ECHS Pune – Mismanagement Woes

July 13, 2016

Topical Article on Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) Mismanagement Woes in Pune affecting Healthcare of Military Veterans and Families of Ex-Servicemen (ESM)

Source: Where has ECHS gone wrong?

Article is also reproduced below for your convenience from url:  http://www.aviation-defence-universe.com/echs-gone-wrong/ 

Where has ECHS gone wrong…? 

ECHS

  • Unable to pay hospitals their dues
  • Is treatment of ex-servicemen and their families becoming a liability to the MOD?

By Sangeeta Saxena

New Delhi. 10 June 2016. Today it is Pune, tomorrow it will be somewhere else and for all one knows there could be many more such Ruby Halls  already existing in the country. Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) cashless facilities have been discontinued to beneficiaries due to an outstanding of over Rs. 5.50 Crores  from 01-06-16.

Speaking to ex-servicemen  and by the virtue belonging to a family of one I realised only those living in Delhi and Chandigarh were happy with the ECHS Polyclinics and empaneled hospitals, the others had sordid tales of woe to tell.

It is pathetic to see that a scheme which started with goodwill and welfare should come to such a condition. Is ECHS finding it difficult to serve the ex-servicemen and their families? Is there a crunch in finances that it is making it difficult  to pay the dues to empaneled hospitals and is there a lack of cash at the Polyclinics level to procurement medicines both routine and life saving?

Non availability of funds with the MD ECHS has had a cascading adverse effect on planning and execution of healthcare of ECHS members. Super Specialty Hospitals and other good hospitals are not offering themselves to be empanelled because of the non clearance of their bills in time.  Suggestion was given by ex servicemen  to MD ECHS to clear 50 percent of the hospital bills within one week of receipt of the bills and remaining 50 percent be cleared within 30 days, after due evaluation, analysis and verification.  Ex servicemen  are told that such a proposal is lying with Secy DESW for a considerable time for approval.

A large number of good Super Specialty Hospitals initially empanelled with ECHS, have withdrawn for want of clearance of their bills and the remaining empanelled hospitals are also under financial stress and on the verge of discontinuing empanelment.    The required funds need to be released well in time to ensure smooth execution ECHS.

ECHS  was launched with effect from 01 April 2003. The Scheme aims to provide allopathic Medicare to Ex-servicemen pensioner and their dependents through a network of ECHS Polyclinics, Service medical facilities and civil empanelled/Govt hospitals spread across the country. The Scheme has been structured on the lines of CGHS to ensure cashless transactions, as far as possible, for the patients and is financed by the Govt of India.

ECHS is a flagship Scheme of the Ministry of Defence, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welafre. The aim of Scheme is to provide quality healthcare of Ex-servicemen pensioners and their dependents. As on date, a total of 13,48,517 Ex-servicemen have enlisted with the Scheme along with 30,03,577 dependents. Total beneficiaries of the Scheme, thus amount to 43,52,094.

Policy framework for the Scheme is laid down by the Governmentt and executive control is exercised by the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare. The Scheme is managed through the existing infrastructure of the Armed Forces so as to minimize the administrative expenditure. The existing infrastructure includes command and control structure, spare capacity of Service Medical facilities (Hospitals and Medical Inspection Rooms), procurement organization for medical and non-medical equipment, Defence land and buildings etc. Station Commanders assisted by Senior Executive Medical Officers (SEMO) exercise direct control over the ECHS Polyclinics.

The Central Organisation ECHS is located at Delhi and functions under the Chiefs of Staff Committee through the Adjutant General in the Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army). The Central Organisation is headed by a Managing Director, a serving Major General.

There are nearly 30  Regional Centres sanctioned by the Govt and ECHS Polyclinics are designed to provide ‘Out Patient Care’ which includes consultation, essential investigation and provision of medicines. Specialized consultations, investigations and ‘In Patient Care’ (Hospitalization) is provided through spare capacity available in Service hospitals and through civil hospitals empanelled with ECHS. Polyclinics are categorized as Type A to E based on the number of Ex-servicemen residing in that area.

The beneficiary reports to the ECHS Polyclinic and registers with his/her smart card at the reception and is allocated a Medical Officer (MO). In case of OPD patient the MO prescribes medicines which may be obtained from the pharmacy of the polyclinic. In case of in-patient treatment, the beneficiary is referred by the MO to a Service hospital, in case the polyclinic is in Military station. In case of non-availability of bed in Service hospital, the patient is referred back to the polyclinic for referral to an empanelled hospital. Once referred, the patient gets treated from the empanelled facility on a cashless basis. The empanelled facility processes the claim online/manually after the patient is discharged . In case of polyclinics located in non-Military station, the OIC refers the patient to the nearest Service hospital/empanelled facility.

The ECHS currently has over 40 lakh beneficiaries. This number is going to steadily increase in the future and is expected to stabilize at 65 lakhs by 2020. So where has the ECHS gone wrong? It started with a great aim but somewhere down the lane lost the focus. Or is the growing ex-servicemen fraternity so large that ECHS cannot bear the costs of treatment in private hospitals? Perhaps it can learn a lesson or two from its better run big brother CGHS.

Above Article reproduced from url below for reading convenience of military veterans :  http://www.aviation-defence-universe.com/echs-gone-wrong/

Do you suffer from PRAISOPHOBIA…? (Praisophobia is Fear of Praise)

July 13, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Praisophobia – Fear of Praise

Why My Wife Never Praises Me

My Wife never has a good word for me.

Surely – I am not saying that I am an “angel” – a perfect husband.

But – neither am I that terrible a husband.

Surely – I have at least one good quality – or – surely – I have done at least one good deed in my entire life.

But – my wife has never ever praised me even once in our more than 34 years of married life.

The reason – my wife suffers from Praisophobia

Do you also suffer from “Praisophobia”…?

Do you know what is “Praisophobia”…?

Let me delve into my “HUMOR IN MARRIAGE” Archives – and post for you an updated and abridged version of an article I wrote more than 3 years ago in March 2013 on Praisophobia

PRAISOPHOBIA 

A Weird “PHOBIA”

(Not to be confused with “Prosophobia” – which means the “fear of progress”)

Ramblings of a Retired Mind

By

VIKRAM KARVE 

PRAISOPHOBIA – MEANING AND DEFINITION

I have coined a new term – “PRAISOPHOBIA”

“Praisophobia” is the “FEAR OF PRAISE”.

“Praisophobia” is the fear that if you praise someone – then that person’s behaviour may change for the worse 

You fear that if you praise something – then something adverse may happen

(“Praisophobia” is not to be confused with “Prosophobia” which means “Fear of Progress”)

PRAISOPHOBIA IN ACTION

Let me give you an example of PRAISOPHOBIA.

30 years ago – if you asked my wife what was the worst thing she did not like about me – she would unhesitatingly say that she hated my drinking and smoking habits.

In fact – my wife particularly disliked my love for drinking alcohol.

Yes – I must confess that I indeed loved to drink alcohol.

I had my first drink after I joined the Navy in the 1970’s.

I started enjoying drinking alcohol in earnest on my first ship where the wardroom bar was well stocked with the choicest varieties of alcoholic beverages – wines, spirits, liquors, liqueurs, beers – you name it and the drink was available.

Those days drinking was quite affordable – since the booze was duty-free on navy ships.

And along with drinking – we started smoking too – the main incentive being the attraction of the best imported brands of cigarettes which we got at duty-free rates in the navy.

I sampled and tasted all the types of choicest liquor available in the ship’s bar.

After experiencing all varieties and types of alcoholic drinks I discovered that I liked two brands:

  1. Blended Scotch Whiskycalled Chivas Regal(which I drank on board in the Ship’s Wardroom)

and

  1. an Indian Dark Rumcalled Hercules XXX Rum(which I drank ashore in Navy Wardrooms and Military Officers’ Messes and Clubs).

We did not get duty-free liquor ashore – and after developing a taste for Scotch Whisky – I found the Indian Whiskies of those days quite raw, coarse and rough for my palate.

In contrast – Indian Dark Rum was probably the best in the world – and famous brands Indian Rum like Hercules, Sea Pirate and Old Monk were particularly good and mellow.

Hey – I am digressing – so let me get to the point.

As I told you – my wife hated my drinking.

In contrast – I loved drinking so much that I used to eagerly wait for sunset – so that I could pour my first peg of the day.

As a rule I avoided drinking in daytime – since I did not enjoy it.

I drank quite regularly – almost every day – and I am sure my wife was very worried that I may become alcohol dependent or even an alcoholic.

My wife religiously fasted on Mondays – and I am sure she prayed to God that I should stop drinking alcohol.

Probably – my regular drinking was the biggest problem in her married life.

Then – all of a sudden – one day – I stopped drinking and smoking.

Yes – I quit drinking alcohol forever.

On the same day – I also quit smoking forever.

This happened more than 14 years ago – and since then – I have remained a teetotaller and non-smoker.

I thought that my wife would be delighted that I had stopped drinking and smoking.

I thought that my wife would be filled with joy that her prayers had been answered.

I expected that my wife would be happy and grateful that her alcohol loving husband had turned a new leaf and was living a life of temperance and sobriety.

In fact – I thought that she would be full of praise for me.

However – since the day I quit drinking – my wife has never praised me even once for having the resolve and willpower to free myself from the clutches of alcohol – which I loved so dearly.

In my opinion – for an alcohol lover like me to have quit drinking permanently was a commendable act deserving of the highest praise – especially from my wife who hated my drinking habit.

Yet – my wife has never uttered a word of praise for my good deed – either in private or in public.

Yes – in all these 14 years – my wife has never praised me for having given up drinking and smoking.

The reason – PRAISOPHOBIA

My wife is afraid of the consequences of praise.

My wife feels that if she praises me  then I may start drinking and smoking again.

So Dear Reader – the moral of the story is this:

If you do a praiseworthy deed and someone does not praise you – then please do not get disappointed – and do not think that those persons are unappreciative.

Maybe that person suffers from Praisophobia.

Think about it.

Do you suffer from Praisophobia…?

Is your spouse afflicted by Praisophobia…?

Or – do you know someone who is Praisophobic…?

Have you observed Praisophobia?

Do tell us of your experiences with Praisophobia” and other such crazy phobias you have come across in your life.

Links to My Self Help Articles:

HOW TO QUIT SMOKING -> 

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/world-no-tobacco-day-blog-post-how-to.html

HOW TO QUIT DRINKING ->

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/booze-trap-way-out-how-to-quit-drinking.html

 

To conclude – if someone does not praise you for a good deed – your spouse or your boss or anyone – just ask that person:

“Do you suffer from PRAISOPHOBIA…?”

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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Disclaimer:

  1. This article 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Updated Version of my Article written by me Vikram Karve in March 2013 on PRAISOPHOBIA and Earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 3/14/2013 11:01:00 AM at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/03/praisophobia.html   and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/12/praisophobia-fear-of-praise-humor-in.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/11/praisophobia-weird-phobia.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/07/humor-in-marriage-praisophobia-why-my.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/praisophobia-fear-of-praise.html etc

The Woman with Restless Eyes and Enticing Perfume : Romance in Mussoorie 

July 9, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Romance in Mussoorie

Blog Fiction

My Blog is a Gallimaufry of my writing – “non-creative” and “creative”.

So –I post a variety of my writings on my Blog.

Yes – my writing comprises a multiplicity of genres.

But – I love writing fiction short stories the most.

Surprisingly – going strictly by numbers – the readers of my blog prefer my “non-creative” writing – which seems to be more popular that my “creative” fiction short stories.

But – that does not matter.

I enjoy writing stories.

Here is one my earliest stories – written by me more than 21 years ago – in the early 1990’s – many years before the advent of internet and blogging in my life – when typewriters were in vogue – and when magazines were the only medium for creative writers to showcase their writing to the world.

THE WOMAN WITH RESTLESS EYES AND ENTICING PERFUME

Encounter at Lal Tibba Fiction Short Story By VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Sometime in the early 1990’s I visited Mussoorie.

I stayed at Landour – near Lal Tibba Peak.

Every morning I would go for a long walk in the pristine surroundings to refresh my lungs with pure cool air and savour the breathtaking view of sunrise over the snow white Himalayan Mountains.

The place inspired me so much that I wrote a few stories set in Mussoorie – Landour – in particular.

Here is one of my “Mussoorie Stories” – a “thriller” – which was liked by many readers way back then more than 21 years ago – in the 1990’s.

I have abridged and revised the story to make it suitable for online reading as Blog Fiction – and I have given it a new title too.

Do tell me what you think of this rather old style “Thriller” …

THE WOMAN WITH RESTLESS EYES AND ENTICING PERFUME

(a “Thriller” by Vikram Karve)

“Excuse me, Sir,” said a feminine voice, “Do you have change for twenty rupees? Even two ten rupee notes will do.”

I put down the bunch of grapes which I was examining – and I looked up at a rather suburban looking woman.

She proffered a crisp twenty rupee note – folded into half at the centre – the reverse side of the watermark turned upwards – and she held it in such a way that I could not fail to notice something written on the watermark in neat capital letters in blue ink.

I understood at once.

An active dead letter drop – vintage David Mackenzie style – used only in emergencies.

“I’ll check,” I said, pulling out my wallet from my hip pocket.

I extracted two ten rupee notes – and I gave them to her – taking her twenty rupee note – and putting it into my wallet.

I did not make any purchases – but I rushed a straight home – walking the fastest mile of my life.

I reproduce below the exact words written on the twenty rupee note:

 D E W D O L O E 

I dusted out my code-book – and I deciphered the coded message:   

               LAL TIBBA

            So that was what David Mackenzie had sent me.

It was vintage David Mackenzie.

Tell a guy only the place of the rendezvous.

Never mention the time.

It was too risky.

Now all I had to do was to reach Mussoorie by the fastest available means – and then trek up Landour to the peak of Lal Tibba – also known as Landour Peak – the highest point in Mussoorie.

I had to just go there and wait for David Mackenzie to find me.

We both knew the area around Lal Tibba quite well.

We had many a rendezvous there – we had even used Lal Tibba as a dead letter drop – on rare occasions.

But that was more than ten years ago.

Since then – I had retired – and I had broken all contact with David.

I wondered why he had summoned me all of a sudden after ten long years of silence.

What was the assignment…?

And why Mussoorie of all places – when there were so many secure and convenient rendezvous in and around Pune…!

I picked up the telephone, dialled my travel agent and booked myself on the next flight to Delhi.

Beyond Delhi – I would have to make on-the-spot decisions – and improvise to shake off a tail – if I grew any.

Of course – I had torn up the twenty rupee note that had brought me the coded message – and burnt the small pieces.

But – I wondered who the woman was.

Maybe she was just a housewife.

David Mackenzie has a vast network of contacts – agents, runners, watchers, sleepers.

I was certain that I would never see the woman again.

Though the whole thing had happened so fast – there were two things about the woman which made a distinct impression on me.

Her eyes were the restless eyes of a woman with a great thirst for life.

And – from her body – emanated the lingering fragrance of her enticing perfume – a tantalizing fragrance…!

I reached Delhi airport – and I took the airport bus to Connaught Place (CP).

Then – I walked around CP a bit – ostensibly window-shopping – ate a pizza at a fast-food joint – and – once I was convinced that I was not being followed – I took a taxi to Old Delhi railway station.

It was almost 9.30 at night by the time I purchased a second class unreserved ticket to Dehradun – and walked onto the platform clutching my small briefcase.

And – out of the blue – I ran bang into Manisha Rawat.

David Mackenzie had always insisted that a man and a woman would be far less conspicuous than a single man or a pair of men.

So I always teamed up with Manisha Rawat when we went on a surveillance mission, stalking, tailing, shadowing, or just plain watching.

She worked as a stenographer in our office – and like most girls from the hills – she was extremely attractive – and she had a flawless complexion and carried herself very well.

Then – one fine day – she got married – and resigned from her job.

I did not maintain contact with her after that – for obvious reasons.

I was wondering how to avoid her – when Manisha Rawat called out me: “What a surprise, Ravi. But what on earth are you doing here?”

“I am heading for Mussoorie,” I said.

“A/C sleeper?”

“No. I bought a second class unreserved ticket. I haven’t got reservation.”

“No problem,” Manisha said. “We have got two berths. My son and I. He is sitting inside. We’ll adjust. You can upgrade your ticket in the train.”

In normal circumstances, I should have refused her offer, but I could see that Manisha was so genuinely happy to meet me and was yearning to talk to me that I could not do anything else but agree and I joined Manisha and her ten year old son in the compartment.

“I won’t ask you why you are going to Mussoorie,” Manisha said.

“But I’ll ask you,” I replied tongue-in-check.

“I’m going to Dehradun,” she said.

“Dehradun?”

“We have settled down in Dehradun. My husband and I – both of us work in Dehradun now. He’s an Engineer – and – by the way – I’m an HR Manager now.”

Manisha opened her purse – she pulled out a visiting card – and she gave it to me.

“So you are Manisha Joshi now,” I said looking at the visiting card, “I am looking forward to meeting your husband, the lucky Mr. Joshi.”

In my mind’s eye – I was visualizing how I could avoid meeting Manisha’s husband.

I was tempted to tell Manisha everything – to get it off my chest – but I stopped myself.

Life has taught me to leave dangerous things unsaid.

So I asked her, “Your husband must be coming to the station to pick you up tomorrow morning?”

“No,” she said. “He has gone abroad for some work. That’s why we had come to Delhi see him off. He left yesterday. But that doesn’t matter. You must come over to my place in Dehradun. It’s on Rajpur road – on the way to Mussoorie. The address, phone number – everything is on the card.”

As I put Manisha’s visiting card in my wallet – I knew that visiting her was out of the question – at least this time.

Manisha probably realized it too – I noticed she had not asked me anything about myself.

She had given me her visiting card – and she had left the ball in my court.

The Mussoorie Express reached the destination – Dehradun – precisely at 7:20 next morning.

I engaged a tourist taxi for my onward journey to Mussoorie.

Enroute – I dropped Manisha Joshi and her son at their house on Rajpur road.

The road to Mussoorie – coiling like a snake – was surrounded by dense vegetation – and as we made our way up – I noticed patches of snow – like lather – which became denser as we neared Mussoorie.

It was off-season – quite cold – and getting a room at the Savoy wouldn’t be a problem.

When I reached the hotel – I was shocked to find that a room had already been booked in my name.

Something was wrong – terribly wrong.

I could not believe that David Mackenzie would commit such a grave lapse.

I tried to smoothen my startled look into a grin – and I quietly checked in – trying not to arouse any suspicions.

All sorts of confusing thoughts crowded my brain.

The coded message – the woman with the restless eyes and fragrant enticing perfume at the fruit stall in Pune – and most of all – Manisha appearing as if from nowhere after fifteen long years – and very conveniently offering me a berth on the train.

And now – I find that someone has booked a room in my name at the Savoy.

Coincidence – Red Herrings – or an invisible hand gently guiding me into a trap…?

Complete anonymity was my best weapon I had always relied upon.

But now it was useless.

Invisible eyes seemed to be following me everywhere.

There was only one thing to do now – I had to quickly contact David Mackenzie and ask him what the hell was going on…?

I went down to the reception and asked the girl at the counter, “Please can you tell me who made my hotel reservation?”

“Just a moment, sir,” she said – and she began consulting a register.

I waited as she looked at the register.

“It’s here…” the receptionist said – giving me a curious look, “A travel agency. Hill Travels. They rang up from Dehradun this morning at 8:30.”

Dehradun…?

Manisha…? Had she made the hotel reservation for me…?

How could she be so naïve…?

Or was she…?

Had David told her to make the reservation…?

Was she still working for him…?

I would have to find out for myself.

But first – the rendezvous with David Mackenzie at Lal Tibba.

After lunch I walked down the Mall – posing as a tourist – seemingly clicking photographs with my camera.

But my camera was in fact a LASER-DAZZLER – or Dazer – which could dazzle – flash blind – the victim by means of laser beam.

Nobody even gave a second look to an inoffensive-appearing, meek-looking man like me – which was really to my advantage.

There was a chill in the air now – and I knew it would get bitterly cold – so I bought a trench-coat from a Tibetan roadside stall at Landour Bazaar – and then I turned left – and I began climbing up the path towards Lal Tibba.

At the Char-Dukan junction – I did not take the normal route to Lal Tibba – but instinctively turned right – in a last-ditch attempt to spot any tail – and I began negotiating the steep and longer route – skirting and traversing the undulating mountainous slopes.

It was this instinctive decision that probably saved my life – for when it suddenly started snowing – I took refuge under the porch of the entrance to a cemetery.

Gradually it stopped snowing and all of sudden rays of evening sunlight filtered through the gaps in the Deodar trees.

Indeed – the weather in Mussoorie was as unpredictable as the stock market.

As I was about to leave – I heard the bark of a dog.

I turned in that direction.

A Bhutiya dog was sitting about fifteen feet away from me.

It was a friendly breed.

I smiled at the dog.

And then I froze – and my blood ran cold – because – next to the dog was a tombstone – illuminated by a ray of sunlight.

On the tombstone was engraved in large bold letters:

DAVID W. MACKENZIE

            BORN 24 MAY 1935

            DIED 15 JANUARY 2010 

As I recovered from the shock – I felt sad – my mentor David Mackenzie was dead.

But then I wondered – if David Mackenzie was dead – who had summoned me to Lal Tibba…?

Something was wrong – terribly wrong.

I knew I had to be careful – very careful.

Fully alert – I walked slowly to Lal Tibba.

I stood motionless on the Lal Tibba peak which jutted out like a bird’s beak – holding the railing in front of me – below which there was a sheer drop of over thousand feet into dense jungle.

The cold hung like a cloak of ice around my shivering shoulders.

I breathed in slowly – mouth and nose together.

The air was so pure, so pristine – that I sensed her arrival at once.

A whiff of that familiar enticing fragrance – no doubt about it…!

She came close and stood behind me.

There was no need for me to turn around and look – I knew that she was the same woman at the fruit stall in Pune – the woman with the restless eyes and enticing perfume.

“Why did you kill David Mackenzie…?” I asked softly.

I did not turn around – but I could feel the waft of her warm breath on the nape of my neck.

Suddenly – at the same spot on my neck – I felt a needle.

With cobra speed I ducked – and I rammed against her with my shoulders.

Then I turned around – I pointed my Dazer camera in her direction – and – I pressed the button.

Despite the weather – the laser beam was quite effective at that short range – and soon she began screaming.

The manner in which her silhouette was moving it was evident that she was totally dazed.

“Don’t kill me,” she shrieked in anguish, “David was going to die anyway. He had terminal cancer. I just put him to sleep to spare him the agony.”

Her hands cupped her eyes – and she seemed blinded.

I look two quick steps – and I pushed her towards the railing.

Her hands – which were earlier cupping her eyes – now desperately gripped the railing.

As I walked away from Lal Tibba – I could hear her trailing voice, “Don’t leave me here. I am blinded. I can’t see anything. Please don’t go…”

I stopped in my tracks.

In this profession – one operated on the basis of the 11th Commandment –“Thou shalt not get caught”.

I closed my eyes with my palms for about half a minute – and when I opened them again – I could see better in the dark.

I carefully scanned the footprints in the snow, where or scuffle had taken place.

After a bit of searching – I found what I wanted.

The syringe was intact – resting in the snow.

I slowly and furtively picked up the syringe – and I concealed it in my hands.

I looked at the woman.

She was standing still, gripping the railing.

It was evident that she was still blinded – and she could not see anything.

“Give me the syringe,” I shouted at her.

“I dropped it,” she said.

“I don’t believe you,” I said.

“No. I swear I don’t have it,” she said desperately, “Search me if you want.”

“Okay. But tell me first. What was in the syringe…?” I said.

“Ketamine…” she said

I smiled to myself.

‘Ketamine’ – an anesthetic with hallucinatory emergence reaction.

“Take off your coat. You may have hidden the syringe inside your coat. I want to check it,” I commanded.

As she started to take off her coat – I moved fast.

With my left hand – I pushed up the sleeve of her pullover – and with my right hand – I jabbed the needle of the syringe into her wrist – and injected the entire contents of the syringe into her body.

At first she struggled – but soon – she gave up – and in a few moments she slid down on the snow – her body became limp as the Ketamine took effect.

I lifted her body – struggling – and using all my strength – I rolled it over the railing – and I watched her body vanish into dark nothingness.

Miraculously – the Dazer was still intact around my neck.

I was tempted to throw it away.

But no – a tocsin sounded in my brain.

I may indeed need the Dazer yet.

David Mackenzie was dead – I had taken care of the woman with the restless eyes – but there was still the question of Manisha.

I had to be sure – dead sure.

It had started snowing again – and it was with great difficulty that I made my way down the slopes of Lal Tibba – and then walked down from Landour – in the enveloping darkness – towards the bus-stand at Picture Palace.

When I rang the doorbell of Manisha’s house it was dark.

I had not gone back to the Savoy hotel in Mussoorie, but I had caught the first bus to Dehradun from the Picture Palace bus-stand near Landour Bazaar.

Though I could read the surprise in Manisha’s eyes at my disheveled state – she did not say a word.

She just made me sit down – and she gave me a cup of tea.

So – I played it straight.

I told her everything – the whole story – exactly as it happened.

And – observing her eyes – her body language closely – I knew Manisha was innocent.

“Ravi – it is high time you broke off with the looking-glass world,” she said tenderly.

Manisha was right.

David Mackenzie was dead.

My link was to the wilderness of mirrors was broken.

Now – it was entirely up to me.

“Sleep here for the night – and we’ll go and collect your baggage from the Savoy later in the morning,” Manisha said.

We reached the hotel at noon to find a police officer waiting to interrogate me.

“Where were you since yesterday afternoon, sir…?” he asked, “The hotel staff has reported you missing. You have been out of the hotel for almost 24 hours. We were about send a search party.”

“He was with me – in Dehradun,” Manisha answered.

“Full night…?” the Police Officer asked.

“Yes – he was with me in my house for the full night” Manisha said.

Manisha and she opened her purse and gave the Police Officer her visiting card.

“Oh – you are an HR Manager – Thank You Madam,” the Police Officer said.

The Police Officer gave me a conspiratorial look and he advised me, “Sir – in future, better to inform the hotel staff and avoid panic.”

And then – the cop walked away – smiling to himself.

I cannot begin to describe the emotion I felt towards Manisha at that moment.

But – before I could say anything – she held my arm – and she said, “It’s okay, Ravi. For old times’ sake. But remember what I said. There’s no point living a lie – a double-life – it’s not worth it.”

EPILOGUE 

The reason why the woman with the restless eyes and enticing perfume wanted to murder me became clear only a few days later.

When I reached Pune – I found a letter asking me to contact Mehta and Co., Solicitors, at Mumbai.

The letter said that the matter was urgent – so I rushed to Mumbai the next morning.

“It’s good you came, Mr. Ravi,” Mr. Mehta said. “We are the executors of the late Mr.David Mackenzie’s will. He has left you everything he had – except his bungalow – ‘The Anchorage’ – at Lal Tibba in Mussoorie.”

“Who gets the ‘Anchorage’ Bungalow?” I asked.

“Susan Morris,” he said looking at his papers, “In fact, she was the one who came here on the 2nd of February – and she personally handed over the death certificate of David Mackenzie.”

So the woman with the restless eyes and enticing perfume was called Susan Morris.

I looked at the wall-calendar.

2nd February was Friday.

3rd was Saturday – the day Susan Morris handed me the coded message in Pune.

And – on the 4th – a Sunday – I was on the flight – on my way to Mussoorie…

Everything was falling into place.

“Who gets my share in case of my death…?” I asked.

“Susan Morris. In case of the unforeseen contingency of your death – Susan Morris gets your share. And – of course – you are the alternate nominee for the Anchorage Bungalow – in case of the unforeseen death of Susan Morris – but then – she is very much alive – I told you that Susan Morris was here on the 2nd of February…” he said.

“Yes, of course,” I said.

“Shall we complete the formalities,” he said.

“Yes,” I said.

After the paperwork was over – Mr. Mehta paused – and he said, “Thank you for coming. Now – as far as you are concerned – all formalities are over from your side and we will do the needful. We had asked Susan Morris to come over after a week – but she hasn’t contacted us yet. Do you know who she was to David Mackenzie…?”

“No. I don’t know any Susan Morris. I have never heard of her,” I answered, “David Mackenzie was a bachelor – and bachelors do get very lonely sometimes, don’t they…?”

Mehta smiled – and he said, “We were hoping she turns up fast – so we can settle everything. Anyway – we will wait for her.”

“I don’t think you will have to wait for long. I am sure Susan Morris will turn up quickly to complete her formalities,” I said nonchalantly.

I stood up – I shook Mehta’s hand – I turned around – and I walked away.

Then – I quickly lost myself in the crowd on the street.

In a week or two – I will be back here in Mumbai – to collect my cheque – my share of David’s legacy.

And sometime later – maybe after a few months – or maybe after a few years – when things settle down – and – if I am in the mood – I will surely visit Mussoorie – and climb all the way up to Lal Tibba at Landour Peak – to meet the ghost of Susan Morris…!

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)

This is a revised version of my Thriller Story written by me Vikram Karve in the 1990’s and First Posted Online by me Vikram Karve in the year 2006 in my creative writing blog at url: http://creative.sulekha.com/thriller_29930_blog and  https://vikramwkarve.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/lal-tibba/ and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/01/encounter-at-lal-tibba.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/10/fiction-thriller-encounter-in-mussoorie.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/01/encounter-at-lal-tibba.html etc

Book Review – The Peter Principle and The Peter Prescription

July 7, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: How to Make Things Go Right – The Peter Prescription – Book Review

Why Things Always Go Wrong

THE PETER PRINCIPLE 

Book Review By VIKRAM KARVE 

The Book: The Peter Principle Authors: Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull Published: 1969 William Morrow

I think there is a Chinese saying:

It is a misfortune to read a good book too early in life. 

I think I read ‘The Peter Principle’ too early in life.

At that point of time – I was of an impressionable age – and – the book influenced me so much – that I “rose” to my level of incompetence pretty fast – either unintentionally – or by subconscious design.

I read ‘The Peter Principle’ in the early 1970s – maybe sometime in 1972 – when I was studying for my B. Tech. degree in Engineering.

I even bought a personal copy of the book in 1974 (which I possess till this day) – and – considering my financial status as a student those days –buying a personal copy of ‘The Peter Principle’ – a book I had already read many times – was quite remarkable.

The book – written by Laurence J. Peter – in collaboration with Raymond Hull – is a management classic and masterpiece in the study of hierarchiology.

It is so fascinating, riveting and hilarious – that – once you start reading the book – it’s unputdownable.

In the first chapter itself – giving illustrative examples – the author establishes the Peter Principle:

In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence

and – its corollary:

In time – every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent

Dr. Peter writes in racy fictional style – and as you read – you experience a sense of verisimilitude – and in your mind’s eye can see the Peter Principle operating in your very own organization.

That’s the way to savor the book and to truly understand and imbibe the spirit of The Peter Principle – read an illustrative “case study” in the book – and relate it to a parallel example in your organization.

The author discusses cases which appear to be exceptions like percussive sublimation, lateral arabesque etc and demonstrates that the apparent exceptions are not exceptions.

The Peter Principle applies to all hierarchies.

Discussing the comparative merits and demerits of applying ‘Pull’ versus ‘Push’ for getting promotion – Dr. Peter concludes:

Never Stand when you can Sit – Never Walk when you can Ride – Never Push when you can Pull.

He then tells us how to recognize that one has reached one’s state of incompetence (final placement syndrome) – and – should one have already risen to one’s state of incompetence – he suggests ways of attaining health and happiness in this state at zero promotion quotient.

Towards the end of his book he illustrates how to avoid reaching the state of incompetence by practicing various techniques of Creative Incompetence.

I probably practiced Creative Incompetence quite competently – and hopefully – I am still at my level of competence…!!!

In conclusion Dr. Peter tries to briefly explore remedies to avoiding life-incompetence which he has elaborated in his follow up book ‘The Peter Prescription’ which is a must-read once you are hooked onto The Peter Principle.

The Peter Principle is a compelling book – written 47 years ago in 1969.

Today – with the flattening of hierarchy – and the advent of flexible organizational structures and HR practices – it would indeed be worthwhile for young and budding managers to read this book and to see to what extent the Peter Principle applies and is relevant in today’s world.

Dear Reader: Do read The Peter Principle.

Then look around you in your workplace.

Do you see the Peter Principle in operation…?

And next – you must read THE PETER PRESCRIPTION

I have posted the book review of ‘The Peter Prescription’ below.

HOW TO MAKE THINGS GO RIGHT 

Prescriptions on How To Be Creative Confident and Competent 

THE PETER PRESCRIPTION

Book Review By VIKRAM KARVE 

Title: The Peter Prescription  Author: Dr. Laurence J. Peter  Published: 1972 (William Morrow)

A Blissful Retired Life gives me the golden opportunity to dust off my favourite books from my bookshelves – sit in the warm morning sun and re-read these lovely books sipping a hot cup of refreshing tea to warm my insides and stimulate my brain.

I have realized that re-reading good books gives me even greater pleasure.

So that’s what I am going to do for the next few days – browse my bookshelves – re-read some of my favourite books – and tell you about them.

During my college days – in the 1970’s – when I was studying for my B. Tech. degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering – I read three non-fiction and non-technical books which had a lasting impact on me.

The first was Parkinson’s Law (written in 1958) by Cyril Northcote Parkinson based on the author’s study of the British Civil Service and the Admiralty.

The other two books were written by Dr. Laurence J. Peter – The Peter Principle (1969) and The Peter Prescription (1972).

These 3 Management Classics greatly influenced my way of looking at life in general and Human Resource (HR) Management issues in particular – sometimes with a sense of humor – and I feel that these three books are a must for the bookshelves of every Manager.

Written with incisive wit – Parkinson’s Law is a seminal book on the workings of bureaucracy which is essential reading for any student of Management.

It is consummate management classic – a masterpiece – which is a “must read” for every manager and management student.

The Peter Principle – a delightful read – provides a superb insight and intriguing study of hierarchiology.

Let me state in brief the Peter Principle:

In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence

and its corollary:

In time – every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent

If The Peter Principle is Dr. Peter’s seminal pioneering work – then The Peter Prescription is his definitive book – a wonderful all-time management classic.

If you have not read ‘The Peter Principle’ – do read my review of the book – the previous post in my blog (url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/why-things-always-go-wrong-peter.html )

Understanding ‘The Peter Principle’ is sine qua non – essential prerequisite reading – before you embark upon ‘The Peter Prescription’.

Whereas both Parkinson’s Law and The Peter Principle formulate and substantiate their respective theories – The Peter Prescription is a philosophical self-help treatise on how to achieve happiness in all aspects of life.

Written in his unique hilarious inimitable style – Dr. Peter exhorts us to be creative, confident and competent – by replacing mindless escalation with life-quality improvement.

The message of the book is in congruence with Eastern (Oriental) Philosophies – which focus on inward enhancement – rather than – outward escalation.

In his introduction Dr. Peter states:

“Many authors offer answers before they understand the questions…….. I understand the operation of the Peter Principle, and the remedies offered are the product of years of research……… prescriptions will lead to great personal fulfillment and joy of real accomplishment.”

The book – interspersed liberally with quotations and case studies – comprises three parts.

The first part – titled Incompetence Treadmill – explores why conventional solutions not only fail to alleviate the effects of the Peter Principle but explains why these conventional techniques may actually serve to escalate the problems.

His analysis of ‘marital incompetence’ is hilarious.  
“A bachelor is a man who looks before he leaps – and then does not leap…” Dr. Peter concludes.

With the flattening of hierarchies – I wonder whether – in today’s world – there still exist any Professional Processionary Puppets – the “organization-men”.

It would be worthwhile to look dispassionately – from a distance – into your own organization for similarities to prototypes adorning bureaucracies of yesteryear – in order to ascertain whether your own organisation is a modern state-of-the-art progressive one – or whether your organisation is a rigid hierarchy bound archaic organization heading for decay.

The meat of the book is in Part Two – titled ‘Protect your Competence’ – which elucidate a total of 25 “prescriptions” on how to remain creative and competent throughout your working and personal life.

There are two things to aim at in life: 

First – to get what you want

Second – after you get what you want – to enjoy it

The prescriptions – which are condensed wisdom of the ages – from ancient to modern – guide us on how to achieve this cardinal aim of life.

“The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness…” Dr. Peter quotes with elan in this delightful book.

Competence is a system-governed factor

Your competence is as viewed by your bosses.

Like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder – your competence lies in the eyes of your boss… 

And thus – the yardsticks of competence are governed by the HR policies in your organization.

Why is everyone around you so competitive…?

Do the HR policies in your organization encourage competition, rat-race and reward escalationary behaviour – and if so – what can you do about it…?

Maybe you can find some answers by exploring the prescriptions.

Let’s have a look at Peter Prescription 3 – The Peter Panorama – which I have used to great effect.

This comprises listing your satisfying activities, joyful experiences, pleasant reminiscences – and after introspection – making a second list of those which are feasible to do regularly – and then make sure you do these satisfying activities whenever feasible.

Enjoyable events begin to crowd out the unpleasant – and – you feel happy.

And – in the extreme – there are prescriptions like utter irrelevance– hilariously effective.

Do read – experiment – and try to imbibe the prescriptions in your professional and personal life, and experience the results for yourself.

Introspect – evolve a philosophy of life – fine tune the art of living – concentrate your efforts within your area of competence – and have an improved quality of life consisting of abiding competence and contentment.

If you cannot be happy here and now  you can never be happy.

Part Three of the book is written from the management perspective – giving 42 “prescriptions” to Managers to contain and mitigate the effects of “The Peter Principle” in their domains and manage for competence.

It views The Peter Principle from the viewpoint of a Human Resource Manager – and assuming the manager himself is not a victim of the Peter Principle and reached his or her level of incompetence – it offers valuable tips in the HR Management – particularly recruitment, promotion and selection.

Obviously – outsourcing wasn’t that prevalent way back then in the 1960’s and 1970’s – otherwise organizations may even have ‘outsourced’ incompetence.

Isn’t it a brilliant idea to outsource incompetence…?

Maybe some are doing it already…!

The Defence Services outsource incompetence by sending passed over officers on deputation to other agencies.

As stated in the introduction – the purpose of The Peter Prescription is to help you explore how you yourself can mitigate the effects of The Peter Principle by avoiding the final placement syndrome – and – as a manager – it tells you how to keep your employees at their appropriate competence levels so that they remain happy and productive – and help achieve mutual optimal benefit.

Dear Reader: First read and understand The Peter Principle

Then – to your own life – apply The Peter Prescription – and experience genuine personal fulfillment and joy of real accomplishment.

Reading these two Books (The Peter Principle and The Peter Prescription) will enhance your plane of living.

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. 

This is an updated version of my book review of THE PETER PRESCRIPTION written more than 30 years ago in 1986 and various versions posted online earlier at urls:http://creative.sulekha.com/book-review-the-peter-prescription-the-peter-principle-by-vikram-karve_169356_blog and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/07/how-to-remain-creative-and-competent.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/02/peter-prescription-book-review.html  etc

Links to My Original Post in My Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog -> http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/why-things-always-go-wrong-peter.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/how-to-make-things-go-right-peter.html

Fiction Short Story – THE VILLAIN

July 7, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: The Villain – Short Story

THE “VILLAIN”  

Fiction Short Story By VIKRAM KARVE

“When did this tea stall open…?” the boys asked me.

“I have just opened today morning – you are my first customers…” I said.

“That’s good – we can have a cup of tea before we catch the morning train to go to college…” one of the boys said – there were 5 boys in all.

“Will you all like to have tea…?” I asked.

“Yes – and – have you got cigarettes…?”

“Yes…”

“Give us a cup of tea and a cigarette each…”

The 5 college students drank their tea and smoked their cigarettes.

An attendant came out of the Station Master’s Office and sounded the Bell.

“The train is coming – let’s go…” one of the boys said.

They gave me their tea glasses and they started to walk away.

“50 Rupees…” I said.

“What 50 Rupees…?” one of the boys asked.

“25 for the 5 Teas – and 25 for the 5 Cigarettes…” I said.

“You are new here – aren’t you…?” one of the boys asked me.

“Yes…” I said.

“Do you know who he is…?” the boy said pointing towards another boy who seemed to be the leader of the group.

“No…” I said.

“He is Durjan Singh’s son – and – we are his friends. Do you understand…?

“Yes…” I said.

My Uncle had told me about Durjan Singh – the local “Dada” – the “Big Dad” – the uncrowned “King” of this place.

In fact – it was with Durjan Singh’s “Blessings” that my Uncle (the Station Master) had managed to let me open my Tea Stall at the Railway Station.

It could hardly be called a “Tea Stall” – it was actually just a “Cart” – with a stove, a few pots, a flask, a tray with glasses, and a box for cigarette packets.

As far as the “Railway Station” was concerned – this was the smallest Railway Station I had seen – it was more of a “halt” – just one solitary platform – and – except the slow passenger trains to the junction nearby – hardly any train stopped here.

The train arrived.

The college students got in.

Three men got out.

They looked at me – they looked at the Tea Stall – and they walked towards me.

“I haven’t seen you here before…?” one of the men said.

“I have just opened today…” I said.

“That’s good – give us some tea…” the man said.

I said to him: “Yes Sir – do you want cigarettes…?”

“You have cigarettes too…?”

“Yes…”

“Okay give us 3 cups of tea and two cigarettes – he doesn’t smoke…” the man said, pointing towards one of the three men.

The three men drank their tea – and two of them smoked their cigarettes.

They kept their glasses on the cart.

“25 Rupees, Sir…” I said to the man who had ordered the tea.

“25 Rupees…?”

“Sir – 15 Rupees for the 3 Teas – and 10 Rupees for the 2 Cigarettes…” I said.

“How dare you ask for money…? Do you know who we are…?” the man said menacingly.

“No, Sir…” I said, feeling scared at the man’s tone.

“Have you heard of Durjan Singh…?” he asked – pointing his finger threateningly at me.

“Yes, Sir…” I said, trembling inside.

“We are his men. We work for Durjan Singh. Do you understand…?” the man said to me.

“Yes, Sir…” I said.

The three men walked away.

So – they were gangsters – belonging to the “Durjan Singh Gang”.

My uncle had told me that Durjan Singh was the local “Dada” – but I didn’t know that he was such a big Gangster.

What a name – “Durjan” – it meant “Rogue” – a “bad character” – an Evil Scoundrel – a “Villain”…

How could parents name their child “Durjan” – unless it was a family of ancestral gangsters…?

This “Durjan Singh” – he must be a really terrible fellow – and – everyone seemed to be working for him – everyone seemed to be a gangster in this horrific place…

I made up my mind to get out of this horrible place at the first opportunity.

I started to wind up my cart.

My uncle had told me to wait till the morning ‘Passenger’ Train which came at 9:30 – but there was no point – since – even if there was some “customers” wanting tea and cigarettes – no one was going to pay any money – since – everyone out here was related in some way or the other to that all-powerful evil gangster “Durjan Singh”…

While I was washing up – I saw a man dressed in a Safari Suit walking towards me.

He looked like a gentleman.

He seemed to be out of place in this horrid uncivilized place – he was probably a visitor from the town.

“Can I have a cup of tea…?” he asked politely.

“Yes, Sir…” I said, “Will you like a cigarette with your tea…?”

“No – I don’t smoke…” he said, “I’ll just have tea…”

I poured tea into a glass from my flask – and – I gave the glass to the man.

“Thank you…” he said with a smile.

He sipped his tea.

I gathered my things.

He asked me: “You seem to be closing down…?”

“Yes, Sir…” I said.

“It’s only 9 o’clock – why don’t you wait for the 9:30 Passenger Train – you will get plenty of customers – as many people take that train to go to work in town…” the man said.

“Sir – what’s the point of having more customers – in fact – the more customers I have – the more loss I will make…” I said.

“Really…? Why do you say that…? How can more customers mean more loss…?” the man asked me.

“Sir – it seems that no one pays over here – right since morning I have had many customers – but not a single customer paid for the tea and cigarettes – they all want it free…”

“That’s funny…”

“Sir – there is a “Big Dad” called “Durjan Singh” out here – and everyone seems to be related to him – so they don’t pay – first his son and his friends came – then – his men came – all freeloaders – when I asked them for money – they threatened me with his name…”

The man looked at me and said: “Is that so…? Anyway – I am going to pay. How much for the tea…?”

“Five Rupees, Sir…” I said.

He kept the glass on the cart.

Then he took out his wallet from his breast pocket and extracted a hundred rupee note.

He held out the 100 Rupee Note towards me.

“Sir – I don’t have change. I told you, Sir – no one has paid me since morning…” I said.

“Open my account – I will be having tea here every morning…” he said – and he gave me the 100 Rupee Note.

I took the 100 rupee note from him – and – I said: “Sir…?”

“Yes…?”

“Sir – may I know your good name…?”

“Durjan Singh. My name is Durjan Singh…” the man said.

He smiled at me – and – he walked away.

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 this story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved) 

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/the-villain-short-story.html

 

Induction Training Made Simple 

July 3, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Induction Training – A “Soft” Values Based Approach

I believe in the philosophy:

In whatever you do – Try to be the “Best” 

If you cannot be the Best – Try to be “Different”

During the multifarious jobs I performed in the Navy – I may not have been the “Best” – but – I certainly was “Different”

Anyone who has worked with me will substantiate this – that I was “Different” – and that I had a unique style of working.

I never tried to “conform” to the stereotype – I prefered to be a “nonconformist” and I did things in my own way.

This was true in my Training and Teaching Assignments too – I may not have been the best Professor – but my students still remember me for my maverick style of teaching.

That is why when I was tasked with conducting Induction Training of Newly Recruited Scientists – I junked the earlier stereotyped “hard” managerial approach and adopted a “soft” “Values Based Approach” to Induction Training.

The fact that even after so many years – my Trainees still remember me, my training style and the induction training I conducted – all this bears testimony to the effectiveness of “Values Based Induction Training”.

I want to tell you about it.

So – let me delve into my academic and managerial writing archives – and pull out this article on INDUCTION TRAINING based on my own experience – I wrote this article 8 years ago – in the year 2008.

This article is based on my own experiences which I implemented when I conducted induction training and which were highly appreciated by the induction trainees.

Link to my original article in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal -> http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/07/induction-training-soft-values-based.html

HOW TO CONDUCT INDUCTION TRAINING

A Values Based Approach By VIKRAM KARVE

Induction Training
I have participated in, designed and conducted all types of training programmes – formal, informal, programmed instruction, cognitive, affective, simulation, tailor-made, on-the-job (OJT) – even peripatetic training – but the one type of training that I found most rewarding and satisfying was Induction Training.

My induction trainees feel the same way.

So here are some of my thoughts on the Art of Induction Training.

EMPTY YOUR “CUP”
The first thing I tell a fresh batch of induction trainees is this famous Zen Story – EMPTY YOUR CUP
The Japanese Zen Master Nan-in once gave audience to a professor of philosophy who wanted to know about Zen.

Serving tea – Nan-in filled the Professor’s cup – and kept on pouring the tea into the cup even when it was full.

The Professor watched the overflow until he could restrain himself no longer: “Stop! The cup is over full – no more tea will go in.”

Nan-in said to the Professor: “Like this cup – you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

The Aim of Induction Training is to facilitate:

Seamless Integration of newly inducted employees into an organization by achieving harmony and a sense of alignment between individual personal values and organizational values.
Good induction training will make it easy for the new employee to easily and seamlessly blend into the corporate culture of the organization, and also for the organization to smoothly absorb the new employee within its fold.
 

FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS OF INDUCTION TRAINING

Are you a dog lover?

Do you have a pet dog?

Have you ever trained dogs?

If your answer is YES – then I am sure you know key to Induction Training…!

Just as you welcome a new dog into your home, help him adapt, acclimatize, socialize, feel comfortable, settle in and integrate into your family, in the same way, induction training comprises acclimatizing new employees into the organization with the objective of integrating individuals into an effective whole.

While a puppy dog usually settles in very quickly and adapts to the new environment quite easily – an adult dog often takes longer to acclimatize and may experience adjustment problems.

Similarly there is a difference between the attitudes of “freshers” recruited directly from college campuses and lateral inductees at senior levels who already have work experience in other organizations and may have to “unlearn” some of their earlier ways before learning the new.

Both categories – the freshers and the experienced – they must “empty their cups”.

The freshers must realize that they are no longer students – and those with work experience must try and unfreeze some of their attitudes formed in earlier organizations.

There are two facets to training dogs:

  1. Obedience Training
  1. Behavioural Training

Obedience Training pertains to logical “left half” of the brain

Behavioral Training relates to the intuitive “right half” of the brain.

Similarly – induction training too has two aspects: 

  1. The “hard” left-brain domain specific training with the objective of identifying and eliminating knowledge and skill gaps by inculcating in the trainee the required domain specific knowledge and specialized skill sets and proficiencies to make good gaps in domain knowledge and cover up specialized skill deficiencies in order to bridge the knowledge, skill and performance gaps to enable the inductee to fit into his role and efficiently perform his designated tasks in the organization,  and
  2. The “soft” right-brain value based training to facilitate seamless integration of newly inducted employees into an organization by achieving harmony and a sense of alignment between individual values and organizational values by reducing value mismatches and encouraging value congruence.

To put it succinctly – the aim of induction training is to add value to the trainee in order to enable the trainee to add value to the organization. 

As regards the “hard” part of induction training is concerned – it can be designed using structured training design methodology incorporating the needs analysis, requirements formulation approach – and implemented and evaluated systematically.

Like I drew the analogy with dog training – this “hard” aspect of induction training is akin to formal obedience training for dogs.

Now you will train the dog depending on the role you intend for the dog – guard dog, watch dog, guide dog, sniffer dog, detection dog, police dog, search and rescue dog, working dog, shepherd (livestock guardian) dog, family dog, companion, therapy dog, lap dog etc – and you can clearly assess the trainee and evaluate the efficacy of the training.  

This “hard” aspect of induction training may entail quantitative training evaluation metrics to assess and qualify the trainees and also get an idea of the efficacy of training and the trainers.

Of course – while training dogs – you must remember that no two dogs are the same – and there are breed-specific traits in dogs of different breeds and lineage, mixed breeds and mongrels.

It is here that the “soft” behavioural training comes into play.

The objective of the “soft” aspect of induction training is to facilitate seamless integration of newly inducted employees into an organization by achieving harmony and a sense of alignment between individual values and organizational values.

INDUCTION TRAINING PEDAGOGY

Learning comprises two pedagogic processes:

  1. Getting knowledge that is inside to move out
  1. Getting knowledge that is outside to move in.

Thus – the approach to induction training must be two pronged:

  1. Encourage and mentor the trainees to look inwards, introspect, ruminate and discover their own personal values (inside –> out)
  1. Clearly acquaint, apprise, educate, edify and enlightenthe trainees about organizational values(outside –> in) and try to inculcate organizational values in the new inductees.

This will enable the trainer and trainees to identify the degree of value congruence (harmony) and value dissonance (mismatches) between individual and organizational values and then by suitably employing techniques like Force Field Analysis or Soft Systems Methodology we can mutually achieve strengthening of value congruence whilst mitigating value dissonance thereby enabling harmonious induction of the new employee into the organization.

Thus, induction training will make it easy for the new employee to seamlessly blend into the corporate culture of the organization.

ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES and CORPORATE CULTURE

Organizational Values may be categorized into: 

  1. Stated Values
  1. Visible Values
  1. Invisible Values 

Stated Organizational Values can be ascertained by studying various documents, HR, Quality and Operating Procedures, service rules and regulations, vision and mission statements pertaining to the organization.

For example, Organizational Ethical Values will be enshrined in the Code of Conduct.

If the organization values punctuality there will exist laid down penalties for late-coming and absenteeism and, maybe, certain positive incentives for regularity in attendance and timely completion of work. What constitutes misconduct and proper workplace demeanour will be clearly stated where discipline is valued.

Visible Organizational Values are evident from visible manifestations like Dress Code (Formal, Informal, Functional, Uniform), Titles and Job Descriptions, Organizational Structure (Flat versus Hierarchical), Work Culture (traditional, line-staff, bureaucratic, functional, process, time-based, network, matrix, scientific temper, family), Salary, Perks and Compensation Structure, Workplace Environment (interpersonal relationships, feedback, grievance redressal mechanism and its implementation, gender sensitivity, encouraging environment for innovation, creativity and feedback, and a positive happy friendly workplace atmosphere).

Invisible Organizational Values can be sensed as “vibes” and can be derived from intangibles like morale, undercurrents, office politics, private conversations, an atmosphere of intrigue, secrecy and rumours, an air of complacency, attitudinal issues, or even positive manifestations like feel good factor”.

It is important for the induction trainee to explore all three manifestations of organizational values – Stated, Visible and Invisible Values – and discover congruences and mismatches.

For example, a Stated Organizational Value may be:

“People are our most important asset”

But Visible and Invisible indicators may reveal a different inference. Stated Organizational Values may not always match Visible and Invisible Organizational Values at the ground reality level.

INDIVIDUAL or PERSONAL VALUES

Individual or Personal Values comprise:

  1. Instrumental Values
  1. Terminal Values

Instrumental Values are core values, permanent in nature, comprise personal characteristics and character traits.

Instrumental Values refer to preferable modes of behaviour and include values like honesty, sincerity, ambition, independence, obedience, imaginativeness, courageousness, competitiveness, and also some negative traits too.

Instrumental Values are difficult to change.

Terminal Values are those things that we tend to work towards or we think are most important and we feel are most desirable – terminal values are desirable states of existence.  

Terminal Values include things like happiness, self respect, family security, recognition, freedom, inner harmony, comfortable life, professional excellence, etc.

Unlike Instrumental Values – which a permanent in nature – Terminal Values are amenable to change – and it is here that both the induction trainer and trainee must focus in order to derive optimal benefit for both the employee and the organization.

In a nutshell:

Terminal Values signify the objectives of the life of a person – they indicate his life goals and the ultimate things the person wants to achieve through his or her behavior (the destination he wants to reach in life).

On the other hand – Instrumental Values indicate the methods an individual would like to adopt for achieving his life’s aim (the path he would like to take to reach his destination).

VALUES BASED INDUCTION TRAINING

The aim of induction training is to create an alignment between personal values and organizational values.

As an induction trainer you cannot “set” organizational values – you can only help the trainees discover them.

Also – you cannot “install” new core instrumental values into people – but you can surely

instill desirable terminal values in the trainees through proper induction training.

Creating Alignment is a two-part process: 

  1. The first part is identifying and correcting misalignments
  1. The second aspect is creating new alignments.

The aim of value based induction training is to reinforce mutually desirable instrumental values and instill appropriate terminal values to strengthen the harmony between individual and organizational values in order to facilitate seamless integration of the new employee into the organization.
Induction training will also help the trainee and the trainer to identify rare cases where there exists an irreconcilable disconnect between organizational values and personal instrumental values  which cannot be resolved.

Discovery of irreconcilable disconnect between organizational values and personal instrumental values helps facilitate an amicable exit of the trainee from the organization at the earliest stage  well before the trainee begins his career in the new organization  and this amicable exit is in the interest of  and mutually beneficial to  both the organization and the trainee.
To sum up – induction training makes it easy for new employees to seamlessly blend into the corporate culture of an organization – and good induction training also facilitates the organization to smoothly and harmoniously absorb new employees within its fold.

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. These are my personal views based on my personal experience.Please do your own due diligence while selecting a training philosophy.
  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)

This is an abridged, upgraded and revised version of my lecture on INDUCTION TRAINING written be me Vikram Karve 8 years ago in the year 2008 and posted online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on March/May 2010 at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/03/induction-training.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/05/art-of-induction-training-part-1-what.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/02/induction-training-values-based-approach.html  etc

Rear Window

June 25, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Romance : Rear Window

“REAR WINDOW”

A Fictional Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer: 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.

Part 1 : REAR WINDOW

I am sure you have seen the classic movie REAR WINDOW – directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

Rear Window is a quintessential Hitchcock style mystery thriller made in 1954 – and – in my opinion – Rear Window is one of Hitchcock’s best films – a masterpiece – an awesome movie – despite its simplicity.

The Story is simple – a newspaper photographer with a broken leg passes time recuperating by observing his neighbours through his window.

After he breaks his leg during a dangerous assignment – the main protagonist – a professional photographer (James Stewart) is wheelchair bound and confined to his Apartment, while he recuperates.

His rear window looks out onto a small courtyard and several other apartments.

During the hot summer – he passes time by watching his neighbours – who keep their windows open to stay cool.

Each of the “objects of attention” – occupants of the other apartments who are being observed by our protagonist – depict insightful interpretations of the entire gamut of human relationships – as the main protagonist “watches” them through his “rear window” – and – we – the movie viewers – share his voyeuristic surveillance – as the movie takes mysterious twists and turns till it reaches a terrific climax.

Rear Window is an engrossing film – a fascinating portrayal of our tendency towards curiosity and voyeurism.

The movie exposes many facets of the loneliness of city life and it tacitly demonstrates the impulse of human curiosity. It explores our fascination with looking at persons, objects and things – and – the attraction of “objects of our attentions”.

I am sure you have had many such “rear window” experiences.

Well – I have had my share – especially when I lived in high-rise “gated communities” – or – in residential complexes which have rows of high-rise buildings where balconies face each other – giving you a clear view – like in Curzon Road Apartments in New Delhi.

Part 2 : MY “REAR WINDOW” STORY

Let me tell you about a rather amusing “rear window” story that happened to me.

Once upon a time – we lived in a high-rise residential complex – and from the rear balcony (“Rear Window”) of our top floor apartment – I had a “grandstand view” of the apartments of neighbouring building.

One day – when I was shopping in a Mall – a beautiful woman looked at me – she smiled – she walked up to me – and she said: “Hello – so nice to meet you in person.”

I was flabbergasted.

Seeing my bewilderment – the lovely lady said to me: “Don’t you recognize me…? I live in the neighbouring building – right opposite your balcony. We have been “looking at each other” for more than 3 months now. It’s been quite a long “long distance relationship” – and – I was wondering whether we would actually meet face-to-face. It is such a pleasure to meet you. By the way – my name is ‘XXX’…” she said, proffering her hand.

I shook her hand – I introduced myself – and I said to her: “I am really sorry for not recognizing you…”

“Really…? You did not recognize me…? Every time I see you standing in your balcony – you seem to be looking intently at me. I think you better get your eyesight checked…” she said with a mischievous smile.

And then – she said goodbye – and she walked away to continue with her shopping.

I felt hungry – so – I walked to the ‘Food Court’ in the Mall.

There – I saw another “long distance” “rear window” “object of my attention” – a pretty young girl – who – it seemed – was recently married.

In the food court – she was sitting with her husband – who I had seen occasionally in his balcony.

I confidently walked up to pretty young girl – and I said to her: “Hello…!!! Great to see you here. It feels so nice to meet you…”

The girl gave me a perplexed look.

“Don’t you recognize me…? We look at each other every morning across our balconies – especially when you hang your clothes to dry…” I said to her.

The girl looked away – she seemed embarrassed.

But – her husband gave me a fierce look and he angrily said to me: “Have you been staring at my wife…?”

“NO. NO. It is not what you think…” I said – and I beat a hasty retreat.

Part 3 : EPILOGUE

Next morning – as usual – I was standing at my “Rear Window” – observing the “goings on”.

I saw the beautiful lady – the first “object of my attention” (the first woman I had met in the Mall).

She was standing in her balcony with a cup of tea in her hand.

I could see her clearly – since I was wearing my newly acquired spectacles

(Yes – as advised by her – I had got my eyes checked immediately at the Optician’s Shop in the Mall and obtained a pair of spectacles)

She waved out to me – I waved back.

Then – she went inside – probably to get ready for office.

I shifted my gaze downwards.

I could see the second “object of my attention” – the newly-married girl whose husband had angrily scowled at me.

As she did every morning – she was hanging the washed clothes on the clothesline to dry.

I tried to avert my eyes.

But – she looked towards me – and – she smiled at me – and she gave me jovial wave.

I vigorously waved back to her too.

One thing is clear – as far as women are concerned (maybe it applies to some men too):

“One look of genuine admiration is worth a thousand compliments.” 

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 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 Creative Writing Blog – Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/humor-in-romance-rear-window.html

“Motivated” NCC Officer – Humor in Uniform

June 23, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – Story of the “Motivated” NCC Officer

Story of The “Motivated” NCC Officer – A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE

SQUARE PEGS IN ROUND HOLES

In his introduction to the witty and insightful favourite management classic  “The Peter Principle”  the co-author Raymond Hull narrates hilarious professional paradoxes – probably apocryphal – about “square pegs in round holes”.

“I am no longer amazed to observe that a government-employed marriage counsellor is a homosexual” – he comments.

(The book was written in 1969 when the concept of “Gay Marriages” was not in vogue and a marriage was presumed to be a heterosexual relationship).

Then he gives examples of mismatched “square pegs in round holes” – in fact, the book “The Peter Principle” is interspersed with numerous such droll snippets .

During my long career in the Navy – I have seen many such amusing mismatches.

Once in a Military Hospital – I remember coming across a child-specialist lady doctor who hated children.

She was a rather rude young unmarried pediatrician lady doctor in uniform and someone commented that maybe she would change her attitude once she herself got married and had children of her own.

I have seen many officers posted as instructors/trainers/teaching faculty who are total misfits as they are unable to communicate effectively.

This happens because it is assumed that a good student is ipso facto a good teacher– so a “topper” student of a course is posted as an instructor.

On a few occasions – yours truly has also been a “square peg in a round hole”.

Yes – I too have had my share of mismatched appointments.

I am sure you too have seen many “square pegs in round holes” in uniform.

Let me tell you of one classic case I came across.

THE “MOTIVATED” NCC OFFICER

Long back – while I was sitting in the bar at DSOI in New Delhi – I ran into an Army Officer who was Commanding an NCC (National Cadet Corps) Unit at Mumbai (then called Bombay).

The aim of the NCC is to motivate young students of impressionable age to join the Defence Services.

Thus – it is apt that the Commanding Officer (CO) of an NCC unit should be a highly motivated officer – who must be an inspiring role model for his cadets.

He needs to be full of josh and jingoism – like the highly motivated Divisional Officers in National Defence Academy (NDA) and other Cadet Training Academies like Indian Military Academy (IMA)  Indian Naval Academy (NAVAC/INA) Officers Training Academy (OTA)  Air Force Academy (AFA) etc.

Since we were the only two persons in the bar that afternoon – I tried to start a conversation with the NCC Officer (Army Officer  who was CO of NCC Unit).

I asked him about the various initiatives NCC was taking to motivate young college students to join the armed forces.

But – he was not interested in the subject.

In fact – the NCC Officer seemed least interested in talking about his job in the NCC.

He told me that he himself was desperately trying to quit the army.

He had put in his papers for premature retirement.

He said that he had come all the way from Mumbai to Delhi to personally get his premature retirement case cleared.

He told me that after the cushy NCC posting at Mumbai – his posting to a hard field area was due – and so he was busy chasing his premature retirement case – to expedite matters personally and get his premature retirement approved quickly – so that his papers would be through before he was posted out from Mumbai.

He wanted to get out of the army as fast as possible – so that he could take up a lucrative job offer –and settle down in Mumbai.

He told me that he had got an attractive job offer from a prestigious firm in Mumbai.

He also told me that the firm wanted him to join quickly – so time was running out for him.

Also – if he got posted out meanwhile to a field area – it would mean the end of this great opportunity for a successful second innings in the civvy street.

From the bitter way in which he complained about his army career – it was evident that he was quite fed up of army life.

The NCC Officer was especially bitter about being sidelined from the mainstream Army and being unceremoniously “dumped” into the NCC.

He was desperate to get his premature retirement through – and it was evident that all his attention and energies were devoted to chasing his premature retirement case.

No wonder – he was least interested in NCC activities.

The NCC Officer was hardly an “inspiring role model” to motivate youngsters to join the Armed Forces.

Tell me – can an officer – who is so disillusioned with the army – that he desperately wants to quit the army – motivate youngsters to join the Army?

During my long career in the Navy – I saw many officers  – who themselves were in dire need of “motivation”  – being posted to the NCC to motivate youngsters.

Quite an irony – isn’t it?

If you really want to motivate impressionable young minds and inspire them to join the Defence Services – why not post young unmarried officers who are full of “josh”, patriotic zeal and nationalistic fervour to the NCC?

Like the one mentioned in the story – can such “motivated” NCC officers be “role models” to inspire youth to join the Defence Services?

Tell me – why not post young enthusiastic officers to NCC who can truly motivate young students to join the Armed Forces?

Why post disillusioned and demoralized superseded officers in NCC – or old “re-employed” officers who are “over the hill” – or officers on the verge of superannuation – who just do “time-pass” in NCC appointments?

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 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 stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Revised version my my article written by me in the year 2014 and posted online be me Vikram Karve earlier in my Blog – Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/07/humor-in-uniform-square-pegs-in-round.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/04/unforgettable-characters-in-uniform.html   and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/humor-in-uniform-story-of-motivated-ncc.html

Bombay Revolutions, Poodlefaking and Stealing Affections – A Story of LOVE LUST and LUCK

June 22, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: LOVE and LUCK – A Romance

LOVE and LUCK

Short Fiction – A Romance By VIKRAM KARVE

Part 1 – BOMBAY REVOLUTIONS

Mumbai (Bombay)

Circa 1977

There was an unexpected change in our ship’s program – and our ship was ordered to sail back to Mumbai (or Bombay – as it was then called).

We were scheduled to return to Mumbai the next month – but all of a sudden – our ship was detached from the fleet – and we were asked to go to Mumbai.

No one knew what the reason was – but no one was interested in knowing the reason – all we were interested in was that we were returning to Mumbai.

The crew was delighted.

Mumbai was our home port – and we had been out for a long time – first – on a three month deployment to the east – and then – this never-ending exercise in the west.

And suddenly – we were heading home.

The married officers and sailors were looking forward to reuniting with their families.

The bachelors were excited about having a good time in the “maximum city” after a wearying time at sea punctuated by most boring visits to some lackluster ports.

But – I was most delighted of all – for I would be meeting my fiancée after more than three long months.

I stood in the bridge wings watching the fo’c’sle (forecastle) of our ship slice across the cool blue sea.

It was evident that the Engineers were generously adding a few “Bombay Revolutions” to the Engine Orders – because the ship was moving much faster than it should have.

I was sure the Captain noticed this – but then – it was all in the game – and he too was keen to get back to Mumbai.

We reached Mumbai just after noon – around 12:30.

I was the first one ashore – the moment the gangway was placed.

It was a Saturday – and though it was a “make and mend” – it would take some time to secure all the sailing gear – and by the time “liberty” would be announced – it may be 2 or even 2:30 in the afternoon.

My fiancée Menaka had a half-day on Saturdays – and I wanted to give her a surprise – before she left her office at 1:30.

So – the moment the gangway was placed – I left the ship in uniform – telling the Officer of the Day (OOD) that I was going for some urgent work in the Dockyard.

I quickly walked to Menaka’s office in Fort – I must have walked the fastest mile of my life.

“Menaka has already left…” the receptionist in Menaka’s office said.

“Already left…?” I asked, “But it is not even 1 o’clock…”

“Menaka said she had some urgent work – and she left around half an hour ago – at 12:30 or so…” the receptionist said.

I noticed that the receptionist was looking at me in a curious sort of way – maybe – because I was in white Navy uniform.

But then – I had come here before in uniform – and she surely knew that Menaka and I were seeing each other.

I thanked her – and I walked down the staircase – into the street.

I called a Taxi – and asked the driver to take me to the Working Women’s Hostel in Colaba.

But – to my disappointment – I did not find Menaka over there too.

“Well – her room key is here – so it seems that Menaka hasn’t come back from office…” the hostel warden said, “but today is Saturday – so she should be back by 1:30 or 2 – why don’t you wait in the visitors’ room…”

I sat in the visitors’ room of the working women’s hostel.

Time passed slowly – as I anxiously waited for Menaka – wondering where she had gone from office.

(Remember – this happened 39 years ago – in the year 1977 – when there were no mobile phones – and there was no way I could contact Menaka – so I had no option – but to wait patiently for her…).

The dining hall was next to the visitors’ room – and many girls were staring at me – since I was looking conspicuous in my white Navy uniform – and – I started feeling a sense of irritation and embarrassment.

I waited – it was an excruciating wait.

And then – my patience ran out.

I looked at my watch – it was 2:30.

“I might as well pick up my bike from the Command Mess…” I thought to myself.

Since I would be out at sea on long sailing – I had left my motorcycle in the care of my course-mate and best friend Anand – who was posted ashore – and lived in the Navy Command Mess.

Anand did not have a bike – so he was quite happy to use mine.

Today being a Saturday – Anand too would have had a “make and mend” half-day routine – and he would be back in the Mess by now.

I took a taxi – and I reached the Mess.

I could see my bike in the parking lot.

I looked at my watch – it was nearly 3 o’clock – Anand must have had his lunch – and hwould be in his cabin.

Being a fitness fanatic – I briskly walked up the staircase to the 3rd floor – where Anand’s cabin was located.

The corridors were deserted.

I knocked on the door of his cabin.

There was no response.

I knocked again – louder.

Still – no response.

Maybe – Anand was in deep alcohol-induced slumber after some “elbow bending” on Saturday afternoon – guzzling beer.

So – I banged on the door.

“Who is it…? I am sleeping now – come later…” I could hear Anand’s voice – full of irritation.

“It’s me…” I shouted, “I have come for my bike keys…”

There was silence.

After some time – I banged the door again.

“Wait – I am coming…” Anand said.

A few moments later – Anand opened the door.

He did not open the door fully – but just a little bit – and in his hand he had my bike keys.

“You were supposed to come back next week – isn’t it…?” Anand said.

“We came back early…” I said.

“Oh – take the keys – your bike is below…” Anand gave me the bike keys – and he began closing the door.

“Hey – what’s wrong – won’t you call me in…?” I said – surprised at his strange behavior.

“Not now – I will come to your ship in the evening…” Anand said.

I was bewildered at the mysterious way in which he was behaving with me.

Something was wrong.

Yes – my sixth sense told me that something was wrong.

As Anand began to close the door – on a sudden impulse – I pushed open the door.

I looked past Anand – into the room.

I saw the handbag at once – the black shoulder bag that I gifted Menaka.

It was her favourite handbag – the one she always took to office.

Menaka’s black handbag was resting on a chair.

On the ground – there were a pair of high-heels – ladies shoes – I recognized them too.

After all – I had bought them for Menaka when we had gone out shopping in Colaba.

On the peg table there was an empty bottle of beer and two glasses…

Even a blind man could see what was going on – and I was certainly not blind.

“You please go now – I have given you your bike keys…” Anand said – putting his arm on my shoulder and trying to guide me out of the room.

I pushed him aside roughly – and I asked him: “Is Menaka inside…?”

“It is none of your business…” he said.

“It is very much my business…” I interrupted, “Menaka is my fiancée…”

“I told you to go – please leave my cabin…” Anand said – trying to shove me out.

I lost my temper and I hit him hard – a strong right handed punch straight on his nose.

It was a knock-out punch.

Anand staggered – and he collapsed on the ground.

I pushed open the bedroom door.

The bed was crumpled – and – scattered all over the floor – were garments of Menaka’s dress – the same green dress which I had bought for Menaka on her last birthday.

The bathroom door was closed.

I pushed the door – but it was locked from inside.

I kicked open the bathroom door.

Menaka was inside the bathroom – trying to cover her naked body with a towel.

I wanted to kill her.

I raised my hand – and I started moving towards her.

Menaka started screaming hysterically: “Please…Please…Please don’t hit me – please go away…”

Menaka cowered against the wall – and she was shivering with fear.

It was a disgusting sight – repugnant – horrid – and I was overcome by a sickening sensation.

I could bear it no longer – so I just walked out of the room – and I fled down the stairs.

20 Years Later…


Part 2 – POODLEFAKING

Pune

Circa 1997

“Hi…” she said.

I did not recognize her.

So – I said to her: “Yes – Ma’am…”

“It seems you haven’t recognized me…” she said.

“I am sorry…” I began to say.

But – she interrupted me – and she said: “I am Mala – Arun’s sister – I hope you remember Arun – your NDA course-mate.”

“Oh – I am so sorry – I really didn’t…” I stammered.

“You don’t remember Arun…? Arun Roy…?” she asked.

“Yes – I do remember Arun – he was in my Squadron in the Academy – then he went to the Army – and we lost touch…”

“So – you remember Arun – but you don’t meeting remember me…?”

“Frankly – I really don’t recall…”

“Didn’t we meet at the Ordnance Club in Calcutta – your ship had come to Kolkata – it was called Calcutta those days – don’t you remember…?”

“That must have been long back…”

“So you have forgotten – doesn’t matter – I have quite a ‘forgettable’ face – so how will you remember a ‘Plain Jane’ like me – but how can I forget a handsome face like yours – you look just the same – with your majestic beard…”

I felt most embarrassed.

This must have happened 20 years ago – in 1977 – during our east coast deployment – before the heartbreaking incident with Menaka.

I remembered the ship visit to Kolkata.

I remembered going to ordnance club – drinking away with my shipmates – there were so many ‘pongos’ too – we met so many people – maybe Arun and his sister were there too – but it must have been a fleeting meeting – and – I must have been quite drunk – so – I really did not remember her.

“My Dad was in the Army those days – a Brigadier – and Arun had come on leave – so we were all sitting in Ordnance Club playing Tombola – and when I went with Arun to pick up drinks from the bar – he saw you drinking away with your shipmates – so we walked across – and Arun said ‘Hi’ to you – and he introduced me to you – and we even called you to come and sit with us – but you said that you hated Tombola – and when we came to find you after the Tombola was over – you had already left…”

“I must say you have a terrific memory…” I said, “I visited Calcutta in 1977 – 20 years have passed since – and – you remember every detail…”

“Actually I liked you so much – you looked so handsome with your Navy style beard and all – that I fell for you – it was ‘love at first sight’ – and I told Arun that I wanted to marry you – and he told my Dad and Mom…”

“What…?”

“So – my Dad visited your ship the next morning – and he spoke to your Captain – and enquired about you…”

“I can’t believe this…”

“But – your Captain told my Dad that you were already engaged to some girl in Mumbai…”

“He said that…?”

“Yes – your Captain said that you were already hooked to some girl – so my Dad said that ‘stealing affections’ was not a good thing – and he told me that I should forget about you…”

“So…?”

“So – my parents found me a ‘suitable match’ – a nice Army Officer – and I got married to him…”

“Oh – that’s great…”

“My husband was also your NDA course-mate – like Arun…”

“Really…? Who…?”

“Dipankar…”

“Oh – ‘Dippy’ – he was also in the same squadron – so you married ‘Dippy’…?”

“Yes – I married ‘Dippy’…”

“That’s great – I must meet him…”

“I am afraid you can’t…”

“I can’t meet him…? Why…?”

“He passed away 3 years ago…”

“Oh My God – I am very sorry…”

“Actually – that’s why I am here in the bank – to settle some family pension issues…” she said.

“Oh – I am really very sorry…”

“You seem to have lost track of everyone – and everyone seems to have lost track of you – they said that you suddenly left the Navy – and – you disappeared into thin air…”

“Yes – I quit in 1978 – and I went abroad – I “burnt my bridges” – so to speak – I worked all over the world – all sorts of jobs – I have earned enough – and now – I have come back after so many years to settle down in Pune – I have invested my money well – and – I am financially quite comfortable – so I intend to enjoy the rest of my life…”

“You quit in 1977…? They allowed you to quit so early…? After just 4 years of service…?”

“Yes – I resigned on compassionate grounds…”

“Oh…”

“Your wife – your kids – all of you live in Pune…?”

“I don’t have a wife…”

“Oh – I am sorry…”

“No – No – I am a bachelor – I never got married…”

“You never got married – why…?”

“I told you – after I left the Navy in 1977 – I had quite a nomadic existence – I was working in all sorts of jobs – all over the world – so it was easy to remain a bachelor…”

“I don’t understand. Your Captain told my father that you were engaged to a girl in Mumbai…”

“We broke up…”

“Oh – and that’s why you quit the Navy…?”

“Please – let’s not talk about it…”

“Okay – so now – you have decided to settle down in Pune…?”

“Yes…”

“Any marriage plans…?”

“Maybe – if someone is available…”

“I am ‘available’…” she said, tongue-in-cheek.

I was stunned.

I could never imagine a woman propositioning me so openly.

Mala must have seen the shocked look on my face – so she said to me: “Hey – I was just joking – I am sorry if I have annoyed you…”

“No – No – it’s okay…”

“I am such a big blabbermouth – we are meeting for the first time – and I am boring you with all my talk…”

“It’s okay – actually – I am enjoying talking to you…” I said.

“Really – so you finish your work in the bank – and we will go somewhere where we can talk – let’s go to RSI – we can have a drink – and then some we’ll have some lunch…”

“Okay…” I said, “I just have to collect a Fixed Deposit Receipt – and then we will go…”

Half an hour later – we – the Mala and I – we were sitting the cool environs of the RSI club bar – drinking beer – and from her demeanor – I had a distinct impression that Mala was flirting with me.

One Month Later

Part 3 – LOVE AND LUCK

Main Street (MG Road) Pune

Circa 1997

I was loafing on Main Street – and – I suddenly ran into Mala.

Mala looked at me and said: “I am very angry with you…”

“Angry…? Why…?”

“You gave me the ‘Royal Ditch’…”

“Royal Ditch…?”

“You were supposed to take me to the course get-together at NDA…”

“Yes. Something urgent came up – so I couldn’t attend the course get-together – but – I had asked Ajay to have you picked up and dropped back…”

“Ajay…?”

“Yes – Ajay – he is posted to NDA – he was the one who organized the course get-together – he is in the Navy…”

“Oh…”

“I had given Ajay your phone number – and told him where you live. Didn’t Ajay organize a car to take you for the get-together…?”

“Ajay did call up – but I told him I was going with Arun…”

“Arun…?”

“Yes – ‘Arun’ – my brother – and – your course-mate – he had come all the way from Delhi for the course get-together at NDA – and – you were in Pune – and – still you didn’t bother to attend…”

“I told you…”

“Everyone was there with their wives. They had come from all over for the ‘silver jubilee get-together’ of your course. When I told them about you – that you had settled down in Pune – they all wondered why you didn’t attend – your friend Ajay said that he had informed you – and – you had confirmed that you would be coming – but – you had cancelled at the last minute…”

“Yes – I had to cancel at the last minute – because…”

“Because you came to know that Anand would be attending…”

“Who told you that…?”

“Ajay told me…”

“What did he tell you…?”

“Ajay said that he met you at RSI a day before the get-together. He said that he was entering and you were leaving – and – during the conversation – he told you that Anand had just called him in the morning from Delhi saying that he would be coming for the course get-together…”

“What else did Ajay say…?”

“Ajay said that – the moment you heard that Anand was coming for the get-together – your demeanor changed – and – you told Ajay that you wouldn’t be able to make it for the get-together – and – you asked him to arrange to pick me up…”

“Yes…”

“Some Navy guy said that Anand and you were “bum chums” in the Academy – and later in the Navy – and then – something happened between you two – and – suddenly – there was ‘bad-blood’ between you and Anand…”

“Yes – our friendship broke up…”

“But why…?”

“I don’t want to talk about it…”

“But I want to know. Why do you hate Anand so much…? The moment you knew he was coming – you skipped the course get-together…?”

“He stole my girlfriend – he stole my fiancée and married her…”

“What…?”

“Her name was Menaka…”

“Menaka…?”

“Yes – my best friend Anand – and – my fiancée Menaka – who I loved so much – both of them – bloody cheats – they made a sucker of me – they cuckolded me – and – they got married – that’s why I quit the Navy – I could not bear seeing them together – I didn’t want to see their faces – ever…”

“Oh…”

“I almost went crazy – I told my CO everything – he helped me quit the Navy on compassionate grounds – and then – I went abroad – all over the world – and – it was “out of sight – out of mind”…”

“Oh – but why so much hatred – even now…? So many couples break up – but I have never seen so much animosity as you have…”

“If I tell you what they did…”

“Tell me…”

“No…”

“Please – I have to know…”

“You have to know…? Why…?”

“Let’s say that I have a personal interest…”

I was taken aback.

What ‘personal interest’ did Mala have in knowing this…?

Oh…!

Was she was interested in marrying me…?

Is that why she wanted to know about my past…?

“Okay…” I said to Mala, “but not here – let’s go somewhere where we can talk…”

“RSI…? It’s almost 12. We can talk over a beer – and then – you can treat me to lunch and drop me home…” she said.

So – we sat in the RSI bar with glasses of beer in front of us.

And – I told her everything.

Yes – Dear Reader – I told Mala the whole story that I have told you – right in the beginning – in Part 1 of this story – about how I had caught Anand and Menaka “red-handed” – in flagrante delicto

Mala heard the whole story with rapt attention – and she said: “Oh – you must have been devastated…”

“I went crazy – I almost became mad – I have still not fully recovered from the shock. Let me tell you that – for a moment – I may be able to tolerate Anand – but – if that treacherous Menaka ever comes in front of me – I may lose control of myself and do something nasty to her – that is why I didn’t come for the get-together…” I said.

“Menaka was not present at the course get-together…” Mala said.

“What…? Menaka did not come…? I thought that all wives were invited…?”

“Yes. Wives were invited. Even widows like me were invited. But – Menaka wasn’t there. Anand had come alone. Do you know the reason why Menaka was not there at the get-together…?”

“She must have dumped Anand and found someone else. Bloody devious nympho…!”

“Menaka is dead…” Mala said softly.

“What…?” I exclaimed in surprise.

“She died 3 months ago – cancer…”

“Oh – Ajay did not say anything…”

“He told you that Anand was coming…”

“Yes – and I presumed…”

“Anyway – let’s forget all that. I want to tell you something important…” Mala said.

“What…?” I asked her.

“Anand proposed to me…”

“What…? His wife died just 3 months ago – and he proposes marriage to the first available woman he sees…” I blurted out unthinkingly.

Then – realizing my faux pas – I said to Mala: “I am sorry…”

“It’s okay – didn’t I myself tell you that I am “available” – the last time we met…”

“So – what have you decided about his marriage proposal…?”

“I don’t know – we just talked for some time at the party – and suddenly – Anand calls me up a few days later and he proposes to me – he says he wants to get married to me…”

“And you…?”

“I told him to give me some time to think it over…”

“So – you have thought it over…?”

“If other options close – than I have will have no option but to say “Yes” to Anand…”

“Other options…?”

“Well – I have someone else in mind…”

“Me…?”

“How did you guess…?”

I looked lovingly at Mala – and I said to her: “Call up Anand right now – and tell him that you are no longer ‘available’…”

“Okay – I’ll call him in the evening when I get home…” Mala said.

“No – call him right now – there is an STD booth at the reception…” I said.

I took Mala to the STD booth – and I made sure she called up Anand and told him clearly that she was getting married to me.

This time – I did not want to take any chances.

VIKRAM KARVE

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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.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is a revised and complete version of my story “Bombay Revolutions” and “Stealing Affections” which I had Posted Online Earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Blog at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/10/bombay-revolutions-and-stealing.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/02/bombay-revolutions-love-story.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/love-and-luck-romance.html

Did “Defence Management” Make Me Unemployable  

June 20, 2016

Source: Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – Why I am Unemployable

Humor in Uniform

Disclaimer:

This is a spoof. If you do not have a “sense of humor” please do not read this story.

WHY I AM UNEMPLOYABLE 

(A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE)

I am unemployed.

I am unemployed – because I am unemployable.

I am unemployable because I spent my lifetime in military service – “serving the nation” – in the Navy.

Once you join the Defence Services – the Army, the Navy, or, the Air Force – every year of military service reduces your employability in the “Civvy Street”.

And – if you serve your entire lifetime in military uniform “serving the nation” – you are rendered totally unemployable in the civilian world – like me.

Therefore – my advice to those in the military who want to have a “second innings” in the civilian world is: “Get out of the military as early as possible” – because the longer you remain in uniform – the less will be your employability in the civilian world.

And soon – like me – you will be totally unemployable – and – will have to spend the rest of your life “doing nothing” – like I am doing.

Why does this happen…?

It happens because the longer you serve in the Defence Forces – the more of “Defence Management” you will learn and imbibe – and these “defence management” concepts will remain ingrained in you – rendering you useless for the civilian world.

You don’t believe me…?

Read on…

“DEFENCE MANAGEMENT”

“Management” Lessons I Learnt In Uniform

(A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE)

Dear Reader:

“Management” in Uniform is different from Management in the Civilian World.

In order to illustrate this – let me summarize for you – a few “management” lessons I learnt as a military officer in navy uniform.

My long Military Career in the Navy can be broadly divided into 3 main parts:

  1. Afloat – on Navy Warships
  1. Ashore – in Naval Establishments – chiefly in Naval Dockyards.
  1. In Inter-Service Establishments – especially in IAT Pune.

In my “Humor in Uniform” Stories in my Blog – I have – from time to time – narrated some of my “Defence Management” experiences – and – told you about the “management lessons” I learnt on board ships – and – in the Naval Dockyards at Mumbai and Vizag – which made me much “wiser”.

In this article – I shall tell you about some “management” lessons I learnt during my first tenure at IAT Pune – more than 30 years ago – in the mid 1980’s.

[NB: The generic word “Fauj” refers to all arms of the Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) and the term “Fauji” or “Soldier” refers to all military personnel in uniform (Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen)]

“Defence Management” – Lesson No. 1

FOR BRAINSTORMING – YOU MUST HAVE “BRAINS” TO “STORM”

I decided to have a “brainstorming” session.

However – there was just one problem.

There were no “brains” to “storm”.

As per my customary practice ever since I had joined the Navy – I had left behind my brain at home while coming to work.

This gem of wisdom had been imparted to me very early in my Naval Career by one of my illustrious senior officers.

Even today – I clearly remember the wizened old Sea-Dog’s “words of wisdom”.

He had said to me:

“We don’t require brainy chaps in the Navy.

The Navy is a Master Plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots.

By any chance – if you are not an idiot – but if you find yourself in the Navy – you can only operate well by ‘pretending to be an idiot’.

So – one you join the Navy – there is no need to use your brain.

You just do as you are told.

So – if you are in the Navy – it is best if you don’t have a brain.

But – if you are one of those exceptions who do have a brain – yes – in case you do have a brain – you must never bring your brain to work.

Do you understand…?

You must keep your brain at home.

Make sure that you don’t bring your brain to work…”

So – I had not brought my brain to work – I had left my brain back at home.

And about the three “pongo” Johnnies in “OG” sitting in front of me – the less said the better.

I wanted to “brainstorm” – but there were no brains in the room.

So – in order to “brainstorm” – now I would have to go home – “insert” my brain in back into my head – and then “storm” my “brain”.

So – Dear Reader – remember this – it is all very well to experiment with high-falutin management techniques like “brainstorming” – but before you begin brainstorming – make sure there are enough “brains” to “storm”.

‘Availability of brains is the sine qua non for brainstorming’

So – before you embark on a “brainstorming” session – look around and ensure that you have enough “brains” to “storm”

And – like my boss said – for those of you who want to join the “fauj” – it is best you don’t have a brain.

But – alas – in case you do have a brain – and by some quirk of fate – you find yourself in the military – remember that you must never bring your brain to work – always make sure that you keep your brain at home –and don’t bring your brain to work.

That is why – in the Military – there is no such thing such as “Brainstorming” – there is just “blind obedience”.

In the Military – when you are given an order – you just say “Yes, Sir, Yes, Sir, Three Bags Full, Sir” – and you do exactly what you are told to do – nothing more – nothing less.

“Defence Management” – Lesson No. 2

IN THE DEFENCE SERVICES – YOU HAVE TO BE “JACK OF ALL TRADES” AND “MASTER OF ONE”

Hey – let me digress a bit – and tell you why I was holding this “brainstorming session” in the first place.

This happened more than 30 years ago – in the year 1985.

I had just assumed my new appointment as teaching faculty in IAT Pune as a newly promoted Lieutenant Commander.

My primary job was to teach, guide research, design, administer, evaluate – do everything – to put it in a nutshell – I had to run a post graduate course in Engineering (a “turn-key” job).

Of course – those days it took 11 years of commissioned service to become a Lieutenant Commander – unlike today – when you see greenhorns who haven’t yet fully grown their whiskers strutting around wearing two and a half stripes – thanks to the benevolent Ajai Vikram Singh Cadre Review Report (aka AVS 2006).

The Institute of Armament Technology (IAT) was a unique institution – whose faculty was composed of officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force – and – in addition to Military Officers – there was also a rather peculiar species called “Scientists” – who were civilians.

The amusing irony was that – most uniformed Military Officers on the IAT faculty were more highly qualified than the “Scientists”.

In keeping with our penchant for changing names – IAT was later renamed DIAT – and I believe it is now called MILIT – but it is still remains the same lovely place nestled in its sylvan surroundings in the verdant hills of Girinagar.

But that is another story…!

I was sinking my teeth into my new appointment – when I was summoned by my boss and who told me with a sense of urgency in his voice: “You go immediately and take over the CSD Canteen. There is some fiasco over there – and – you are to take over as ‘Chairman IAT CSD Canteen’ immediately.”

Before you get ideas that I was being elevated to a prestigious assignment of a “Chairman” – let me explain.

‘Chairman IAT CSD Canteen’ was no great appointment.

This was a “bum job” – a sundry duty I had to do in addition to my primary job.

And the high-sounding title “Chairman” meant nothing – it was IAT parlance for what we in the Navy called “Officer-in-Charge”.

For those civilians uninitiated with life in uniform – let me explain that in the Army, Navy or Air Force – you can be asked to do any “bum job” – which can include almost anything and everything – irrespective of your qualifications or specialization.

I have performed “bum jobs” ranging from running poultry farms, piggeries, milk dairies and food farms, managing administration, running catering services and liquor bars in wardroom officers’ messes, running officers’ clubs and administering schools and libraries – besides conducting and supervising a host of so-called “welfare” activities.

In the Defence Services – you have to be a “Jack of all Trades and a Master of One”.

So – you have to do all these “bum jobs” in addition to your primary job which is in accordance with your professional specialization.

By the way – I later learnt that Civilian Employees get incentives like “Extra Duty Pay” and “Overtime” if they are asked to perform any extraneous duties.

But – if you are serving in uniform in the Armed Forces – you get no such “incentive” like “Overtime” or “Extra Duty Pay” – because a ‘Military Man’ is supposed to be on duty 24/7 – round the clock – round the year.

And sometimes – like Parkinson’s Law – you land up spending more time and effort on your “bum job” rather than on your primary duty.

And – that is exactly what happened to me – because – I was taking over in rather unusual circumstances.

My predecessor had been peremptorily ‘sacked’ for ‘gross mismanagement’ of the canteen.

The audit board had passed stinging remarks about his carelessness in inventory management – and – laxity in maintaining financial accounts – owing to which – there were huge errors in the balance sheet.

And – this had resulted in the sacking of “Chairman CSD Canteen” – a senior Major with around 15 years service.

Sadly – it was the “end of the road” as far as his career was concerned – since this episode would certainly impact his ACR (Annual Confidential Report) – which was the critical final ACR before his promotion board for the rank of Lieutenant Colonel – which was likely to scheduled next year.

“You better be careful. Make sure you don’t delegate anything to the Canteen Manager,” the senior Major said bitterly – when I went to take over charge from him.

“Yes, Sir,” I said.

“Don’t just say ‘Yes Sir’ to me. Listen to my advice – so that you don’t make the same mistake that I made. I left everything to that bloody Canteen Manager. That idiot is a clueless clot – and he screwed up everything big time. And – just imagine – my promotion board is next year. But now – the big boss is so angry at this screw-up – that he is sure to bugger my ACR – and I can forget about my promotion. Just imagine – all my good professional work has come to zero because of this bum job of running the canteen,” he said.

His rant proved what I had said earlier.

In the “Peacetime” Defence Services – “Bum Jobs” were more important than your primary main duties.

“Bum Jobs” like Wardroom/Officers Mess Secretary are most dangerous.

If there is a “SNAFU” in some important event like Ship’s Anniversary/Raising Day/Navy Week events – or some “faux pas” involving a “VIP/VVIP” where the “VIP/VVIP” gets annoyed – your goose can be cooked pretty fast.

(The military jargon “SNAFU” is the acronym for “Situation Normal, All Fouled Up”– SNAFU means to bungle something or create chaos)

It was ironical.

A “slip-up” in your main job may be condoned.

But – a SNAFU in these “bum jobs” could be fatal to your career.

This was the all important “Defence Management” Lesson No. 3

“Defence Management” – Lesson No. 3

IN “PEACETIME SOLDIERING” – YOUR SECONDARY DUTIES (“BUM JOBS”) ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR PRIMARY DUTIES

Before we proceed further – let us recap the 3 “Defence Management” Lessons learnt so far:

  1. For Brainstorming – You Must Have “Brains” To “Storm”
  1. You Have To Be “Jack of All Trades” And “Master of One”
  1. Your Secondary Duties (“Bum Jobs”) Are More Important Than Your Primary Duties

BUSINESS ACUMEN, MILITARY APTITUDE and ZERO ERROR SYNDROMES

And now – let me generalize and pontificate a bit.

Soldiers are misfits in business.

Business Acumen and Military Aptitude are stark opposites.

In fact, they are mutually exclusive.

You can either be a Businessman or you can be a Soldier – but you cannot be both.

Of course – you will find some “businessmen” among soldiers (who create scams).

And you may also find some “soldiers” among businessmen (who create business fiascos).

But that is another story.

You will tell me that during World War 2 – a number of businessmen were drafted into the American (US) and British (Royal) Army/Navy/Air Force – and they distinguished themselves in war-fighting.

But that was war.

And the “civilians” who fought in the war were enrolled as reservists just to fight the war – and once the war was over – they were demobilized and they went back to running their businesses.

I am talking of the full-time regular professional officers who “fight” during peacetime and spend most of their career in “peacetime soldiering”.

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 peace-time – while the RNVR do the fighting in War…”

He was hinting that Regular (RN) Officers “fight” in “peacetime” – whereas Reservists (RNVR) fight the war – highlighting the difference between “peacetime soldiering” mainly done by Regular Officers – and “war-fighting” mainly done by the Reservists.

Another regular officer is said to have quipped after World War 2 was over: “Now that the war is over – let us get down to some serious ‘soldiering’…”

It may sound ironical – but – there are many officers who are more frightened of “peacetime soldiering” than “combat operations” – because – strictly from the career point of view – peacetime soldiering is more “dangerous” than combat.

Combat may cause you physical injuries – but even the smallest error in “peacetime soldiering” can ruin your career.

All it requires is just one “slip-up” on your part which is perceived as an error by your seniors.

In the Armed Forces – getting promoted is the “be all and end all” of life – since the only thing that matters in the military is your rank.

So – the biggest fear is the “supersession fear” – the fear of getting “passed over” for promotion.

This fear creates a “zero error syndrome” – and that is why most Defence Officers tend to play safe and become risk averse.

However – “careerism” is not the only reason for risk averseness and “zero error syndrome”.

There is another more important reason.

In the case of those handling sophisticated weapons and dangerous ordnance – the very nature of the job demands total perfection, absolute preciseness and zero error in your work – as even the smallest mistake or slightest risk can be disastrous.

This safety requirement necessitates that individuals have to be trained accordingly to achieve “zero error” in their work – and this “zero error syndrome” gets so imbibed and inculcated in one’s nature that it spills over to other activities as well and affects all aspects of the individual’s life.

But when you take things too far and start applying these “zero error” precepts everywhere – hilarious situations can occur – as it happened to me in the story I am going to tell you.

But – before I do that – here is “Defence Management” Lesson No. 4

You will never be rewarded for doing your job well – but if you make one small mistake – you will be penalized severely – and even your career can be jeopardized.

In the Defence Services – promotions are time-dependent.

You have to wait in the queue for your turn as per your seniority.

You cannot leap-frog and jump the queue – even if your performance is spectacular.

On the contrary – if you make even one small mistake – you will be punished – your promotion can be stopped – or you can even be demoted.

Yes – your boss can have you demoted for an error – but he cannot give you a quick promotion for good performance.

In the Armed Forces – your boss only has “negative” power to spoil your career if you make the smallest of errors.

But – your boss has no “positive” power to “fast track” your career if you perform exceptionally well – since promotions are based on rules and regulations.

No wonder – the “zero error syndrome” prevails.

So – it is better to play safe and ensure “zero error” – rather than risk your career by taking initiative and try to do something new and innovative.

Why “make waves”…?

Why “rock the boat”…?

It is best to maintain “status quo”.

So – that is “Defence Management” Lesson No. 5

Defence Management” Lesson No. 5

Don’t “Make Waves” – Don’t “Rock the Boat” – Never Take “Initiative” and Try to Do Something “New” or “Innovative” – Just Maintain “Status Quo”

Oh – I have digressed.

Now – let me get back to my story.

If you are familiar with army or military life – you will know that a CSD Canteen is a “departmental store” for all kinds of provisions and liquor which are available at discounted rates.

Those days – in IAT – the CSD Canteen was located in a dilapidated barrack.

Mao Tse Tung has said: “One Look is better than a Thousand Reports”.

In the evening – I personally went to the CSD Canteen to have a firsthand look.

This is how the system operated.

There was a glass showcase outside – and – in this showcase there were displayed – one sample piece of each item available in the Canteen with the code number pasted on it.

You wrote down the code numbers and quantities of the items you wanted to buy.

Then – you gave the list to cashier.

The cashier made a manual bill (remember story this happened in the 1980’s much before the advent of PCs and “computerization”).

Once the bill was ready – you paid the money in advance – and – the cashier stamped“PAID” on your bill with a rubber stamp.

Then – you took the bill marked “PAID” inside the Canteen and gave it to the “salesman” standing at the counter.

The salesman took the list and picked up items from the boxes and shelves inside the warehouse – in case he did not find an item – he used his “initiative” and substituted it with a similar item “in lieu”.

For example – if you wanted a certain brand of soap – and the salesmen could not locate that particular brand – he gave you another brand – and – no once complained – because the CSD Canteen Guys were doing you a huge “favour” – and there was no other place to go in that desolate place.

This “in lieu” business had resulted in chaos in inventory management since there was a gross mismatch between the items billed and items actually sold – and – in trying to “adjust” things – the balance sheet had gone awry – and my predecessor had been peremptorily ‘sacked’ for ‘gross mismanagement’ of the canteen.

I thought about it.

The best way to “run” the unit CSD Canteen was to shut it down.

That way – nothing would be procured – nothing would be stocked – and – nothing would be sold – and – obviously – there would be no room for error.

Yes – in order to achieve “Zero Error” – the best way to manage inventory is to have no inventory

However – “Zero Inventory Management” was not possible – since the powers-that-be would surely not agree to shut down the unit CSD Canteen.

So – I decided to adopt a strategy of “Zero Footfall Inventory Management”

Again – achieving the ideal is difficult – so we focused on “How to minimize the number of customers” to the Unit CSD Canteen and reduce “footfalls” to the bare minimum.

How we did it – I will tell you in soon in my blog.

Till then – let me summarize the “Defence Management” lessons elucidated above:

  1. For Brainstorming – You Must Have “Brains” To “Storm”
  1. You Have To Be “Jack of All Trades” and “Master of One”
  1. Your Secondary Duties (“Bum Jobs”) Are More Important Than Your Primary Duties
  1. You will never be rewarded for doing your job well – but if you make one small mistake – you will be penalized severely – and even your career can be jeopardized
  1. Don’t “Make Waves” – Don’t “Rock the Boat” – Never “Volunteer” – Never Take “Initiative” and Try to Do Something “New” or “Innovative” – Just Maintain “Status Quo”
  1. One Look is better than a Thousand Reports
  1. “Zero” Inventory Management – The Best way to “Manage” Inventory is to have Zero Inventory.
  1. “Customer Relationship Management” – the “Zero Paradigm” – If you have zero customers – your will have zero problems in customer relationship management.
  1. Business Acumen and Military Aptitude are stark opposites – in fact – they are mutually exclusive. You can either be a Businessman – or – you can be a Soldier – but you cannot be both.
  1. Once you join the Defence Services – you will start developing a “Military Brain” – and – every year of military service reduces your employability in the “Civvy Street”.  And – if you serve your entire lifetime in military uniform “serving the nation” – you may be rendered totally unemployable in the civilian world – like me. Therefore – if you want to have a “second innings” in the civilian world – get out of the military as early as possible – because – the longer you remain in uniform – the less will be your employability in the civilian world.
  1. It may sound ironical – but – there are many officers who are more frightened of “peacetime soldiering” than “combat operations” – because – strictly from the “career point of view” – peacetime soldiering may be more “dangerous” than combat. Combat may cause you physical injuries – but even the smallest error in “peacetime soldiering” can ruin your career and you will have to suffer the stigma of “supersession”.
  1. To be “successful” you must excel at “fighting” your peers during peacetime – since you will be spending most of your career in “peacetime soldiering” – you must remember that “fighting” your peers and “outwitting” your course-mates requires a canny skill different from fighting the enemy. Remember the witty quip of a careerist officer after World War 2 was over: “Now that the war is over – let us get down to some serious ‘soldiering’…”

To be continued… 

VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a 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. These are my personal views, written in a humorous vein, for readers with a sense of humor, to be taken lightly, and these personal musings do not constitute career guidance advice. Please choose your career after carrying out your own due diligence.
  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:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/humor-in-uniform-why-i-am-unemployable.html

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