Humor in Uniform – Delegation of Authority vs Seeking Approval

I was lucky to have had repeated instructional tenures at a premier inter-service training institution called IAT Girinagar Pune (later renamed DIAT/MILIT) where I spent a large part of my career on the teaching faculty.

IAT (Institute of Armament Technology) had a lovely verdant campus where I spent so many happy years of my life – and it is always a pleasure to interact with fellow faculty members and smart young officers of the three Defence Services and Defence Scientists.

I cherish glorious nostalgic memories of Girinagar.

So let me hark back 32 years – to the 1980’s – and tell you this unforgettable “memoir” of my delightful Girinagar days.

 

SEEKING APPROVAL

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve 

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2017/01/humor-in-uniform-seeking-approval.html

My first Commanding Officer was a great believer in Delegation of Authority.

“I expect my Officers to take decisions – so get on with your job, take decisions and run your departments properly. I don’t want officers to keep coming to me seeking my approval for each and every thing…” he told us.

Was he right…?

Or – was he wrong…?

Read on…

SEEKING APPROVAL  A Spoof by Vikram Karve 

“May I come in, Sir…?”

“Come in…” I said.

I looked up.

It was the Canteen JCO – the “Manager” of the IAT CSD Canteen of which I had been appointed the “Officer-in-Charge”.

“Sir – I have a problem…” he said.

“Problem…?”

“Sir – about the canteen timings on Saturday…” he mumbled.

“Speak up – will you…?” I said.

“Sir – on Saturdays the CSD Canteen is open from 10:30 to 12:30.”

“I know…” I said.

“Sir – on Saturday – the bank has a “half-day”. Sir – the bank closes at 1 PM. The bank staff pull the shutters down at 1300 hrs, Sir – and they refuse to allow anyone inside…”

“So…?”

“It takes me more than half an hour to finish counting all the cash – tallying all the bills and reconciling the day’s accounts.”

(This happened 32 years ago – in 1985 – when everything was done manually. Also – Banks were open 6 days a week and Saturday was a “half-day”)

“Sir – it takes me more than half an hour to finish counting all the cash – tallying all the bills – and then – reconciling the day’s accounts…” the JCO repeated.

“Okay. So what…? Get to the point…” I said to the Canteen JCO.

“Sir – it gets  past 1 o’clock – past 1300 hrs – by the time I reach the bank with the cash. The bank is closed – so the cashier refuses to accept the cash – and I am not able to deposit the cash in the bank. So – I have to take all the cash home – and I have keep this huge amount of cash with me for the entire weekend till Monday morning – when the bank opens. Sir – I feel it is very risky for me to keep so much money at home…” he said.

“So – what do you want me to do…? What’s the solution…?” I asked him.

“Sir – if we could change the Canteen Timings on Saturdays from 10:15 to 12:15…?”

“Why 10:15 to 12:15 – change the canteen timings from 10:00 to 12:00 – that will give you enough time to count the cash and deposit it in the bank by 1300 hrs…” I said, “As it is – I have seen those bank buggers start downing shutters at 12:45 itself on Saturdays…”

“Thank you, Sir – I will put up a file for approval…” the Canteen JCO said.

“What bloody file for approval…? You just paint the new timings on the board outside the canteen – and you implement the new canteen timings from this Saturday onwards – do you understand…” I shouted.

“Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. I will paint the new Saturday canteen timings immediately and  follow the same from this Saturday…” the Canteen JCO said, looking happy.

And so – the CSD Canteen timings were changed on Saturdays – and the problem was resolved.

And – everyone was happy.

MORE THAN 3 MONTHS LATER

Three months later I was summoned to the Dean’s Office – the Dean wanted to see me urgently.

The Dean – a Major General – was seated on his Chair – and sitting opposite him – was the Officer-in-charge of Administration (OC Adm) – a Colonel.

The Dean asked me sit down on the vacant chair.

“Did you change the CSD Canteen timings on Saturdays…?” the Dean asked me.

“Yes, Sir…” I said.

“Why…?” the Dean asked me.

I told him the reason why I had changed the canteen timings on Saturdays.

I explained the problem of depositing cash in the bank on Saturdays – when the bank closed early.

“Okay…” the Dean said.

“Sir, Sir…” blurted out the OC Adm, “Sir – he changed the canteen timings without proper authority.”

“What authority…?” I said, looking at the OC Adm.

“Who gave you the authority to change the canteen timings…?” the OC Adm asked me.

“The Dean gave me the authority…” I said.

“What…?” the OC Adm asked, his mouth open in surprise.

I looked at the confused OC Adm – and I said to him:

“Sir – The Dean has delegated his authority to me when he appointed me as the Officer-in-Charge of the Canteen. So – I have full authority for the day to day running of the canteen.”

The OC Adm seemed taken aback by my reply – and he said to the Dean:

“Sir – see how rudely he speaks – we should take disciplinary action against him.”

“What disciplinary action…?” I asked in amazement, looking at the OC Adm.

Then I looked at the Dean – and I said to him:

“Sir – the canteen timings have been changed more than 3 months ago – and everything is running fine. And – this clueless OC Adm did not notice for the last 3 months – and he has suddenly woken up now…”

“Clueless…? He is calling me clueless…? Sir – I am a Senior “Full Colonel” – and he is calling me clueless…!!!” the OC Adm protested excitedly.

“Enough…!!!” the Dean raised his voice.

Then – the Dean looked at me – and he said to me:

“This is not the bloody Navy – where you can do what you feel like. You just put up a file to me through OC Adm for “ex post facto approval” of the new canteen timings.”

This happened more than 32 years ago – in 1985 – in IAT Pune – a tri-service training institution – where I had just been appointed as faculty – and I had been promptly given the “bum job” of running the CSD Canteen the moment I reported for duty.

Though IAT was an inter-service establishment – it was run in typical army style.

The Head was the Director and Dean – a Major General – referred to as “The Dean”

“The Dean” had two Principal Staff Officers – OC Adm and GSO 1 (Training) – his two “flunkeys” – who tried to throw their weight around and browbeat the Teaching Faculty who were busy performing the primary training task of training for which IAT existed.

In the evening – there was a party on the lawns of the Officers’ Mess.

I was drinking in a quiet corner when the Dean walked up to me.

“Good evening, Sir…” I said.

“Good evening – I see that you are doing a good job running the canteen. My wife tells me that you have introduced a lot of new items – and I know you have tightened up the screws on liquor pilferage as well…” he said.

“Thank you, Sir…” I said.

Then – emboldened by the “Dutch Courage” due to the alcohol flowing in my veins – I said to the Dean:

“Sir, do you really want me to seek your approval for each and every thing – I think you should give me a free hand to run the CSD Canteen.”

“Oh that…!!!” the Dean said.

The General enjoyed his drinks and I could see that he was in good spirits too.

“Sir, your OC Adm bullshitted me this afternoon and told me I must take approval for everything…” I said.

“I know – he is quite a stickler. But you don’t worry – you just do what you want – but don’t forget to send a file for approval through OC Adm – I know that he is just a bloody post office – but it will satisfy his ego…” the Dean said.

“Aye, Aye, Sir…” I said.

Then – the Dean looked at me – and he said to me:

“I will tell you something about this crazy OC Adm. But you must to keep it to yourself.”

“About OC Adm…?” I exclaimed.

“Do you know how this bloody clueless OC Adm screws up my happiness at night…?” the General said.

“At night…?” I asked the General.

“He is a bloody full Colonel – but the bugger still disturbs my sleep and calls me up late at night to seek my approval…?” the Dean said.

“He calls you up late at night – to “seek approval”…?” I asked the General

“Yes – he wants to seek my approval to “make love” to his own wife…” the General said tongue-in-cheek.

Then – he walked away before I burst out laughing.

And yes – the General did not use the words “make love”.

In true Army style – the witty General used a much more bawdy word for the euphemism: “make love”.

VIKRAM KARVE

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

Disclaimer:

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

Copyright Notice:

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

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

 

This Story was First Posted Online by me Vikram Karve at 10/17/2013 11:24:00 AM in this Academic and Creative Writing Journal blog at urls http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2016/05/girinagar-memories-humor-in-uniform.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/10/humour-in-uniform-seeking-approval.html  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/07/humor-in-uniform-seeking-approval-vital.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/03/humor-in-uniform-delegation-of-authority.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/01/humor-in-uniform-seeking-approval.html etc

2 Comments »

  1. 1
    dr. karthik Says:

    u have taken be back down memory lane to those days at iat where i had spent tough, good, learning life lessons phase of the beginning of a young scientist like me.i can add some appendices to this beautiful, well written piece but my being in service service stops me from ……
    hope 2 meet u sometime over a….. no not a drink but steaming chai !

    Liked by 1 person


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