Archive for April 2017

Books “in lieu of” Booze – Story from my Navy Days

April 28, 2017

Humor in Uniform 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/humor-in-uniform-booze-versus-books.html

BOOZE versus BOOKS 

(or BOOKS “IN LIEU OF” BOOZE)

If you have served in the Defence Services – I am sure you have heard of the term “ in lieu of  – which means “in place of or “instead of

In the Navy we have – Money “in lieu of” Ration (MLR) – Compensation “in lieu of” Quarters (CILQ) – Travel Allowance “in lieu of” Transport (TA) etc

But – have you heard of Books “in lieu of” Booze…?

Or – to put it in better language – Books in lieu of Liquor (Acronym: BILL)

Read on…

BOOKS “IN LIEU OF” BOOZE 

A Story from my Navy Days – A Spoof By Vikram Karve

This story happened long ago – 39 years ago – an unforgettable “memoir” from the best days of my life – my delightful Navy days – in the 1970’s.

We – a shipmate and me – were loafing around on a Sunday morning – browsing books at the pavement bookstalls around the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) near Hutatma Chowk (Flora Fountain) in Mumbai (Bombay).

I noticed my friend engrossed in a large size book – a regal looking tome – which looked like an encyclopedia.

“Look at this fabulous book,” my friend said, all excited, “it is an encyclopedia of ‘numismatics’ – it is fantastic – everything is here – the complete history of coins and currency – and details and pictures of rare coins…”

“Yes,” I said, “it seems to be a rare book.”

“I have been interested in ‘numismatics’ since my schooldays,” he said, “but I have never seen a book on numismatics like this book. There is a wealth of information in this encyclopedia.”

Now – as you must have guessed – my friend’s passionate hobby was ‘numismatics’ (the study of coins and medals) – he was an avid collector of rare coins and had an impressive collection.

Yes – those days – most naval officers had diverse hobbies – all sorts of activities ranging from outdoor pursuits like hiking, trekking, bird-watching, star-gazing, fishing etc – to the more prosaic indoor hobbies like philately and numismatics.

I saw how much my friend had liked the book – so I said to him: “Why don’t you buy the book…?”

“Yes,” he said, “I must buy this book.”

We asked the bookseller the price of the book.

The bookseller quoted an astronomical figure.

“Are you crazy?” I said to the bookseller, “yours is a pavement bookstall – and this is an old secondhand book – and you are quoting such a high price – which is even more than if this were a brand new book in a reputed bookstore…”

“Sir – this is a very rare book – a limited exclusive edition – see the prestigious foreign publisher – look at the date of publication – Sir – this book is long ‘out of print’ – you will not get this book anywhere…” the bookseller said.

“But the price is too high – you can surely give us some discount…” my friend said.

“Sorry, Sir – I cannot give you a discount on this book. Sir – you take it or leave it – but let me tell you – if you come tomorrow – you may not find this book here. An old gentleman showed interest in this book yesterday – he did not have the money – so he said that he may come today…” the bookseller said, driving a hard bargain.

We bargained and haggled – but the bookseller would not budge – he refused to reduce the price of the book.

Finally – I said to my friend, “If you have liked this book so much – why don’t you buy it…?”

“Look at the price of the book – it is almost half our monthly pay…” my friend said.

“Which whisky do you drink…?” I asked my shipmate.

“Whisky…? Have you gone crazy…?” my friend asked, taken aback, “What the hell has whisky got to do with this book on ‘numismatics’…?”

“Just tell me…” I said.

He told me his favourite brand of whisky.

“Now – you tell me – how many pegs of whisky do you drink every day…?” I asked him.

“3 – 4 – sometimes 5 large pegs…” he said.

“Okay – if you average it out – it works out to approximately 2 bottles of whisky a week…”

“Maybe…”

So let’s say you drink 2 bottles of whisky a week – that’s around 8 bottles a month…” I said.

“Not 8 – maybe 6 or 7 – I don’t drink every day,” he said.

“Okay – let’s say you drink 6 bottles of whisky a month – now you listen to me – you don’t drink for 2 months – and you will cover the cost of this book…” I said.

“What are you saying…?” he asked, looking confused.

“The price of this book is the same as around 10 bottles of whisky. You drink a minimum of 6 bottles of whisky a month – so that makes it 12 bottles every two months – and you can easily cover the cost of this book. So – you don’t drink for 2 months – or – if you cannot totally stop drinking – then drink one peg less every day till it adds up to 10 bottles – and you will cover the cost of this book…” I said.

“Are you off your rocker…? You are a really crazy guy – comparing booze and books…” my shipmate said.

“You smoke – don’t you…? Tell me – which brand of cigarettes….?” I asked him.

“Enough…!!!” my shipmate interrupted me, looking exasperated.

But – he seemed to have been convinced by my logic.

He pulled out his wallet – and – he bought the book.

NB: 

In case you are one of those “number crunching” types – here are some “facts and figures”:

  1. Those days –in the 1970’s –the basic pay of a Navy Lieutenant (Army Captain/Air Force Flight Lieutenant) was Rs. 1100 per month.
  1. In the Navy –a “peg” means a large peg (a “double”).
  1. When this story happened –we were serving on board a ship – so I am talking of Duty Free Scotch Whisky served in Wardrooms of Warships.

Today – if you are a civilian Book Lover – you can buy many good books in the cost of a bottle of Premium Scotch Whisky.

BOOKS IN LIEU OF LIQUOR  (Acronym: “BILL”)

I spent my entire “working life” in the Navy – and – since I was an honest officer – I do not have much money – nor – do I have many assets.

The only “wealth” I have are my books – which I have collected since my college days – and later – I bought plenty of books when I was in the Navy.

Whenever I wanted to buy a book – I always calculated its cost in terms bottles of booze.

And – in most cases – I bought the book.

Yes – when faced with a “Books versus Booze” dilemma – I always made sure that I bought Books in lieu of Liquor.

I drank a lot of Booze 

I read a lot of Books

All the Booze I drank – it vanished from my system by the very next day.

But – I still have all the Books that I bought “ in lieu of  all the Booze that I did not drink.

Today – in my home – I have plenty of Books adorning my bookshelves.

But – you will not find even a single bottle of Booze.

As I look at my impressive collection of Books – I think of all the bottles of Rum/Whisky that I did not drink.

It’s true – isn’t it…?

Even if you do not drink alcohol – you may consider Booze as a metaphor for any luxury, extravagance or “conspicuous consumption” that you indulge in

And – you may consider Books as a metaphor for “things of lasting value”

You spend lavishly on momentary pleasures like food, drink, clothes, movies, entertainment, holidays etc.

You splurge your money on transitory extravagant events like marriages, ceremonies, parties and such fleeting occasions.

You go on reckless shopping sprees buying things that you not need.

You generously indulge in “conspicuous consumption”.

But – when it comes to acquiring things of lasting value like books – you get stingy and tightfisted… 

Why this inexplicable paradox…?

EPILOGUE

While writing this story – I realised that during my bachelor days as a Naval Officer – I was an “intellectual drunkard”

Ha Ha – I drank a lot of Booze – and – I read a lot of Books

In fact – I loved reading while drinking – so – it would be apt to describe me as an “intellectual drunkard”

So – Dear Reader – here is some advice from an “intellectual drunkard”:

The next time you see a good book – remember this story about the Booze versus Books dilemma – and – make sure you:

SKIP THE BOOZE – and – BUY THE BOOK 

“Bibliotherapy” is always better than “Alcohol De-Addiction Therapy”

Cheers…!!!

Happy Reading

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/02/humor-in-uniform-booze-versus-books.html

This is an updated, abridged and revised version of my blog post BOOZE AND BOOKS written by me Vikram Karve on 13 Feb 2015 and posted online earlier in my blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/02/booze-and-books.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/09/humor-in-uniform-skip-booze-buy-book.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/humor-in-uniform-books-in-lieu-of-booze.html

“Square Peg” in “Round Hole” – Humor in Uniform

April 25, 2017

Humor in Uniform 

VIRUS OF HONESTY

Someone asked me:

“How is it possible for an officer to remain honest in the all pervasive corrupt environment of today…?”

I told him the story of an incorruptible officer I came across in the Navy – let us call him “J”.

Dear Reader:

Let me tell you the story of this honest officer who was afflicted by the “virus of honesty”

So– I will delve into my HUMOUR IN UNIFORM archives – and pull out the story of “J” – for you to read – and ponder over…

SQUARE PEG IN ROUND HOLE” 

Story of the Incorruptible Officer

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/humor-in-uniform-virus-of-honesty.html

“SQUARE PEG” IN “ROUND HOLE” – An Apocryphal Story By Vikram Karve

“J” was an honest, sincere, upright, straightforward, patriotic, service minded officer.

He truly epitomized the motto of his “alma mater”:

“SERVICE BEFORE SELF” 

“J” also scrupulously followed his Academy Honour Code:

“I shall not Lie – I shall not Cheat – I shall not Steal – and I will not tolerate those who do so” 

In a nutshell  “J” possessed ideal OLQ (Officer Like Qualities).

One day  most unexpectedly  “J” was posted to a “lucrative” appointment.

Everyone was surprised.

There had to be some mistake somewhere.

How could a “morally upright” officer like “J” be appointed to such a “profitable” appointment…?

There were rumors that this most “sought after” appointment was auctioned.

Or  you had to have heavy pull/patronage to get this “prize” appointment.

Sometimes  they gave such “lucrative” appointments to “loyal” officers on the verge of retirement  to enable them to settle down “comfortably” after retirement.

Most people were surprised how “J” had got this “lucrative” appointment.

Even “J” was aghast on seeing his appointment letter.

“J” was a career conscious officer.

Till now – his track record had been perfect.

“J” had done all the right courses – he had even qualified the prestigious “staff college” course which was a “passport” to higher rank.

“J” had held the best of appointments – in operations – on staff – and in training.

And – suddenly – out of the blue – disaster had struck – and “J” was appointed to a peripheral organization which had quite a sleazy reputation.

Were they trying to sideline him…?

Was it the “end of the road” for his Navy career ambitions…?

Had they put him on a “slippery slope”…?

“J” told his boss to get the transfer cancelled.

“J” protested to his boss:

“There is no way I am going there. I do not want to work in a corrupt organization.”

The boss looked sympathetically at “J” – and he said to “J”:

“It’s no use. I have already spoken to everyone to have your appointment cancelled. But orders for your transfer have come from the top. They want an honest and upright officer to clean up that organization and you have been handpicked to do the job. So – you have to go. I am sure you will be able to sort out those corrupt buggers and improve matters – and set things right over there.”

After “J” left – the boss murmured to himself:

“I only hope that he sorts them out – and that they don’t sort him out instead…!!!”

“J” reported to his new assignment.

From the very first day – “J” got on the job – setting things right – and ensuring that everything was done honestly – and strictly as per the rules and regulations.

All corrupt activities were stopped.

A few honest vendors and contractors were happy that things had been streamlined – and now – they did not have to pay bribes anymore – as long as they did things properly as per procedure.

But – most vendors and contractors – who had got used to profiteering by subverting the system – they were most unhappy.

And – as an immediate expression of their displeasure – they stopped paying the customary “mamool” – and the time-honored monthly “hafta” – to the employees of the office where “J” was in-charge.

Everyone tried their best to corrupt “J” – and – entice him into their corrupt ways.

But – “J” would not budge.

When they tried to bribe him with money – “J” refused – and he said to them:

“The salary I get is enough to meet my needs – so I don’t need any extra money.”

When they tried to induce him by offering him a flat in a posh township at “concessional” rates – “J” refused – and he said to them:

“My father has left me a bungalow – so I don’t need a house.”

When they offered him prized bottles of the choicest Single Malt Whisky – “J” refused – and he said to them:

“I drink Rum – and I can get as much Rum as I want from the Navy canteen.”

They tried everything – gifts, perks, favors, booze, discounts, kickbacks – but nothing worked.

His fellow officers in the organization were worried that “J” was setting a dangerous precedent.

They feared that if they did not act fast – the “virus of honesty” that “J” was afflicted by – this “virus of honesty may become contagious and spread all over – and “contaminate” the entire organization.

So – the other officers counselled “J” – and they advised him not to “rock the boat” – and that he should let things go on – as they were going on for so many years.

But nothing worked – and “J” remained steadfast in his honesty.

It was decided to call a meeting to discuss this grave issue of “J”.

Vendors, Contractors, all the staff of J’s office – even a rep from the organization’s headquarters – all were present.

“corruption consultant” (who was an expert on bribery and corruption) was specially invited to the meeting to brainstorm on how to cure “J” from the “virus of honesty.

“We are all in bad shape ever since “J” has arrived. All commissions, mamoolhafta, cuts – all our earnings have stopped. I am finding it impossible to pay my EMIs of the flat I have booked. Had I known that an incorruptible officer like “J” was coming – I would never have booked that expensive flat. Even day-to-day living has become difficult…” the No. 2 Man in J’s office complained.

“I have never seen a terrible bugger like “J” – he just won’t eat money himself – and if that is not bad enough – “J” does not let us eat money…” someone said, “He seems incorruptible.”

“No one is incorruptible – everyone has a price…” the “corruption consultant” said.

“But we tried everything possible – money, gifts, booze, concessional flat, plot of land – he does not want anything…” the No. 2 Man said.

“He must have some weakness that can be exploited…” the “corruption consultant” said.

“I don’t know whether I should say this…” said a young lady steno – a stenographer – who was J’s secretary.

“Say whatever you have to say. We need to brainstorm…” the “corruption consultant” said.

“I have seen him giving me the “glad eye” when he thought I wasn’t looking…” she said.

“See – I told you – the bugger has got to have some weakness…” the “corruption consultant” was exultant – and he said to the lady steno who was J’s secretary:

“So your boss “J” has got a roving eye for beautiful women…?”

“I think so – I have noticed the way he looks at me with yearning in his eyes…” the steno said shyly.

An entrepreneur – who was the main vendor – looked at the steno – and he said to the Steno: “Why don’t you…?”

“Me…? Are you crazy…? I am a married woman. How can you even say such things…?” the steno shouted angrily.

“Don’t worry. I have handled many such cases. I will make all the arrangements…” the “corruption consultant” said, “But we will need some funds…”

“Not to worry. We will finance everything…” the contractors and vendors said in unison.

“Now we have to find an opportune time…” the “corruption consultant” said.

The No. 2 Man looked at the consultant and said:

“I think he will be living alone from Monday onwards. His wife is going away to her mother’s place along with the children for the summer vacation.”

“Then what are we waiting for…? This is the opportune moment. See – everything is falling into place. You go ahead and talk to him – and I will arrange everything accordingly,” the “corruption consultant” said.

Seeing the confused look on the No. 2 Man’s face – the “corruption consultant” said:

“You don’t worry – I will tell you exactly what you should do…”

On Monday morning – the No. 2 Man entered J’s office – and after some official discussion – the No. 2 Man looked at “J” – and the No. 2 Man slyly said to “J”:

“Sir – your Madam has gone away to her mother’s place – so you must be feeling lonely. If you want – I can arrange some company for you…”

“You need not worry…” “J” said, “I have the company of my books. I plan to catch up on my reading.”

“Sir – not that type of company – I meant something to fulfill your desires…” the No. 2 Man said.

“To fulfill my desires – what do you mean…?” asked “J”, looking puzzled.

“Sir – we can arrange for you have a good time – the best girls – Sir – from top-class “escort services” – whatever you want – models, film stars, college girls, housewives, matured girls, working girls, virgins, aunties – “high society” girls – as per your choice – Sir – from best escort agencies – very discreet – Sir – as per your choice and taste – Sir – you name it – and we will arrange whatever you want…” the No. 2 Man said.

“J” could not believe what he was hearing.

He was dumbstruck.

“J” looked in stunned silence at his No. 2 Man.

The No. 2 Man broke the silence.

The No. 2 Man said to “J”:

“Sir – if you prefer male company – we can arrange cute boys, macho men….”

On hearing this – “J” lost his temper.

“J” shouted at his No. 2 Man:

“You get out of here immediately – or I will take disciplinary action against you…”

“J” looked so angry – so furious – that the No. 2 Man thought that “J” was going to have a heart attack or a paralytic stroke.

On seeing J’s anger – the terrified No. 2 Man ran away from J’s office.

EPILOGUE

They tried again and again to corrupt “J”.

But – they did not succeed in corrupting “J”.

They could not “cure” “J” from the “virus” of honesty.

“J” remained scrupulously honest for his entire tenure.

Yes – “J” proved that he was truly incorruptible.

After completing his tenure of 2 years without blemish – “J” moved on to his “criteria appointment”.

Then – a sad thing happened.

“J” was “passed over” for promotion – yes – he was superseded for promotion.

“J” was so devastated by his supersession – that he quit the Navy immediately.

I am happy to report that “J” did extremely well in his second innings in the “civvy street” – and he is enjoying great success in the corporate sector – where his ethics and moral values are valued.

Yes – his “Military Ethics are valued more in the civilian Corporate World – than in the Military itself…!!!

Quite a paradox, isn’t it…?

“J” still feels bad about quitting the Navy – a service he loved so much.

But – the fact of the matter is that:

J’s departure was a greater loss to the Navy – than it was to “J” himself.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/humor-in-uniform-virus-of-honesty.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This is a Re-Post of my Humor in Uniform Story “A Square Peg in a Round Hole” – Earlier Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 3/07/2014 04:03:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/03/humor-in-uniform-square-peg-in-round.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/04/honesty-in-uniform-incorruptible-officer.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/10/humor-in-uniform-square-peg-in-round.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/a-square-peg-in-round-hole.html

For a Military Officer – Is Mental Robustness more important then Physical Fitness…?

April 24, 2017

MILITARY LEADERSHIP 

OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES (OLQ)

PHYSICAL FITNESS versus MENTAL ROBUSTNESS

Musings of a Veteran By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/military-leadership-qualities.html

“ARTHRITIS” IN THE HEAD IS WORSE THAN ARTHRITIS IN THE KNEE

In his autobiography  A SOLDIER’S STORY  General Omar Nelson Bradley (the renowned American General who commanded the 12th Army, the largest army in World War II, during the invasion of Europe) recounts an incident.

During the war – one of the best Corps Commanders,  General Troy H Middleton  suffered an arthritic disability in the knee and it was suggested to General Marshall (the US Army Chief) that Middleton be sent home rather than be given command of a army corps in the field which was engaged in active combat.

General Marshall retorted:

I would rather have a man with arthritis in the knee than one with arthritis in the head. Keep Middleton there.”

General Marshall was proved right.

In Europe, as a part of Patton’s 3rd Army, Middleton commanded VIII Corps with distinction and successfully led it throughout the European Invasion all the way from Normandy to the Elbe.

Middleton was a seasoned campaigner, having commanded 45th Infantry Division in the Sicilian Campaign in II Corps (commanded by Patton and later by Bradley).

He was then promoted to command VIII Corps in Patton’s Third Army during the invasion in Europe, when he was struck by an attack of Arthritis.

Marshall’s insistence that “I would rather have a man with arthritis in the knee than one with arthritis in the head”  was proved right as Middleton performed brilliantly as a leader especially in the  Battle of the Bulge   (described below):

“Had not Middleton, egged-on by Patton, ordered unrelenting attacks against the assaulting Nazis – and – had not his infantrymen and tankers risen to highest levels of gallantry – the Germans certainly would have overcome the 101st’s resistance and been able to re-establish their supply lines leading to Bastogne”

Following this battle – Middleton led VIII Corps in its relentless push across Germany right into Czechoslovakia when Germany surrendered and the war ended.

Before the Battle of the Bulge, his leadership in Operation Cobra led to the capture of the important port city of Brest, France, and for his success he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Medal by General George Patton.

Middleton was recognized by both the Supreme Allied Commander Eisenhower and Army Commander Patton as being a corps commander of extraordinary abilities.

General Patton had recommended that if he became a battle casualty, then General Middleton should succeed him as commander of the 3rd Army.

Despite being “physically unfit” due to arthritis – General Middleton spent over 1200 days in war conditions in the field – ever since departing from America in January 1942.

Middleton logged 480 days in actual combat during World War II – more than any other American General Officer.

General Troy H Middleton achieved this remarkable and most spectacular military success despite have been stricken by arthritis in the knee.

(In India, he would have probably been declared a low medical category and he would have been invalided out of the army on medical grounds – so powerful are our army doctors – they can ruin career prospects of competent officers by the dreaded “weapon” of medical category)

This true story, of the arthritis afflicted General Middleton narrated above, exemplifies the importance of mental fitness for a military officer, especially in senior ranks.

Mental fitness is certainly as important as physical fitness, if not more.

In some cases, especially for senior officers, mental fitness is more important than physical fitness.

The importance of mental fitness over physical fitness is exemplified in the words of General Eisenhower (when it was repeatedly recommended to him by doctors that General Middleton should be sent back to America after his success in Africa and the Sicilian Campaign, as he was not physically fit for the forthcoming Invasion of Europe): “I don’t give a damn about his knees; I want his head and his heart. And I’ll take him into battle on a stretcher if we have to.”

Military history is replete with examples of this – during World War II, Fredendall  was replaced by  Patton  after American Forces suffered a reverse at  Kasserine Pass,  Auchinleck was replaced by Montgomery after defeat in the first battle of El Alamein,  and even during the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, a move was made to replace Kaul with Harbaksh Singh (decision reversed with disastrous consequences) but, finally, Kaul was replaced by Sam Manekshaw, but by then it was too late as the war was over.

Will it not be apt for the Indian Armed Forces, obsessed with “medical categories”, to mull over these words on the importance of mental fitness in senior officers.

PHYSICAL FITNESS AND MENTAL FITNESS EVALUATION IN THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES

Do we regard mental fitness to be as important as physical fitness in our armed forces (army, navy and air force)?

In the beginning (at the time of recruitment): Yes (For Officers, both Physical and Mental Fitness are evaluated in the initial selection process).

In India, the selection process for an officer in the armed forces (army, navy and air force) includes assessment of both physical fitness and mental fitness.

Physical fitness is tested at the Services Selection Board (SSB) followed by a thorough medical examination at the Military Hospital (MH).

Mental fitness is analyzed by various psychological tests, group tasks and interviews at the SSB.

Thus, both physical and mental fitness are confirmed before selection.

Thereafter, physical fitness is evaluated and confirmed every year by an Annual Medical Examination (AME) and Physical Evaluation Test (PET).

If an officer does not meet the specified standards, the officer’s medical category is downgraded and his career is adversely affected as the officer is considered unfit for combat duties.

Physical fitness is not taken for granted.

This is because it is felt that physical fitness of a person can change over the years depending on one’s health and the attention one pays to maintaining oneself.

However, mental fitness is never evaluated during your entire military career once you have been commissioned as an officer.

Mental fitness is taken for granted.

It is assumed that mental fitness does not change and there is no need to “examine” and confirm an officer’s mental fitness every year.

However – like physical fitness can change with time – similarly – mental fitness can also change over the years depending on life experiences.

PHYSICAL TOUGHNESS versus MENTAL ROBUSTNESS

Physical toughness and mental robustness are two different attributes.

Physical toughness does not automatically guarantee mental robustness.

Yes, it may not always be true that all physically tough persons will necessarily be mentally robust as well.

In the army, physical toughness may be more important for junior officers, but for senior leadership it is mental robustness that matters.

In his book  The Unfought War of 1962”  the author JR Saigal cites the example of his Brigade Commander who was physically tough but mentally weak-willed.

As a junior officer, he had suffered harrowing experiences as a prisoner of war during the Second World War and was determined not to become a prisoner again.

The Brigade Commander became so jittery when he heard of the advancing enemy that he abandoned his troops and fled from the battlefield even before the attack was launched by the enemy.

The author says that a person with such a vulnerable mental make-up should not have been posted anywhere near an operational area.

Yet such a shaky and mentally unfit officer was posted to a crucial command appointment – and that too in war.

DOES ACR SYNDROME CONVERT “LIONS IN ACTION” INTO “DOGS IN OBEDIENCE”…?

In the Navy too – I have seen many officers – who were mentally robust in their younger days – become mentally soft and lose their boldness as they become senior – due to their fervent ambition and fanatical obsession to get promoted to higher rank.

In their quest for promotion at any cost – these officers fall victim to the “ACR Syndrome” – since promotion is solely dependent on the all important ACR (Annual Confidential Report).

I once saw a Commanding Officer become a nervous wreck in his quest to earn an “outstanding” ACR – there were 10 other highly ambitious Commanding Officers in the Fleet of the same rank competing with him for promotion, and, he knew that the vacancies were very few, so the cut-throat competition was very tough.

I was astonished by the change in the mental makeup of this officer, since the same officer had been a robust happy-go-lucky carefree individual in his younger days.

It seemed that “zero error syndrome” coupled with his extreme ambition had made him fearful and lose his mental robustness.

Instead of enjoying his command, he was stressed out, since, due to his obsession for an “outstanding” ACR, he was doing a few things which he knew were wrong.

It is quite ironical, that instead of becoming more and more mentally forceful as they become senior, some highly ambitious officers start becoming spineless, due to their servility to the powers-that-be, as they crave for career-success and even yearn for post-retirement sops.

Thus, by the time they reach high rank, long years of submissiveness severely compromises their mental robustness and this may affect their command capability, especially in a crisis.

You cannot expect an officer to be a “dog in obedience” and “lion in action” at the same time.

Similarly, once an officer who was a “lion in action” gets slowly converted into a “dog in obedience” – it is very difficult to instantly re-convert the “dog in obedience” back into a “lion in action”.

ANNUAL MENTAL FITNESS ASSESSMENT 

WHY NOT HAVE ANNUAL PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION (APE)

One solution to alleviate this problem is to have an Annual Psychological Examination (APE) to assess the current “Mental and Emotional Fitness” of an officer and ascertain his suitability for leadership in combat situations.

In today’s world, modern tools and techniques are available to conduct such psychological tests.

All that needs to be done is to include an Annual Psychological Examination (APE)along with the Annual Medical Examination (AME).

It is as simple as that.

The APE will ensure that the military will have officers at the top who are as mentally robust as they are physically tough.

And those with “arthritis in the head” will be weeded out.

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 observations and life experiences and the stories and examples quoted may be apocryphal.
  2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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/2016/09/military-leadership-qualities.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This post is a Revised and Updated Version of my Article First Posted by me Vikram Karve on 22 Oct 2013 at 10/22/2013 11:59:00 PM in my blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/10/military-musings-is-mental-fitness-most.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/10/military-olq-officer-like-qualities.html  and  https://karve.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/musings-on-military-officer-like-qualities-olq/

Marriages in Uniform – Do Lady Officers Prefer to Marry their “Brother” Officers rather than Civilians…?

April 23, 2017

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

Do the Defence Services encourage “Marriage in Uniform”…?

Conversely

Do the Defence Services discourage Marriage with Civilians…?

Read this story and decide for yourself…

STORY OF THE LADY NAVAL OFFICER WHO MARRIED A CIVILIAN (A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve)

“A” was a brilliant young Lady Naval Officer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This surely would not add value to her Technical Experience.

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

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

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

Luckily – after serving at different places – “A” had been posted to Mumbai 6 months earlier – and she looked forward to spending the next 3 years with her husband in Mumbai – by which time her short service tenure of 7 years in the Navy would come to an end.

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

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

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

We asked her what was the matter.

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

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

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

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

“Yes…” she said indignantly.

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

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

He rang back a few hours later saying that – indeed yes – there was an unwritten “spouse posting” policy that a “Naval Couple” was to be accommodated in the same station to the extent feasible.

“This amounts to victimization…” I said.

“Victimization…?” he said, sounding surprised.

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

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

“Okay – Okay – I will do something,” he said, “But – it is “A” who is responsible for her own problem. Why did she marry a civilian…? She should have married a fellow Naval Officer like most Women Navy Officers do. Then we would have adjusted her in the same place…”

I was flabbergasted by his argument.

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfully – “A” was able to spend the first few years of her married life with her “civilian” husband – till her short service commission tenure was over – and she quit the Navy.

MARRIAGE PROSPECTS FOR LADY DEFENCE OFFICERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And – as we saw in the story you just read – are the Armed Forces encouraging “in-house romances” and “in-service marriages” by giving various incentives like “spouse posting policy” etc…?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT 

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

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

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

These women military officers were called Lady Officers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Reader: Please comment and give us your views

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

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

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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

Do You Want to Send Your Children to “Boarding School”

April 22, 2017

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/a-small-girls-story-why-i-am-going-to.html

DO YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO BOARDING SCHOOL…? 

No small child likes to go to “Boarding School”.

No parents would like to willingly send their children to “Boarding School” – especially at a young age.

There is always some reason why parents send their small children to Boarding School.

In my case – I was sent to Boarding School in the 1960’s – at the tender age of 9 years and 3 months – because my father was posted to remote places where proper schooling facilities did not exist (In the early 1960’s – Kendriya Vidyalayas had not proliferated all over India as they are today)

So – we had many “Defence Brats” – children with “military” parents in transferable jobs to remote locations with no schooling facilities.

In another case – parents were undergoing “non-amicable” divorce and fighting a bitter custody battle for their only son – so they thought it was best to send their small son to a Boarding School till the case was decided.

Some parents feel that Boarding School will inculcate a sense of discipline their children – so they send their indisciplined “spoilt brats” to Boarding School to get disciplined.

Recently – someone suggested that Boarding School was a good option for “career couples” (especially those in long-distance marriages).

Boarding School has both pros and cons.

It gives you uninterrupted education (in case of transferable parents – you do not have to change schools every 2 years because of your parents’ posting) – and – it makes you independent and tough.

But there are disadvantages as well – you lose out on family relationships – and you have to make a special effort to learn your own mother-tongue and culture.

So – when a “Techie” couple asked me whether they should send their child to a Boarding School – I was reminded me of a story I had written long back during the days of the “IT Boom” in Pune – a story narrated by a small girl who is being sent to a Boarding School.

Dear Reader: Here is the story…

WHY I AM GOING TO BOARDING SCHOOL
A SMALL GIRL’S STORY
Short Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE

NB: I wrote this story long ago – around 20 years ago – in the 1990’s – during the days of the first Information Technology Boom (IT Boom) in the end 1990’s – which transformed Pune from a laid back salubrious Pensioner’s Paradise – into a bustling cosmopolitan metro.

This is one of my favorite stories – A Small Girl’s Story – narrated in her own words…

WHY I AM GOING TO BOARDING SCHOOL

A SMALL GIRL’S STORY – Short Fiction By VIKRAM KARVE

It all started when God took my baby brother away.

Poor thing – my poor baby brother – poor little thing…

God took him away even before he was born.

And – Mamma was never the same again.

She changed forever.

We were all so happy then – before God took my baby brother away.

A happy family – My Papa – My Mamma – My loving Granny – and cute little Me.

We all lived in a cute little house in a place called Madiwale Colony in Sadashiv Peth in Pune.

In the morning – Papa caught the company bus to his factory in Pimpri – and Mamma walked me down to my school nearby on Bajirao Road.

And – in the evenings – we would all go to the “Talyatla Ganpati” Temple in Saras Baug – play on the lush green lawns – and if Papa was in a good mood – he would treat me to a yummy Bhel prepared by the man with the huge flowing beard at the Kalpana Bhel stall at Parvati Chowk on Tilak Road – on our way back home.

On Sundays – we would go to Laxmi Road for shopping – eat Misal at Santosh Bhavan – and have Amba Ice Cream at Ganu Shinde – and – maybe – a Marathi movie at Prabhat, Vijay or Bhanuvilas.

And – once in a while – Papa would take us on his Bajaj scooter to Camp – or a ride on the Jangli Maharaj Road – or to picnic spots like Khadakwasla and Katraj lakes – or hiking up Sinhagarh Fort – and once we even went all the way to Lonavala – Papa, Mamma and me – all 3 of us riding on our beloved and hardy scooter.

It was a good life – and we were happy and content.

Two things are a must for a happy home.

First – you must love your home 

And – you must always want to go home – because – your home is the best place in the world for you

Second – your home must love you 

Your home must want you to come home – beckon you – yes – your home must welcome you and wait for you to come back – and – just like a pet dog – your home must be happy when you come back – and – your home must always want you to live at home.

Our cute little house in Sadashiv Peth – with all the loving people in living in it – was indeed a happy home – we loved our home – and – our home loved us.

And – I had lots of friends all around.

One day – they all said Mamma was going to have a baby.

Being a girl myself – I wanted a baby sister to play with – but Granny scolded me – and she said that it must be a baby brother – so I said okay – I would manage with a baby brother.

And suddenly one day – when Mamma’s tummy was bloating quite a bit – they rushed her to hospital – and God took my unborn baby brother away.

Yes – God took my unborn baby brother away.

It was at this moment that Mamma changed forever.

I sat beside Mamma in the hospital and consoled her: “Don’t worry. God will send another baby brother.”

And on hearing this – Mamma started crying.

She said she would never be able to have a baby again – and I was her only baby.

My Mamma looked pale – and she had a sad look in her eyes for many days – even after leaving hospital.

And most of the time – Mamma would sit alone – brooding by the window – or moping all alone in her room.

“She will go crazy sitting in the house all day. Your wife must do something…!” everyone said.

But Papa was adamant: “Who will look after the house, my mother, my daughter…?” he asked.

“Don’t worry – I will manage everything…” Granny said.

So Mamma joined a Computer class nearby.

And soon – she started becoming normal and happy again.

“She is a natural programmer…” my Mamma’s teachers praised her.

And when she finished the course – my Mamma was offered a good job in a top IT software firm.

“No way…” said Papa, “I am the breadwinner. I don’t want my wife to work. I want her to look after the house.”

“MCP… MCP…” everyone said to Papa.

I did not know what MCP meant – but it made Papa very angry.

“Let her work. I will manage the house…” Granny said.

“Don’t worry, Papa. Please let Mamma work. I am a big girl now and I can look after myself. I will study regularly and come first in class…” I promised.

And so – Mamma started working.

And when Mamma brought home her first pay cheque – she gave it to Papa.

My Papa did not take the cheque.

Instead – he said proudly:

“I will be the last person to touch my wife’s money. I would rather starve – than live off my wife’s money.”

So my Mamma gave the money to Granny.

And Papa did not say a thing – he just sulked for days.

Life was hectic now.

Mamma got up very early – cooked the food – did the housework – got ready – and then both Papa and Mamma caught their respective company buses to their faraway workplaces – he went to his factory in Pimpri – and she went to the IT Park at Hinjewadi.

And after that Granny made me ready – I walked down Bajirao Road to my school.

One day my Mamma’s boss came home with Mamma.

He said the company wanted to send Mamma abroad to America to work onsite on a project.

My Mamma’s boss had come to our home to convince Papa to let her go to America.

I thought that Papa would argue – and I hoped he would not let Mamma go to America.

But surprisingly – my Papa meekly agreed – probably thinking it was futile to argue – and Mamma went away to America for three months.

Then there was an “IT Boom”.

IT… IT… Software… Software… Everywhere…

That was a turning point in our lives.

Mamma started doing better and better – becoming more and more successful – doing more and more projects – and earning more and more money.

Papa felt jealous that Mamma was earning more than him – so he took Voluntary Retirement (VRS) from his job – and he started a business.

I don’t know what he exactly did – but his business was something to do with software and hardware.

My Papa got so busy – that he came home late in the evenings.

Now – Papa had no time for me – but his business seemed to be doing quite well.

And then – a competition started between my Papa and my Mamma.

And soon – they both were making so much money that – one day – they said that Sadashiv Peth wasn’t a good enough place for us to live in any longer – as it did not befit their new found status…!

So we moved to a luxury apartment in a fancy township in a posh suburb of Pune – and I was put in a famous elite school known more for its snob appeal than academic accomplishments and studies.

Our new house was in a beautiful colony – far away from the city – with landscaped gardens – a clubhouse – a swimming pool – a gym – and so many facilities.

It was so luxurious – and the people living here were so highbrow and snobbish – that Granny and I were miserable.

“It’s like a 5 star prison…” my Granny would say.

She was right in one way.

For the whole day when we all were away – Granny was trapped inside the apartment with nothing to but watch soaps on cable TV in airconditioned comfort.

I too missed our cute old house in Sadashiv Peth – the Bhel – the trips to Saras Baug and Laxmi Road – and – most of all – my earlier friends who were so friendly – unlike the snobbish people here.

Oh yes – this luxury apartment was indeed a better HOUSE

But – our cute old place in Sadashiv Peth was certainly a better HOME

But Granny and me – we managed somehow – as Mamma increased her trips abroad to America – and Papa was busy expanding his flourishing business.

And one day – suddenly – God took Granny away.

Mamma was abroad in America on an important project – and she just could not come home immediately.

She came back after one month.

And then for days and days – Papa and Mamma kept discussing something.

I sensed that they were discussing about me – because whenever I would come they would keep quiet or change the topic.

And tomorrow morning – I am off to an elite boarding school in Panchgani.

I do not know whether what has happened is good or bad – or what is going to happen in future.

But one thing is sure:

 If God had not taken my baby brother away  I would not be going to boarding school.

Yes – if God hadn’t taken my baby brother away – Mamma wouldn’t have taken up a job – and – I wouldn’t be going to boarding school.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/a-small-girls-story-why-i-am-going-to.html

This is a revised updated version of my Fiction Story WHY I AM GOING TO BOARDING SCHOOL – A SMALL GIRL’S TALE Written By Me Vikram Karve around 20 Years ago in the end 1990’s and also posted online earlier a number of times on my creative writing blogs at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/08/why-i-am-going-to-boarding-school.html  and  http://creative.sulekha.com/why-i-am-going-to-boarding-school_58256_blog  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/06/why-i-am-going-to-boarding-school-story.html  and  https://www.quora.com/profile/Vikram-Karve/Writing-by-VIKRAM-KARVE/Childrens-Day-Story  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/why-i-am-going-to-boarding-school-small.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/09/a-small-girls-tale-blog-fiction.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/07/my-favourite-short-stories-part-7-why-i.html  and http://creative.sulekha.com/my-story-a-small-girl-s-tale_52171_blog  and https://karve.wordpress.com/2007/02/05/my-story-a-fiction-short-story-by-vikram-karve-2/ and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/why-i-am-going-to-boarding-school-small.html etc

Why does “Bad” always win over the “Good”…?

April 22, 2017

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/the-good-bad-and-reverse-osmosis.html

“BAD” TENDS TO PREVAIL OVER THE “GOOD” 

There is a “Good” Boy – and – there is a “Bad” Boy.

The two boys become friends.

Which is more likely…?

Will the “Bad” Boy become a “Good” Boy…?

Or – will the “Good” Boy become a “Bad” Boy…?

If one goes by most cases one has observed – it is more likely that the “Good” Boy will become a “Bad” Boy – by picking up “bad habits” from the “Bad” Boy.

It is very unlikely that the “Bad” Boy will emulate the “Good” Boy and turn a new leaf.

This happens at the organizational level as well.

Around 20 years ago – “Private Banks” started proliferating in India – earlier there were mostly “Public Sector Banks”.

“Private Banks” introduced new standards of customer service which were impressive.

We thought that “Public Sector Banks” would emulate “Private Banks” and improve their standard of customer service.

But – exactly the opposite happened.

The customer service in “Private Banks” deteriorated to the level of “Public Sector Banks”.

Instead of “Public Sector Banks” emulating “Private Banks” – the opposite happened.

Well – it may not be fair to generalize – and – I have had excellent customer service with one “Public Sector Bank” – but that may be an exception.

However – the excellent customer service that one “Private Bank” provided earlier – has certainly deteriorated.

These thoughts remind me of an article I had written long ago on the concept of “REVERSE OSMOSIS” in Human and Organizational Behaviour – based on my own observations.

Dear Reader: Here is the article – abridged and updated – for you to read and think over…

REVERSE OSMOSIS IN HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

Musings of a Retired Veteran By Vikram Karve

REVERSE OSMOSIS in HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

“BAD” TENDS TO INFLUENCE THE “GOOD”

Each individual has some good points and some bad points.

Yes – every person has some positive attributes and some negative attributes.

When two individuals interact – and they become friends or colleagues – we expect that each one will imbibe the good aspects of the other one.

But on many occasions exactly the opposite happens  and each one picks up the bad habits of the other one.

In most cases – the “bad” tends to influence the “good”.

In fact – “bad” prevails over the “good”

It is very rare that the “good” wins over the “bad”.

This phenomenon of “reverse osmosis” is more predominant in youngsters who are of an impressionable age where peer pressure influences you and dominates your actions.

Let us take a scenario of youngsters who join the Defence Services – Army, Navy or Air Force.

Suppose a young man who is a non-drinker in civilian life joins the Navy.

He has shipmates, friends and course-mates who drink Alcohol.

Tell me – which is more likely:

  1. Will the shipmates who are drinkers pick up the positive virtue of temperance from the non-drinker –and – will they all quit drinking alcohol and become teetotallers…?

or

  1. Will the non-drinker “emulate” his friends and start drinking alcohol…? 

Experience shows that the second option is more likely.

Most of us picked up our smoking and drinking habits emulating our smoker and drinker friends – did we not…?
Yes – if you are a non-smoker – and – you have smoker friends – you are more likely to become a smoker.

It is unlikely that all your smoker friends will emulate you and become non-smokers – will they give up their smoking habit  and become a non-smoker like you.

It is the same with drinking and other addictions too.

Think of your school and college days – and – think about all the habits you picked up in your youth.

It may be due to peer pressure or other reasons – but – we tend to pick up bad habits more easily from those we interact with – instead of imbibing their good points.

It is the same with other bad habits like drinking, gambling and harmful addictions and undesirable activities.

It is more common to see good persons “falling” into bad company and ruining their lives.

On the contrary – it is quite rare to see a “bad” person being reformed by “good” company.

You must have seen many persons falling in bad company.

But have you seen any person rising in good company…?

It is easier to slide down the slippery slope of vices. 

It is difficult to climb up the steep gradient of virtue.

REVERSE OSMOSIS in and out of Uniform

CIVILIANS IN UNIFORM and SOLDIERS IN CIVILIAN DRESS

This phenomenon of “reverse osmosis” happens at the group level and organizational level too.

When two organizations interact we expect that each organization will imbibe the positive aspects of the other’s organizational culture.

However – sometimes exactly the opposite happens.

Let me give you an example from my own experience.

When I was in the Navy – I was once posted to an institution called IAT Pune.

IAT was an inter-service training and research organization.

There were officers of two different cadres posted in IAT:

  1. Uniformed Defence Officers of the Army Navy and Air Force

and

  1. Civilian Research Scientists

It was expected that when these two different types of cadres interacted with each other – each cadre would inculcate the positive aspects of the other.

I thought that the “laid back” scientists would imbibe the good habits of punctuality and discipline from the defence service officers.

I also expected that the “do-as-you-are-told” regimented “soldiers” would cultivate a right-brain “out of the box” thinking approach and imbibe a “scientific temper” from the scientists.

To my amusement – I observed exactly the opposite.

The “Soldiers” were quick to embrace the slack discipline and the laid-back “chalta hai” attitude of the Scientists.

In contrast  the Scientists were quick to adopt the rigid thinking and hierarchical rank-consciousness prevalent among uniformed Military Officers.

In fact – some scientists became so rank conscious and were so sensitive about their “status” – that they were obsessed with things like “inter-se seniority” and “rank equivalence”  of Scientists – especially vis-a-vis military officers and civilian bureaucrats – and – this rank consciousness often resulted in strained relations, ego clashes and turf wars between Uniformed Service Officers and Civilian Scientists.

Despite the fact that they called themselves “Scientists”  these Boffins were extremely hypersensitive about their place in the “pecking order”.

It was amusing to see these “boffins” wasting most of their energy in arguments debating on this contentious issue of “inter-se seniority” vis-a-vis military officers and getting agitated over disputes as to who was senior and who was junior – instead of getting on with their scientific research work.

Research Scientists had imbibed Military Hierarchy Concepts which are totally alien to a “scientific temper”.

Some civilians were afflicted by military “rankomania” to such an extent  that one “senior” scientist even demanded that he be saluted by uniformed troops.

The upshot of all this was that most “research scientists” became more interested in “administering” and “managing” instead of devoting themselves to conducting scientific research.

The end result of this soldier-civilian interaction was that you got exactly the opposite of what you had envisaged.

Thanks to “reverse osmosis” – the mutual interaction between servicemen and scientists ended up producing “civilians in uniform” and “soldiers in civil dress”.

I have seen this phenomenon of “reverse osmosis” happening in other “quasi-military” organisations like DGQA, DRDO, MES, NCC and in Delhi Centric Defence Headquarters and Offices as well – where there are a large number of civilians interacting with uniformed service officers and personnel.

Such are the ironies, paradoxes, incongruities and absurdities of life which you can observe all around you.

This phenomenon of “reverse osmosis” can be seen during “jointmanship” and in many tri-service units and inter-service institutions.

You bring together two different sets of individuals hoping that each will imbibe the good aspects of the other – but exactly the opposite happens.

You want “osmosis” – but – you end up getting “reverse osmosis”.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/the-good-bad-and-reverse-osmosis.html

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Article was written by me Vikram Karve in June 2012 and earlier posted by me Vikram Karve on 15 September 20129/15/2012 12:57:00 PM in this blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/09/good-habits-and-bad-habits-reverse.html and url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/civilians-in-uniform-and-soldiers-in.html and url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/06/humor-in-uniform-civilians-in-uniform.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/06/humor-in-uniform-reverse-osmosis.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/11/reverse-osmosis-in-human-behaviour-bad.html

Musings of a Veteran – Are You Ready for “Departure”…?

April 21, 2017

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/are-you-ready-for-departure.html

Are You Ready for “Departure”…? 

A few days ago – I wrote a story called “ZEST FOR LIFE” – and posted it on my Blog.

If you have read the story – and – you remember it – you can skip PART 1 of the article – and – straightaway go to PART 2 – “ARE YOU READY FOR “DEPARTURE”…?”

In case you have not read the story “ZEST FOR LIFE” – or – if you you want to read it again – I am giving the URL link below – and – I am also posting the story below for your convenience to read – as Part 1 of this Blog Post.

Zest for Life URL: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/zest-for-life.html

Even if you have read Part 1 “Zest for Life” before – it may be a good idea to read it again – just to recap.

So – Dear Reader – first – please read Part 1 – “Zest for Life” – and then – you can read Part 2 – “Are You Ready for “Departure”…?” 

Do introspect on the moot question at the end: “Are You Ready for “Departure”…?”

ARE YOU READY FOR “DEPARTURE”…?”

A Spoof  By Vikram Karve

PART 1

ZEST FOR LIFE 

Around 30 years ago – in the 1980’s – when I was travelling by the Deccan Queen – I was pleasantly surprised to see an uncle who was in the Army.

He was delighted to see me too.

I changed my seat – so that I could sit next to him on the 3 hour journey from Pune to Mumbai.

He told me that he had retired from the Army on superannuation a few days ago as a Major General.

Then – he said that he had taken up a job in Pune – in the industry – and – he was going for a training course.

“Training…? At this age…?” I asked him, surprised.

“Well – I am only 56…” he said.

(Those days Major Generals retired on superannuation at the age of 56 – later the age of superannuation was increased by 2 years for all officer ranks – and now – Major Generals retire at the age of 58)

“You are 56 – and – you want to take up a new job…?” I asked him.

“Why not…? I still feel young – and – I want to work – in fact – I am most enthusiastic about this new job – there is so much I want to do…”

“Which firm are you joining…? I asked him.

He told me the name of the industrial firm – it was a famous and reputed organization – probably the largest in Pune – or even in India.

“Oh – that’s great…” I said, “so – what are you joining as…?”

“DGM – Deputy General Manager – I will be working in HR and Training…”

“You are joining as a mere DGM…?”

“Yes – why are you looking so surprised…?”

“You were heading a premier military training establishment…” I said.

“That was before I retired. Now – I have to unlearn all my military training and begin afresh. And – by the way – I am only 56 – and it is never too late to start learning…” he said.

He talked with passion about his new job in “Civvy Street”.

I was impressed by childlike enthusiasm.

Despite having “retired” – he had a “zest for living”.

I had a few classmates who worked in the same industrial firm which my uncle had joined.

A few weeks later – we had a get-together of classmates – and – I asked them about my uncle.

They were full of praise for him – the way he had rejuvenated the training in that organization – his MBWA (Management By Walking Around) Style (earlier – Senior HR Executives never walked on the Shop-Floors talking to Workers) – they were all really impressed by my uncle – his positive approach and style of working.

Those days – I was on a ship based in Mumbai – so – whenever my ship was in port – I often came down to Pune on weekends.

On one such visit – I happened to see my uncle getting down from his company bus.

Yes – he was travelling in his company bus (his firm was known to be rather “egalitarian”)

Also – those days – in Pune – the “industrial off” was on Thursdays – and all industries worked on Saturday and Sunday.

So – though for me it was a “weekend” – for my uncle – it was a working day.

I ran across and greeted my uncle.

He was happy to see me too.

“So – have you come to Pune on weekend…?” he asked me.

“Yes…” I said, “And you…? How come you are getting down here…?”

“I wanted to do some shopping – then I will walk home…” he said.

(His home was around 3 Kms away)

“Let’s have a cup of tea…” I said.

“Of course – where…?” he said, enthusiastically.

“How about “Good Luck”…?”

“Great choice – nothing to beat a good cup of Irani Chai…”

We walked down to “Good Luck” Café – and soon – we were sitting at a window table relishing the delicious tea.

I pulled out my cigarette packet.

“Wow – “Benson and Hedges”…?” my uncle exclaimed.

“We get them “Duty-Free” on board ship…” I said – and – I offered him a cigarette.

“Well – actually speaking – I have quit smoking a long time ago – but then – this special occasion – I think it calls for a smoke – so – I will make an exception…” my uncle said, and he took a cigarette from the pack I had proffered towards him.

He spoke excitedly – about his work – about his plans to introduce new innovations in training – about his visits to campuses for recruitment – he really seemed to be enjoying his job – and he was eagerly looking forward to implementing all his ideas and doing good work.

I told him that my classmates were full of praise for him and appreciated his working style.

My uncle seemed pleased on hearing this – and – he said to me: “I am so happy that youngsters like my work – but – you must ask them for honest feedback too – so that I can continually improve…”

“Yes – I will ask them and tell you…”

“I wouldn’t mind meeting them informally – youngsters have great ideas and I can always learn from them…” he said.

I said that I would arrange a “party” on my next visit – and he heartily agreed to come.

After tea – we parted – and – I saw my uncle walk away with a spring in his step at such a brisk pace – a speed that even youngsters would find it difficult to walk.

I was truly amazed at his “zest for living”.

Yes – even after his “superannuation” from the Army – instead of “calling it a day” and living a “retired” life – he was enjoying his “second innings” with a childlike enthusiasm – enjoying – “living” – every moment of his life.

Yes – despite his advancing years – he really had a “zest for life”.

A few days later – I got a telephone call.

“There is sad news…”

“Grandfather…?” I asked (my old grandfather was bedridden with prolonged illness)

“No. Uncle…”

“Which Uncle…?”

“The one who was in the Army…”

“What…? The one who was a Major General and is now working in “XXX” company…?”

“Yes. He died last night…”

“But how is that possible…? I met him a few days ago. We had tea together. He was “hale and hearty” and very cheerful. In fact – I was going to have a party for him with my classmates – and he had promised to come. How could he die so suddenly…?”

“He died peacefully in his sleep. They say it was a heart attack…”

“Oh My God – it is very sad – I can’t believe it…”

“His funeral is a 5 PM in the evening…”

“I am starting right now – I will be there…” I said.

There were a large number of people to pay respects to the departed soul – his Army Colleagues – mostly Veterans and a few “Top Brass” – a huge number of coworkers from his company – friends and well-wishers.

I felt very sad.

He was not ready for death.

He wanted to do so many things in life.

He had such a “zest for living”.

He did not want to die.

He wanted to live.

But – death snatched him away.

However – looking at it from another angle – he died happy.

He had not “hung up his boots” (as they say)

He “died with his boots on”…!!!

He died when he never expected to die.

He must have gone to sleep thinking about the exciting things he was going to do the next day.

But – he never woke up to do those heartening things he was looking forward to doing.

Is there a happier way to die than this…?

Isn’t it best to die when you still have a “zest for life”…?

I too want to die when I still have a zest for life.

I don’t want to live when I have lost the zest for living.

Dear Reader: What about you…?

PART 2

ARE YOU READY FOR “DEPARTURE”…?

At the end of Part 1 “Zest for Life” – I had concluded:

“I want to die when I still have a zest for life.

I don’t want to live when I have lost the zest for living…”

Now – let me introspect.

At this very moment – as a “young” senior citizen in my early 60’s – I still have a “zest for living”.

But – how long will my “zest for living” last…?

As you grow old – just like a machine cannot always remain in “tip top” condition – your body also ages and becomes old – and you start having age-related health issues.

There are “aches” and “pains” – and – you can’t do all the things you could easily do in your younger days.

I love to eat – but my teeth are no longer in the best of condition to eat all types of food that I used to eat earlier – and I have to be careful.

I have to wear reading glasses – and rest my eyes from time to time – to avoid “dry-eye”.

I have to take care not to over-exert myself and exercise moderately.

But – all said and done – I still have a “zest for life

I haven’t sunk into “geriatric depression” – though – once in a while –“gerontophobia” creates negative thoughts within me – especially when I see old people in misery – and – I have heard many such miserable old people lament: “old age is a curse”.

All this makes me say to myself:

I want to die when I still have a zest for life – and – I don’t want to live when I have lost the zest for living…”

And then – I ask myself:

“Am I ready for “departure” from this world…?”

Let me introspect and try to answer this “moot question”.

There are 3 aspects to your life:

  1. Your Work Life
  2. Your Social/Family Life
  3. Your Personal Life

Let me start with my “work life” – am I ready for “departure”…?

On the “career” front – my professional career is over – and – I am “useless”.

I was not a “job hopper” – I spent my entire “working life” in the Navy.

A few years ago – I retired from the Navy on attaining the age of “superannuation”.

Please note – I did not take voluntarily “pre-mature retirement” – but – I was honourably “pensioned-off” – since I had reached the “age of superannuation” – an age beyond which I was considered “useless” (superannuated).

I have done whatever I was supposed to do in my vocation – and now – work-wise – I am redundant and “useless” – as far as my professional expertise is concerned.

My “expertise” is no longer valued or required by anyone.

So – I have nothing left to offer in my “trade-craft”.

As far as my “profession” is concerned – I have done whatever I had to do – I have nothing left to do – and – I am ready for “departure” from this world.

Yes – “professionally” – I am ready for “departure”.

So – as far as my “work-life” is concerned – I am ready for “departure”

Now – let us see my status on the “family” front – am I ready for “departure”…?

As far as my family is concerned – my so-called “worldly” obligations are over.

Both my children are pursuing their own professions and living their own independent lives.

My children are self-sufficient.

They no longer require me – nor do they need my assistance.
In fact – I suspect that they consider me a “nuisance”.

As far as my “Better Half” is considered – I have provisioned quite well for her.

In fact – strictly from the “materialistic” point of view – she will be much “better-off” after my “departure” – than she is now.

Moneywise – she will get a generous “family pension” – my savings – my investments – benefits of my insurance policies – and – of course – our house etc etc

To put it in a nutshell – she will inherit “all my moveable and immovable property” – and “materialistically” – she will be quite well-off after my “departure”

Of course – immediately after my “departure” – she may experience a bit of “administrative inconvenience” – she may miss me “administratively” for the various “jobs” and “chores” that I do as a dedicated “househusband” and her “manager” – paying bills, banking/financial management, daily household shopping etc. etc. – but – since she is intelligent and capable – and she is a quick learner – so – I am sure that she will be able to manage all her affairs very efficiently in due course.

Emotionally – I really don’t know whether she will miss me too much – since ours is not a “love” marriage.

I am quite a “solitary” person – especially after retirement – a “recluse” – a “loner” – but – unlike me – my “Better Half” is “gregarious” by nature – and hence – she fosters good relationships – she is so emotionally involved with her children/mother/sister/friends/relatives etc. etc. – that – she will forget me pretty quickly – and – she won’t miss me at all.

To elucidate this point – let me give you an illustrative analogy from literature.

If you have read the inimitable novel Catch-22 – in Chapter 31 – is vividly described – the story of Mrs. Daneeka – wife of Doc Daneeka – who is declared “dead”.

At first – on hearing the news of her husband’s “death” – Mrs. Daneeka is distraught.

But soon – money starts flowing in – huge insurance amounts, widow’s pensions, various gratuities, ex-gratia payments, allowances and various types of monetary benefits – a substantial fortune – and – Mrs. Daneeka realizes that – strictly from the financial point of view – she is much better-off with her husband dead – rather than alive.

While – financially – she is cheered by her new measure of wealth – socially – not only does she gain sympathy – but she also experiences a new feeling of freedom.

So – Mrs. Daneeka quickly overcomes the “grief” of her husband’s death – and – she moves on in life.

In fact – sometime later – comfortably well-settled with her newfound wealth and social status – she appears to be pleased that her husband is dead.

Just like the “happily ever after” story of the “bereaved” Mrs. Daneeka – I feel that it will be a similar story for my “Better Half” after I “depart”.

In fact – I have seen this happen to many women – who become “better off” after their husbands “depart”.

So – once my “Better-Half” becomes “Better-Off” (pardon the pun) – yes – when she becomes “better off” – hopefully – she will forget me pretty quickly – move on in life – and she won’t miss me at all.

In fact – no one will miss me after I “depart”.

Thanks to my “abrasive” personality, moody behaviour and petulant nature – very few people get along with me – in fact – no one likes me.

Some may “tolerate” me – but no one “likes” me.

My relatives don’t like me – and – I have no friends.

The only “person” who loved me was my pet dog Sherry – but sadly – she passed away to her heavenly abode some time ago.

In fact – Sherry loved me so much (and I loved her dearly too) – that she would have missed me terribly – if I had “departed” when she was alive.

But – as far as humans are concerned – no one will miss me after I “depart”.

Hence – from the “socio-familial” point of view – I am ready for “departure”.

So – both from the “work/career” and “social/family” points of view – I have no utility value left – I have nothing left to offer – and – I am ready for “departure”.

Now – let me see whether I am “ready for departure” on the personal front.

Have I done whatever I had to do…?

Have I nothing left to offer…?

Let me think.

I have just one thing left to offer – my unwritten thoughts – my stories – the stories germinating and perambulating in my mind – waiting to be told.

Yes – I have to tell the world all the stories germinating and resonating eagerly inside my brain – waiting to come out.

That is the only thing left for me to do now – to tell my untold stories.

I have to write all the stories in my mind and post them on my blog.

That is all I have left to offer to this world – all my “unwritten writings” dwelling in my mind – my stories – my thoughts – my “wisdom”.

And once I have written all my stories and posted them on my blog – I will be truly ready for “departure”…

Now – this is a mammoth task – because I have got so many untold stories to tell.

So – Dear Reader – let me get busy – and write all the stories germinating and perambulating in my mind – and once I finish writing all my “unwritten writings” and posting them on my blog – as my legacy for posterity – I will be ready for “departure”.

Dear Reader: Tell me – are you ready for “departure”…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/are-you-ready-for-departure.html

Part 1 of this blog post ZEST FOR LIFE was written by me sometime ago and posted online by me at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/zest-for-life.html  and https://karve.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/zest-for-living/

Unforgettable Characters I Met During My Wonderful Navy Days – The “Dapodi Engineer”

April 17, 2017

HUMOR IN UNIFORM – THE “DAPODI ENGINEER” 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/the-dapodi-engineer-unforgettable.html

Whenever I meet a Sapper Officer (from the Army Corps of Engineers) – I jokingly ask him if he is a “Dapodi Engineer or a Genuine Engineer…?

Recently – a Navy Veteran (erstwhile shipmate) introduced me to this son-in-law – a Major in the Corps of Engineers.

He told me about himself.

“Oh – so you are a “Dapodi Engineer”…” I remarked.

The young Sapper Officer was curious to know why I called him a “Dapodi Engineer” – so I told him this story – which I have posted earlier in my Blogs.

Here is the story from my “Humor in Uniform” Archives – this happened long back – around 40 years ago – in the 1970’s

Read the spoof and have a laugh – and – if you are a “Fauji” Sapper – I am sure you will have a double laugh…!!!

THE “DAPODI ENGINEER” (Unforgettable Characters I Met During My Wonderful Navy Days) – A Spoof By Vikram Karve

The Training Officer peeped into the classroom.

He looked at me.

I was desperately trying to stay awake after the previous night’s excesses.

The Training Officer shouted at me:

“Hey, you – put on your cap and report to the XO’s office on the double. Some “Pongo” bigwig is coming – and you are the “Liaison Officer”…”

The Pongo bigwig turned out to be a Brigadier – the Zonal Chief Engineer of the Military Engineering Services (MES).

He happened to be in Jamnagar for some other work – and he had suddenly decided to inspect the progress of civil works under construction in the Naval Base.

The Executive Officer (XO) briefed me.

Accordingly – I received the Brigadier – I took him for a cup of tea with our Captain – and then – we drove in his black army staff car to the construction site.

The Garrison Engineer (a Major) was standing by with his entourage and some display boards with drawings.

The Garrison Engineer (GE) saluted the Brigadier.

Then – the GE introduced his staff.

After that – the GE walked towards the display boards.

The GE picked up a pointer – and he said to the Brigadier:

“Sir – I will explain the project…”

“Wait…” the Brigadier interrupted the GE.

The GE stopped – and he asked the Brigadier: “Yes, Sir…?”

The Brigadier said to the GE: “You first answer one question.”

“Yes, Sir…?” the GE said.

The Brigadier asked the GE:

“Are you a “Dapodi Engineer” – or – are you a Technical Graduate Engineer…?”

“Sir – I am a Technical Graduate Engineer…” the GE said.

“Good. From which Engineering College did you get your Civil Engineering Degree…?” the Brigadier asked the GE.

“Roorkee – Sir…” the GE answered.

“Excellent. Then there is no need for me to see anything…” the Brigadier said to the GE.

That was the end of the inspection.

On the way back – I asked the Brigadier:

“Sir – I did not understand the “Dapodi Engineer” aspect…”

The Brigadier looked at me and said:

“Oh – that. 

You see – there are two types of Engineers in the Army. 

The first type comprises technical graduates from civilian engineering colleges – like the GE over here – who has done his engineering at Roorkee. 

And – the second type are in-house trained engineers who do the course at the College of Military Engineering (CME) Dapodi – that is why they are called Dapodi Engineers – they don’t have a BE or B.Tech. degree…” he explained.

(NB: Subsequently – sometime from the early 1980’s onwards – these in-house trained “Dapodi Engineers” from CME are being awarded the B. Tech. degree from JNU)

I looked at the distinguished Brigadier from the Corps of Engineers.

Surely – he was from a premier engineering college – maybe – like the GE – the Brigadier too had studied at Roorkee University which was famous for Civil Engineering.

“Sir – have you done your engineering at Roorkee…?” I asked.

“Me…? From Roorkee…? No – not at all…” he said.

“Sir – then where did you study civil engineering – must be from some prestigious Engineering College like Banaras, Poona …”

The Brigadier looked at me – and he started laughing.

I looked at him – wondering why he was so amused.

Then – with a naughty smile on his face – the Brigadier said to me:

“Me…? Ha Ha  I am a DAPODI ENGINEER…” 

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/the-dapodi-engineer-unforgettable.html

This Post is a Revised Re-Post of My Story DAPODI ENGINEER First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my blog at 6/24/2014 03:33:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/06/humor-in-uniform-dapodi-engineer.html  and then reposted at url:  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/05/humor-in-uniform-dapodi-engineer.html and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/humor-in-uniform-dapodi-engineer.html etc

Zest for Living

April 16, 2017

ZEST FOR LIFE 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/zest-for-life.html

Musings on Life and Death By Vikram Karve

Around 30 years ago – in the 1980’s – when I was travelling by the Deccan Queen – I was pleasantly surprised to see an uncle who was in the Army.

He was delighted to see me too.

I changed my seat – so that I could sit next to him on the 3 hour journey from Pune to Mumbai.

He told me that he had retired from the Army on superannuation a few days ago as a Major General.

Then – he said that he had taken up a job in Pune – in the industry – and – he was going for a training course.

“Training…? At this age…?” I asked him, surprised.

“Well – I am only 56…” he said.

(Those days Major Generals retired on superannuation at the age of 56 – later the age of superannuation was increased by 2 years for all officer ranks – and now – Major Generals retire at the age of 58)

“You are 56 – and – you want to take up a new job…?” I asked him.

“Why not…? I still feel young – and – I want to work – in fact – I am most enthusiastic about this new job – there is so much I want to do…”

“Which firm are you joining…? I asked him.

He told me the name of the industrial firm – it was a famous and reputed organization – probably the largest in Pune – or even in India.

“Oh – that’s great…” I said, “so – what are you joining as…?”

“DGM – Deputy General Manager – I will be working in HR and Training…”

“You are joining as a mere DGM…?”

“Yes – why are you looking so surprised…?”

“You were heading a premier military training establishment…” I said.

“That was before I retired. Now – I have to unlearn all my military training and begin afresh. And – by the way – I am only 56 – and it is never too late to start learning…” he said.

He talked with passion about his new job in “Civvy Street”.

I was impressed by childlike enthusiasm.

Despite having “retired” – he had a “zest for living”.

I had a few classmates who worked in the same industrial firm which my uncle had joined.

A few weeks later – we had a get-together of classmates – and – I asked them about my uncle.

They were full of praise for him – the way he had rejuvenated the training in that organization – his MBWA (Management By Walking Around) Style (earlier – Senior HR Executives never walked on the Shop-Floors talking to Workers) – they were all really impressed by my uncle – his positive approach and style of working.

Those days – I was on a ship based in Mumbai – so – whenever my ship was in port – I often came down to Pune on weekends.

On one such visit – I happened to see my uncle getting down from his company bus.

Yes – he was travelling in his company bus (his firm was known to be rather “egalitarian”)

Also – those days – in Pune – the “industrial off” was on Thursdays – and all industries worked on Saturday and Sunday.

So – though for me it was a “weekend” – for my uncle – it was a working day.

I ran across and greeted my uncle.

He was happy to see me too.

“So – have you come to Pune on weekend…?” he asked me.

“Yes…” I said, “And you…? How come you are getting down here…?”

“I wanted to do some shopping – then I will walk home…” he said.

(His home was around 3 Kms away)

“Let’s have a cup of tea…” I said.

“Of course – where…?” he said, enthusiastically.

“How about “Good Luck”…?”

“Great choice – nothing to beat a good cup of Irani Chai…”

We walked down to “Good Luck” Café – and soon – we were sitting at a window table relishing the delicious tea.

I pulled out my cigarette packet.

“Wow – “Benson and Hedges”…?” my uncle exclaimed.

“We get them “Duty-Free” on board ship…” I said – and – I offered him a cigarette.

“Well – actually speaking – I have quit smoking a long time ago – but then – this special occasion – I think it calls for a smoke – so – I will make an exception…” my uncle said, and he took a cigarette from the pack I had proffered towards him.

He spoke excitedly – about his work – about his plans to introduce new innovations in training – about his visits to campuses for recruitment – he really seemed to be enjoying his job – and he was eagerly looking forward to implementing all his ideas and doing good work.

I told him that my classmates were full of praise for him and appreciated his working style.

My uncle seemed pleased on hearing this – and – he said to me: “I am so happy that youngsters like my work – but – you must ask them for honest feedback too – so that I can continually improve…”

“Yes – I will ask them and tell you…”

“I wouldn’t mind meeting them informally – youngsters have great ideas and I can always learn from them…” he said.

I said that I would arrange a “party” on my next visit – and he heartily agreed to come.

After tea – we parted – and – I saw my uncle walk away with a spring in his step at such a brisk pace – a speed that even youngsters would find it difficult to walk.

I was truly amazed at his “zest for living”.

Yes – even after his “superannuation” from the Army – instead of “calling it a day” and living a “retired” life – he was enjoying his “second innings” with a childlike enthusiasm – enjoying – “living” – every moment of his life.

Yes – despite his advancing years – he really had a “zest for life”.

A few days later – I got a telephone call.

“There is sad news…”

“Grandfather…?” I asked (my old grandfather was bedridden with prolonged illness)

“No. Uncle…”

“Which Uncle…?”

“The one who was in the Army…”

“What…? The one who was a Major General and is now working in “XXX” company…?”

“Yes. He died last night…”

“But how is that possible…? I met him a few days ago. We had tea together. He was “hale and hearty” and very cheerful. In fact – I was going to have a party for him with my classmates – and he had promised to come. How could he die so suddenly…?”

“He died peacefully in his sleep. They say it was a heart attack…”

“Oh My God – it is very sad – I can’t believe it…”

“His funeral is a 5 PM in the evening…”

“I am starting right now – I will be there…” I said.

There were a large number of people to pay respects to the departed soul – his Army Colleagues – mostly Veterans and a few “Top Brass” – a huge number of coworkers from his company – friends and well-wishers.

I felt very sad.

He was not ready for death.

He wanted to do so many things in life.

He had such a “zest for living”.

He did not want to die.

He wanted to live.

But – death snatched him away.

However – looking at it from another angle – he died happy.

He had not “hung up his boots” (as they say)

He “died with his boots on”…!!!

He died when he never expected to die.

He must have gone to sleep thinking about the exciting things he was going to do the next day.

But – he never woke up to do those heartening things he was looking forward to doing.

Is there a happier way to die than this…?

Isn’t it best to die when you still have a “zest for life”…?

I too want to die when I still have a zest for life.

I do not want to live when I have lost the zest for living.

Dear Reader: What about you…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/zest-for-life.html

The Girl at Lake Tekapo

April 12, 2017

THE GIRL AT LAKE TEKAPO (Spoiled Brat) – A Story by Vikram Karve

Link to my original post titled SPOILED BRAT in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/spoiled-brat-story.html

NB:

The term “spoiled brat” is used to describe a child who is overindulged by their parents.

And – as a consequence of the over-pampering and mollycoddling – the “spoiled brat” becomes lazy, slothful, egocentric, snobbish, snooty and indolent.

Some parents “spoil” their children.

These children become “spoiled brats” or “spoilt brats”.

The words “spoiled” and “spoilt” mean the same thing.

In this story – I will use “spoiled” – the American version.

So – I will use the term “spoiled brat” for the protagonist of the story

SPOILED BRAT – Fiction Short Story by Vikram Karve

PART 1  

THE GIRL AT LAKE TEKAPO

Lake Tekapo – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

“Hello Uncle…” the girl said.

I recognized her at once.

She was the girl who we had nicknamed “Spoiled Brat”.

“Did you recognize me…? I stayed at your place in Mumbai…” she said.

“Of course – I recognized you…” I said, “It is so nice to see you after so many years – and that too – in New Zealand …”

“I live in New Zealand…”

“Really…? Here…? In Tekapo…?”

“No, No, Uncle – I live in Auckland – I have come on a holiday to South Island – I am travelling from Queenstown to Christchurch – and tomorrow morning – I will catch a flight back to Auckland. And you – Uncle…?”

“I am on a “solo-holiday” to New Zealand – right now – I am on the bus from Christchurch to Queenstown…”

“Come Uncle – let’s grab a quick bite – the buses stop here for half-an-hour – for a lunch halt…”

And so – we – “Spoiled Brat” and me – we walked down to a café in the Lake Tekapo “Food Court” – for a quick lunch of delicious “fish and chips”.

Lake Tekapo is located in the heart of Mackenzie County in the Canterbury Region of South New Zealand – halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown.

After leaving Christchurch – you drive past the lush green Canterbury Plains – you cross the towns of Geraldine, Fairlie and Kimbell – and then – you climb up the winding road – and traverse across the Burkes Pass – into a scenic basin – in the heart of the mountainous South Island – called “Mackenzie Country”.

“Mackenzie Country” has fascinating landscapes – and – two lakes – Tekapo and Pukaki – whose waters have a unique turquoise blue colour – this lovely blue colour of the water is caused by the “glacial flour” suspended in the water.

In the heart of Mackenzie Country is located the beautiful Lake Tekapo – with its marvelous turquoise waters – surrounded by magnificent scenery – and the awe-inspiring snowcapped peaks – including the cloud-piercing Aoraki Mount Cook.

Lake Tekapo is truly stunning – a breathtaking sight – with its pure turquoise blue waters – surrounded by spectacular scenery – with a most wonderful view of the Southern Alps – including the snow-covered mountains like Mount Cook.

Christchurch to Queenstown is a 9 hour Bus Journey (covering a distance of approximately 500 kilometers).

Lake Tekapo is situated half-way between Christchurch and Queenstown.

At Lake Tekapo – buses in both directions cross each other at the same time – and – the buses stop for a lunch halt.

After the quick lunch of delicious “Fish and Chips” – we walked to our buses parked next to each other.

While we walked – “Spoiled Brat” said to me:

“Uncle – you must spend some time with me in Auckland on your way back…”

“I wish I could spend some time with you in Auckland – but – on my way back – I am flying down from Christchurch to Auckland – and – I have to catch the connecting flight out of New Zealand – I will have barely 3 hours at the airport – just enough time – to rush from the domestic terminal to the international terminal – and do the check-in, immigration, boarding etc…” I said to her.

“Oh – how sad – I wish we could have spent some together…” she said.

“Spoiled Brat” took out a business card from her purse.

She gave the business card to me and said:

“Uncle – at least – you give me a call from the airport when you reach Auckland – and – in case your flight is delayed or something – I will try and come and meet you…”

Suddenly – the bus drivers called out to the passengers to board their buses.

So – we – “Spoiled Brat” and me – we said goodbye to each other.

We sat our respective buses.

Soon – the buses started off – mine – towards Queenstown – and hers – towards Christchurch.

PART 2

Flashback

12 Years Earlier

“SPOILED BRAT”

Mumbai – India (Circa 2004) 

That girl is a “spoilt brat”…” my wife said.

“It is “spoiled brat” – “spoil” with a “d” – not “t”…” I said.

“Okay. Okay. You keep your English to yourself. But – next time – please don’t invite such “disgusting” and “filthy” people to stay with us…”

“Disgusting…? Filthy…? Are you talking about the girl…?””

Yes – she is “disgusting”, “filthy” and “lazy” – just come and see her room – she hasn’t even made her bed properly – look at crumpled blanket and soiled pillow – her clothes are lying all over the room – some are scattered on the floor – she hasn’t even bothered to fold her clothes and keep them in the cupboard – and – have you seen the bathroom – it is a dirty filthy mess – all her underclothes are lying all over the bathroom – she hasn’t even bothered to flush the toilet – and – did you see the way she looked – so slovenly – did you see her face – so sloppy – and – did you notice her hair – so disheveled – I doubt she even had a bath…”

“She must have been in a hurry…”

“What hurry…? I woke her up at 6 o’clock – but – she kept sleeping – and then – she rushes out – leaving everything in a shabby mess – does she expect me to clean her room and wash her clothes…”

“She must have…”

“I keep my house so “spick-and-span” – in fact – I had specially “done up” the room and bathroom for her – and – she has converted the whole place into a dirty filthy “pigsty”…”

“Maybe…”

“Look at her half-eaten breakfast – she just left her plate on the table – she didn’t even bother to put her dirty plate in the washbasin – does she think I am a waitress…?”

“Maybe she has servants at her home to do all her work – so – she may not be used to doing any work at home…”

“I don’t know about that – but her parents have really spoiled her – she is an extremely “spoiled brat” – lazy, filthy, sloppy – she is the most disgusting girl I have ever seen…”

“Okay – okay – you just have to tolerate her for a day – her exams will be over today – and – tomorrow – she will go back to her home…”

“By then – she will make her room so filthy and unhygenic – that we will have to fumigate it – we will have to disinfect the entire room – maybe even get pest-control done…”

“Come on – don’t exaggerate and make a big issue…”

“Okay – but next time – you please ask me first – before you invite anyone to stay at our home – especially some disgusting “spoiled brat” like her…” my wife said firmly to me.

“Okay. Okay…” I said.

Dear Reader: Let me tell you how “spoiled brat” had come to stay over at our place in Mumbai.

A few months ago – I met a college classmate during an alumni meet at our college – where our batch had assembled on the campus – to celebrate the “silver jubilee” of our “passing out” on completion of our Engineering Degrees.

We exchanged contact details.

Then – suddenly – one day – my classmate called me on phone – and – he requested me – if his daughter could stay at our place for a day or two – she was coming to Mumbai to appear for a Management CET (Common Entrance Test) for admission to Business Schools all over India.

There was no CET Exam Centre in the town where my classmate lived – and his daughter had been allotted a centre in Mumbai – which was located near my house.

So – I said “okay” – and I told him – that his daughter was “most welcome” to stay with us in Mumbai.

And – that is how “Spoiled Brat” came to stay with us in Mumbai for 2 days.

After her stay with us – when “Spoiled Brat” reached back to her home – her father rang up to thank me for our hospitality.

But – after that – we lost contact.

And now – after 12 long years – I had unexpectedly run into “Spoiled Brat” in a remote picturesque place called Lake Tekapo in New Zealand.

When “Spoiled Brat” had come to stay with us in Mumbai – she must have been around 20 years old – now – she would be in her early 30’s.

PART 3

Back to the Present

One Week After I Met “Spoiled Brat” at Lake Tekapo

“MISSED CONNECTION”

Christchurch/Auckland – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

After spending a week enjoying the stunning scenery and awe-inspiring sights of South New Zealand – breathtaking Fiords, fascinating Glaciers, pristine Lakes, spectacular cloud-piercing Snow Covered Mountains and scenic Alpine Forests – I sat in the aircraft at Christchurch Airport waiting for the early morning flight to Auckland to take off.

The entire schedule had gone off beautifully like clockwork – and – I was most happy with my tour of New Zealand – especially South Island.

Now – it was just a one hour twenty minute flight to Auckland – and – I would be well in time to catch my flight out of Auckland on my way home.

And then – Murphy’s Law happened (if anything can go wrong – it will).

There was some “last minute glitch” in the aircraft at Christchurch.

All passengers were asked to disembark.

As we sat in the lounge – I heard an announcement that our flight would be delayed by one hour.

Already – half an hour had passed since the scheduled departure of my flight.

I got anxious that I may miss my connecting flight from Auckland – so – I pleaded with the ground-staff to accommodate me in the earliest flight to Auckland.

The ground-staff said that my flight would depart in one hour for Auckland – and – they assured me – that I would reach Auckland in time to catch my connecting flight.

But – the flight got delayed further – due to bad weather – and – I missed my connecting flight by a whisker.

PART 4  

“NO-SHOW” 

Same Day

Auckland Airport – New Zealand  (Circa 2016)

The moment my flight from Christchurch landed at Auckland Airport – I rushed from the domestic terminal to the international terminal – but – I was just a few minutes late – my flight had just taken off a few minutes earlier.

“Sorry, Sir – your flight has just departed…” the girl at the check-in counter said, looking at my ticket.

“Oh My God…” I said, panicking.

“Sir – if you want – we can book you on tomorrow’s flight…”

“Tomorrow…?”

“Yes, Sir – we have only one flight from Auckland…”

“Isn’t there a flight today…?”

“Sir – you can try the other airlines – but – it is holiday season – and all flights are likely to be fully booked…”

I thought about it.

Out here in New Zealand – I just had my “Forex Card” – so the blunt fact was that I did not have money to book a ticket all the way back to India by another flight.

So – I said to the girl: “Okay – I hope you will keep me in a hotel…”

“Sir – you are a “No Show” passenger – so the airline is not responsible…”

No-Show…?”

“Yes, Sir – you did an online “check-in” yesterday – and still – you did not turn up for your flight on time…”

“But – it is not my fault that my flight from Christchurch got delayed – due to which I missed my connecting flight…”

“I know, Sir – but that was a different domestic airline on which you had booked a “low cost” discount ticket separately – and – with us – you have a separate international “non-refundable” ticket for your trip from Mumbai to Auckland and back…”

“This is really sad…” I said, “So I will have to wait at the airport for 24 hours…”

“Sir – if you want – you can try the hotel outside the airport…”

“I don’t have any money to stay in a hotel…”

“Sir – you don’t have any cards…?”

“I just have a “Forex Card” – and – I think I have almost exhausted it – today was supposed to my last day here…”

“Oh – Sir – then how are you going to pay for your new ticket from Auckland to Mumbai…?”

“New ticket…?”

“Yes, Sir – since you are a “No Show” passenger – you will have to buy a new ticket…”

“What about this ticket which I have…?”

“From your ticket – it seems that you bought your ticket through a travel agent…”

“Yes. I told a Travel Agency to plan my entire New Zealand itinerary…”

“Sir – you can cancel the unused segments of the ticket – and – whatever money you are entitled – will be credited to you via your travel agent…”

“Travel Agent…?”

“Sir – I am not very sure – but – I think whatever refund is due to the “No Show” passenger is generally credited to the same account or card from which the booking was done – and – in your case – it seems that the Travel Agency paid the Airline for your ticket…”

“Yes. They booked the tickets, hotels, tours, travel arrangements everything – and – I just paid them the total amount by cheque…”

“So – you will have to but a new ticket…”

“But – I don’t have money to buy a new ticket from Auckland to Mumbai…” I pleaded, “I told you that I am only carrying a “Forex Card” which has hardly any balance now – since I used the card for my entire New Zealand trip…”

“Sir – maybe you have someone here in New Zealand who can help you out…” the girl at the check-in counter said.

I thought about it:

“Did I know anyone here in New Zealand who could help me out…?”

Yes – there was one person – “Spoiled Brat”

I was in a big trouble – stranded at Auckland Airport.

Trapped in this hapless situation – I had no choice – but to call “Spoiled Brat”

From my wallet – I took out the “Visiting Card” that “Spoiled Brat” had given me in Tekapo – and – I dialed her mobile number.

“Spoiled Brat” seemed delighted to hear my voice.

I explained my predicament to her.

“Uncle – which is the airline on which you booked tickets…?” “Spoiled Brat” asked me.

I told her the name of the airline.

“Oh. That’s good. The airline office is very near that place I work – and – I know someone who works there…” she said, “Uncle – you do one thing, Uncle – you just take the “SkyBus” Airport to City Shuttle Bus – and come here – the ticket is quite cheap – and – you can pay with your “Forex Card” –  you will find a SkyBus Ticket Kiosk just outside the airport terminal – there is a bus every 10 minutes – you just get down at the last stop – at the terminus on Queen Street – and – the moment you reach there – just give me a call – I will come in 5 minutes…”

After the comforting conversation with “Spoiled Brat” – I walked out of Auckland Airport – I located the SkyBus Ticket Kiosk – bought a ticket – walked to the Bus Stop – boarded the bus – and soon – I was travelling in the spacious bus – through the scenic city of Auckland – towards the Central Business District (CBD) – to Queen Street – where the SkyBus Terminus was located.

PART 5  

“BROKE” IN AUCKLAND 

Same Day

Queen Street/Central Business District (CBD) – Auckland New Zealand (Circa 2016)

As the comfortable Bus approached the terminus almost an hour later – I took out my mobile phone – to call “Spoiled Brat” the moment the bus stopped.

But – I did not have to call her – as – I was delighted to see “Spoiled Brat” waiting for me at the Airport Shuttle Terminus.

She was wearing a pretty dress – and – she looked lovely – glowing face, hair properly styled, well-groomed appearance, full of poise – refined, polished, elegant, neat and clean – a total transformation from her earlier shabby, unkempt, slovenly, clumsy, disheveled appearance – when she stayed us in Mumbai many years ago.

She looked very charming – chic, graceful and elegant.

Yes – “Spoiled Brat” looked really “Tip-Top” – smart, glamorous, attractive.

“Hello – Uncle…” she said with a friendly smile, “so we are destined to meet again…”

“Yes…” I said.

“Uncle – is this all the luggage you have…?” she asked – pointing to my bag.

“Yes – only one small bag – with wheels – I like to travel light – especially on “solo-tours” where you have to cart your luggage all over…”

“That’s great. So first – we will walk down to the Airline Office and get your ticket issue sorted out…”

As we walked on Queen Street – “Spoiled Brat” said to me:

“Uncle – I have a friend who works in the airline office – she is a “Kiwi” of Indian Origin – I am sure she will help us out. I have already called her and she is waiting for us…”

Yes – the friend was waiting for us in the airline office.

She did her best possible – so that I was charged the minimum penalty – and – she facilitated that – instead of the undergoing the laborious process of obtaining a refund – I got a new ticket for the next day’s flight by just paying the difference between refund and fare.

“Spoiled Brat” paid for my air ticket by using her credit card – and soon – I had my ticket from Auckland to Mumbai in my hand.

“Thanks a lot…” I said to “Spoiled Brat”.

“It is okay, Uncle – did I say “Thanks” when I stayed with you in Mumbai…?”

I smiled to myself when I remembered the “terrible memories” of her stay at our place in Mumbai.

“I owe you a lot of money…” I said to “Spoiled Brat”.

“Don’t worry, Uncle – you don’t have to pay me now – I have a bank account in India – I will give you the details – when you get back to India – just transfer the money to my bank account in India – I will use the money when I come to India for my summer vacation…”

“Okay – Thanks a lot. So now – I have around 24 hours to spend in Auckland – can you find some accommodation for me – some “Backpackers” place or Hostel – not too expensive…”

“You are staying at my place, Uncle…” she asserted.

“No – No – please – I will manage on my own – I don’t want to trouble you…”

“What trouble, Uncle…? Didn’t I stay at with you in Mumbai…? Was I any “trouble” to you…?

I tried to suppress my laughter – wondering what my wife would say.

It seemed that “Spoiled Brat” read my thoughts – and – that is why she had said:

“Uncle – was I any “trouble” to you in Mumbai…?”

Just imagine what my wife would say if she heard those words of “Spoiled Brat”

The thought of my wife suddenly made me realize that – I hadn’t informed my wife that I had missed my flight – and I would be arriving one day late.

“Hey – I must call my wife and tell her that I am arriving a day late…” I said to“Spoiled Brat”

On hearing this – “Spoiled Brat” said to me:

“Uncle – it is one o’clock in the afternoon over here in New Zealand. In India – it will be very early in the morning – so – you can call later – from my house – I have good internet – if you want to talk to her on Skype or Facebook…”

“Thank you. Hey – I forgot to ask – what about your office – your work…?”

“I have taken an extended lunch-break. You must be hungry. I will cook a quick meal – we will have lunch – then – you can relax – and – I will go to my office – finish off my work – and – come back early – so we can go out in the evening- then – you can sleep at my place – get up early – have breakfast – and I will put you on the Airport “SkyBus” well in time for your flight…”

“I am feeling quite awkward taking undue advantage of your hospitality – especially sleeping at your place…”

“Spoiled Brat” looked at me and said:

“Don’t worry, Uncle – my place is small – but it is quite comfortable – I live by myself in a small flat – but there is a spare bed – a sofa-cum-bed…”

“You live alone…?” I asked.

“Yes. I live all by myself in a small apartment – on the 9th floor of a high-rise building – the view is stunning…”

“Then – how can I stay with you…?”

“Why, Uncle…? I told you there is a spare bed – we will easily manage – I will sleep on the sofa-cum-bed if it is uncomfortable for you…”

“No. No. It’s not that. How can you and me – I mean – just you and me – how can we stay together in a small flat for the entire night – wouldn’t it be improper…?”

“Come on, Uncle – this is New Zealand – not India. Out here in Auckland – it’s a modern broadminded permissive society – no one bothers about these things – and – everyone minds their own business…”

“Still – I am feeling a bit awkward – I think I will prefer to stay somewhere else – a hostel or “backpackers” dorm or something…”

“Please, Uncle. In Auckland – you will do as I say. No more discussion. You are staying with me – and – that is final…”

“Okay – if you insist. But…”

“No “ifs and buts”. Let’s go – my place is not very far – only a 10 minute walk. Or – if you are tired – we can take a taxi…” “Spoiled Brat” said to me.

“No. No – I prefer walking…” I said.

While we walked – I dreaded to imagine how her home would be like.

Going by past experience of “Spoiled Brat” – remembering the disgusting state of her filthy nauseating room in Mumbai – I knew that I would have to somehow survive the next 24 hours in a filthy stinking “pigsty”.

But – as they say – “beggars can’t be choosers”,

I was almost “broke” – and – I was at her mercy.

So – I walked along with her – towards her house.

PART 6

“BETTER LIFE” 

Same Day

Auckland – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

The weather was pleasant – and – it was easy to walk on the smooth uncluttered pavements.

10 minutes later – we reached a high-rise building – where “Spoiled Brat” lived – she entered the PIN code at the ground floor entrance – the glass sliding door opened – and soon – we were in the lift – travelling up to her 9th floor flat.

Her flat was towards the end of the corridor.

As “Spoiled Brat” opened the door – I expected the worst.

I prepared myself to seeing a shabby, dirty, stinking, unkempt house.

But – when she opened the door – I was stunned.

Her house was “spick-and-span”

I was amazed at the neatness, tidiness and orderliness of her home – everything was organized immaculately – and – her house was spotlessly clean.

It was a small apartment flat – a kitchenette at the entrance – a small space – a bedroom – and – a bathroom – with minimalist yet aesthetic furniture – TV – Fridge – Oven – and the necessary gadgets – everything of utility value – neatly arranged in a most ingenious manner

It was something like a “1 BHK” apartment we have in India – but much smaller in size – around 250 square feet or so.

The flat reminded me of my tiny one-room apartment on Curzon Road in New Delhi – when I was newly-married – over there – we had a small balcony – but here – there was no balcony – just a large glass sliding window.

But – as I said – the flat was really “spick-and-span” – nice, clean, light and airy – and the place generated “positive vibes” in me.

“Uncle – did you like my house…” “Spoiled Brat” said.

“Yes – your house is wonderful…” I said, “You have kept everything so neat and clean – and – the view is really spectacular…”

“Yes – the view is really good – you get a panoramic view of Auckland harbour…”

I was enjoying the view – of the sailboats anchored in the harbour – the impressive Auckland Harbour Bridge – and hills beyond – when I heard “Spoiled Brat” saying:

“Uncle – you go and freshen-up in the bathroom – and – I will cook you a quick lunch…”

As I walked towards the bathroom – I remembered my wife’s description of how“Spoiled Brat” had dirtied and soiled our bathroom in Mumbai – and – I expected the worst.

But – when I saw her bathroom – I was amazed – it was probably the cleanest, hygienic and most fragrant bathroom I had ever seen.

I washed – and – when I came out – I saw that lunch was ready.

“You cooked lunch so fast…?”

“Yes – I cook on Sundays – and – I keep the food frozen – so – I can just heat and eat…”

“Spoiled Brat” opened the fridge and showed me food packets neatly wrapped in foil – kept systematically – in an orderly manner – with a “post-it note” on each packet – indicating the dish and day of the week.

The kitchen was spotlessly clean – with everything organized “ship-shape” – as we say in the Navy.

“You are really well organized…” I said.

“Here – I have to do everything myself – so – I plan and organize everything properly…” she said.

I was tremendously impressed.

I could not believe that this was the same disorganized and shambolic girl who had stayed with us in Mumbai.

I had expected everything to be in shambles – but she had stunned me beyond belief by her neatness, tidiness and organization.

I was awestruck by the metamorphosis in “Spoiled Brat”.

She looked “Tip-Top” – and – her house was “spick-and-span”.

PART 7

“KIWI DREAM” 

Same Day

Auckland – New Zealand (Circa 2016)

It was heartening to see the total transformation in “Spoiled Brat” – her elegant“Tip-Top” appearance – her immaculate “spick-and-span” house – her meticulousness – it seemed that she had metamorphosed into an entirely new person.

It was great to eat Indian Vegetarian Food after a long time – she had heated up a simple lunch of mixed vegetables and “chapatti” – both “ready-to-eat” and frozen – and quickly heated up the microwave oven

The food was delicious.

I asked her about herself.

I asked her why and how she had come to New Zealand.

“I felt I had better prospects here – so I decided to come here. If you want to settle down here in New Zealand – it is best to use the “student pathway” – all of us are doing that – we come here on a student visa – do a course in a “skill shortage” subject – take up a job – get a work visa – and then – try for permanent residency – so we can live here indefinitely – and our ultimate aim is New Zealand citizenship…” she said.

“Oh – so you came here as a “student”…”

“Yes. Accountants and Finance Managers were on the “skill shortage” list when I decided to migrate to New Zealand. I had already done my MBA (Finance) and had some work experience too – so – I came here to Auckland and did a course in Finance and Accountancy – and – I got a good job – and so – I got a work visa. Now I am getting further qualifications by part-time study – also doing my CA course – so that it becomes easy for me to get residency…”

“Residency…? So – you intend settling down in New Zealand…? Is it easy for youngsters to settle down here…?”

“Of course – everyone who comes to New Zealand wants to permanently settle down here. There are many vocations like Engineering, IT, Hospitality on the “Skills Shortage List” – but – the list keeps changing and you must update yourself – so you can choose the proper course….”

“Tell me – do you really want to stay here in New Zealand for your entire life…?”

“Of course – I want to live here – that’s why I am so desperate to get my permanent resident visa – so that it will be easy for me to get New Zealand citizenship…”

“You want to realize your “Kiwi Dream”…?”

“Ha Ha – “Kiwi Dream” – yes – you can say that…”

“So – you don’t want to return to India…?”

“No. I don’t think I will return to India…”

“Don’t you ever feel like visiting India – your hometown…?”

“For holidays – yes – but permanently – I would like to live here in New Zealand…”

“But – why…?”

“It’s a “Better Life” over here…”

“A “Better Life”…?”

“Yes – a “Better Life” – everyone who comes here wants to stay here – no one wants to go back – because – it’s a “Better Life” over here…”

I wanted to ask her exactly what she meant when she said that it was a “Better Life”in New Zealand as compared to India.

Maybe – she sensed what I wanted to ask her – so – she said:

“Uncle – I have to get back to work. You relax here – and – in the evening we will go to a pub for drinks and dinner – I will call some friends – who have migrated here from India – and – they will all tell you – how it is a “Better Life” over here in New Zealand.

(About the wonderful evening in the pub – the lively conversation with young “diaspora” who were living their “Kiwi Dream” – I will write about it in my blog.

The bright youngsters had migrated from India to New Zealand – and – all of them desperately wanted to settle down in New Zealand.

Whether it is actually a “Better Life” in New Zealand as compared to India – that – I will tell you my views later – in my blog – I will write about my experiences and observations in due course…)

But now – let me get back to the “protagonist” of this story – “Spoiled Brat”

By migrating to New Zealand – whether “Spoiled Brat” was enjoying a “Better Life” – I am not sure.

But – one thing is sure.

By migrating to New Zealand – “Spoiled Brat” had certainly changed for the “Better”

Yes – New Zealand had transformed “Spoiled Brat” for the better – she wasn’t a “Spoiled Brat” anymore…

So – Dear Reader – if you have a pampered “spoiled brat” – you know what to do.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my original post titled SPOILED BRAT in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2017/04/spoiled-brat-story.html

%d bloggers like this: