Memories of My Navy Days – All’s well that ends well 

The term “alma mater” refers to the institution where you have studied.

In Latin – “alma mater” literally means “nurturing mother” (or “nourishing mother”)

Having “studied” in various educational and training institutions – I have many “almae matres” (or “alma maters) – the civilian schools and colleges/institutes where I studied – and – the Naval Academy where I received my initial Navy Training – and – the Naval Ships and “Stone Frigates” where I was trained.

This month – in December 2017 – the “alma mater” of our branch in Jamnagar (where we did our specialisation courses) is celebrating its Platinum Jubilee – and I have received an invite – so – I am looking forward to visiting Jamnagar and attending the event.

By the way – I also spent a short tenure on the staff as an “instructor” in this very “alma mater” around 38 years ago in 1980/81.

This is how it happened.

The best thing that happened to me in the Navy were the two glorious years I spent in Mumbai (then called Bombay) in the 1970’s – almost 40 years ago.

(Hence – in this story – for Mumbai – I shall use the old name “Bombay” – which was the name of Mumbai when this story happened)

Both my ships were based at Bombay.

We sailed for a few days – sometimes visiting various ports – but for the remaining days we were tied alongside in Bombay Dockyard which is in the heart of the city.

I loved sailing.

But more than that – I loved spending time in a harbour like Bombay – which was most exciting as the vibrant metropolis had so much to offer for young bachelors like me with a zest for life.

It was the happiest time of my life.

And – like I said – it was the best thing that happened to me in the Navy.

The worst thing that happened to me in the Navy was my unexpected to transfer to Jamnagar – which put an end to my happy time in Bombay.

I was looking forward to an appointment to a shore billet in Bombay – which would enable me to continue to enjoy the life of bliss in “maximum city” to the fullest.

In fact – a few months earlier – I had been informally told by a Senior Naval Officer that I would be appointed in the Naval Dockyard at Bombay – as was the norm for young technical officers after appointments at sea.

But – someone pulled strings in Delhi – and – I was on my way to Jamnagar.

After a fantastic time in Bombay – the desolate Naval Base at Jamnagar was most disappointing – especially for a young bachelor like me who had a zest for life.

My only aim was to get out of that dreary place as fast as possible.

Luckily – I managed to get out the place after a short tenure of around 9 months as I was selected to undergo the prestigious 2 year M. Tech. post graduate course in Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi aka IIT Delhi

I vowed that I would never go back again to what I considered a rather desolate place.

I succeeded in avoiding an appointment to this “alma mater” throughout my Naval Career – and the only time I visited the place was for a mid-level leadership management short course of 10 weeks around 30 years ago in the year 1988.

I was told by the “powers-that-be” that since I had done an “incomplete”  tenure of only 9 months at my “alma mater” before coming to IIT Delhi for my M. Tech – I would be sent back to my “alma mater” after completing my M. Tech. for a full tenure on instructional duties.

Luckily – that did not happen – and – on completing my M. Tech. two years later – I was posted to Headquarters in New Delhi – followed by a posting to IAT Pune.

In hindsight – my tenure on instructional duties in my “alma mater” was not all that bad – in fact – I cherish fond memories of those “couldn’t-be-bothered-nothing-to-lose” days in Jamnagar.

Dear Reader – let me tell you what happened after I completed my M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – how I didn’t get posted back to my “alma mater” as told to me by the “powers-that-be”.


One of my weaknesses is that I am a “simpleton”

I easily trust people.

And – due to my trusting nature – I am most “gullible” – as can be seen from this story – where I was made an “April Fool”…


Unforgettable Memories of My Delightful Navy Life 

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve 

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

April Fool’s Day (also known as All Fools’ Day) is celebrated annually on the First Day of April. 

It is a time for the traditional playing of pranks on unsuspecting people – the victim of such a prank being called an April Fool.

One of my weaknesses is my trusting nature – I easily trust people.

Because of my simple trusting nature – it is easy for anyone to take me for a ride.

Yes – you can easily make a fool of me – and so – I have been made an “April Fool” so many times – right from my childhood.

In fact – owing to my trusting nature – I a simpleton – yes – I am quite a gullible person – and therefore – I am a prime target for April Fool Pranks.

When I hark back and think of the occasions when I was made an unsuspecting victim of April Fool Jokes – and when I recall all the April Fool Pranks I was subjected to – I can never forget how I was made a total “April Fool” – more than 34 years ago – on the 1st of April 1983.

Here is my “April Fool” story – have a laugh…


New Delhi – 01 April 1983

It was 10 AM (1000 Hrs in Navy Parlance) on the 1st of April 1983 – and I busy with my research work in IIT Delhi.

(Yes – after slogging for 5 years in the Navy – afloat and ashore – I was selected to undergo the prestigious 2 year M. Tech. post graduate course in Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi aka IIT Delhi from July 1981 to July 1983)

It was the last (4th) semester of my 2 year M.Tech. Course – and I was busy with my dissertation work.

My ex-shipmate entered the “Tropo Lab” located right on top of IIT Delhi.

He was also doing M. Tech. at IIT Delhi – but in a different specialization.

He said excitedly:

“Hey Vikram – congratulations – your appointment letter has been issued – you will be going to IAT Pune after your M. Tech.”

I was very happy and joyfully excited to hear this.

Pune is my hometown.

I had never expected a posting to Pune in my Naval Career – as I thought that – except for a few “billets” at the National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadakwasla – there were hardly any billets for Naval Officers in Pune – especially for Technical Officers.

In fact – I was worried that they may transfer me back to INS Valsura Jamnagar – where I had spent less than one year (1980-81) on instructional duties – before escaping from there – as I was selected for my M. Tech. at IIT Delhi.

I had no desire of going back to that godforsaken place again.

“You don’t seem to be happy to go to Pune…” my friend said.

“I am very happy to go to Pune…” I said, “but how do you know about my appointment…?”

“I had gone to INS India – to Base Supply Office – for some work. I saw your name in a NA List over there. I have just come from there – and I came straight here to tell you the good news that you have been transferred to IAT Pune on Instructional Duties after your M. Tech.”

[Those days Naval Headquarters (NHQ) published a weekly Navy Appointments List (NA List) which listed all appointments (transfers/postings) issued during that week. 

Now – things must have changed – I understand that even the name of NHQ has been changed to IHQ (Integrated Headquarters). 

Of course – this “integration” seems to be more on paper – since – on ground – nothing much seems to have changed.

Also – Base Supply Office (BSO) is now called Base Logisitics Office (BLogO) since the erstwhile “Supply and Secretariat branch was renamed as the “Logistics Branch. 

By the way – IAT was the acronym for Institute of Armament Technology – which was renamed as DIAT (Defence Institute of Advanced Technology) – and later – a part of the institution was renamed as MILIT (Military Institute of Technology)

As you can see – the Navy has a penchant for changing Names (and uniforms too)]

So – to come back to my story – my friend said to me:

“I had gone to INS India – to Base Supply Office – for some work. I saw your name in a NA List over there. I have just come from there – and I came straight here to tell you the good news that you have been transferred to IAT Pune on Instructional Duties after your M. Tech.”

“What about you…? Is your name in the NA list…? Has your new appointment been issued too..?” I asked my friend.

“No – I saw only your name in the NA list. Why don’t you go down to NHQ and personally get your appointment letter…?” he prompted.

As I said – I was really delighted to be transferred to Pune – my hometown.

So – so I immediately drove down on my scooter to NHQ.

First – I went to INS India – to the Base Supply Office – and I checked the NA List folder.

Yes – my name was very much there – at Serial No. 12 of the list of 20 names – and entry in the NA list said that – I was appointed on Instructional Duties to IAT Pune July DTBR

(In Naval Parlance – DTBR means “Date to be Recorded” – which meant that I could report to IAT Pune on any date in the month of July – from July 1st to July 31st)

I wrote down the relevant details of the NA list on a piece of paper (a chit).

Then – I went to the Base Supply Officer (BSO) – a Commander.

I showed him the chit – and I asked him if my appointment letter had come.

The Base Supply Officer called for the NA List folder.

The BSO looked at the NA List – and he said to me:

“This NA list has just been issued. It will take some time for the appointment letter to reach here. They take their own sweet time to dispatch the letters. Why don’t you go across to DOP and get your personal copy…?”

(DOP was the acronym for Director of Personnel at Naval Headquarters)

Those days we were very scared to go anywhere near DOP – because they were always on the prowl looking for “murgas” to transfer to “Kala Pani” – and other such remote places.

But I was so excited – that I drew up courage – and I walked into the office of the DDOP (Deputy Director of Personnel) who looked after our appointments.

I was delighted to see an officer who I knew very well sitting in the chair of DDOP – a Commander – he was a course-mate of my previous ship’s XO.

During those glorious sea-time days – when he was a Lieutenant Commander – he used to visit our ship quite often.

He was fond of drinking – and we had spent many evenings drinking together – and drinking together develops a unique camaraderie.

The DDOP was happy to see me.

He told me that he had just taken over as DDOP just a day earlier on the 31st of March.

He enquired about me – about my M. Tech. course – and then – he asked me what I wanted.

I told him the story.

Then – I gave him the chit on which I had written details of the NA List – and – I asked him if I could have a copy of my appointment letter.

The DDOP called his deputy – the ADOP (Assistant Director of Personnel) – a Lieutenant Commander.

The DDOP handed the ADOP the chit with NA List details – and the DDOP told the ADOP to give me a copy of my appointment letter.

The ADOP looked at the NA List details.

Then – looking confused – the ADOP said to the DDOP:

“Sir – we haven’t yet issued any appointment letters for officers doing M. Tech. at IIT’s. Anyway – I will just check and get back to you, Sir.”

After a few minutes the ADOP came back and said to the DDOP:

“Sir – the NA list with this number has still not been issued.”

“What…? How can that be…?” the DDOP said, surprised.

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

“Are you sure you saw this NA List in the INS India Base Supply Office…?”

“Yes, Sir…” I said, “it is right on top in the NA list folder in the Base Supply Office.”

The DDOP picked up the telephone and he dialled a number.

He seemed to be speaking to the Base Supply Officer (BSO).

The DDOP read out the number of the NA list – he waited for some time – he listened to the voice on the other side – and then – he said to me:

“You just go down to the Base Supply Office and get the NA list folder – I want to get to the bottom of this mystery.”

As I was leaving – I could hear him speak on the phone:

“I am sending the officer to you…”

The moment I reached the hutments where the Base Supply Office was located – I found a big gang of my friends waiting outside for me with broad smiles on their faces.

Among my friends – standing prominently with a big smile on his face – was the Captain of my previous ship – my ex Commanding Officer (CO) – who was now a Commodore posted in NHQ.

My ex ship’s CO told me that it was he who had orchestrated the whole practical joke.

I knew I had been made an “April Fool”.

That afternoon – as the “victim” of the “April Fool” joke – I had to treat everyone to Beer in the INS India wardroom – and the DDOP and Base Supply Officer (who were also parties to the “April Fool” prank) – they also joined in the “elbow bending” PLD session for a glass of chilled beer.


During the PLD Beer Session – I put on a mask of cheerfulness – but deep inside – I was feeling terrible.

I think the Commodore (my ex ship’s CO) and the DDOP noticed this – so they asked me for my choice of transfer on completion of my M. Tech.

“Sir – on completion of my M. Tech. – I would like to go to IAT Pune – I want to really be posted to IAT Pune – like you did in the “April Fool” joke…” I said – tongue-in-cheek – and then – I added, “Sir – but if that is not possible – please post me anywhere except Jamnagar.” 

But – DOP did not transfer me to IAT Pune.

Thankfully – they did not transfer me to Jamnagar – as I had feared. 

They gave me an appointment in New Delhi itself – which meant that I would not have to move out of New Delhi.

Yes – 3 months later – I was transferred to a billet in New Delhi as Assistant Director Naval R&D. 

I was enjoying my tenure in New Delhi. 

Suddenly – 2 years later – in June 1985 – one day – out of the blue – I saw an Appointment Letter placed on my table. 

I opened the letter – dreading the worst.

When I read the appointment letter – I was overjoyed.

I had been appointed as Faculty for instructional duties to IAT Pune July 1985 DTBR

Yes – the “April Fool” joke had become a reality – and – I have been given my choice transfer to IAT Pune. 

Maybe it was as a recompense for the “April Fool” prank – from the DDOP and my ex ship’s CO – and from all those who had played the “April Fool” joke on me…

All’s well that ends well 


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.


  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:

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story was written by me more than 4 years ago in 2013 and earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve on 01 April 2014 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 4/01/2014 11:39:00 AM at url:  and later reposted at url:  and and and etc


  1. 1

    It was such a bad joke and can imagine the joy to be cut short seat, dampening one’s excitement and enthusiasm to be back in Pune.


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