“Free” Male and “freemale” – A Queer Love Story

October 17, 2018

This is a story of a “Free” Male and a “freemale” – a rather queer love story – of the Marriage of Two Persons Who Did Not Want to Get Married.

THE “FREE” MALE AND THE “FREEMALE” 

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve 

THE MARRIAGE OF TWO PERSONS WHO DID NOT WANT TO GET MARRIED 

He did not believe in “Marriage”

She did not believe in “Marriage”

Yet – they got married.

Why…?

Here is the story of:

The Marriage of Two Persons Who Did Not Want to Get Married 

“Good Morning…” he said.

“Hi…” she said.

“Thanks for agreeing to see me in your office…”

“You said it was urgent…”

“Yes. I wanted to talk to you alone before you came to my place in the evening along with your parents…”

“Oh…”

“I came to tell you that – actually – I don’t want to get married…”

“Oh – is there someone else…”

“No….”

“You don’t like me…?”

“No. No. I haven’t even met you before…”

“Then…?”

“I just don’t want to get married…”

“Oh – are you…?”

“No. No. It’s not what you are thinking. I am not ‘gay’ …”

“Sorry – I didn’t mean it that way…”

“It’s okay…”

“Then – what is it…? Why don’t you want to get married….?”

“I am “married” to the Navy…”

“What…? You are “married” to the Navy…? I don’t understand…”

“I mean that I want to focus all my time and energy on my Navy career – and – I do not want any distractions at this critical juncture of my career…”

“So – you feel that marriage will distract you from your work…?”

“Yes. Right now – I am very busy on my ship – and I will be sailing most of the time. Then – I will go for my “long” specialization course. I want to “top” the course – so – during the course I will require to study round-the-clock. Then – I will go on ship again as a “specialist” officer – which is a crucial appointment – and – a stepping stone to sea command…”

“I get it – you will have no time for me – oh – sorry – I mean – you will have no time for your wife…”

“Yes – I don’t want to get married and then neglect my wife – that will be injustice to her. I will be devoting all my time and energy to my Navy career – and – I will have no time for my wife – so – it is better for me not to marry…”

“So you don’t want to marry because you don’t want to neglect your wife…? Or – is it because you feel that a wife will be a hindrance to your career ambitions…?”

“Both…”

“Both…? How can a wife be a hindrance to your career ambitions…? In fact – someone told me that – if you want to achieve high rank in the Defence Services – it is very advantageous to have a “suitable” wife…”

“Not really…”

“Well – my uncle is in the Army – and – he once told me that – one of the reasons he did not become a General was because he was a bachelor…”

“Maybe it is so in the Army – but – it is not so in the Navy – in fact – our present Navy Chief is a bachelor – he never married…”

“Oh. So you want to become an Admiral…? And – you feel that you will have a better chance if you are a bachelor…”

“Yes – being a bachelor will help me concentrate on my career much better…”

“Okay. So your Navy career is the only reason you don’t want to marry…? Suppose you were not in the Navy – would you have got married…?”

“I can’t say – but I really don’t think so. I am an independent sort of person. I like my solitude, my frredom…”

“Oh – so you prefer to be a “Free” Male – rather than be tied up to a “Ball and Chain”…”

“Ha Ha – “Free” Male – you can say that – yes – I prefer to be a “Free” Male…”

“I can understand. But – please tell me – if you don’t want to get married – why did you give a “Matrimonial Ad”…?”

“My parents did it – without asking me – I came to know about it yesterday – when I came on home on leave – and – they told me that you would be coming with your parents  to see me this evening…”

“Oh – but – they could have talked to my parents and cancelled the “Girl Seeing” Ceremony…”

“No – my parents said cancelling would look rude – and – it would complicate things – and – cause misunderstandings…”

“So – they asked you to talk to me and cancel the “Girl Seeing” meeting…?”

“No. No. My parents don’t even know that I am meeting you here in your office…”

“Oh – so your parents are pressurizing you to get married – and – you don’t want to get married because you are “married” to the Navy – and – of course – you want to be a “Free” Male…”

“Yes…”

“So – what do you want me to do…?”

“You come over in the evening – we can go through the “ritual” of the “Girl Seeing” Ceremony – and – later – you can tell your parents that you don’t like me…”

“You want me to tell my parents that I don’t like you…?”

“Yes…”

“Why don’t you tell your parents that you don’t like me…? It is easier for a boy to “reject” a girl – isn’t it…?”

“That would be unfair…”

“Unfair…?”

“Yes – it is me who does not want to get married. So – it is not correct for me to hurt you and your parents – by falsely saying that I don’t like you…”

“What do mean by “falsely” saying that you don’t like me…? Are you saying that actually you like me…? Tell me – suppose you wanted to get married – then – do you find me a suitable wife…?”

“It is a big “if” – but – suppose – I wanted to get married – then…”

“Then…?”

“Then – maybe – I would have said “Yes” to you…”

“So – you like me…?”

“Yes…”

“But – we have just met for a few minutes…”

“I can judge a person in the first impression…”

“Really…? So – what do you think – do I like you – or not…?”

“I feel that you don’t like me – at least as a prospective husband…”

“Oh. Do you really think so…?”

“Yes. That is why it will be easier for you tell your parents the truth that you don’t like me – whereas – I will have to lie to my parents that I don’t like you – though – in actual fact – I don’t want to get married at all…”

“Shall I tell you something…?”

“Yes…”

“I like you…”

“Really…? You like me…?”

“I like ambitious career-conscious people – I like persons who value their independence and freedom – and – I liked the way you told me upfront – in an honest and forthright manner…”

“Thanks…”

“Actually – I am very ambitious and career-conscious too…”

“That’s good…”

“That is why I too don’t want to get married…”

“What…?”

“Yes. I am just like you. My thoughts are exactly like yours. I too feel that marriage will be a big hindrance to my career ambitions – and – most importantly – I am a “freemale”…”

“What…? “Free Male”…? Are you a “Male”…? Or …?”

“No. No. No. I am very much a female. I said “freemale – it’s one word – not two words like “Free Male”…”

Freemale…? What does it mean…?”

“A “freemale” is an independent, modern woman who is happier living a fulfilling single life than actively pursuing romantic relationships – a “freemale” is a professional woman who is single and genuinely loves it – like me…”

“Ha Ha – so – “Freemale” seems to be the feminine version of “Free” Male…?”

“That sounds a bit gender biased – but yes – you can say that a “freemale” is the female counterpart of a “Free” Male. Just like a “Free” Male is a man who does not the burden of marriage – a “freemale” is a woman who does not want the burden of marriage…”

“Tell me – if you did not want the burden of marriage – why did you give a “Matrimonial Advertisement”…? And – why are you coming to my home with your parents to “see” me as a prospective husband…?”

“The same reason as yours…”

“Parental pressure…?”

“Yes…?”

“Oh…”

“Let’s do one thing…”

“What…?”

“Let’s get married…”

“What…?”

“Yes. Let’s get married. Once we get married – our parents will be happy – and – they will stop pestering us for marriage. Then – we can focus on our careers – and – we can live our lives freely as we want to…”

“You mean just a “paper” marriage…”

“Yes – a “technical” marriage – a marriage for the sake of marriage – so that we can get this “marriage issue” out of the way – so that we can get on with our respective careers and continue living as we are doing now – as a “Free” Male and a “freemale”…”

“You mean – we get “married” – and then – you go your way – and – I go my way…”

“Yes…” she said.

“Okay…” he said.

And so – they got married.

The “Free” Male and the “freemale” got married.

Yes – the boy and the girl – the two persons who did not want to get married – they got married.

EPILOGUE

The story I narrated above happened in early 1982.

And – believe it or not – more than 36 years have passed – and – they are still married.

In these 36 years – many other marriages have broken down.

Even a few so-called “love marriages” have ended in divorce.

But – the marriage of these two persons who did not want to get married – this marriage continues to this day.

Yes – the marriage of the “Free” Male and the “freemale” is still going strong.

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© 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/the-marriage-of-free-male-and-freemale.html

This is a revised version of my story THE MARRIAGE OF TWO PEOPLE WHO DID NOT BELIEVE IN MARRIAGE written by me Vikram Karve more than two years ago in June 2016 and posted by me online in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/the-marriage-of-two-people-who-did-not.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/10/the-marriage-of-two-persons-who-did-not.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/a-free-male-and-a-freemale-the-marriage-of-two-persons-who-did-not-want-to-get-married/ and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/12/the-free-male-and-freemale-queer-love.html

Don’t Delve Too Much – Short Story

October 17, 2018

Dear Reader – let me delve deep into my Creative Writing Archives – and pull out this rather old fashioned fiction short story written by me more than 25 years ago – sometime in the early 1990’s – updated and abridged.

Yes – I wrote this story for a print magazine sometime in the early 1990’s – more than 25 years ago – and – it still remains one of my all time favourite stories.

The story is set in the Nilgiris – and is narrated in first person by a girl – as she travels on the blue “toy-train” of the Nilgiri Blue Mountain Railway.

It is a rather old fashioned fiction short story in the leisurely style of the pre-internet days – when people read stories in magazines in print – before the advent of online reading.

Yes – it is a longish story – like the short fiction of the good old days – so please take your time and read it leisurely.

I have suitably abridged and edited the story for your easy reading on the digital screen.

I trust you will like the story. 

Remember – the story is narrated by a schoolgirl – and set in the early 1990’s

Dear Reader:

Do tell me if you liked the story.

I will look forward to your feedback and comments. 

DON’T DELVE TOO MUCH 

Fiction Short Story By Vikram Karve  

THE MYSTERIOUS WOMAN WITH “CAT EYES” – A Story By VIKRAM KARVE 

The moment I see Muthu – the office-boy – standing at the door of the classroom – I feel a familiar fear.

I close my eyes and try to concentrate on Ms Bhalla – who is reading aloud – with dramatic effect – Ruskin Bond’s story ‘The Woman on Platform 8…’.

It’s a moving story about a brief encounter between a woman and a motherless boy.

I love short stories – especially Ruskin Bond – and Ms. Bhalla is my favourite teacher.

But it’s no use.

I can’t hear a word she is saying.

I open my eyes.

Ms. Bhalla is in a world of her own – reading away – book in her left hand and making gestures with her right.

She hasn’t noticed Muthu – or the fact that almost everyone in the class are looking at him and not at her.

So thoroughly is Ms. Bhalla absorbed in herself – and so totally is she oblivious of her surroundings – that no one dares to disturb her.

“………..I watched her until she was lost in the milling crowd…” Ms Bhalla ends the story with a flourish – and – she looks at us triumphantly – only to discover that most of her students are looking towards the door.

Her expression starts changing.

Before Ms. Bhalla gets angry – someone says:

“It is Muthu, Ma’am.”

Ms. Bhalla glares at poor Muthu – who sheepishly walks into the classroom.

Muthu gives Ms. Bhalla the chit he is holding in his hand.

I look down into my notebook trying to keep my mind blank – but – even without seeing – I know that Ms. Bhalla is looking at me.

“Shanta, go to the principal’s office…” Ms. Bhalla says, “and take your bag with you.”

Take my bag with me…?

I feel scared, anxious.

I hope it’s not too serious.

“He must have had a big binge this time…” I hear Rita’s voice behind me.

Tears start to well up in my eyes.

Rita is from such a happy family.

Why is she so mean and nasty?

I am about to break down – when I feel Lata’s reassuring hand on my wrist.

Lata says:

“Let’s go, Shanta. I’ll bring your bag.”

We walk through the silent corridors.

Our school is located in one of those ancient castle type buildings – cold, dark and gloomy.

“I shouldn’t have left him alone last night…” I say.

“I feel so sad for uncle…” Lata says.

“Whenever I am there with him – he’s okay and controls himself. He loves me so much. I am the only one he’s got in this world – after my Mummy died…” I say.

“He was improving so much – and – he looked so good last weekend…” Lata says.

Lata is my true friend who I can open my heart to.

The others – they watch from a distance.

Most look at me with pity – and – a few like Rita look with an evil delight at my misfortune.

“Something must have happened yesterday…” I say, “I wish I had gone home last night. It is always in the evenings that he needs me the most.”

“Shanta – do you want me to come with you…?” Lata asks.

“Yes…” I say.

I really need some moral support.

I am tired of facing the cruel world all alone.

I can’t bear it any longer.

Ms. David, our class-teacher, she is standing outside the Principal’s office.

I follow her inside.

I nervously enter the Principal’s office.

The Principal, Mrs. Nathan, is talking to a lady sitting opposite her.

Noticing me, the Principal says:

“Ah, Shanta. Your Father is not well again. He’s admitted in the clinic again. You take the 10 o’clock shuttle. And you call me up on phone if you want anything.”

“Can I go with her…?” Lata asks.

“You go back to your class…” the Principal says sternly to Lata, “you’ve got a mathematics test at 10 o’clock – haven’t you?”

“Please Miss – let me go with Shanta,” Lata pleads with Ms. David – our class teacher – but Ms. David says: “Lata you are in the 9th standard now. Be serious about your studies. And today afternoon is the basketball final. How can you be absent?”

I feel pain in the interiors of my mind.

No one ever tells me to be serious about my studies – or even in sports.

Lata gives me my school-bag – and she leaves quickly.

Mrs. Nathan takes off her glasses and looks at me.

There is compassion in her eyes.

“Be brave, Shanta…” our Principal Mrs. Nathan says, “This is Ms. Pushpa – an ex-student of our school.”

“Good morning, Ma’am…” I say.

“Hello, Shanta…” Ms. Pushpa says, “I am also taking the train to Coonoor. We’ll travel together.”

As we leave the principal’s office – I can feel the piercing looks of pity burning into me.

The teachers, the staff, even the gardener.

Everyone knows.

And – they know that I know that they know.

Morose faces creased with lines of compassion.

The atmosphere of pity.

The deafening silence.

The silence is grotesque.

I feel terrible.

I just want to get away from the place.

These people – they just don’t understand that I want empathy – not sympathy.

I walk with Ms. Pushpa taking the short-cut to Lovedale railway station.

It’s cold, damp – and – the smell of eucalyptus fills my nostrils.

A typical winter morning in the Nilgiris.

I look at Ms. Pushpa.

She looks so chic.

Blue jeans, bright red pullover, fair creamy flawless complexion, jet-black hair neatly tied in a bun – and – dark Ray-Ban sunglasses of the latest style.

A good-looking woman with smart feminine features – Elegant – Fashionable – Chic – Graceful – Well Groomed.

We walk in silence.

I wait for her to start the conversation.

I don’t know how much she knows.

“You’re in ‘Rose House’ – aren’t you…?” she asks looking at the crest on my blazer.

Polite conversation.

Asking a question to which you already know the answer…!!!

“Yes, Ma’am…” I answer.

“I too was in ‘Rose House’…” she says.

“When did you pass out of school, Ma’am…?” I ask.

“1971…” she says.

I do a quick mental calculation.

In 1971 – suppose she was 16.

Now – in 1991 – she must be in her mid-thirties – 35 – or – 36 – maybe.

Ms. Puspha certainly looks young for her age.

And – she is very beautiful – so gorgeous – so chic – that I want to be like her when I grow up.

We cross the tracks and reach the solitary platform of the lovely – yet lonely – Lovedale railway station.

“Let me buy your ticket. You’re going to Coonoor aren’t you…?” Ms. Pushpa asks.

“Thank you ma’am. I’ve got a season ticket…” I say.

“Season Ticket…?” she asks, looking surprised.

“I am a day scholar, Ma’am. I travel every day from Coonoor…” I say.

“Oh…! In our time – it was strictly a Boarding School…” she says.

“Even now it is a boarding school, Ma’am…” I say, “But I have got special permission. My father doesn’t keep well. I have to look after him.”

“Oh…” Ms. Pushpa says – and she walks towards the deserted booking window.

Lovedale is the most picturesque railway station on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway – but today – it looks gloomy, desolate.

One has to be happy inside for things to look beautiful outside.

She returns with her ticket.

We sit on the solitary bench on the lonely platform of Lovedale Railway Station.

“Where do you stay, Ma’am…?” I ask.

“Bangalore…” she says. “You’ve been there…?”

“Yes…”

“Often…?”

“Only once. We went to Bangalore last month. For my father’s treatment…” I say.

She asks the question I am waiting for:

“Shanta. Tell me. Your father…? What’s wrong with him…? What’s he suffering from…?”

I have never really understood why people ask me this question to which I suspect they already know the answer.

Each person probably has their own reason.

Curiosity – lip-sympathy – genuine concern – or just sadistic pleasure…!!!

At first – I used to feel embarrassed – I used to try to cover up – try to mask the situation – and give all sorts of explanations.

But now – I have learnt that it is best to be blunt and straightforward.

“My father – he is an “alcoholic”….” I say to her.

Most people shut up after this.

Or – change the topic of conversation.

But – Ms. Pushpa pursues the topic and says:

“It must be terrible living with him. He must be getting violent…?”

“No…” I say trying to suppress my emotion. “With me – my Papa is very gentle. He loves me a lot.”

Tears well up in my eyes – and – my nose feels heavy.

I take out my handkerchief.

I feel her comforting arm around my shoulder – I know her concern is genuine.

Suddenly the station bell rings – I hear the whistle – and the Blue Coloured Mountain “Toy Train” streams into the platform.

They still use steam engines here on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

The train is almost empty.

It’s “off-season” – and – there are no tourists.

In any case this train is never crowded – as it returns to Coonoor after transporting all the office-goers to Ooty.

We sit opposite each other in an empty compartment.

She still hasn’t taken off her dark sunglasses – even though it is overcast.

It begins to drizzle.

She looks at her watch.

I look at mine.

10 AM.

Half-an-hour’s journey to Coonoor.

“You came today morning, Ma’am…?” I ask.

“No. Last evening. I stayed with Monica David. Your class teacher. We were classmates.”

What a difference,..!!!

Miss David is so “schoolmarmish”…

And Ms. Pushpa – she is so mod and chic and gorgeous.

But – I better be careful what I say.

After all – classmates are classmates.

The train begins its journey – and soon – Ketti valley comes into view.

“There used to be orchards down there. Now there are buildings,” she says.

“You’ve come after a long time…?” I ask.

“Yes. It’s been almost 18 years. I am returning here the first time since I passed out…” she says.

“For some work…? Children’s admission…?”

“No, No…” she bursts out laughing, “I’m Single. Happily Unmarried.”

“I’m sorry…” I say, contrite.

“Come on, Shanta. It’s Okay…” she says, “I have come for some work in Coonoor. Just visited the school for old times’ sake.”

“You must come during Founder’s day. You’ll meet everyone…” I say.

“Yes…” she says, “All these years I was abroad. America, Singapore, Manila, Europe. Now that I’m in Bangalore – I’ll definitely make it.”

“You work…?” I ask.

“Yes. In an MNC…” she says.

Ms. Pushpa must be an MBA from a top Business School.

Like IIM.

Or maybe – even Harvard or Wharton.

I wish I could be like her – Independent – Smart – Elegant – Successful.

I certainly have the talent.

But what about Papa…?

Who will look after him?

I try not to think of the future.

It all looks so bleak, uncertain.

Better not think of it.

I don’t even know what awaits me at the clinic.

Is is just a few minutes more before we reach Coonoor.

It’s unbearable – yes – the tension is unbearable.

Why do I have to go through all this…?

Ms. Pushpa is looking out of the window.

It’s grey and cold.

Dark clouds.

But she still wears her dark sunglasses.

She hasn’t taken them off even once.

Suddenly we enter the Ketti tunnel.

It’s pitch dark.

The smell of steam and smoke.

It’s warm.

Comforting.

I close my eyes.

The train whistles.

The train slows down.

I open my eyes.

Ms. Pushpa is still wearing dark glasses.

Maybe she too has something to hide.

And me…?

The thing that I want to hide – everyone knows about it – but they make a pretence of not knowing – at least in my presence.

The train stops at Ketti Railway Station.

On the platform there is a group of girls – my age.

They are in a jovial mood – giggling, eyes dancing, faces beaming, so carefree and happy.

Their happiness hurts me deep down in my heart.

The girls don’t get in.

Dressed in track-suits – and Ketti Valley School Blazers – they are probably waiting for the “UP” train from Mettupalayam to Ooty which crosses here.

They must be going to our school in Lovedale for the inter-school basketball match.

A girl with a familiar face walks up to me with her friend – whose face is not familiar – and – I am meeting her for the first time.

“You are not playing…?” the girl with the familiar face asks.

“No…” I say.

“I wish we knew that you are not playing. We wouldn’t have gone so early to practice…” she says.

“Who’s captaining…?” her friend asks.

“Lata maybe. I don’t know…” I say.

“Where are you going…?”

“Coonoor.”

“Coonoor…?”

“My father is in hospital. He’s not well.”

“Oh…! Hope he gets well soon. Okay, Bye.”

The girls walk away – they are whispering to each other.

And – I hear the hushed voice of the girl who I have met for the first time:

“Poor thing…!!!”

Yes – the girl calls me “Poor Thing…”

The words pierce through my heart.

“Poor Thing…”

The words echo in the interiors of my mind.

“Poor Thing…!!!” “Poor Thing…!!!” “Poor Thing…!!!”

The resonance is deafening.

I feel as if I am going mad.

I sense Ms. Pushpa’s hand on mine.

A slight pressure.

Comforting.

The “UP” train going up to Ooty comes – the girls from the Ketti Valley School get in – and – the train leaves towards Lovedale.

Then – our Engine’s whistle shrieks – and – our train starts moving.

Outside it starts to rain.

We close the windows.

The smallness of the compartment forces us into a strange intimacy.

“I’ll come with you to the hospital…” Ms. Pushpa says.

I know she means well, but nowadays I hate to depend on the kindness of strangers; so I reply:

“Thank you Ma’am – but I’ll manage. I am used to it.”

“Is your father often like this…?” she asks.

I wonder why is she asking me all this…?

It seems genuine compassion.

Or – maybe she has her own troubles.

And – talking to even more troubled people like me – probably makes her own troubles go away.

I decide to tell her everything in one go.

So – I say to her:

“When I am there – Papa is okay.

He controls himself.

He loves me more than his drink.

Last night I stayed at the hostel to study for a test.

And he must have felt lonely and hit the bottle.

I shouldn’t have left him alone.

After Mummy’s gone – I am the only one he’s got.

And – he’s the only one I’ve got….”

I pause for some time.

Then – and I say to her:

“My Father – he was improving so much.

Something must have happened last evening.

Something disturbing…!!!

He must have got upset – he must have got really badly upset.”

“I’m so sorry…” she says.

Her tone is apologetic – as if she were responsible in some way.

So – I say to her:

“Why should you feel sorry, Ma’am.

It’s my fate.

I have to just find out what’s upset him.

And see that it doesn’t happen again.

Maybe somebody visited him and passed some hurting remark.

He is very sensitive.”

Her expression changes slightly.

She winces.

“Does he tell you everything…?” she asks.

“Of course he tells me everything…” I say, “There are no secrets between us. I am his best friend.”

“I wish I could help you in some way…” she says.

I don’t say anything.

I close my eyes.

What a fool I have been.

I have told her everything.

But – I know nothing about her.

I do not even know the colour of her eyes – since Ms. Pushpa has been wearing her sunglasses throughout the journey.

I wonder why she hasn’t taken off her dark sunglasses even once – though it is quite misty and darkish.

How cleverly she’s manipulated the conversation.

Maybe people who are happy and successful – they feel good when they listen to other people’s sorrows.

I feel stifled.

I open my eyes and look out of the window.

The train crosses Aravankadu  – a U-Turn – then Wellington …

A shrill whistle – and we pass through a gorge.

Noise, steam, smoke – and suddenly it becomes sunny – and the train begins to slow down.

“We’ve reached…” I say.

We get down on the platform at Coonoor.

“I’ll come with you…” she says.

“Thanks. But it’s okay. I’ll go by myself.”

“Sure?”

“I’m sure, thanks,” I say.

Ms. Pushpa takes off her dark sunglasses and she looks at me.

I see her eyes for the first time.

A shiver passes through me as I look into her eyes.

Her eyes are greenish-grey.

She has got “cat-eyes”

Yes – Ms. Pushpa has got dazzling “cat eyes” – exactly like my eyes.

Yes – her eyes are exactly like my eyes – greenish-grey “cat eyes”.

I stare into her eyes mesmerized – as if I am looking into my own eyes.

Suddenly – she takes me in her arms – and hugs me in a tight embrace.

Stunned – I struggle – feeling acutely uncomfortable.

She releases me – and – I just stand there – feeling numb, confused.

The whistle shrieks.

I come to my senses.

I look up at her.

Her eyes are red – and tears flow down her cheeks.

Suddenly she puts on her sunglasses – she turns – and she walks away.

As I walk towards the hospital I think about my brief encounter with Ms. Pushpa – and her rather strange behaviour.

It’s certainly not one of those “hail-fellow–well-met” types of time-pass conversations between co-passengers.

But suddenly she’s gone – and I don’t know anything about her.

She hasn’t even given me her card, address, phone, nothing.

It all happened so fast.

But – I will never forget Ms. Pushpa.

I will always remember her greenish-grey “cat eyes”

Yes – cat-eyes – dazzling cat eyes – exactly like mine – yes – she is the first person I have met whose eyes are exactly like my eyes – greenish-grey “cat eyes”.

I walk down the road.

I reach the clinic.

Well laid-out.

Neat.

Spick and span.

Anesthetic smell.

An air of discipline.

I walk through the corridor.

I know where to go.

“Yes…?” a voice says from behind.

I turn around.

It’s a matron.

I have never seen her before.

Her eyes are hard, pitiless.

I tell her who I am.

Her expression changes.

Lines of compassion begin to crease her face.

But still – her face has something terrible written on it.

I smile.

I have learnt to smile even when I feel like weeping.

I enter the room.

Papa is lying on the solitary bed.

He looks okay.

His eyes are closed.

“Papa…” I say softly.

He opens his eyes.

“Shanta…!!! Come to me…” he says.

I rush to his bed.

My Papa hugs me tightly and says to me:

“Don’t go Shanta. Don’t leave me and go away…”

Then he starts crying.

“Don’t cry, Papa. I’ll always be with you. I’ll never leave you alone again…” I say – tears rolling down my checks.

We both cry copiously.

Time stands still.

I sense the presence of people in the room.

Apart from the matron – there is the comforting face of Dr. Ghosh – and – there is a young doctor in white coat – stethoscope around his neck.

“Can I take him home…?” I ask Dr. Ghosh.

“Of course – you can take him home…” Dr. Ghosh says,” Your father is okay now.”

“But, Sir…” the young Doctor protests, “The patient is still hallucinating….”

“It’s okay…” Dr. Ghosh interrupts giving him a sharp look, “Shanta knows how to look after him – she will look after him like a mother. Isn’t it Shanta…?”

“Yes, Doctor…” I say.

Papa gives him sheepish look.

That’s what I like about Dr. Ghosh – the way he gets his message across.

There is no need for him to reprimand Papa – especially in front of me.

My Papa’s own remorse is his own worst reprimand.

We talk in silence.

I don’t ask him anything.

He’ll tell me when he wants to.

“You’re hungry…?” he asks.

“Yes,” I say.

It’s almost 12 Noon.

Soon – we sit at the Garden Restaurant overlooking Sim’s Park.

He takes his hands out of the overcoat pockets – and – he picks up the menu card.

His hands tremble.

Delirium Tremens.

Withdrawal symptoms.

Papa must have had a prolonged bout of drinking last night.

I know what to do – just in case – because – I don’t want him to turn cold turkey”.

“Papa – you order the food…” I say.

Then – I pick up my school bag and briskly walk across the road to the wine shop.

On seeing me – the liquor shop owner puts a small bottle of brandy in a brown paper bag – and – he gives it to me.

I put the bottle of brandy in my school bag.

No words are exchanged.

No “Liquor Permit” is required.

It doesn’t matter that I am only a 14 year old schoolgirl.

He knows.

Everyone knows.

Pity.

Compassion.

But I know that unseen eyes that I cannot see – will see me – and – tongues that I cannot hear – will wag.

The silence.

It’s grotesque.

Deafening.

Unbearable.

As I give him a 100 Rupee note – the liquor shop owner asks me:

“Saab – I hope he’s okay.”

I nod.

I don’t seem to have a private life anymore.

Unsolicited sympathy is a burden that I find difficult to carry nowadays.

I walk back to the garden restaurant.

Papa has ordered Chinese food.

My favourite.

Papa has a nip of brandy – he drinks straight from the bottle.

His hands become steady.

We start eating.

“She wants to take you away from me…” Papa says.

“Who wants take me away…? I don’t understand…” I say perplexed.

“Yes. She is going to take you away. She came last evening.”

“Who…? Who want to take me away from you…?” I ask my father.

“Your Mother…” he says to me, “your mother wants to take you away from me…”

I feel a strange sensation in my stomach.

The food becomes tasteless in my mouth.

It seems my father has reached the “final stage”.

Hallucinations.

Loneliness.

Alcoholism is driving him insane.

Papa is seeing images of Mummy now.

Has he reached the point of no return..?

Fear drills into my vitals.

“Please, Papa. Mummy is dead. You are hallucinating again…” I say.

“She came last evening. She wanted your custody.”

“Custody…? What are you talking…?”

“Yes. She wants to take you away from me.”

“Who…? Who wants to take me away from you…?”

“Your Birthmother…”

“Birthmother…?”

“Yes.”

“But Mummy…?”

“Don’t delve too much…” my Papa says to me.

I do not pursue the topic further.

But – after we finish eating – my Papa tells me everything.

Yes – he tells me everything.

In the evening – we sit on the lawns of the club waiting for my birthmother.

I feel like a volcano about to erupt.

Papa sits with his head in his hands – he looks nervous, scared.

Dr. Ghosh looks away into the distance – as if he is in our group – but not a part of it.

I wonder what is his role in all this drama.

And – opposite me is that hideous woman with suspiciously black hair – Mrs. Murthy – the social worker from the child welfare department.

“Social Work” indeed…!!!

Removing adopted children from happy homes.

And – forcibly returning the children to their biological parents – who had abandoned them in the first place.

And – this so-called “birthmother” of mine…?

I hate her – without even knowing her.

First – she abandons me.

And then – after 14 long years – she emerges from nowhere with an overflowing love and concern for me.

“My Papa is a dangerous man…” she decides.

So – it is unsafe for me to live with him.

Hence – she wants to take me away into the unknown.

“Don’t worry…” Mrs. Murthy the Social Worker says, “everything will be okay.”

Yes.

Everything will be okay.

Papa will land up in an mental asylum.

I will be condemned to spend the rest of my life with a woman I have never seen – a woman I hate.

Our lives will be ruined.

Great social service will be done.

Yes.

Everything will be okay.

Papa is silent.

He is scared.

Papa has been warned by Dr. Ghosh.

No outbursts.

It will only worsen the case.

And me.

I am only a minor.

They will decide what is good for me.

Of course – they will take my “views” into consideration.

I can see my world disintegrating in front of me.

We sit in silence.

6:30 PM

7 PM

The longest half-hour of my life.

“She said that she will be here at 6:30 PM sharp…” Mrs. Murthy says, “I’ll check up…”

Mrs. Murthy gets up from her chair.

She walks to the reception.

We wait.

And gradually – a depressing and frightening darkness envelopes us.

Mrs. Murthy returns.

There’s urgency in her step.

“I rang up the hotel…” Mrs. Murthy says, “It’s strange. She checked out in the afternoon. She hired a taxi to Bangalore. It’s funny. She hasn’t even bothered to leave a message for me.”

Mrs. Murthy looks disappointed – and she says angrily:

“After all the trouble I have taken. She just goes away without even informing me. She promised me that she would be here at 6:30 sharp.”

Looking perturbed – Mrs. Murthy leaves – promising to check up and let us know.

After she leaves – Dr. Ghosh says to my father:

“Come on. Let’s have a drink.”

“No…” my Papa says,” I don’t need a drink.”

“Sure…?”

“Absolutely sure…” my Papa says.

We take leave of Dr. Ghosh.

Then – my Papa and Me – we begin walking home.

“Papa…?” I say.

“Yes…” he says.

I ask my father:

“Tell me one thing about my “birthmother” – does she have “cat eyes” – greenish-grey “cat eyes”…?” 

My Papa says to me:

“Why are you asking me all this…?”

I say to my father:

I met a woman with greenish-grey “cat eyes” in the train today – and – her eyes were just like my eyes. Tell me – Papa – please tell me – does my “birthmother” have greenish-grey “cat eyes” just like me…?”

Papa puts his protective arm around me – and as we walk together into the enveloping darkness – he says lovingly to me:

“Don’t delve too much…!!!”

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:  https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/woman-with-cat-eyes-story.html

https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/the-mysterious-woman-with-cat-eyes/

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a revised and abridged version of my fiction story DON’T DELVE TOO MUCH written by me Vikram Karve around 27 years ago in 1992 with the title DON’T DELVE TOO MUCH and posted by me online earlier a number of times in my creative writing blogs including at urls: http://creative.sulekha.com/don-t-delve-too-much-by-vikram-karve_31359_blog  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/a-short-story-by-vikram-karve-dont-delve-too-much/  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/10/lovedale-stories-cat-eyes.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/05/dont-delve-too-much-my-favourite-short.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/08/the-mysterious-beauty-with-cat-eyes.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/dont-delve-too-much-love-story.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/dont-delve-too-much-a-love-story/ etc

How to Write ACRs

October 15, 2018

I was amused to see a discussion by Veterans and Military Wives on the Social Media on whether a Wife’s participation in Social/Welfare Activities (AWWA NWWA AFWWA etc) influences her husband’s Performance Appraisal – known in the Armed Forces as Annual Confidential Report – popularly know by the acronym ACR.

This reminds me of a “Humor in Uniform” Story – a fictional spoof on “Performance Appraisal in the Defence Services” – that I had written more than 3 years ago – on September 9, 2015.

My spoof on ACRs became very popular and was carried by many forums and magazines.

I am reposting my spoof “Story of 3 ACRs” once again at the request of a fellow Navy Veteran I met recently at a Navy Veterans’ Meet.

Dear Reader – Here is the story – take it with a pinch of salt – and – have a laugh…

HOW TO WRITE ANNUAL CONFIDENTIAL REPORTS (ACRs) 

Humor in Uniform

Story of 3 ACRs – A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve

Disclaimer: This is a fiction story – a spoof – an imaginary fantasy “fairy tale” – and – this humorous fictional spoof is only for those with a “sense of humor”. 

Story of 3 ACRs – A “Fairy Tale” by Vikram Karve

PROLOGUE

Once upon a time – there existed a mythical country.

Like all countries – that imaginary country too had a military – which comprised officers and soldiers.

This apocryphal military had a fictitious Human Resource Management (HRM) System.

And – in order to facilitate the selection of the best officers to the “top brass” – this imaginary military of the mythical country had a fictitious performance appraisal system which was breathtaking in its simplicity.

Every year – the immediate boss of an officer (called Initiating Officer or IO) wrote an annual performance appraisal report – called ACR (Annual Confidential Report) – on the officer being reported upon.

In optimal harmony with “military intellect” – the ACR was a simple document – easy to complete in a few minutes – with minimal strain on the brain.

Officers were assessed on a 9 point scale (1 to 9 points) – with “9” points being for “outstanding” performance – “5” points for “average” performance (during the one year period of assessment) – and – “1” point being for extremely “poor” performance.

An ACR with less than 5 points (4 points and below) was considered an “adverse” report.

Depending on his assessment of the officer’s performance during the preceding year – the Initiating Officer (IO) awarded the officer the points he deserved (from 1 to 9).

Then – the IO forwarded the ACR to his boss in a sealed envelope.

The boss of the IO (immediate boss) was called Reviewing Officer (RO).

The RO reviewed the ACR initiated by the IO – and – the RO – in turn – forwarded the “Reviewed ACR” up the hierarchical chain to his boss – the Senior Reviewing Officer (SRO).

The Reviewing Officer (RO) and Senior Reviewing Officer (SRO) were supposed to “moderate” the report – however – in most cases – the RO/SRO endorsed the same points as given the IO – but – in some cases – if they felt that the IO had been too “generous” or unduly “stingy” in marking – the RO/SRO sometimes changed the points up or down as per their judgement.

The points awarded by the SRO were final.

The SRO sent the ACR to Headquarters (HQ) – and – the ACR was duly recorded.

(Remember – the “C” in ACR stood for “Confidential” – so the ACR was treated as a confidential document – to be seen only on a “need to know” basis).

When an officer was due for promotion to the next rank (as per his batch seniority) – the average of his points in all his ACRs in his current rank was calculated.

This was done for all officers in the batch – a merit list was made out – and – depending on expected vacancies in the next rank in the following year – a “cut off” point was decided.

Officers whose “ACR average” was above the “cut off” point were placed on the “select list”.

These “select” officers were promoted to the next rank as and when vacancies arose.

The remaining officers (whose “ACR average” was below “cut off”) were duly “passed over” for promotion – ruthlessly thrown by the wayside – cast away from the “rat race” – and these unfortunate “written off” officers spent rest of the military careers in obscurity – stigmatized as “superseded officers”.

That – in a nutshell – was – once upon a time – the apocryphal promotion system in the imaginary military of the mythical country.

Dear Reader – let me once again reiterate – that – the apocryphal performance appraisal system mentioned above is fictional – a figment of my imagination – and – resemblance – if any – to any system – past, present or futuristic – is purely coincidental.

And – the story I am about to tell you – is a spoof – pure fiction – an apocryphal “fairy tale” – that happened – “once upon a time” – at a fictitious place – in the imaginary military – of a mythical country.

STORY OF 3 ACRS

The RO (Reviewing Officer) had summoned the IO (Initiating Officer) to discuss 3 ACRs.

The conversation between the RO and IO was as follows:

RO: I am not happy with the way you have filled up ACRs – especially on these 3 Officers – “A” – “B” – and – “C”.

IO: Why Sir…? I have filled up the ACRs objectively.

RO: Don’t give me bullshit. Is this the first time you are writing ACRs…?

IO: Yes, Sir.

RO: No wonder you are clueless…!!!  Let me explain to you – one by one…

IO: Yes, Sir…

ACR No. 1 – ACR of “A”

RO: Let’s start with the ACR of “A”

IO: Yes, Sir.

RO: You have given “A” a bloody “Nine-Pointer ACR” – are you crazy…? Does that idiot deserve “9 Points”…?

IO: Sir – “A” is the most outstanding officer in my unit.

RO: “Outstanding” – My Foot…!!!  I can’t stand the sight of that conceited bugger…

IO: Sir – “A” is highly professionally competent…

RO: So – what is so great about that…? Every bloody Officer is supposed to be professionally competent. Have you seen his haughty “Body Language”…?

IO: “Body Language”…?

RO: Yes – “A” has rude “Body Language” – especially in front of his seniors. I just don’t like the way he pompously swaggers around.

IO: Sir – I agree that “A” walks a bit robustly. But, Sir – “A” has good “Military Bearing”.

RO: Strutting around pompously is not “Military Bearing”. Do you understand…? I have been observing “A” and his impertinent behaviour – he is arrogant bugger who thinks he is too damn smart.

IO: Arrogant…?

RO: Yes – “A” is an arrogant “showoff” – he needs to be put in his place – the haughty braggart thinks he is a “know-it-all” – he tries to “overshadow” his superior officers

IO: Overshadow…?

RO: Don’t you remember how he made me look like a laughing stock in front of everyone…?

IO: Laughing Stock…? When, Sir…?

RO: During that exercise – when the Chief was there – I was making an important point – and – this bloody idiot “A” – he contradicted me in front of the Chief – and – he made me look like a fool – everyone was laughing at me – and – even the Chief made a sarcastic comment to me that I needed to brush up on my professional knowledge…

IO: Sir – but “A” was right…

RO: So…? He could have kept his trap shut. Officers are supposed to have “Tact” – and – your “A” certainly doesn’t have any bloody “Tact” – he is most ill-mannered – and – have you seen his disgraceful demeanor – his appalling “body language” – it is most inappropriate – I think he has got an attitudinal problem. And – you want to give him a “Nine-Pointer ACR”…? Giving “A” 9 Points is most ridiculous – bring him down to “6 Points”.

IO: Sir – you want to give “A” only 6 Points in his ACR…? Sir – that will be injustice…

RO: What bloody “injustice”…? The stuck-up bugger deserves an adverse report. But – I am not asking you to give him an adverse report. I am just asking you to lower his points a bit.

IO: Sir – 6…?

RO: Okay – since you like “A” so much – give him 7 – but – counsel him to improve his “Officer Like Qualities” – I expect to see better OLQ from him in future …

IO: Sir – 7 – counselling – OLQ…? Sir – I think…

RO: Don’t argue with me – you just do as you are told – do you understand…?

IO: But, Sir…

RO: I haven’t got time to waste – now let’s discuss this other case of gross over-marking of ACR by you…

ACR No. 2 – ACR of “B”

RO: And this Officer – “B” – why have you given him such a good ACR…?

IO: Sir – “B” is a very good officer. Sir – even his “body language” is docile…

RO: He may be okay – but – what about his wife…?

IO: His wife…?

RO: Yes – his wife – have you noticed how “over-smart” she is…?

IO: Sir – “over-smart”…?

RO: Yes – have you seen the way she flaunts her wealth – the way she zips around in her fancy luxury car…?

IO: Sir – that is her company car – that luxury car has been given to Mrs. “B” by her company…

RO: I know – we all know that Mrs. “B” works in a fancy MNC – for an obscene salary – but – that doesn’t mean she has to undermine my status…

IO: What…? Mrs. “B”…? She “undermined your status”…?

RO: Yes – Mrs. “B” overtook my staff car this morning – she honked her horn loudly – and – she brazenly overtook my staff car – driving in a most rash manner…

IO: Sir – she may not have noticed…

RO: Of course she knows it is my staff car – can’t she see the “star plate” on the car –Mrs. “B” did it on purpose – just to “cock a snook” at me…

IO: Sir – she may have been in a hurry to work – your staff car is quite old and your driver drives very slowly…

RO: Why are you trying to defend her misdemeanor…? This is not the first time Mrs. “B” has overtaken me – she had done it many times – even in the city. I am the bloody “Station Commander” out here – and everyone has to give me due respect…

IO: Yes, Sir…

RO: That is not all. My wife – she happens to be the “Senior Lady” out here – my wife has repeatedly complained that Mrs. “B” is rude, insolent and ill-mannered…

IO: Sir – I don’t think Mrs. “B” can ever be ill-mannered – she is a most polished, elegant and refined lady – I have observed that she has impeccable social graces…

RO: Oh – Ho – “polished – elegant – refined – impeccable social graces” – tell me – why are you “batting” for Mrs. “B” so much…? Is there something…

IO: Sir – please. I was just saying that she has social graces…

RO: You say she has “social graces” – then – how come she is so “anti-social” on the “social front”…?

IO: “Anti-social”…?

RO: Yes – my wife says that Mrs. “B” did not attend even a single Ladies Club meeting – nor does she take part in any “welfare” activity…

IO: Sir – Mrs. “B” is a busy working woman with a full-time career…

RO: We know all that – okay – maybe she can’t attend morning meetings – but – she doesn’t participate in evening events too – do you know – she refused to take part in the “fashion show” and “group dance”…

IO: Sir – “fashion show” – “group dance”…?

RO: Are you trying to act dumb…? I am talking about that grand “Husbands’ Night” function we hosted – when all the “big-wigs” and their lady-wives had been invited – and – all the ladies were performing on the stage – and Mrs. “B” was sitting snootily in the audience – and that too in the second row – as if she was a “senior lady”…

IO: Sir…

RO: And – that is not all – when my wife asked Mrs. “B” why she was refusing to participate in the fashion-show and dance – Mrs. “B” passed some sarcastic remarks that she was a “professional career woman” and she wasn’t keen on such “frivolous activities” like “walking-the-ramp” or “dancing” in public on stage. I don’t care if Mrs. “B” is a “hot shot” in the corporate sector – but she is a “military wife” – and that too – she is the wife of a junior officer. How dare she call all other military wives as “frivolous”…? She does not show due respect to my wife and other senior ladies too…

IO: Sir – with due respect – we are discussing the ACR of “B” – not his wife…

RO: I know – but – it seems you do not appreciate the importance of a “lady-wife” in her husband’s career. Ah – now I know why you are so clueless about these things – you are bachelor – aren’t you…?

IO: Yes, Sir – I am a bachelor…

RO: How old are you…?

IO: I am 36 years old, Sir…

RO: 36…? Tell me – why didn’t you get married…? Some problem…?

IO: No, Sir…

RO: Well – if you know what’s good for you – you better get married – yes – if you want to rise in service – you better get married fast – and – make sure you get a suitable wife with LLQ…

IO: “LLQ”…? Sir – what is “LLQ”…?

RO: You don’t know what is “LLQ”…? LLQ means “Lady Like Qualities” – just like Officers must have “Officer Like Qualities” or OLQ – in the same way – Military Wives must have “Lady Like Qualities” or LLQ – so get a suitable wife with LLQ – otherwise – if you get a “militarily incompatible wife” like Mrs. “B” – you will be “written off” – like “B” – and you won’t go very far in your career…

IO: Sir – with due respect – ACRs are to be written on “demonstrated performance” of the officer…

RO: Ha Ha Ha – “demonstrated performance” – well – I haven’t seen this officer “B” “demonstrating” any performance – but let me educate you about the “demonstrated performance” of his wife…

IO: Sir…?

RO: Are you aware that – just last month – Mrs. “B” gave an interview to a leading women’s magazine…?

IO: Yes, Sir – in the series of “women achievers”…

RO: Let me read out what Mrs. “B” said when she was asked about her being a military wife:

“…I may have married a military officer – but – I have not married the military – so – I resent being called a “military wife” – I am a successful career woman with my own achievements. My husband has his own military career – and – I have my own successful career in the corporate sector – I have my own independent identity – I do not need the crutches of my husband’s military rank – I am not “Arm Candy”…”

Isn’t this most insulting…? This Mrs. “B” – she is implying that all other military wives are “Arm Candy” – in fact – she is tarnishing the image of the service…

IO: Please, Sir – she has just expressed her views – I don’t think she is tarnishing…

RO: Of course she is spoiling the image of the service – this Mrs. “B” – also – it has been brought to my notice that she keeps writing all sorts of nonsense on the internet – someone told my wife that she has a “Bog”where she writes all this rubbish which shows the service in poor light…

IO: Sir – it’s “Blog” – not “Bog” – yes – Mrs. “B” has a Blog…

RO: I have heard that she writes all sorts of inflammatory articles trying to incite young military wives…

IO: Not at all, Sir – she writes in a humorous vein – she writes spoofs…

RO: How do you know all this…?

IO: Sir – I read her blogs…

RO: Oh – you seem to be smitten by her…

IO: Sir – please – I think you should stick to the point…

RO: Okay – I will stick to the point. The point is that I am not happy with “B” because of the unbecoming conduct of his wife which is tarnishing the image of the service – and also – I am not happy because of her refusal to participate in social activities which are “part and parcel” of military social life and the duty of every military wife…

IO: Sir, Please – How can an officer be judged by the conduct of his wife…? And – how does a wife’s participation in social activities reflect on an officer’s capability…?

RO: Listen – you stop arguing with me – I haven’t got all day – as far as “B” is concerned – just lower his ACR to “6 Points” – or better still – give him 5 – that’s final – and – now – let’s discuss this most important case of “C” – it seems to be a case of “vindictive under-marking” of ACR…

ACR No. 3 – ACR of “C”

RO: I am astonished – you have given “C” a “Five-Pointer” ACR – do you know what “5 Points” means…?

IO: Sir – “5 Points” means “Average”.

RO: Don’t give me bullshit…

IO: Sir – that is what is written…

RO: I don’t care what is written. With just this one “Five-Pointer ACR” – this officer will be “written-off”…

IO: This Officer – “C” – he deserves to be “written-off”. Sir – professionally – he is totally incompetent – and – as far as man-management is concerned – he was responsible for near-mutiny conditions and I had to intervene. Sir – “C” deserves an “adverse report” – much lower than 5 Points – but – I have been lenient…

RO: Are you really that stupid…? Or – are you just acting dumb…?

IO: Why, Sir…?

RO: Do you know that “C” is the son-in-law of the Senior Reviewing Officer (SRO)…?

IO: Yes, Sir – I know that the SRO is his father-in-law – but I have written C’s ACR as per his demonstrated performance…

RO: Bloody hell – you are back again on the “demonstrated performance” track…

IO: Sir – “C” is a really bad officer – apart from his professional incompetence and ineptitude in man-management – even his moral…

RO: I know everything about “C” – but – I have assured his father-in-law that he will get a thumping ACR…

IO: Sir – how can you…?

RO: My Dear Friend – as far as “C” is concerned – do you know that his father-in-law happens to my IO – and your RO…?

IO: Yes, Sir…

RO: So – if you know what’s good for you – just raise “C” to “9 Points”…

IO: Sir – you want me to give a “Nine-Pointer” ACR to “C”…?

RO: Okay – give him an “8” – I will raise it to “9”…

IO: But, Sir…?

RO: Let me tell you that I am most disappointed with the way you have written ACRs. These two officers – “A” (Body Language) – and – “B” (Over-Smart Wife) – you have given them excellent ACRs – whereas – for “C” (Son-in-Law) – you have given him a “lukewarm” ACR. You have done exactly the opposite of what I wanted you to do. You should have discussed with me before writing the ACRs – instead – you just wrote the ACRs and sent them to me in a sealed envelope…

IO: Sir – as per the rules…

RO: Don’t try to teach me rules about ACRs – I have written ACRs as an “IO” for donkey’s years – and now – I have reviewed hundreds of ACRs as “RO”. Since this is the first time you are writing ACRs as an “IO” – I will pardon you for your ignorance. Come on – take back these ACRs – and – rewrite them – you know what I want.

IO: Sir – you are the RO – you can give whatever points you want.

RO: It will look bad if there is a difference in IO and RO points. What will the SRO think…? It will appear that we don’t agree with each other. We must be on the same page – at least – we must appear to be on the same page. Do you understand…? Don’t be “dogmatic” – you must be “pragmatic” – just do as I say – come on – take back these ACRs – and – rewrite them as I have told you…

I wish I could have given this fantasy “fairy tale” a “fairy tale ending”.

But – Dear Reader – I will leave the ending to your imagination.

Tell me – Dear Reader – suppose you were the IO” in this story – what would you do…?

Would you be “dogmatic”…?

Or – would you be “pragmatic”…? 

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/2017/09/story-of-3-acrs-military-performance.html

This is an abridged and revised repost of my story HOW TO WRITE ACRs posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/humor-in-uniform-how-to-write-acrs.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/10/military-performance-appraisal-in.html  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/military-performance-appraisal-made-simple-how-to-write-annual-confidential-reports-acrs/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/how-to-write-acrs-military-performance-appraisal-in-a-nutshell-humor-in-uniform/ etc

Protagoras Paradox

October 14, 2018

(Sharing an interesting post from a Veterans Forum)

Very interesting Paradox:

Many years ago, a Law teacher came across a student who was willing to learn but was unable to pay the fees.

The student struck a deal saying:

“I will pay your fee the day I win my first case in the court”.

Teacher agreed and proceeded with the law course.

When the course was finished and teacher started pestering the student to pay up the fee, the student reminded him of the deal and kept delaying the payment.

Fed up with this, the teacher decided to sue the student in the court of law.

Both of them decided to argue for themselves.

The teacher put forward his argument saying:

“If I win this case, as per law, the student has to pay me as the case is about his non-payment of dues.

And if I lose the case, the student will still pay me because he would have won his first case…

So either way I will get the money”.

Equally brilliant, the student argued back saying:

“If I win the case, as per law, I don’t have to pay anything to the teacher as the case is about my non-payment of dues.

And if I lose the case, I don’t have to pay him because I wouldn’t have won my first case yet.

So either way, I am not going to pay the teacher anything”.

This is one of the greatest paradoxes ever recorded.

Who is right and who is the winner?

This is part of ancient Greek history.

The lawyer teacher was *Protagoras* (c.485-415 BCE) and the student was *Euthalos* .

This is known as *Protagoras’s Paradox.*

This case was not solved.

The most interesting part – this is still debated (even today) in law schools as a logic problem.

History of the Indian Navy in a Nutshell

October 14, 2018

Sharing the link of an article which gives the history of the Indian Navy in a nutshell (url link below):

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/in-navy-history.htm

Mutiny

October 14, 2018

You must have heard of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty  and probably seen the movies made on this mutiny too.

Mutinies have happened on various Navies of the world from time immemorial.

What is a mutiny…?

Section 42 of the Navy Act defines Mutiny as given below:

Section 42 in The Navy Act, 1957
42. Mutiny defined.—Mutiny means any assembly or combination of two or more persons subject to naval law, the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), or the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950), or between persons two at least of whom are subject to naval law or any such Act,—
(a) to overthrow or resist lawful authority in the Navy, regular Army or Air Force or any part of any one or more of them or any forces co-operating therewith or any part thereof; or 
(b) to disobey such authority in such circumstances as to make the disobedience subversive of discipline or with the object of avoiding any duty or service against, or in connection with operations against, the enemy; or 
(c) to show contempt to such authority in such circumstances as to make such conduct subversive of discipline; or 
(d) to impede the performance of any duty or service in the Navy, regular Army or Air Force or any part of any one or more of them or any forces co-operating therewith or any part thereof. 
As per the above definition – mutiny requires involvement of two or more persons subject to Naval/Military Law – so – it is a collective activity.
 
Apart from the Mutiny on the Bounty mentioned above – there have been many famous Naval and Military Mutinies – some of which have changed the course of history – like the mutiny of the Russian Battleship Potemkin in 1905 which is considered the first step towards the Russian Revolution which happened in 1917.
It is believed that the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny in 1946 by sailors made the British realise that they could not rule India any longer and hastened the process of granting Independence to India. (That is why this Mutiny is also called a War of Independence) 
The Indian Navy has been relatively free of mutinies except for the Topass Mutiny.

The infamous  “Topass Mutiny” of 1970 occurred when some sailors in the Western Fleet refused to clean latrines, after the abolition of the Navy’s Topass branch.

The “Topass” Sailors perform the more menial tasks for the crew.

The Topass Mutiny led to the repeal of the unpopular decision to abolish the Topass branch. 

The above is an extract from an article by Admiral JG Nadkarni on Modern Day Mutiny (url link ahead) -> https://m.rediff.com/news/1998/mar/14nad1.htm

An internet search revealed another interesting article on the subject (url link ahead) -> https://www.deccanchronicle.com/opinion/op-ed/200317/can-indian-navy-afford-a-mutiny.html

 

Shipbuilding – 200 Years of “Make in India”

October 13, 2018

(Sharing an interesting article by Naval Historian Srikant Kesnur)

Today, I was most pleasantly surprised to see a tweet from the handle of one person/organisation named ‘On this day RN” which brings to light historical nuggets from the Royal Navy. Today’s tweet (see accompanying) was about a ship launched *more than 200 years ago in our very own Naval dockyard, Mumbai and is the the oldest Royal Navy warship afloat*. In this connection, a piece that I *wrote last year* commemorating the two hundredth anniversary of Trincomalee launch and the commissioning of a new generation corvette INS Kiltan has been *reproduced below with the most minor tweaking and updating*. Kindly read article below if you are interested.

TRINCOMALEE TO KILTAN – 200 YEARS OF MAKING IN INDIA

The Thursday that just passed, 12th Oct 17, is a most significant date in Indian history especially Indian Maritime History. It was on this day 200 years ago, *yes on 12 Oct 1817, that HMS Trincomalee was launched*. Notwithstanding the fact that she was named after a Sri Lankan port and served under a British flag, *she was built in the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai* and is afloat even today, berthed in Hartlepool, UK, as a museum ship. In short, she is *the oldest (some say second oldest, some say oldest in Britain, but let’s debate that some other time) ship afloat in the world and she was made in India*. And despite many changes over all these years, almost two thirds of her hull is still Indian teak. The mind boggles that a Frigate of the Napoleonic era is still in mint condition.

Trincomalee’s bicentenary is a shining testimony of *India’s maritime prowess and shipbuilding skills, alas unknown to many in our country*. It is true that from about the 13th century onwards India declined as a maritime power and as a seafaring nation. This was to lead to the denouement of colonization with its attendant collateral damages. Loss of supremacy at sea led to loss of sovereignty on land. All this is well known, even if not completely understood, by Indians at large.

However, even in this bleak period there were some bright patches or rays of hope. The heroism and maritime savvy exhibited by the Admiral Queen Rani Abbakka of Ullal, the Kunjali Marrakars of Malabar and later by the Marathas is stuff of legend. Our coastal and riverine navigation and commerce continued. And the performance of our ships and naval personnel in both world wars earned kudos.

However, one of the most illustrious maritime achievements of the colonial times would be the stunning achievements of the Wadia shipbuilders and the Bombay docks. The British when moving their HQ from Surat to Bombay persuaded the Master Shipbuilder Lowejee Nusserwanjee Wadia to shift base and as they say, the rest is history. My friends in the civilian world and Army and Air Force may please *note that building a ship is the very acme of engineering and design and ergonomics and architecture and several other disciplines. Building warships is even more complicated business given the huge interplay of several complex factors*.

The Wadia (‘shipbuilder’) family was known for the high standards in shipbuilding workmanship. With the backing of his masters and an enabling environment in Bombay, where *the Bombay Dock was built in 1735 ( oldest in Asia, it is functioning even today as the Naval Dockyard and that is surely another splendid story)* the Wadia clan of shipbuilders rolled out ships as though in an assembly line. Between 1735 and 1885, seven generations of the Wadias built a staggering 300 plus warships of the finest quality and class. That is a stupendous average of about 2 ships per year. Over a century and half, these ships built in India, by Indians, for the Brits and others, sailed *all over the world, earning their spurs in war and peace*.

They also made history. Apart from the aforementioned Trincomalee, built under the supervision of Jamsetjee Bomanjee, it also included ships like *HMS Minden (on which Francis Key wrote the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ the American national anthem today and about which my friend Aneesh Gokhale had written in DNA recently, read about it here. https://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-us-owes-its-gratitude-to-this-made-in-india-ship-2666531/amp?__twitter_impression=true), HMS Cornwallis (on which the Treaty of Nanking was signed, which, among other things, ceded Hong Kong to the British), and HMS Asia (which took part in the Battle of Novarino, the last battle totally under sail)*.

Many of my friends and historians, who I respect a great deal, feel that there is not much to celebrate these achievements since they were essentially in the service of the British crown, a foreign ruler. *They make a fair point*. But I believe that we must acknowledge the technical prowess, the skills and the overall ecosystem that enabled such world class ships to be built barely two to three centuries ago. More importantly, they show the bright patches of a bleak period in our history, they underscore our maritime and shipbuilding skills honed over centuries and the inherent DNA, which ‘like the soul long suppressed found utterance’, to quote Pandit Nehru in another context, in this endeavour.

It was the combination of many circumstances that led to the demise of this flourishing industry. The steamships that replaced sail changed the whole paradigm of seafaring for one. The opening of Suez Canal which was difficult for sail ships to navigate made their existence more difficult. And above all, a concerted effort by the British to keep India at a low industrial and military (especially naval) threshold left us in the cold as new and powerful ships came to be built in the new steam and industrial age.

However, it was the above mentioned shipbuilding DNA that came to the fore as independent India and her Navy set out to create a self-reliant force. It could be done only by building our own ships. Accordingly, a 1948 plan document of the Indian Navy envisioned aircraft carriers and submarines when we had less than half a dozen sloops. Many may have described such dreams as fantasy or whimsy. There were other factors disadvantageous to the fledgling Indian Navy – from low technology base to funding constraints, from the landward orientation of our leadership to an Army and AF that threatened to grab the lion’s share of resources.

But persist we did. While initially buying from abroad, we set up our own design bureau to design ships suited to us. Our dockyards slowly played ball. We began with a survey ship in 1964 and worked our way up. And to cut a long story short, today 70 years after independence we are building our own ships and submarines, including aircraft carriers. Compared to the Army and AF we are *way ahead in the indigenous content of our combat units*. And our entire team of designers, builders, integrators, overseers and users are forming a virtuous circle each reinforcing the other.

To be sure we have a long way to go. We need to have 100 percent indigenisation; we need that weapons and many systems need to be sourced from within. But every ship that gets constructed has more indigenous content than her predecessor, every ship an improvement over the previous one. So much so that today a navy ship constructed in India is no longer news. And we also need to look at the context. Lets not forget that India designed her first indigenous car, the ‘Indica’ in 1997 much after we had built our first ship. Incidentally, in 1997, India had built the most advanced destroyer, the INS Delhi, which catapulted Navy into a new era. As an aside, I was privileged to be the first Signal Communications Officer of the new INS Delhi.

*Today, India builds world class warships designed by Indian Navy engineers and scientists*. Tomorrow, 16th Oct 2017, when our Defence Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman commissions the latest and most modern Anti-Submarine Corvette INS Kiltan, in Visakhapatnam, it will be one more feather in the Indian Navy’s cap and one more reason for India to celebrate. The Indian Navy has been a pioneer in ‘Make in India’. We can proudly say that we have a legacy of 200 years of Making in India. (It is actually more than 200 years, closer to 300 years.)

But the commemoration of 200 years of Trincomalee and the commissioning of INS Kiltan within a week of each other gives us much cause to be proud of our past, celebrate our present and be optimistic about the future. In Nov 17, the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai *brought out a beautiful book on the Trincomalee, with my good friend and esteemed senior Capt Ramesh Babu, as it’s Editor and lead author*. (See cover photo accompanying). Hopefully the rest of India will relish and cherish these and other maritime milestones. *To borrow a phrase of a respected Senior “Samudra Bharat hi Samrudhha Bharat hai” or “Only a Maritime India can make a Prosperous India’.*

Cheers

*Srikant Kesnur*

*First written 15 Oct 17*

Tailhook Scandal – What Really Happened…?

October 13, 2018

A News Report on the Tailhook Scandal.

Click Link Below to Read the News Report:

http://articles.latimes.com/1993-04-24/news/mn-26672_1_tailhook-convention

Click the link above to read what really happened at the Tailhook Convention.

Tailhook Scandal

October 13, 2018

The Tailhook Scandal events took place at the 35th Annual Tailhook Association Symposium from September 8 to 12, 1991.

The Tailhook Scandal was a series of incidents where US Navy (Aviation) Officers were alleged to have sexually assaulted women/men, or otherwise engaged in “improper and indecent” conduct, at the Tailhook Symposium in 1991.

Click Link Below to Read More: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailhook_scandal

Click Link Above to read about the Tailhook Scandal

Seasickness “Test” – Story from My Navy Days

October 13, 2018

Do you want to be a seafarer…? 

If you are a “Sea-Sick Type” – life at sea can be hell for you. 

For those who are susceptible – seasickness can be sheer misery.

(Seasickness is a form of “motion-sickness” or kinetosis

If you have a proclivity for seasickness – as you sail out – and the sea bacomes rough – your seasickness will gradually start with dizziness, fatigue and nausea – and if the cause of the nausea (sailing in rough seas) continues – you will start vomiting – things can get really bad – and you will feel miserable.

I have observed that some “seasick types” do get acclimated to the sea – but there are a few “seasick type” sailors – for whom – the worst aspect of seasickness is that they are unable to stop it – and they become more and more miserable with every passing day at sea – especially when the sea gets rough.

So – in case you want to join the Navy – how do you ascertain if you are a  “Sea-Sick Type”…? 

Is there a “Seasickness Test” to find out whether a person is prone to seasickness…? 

Is there a cure – preventive or corrective – or a “placebo” – for seasickness…? 

How did I discover whether I was a “Sea-Sick Type” or not…?

Here is some Navy “Gyan”.

Read on…

HUMOR IN UNIFORM – NAVY “GYAN”

How to Prevent and Cure Seasickness – Navy Style “Placebo”
“Qualitative Seasickness Test – Reminiscences by Vikram Karve 

PLACEBO FOR SEASICKNESS

I do not know whether there is a “seasickness test” now for Navy aspirants.

But – more than 42 years ago – way back in the 1970’s – after you cleared the Services Selection Board (SSB) – there was a comprehensive Medical Examination – but – I do not recall any test for “seasickness”.

The result of this was that – you came to know of your propensity to seasickness – only when you sailed out to sea for the first time after you joined the Navy.

And – if you were a terribly seasick type – it was quite late in the day – and so – many who could not bear their “seasickness” – they opted out of the Surface Navy – by “volunteering” for Submarines or Air Technical Branches.

I am sure that with advances in medical technology – there may be a quantitative “seasickness test” now.

But – here is a story about how I learnt about a qualitative “seasickness test” from a hardened sailor – what they call in the Navy – a tough “sea-dog”…

SEASICKNESS  –  PREVENTION AND CURE 

“Qualitative” Seasickness Test
A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve

As a young Naval Officer – 42 years ago – in the 1970’s – I was posted to a frontline warship in the premier Western Fleet – a Frigate.

The first month of my “sea time” was sheer bliss.

Our ship was berthed alongside in harbour at Bombay (now called Mumbai) for a “maintenance period”.

Every evening – we would imbibe a generous amount of the best Scotch Whisky in the ship’s wardroom – and then – we would go ashore to enjoy the delights that “maximum city” Bombay had to offer.

Suddenly – the fun time was all over – and – we were off to sea.

It was monsoon time.

The sea was rough.

And – as we headed out to sea – our ship – a frigate – started rolling and pitching quite furiously.

Many individuals – Officers and Sailors – started getting sea-sick.

The Ship’s Doctor had hit the bunk in the Sickbay – in anticipation of sailing.

Yes – the Doctor had disappeared below decks to the Sickbay in harbour itself – the moment “Special Sea Dutymen” (SSD) had closed up for duty – when we were ready to leave harbour and sail out to sea.

At “Both Watches” – after briefing the sailors regarding the various operational exercises during the sailing programme – I told my Master Chief Petty Officer:

“This is my first sailing on this ship. In case I get “sea-sick” – you take charge…”

My Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) was a grizzled old “sea-dog”.

He was arguably the senior-most sailor in our branch – and certainly – the senior-most sailor on board our ship.

The MCPO said to me – matter-of-factly:

“Sir – you will not get Sea-Sick…”

I was taken aback by the MCPO’s firm assertion – so I asked him: 

“How do you know that I will not get “sea-sick”…?

You have never seen me sailing on this ship.

And – you don’t know anything about me…”

The MCPO said to me – with genuine admiration in his voice:

“Sir – we know everything about you.

The wardroom steward tells us that you drink almost half a bottle of Whisky every evening.

And Sir – at last week’s party at Sailors’ Home – you drank us under the table.

Sir – we saw that you drank almost a full bottle of Rum – and then – you walked back all the way to the ship as if nothing had happened.

And then – in the morning – you were up at 6 o’clock for your morning run and PT.

Sir – we know that you are a good drinker…” 

I was quite amused by this logic – so I asked him:

“Tell me – what has my drinking got to do with “seasickness”…?”

The MCPO said:

“Sir – I don’t know the theory – but – in my 30 years long service in the Navy – I have observed that “heavy drinkers” never get “seasick”…”

As we sailed – the sea got rougher.

And – I observed – that – what the old “sea-dog” MCPO had said – his theory about seasickness – it was absolutely true.

The weather was stormy – the sea was very rough – and – the ship was rolling, pitching and yawing quite violently.

Those with a propensity for seasickness – they started feeling seasick.

Our ship (a modernised Whitby Class Frigate) had a curious design.

The layout of accommodation was such – that the Officers’ Cabin Flat reeked of the awfully nauseating smell of FFO (Furnace Fuel Oil) – which made the nausea even worse – and so – most of the officers were terribly sea-sick.

There was a terrible stench all over the ship.

This stink was because officers and sailors were retching and vomiting due to seasickness.

Only a few officers remained unaffected.

I was one of the lucky ones who did not get sea-sick.

I realized that the experienced “Sea-Dog” Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) was absolutely right.

The officers who did not get sea-sick were all heavy drinkers.

A few days later the Fleet Commander – a Rear Admiral – embarked on board our ship.

The Admiral was a towering figure – he was over six feet tall – and with his impressive beard – he had an imposing personality – like Lord Neptune.

As we sailed – the sea got quite rough – and – the ship started rolling and pitching quite a bit.

I was surprised to see this grand Admiral getting “sea-sick”.

Yes – believe it or not – the Admiral was a “Sea-Sick Type”.

In fact – there was a bucket kept for the Admiral on the bridge – for him to vomit into – in case he felt too seasick and wanted to throw up.

You guessed right – the “Sea-Sick Type” Admiral – he was a Non-Drinker – a strict Teetotaller – who did not touch alcohol. 

(I am sure that many Naval Officers and Veterans would have guessed the name of the “redoubtable” Admiral)

Moral of the Story

So – Dear Reader – now you know why the “quintessential sailor” is always associated with a “Bottle of Rum” – Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle Of Rum…!!!

And now – you know how to carry out the “Qualitative Seasickness Test”

(Dear Reader – this is a spoof  – so – please take this seasickness “placebo” with a pinch of salt and do the “seasickness test” at your own risk)

Does the MCPO’s theory that hard-drinkers are less vulnerable to seasickness have some scientific basis…?

Or – is it is a mere “placebo”…?

Well – I do not know.

But – that is what I observed in the Navy:

Heavy Drinkers were less prone to “Sea-Sickness” as compared to Teetotallers.

I dug deep into my photo albums – and – I pulled out this nostalgic picture – a photo clicked 42 years ago – in the 1970’s – a picture of the Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) – who gave me this “Navy Gyan” on Seasickness.

This is a photo taken during the weekly “Divisional Officer’s Period” booze-up session with my Sailors at Sailors’ Home at Cooperage in Mumbai.

Nilgiri DOP MCPO Yadav

I loved drinking with my sailors – it was the best way to assess the “morale” of my sailors.

So – instead of the customary humdrum and monotonous weekly “Divisional Officer’s Period” (DOP) on Wednesday afternoons on board ship – whenever we were in harbour – I conducted the “Divisional Officer’s Period” in the Sailors’ Home at Cooperage on Wednesday evenings.

And – during the “Divisional Officer’s Period” – liquor flowed freely – and – my sailors could open up and talk to me without inhibition – and – they could tell me their problems – and suggestions – if any.

In the picture above  taken 42 years ago – in the 1970’s – you can see me with my sailors enjoying a “Divisional Officer’s Period” at Sailors’ Home.

As you can see from the bonhomie, casual dress and haircuts of the sailors – those were “laissez-faire” days in the Navy – especially in the Western Fleet – which was the premier “sword arm” of the Navy – and – the emphasis was on professionalism – not on “spit and polish” ceremonials.

Have a look at the photo above once more.

In the picture – I am sitting at the extreme left.

Yes – I am the guy to the extreme left – with my abundant black hair and my lush beard – with my left hand raised – and – I am probably narrating a yarn or a joke.

See the happy face of the sailor standing behind me – and – the rather curious smile on the face of the sailor sitting in the centre.

The Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) mentioned in the story is sitting to the extreme right – and – from the way he is laughing – he seems to be in a jolly mood – as we are drinking away and enjoying ourselves at the departmental booze-up session with my sailors at Sailors’ Home at Cooperage in Mumbai.

Dear Reader: 

Look at the picture above once again – and – tell me: 

Isn’t the “high morale” of my sailors clearly visible…?

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © 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/2017/06/how-to-prevent-and-cure-seasickness.html

This is an updated and revised version of my story First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog more than 4 years ago at 6/23/2014 01:04:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/06/humor-in-uniform-seasickness.html  and  later at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/02/how-to-prevent-seasickness.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/07/seasickness-test-humor-in-uniform.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/humor-in-uniform-placebo-for-seasickness.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/sea-sickness-test-navy-style-placebo/ and https://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/03/humor-in-uniform-navy-placebo-for.html

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