Humor in Uniform – Unorthodox Stationery

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:


On page 58 of his war memoir “Himalayan Blunder” (The Curtain Raiser to the Sino-Indian War of 1962) Brigadier John Parashuram Dalvi narrates an amusing story.

This anecdote pertains to the ill-fated “forward policy” which happened in NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) sometime in 1960.

Indian Army Troops were being hastily rushed up into the Himalayan Mountains towards the China Border without any administrative or logistic arrangements.

A Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion – a Lieutenant Colonel famous for his pungent wit and sense of humor – got so fed up with the absence of any sort of supply system that he decided to use some heavy sarcasm and act in a facetious manner.

He is reported to have sent one of his monthly routine reports on a chapati (phulka or unleavened flat-bread)

Yes – believe it or not – the Commanding Officer sent his report to a higher formation “written” on a CHAPATI.

This caused some consternation in Army Head Quarters and the officer was asked to forward his “explanation”.

In reply – the Commanding Officer sent his now classic retort:

“I regret the unorthodox nature of my stationery – but atta (wheat flour) is the only commodity available for fighting, for feeding, and for futile correspondence”.

I remember someone once telling us that the commanding officer who sent this hilarious reply was none other than Eric Vas [Lt Gen EA Vas (15 May 1923-18 Aug 2009)].

A retired army officer who was serving there in NEFA at that time (1960-61) also confirmed this anecdote.

The officer also told me that as a punishment for his “sense of humor” Lt Col Eric Vas was removed from command of the infantry battalion and was posted to a Girls NCC Battalion in Mumbai (Bombay).

But after the 1962 debacle – the new Defence Minister YB Chavan who was impressed by Lt Col Eric Vas – brought him back into the mainstream army – and resurrected his military career.

General Vas had a distinguished military career and retired as the Eastern Army Commander in the rank of Lieutenant General.

I wonder whether we have such Generals today – who display such great wit to put their point across – and who have such a delightful great sense of humor.

The Moral of the Story is:


And – more importantly:


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


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

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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:

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