenant Commander  “X” was hovering around his precious cargo – the 3 large groundnut oil tins.

“Sir – why don’t you just leave the bloody oil tins over here in this metre-gauge train – and you can tell the CO that you forgot the oil tins in the train,” I joked.

“Please keep quiet – you need not worry about the oil tins,” he said angrily.

“To hell with him,” I thought.

And I took my bag – and I got down on the platform.

“X” was haggling with the porters for carrying the 3 oil tins.

PART 3

2000 Hours (8 PM) Sunday 26 October 1980 on board the 6 UP Viramgam – Bombay (broad gauge) Saurashtra Mail just departed from Viramgam Railway Station

The new broad gauge first class compartment seemed spacious as compared to the ramshackle metre gauge coach.

Once again my companions in the four-berther compartment were the “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” and his wife and small daughter.

In the broad gauge, the 3 oil tins fitted in below the berth where “X”, his wife and daughter were sitting.

I sat on the opposite berth.

I polished off the remains of the bottle of rum.

I had offered “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” the last drink remaining in the bottle – but again – “X” politely declined my offer of a drink – he seemed to be scared of the stern looks his wife was giving him whenever he looked longingly at the rum bottle.

By the time I killed the bottle – it was almost 9 PM – and Ahmedabad Railway Station had arrived.

I had a quick dinner of Puri Bhaji on the platform.

And then – I hit the sack.

I let “X” and his wife take the two bottom berths and I slept on the top berth above “X” – the oil tins were on the opposite side below the berth where Mrs. “X” slept with her daughter.

I was in deep sleep – when there was a big bang.

Suddenly – everything went topsy-turvy.

The compartment had toppled – and was lying on its side.

My legs were on top of my head.

I realised that our train had derailed.

Suddenly the lights went off – and it was dark.

Lieutenant Commander “X” and his wife were shouting: “What happened? What happened?”

I told Lieutenant Commander “X” and his wife that the train had derailed – and that they should remain where they were till I got the door open.

Luckily the compartment door was on the upper side of the toppled compartment.

The moment I swung my legs down – I hit oil.

Yes – an oil tin had burst – or probably all the three oil tins had burst – and there was oil all over the compartment.

Nevertheless – I got down – and I tried to pull myself up to the door.

It was a slippery slope – and soon I was fully covered with groundnut oil.

Lieutenant Commander “X”, his wife and daughter were looking at me curiously – I motioned to them to remain where they were.

Suddenly – the compartment door was yanked open.

It was the Train Conductor with some people.

They had a torch.

They threw in a blanket and told us to hold it tight.

Then – and one by one – they yanked us out into the corridor – the lady and her daughter, Lieutenant Commander “X” and me – and then we carefully climbed out of the derailed bogie.

Soon – after a small walk along the railway track towards the rear of the train – we were sitting on a bench on the platform of Miyagam Karjan Railway Station.

I looked at the station clock – it was 2 AM (0200 Hours on 27 October 1980, to be precise).

Talking to people – we came to know that it had been a freak accident.

Some wagons of a goods train coming from the opposite direction had got derailed seconds before our speeding train passed it – and our engine had hit the derailed wagons and gone off the rails, derailing the first few bogies off the track.

Luckily – ours was the last bogie to be derailed – the bogies in front had got badly smashed.

I thanked my stars that I was alive and well.

Suddenly Lieutenant Commander “X” asked me:

“Did all the 3 oil tins burst – or only one?”

“I don’t know. I was worried about saving our lives – not about the bloody oil tins…” I said.

“I think we should go back and try and get the oil tins out of the compartment,” he said.

“Are you crazy? I just about managed to get our bags out. The bloody train is derailed. The bogie is lying topsy-turvy. It is pitch dark. Sir – please lets thank God that we are safe and sound – and for heaven’s sake please forget about those wretched oil tins,” I said.

“But the CO will be angry if I don’t deliver the oil tins,” he said.

“Sir – what’s wrong with you? Be happy that you, your wife, your daughter – all of you have narrowly escaped death. You want to go in there again to get those damned oil tins? Suppose you break your legs – or even smash your head and die? Is it worth it – just for the sake of a few oil worthless tins ?” I said.

Suddenly his wife interjected – and she said to her husband: “Yes – Yes – it is too dangerous. You don’t go anywhere.”

We spent the whole night at Miyagam Karjan.

At around 3 AM I saw the station master – I told him I was a Defence Officer and showed him my Identity Card – and he kindly allowed us to sit in his office – and put a couple of benches for us to lie down.

I woke up at 6 AM – washed up in the Station Master’s bathroom and got ready.

“X” and his family were nowhere to be seen.

I asked the Station Master about them.

“Oh, your companions got up early and must having tea on the platform. A relief train has already arrived from Baroda (Vadodara). They have almost finished removing the derailed goods wagons from the ‘down’ track. The moment the ‘down’ track is cleared of the derailed wagons we will send you in the relief train to Bombay (Mumbai),” the Station Master said.

PART 4

1130 Hours (1130 AM) Sunday 27 October 1980 on board the Relief Train to Bombay just departed from Miyagam Karjan Railway Station

The railway “accident repair team” did a spectacular job – and by 1100 Hours – they had cleared the down track.

First – a test engine was sent across the repaired track – and shortly thereafter – our relief train was on its way to Bombay.

As I came to my seat – I saw Mrs “X” and her daughter – but Lieutenant Commander “X” was not there.

“Where is your husband?” I asked Mrs “X”.

“He has gone to the brake van?” she said.

“Brake van?” I asked, surprised.

“Don’t you know? He finally went and retrieved those oil tins – two of them are intact. The railway porters were removing luggage from the brake van on the derailed train – he paid them some money and they got out the oil tins from the compartment and they have put them in the baggage compartment of the brake van of this relief train. So he has gone to check whether they are secured properly,” she said.

“Is he crazy?” I said – instantly regretting my words.

“I don’t know what will happen now? We will miss our connecting train, Dadar Madras Express…” she said, looking worried.

“Don’t worry, Ma’am. We should reach Bombay Central latest by around 8 o’clock at night – maybe even earlier. You can catch the Bombay Madras Mail which leaves around 10 PM from VT. I know someone in Central Railway – I will see to it that you get a berth…” I said.

“But he will insist on delivering the oil tins…” she said, sounding anxious.

“You don’t worry about those oil tins, ma’am – I will deliver the oil tins,” I said in a reassuring tone to Mrs “X”.

PART 5

1900 Hours (7 PM) Sunday 27 October 1980 Bombay Central Railway Station

We – Lieutenant Commander “X”, his wife, his daughter, and I – all of us were walking towards the exit of Bombay Central Railway Terminus when a man stopped us.

“Are those your oil tins?” the man asked – pointing to the 2 oil tins being carried by the porter.

“Yes,” I said.

“You have to pay octroi,” he said.

“Octroi?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, “if you bring anything for sale you have to pay octroi.”

“But the oil is for my personal consumption,” I said, “and I am a Defence Officer.”

“Oh – then show me the octroi exemption certificate,” he said.

I was in no mood to argue – and the octroi amount wasn’t that much – so I paid up.

“The next time someone asks me to get an oil tin from Jamnagar – considering the porterage and octroi we have paid – I will just give him the difference in oil tin price between Mumbai and Jamnagar – and tell him to buy the oil tin in Mumbai,” I remarked sarcastically to Lieutenant Commander “X”.

We took a taxi to Bombay VT (now called Mumbai CST).

I dropped off Lieutenant Commander “X” and his family at VT Railway Station – and I proceeded to the Navy Command Mess with the two oil tins.

Luckily – one of the Commodores on the list (Commodore “Z”) was posted in Headquarters – where I had go for my work.

The Commodore was not in office – so I told his PA to have two oil tins collected from my cabin in Command Mess.

I told her that I had instructed my civilian bearer accordingly – so the tins could be collected anytime.

I gave her the list of 3 Commodores – and told the PA to request her boss Commodore “Z” to deliver the second oil tin to any one of them.

When I reached back to my cabin in Command Mess in the afternoon – the civilian bearer told me that the two oil tins had been collected.

Disappointed at having lost one day in Mumbai due to the train accident – I caught the 5 Down Saurashtra Mail back to Jamnagar that evening as per my return reservation.

EPILOGUE

One month later – after returning from his leave – the “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” landed up in my office at Jamnagar.

“Did you deliver the oil tins?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, “Commodore “Z” collected both the oil tins.”

“The Canteen Officer is asking for money?” he said.

“What money?”

“For the 3 oil tins.”

“Didn’t you tell him we had an accident?”

“Yes. He said he will write off one oil tin – but he wants the money for the other two oil tins. Didn’t Commodore “Z” give you money? Did you ask him for it?”

“Well – I didn’t even meet Commodore “Z” – his PA had the oil tins collected from my cabin – and I didn’t even know that I had to ask for the money – in fact – I don’t even know how much the bloody groundnut oil tin costs,” I said.

“Then what do we do?”

“Well – tell the Canteen Officer to ask the CO to write a Demi-Official Letter (DO letter) to that freeloading Commodore “Z” to pay up the money for the oil tin.”

“That’s a good idea,” Lieutenant Commander “X” said.

“And Sir – make sure you include the porterage, the octroi charges, the taxi fare, and some ‘sweat money’ for me as well,” I said, tongue-in-cheek.

Apparently – “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” did not learn any lessons from the “Oily” experience.

The very next month I saw him standing near the OOD Office.

He was on his way to Bombay on Temporary Duty.

And yes – believe it or not – he was carrying three 16 Kg groundnut oil tins…

Of course – a few months later – when the promotion board results were announced – “Schoolie” Lieutenant Commander “X” was promoted in his first chance to the rank of Commander.

Cheers to the “Oily” Navy…

VIKRAM KARVE

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Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. 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.

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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)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/humor-in-uniform-how-oily-navy-put-me_42.html

This is a revised version of my Story written by me Vikram Karve more than 3 years ago and earlier posted online by me Vikram Karve in my blog at 6/02/2014 11:13:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/06/humor-in-and-out-of-uniform-on-slippery.html  and partly postedby me Vikram Karve in my blog at 5/23/2014 08:12:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/05/humor-in-uniform-oily-tale.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/08/humor-in-uniform-oily-navy.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/humor-in-uniform-oily-navy.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/12/humor-in-uniform-oily-navy.htmland  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/humor-in-uniform-unforgettable-train.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/08/humor-in-uniform-oily-navy-slippery.html

Migration – Flock Theory

September 17, 2017

WHY PEOPLE MIGRATE 

Immigration is a contentious issue.

Immigration can be legal and illegal.

Yes – for a variety of reasons – people migrate to other countries – both legally and illegally.

People migrate for multifarious reasons.

In a nutshell – the various reasons for migration can be categorized into “Push Factors” and “Pull Factors”.

Push Factors = Survival Migration

“Push Factor Migration” is “Survival Migration” – where people are “forced” to migrate – due to danger to life/limb because of war/conflict – or – inability to survive due to lack of food and bare necessities of life.

Such migrants who seek asylum in other countries when their life is endangered – or persons who migrate to escape from extreme poverty and deprivation – are called “Refugees”.

The present European Migrant Crisis is an example of “Push Factor” migration where refugees are fleeing from war-torn countries and seeking asylum in peaceful countries.

History is replete with examples of such “push factor survival migration” due to war, religious/political persecution, genocide, ethnic cleansing, safety/security issues, natural disasters/calamities, famines, droughts, floods etc.

Pull Factors = “Better Life” Migration

“Pull Factor Migration” is “Choice Migration” – where people “choose” to migrate for a “better life”.

These people migrate to more developed countries because they want to enjoy a Higher “Standard of Living” and live a Better “Quality of Life” –  to put it “metaphorically” – they migrate to realize their “American Dream”.

Is Migration good?

Or – is Migration it bad?

What are the consequences of immigration for the host country?

Excessive immigration can cause demographic imbalance – which may disturb social equilibrium.

When the number of immigrants becomes large – then – in a democracy – the immigrants can influence the outcome of elections by becoming a “vote bank”.

Immigration can be legal and illegal.

I have observed that for many bright youngsters in India – their cardinal objective in life is to migrate to America – to study – then work – get a Green Card – followed by US Citizenship – and permanently live in the USA all their lives – and realize their American Dream.

All over the world – people from less developed countries migrate to better developed countries, legally and illegally.

A few years ago  I had written an article on The Flock Theory of Migration

Since the topic of “immigration” has once again become a contentious issue  I thought it would be apt to post this article below  once again  for you to read.

FLOCK THEORY OF MIGRATION – Food for Thought by Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/immigration-flock-theory-of-migration.html

BIRD-WATCHING – FLOCK OF MIGRATORY BIRDS

Long back, me and my friend, a Bird-Watcher, a self-styled ornithologist, were observing birds

(I am referring to the “winged” variety of birds)

We saw a huge a flock of migratory birds flying in the sky.

It was a fascinating sight to see the flock of birds flying in perfect formation.

I mentioned this to my friend who then told me about the “flock theory” of migration.

He told me that sometimes different kinds of birds that do not belong to the original flock also join the flock and fly along.

The birds in the flock allow these “outsider” birds to fly along with the flock as long as they do not disturb the pattern, movement, flight speed and direction (course) of the flock.

When the number of “immigrant” birds is small, these “outsider” birds quietly assimilate themselves into the flock, obey the rules of the flock and do not disturb the harmony of the flock.

Sometimes the number of these “immigrant” birds increases to a sizeable proportion and they may disturb the harmony of the flock, if these “outsider” birds try to assert themselves.

These “foreigner” birds may even try to control the flock by trying to dominate and alter the flight pattern.

This disturbance in harmony and attempt at domination is not tolerated by the main flock of birds, and violent clashes break out as the main flock of birds tries to remove the “immigrant” birds from the flock – yes, the original birds in the flock try to throw out the “foreigner” birds out of the flock.

HUMAN MIGRATION

I think a similar hypothesis applies to human migration too.

When you migrate to another country (or when you relocate within your country to another state or city) you must remember this flock theory of migration.

Try to assimilate yourself into your new “host” country or city and acclimatize yourself to the way of life of your new place of residence.

You must mix around and interact with the local inhabitants and imbibe the indigenous culture of your new abode.

You must not “ghettoize” yourself by forming tightly-knit inward-looking groups of your own community but you must embrace the culture of your new land (after all, it is you who have chosen to migrate there).

Always remember that you are the foreigner in their land – you are the “guest” and they are your “hosts” – and a guest must never attempt to dominate the host and try to make the host a guest in his own country.

Yes, if you are an immigrant in another country, it is best to conduct yourself as a “guest” and adopt to the culture of your “hosts” rather than try to dominate and impose your culture on your “hosts”.

A large number of my relatives, classmates and friends have migrated to America and have lived there for many years.

However, I find that they mostly mingle among the Indian community (even language and state wise), as is evident from the photos they show us.

When I ask them why they do not have any American friends, they have no credible answer except saying that they do have such friendships, but at the workplace only.

However their children, born and brought up in the USA, have friendships, relationships and even marriages with resident Americans – in fact, Americans now comprise so many types and varieties of ethnicity

Since over the years, so many persons from all parts of the world have migrated to the USA for a better life and now America has become the melting pot of diverse cultures.

The flock theory applies to all types of migration.

TYPES OF MIGRATION

Immigrants migrate due to a variety of reasons.

Some immigrants “choose” to migrate and willingly accept the majority culture of their host nation and are seamlessly assimilated and integrated into the existing society of their “hosts”.

Some immigrants are forced to migrate, due to a variety of reasons, including political and socio-economic imperatives, for education, or for reasons of safety and security arising from instability or warlike conditions in their homeland.

These forced migrants are like “refugees”.

These “forced migrants” are less amenable to assimilating themselves with the majority population.

It is these “forced immigrants” who ghettoize themselves into communities and try to maintain their own distinct identity by refusing the absorb the culture of their new land.

Sometimes the numbers of such “refugee” forced immigrants may increase to a point where the immigrants may alter the demographic balance and try to impose their will on their hosts.

It is then that the “flock theory” will apply and a conflict will start and there will be a struggle for dominance.

When migration takes place, both the “hosts” (natives) and the “guests” (migrants) must remember the Flock Theory and ensure that cultural harmony is maintained and the demographic balance is not upset.

THRESHOLD LIMITS FOR MIGRATION – TO MAINTAIN DEMOGRAPHIC EQUILIBRIUM

My “bird-watcher” friend gave a ballpark figure of 30% when I asked him what was the flock theory threshold beyond which the harmony of the flock is disturbed.

Applying the same threshold to human migration, this tells us that the “hosts” must ensure that “guests” (immigrants) do not exceed 30% of the population, otherwise the “demographic equilibrium” gets disturbed.

Yes, in order to avoid social turbulence, migrants must not be allowed to exceed 30% of the population.

If this is allowed to happen and the 30% barrier is broken, and the number of immigrants keeps on increasing in an unabated manner two things may happen:

  1. The migrants will become a sizeable proportion of the population and alter the demographic balance (and become a “votebank”).

In a democracy, this may give the migrants undue power in governance and this loss of power to “outsiders” will be resented by the original inhabitants.

  1. The “cultural visibility” of the migrants will become starkly evident and the original local residents will feel threatened and become insecure in their own land.

Owing to their dominance, the migrants may try to impose their own ethnic, religious and social customs and try to change the original culture of the land and this cultural invasion will be resented by the original inhabitants.

The “flock theory” phenomenon is akin to the manner in which the harmony of the “flock” is disturbed and the original birds feel jeopardized because they fear that their “flock” will be being taken over by “outsider” birds.

The flock theory of migration teaches us the lesson that if migration is not controlled within acceptable limits, due to clash of cultures and a sense of insecurity, a stage will come when the migrants will not be welcome anymore and this will create dissonance and discord in society.

This is because no one likes to be dominated by “outsiders” who try to impose their culture on the local inhabitants.

Remember:

No “host” likes to be turned into a “guest” in his own home

Dear Reader:

Do you agree with the “flock theory of migration”…?

Do you feel there should be threshold limits to immigration to avoid demographic equilibrium being disturbed…?

Please comment and let us know your views.

VIKRAM KARVE

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All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the 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.

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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/immigration-flock-theory-of-migration.html

Revised Version of Article First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my blog at 10/12/2012 01:48:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/10/flock-theory-of-migration.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/immigration-threshold-limits-for.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/05/immigration-and-flock-theory-of.html etc

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