“Politics” in Uniform – Humor – Story from my Navy Days

“Politics” in Uniform 

The “election season” reminds me of this story from my Navy Days.

So – Dear Reader – here is some “political” humor in uniform…

“POLITICS” IN THE WARDROOM

Unforgettable Vignettes of my Glorious Navy Days

A Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/03/humor-in-uniform-politics-in-wardroom.html

WARDROOM ETIQUETTE – TABOO TOPICS

When I joined the Navy – I was told that certain things were not to be discussed in the Wardroom (Navy Officers’ Mess).

Firstly – Officers should not “talk shop” (about work) in the Wardroom.

Secondly – Three Topics were considered “Taboo” in a Navy Wardroom:

  1. Religion
  1. Politics
  1. Women

I am sure the same was true for Army and Air Force Officers’ Messes as well – you were not supposed to talk “shop” – and you were not supposed to discuss religion, politics or women in a wardroom or officers’ mess.

But this was all in theory.

In actual fact – I found that things were vastly different.

On my ship – and in other ships and shore establishments too – officers invariably “talked shop” in the wardroom – even during PLDs and Parties.

Of the three taboo topics – the first – Religion – was never discussed (at least in my ship’s wardroom).

On my ship – with so many young strapping testosterone charged bachelors around – the third topic (women) was always a hot topic of discussion.

Our ship was based in Mumbai (then called Bombay) – and those were laissez faire halcyon days in the Navy.

Guests were freely allowed on ships – in the evenings and on holidays – and many “smart” libidinous bachelors brought girl friends (or “fleet auxiliaries”) on board ships – for an amorous drink in the wardroom – or a “quickie” in their cabins – and these “peccadilloes” were hotly discussed with great excitement by the envious sex-starved puritans – who were secretly yearning for female company.

POLITICS IN THE WARDROOM

Towards the end of 1979 – General Elections were announced to be held in the first week of January 1980 – and suddenly – everyone started discussing politics.

I was surprised to see the political awareness – and keen interest in the elections – among Naval Officers.

Of course – this may have been due to the political instability due to the disastrous performance of two successive shaky coalition governments since 1977 – which kept on splitting – till they collapsed – and elections were announced after 2 years.

Or maybe – this interest in politics was because we had many “politically connected” officers on board.

The father of one of the young officers was a veteran politician – and he was contesting this election too.

The brother of another officer was a politician too – and he was also contesting elections – albeit from a different party.

Many other officers evinced keen interest in current affairs and held divergent political views – which led to lively discussions.

Yes – politics was definitely discussed in the wardroom.

However – there was one officer who showed absolutely no interest in the proceedings – he seemed totally “apolitical”.

He came to the wardroom to drink – in fact – it seemed that he had joined the Navy to drink – and – like some people who “live to eat” – this officer “lived to drink”.

While everyone was engrossed in animated “political discussions” – he would sit disinterestedly in the corner downing peg after peg of Scotch whisky.

Voting day was in the first week of the coming January – and – as the elections approached – some of us got our postal ballots – and some did not.

Outside – in the civilian world – political temperatures were getting heated up – and inside the wardroom too – there took place rousing political discussions – stimulated by the imbibing of enormous amounts of alcohol.

Of course – our “apolitical” friend kept aloof.

The “apolitical” officer remained indifferent to the political goings on – despite imbibing even greater amounts of alcohol than the “political” officers.

At last – voting took place.

The next day – counting of votes began.

(Those days – they had single day elections – and – votes were counting the next day)

Since they used paper ballots those days – the counting process was slow – and – the early trends started coming in only by late afternoon – and – it was only in the late evening that the first hints of the political picture would start to emerge.

In the evening – carrying our whisky-topped hip-flasks in our pockets – we trooped down to the Indian Express Building at Nariman Point – to watch the election results unfold.

Late at night – it became clear that Indira Gandhi was heading for a massive victory.

(Her party – Congress (I) – would win 353 of the 542 seats)

Most of us were happy – because now – there would be a stable government for 5 years.

The two “politically connected” officers were happy too – their relatives – father and brother respectively – both had won in the elections too.

A celebration was called for – so the wardroom bar was opened the moment we returned back onboard at around midnight.

The “whiff” of the wardroom bar being opened mysteriously reached the “apolitical” officer sleeping in his cabin – and he joined us in a jiffy – topping up his glass with whisky to celebrate.

“There was so much political excitement going on during these elections – and you were totally disinterested in the elections…” someone said to the “apolitical” officer.

“Actually I was worried…” he said.

“Worried…? You were worried…?” we asked, puzzled.

The “apolitical” officer took a gulp of whisky – and he said to us:

“I was worried about my booze. The previous guy was a prohibitionist – he even wanted to stop booze in the defence services and give dry fruits in lieu of liquor. I am happy he has lost the elections – at least the new guys who have won will let booze flow freely. Come on. Cheers. Drink up. The next round of drinks is on me…”

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/03/humor-in-uniform-politics-in-wardroom.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story was written by me 3 years ago in the year 2014 and earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve in this blog at 4/13/2014 03:21:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/04/humor-in-uniform-wardroom-politics.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/05/humor-in-uniform-politics-in-uniform.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/10/politics-in-uniform.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/humor-in-uniform-apolitical-officer.html

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