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Blog Fiction on Independence Day : THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD – Story of a Soldier

August 15, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD – Story of a Soldier.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD
Story of a Soldier
Short Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD – A Soldier’s Story by Vikram Karve

The Soldier sat on the footpath near the gate of the Accounts Office.

Abe Langde … Hat Wahan Se (Hey you one-legged cripple … Move from there)Yeh Meri Jagah Hai …(This is my place)…” the food-cart vendor shouted at the soldier.

The soldier winced.

Then – he looked down at his amputated leg.

Yes – he was indeed a cripple – a langda.

When he had joined the army – he had two strong legs.

And now – he had just one leg – and one stump.

The soldier picked up his crutch – pushed his body up – and he slowly hobbled a few steps away.

He was about to sit under a shady canopy near the street corner – when a traffic policeman shouted at him: “Ae Bhikari … Wahan Mat Baith …(Hey Beggar … don’t sit there)…”

Main Bhikari Nahin Hoon … Main Fauji Hoon… (I am not a beggar … I am a soldier)…” protested the soldier.

Phir Border Pe Ja Kar Lad… (Then go and fight on the border)…” the policeman said with sarcasm.

Wahi to kar raha tha… (That is what I was doing)…” the soldier mumbled to himself.

As the soldier tottered on the street on his crutches – he talked to himself. 

The soldier was overcome by regret.

He had been a fool to be brave. 

He should have played safe. 

At least – he would not have lost his leg. 

And – he would not have been discharged from the Army as medically unfit.

Now – he was being made to run from pillar to post for his disability pension – just because some civilian clerk in the accounts office had “misplaced” his documents.

The soldier was exasperated.

In the Army – he was expected to do everything promptly and properly – in double-quick time.

But these civilians were just not bothered.

First – the paperwork was delayed due to red tape.

Then – there were some careless typographical errors in his papers – and his documents had to be sent back to Delhi for the necessary corrections.

And now – his papers had been misplaced.

It was sad.

Nobody was bothered about his plight.

The civilian Babus comfortably cocooned in their secure “9 to 5 five-day-week” jobs were slack and indifferent – and they did not give a damn for the soldiers who they were meant to serve.

Civilians expected soldiers to be loyal unto the grave – but civilians did not reciprocate the same loyalty in return towards the soldiers.

“What is the big deal if you lost a leg?” one cruel clerk had remarked mockingly, “You soldiers are paid to fight. And if you die – or if you get wounded – it is a part of your job. You knew the risks before you joined the Army – didn’t you? If you wanted to live a safe life – why did you become a soldier…? You should have become a chaprassi (peon) – like your friend.”

Tears rolled down the soldier’s cheek as he thought of this.

Others were not so cruel and heartless – but their sympathy was tinged with scorn.

Indeed – he should have become a chaprassi like his friend who was now helping him get his disability pension.

Both he and his friend had been selected for the post of peon in a government office.

But he had been a fool – he told everyone that it was below his dignity to work as a chaprassi – and then he went to recruitment rally – and joined the Army as a soldier.

He made fun of his friend who took up the job of a peon – and he boasted with bloated pride about being a soldier.

And now – the tables had turned – and the peon was having the last laugh on the soldier.

The peon was secure in his job – while the soldier was out on the street – crippled for life – and begging for his pension.

And now – his friend wasn’t even called a chaprassi – they had upgraded all “Class 4” to “Class 3” – and his friend was now designated as “assistant”.

His friend would retire at the age of 60 – after a safe, secure, easy, tension-free career – without any transfers or hardships.

If a soldier got disabled – they would throw him out.

But – if a civilian employee like his friend got disabled – they would never throw him out.

And – by chance – if his civilian friend died – his wife or son or daughter would get a job in his place.

Nothing like that for the soldier. 

A soldier had to fend for himself.

The soldier felt disheartened.

He looked at his amputated leg – and he deeply regretted his decision to join the army.

Indeed he had made a mistake.

He would have been much better off as a peon – a chaprassi – or in some other civilian job.

The soldier also felt a sense of guilt that he had made fun of his friend.

A few years ago – the soldier had laughed at his friend because he was a merechaprassi – a peon.

Today – he was at his friend’s mercy.

The soldier had to live on the kindness of the man he had once ridiculed and scoffed at.

It was a terrible feeling.

More than 6 months had passed – and he was still anxiously waiting for his pension and dues.

His friend had given the soldier – and the soldier’s family – shelter and food. 

And now – the peon friend was trying to help the soldier – by running around from office to office – using the “peon network” to trace the misplaced papers.

The soldier felt sorry for his hapless wife.

His ill-fated wife was at the mercy of his friend’s nasty wife – who openly derided her – and made her displeasure quite clear by making scathing comments about the soldier, his wife and their children.

His friend’s wife kept on complaining and making snide remarks about how the soldier and his family were sponging on her hospitality like parasites.

The soldier’s wife hated the peon’s wife – but she had to suffer the humiliation in silence – and bear the daily insults – and – it was terrible to be at the mercy of someone who detested you.

Today – the peon friend had asked the soldier to stand outside the gate – and the peon had gone into the accounts office alone.

He had gone in alone – because last time – the soldier had spoilt everything by refusing to a pay a bribe to the accounts officer.

The soldier had even threatened the accounts officer that he would report the matter.

The accounts officer was furious: “Go and report. Nothing will happen. Now I will see to it that your papers are not traced until you die. What do you bloody soldiers think? That you can threaten us? This is not the Army. This is the Accounts Office. Haven’t you heard the saying that: ‘THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD’…? Now I will show you.”

Today his peon friend had gone inside to negotiate.

The clerks had told him not to bring the soldier inside the office as the egoistic accounts officer may get furious on seeing the soldier – and everything will be spoilt.

They told the peon that once everything was “settled” – they would try and trace the “misplaced” documents – and he could take them out to obtain the soldier’s signature – and re-submit the papers for clearance of the disability pension.

The soldier waited anxiously in the hot sun for his peon friend to come out. 

Angry thoughts buzzed in his mind.

“Ungrateful, corrupt people – all these civilians,” the soldier muttered to himself, “we sacrifice our life and limb for their sake and they humiliate us – they even ask me to pay a bribe to get my own disability pension…”

“Patriotism, heroism, idealism – no one bothers about these things anymore. I made a mistake by joining the army. Yes – I indeed made a mistake by joining the army. But – I made an even bigger mistake trying to be brave. What was the point of showing courage, initiative, daring? What did I gain by going beyond the call of duty to nab those guys? How does it matter if a few militants sneak in? Who is bothered about these things anyway – especially out here in the city? They don’t even know what is happening out there. Had I looked the other way – no one would have known – and I would not be a one-legged cripple – a langda... And even then – I wish they had shot me in the head and I had died. That would have been better…” he mumbled to himself, feeling very bitter, frustrated and helpless.

The soldier thought of his wife, his children, the bleak future awaiting them.

How long would they have to be dependent on the mercy of his friend and his nasty wife?

The soldier felt sad – very sad – as depressing thoughts of despondency and hopelessness filled his brain.

He wondered whether his disability pension problem would be solved today.

It was taking long – his friend had gone in at 10 AM – and it was almost 12 noon now.

The sweltering summer sun was hot – and the soldier felt parched and weak.

He had drunk just a cup of tea – since they started their journey to the accounts office in the city by bus from their friend’s home in the distant suburbs – early in the morning.

Suddenly the soldier felt faint – so he walked towards the compound wall of the accounts office.

He took support from the wall – and he slid down to sit on his haunches.

At 12:30 his friend emerged from the gates of the accounts office. 

He was happy – the bribe had been paid – the documents had been promptly traced. 

Now all he had to do was get the soldier’s signature on the papers – and he had been assured that the soldier’s disability pension and all his dues would be given within a month.

The peon friend began to look around for the soldier – and he saw the soldier sitting strangely – propped against the wall.

The soldier’s eyes were closed – and it seemed that he had fallen asleep.

Something seemed amiss – so the peon briskly walked towards the soldier.

The peon bent down – and he touched the soldier’s shoulder.

The soldier fell down to his side.

The peon friend panicked. 

He thought the soldier had fainted – so he started shouting for help.

The traffic policeman – the food-cart vendor – and some passers-by – all rushed to help.

The policeman told the vendor to sprinkle some water on the soldier’s face – but nothing happened.

The policeman rang up the police control room for an ambulance.

“I hope he is not dead,” the soldier’s peon friend said with trepidation.

“I don’t know. But it looks like he is totally unconscious. What happened? Who is he? He was muttering that he is a fauji – is he really a soldier?” the policeman asked.

The friend told the policeman the soldier’s story – the full story.

“Sad,” the policeman said, “very sad – it is really terrible – the way they treat our soldiers.”

The ambulance arrived.

A paramedic examined the soldier and he said, “I think he is dead. We will take him to the hospital. There the doctors will examine him and officially pronounce him dead.”

“The enemy’s bullets could not do what these Babus did with their red tape. It is so sad. The enemy could not kill this brave soldier – but the these Babus  killed him…” the policeman commented.

“Yes. The accounts officer was right,” the soldier’s distraught peon friend said,“The Pen is indeed Mightier than the Sword.”

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)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


This Story was written by me 3 years ago in the year 2012 and first posted online by me Vikram Karve in my blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal onat 1/09/2013 02:09:00 PM (09 Jan 2013) at url:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…   and  also at urls:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Is “Military Intelligence” an “Oxymoron” ?

August 5, 2015

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: -> http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/do-military-officers-have-brains-or-is.html.

Humor in Uniform

DO MILITARY OFFICERS HAVE BRAINS…?
or
Is “Anti-intellectualism” an OLQ (Officer Like Quality)…?

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Military Thinking


A few days ago – I received an invite for PILF 2015 – Pune International Literary Festival 2015 –  scheduled in the first week of September.

This evoked in me some delightful memories of PILF 2013 – held 2 years ago – in September 2013 – especially the enlightened discussion with a young lady during the Question/Answer Session of the workshop on “Blogging” that I conducted at the Literary Meet.

So – here is the article – comprising the “memoir” and my “reflections” – once more – for you to read, have a laugh and ponder over…  

THE MILITARY “BRAIN”
Reflections of a Navy Veteran
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Around two years ago – in September 2013 – I was invited to conduct a workshop on “Blogging” at a Literary Meet (Pune International Literary Festival – PILF 2013).

During the discussions – a smart young lady sitting in the first row asked me a question:

“Sir – I have read your book of short stories and I regularly read your writings on your blogs – especially your fiction stories – and I was wondering –‘…How is it possible that you can think so creatively despite having spent so many years in the Navy?’…”

At first – I was stumped.

But – I quickly recovered my wits – and I said: “Life in the Navy is so eventful – you meet so many unforgettable characters – you have so many interesting experiences – so you get plenty of material to write about.’

“No, Sir – I did not mean life experiences. I am asking about thinking ability. Tell me, Sir – ‘…Doesn’t military life affect the ability to think creatively?’…” she asked.

“I really did not understand your question – could you please elaborate?” I asked her.

“Sir – I was an army officer till recently – and I found the atmosphere quite stifling and restrictive – which inhibits creative thinking…” the smart young lady said.

Now – I was beginning to understand what she was driving at – so I said: “Do you mean the military “anti-intellectualism” – which suppresses intellectual activity – the military regimentation ethos of  ‘…“Don’t use your brain – just do as you are told” army culture?’…”

“Yes, Sir – that is exactly what I mean…” she said.

I smiled to myself.

She was echoing the thoughts of Liddell Hart.

Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (31 October 1895 – 29 January 1970) – commonly known throughout most of his career as Captain B. H. Liddell Hart – was an English soldier, military historian and military theorist.

Liddell Hart – while highlighting the dangers of “anti-intellectualism” in the army – had pointed out the reason due to which military officers lose their creative thinking abilities.

He opined that:

“…A lifetime of having to curb the expression of original thought culminates so often in there being nothing left to express…”.

There is a saying which applies to the Brain:

“Use it – or you will lose it”

I have read somewhere that there is a relationship between mental activity and cerebral blood-flow – and – like muscles – the brain atrophies from prolonged disuse.

Military Officers (especially Army Officers) are encouraged to do plenty of physical exercise to keep their body fit.

However – the anti-intellectual “just do as you are told – don’t use your brain” military culture inhibits the use of the brain.

The ramification of this regimented blind-obedience military culture is thatmilitary officers keep their bodies fit by constant physical exercise – but they neglect exercising their brain (especially the right hemisphere of the brain).

While a military officer may occasionally use his analytical “left brain” – his creative “right brain” will fall into disuse and atrophy.

And – as the military officer spends more years in service and becomes a senior officer – he will lose the ability to think creatively.

The young smart ex-fauji lady officer had a point and she was implying that:

‘…Living for a prolonged duration in a dogmatic “don’t use your brain – just do as you are told” strait-jacketed “anti-intellectual” insular military environment can certainly affect your creative thinking abilities…’

Obviously – during her days as an army officer – the young lady had experienced this intellectually suffocating feeling.

Maybe – she had also observed the detrimental effect of the prevailing military culture of “anti-intellectualism” on the creative faculties of her peers and seniors.

Obviously – during her days in the army – she had experienced that this “blinkered thinking army culture” was constraining her creativity.

Probably that was the reason why she had quit the army before it was too late – in order to enable her creative juices to flow freely – and – now – as a civilian – her creativity was certainly flourishing – as was evident from the inspired creative writing on her blog.

Well – I told the young lady that the intellectual culture in the navy was certainly more liberal and “broadminded” than what she had experienced in the army – and – in general – the navy milieu was conducive to creative thinking.

In fact – I found navy life quite eventful – and this probably gave my creative thinking ability an impetus – as there was never a dull moment in the navy – with so many curious characters around.


“ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM” IS AN IMPORTANT OLQ (OFFICER LIKE QUALITY)

After the workshop was over – I had a delightful discussion with the charming young lady.

“I am sure you have heard of the term OLQ…” I asked her.

“Of course I know what is OLQ – it was drilled into us – OLQ means ‘Officer Like Qualities’…” she said. 

“Well – “Anti-intellectualism” is an important OLQ – yes – “regimented thinking” is a vital “Officer Like Quality” – and – if an officer uses his right brain and thinks creatively or “out of the box” – as they say – then he is doomed…” I told her.

In jest – I told her that during my Navy days – I always carried two brains inside me:

1. A “fauji brain” for regimented military thoughts

2. A “creative brain” for interesting thoughts where I could let my imagination run wild.

Most of the naval officers I met were cerebral types – but I did come across a few anti-intellectual specimens too.

If you are a “fauji” (serving or retired) – or a “faujan” – do tell us if you have come across some “just do as you are told – don’t use your brain”“anti-intellectual” types during your service in the military.

Like I said – the overly regimented Army is certainly more “anti-intellectual” than the Navy –  and most of the naval officers I came across were cerebral types – but I did meet a few “anti-intellectual” types in the Navy too – and about one such hilarious specimen – I will tell you in a subsequent blog post.

And – before I end – let me leave you with a famous saying: 

“Military Intelligence” is an “Oxymoron”

You agree – don’t you – the phrase “Military Intelligence” is a contradiction in terms – isn’t it…?

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 is a spoof, 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Abridged Revised and Updated Extract of my article THE CRAZY COMMODORE WITH A PHOBIA FOR “MANAGEMENT THOUGHTS”written by me Vikram Karve on 19 November 2013 and posted online in my various blogs including in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Posted by Vikram Karve at 11/19/2013 12:31:00 PM at url:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and revised version at url:http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/05/2015 11:12:00 

Humor in Uniform – Military Wives – “Lady Like Qualities” (LLQ)

August 1, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: The Navy Wife with “Lady Like Qualities” (LLQ).

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

The Navy Wife with “Lady Like Qualities” (LLQ)

It is heartening to see so many “faujans” (Military Wives) in the Blogosphere. 

I am sure there are many talented Bloggers among Defence Wives who write on a variety of subjects. 

I particularly like 3 Blogs which feature interesting posts about the unique life of Army Wives:

1. A Curious Army Wife 

2. Aditi’s Monologue 

3. Half a Cup of Happyness 

I hope to discover more such blogs about “fauji” life as I am sure there are many “faujis” “faujans” and veterans blogging away in the blogosphere.

Browsing through these blogs and reading delightful posts about life of Army Wives evokes memories of some unforgettable Navy Wives I came across in my long Navy Career – so – here is one memoir about The Navy Wife with Lady Like Qualities (LLQ)


THE NAVY WIFE WITH “LADY LIKE QUALITIES” (LLQ)
Hilarious Memories of My Wonderful Navy Life
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Officers of the Defence Services (Army Navy and Air Force) are required to be Gentlemen.

Accordingly  Wives of Defence Service Officers are expected to be Ladies – hence the term “Lady Wife” for Wives of Military Officers.

All Military Officers are required to possess OLQ (OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES)

But do all Wives of all Military Officers display LLQ (LADY LIKE QUALITIES) ?

Let me delve deep into my Humor in Uniform archives and pull out this story for you to enjoy and ponder over:


LLQ – LADY LIKE QUALITIES (A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE)


Part 1 – THE OFFICER

“Can you carry a small packet and deliver it to my wife?” the officer asked me.

“Sure Sir,” I said.

“Thanks. Just some Ayurvedic Medicines, that’s all. I’ll come on board your ship tomorrow and give it to you,” he said.

“Sure Sir, no hurry, we are leaving day after tomorrow morning,” I said.

The officer was a friend of my ex-shipmate who had been posted to Cochin a few months ago and with whom I was having a drink in the Navy Club at Cochin (now Kochi).

The officer had joined us for a drink – my ex-shipmate had introduced me – and when the officer came to know that my ship was going to Bombay (now Mumbai) he requested to me to carry a packet and deliver it to his wife in Bombay.

Since my ex-shipmate was calling him “Sir” – I too addressed him as “Sir” – and when he came on board the next day – I noticed that though he wore two stripes of a Lieutenant like me, he had the green 9 year long service ribbon.

(Those days it took 3 years to become a Lieutenant – and then one remained a Lieutenant for 8 long years – so there were “junior” Lieutenants like me – and “senior” Lieutenants like him).

Next afternoon just before lunchtime, the officer came to my cabin onboard my ship and gave me the packet.

He also gave me a slip of paper on which was written his home address in NOFRA.

“I am stuck here in Cochin for the next 3 months doing a bloody course,” he complained, sipping his beer.

“Cochin is a lovely place,” I said.

“I know – but my wife is in Bombay – and, as they say, there is no life without wife,” he remarked.

“Sir, we are stopping over for two days at Goa and we plan to reach Bombay by Friday, so I will deliver your packet on Saturday or Sunday,” I said.

“No problem – I have already posted a letter to my wife in the morning about the packet,” he said.

(36 years ago – when this story happened – writing letters was the common mode of communication – because junior officers did not have landline phones at home – so – a “trunk call” was inconvenient – telegrams were for emergencies – and – of course – mobile phones had not yet been invented).


Part 2 – THE OFFICER’S WIFE

On Saturday evening I rang the bell of a flat on the 6th floor of a high-rise building that housed Married Accommodation for Lieutenants.

A beautiful young lady opened the door.

I introduced myself.

“Yes, yes, do come in,” she said in a mellifluous voice, “I got my husband’s letter two days ago – I have been expecting you today.”

“Sorry Ma’am, I could not come in the morning…” I said – and I handed her the packet her husband had sent from Cochin.

“Oh, come on – it was so nice of you to get the packet – do sit down – I will get you something to drink – what will you have?” she said.

“Just a glass of water…” I said – and I sat down on the sofa.

I looked at the lady as she opened the fridge – took out a bottle of water – poured some in a glass – and brought the glass in a tray towards me.

I was impressed by the way she carried herself – she had so much élan, grace and poise.

She excused herself, went into the kitchen and then she came out and asked me: “Come on – have a drink – the bar is over there – and then we will have dinner – you like chicken, don’t you – or are you a vegetarian?”

“Ma’am – please don’t take the trouble…”

“What trouble? There’s no trouble at all – my maid will do the cooking while we talk – in fact it is you who have taken the trouble to deliver the packet and the least I can do is to offer you a meal,” she said.

I felt uncomfortable having a hard drink alone in her company – so I asked for a soft drink – and she had one too.

I think she realized that I was feeling a bit awkward – so she tried to put me at ease.

We talked – we had dinner – and the evening passed in a haze of delight.

As I rode my scooter back to ship I thought about her – she was a perfect navy wife – her social graces, her etiquette, her polish, her refinement, her poise – well, it is difficult for me to describe everything about her in words – so I will just say that she had all the “Lady Like Qualities”.


Part 3 – THE OFFICER and HIS WIFE

A few months later – I ran into her in the US Club Library.

“Good evening, Ma’am,” I wished her.

“Oh, hello – how are you?” she said politely.

Suddenly – her husband came in.

He looked at me – he recognized me – and he smiled and said to me, “Hi – How are you?”

“Hello, Sir – welcome back to Mumbai,” I said.

“Come – why don’t you join us for a drink – let’s go to the bar,” he said.

“Sure Sir,” I said.

I walked down to the bar with the Naval Officer and his wife.

We sat down in the club bar.

Those days – it was the custom that the senior officer signs for the drinks – so the officer signed the bar chit to order drinks.

I noticed that his lady wife was giving me a rather curious look.

I smiled at her.

“Why are you calling my husband “Sir” – you are senior to him – aren’t you?” she asked me.

“No Ma’am – your husband is senior to me,” I said.

“Really? Are you sure? I thought that you are senior to my husband,” she said.

“Of course I am sure – your husband is senior to me,” I said.

“That is surprising. You look so old and mature – that is why – when you came home the other day – I thought that you were senior to my husband,” she said.

I did not know what to say.

I certainly did not look that “old” – as if I were an elderly senior citizen.

But with my copious beard – bulky body size – and rather podgy physique – I certainly looked older than my age.

So – I said, “ Yes, Ma’am – you are right – I do look a bit older than my age – and many persons do think that I am more senior than I actually am – in fact – once a senior Lieutenant mistook me for a Lieutenant Commander – and he was surprised when he saw me in uniform next morning.”

“Oh – all that doesn’t matter,” remarked her husband, the senior Lieutenant.

It may not have mattered to him – but it did matter to his wife.

As far as his wife was concerned – it was obvious that my inter-se seniority with her husband did matter to her.

The moment she realized that I was junior to her husband – her demeanor towards me changed drastically.

Earlier – she had treated me with courteous obsequiousness – on the day I had visited her home when she thought that I was senior to her husband.

But now – the moment she realized that I was junior to her husband – her behaviour changed totally – and she was cold and frosty towards me.

The disdain with which she ignored my presence – her scornful vibes – all this made me feel uncomfortable – and I excused myself from their company after a drink – saying that I had to go somewhere.

On my way back to the ship – I had a big laugh.

It was evident that her “Lady Like Qualities” – her LLQ – was quite selective.

Yes – she certainly had selective LLQ.

In fact – to put it bluntly – this Naval Officer’s Wife was lacking in “Lady Like Qualities(LLQ)

Her Naval Officer husband may have been a “Gentleman” – but she certainly did not display the attributes of a “Lady”.


Epilogue – LADY LIKE QUALITIES (LLQ)

THE NAVY OFFICER’S WIFE 

(Hope this is applicable to Army/Air Force Officer’s Wives as well)

Here is quote from a NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association) booklet which encapsulates some prudent advice for a Naval Officer’s Wife:

“You don’t wear his (your husband’s) stripes … there is no such thing as a ‘Senior Wife’. There are Senior Officers. They have wives. There are Junior Officers and some of them have wives. All wives are ladies … You will not fawn over others and not expect others to fawn over you. You will be yourself. And your own manners, breeding and natural charm will shine through leaving you with no need for any borrowed stripes or other borrowed plumage”

I have seen many such elegant navy wives who were perfect ladies – military wives who had excellent LADY LIKE QUALITIES or LLQ

Do tell us if you have seen military wives with perfect LLQ?

And also do tell us some hilarious episodes about “faujans” sans LLQ – stories of military officer’s wives who are not “Ladies”

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 blog post is a spoof, 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 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)

Revised, Updated and Collated Version of My Humor in Uniform Stories Posted by me Vikram Karve in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at 6/10/2014 12:09:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…and url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… 

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 8/01/2015 02:14:00 PM

Mysteries of Marital Relationships – THE “MUCH MARRIED” BACHELOR

July 30, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE “MUCH MARRIED” BACHELOR.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

THE “MUCH MARRIED” BACHELOR

Since this morning – my wife is away for a few days on an outstation trip for work.

So – I am “Married Yet Single” – and this “Married Bachelor Status” reminded me of this story from my Navy Days…

“BACHELOR BOY” 
Story of The “Much Married” Bachelor
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

If you go to a Defence Officers Mess (or Navy Wardroom) you will find two types of “single” officers:

1. Unmarried Bachelors

2. Married Bachelors

Again – “Married Bachelors” are of two types:

1. “Permanent” Married Bachelors – “in living” officers who are married but are staying away from their wives for some reason like wife’s career, children’s education, marital discord etc – and reside as “single” officers in the Mess.

2. “Temporary” Married Bachelors – married officers who temporarily dine in the Mess because their wives have gone on a vacation or for confinement/delivery of a baby or some ‘back-home-type’ family occasion/commitment.

But – I once met a third type of “married bachelor”.

Yes – the story I am going to tell you is about a rather curious married bachelor I met long back in the Navy.

Let us call him “X”.

This anecdote happened more than 36 years ago – when I was a carefree unmarried bachelor – and I lived in a wonderful officers’ mess with some delightful messmates – most of whom were also “unmarried bachelors” like me.

Now “X” was quite senior to us – and “X” was very much married.

Though “X” was married – he spent every evening with us unmarried bachelors in the officers’ mess.

“X” would arrive in the mess punctually at 7 o’clock in the evening.

He would play billiards with us – then come to the bar and drink with us till closing time – late into the night.

After enjoying the entire evening with us at the officers’ mess – “X” would go home to his wife – almost at midnight.

This was his routine every evening.

We felt sad for his wife.

We felt pity for her – because of the terrible shoddy manner in which her “misogynist” husband “X” treated her.

“X” took his docile wife for granted.

He went out every night to have a good time with the “boys” – while his hapless wife had to spend her lonely evenings at home.

Every evening his devoted wife would dutifully wait for her husband “X” to come back around midnight to have dinner.

This routine went on for months.

Then – suddenly – without any warning – one evening – our friend “X” did not turn up at officers’ mess.

We thought he was probably unwell.

But when he did not come to officers’ mess for three successive evenings – we decided to go to his house and see if things were okay.

When we reached his home – we were taken aback to see “X” sitting all alone in the darkness.

In his hand “X” was nursing a drink – which he did not seem to be enjoying.

“X” seemed to be in a state of melancholy.

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour and we asked “X” what the matter with him was.

We asked him why he had not come to the officers’ mess in the evenings as usual for the past three days.

“X” simply said that his wife had gone to her mother’s place for a few days and he was feeling lonely and miserable.

It was evident that “X” was badly missing his wife.

“If you are feeling lonely and miserable because your wife has gone away – that is all the more reason you should come to the officers’ mess,” we said.

We asked “X” to come with us to the mess and cheer up.

We told him that since he was feeling lonely – spending some time in our company enjoying a few drinks would surely raise his spirits- and this would help him forget his loneliness and cheer him up.

Surprisingly, “X” refused to come to the officers’ mess with us.

“X” sullenly told us that he was not in the mood – and that he wanted to be left alone.

So – we left him alone – to ‘mope and grope’, ‘moan and groan’ and wallow in his loneliness.

For many days – “X” did not come to the officers’ mess.

Then – suddenly – one evening – we found “X” entering the mess promptly at 7 o’clock in the evening.

There was a spring in his step and “X” seemed to be full of good cheer.

“My wife has come back,” he said happily.

“X” looked delighted and was full of good cheer – it was evident that he was very happy that his wife had returned back to him.

And then – like earlier days – “X” thoroughly enjoyed the evening with us in the officers mess – and he staggered back home happily drunk at midnight.

For “X” – it was back to the good old days.

Every evening – the happily married bachelor “X” would arrive at the officers’ mess punctually at 7 PM – and spend his time with us unmarried bachelors – enjoying himself thoroughly till midnight – and then – swaying in high spirits – he would go back home to his beloved wife.

Strange but true – the moment his wife returned – “X” was back to his old “married bachelor” ways – and every evening – punctually at 7 PM – he was seen in the evening at the mess – enjoying himself thoroughly till midnight.

We were puzzled by his strange behaviour.

When his wife was present – “X” seemed to be bored of his married life – so he left his wife behind at home – and he went out to the officers’ mess to enjoy a good time with the “boys”.

But when his wife went away – “X” was filled with misery and despair – and he spent his time brooding alone at home in lonely melancholy – longing for his wife to come back.

And the moment his wife returned back to him – “X” was back to his old ways – leaving his wife all alone at home – while he went off to enjoy his evening at the club with us bachelor boys.

At that time – I never understood this amusing paradox of his marital relationship.

When his wife was away – he stayed at home.

And – when his wife was at home – he spend his evenings outside – leaving his wife all alone at home.

But – when I got married – and – over the years – as I became “much married” – I slowly began to fathom such inexplicable mysteries in marriage relationships.

That is why – even after more than 33 years of married life – I still feel that marriage is a mystery – and every marital relationship is unique in its own way.

So these evenings – when my wife is away for a few days for work – you will find me sitting at home all alone – gloomy – feeling “sad” – ‘moping and groping’ – in lonely melancholy – yearning for my wife.

And – the moment my wife comes back – I will be so filled with happiness – that – I will immediately wear my walking shoes – and – with a smile on my lips – and a spring in my step – I will step out for an enjoyable walk all by myself – leaving my darling wife to ‘hold the fort’ at home. 

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 spoof, 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 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.



This is a revised updated version of my story written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2010 and earlier posted online by me in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – Posted by Vikram Karveat 8/13/2013 11:51:00 AM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201… and re-posted at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 7/30/2015 11:45:00 PM

Amazing Romance – THE MAID – An Awesome Love Story

July 13, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE MAID – A Love Story.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

THE MAID
Short Fiction – A Love Story
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


A RAINY NIGHT

It was a scary night – dark – windy – thunder – lightning – and heavy torrential rain.

After the official ‘cocktail-cum-dinner’ party was over – my friend said to me: “It is raining heavily. Why don’t you stay over for the night in the mess – you can sleep in my cabin if you want.”

“No,” I said, “I will go back to my ship.”

“You have had quite a bit to drink,” my friend said, “Do you really want to drive in this heavy rain…?”

“I am okay – you don’t worry – I will reach safely…” I said.

“Be careful,” my friend said, “Drive slow…”

I put on my black oilskin raincoat over my evening ‘Red Sea Rig’ uniform.

I wore my helmet.

Then – I started my motorcycle – and I drove off in the rain.

A few minutes later – while I was driving through the married accommodation area – there was a sudden ‘cloudburst’ – a huge torrent of rain – a flood of water on the road.

I lost control – my motorcycle skidded – and I fell into a gutter – and I got totally drenched in the deluge of water.

I struggled and got up – hauled up my motorcycle – and dragged the bike into the parking lot of the multistory high-rise married accommodation building nearby.

I was totally drenched – soaked to the skin – and my oilskin raincoat was covered with muck from the gutter.

It was raining very heavily – and – in this torrential rain – it was impossible to drive my motorcycle – yes – in this terrible rain – and the flood of water on the roads – even going back to the mess was out of the question.

And – from the way it was raining – it did not look like the downpour of rain was going to subside very soon.

I stood shivering in the parking lot of the multistory high-rise building – wondering what to do.

My eyes went to the wooden board on the wall – on which the names of occupants of the high-rise building were listed.

I was delighted to spot the name of ‘course-mate’ – against Flat No. 303.

I had not met this ‘course-mate’ after leaving the academy – in fact – I did not know that he was in Mumbai – but then – that was the ‘Bombay Culture’ those days – where everyone was on his own trip.

I took off my stinking oilskin raincoat and helmet – and left them on my bike.

Then – I walked to the lift – and pressed the 3rd floor button.

I stood outside Flat No. 303 and rang the doorbell.

After some time – a young woman opened the door.

It was obvious that this charming young woman was my course-mate’s wife.

She was dressed in her night-clothes – and it was evident that she had been sleeping.

“Sorry for disturbing you, Ma’am…” I said.

She looked at my wet uniform – but she said nothing.

So – I said to her: “I am a course-mate of “X” – he lives here – isn’t it…? I had a small accident on my motorcycle – and I thought I will spend some time here till the rain lessens a bit…”

She smiled – and she said, “He is not here – he is away on duty…”

“Oh – I am sorry – I will go…” I said.

“No…No – it is raining very heavily – please come in…” she said.

“Thanks…” I said.

I walked in – and I sat on the sofa in the drawing room.

“Shall I make you a cup of coffee…?” she asked.

“No – Ma’am – I have already troubled you so much – please go to sleep – I will relax here on the sofa – and I will quietly go away once it stops raining…” I said.

She smiled – and she went away – leaving me alone in the drawing room.

I do not know when I dozed off to sleep on the sofa.

What I know is that when I woke up – and opened my eyes – the first thing I saw was my course-mate’s wife looking at me.

She was freshly bathed – and she looked very beautiful – incredibly alluring – and I could not take my eyes off her.

She gave me a sweet smile.

I felt ashamed of having eyed her so brazenly – so I quickly moved my eyes away.

“Good Morning…” she said.

“Good Morning, Ma’am…” I said.

I looked out of the window.

It has stopped raining – in fact – there was bright sunlight.

“What time is it…?” I asked.

“7:30…” she said.

“Oh – I slept whole night – I am so sorry – I must go…” I said, filled with embarrassment.

“At least wash up – have a cup of tea…” she said.

“No – Ma’am – thanks a lot – but I have already overstayed my welcome – and I have to get back to my ship quickly…” I said.

“Okay…” she said.

“When will “X” be back…?” I asked.

“He should be back by tomorrow evening…” she said.

“Okay – then I will come over – and we will have a proper dinner…” I said.

“Yes…” she said.

“Thank you again, Ma’am…” I said – and I left.


3 DAYS LATER

I asked around – and I found out the “X” was posted in an inconsequential appointment in the back of beyond.

No wonder I had not met him all these days.

Three days later – in the morning – I called up his office.

“Yes – “X” had reported back the previous day from outstation duty – and he would be in office by 9:30 AM…” I was told.

I reached his office at 10 AM.

“X” was happy to see me.

I shook hands with him and said: “I have come to thank you for the hospitality when I was stuck in the rain the other night – it was very sweet of your wife to let me stay…”

“Wife…?” he asked – looking confused.

“Yes – I was all drenched in the rain – I took shelter in your building – then I saw your name on the board – and I just barged into your house – and it was very kind of your wife to let me stay all night…”

“Wife…? How could she be there…?” he asked.

“Of course your wife was there…” I said.

“Impossible…” he said.

“Then who was that charming lady…?” I asked.

“She was my ‘Maid’ – not my wife…” he said.

“What…? She was your ‘Maid’ – she was not your wife…?” I blurted out – totally bewildered.

“Yes – the woman who you met is my ‘Maid’ – she told me that some ‘course-mate’ of mine had got stuck in the rain and slept on the sofa – she didn’t remember your name – so it was you…?” he said.

“Oh – I am very sorry – your ‘Maid’ is so smart – that I mistook her for your wife – yes – I really thought that she was your wife…” I said.

“Ha Ha – I must tell my wife this…” he said, laughing.

“No – please don’t tell her – it will be very embarrassing…” I said.

Tea arrived – and we sipped our tea.

I noticed that “X” wasn’t telling me anything about his wife – so I asked him: “By the way – your wife – is she out of station…?”

“She is an ‘air-hostess’ in an international airline – so she is out on duty for around 15 days in a month…” he said.

“Oh – that’s great – we must meet sometime in the club – I owe you a dinner…” I said.

“Sure – my wife should be back by weekend…” he said.

“One more thing – please don’t tell anyone about my faux pas – it was a stupid blunder on my part in thinking that your ‘Maid’ was your wife…” I said.

“X” laughed – and said, “okay…”

But – alas – “X” told everyone about my stupid goof-up – and I became a laughing stock.

This angered me – and I did not visit “X” again.


3 YEARS LATER

I was flying abroad for some work.

An air-hostess came to me – and she asked me my name.

I told her my name.

Then – she said, “Come – we’ll upgrade you to ‘business class’…”

When I was comfortable in my new luxurious seat – the air-hostess came over to me and said, “You didn’t recognize me – of course – we have never met – I saw your name on the passenger manifest – and I guessed it must be you – well – I am your course-mate X’s wife – remember – the ‘Maid’ episode…”

“Oh – yes – how can I forget – your husband “X” told everyone about it – and I became a laughing stock…” I said.

“He told our ‘Maid’ too…” she said.

“What…? Did your husband “X” tell your ‘Maid’ that I thought that she was you…?” I asked.

“Well – my ‘Maid’ did have some inkling – she told us that you kept addressing her as ‘Ma’am’…”

“I wanted to come over to your place – but I was so embarrassed to face your ‘Maid’ again – after my faux pas…”

“Well – you can meet her when you are in Delhi – the same ‘Maid’ is still with us…”

“You’ve got the same ‘Maid’ even now…?”

“Yes – we took her along when we were posted to Delhi – she is a big boon – it is because of her that I am able to do this job which requires me to be out for so many days…” she said.

“Yes – I saw that your ‘Maid’ was very good…” I said.

“She looks after everything at home – in fact – I have handed over all ‘homemaker’ duties to her – she manages each and every thing – she even looks after my husband so well – and she is so good – that I just don’t have to bother about anything…” she said.

There was a call for her – so X’s wife smiled a ‘good-bye’ – and she left to attend to her duties.


10 YEARS LATER

Ten years later – one morning – while driving down from Mumbai to Pune by the Expressway – I stopped at the ‘Food Court’ for a cup of tea.

A car entered the ‘food court’ parking lot.

I could not believe my eyes.

My course-mate “X” was in the Driver’s Seat – and sitting next to him was his‘Maid’.

Both of them got out of the car – they walked to a vacant table and sat down.

Obviously – “X” hadn’t seen me – or if he had seen me – then “X” probably did not want to meet me.

But I was curious to meet “X” – and yes – I was quite intrigued by his rather intimate demeanor towards his ‘Maid’.

I wondered why “X” had seated his ‘Maid’ beside him on the front seat of the car – and even now – they seemed to be talking in a rather friendly manner.

I picked up my cup of tea – and I walked towards their table.

“Hello…” I said to my course-mate “X”.

“Oh – Hi…” my course-mate “X” said with a smile.

“May I join you…?” I asked.

“Of course…” he said.

“I’ll just freshen up and come…” the ‘Maid’ said – and she left for the washroom.

“So – I heard that you suddenly quit the Navy…” I said.

“Yes – I quit 5 years ago – I am in the Merchant Navy now…” he said.

“That’s great…” I said.

“Yes – the Merchant Navy is much better – especially moneywise…” he said.

“So – are you going to Pune…?” I asked “X”.

“No – I am driving down to Mahabaleshwar…” he said.

“You’re going to Mahabaleshwar – with your ‘Maid’…?” I asked, shocked.

“She is no longer my ‘Maid’….” he said.

“What…? She is no longer your ‘Maid’…? Don’t tell me that you have married her…!” I said, totally baffled.

“Not yet…” he said, nonchalantly.

“Not yet…! What do you mean by ‘Not Yet’…? Are you saying that you intend marrying your ‘Maid’…? So that means that you two are living together…?” I blurted out, baffled out of my wits.

“X” did not say anything – he looked down at the table.

His silence spoke volumes.

For me – the whole thing was unbelievable – most bizarre.

Then – after I recovered my wits – I looked at “X”  and I said to him, “Have you gone crazy…? You have dumped your wife for your ‘Maid’…?”

“X” did not answer – he just looked away.

I followed his gaze – and I saw the ‘Maid’ come out of the washroom and walk towards us.

I got up from my seat.

“Okay – Bye – it is time for me to move on…” I said to “X”.

Meanwhile the ‘Maid’ had reached our table and was smiling at me – so – I looked at the ‘Maid’ – and I said to her: “All the Best, Ma’am…”

Last time – calling her “Ma’am” was a faux pas on my part – but – now – as my course-mate’s consort – she had earned the right to be called “Ma’am”.

Then – I turned – and I walked towards my car.

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 spoof, 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 is 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)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Posted by Vikram Karve at 7/13/2015 01:14:00 PM

HOW TO WRITE FOOD REVIEWS AND RATE RESTAURANTS – Guide

May 30, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: FOOD REVIEW – HOW TO RATE RESTAURANTS.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

FOOD REVIEWS

HOW TO RATE RESTAURANTS
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This happened 37 years ago in the 1970’s during my early days in the Navy.

We were sitting in our ship’s wardroom enjoying our first drink of the evening – when some shipmates peeped in and asked me: “Hey – we are thinking of going to ‘XXX’ restaurant for dinner…”

“…3 Large…” I said.

My shipmates promptly downed 3 Large Pegs of Whisky each – and then proceeded for dinner to ‘XXX’ restaurant in the heart of Mumbai.

I was – and I still am – an avid ‘Foodie’.

During my early navy days – I was lucky to be appointed on ships based at Mumbai – which gave me great opportunity to explore the culinary delights of the best foodie city in India.

If you have read ‘food reviews’ – you will notice that most restaurant reviewers rate restaurants on a scale of 1 to 5 – with 5 meaning ‘Excellent’ – 4 (Very Good) – 3 (Good) – 2 (Average) – and – 1 (Poor).

These food reviewers consider various parameters like food, service, ambience etc to rate a restaurant (and some even give sub-ratings for each parameter).

Some restaurant reviewers use ‘stars’ instead of numbers – but it is basically the same rating system.

My restaurant rating system is different.

I rate restaurants on the number of pegs of booze (rum/whisky) you are advised to imbibe before proceeding to eat food in the restaurant.

Yes – I rate restaurants on a scale of ‘0’ to ‘6’ – ‘0’ Pegs’ to ‘6 Pegs’ to be precise – and – of course – the ‘Peg’ referred to is a ‘Large Peg’ – which is ‘60 ml’ of rum/whisky.

And yes – this rating mainly applies to Indian Cuisine.

It is my experience that alcohol does not go well with Indian Cuisine which is highly flavorsome.

Alcohol dulls the taste buds, and olfactory sensation, and encumbers the unmitigated enjoyment of good food.

So – if you are going to have an authentic Indian ‘Pure Vegetarian Thali Meal’ prepared hygienically with pure ingredients in clean surroundings – you will ruin the eating experience if you drink alcohol before, or along with, this pristine food.    

This will therefore qualify for a ‘0’ Large or ‘Zero Peg’ rating.

On the other hand – hard-core street-food like oily spicy greasy mutton curry prepared in most unhygienic earthy manner and eaten in noisy, crowded, polluted, filthy surroundings – ‘robust’ food which requires a ‘cast iron stomach’ to digest and fit only for a seasoned trencherman – will qualify for a‘6 Large’ rating.

You have got the drift – haven’t you?

At one end of the scale (‘Zero Large’) was delicate refined pristine food to be savoured by the high-falutin gourmand.

At the other end of the scale (‘6 Large’) was fiery robust earthy food fit only for a tough trencherman.

My shipmates were going to a ‘3 Large’ eatery for Mutton Biryani in the heart of the city.

There was a ‘2 Large’ eatery nearby too which served a more “refined” biryani – and – of course – there were a few ‘5 Large’ street-joints where you got earthy “Kababs” and “Bheja” dishes too.

In my entire life – I have rated only one eatery with the top ‘6 Large’ rating – and I have never dared to go there again.

Of course – I have eaten in many ‘pristine’ restaurants which qualified for a‘Zero Large’ rating.

Later – I started applying this ‘0’ to ‘6’ “Large” rating whenever someone called me home to dinner.

Those days – I was known to be a passionate drinker.

We had been invited to dinner at a friend’s place – and my friend was surprised when I declined his offer of my favourite ‘Rum-Pani’ drink.

“You don’t want a drink…? What’s wrong with you…?” my friend asked me.

“Nothing is wrong with me. Your wife is such an excellent cook – and I have seen in the kitchen all the delicious dishes she has made for dinner – so I don’t want to spoil my eating experience by drinking alcohol…” I said.

Another friend’s wife overheard our conversation – and she gave me an angry look.

She had called us for dinner a few days ago – and I had downed 5 Large Pegs of Rum at her place before daring to sample her cooking.

In fact – after tasting her ‘mutton curry’ – I had insisted on ‘one more drink’ – yes – it was truly a mutton curry worthy of a ‘6 Large’ rating…


PS:

You may ask me why limit the rating to ‘6 Large’…?

Simple.

‘6 Large’ is nearly half a bottle of rum/whisky – and after drinking so much alcohol – your taste buds will hardly be able to discern the taste of the food you are eating… 

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 article is a spoof, 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 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)


Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/30/2015 12:05:00 PM

 

The 6 P’s of Military Life – GUIDE FOR MILITARY OFFICERS AND VETERANS – Humor in Uniform

May 29, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – GUIDE FOR MILITARY OFFICERS AND VETERANS – The 6 P’s of Military Life.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

GUIDE FOR MILITARY OFFICERS AND VETERANS
The 6 P’s of Military Life
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

A few days ago I met an anxious army officer worried about his career prospects.

Military Veterans are worried about One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP).

This prompts me to delve into my “Self Help” Archives and pull out this article I wrote around 6 years ago, in the year 2009, which I feel is most relevant for military officers and veterans. 

HOW TO ENJOY YOUR MILITARY CAREER and RETIREMENT AS A MILITARY VETERAN

The 6 P’s of Military Life – Self Help for “Faujis” by 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 humour, 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 chappati(a flat unleavened Indian Bread).

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

In reply, the Commanding Officer sent the 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 General Eric Vas [Lt Gen EA Vas (15 May 1923-18 Aug 2009)].

If my memory serves me right  I think it was the very same General Eric Vas who  in one of his pep talk speeches to young officers of all the three services at IAT Pune many years ago  advised us:

If you want to enjoy service life you should not bother about three things:

1. PAY 

2. PROMOTION

3. POSTING

(He called them the 3 P’s

I think this dictum of the 3 P’s applies across the board, to all careers, including those in the private sector. 

But this truism certainly applies to the defence services, and maybe the civil service as well.


PAY

Many of us focus too much on money and perks ( pay or salary or “package” – call it what you like ). 

Nowadays, most elite educational institutions boast of the high salary packages their students are offered in campus placement interviews and it seems that pay is the primary consideration for selecting a job.

In my time too, I found so many of my colleagues comparing their pay with others and getting disheartened and disillusioned. 

Comparing your pay with others is a sure shot formula to feel miserable, because it is a natural tendency to compare with someone who is better-off than you.

If you want to feel unhappy and frustrated all you have to do is to live acomparative and competitive life.


PROMOTION

Are you an ambitious careerist who is indulges in an all-out no-holds-barred competition for PROMOTION.

Ambition is like ringworm

The more you scratch, the more you enjoy the sensation, but the ringworm increases too. 

Every officer wants to get promoted. 

But, if you are cutthroat ambitious type, and getting promoted is the be-all and end-all of your life, you may go higher up in the ladder, but your life will be stressful and you may not be able to enjoy the everyday joys which navy life has to offer.

And one day, due to steep hierarchical pyramid in the defence services, you are likely to be passed over. 

If you are overambitious type, supersession may make you bitter and frustrated, and you may even waste your time fighting the system, which will make you even more bitter. I have seen so many officers, some quite senior, who retire with anger, resentment and bitterness.

In the defence services, it is a fact of life that career progress is slow and your chances of promotion to higher ranks is quite slim. 

In a liberalized democracy, defence services can never match the industry, or even the civil services, in compensation packages. And this gap is only going to increase with more and more liberalization and globalization and with increasing civilian supremacy.

Modest Career Prospects and Moderate Pay. 

That is the truth. And you must accept this truth.

If you want faster promotions, better career prospects and more pay, it is better for you to go and join some other profession. 

But if you are in the army, navy or air force, it is best not to be excessively obsessed about promotion.

If you get promoted, well and good.

If you do not get promoted, also well and good. 

Be happy and enjoy the unique inimitable unmatched lifestyle the defence services have to offer.


POSTING

In the army and air force they call it posting, in the navy they call it transfer, but this is an inescapable part of a career in the defence forces.

Everyone gets posted or transferred.

A sure-shot way of becoming miserable is to compare your POSTING with your more fortunate colleagues 

(By “Posting” I mean not only the geographical location but also the type of appointment and designation).


3 P’s

If you are obsessed with the 3 P’s, it is a guaranteed formula to make you frustrated and stressed out at work.

And if you want to enjoy your work and career, you know what to do:

Just do not bother about the 3 P’s – yes – be a happy go lucky “fauji” – and just don’t bother about your PAY PROMOTION and POSTING – and you will remain cheerful and happy.

It is a fact that if you live a non-comparative and non-competitive life you are sure to be happy and content.


RETIREMENT – GUIDE FOR MILITARY VETERANS

The 3 P’s of Retirement

Okay, so you did not bother about the 3 P’s (PAY, PROMOTION, POSTING) and enjoyed your service life.

But one day you will retire and then you will have three more P’s which you should not worry about.

Yes, if you want to enjoy your retired life don’t bother about these 3 P’s:

1. POWER

2. PELF

3. PATRONAGE


When you retire you lose your “position power”.

The higher you are the greater the loss of power. 

Many take it in their stride and enjoy their retirement, but some individuals who get addicted to power refuse to let go and cannot cope with the loss of power and keep hankering after it and make their lives miserable trying to get power.

I think this is the main reason why some people never retire and want to keep working and holding on to power till their death.

And it is “patronage” that gets you those plum post-retirement assignments.

That is why you see so many senior officers behaving in a most obsequious manner in the last years of their service – toadying and fawning before politicians and bureaucrats to cultivate powerful people and gain their patronage to get one of those sought-after post-retirement jobs. 

Another reason why individuals cannot enjoy their retirement and want to keep on working interminably after retirement is “pelf”.

These greedy money-minded individuals are never content with their savings and pension and want to keep on acquiring wealth till their death (though they know that they cannot take their wealth with them to heaven or hell after their death). 

“In extremis”, such pelf-oriented persons may even be ready to take up dubious wheeler-dealer jobs with euphemistic titles like “consultants” or “advisors” which sometimes may prove counter-productive and ruin their reputations forever and also tarnish the image of the service.

Retirement is Bliss – if you can forget about the 3 P’s (Power, Pelf andPatronage).

In conclusion –, I would like to say that your life – especially in the defence services – boils down to 6 P’s.

Yes – if you want to enjoy life – remember – do not be bothered about the 6 P’s :

The 3 P’s while in service (PAY, PROMOTION, POSTING)

and

The 3 P’s after retirement (POWER, PELF, PATRONAGE)


Dear Fellow Officer (Serving and Retired): 

Try it – stop worrying about these 6 P’s and see for yourself how you can enjoy life. 

It works – you can take my word for it.

Do you agree? 

Oh  you don’t? 

Please comment and tell us your views. 

As always  I look forward to your feedback.

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 tips are based on my own experience and represent my personal views which may not be universal in nature and may not apply to you. You must make your own career decisions with due diligence.
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)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Revised Version of my Article Written in 2009 and posted online on my blogs earlier at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…   and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…  and  Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve  and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 5/29/2015 10:29:00 AM

Humor in Uniform – THE HAPPY NAVY – Hilarious “Memoir” from My Wonderful Navy Life

May 25, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – THE BOOZY NAVY.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

Here is a “memoir” from the happiest days of my life – my early days in the Navy.

This hilarious story happened more than 37 years ago – in the 1970’s …

THE BOOZY NAVY
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


TÊTE-À-TÊTE

Lieutenant “Z” was transferred to Kolkata (or Calcutta – as the city was called in the 1970’s – but I will use the present name Kolkata in this story).

The “powers-that-be” thought Lieutenant “Z” would be very happy since Kolkata was his hometown.

But Lieutenant “Z” seemed very upset and he rushed to his ship’s Captain to get his transfer cancelled.

“We thought you would be happy – Kolkata is your hometown,” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to leave the ship…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Oh – it’s good to see that you are a true ‘sea-dog’ and you like the tough life at sea – but then – you have to go ashore…” the Captain said.

“But – Why – Sir…?” Lieutenant “Z” asked.

“See – you got your ‘watch-keeping ticket’ last year – and you have served for more than one year on board as a sea watch-keeping officer – and you will be due for your ‘Long Course’ after 2 years…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – I can spend these 2 years on board this ship – or some other ship – but I don’t want to go to Kolkata – especially in that shore appointment…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

The Captain was getting exasperated – so he said a bit angrily: “Look here Lieutenant “Z” – there is a bloody shortage of ships and sea billets – and we have plenty of young officers waiting for their watch-keeping tickets – so you will have to cool your heels ashore for 2 years till your ‘Long Course’ comes through…”

“Okay – Sir – if I have to go ashore – then please change my transfer to some other place – I do not wish to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“I just don’t understand you – what’s wrong with Kolkata – it is your hometown – you can be with your parents, family and friends – I personally talked to DOP to get you this appointment – your CO at Kolkata is my friend and he is an excellent officer – he will give you a thumping ACR…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to go to Kolkata…”

“Lieutenant “Z” – I am warning you – if you act funny – we will send to ‘Kala Pani’ in the Andaman…” the Captain said threateningly.

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…”

“Are you crazy…? Why don’t you want to go to Kolkata…? Have you some family problems…?” the Captain asked.

“Sir – Booze is expensive in Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said, matter-of-factly.

“What…? What do you mean ‘Booze is expensive in Kolkata’…? Is that the reason why you do not want to go there…?”

“Sir – the only worthwhile perk we get is ‘concessional liquor’ – that is why I want to remain on board ship so that I can enjoy ‘duty-free booze’ – but if I have to go ashore – please send me to a place where ‘Military Booze’ is cheap – Sir – the price of CSD Quota Liquor in Bengal is 3 times more expensive than the price out here in Maharashtra…” Lieutenant “Z” said.


(This story happened in the 1970’s – when CSD Quota Liquor was cheapest in Maharashtra. However – since tax concessions are given by State Governments – and local taxes/concessions keep changing from time to time – the situation may be quite different now – but even now – the prices of CSD Quota Liquor vary from state to state – so ‘Military Booze’ is cheaper in some states – and more expensive in others)

Now – after this brief aside – let us continue with the interesting tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain…


“So – you wanted to remain on board this ship so that you can enjoy cheap ‘duty-free booze’…?” the Captain asked.

“Yes – Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“And you even prefer to go to the Andamans because booze is cheaper there…?”

“Yes – Sir…”

“It seems that you joined the Navy to drink liquor…!”

“Yes – Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…?”

“Sir – the main reason I joined the ‘Boozy Navy’ was to enjoy the best of ‘duty-free’ booze – that is why I want to be on ships – but if I have to go ashore – the least I can do is to enjoy my full quota of CSD ‘Military Liquor’ at the cheapest possible rates…”

“Are you mad…? Are you saying that the only reason why people should join the defence services is to drink alcohol…? That means – according to you – teetotallers should not join the Navy – or the Military…?”

“Sir – I told you before – the only worthwhile perk we get in the defence services is ‘concessional liquor’ – so what is the point of wasting your life in the military if you are not going to enjoy this exclusive ‘Fauji Perk’ of ‘Military Booze’…? And if you don’t drink – if you are a teetotaller – you might as well take up a civilian job, live a comfortable life, and earn plenty of money…” Lieutenant “Z” pontificated.

“I am a strict teetotaller – I don’t touch alcohol…” the Captain said, “…are you saying that I am wasting my time in the Navy…?”

“Sir – just think of all the ‘Duty-Free’ Booze and CSD Quota Liquor you have missed out on in all these 25 years of your service…” Lieutenant “Z” said – with genuine regret in his eyes.

“You are a crazy bugger…! Just get out my cabin…” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.


EPILOGUE

Two things happened after this amusing tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain.

Firstly – the Captain picked up the phone and spoke to the DOP who was his course-mate.

The DOP had a big laugh when the Captain told him the reason why Lieutenant “Z” wanted his transfer changed.

Since there was no billet available in the Andamans (where booze was the cheapest those days) – DOP did the next best thing possible – and – Lieutenant “Z” was transferred as a Divisional Officer to NDA near Pune where the price of CSD Quota Liquor was the same as in Mumbai since both were in Maharashtra State.

Secondly – the Captain asked his steward to serve him a chilled can of premium imported beer (available dirt cheap at ‘duty-free’ rates on board ship).

This was his first sip of booze ever since he joined the Navy more than 25 years ago.

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 spoof, 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)

 

MY LOVE STORY – THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE

May 9, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: MY VERY OWN LOVE STORY – THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

MY VERY OWN LOVE STORY

Do you want to read an old fashioned romance?

Here is a love story from my creative writing archives, once more, for you to read:

THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE
My Very Own Love Story
Short Fiction
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Part 1 – THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE
(Mumbai – Thursday, 14 October 1976)
  
Do you remember the happiest day of your life…?

I do…!

Yes, 39 years may have passed, but I clearly remember what happened on the happiest day of my life.

Here’s how it began…

“Excuse me,” a feminine voice said from behind me. 

I turned around.

“Mr. Avinash…?” she asked.

I stared blankly at the smart young woman, tongue-tied. 

“I’m Sheetal…” she said with a lovely smile.

“Oh, Hi…” I stammered, quickly gathering my wits.

I looked at her. 

Avinash had been terribly wrong in describing how Sheetal looked like.

The Sheetal standing in front of me was no podgy pedestrian suburban unpretentious “back-home-type behenji female” as he had imagined.

She was a real beauty, chic, smart, ravishing, a stunner, and I could not take my eyes off her.

Her eyes were extremely beautiful – enormous, dark, expressive eyes. 

And suddenly her eyes began to dance.

Sheetal must have seen the frank look of genuine admiration in my eyes.

So she gave me smile so captivating that I experienced a delightful twinge in my heart.

“You are Mr. Avinash, aren’t you…?” she asked mischievously.

“Yes…” I lied, “How did you recognize me…?”

“You were the only person looking lost and out of place out here…the odd man out…” she laughed vivaciously.

“Oh…” I said unconsciously.

I stood still, mesmerized by her gorgeousness, and by my natural instinct, I let my eyes linger, travel all over her exquisite body.  

“Hey – are you going to stare at me all day or should we grab a bite? I am hungry,” she said playfully.

“Yes…Yes…” I said.

“Okay…come…let’s go to Samovar…we can talk there in peace too…” she said.

Sheetal led me from the art gallery to Samovar, the restaurant in the veranda.

Thus began the happiest day of my life.


Part 2 – LIFE IN THOSE “GOOD OLD” DAYS
(Pune – 1976)

Dear Reader, please permit me to tell you a little bit about how it all started.

In order to tell you this story, I am going to transport you back into time 37 years into the past.

Yes, we are going 37 years back in time to 1976, when Pune was a Pensioners’ Paradise.

Believe it or not, Dear Reader, but, in the 1960s and 1970s, Pune, the Queen of the Deccan, with its lovely climate, pure fresh air, lush green environs, salubrious, spacious and friendly laid back atmosphere, was indeed a “paradise”.

Yes, those days, Pune was indeed the best city to live in.

In fact, 37 years ago, in 1976, Pune was not even a “city” in the literal sense.

Imagine a Pune without Malls and the Multiplexes, with hardly any traffic on the roads, when the bicycle was the popular mode of travel.

The nearest “city” was Mumbai (those days, in the 1970’s, Mumbai was called Bombay – and much earlier in the 1960’s, Pune was called Poona).

The best way of going to Mumbai was to travel by the Indian Railways, by charming trains like the Deccan Queen, enjoying the scenic beauty of the lush green Sahayadri Ghats while savouring the delicious piping hot breakfast served by the restaurant car.

There was no expressway, and the “Bombay – Poona Road”, as it was called, was quite terrible, and it took around six hours to drive down, as the winding road through the Khandala Ghats was quite treacherous.

Just imagine – there were no mobile cell-phones, no internet, no PCs, no STD.

You had to book trunk-calls on a landline telephone and wait for hours for the call to materialize, or if you were in a hurry, then you had to make expensive “lightening” calls.

Black and White Television had just arrived and was a novelty which very few lucky prosperous people possessed.

And everyone in the neighborhood barged into their homes to watch popular TV programmes like chitrahaar, chayyageet, or a cricket match. 

The main thing was that there was no internet, and hence there was no email, and one had to write letters and send them via post as there were no courier services either.

Of course, gadgets like mobiles were a long way off, so you could not even imagine things like SMS and applications like “whatsapp”.

Social interaction was face to face, relishing yummy bhel in the numerous picturesque parks, or over tea, in the Amrutatulayas, Irani cafes and Kattas, as there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Google, no Blogging, no cell phones, no blackberry, no iphones, no smartphones, no SMS, no MMS, no nothing, and as I said, way back then, the concepts of “cyberspace” and wireless mobile technology just did not exist.

Those days, a B. Tech. from an IIT did not get you a huge pay packet – yes, an IIT degree surely ensured that you got a good job, but once you were in the job you were on par with the other guys from various Engineering Colleges. 

Yes, only guys did engineering then, maybe there were a few gals, the rare exceptions, but I hardly met any pursuing a career as an engineer, maybe most of them got married, or shifted to softer professions.

Both of us, my IIT Classmate Avinash and I, joined a leading engineering company located in the suburbs of Pune.

Well that was the trend at IITs those days.

Either you went abroad, to America, to pursue higher studies.

Or you got a good job in the campus interview in a prestigious engineering firm, unless you were one of those few who preferred to be a white-collared manager via the MBA route.

Way back then there were hardly any management institutes, I think maybe there was just one IIM, at Ahmedabad, or maybe there were two, and there was FMS at Delhi and Jamnalal Bajaj at Mumbai.

The majority of engineers studied engineering to practice engineering, so we were quite happy to hit the shop floor doing hard core engineering.

We worked hard, for six days a week including Sundays, and we had our weekly off on Thursdays – the industrial holiday in Pune.

We rented a house near Deccan Gymkhana from where we commuted to work and back by the company bus.

Life was good. 

It was easy to be happy. 

The threshold of happiness was so low that small things made us happy.

Yes, simple things like a relaxed chat over a cup of tea made you happy.

I can never forget those happy moments.

Yes, every evening after work, we would get down from the bus at Deccan Gymkhana bus stop, relax over a Bun-Maska and Chai at Café Good Luck or Lucky, and then walk down to our rented apartment on Bhandarkar Road nearby.

One of our most enjoyable highlights was our weekly Thursday visit to Pune Camp – to see the latest Hollywood Movie in royal style relaxing on those unique easy chairs at the inimitable West End Cinema, relishing tasty mouth-watering bites and soothing thirst-quenching sips at the Soda Fountain during the interval, followed by delectable Mutton Samosas, Bun Maska and refreshing Irani style Chai at Naaz, then a leisurely stroll on Main Street (now called MG Road) and East Street, window-shopping, bird-watching and snacking, sandwiches, chicken rolls and cold coffee at Marz-o-rin, maybe a browse at Manney’s bookstore, and then a hearty Chinese meal at Kamling or Chung Fa, or a Mughlai repast at Latif, or Punjabi Food at Kwality, Biryani at Dorabjee or George, or Sizzlers at The Place (which boasts of being the first Sizzler Place in India) next to Manney’s.

And then we would end the day with a Meetha Masala Paan at George to carry home the lingering flavour and fragrance of the delightful evening.


Part 3 – AVINASH ASKS ME A FAVOUR
(Pune – Wednesday Evening, 13 October 1976)

When there are two close friends, one assumes the role of a leader and the other becomes a de facto follower. 

Amongst the two of us, Avinash, a tall, strapping, confident, flamboyant, handsome man endowed with an excellent physique with a dominating personality, was the natural leader. 

“Shekhar, can you do me a favour?” Avinash said to me one Wednesday evening while we were sipping chai at Good Luck cafe in Deccan.

“Favour?” I asked.

“Go down to Mumbai tomorrow and see a girl in my place,” he said nonchalantly.

“See a girl…?” I looked at him, confused.

“Let me explain to you. There is some back-home-type behenji girl.”

“Back-home-type behenji girl?”

“Yes. Someone visited my parents in my hometown with a marriage proposal for me. They want me to marry their daughter. She works in Mumbai. My parents want me to see her, but I am least interested in getting involved with any back-home-type behenjifemale.”

“So?”

“So, you go to Mumbai and see her and come back. And I will tell my parents that I did not like the girl,” Avinash said.

“You want me to go and meet her? Are you crazy! Tell me, why don’t you go to Mumbai and meet her?” I asked.

“Listen yaar – I have managed to patao a solid cheez – I met her during that management seminar which I attended last week…” he said.

“But you didn’t tell me…” I said.

Arre Bhai … first let something happen … kuch hone to do … but uske liye you will have to help me out. I have fixed up a solid date with her tomorrow taking her for a drive on my bike around Lonavala and Khandala – we planned it during the seminar, she agreed after lots of my pleading. And, suddenly this morning, my mom calls up in the office and tells me to go to Mumbai tomorrow to meet this marriage proposal girl. I told my mother that I was not interested, but she said that she had given her word, so I had to go and meet the girl tomorrow as a formality. Please Shekhar. Help me out. Just go to Mumbai tomorrow and see the girl. I told you that it is just a formality. Then we can all forget about it,” Avinash said.

“But how…?” I protested.

“I have already booked your ticket both ways by Deccan Queen. Just go in the morning and come back in the evening. This girl I am supposed to see is called Sheetal and she will meet you in the Jehangir Art Gallery at 11 o’clock. It’s a working day for her and she told my mother that she would take some time off and be there to meet me at Jehangir Art Gallery which is near her office.”

“But how can I masquerade as you? She must be having your photo. I will get caught and it will be very embarrassing,” I said.

“There is no photo, nothing – she doesn’t know how I look like and I even don’t know how she looks like. It all happened so suddenly. Our parents got talking back home last evening, my mother spoke to the girl by trunk-call. My mother knows I have Thursday off, so she fixed up the meeting with the girl and then my mother rang me up this morning to go and see the girl tomorrow.”

“But what is the crashing hurry? You can meet next Thursday.” I said.

“It seems that the girl is going back to her hometown near our place, in themofussil, by the Friday evening train. She is going away for a month’s leave and there are some boys lined up there for her to see – apparently my mother is quite keen on this girl, her family is good, she is the only child, so maybe they promised plenty of dowry. But I am just not interested. She is seeing so many boys back home, I am sure she will like someone and she will forget about me; I mean – you, she’ll forget you” he said.

“No…No. I am not going…the whole thing is preposterous…I can’t do this…” I protested.

Yaar please – don’t ditch me – I have already told my mother that I will meet the girl at 11 tomorrow in Jehangir Art Gallery,” he said.

“I don’t understand all this…” I said.

“I have told you all this before. My mother said her office is in Kalaghoda – so Jehangir Art Gallery is the nearest and best place – there in Mumbai. She works on Thursdays – only we here in Pune have industrial off on Thursdays – so they fixed up tomorrow as the girl has to leave for her place on Friday evening on a holiday. Don’t argue – just get it over with. You have to meet her for 10-15 minutes, that’s all. Then she will go back to her office. You loaf around in Colaba, have some biryani at Olympia or Delhi Darbar, and see a movie at Regal, Eros or Sterling, New Empire, Metro or somewhere – there is so much to do there. Then catch the Deccan Queen at 5 o’clock in the evening. I will come to pick you up at Pune railway station. And, after you come back, from the STD booth there I’ll ring up my mom tomorrow night and I will tell her I did not like the girl and the whole thing will be a closed chapter,” Avinash said.

“No. I don’t like all this,” I protested.

Then Avinash put his arm around my shoulder and pleaded, “Please Shekhar – I have to go for this Lonavala date – the female is too good yaar and it is a solid opportunity. I promise you Shekhar – agar woh pat gayee – if things work out and my Lonavala romance succeeds – I will give you a big treat – whatever you want.”

So, for the sake of friendship, early next morning, I boarded the Deccan Queen to Mumbai masquerading as Avinash for my rendezvous with Sheetal.


Part 4 – RENDEZVOUS IN JEHANGIR ART GALLERY
(Mumbai – Thursday Morning, 14 October 1976)

The Deccan Queen reached Mumbai at 10:30.

I walked down DN Road, past Hutatma Chowk (or Flora Fountain as it is polpularly known), and by the time I reached Jehangir Art Gallery at Kalaghoda it was almost 11.

For a few moments I stood in the foyer, looking around at all the girls, searching for someone looking like a back-home-type behenji female who may be Sheetal.

Dear Reader, I know it will be difficult for you to imagine how different and archaic things were in those days, 37 years ago.

Today if you want to find out about someone, you can just Google their name, and, presto, so many details will show up about that person – you can easily see everything about her, her present, her past, her family and friends, the places she has visited, where she has studied, worked, you can even see her pictures, her entire web identity.

Today, pictures can be instantly clicked and sent on mobile phones; even photos can be scanned and sent instantly on mobiles and by email.

In the 1970’s, the only way to send a photograph was by post and a letter took many days to reach.

That is why it was not possible for Avinash and Sheetal to exchange photos.

That is why I could masquerade as Avinash.

And that is why, at 11 AM on the 14th of October 1976, I was standing in Jehangir Art Gallery waiting to meet a girl called Sheetal but I was totally clueless about how Sheetal looked like.

After a few moments, I went into the exhibition hall and started admiring the paintings.

“Excuse me,” a feminine voice said from behind me. 

I turned around.

“Mr. Avinash…?” she asked.

I stared blankly at the smart young woman, tongue-tied. 

“I’m Sheetal…” she said with a lovely smile.

“Oh, Hi…” I stammered, quickly gathering my wits.

I looked at her. 

Avinash had been terribly wrong in describing how Sheetal looked like.

The Sheetal standing in front of me was no podgy pedestrian suburban unpretentious “back-home-type behenji female”.

She was a real beauty, chic, smart, ravishing, a stunner, and I could not take my eyes off her.

Her eyes were extremely beautiful – enormous, dark, expressive eyes. 

And suddenly her eyes began to dance.

Sheetal must have seen the frank look of genuine admiration in my eyes.

Yes, I was genuinely admiring her beauty with the unspoken language of the eyes which was worth more than a thousand spoken compliments.

Sheetal must have felt it, so she gave me smile so captivating that I experienced a delightful twinge in my heart.

“You are Mr. Avinash, aren’t you…?” she asked mischievously.

“Yes…” I lied, “How did you recognize me…?”

“You were the only person looking totally lost and out of place over here – like the odd man out,” she laughed vivaciously.

“Oh…” I said unconsciously.

I stood still, mesmerized by her gorgeousness, and following my natural instinct, I let my eyes linger on her, travel all over her exquisite body.  

“Hey – are you going to stare at me all day or should we grab a bite? I am hungry,” she said playfully.

“Yes…Yes…” I said.

“Okay…come…let’s go to Samovar…we can talk there in peace too…” she said.

Sheetal led me from the art gallery to Samovar, the restaurant in the veranda.


Part 5 – A ROMANTIC DATE WITH THE “BACK-HOME-TYPEFEMALE”
(Mumbai – Thursday Afternoon, 14 October 1976)

Samovar restaurant was situated next to the art gallery in a long rectangular veranda and resembling a Railway Dining Car.

We sat down opposite each other, on the comfortable cane chairs, and I looked at the expansive green lawns of adjoining Museum.

The moment we sat down a waiter came and asked us what we wanted to eat.

“I am hungry,” she said, and she ordered stuffed Parathas and Dahi Wada.

“I’ll have a cutlet,” I said, “and some Pudina Chai after that.”

“You’ve come here before,” she asked.

“Just once, a few years ago, when I was at IIT,” I said.

“Oh yes, you studied at IIT Powai – but that’s quite far away.”

“We sometimes came down on Sundays, to have a loaf around Fort, Colaba and Churchgate, and see movie once in a while.”

“I come here quite often. My office is nearby. That’s why I suggested this place – we can sit here and talk undisturbed for as long as we want and get to know each other better. This is a nice place for a relaxed chat over lunch.” she said.

I was in no mood for a relaxed chat over lunch.

In fact I was feeling nervous.

The more I talked to her, the more was the chance of me being unmasked – suppose I slipped up, and what if she came to know that I was not the Avinash she was expecting, but a phony masquerading as Avinash – it would be terrible – I could not even imagine the consequences.

I also felt qualms of conscience.

I had taken a liking to this girl Sheetal, sitting in front of me, and I felt I was not doing the right thing by pretending to be Avinash.

I could not bear the mendacity – telling a blatant lie and cheating this decent girl.

So, I blurted out, “Hey, Sheetal. I think I need to go. I cannot do this any longer. Bye, I must go now.”

“Go now? Is anything wrong? Are you feeling okay?”

“No, I am not okay. And, everything is wrong.”

“What happened?” she asked looking surprised, and worried.

“I want to tell you something. I want to confess…” I said.

“Confess? What?” she asked.

“I am not who you think. I am not Avinash. My name is Shekhar,” I said.

She gave me a puzzled look, and then she said, “Why don’t you tell me everything.”

I told her everything.

Yes, I told her everything – from the beginning to the end – each and every thing.

I felt relieved once I had got it off my chest.

I thought she would get angry.

But she smiled and said, “So you are Shekhar who has come to see the marriage proposal for Avinash – that is me – the prospective bride.”

“Yes,” I said sheepishly.

“And the real Avinash is having a good time with the hot-chick in Lonavala.”

“Yes.”

“So you will make a fool of me by masquerading as Avinash and pass some time with me and go back to Pune.”

“Yes.”

“And the moment you reach Pune, Avinash will ring up his mother and tell her that he did not like the girl – that is me.”

“Yes.”

“What was the need to for this charade?”

“I don’t know – Avinash said it has something to do with your conservative families – if he refuses to see you then relations may get spoiled. But please, I don’t want to discuss all this – I am feeling very bad doing this to you – I am very sorry.”

“You don’t be sorry – it is your friend Avinash who should be sorry.”

“I’ll go now?”

“You are booked by the evening Deccan Queen, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“So, now that we are stuck with each other, why don’t we make the most of it?” she said.

“I don’t know…”

“Don’t worry – I am not going to eat you up. We’ll do whatever time-pass you were planning to do after getting rid of me.”

“But you have got office – that is what Avinash told me.”

“I have taken the day off. Come, let’s spend some time together – then you can catch the Deccan Queen and I will go back to my hostel on Marine Drive.”

Our food order arrived.

Sheetal asked for extra plates and we shared the stuffed parathas and the cutlet.

“Now what?” Sheetal asked, after we had finished eating.

“Let’s see the Museum,” I said, looking out towards the imposing Museum building.

“The Museum?” she asked, looking surprised.

“You don’t want to go – okay, whatever you say.”

“No. No. Today you are taking me out on a date. I will come with you wherever take me,” she smiled and said, “come to think of it, I have been in Mumbai for 6 months, work so close by, and have not seen the Museum.”

I must say that Sheetal was really beautiful, and as we walked side by side, I realized that all the men were looking appreciatively at her; in fact some men were giving her quite yearning looks.

For the first time in my life, I felt the natural pride of possession that any man feels when he has the company of a woman that other men desire.

After we came out the Museum, she asked me, “Now what?”

“Let’s walk down Colaba Causeway. We can go to Olympia for a Biryani, and then have Gulab Jamun at Kailas Parbat.”

“Okay.”

“Now what?” she asked.

“Let’s browse books.”

“Browse books?”

“Yes, on the pavement bookstalls near the CTO – sometimes you get good books there quite cheap.”

“And how are we going there? I hope you are not going to march me down!”

“Yes – I was thinking it will be a good walk.”

“Please – I am feeling quite tired – and my legs are aching – the high heels I am wearing are not exactly made for cross country walking!”

“Okay – let’s take the bus.”

“Bus? You want to take your date in a bus?”

“Why? Is something wrong? I have no experience in these sorts of things.”

“You haven’t dated a girl before?”

“No.”

“Okay, let’s go by bus.”

We browsed books.

Then we went to a quaint Maharashtrian restaurant opposite VT called Kelkar Vishranti Gruha and had Sabudana UsalKanda Thalipith washed down by a delicious Piyush.

Sheetal looked at me and said, “I have gone out with so many boys, but you are different.”

“Different?”

“No one has made marched me down in the hot sun, no one had has made me browse books on pavement stalls – and no one has taken me to these food joints which I didn’t know even existed.”

“You didn’t enjoy?”

“Of course I did – but what I am saying is that I have never seen anyone like you – you are different from the rest – you are so simple, you act so natural – I have met all kinds of men, but you are truly an original,” she said.

I felt good, blushed – but maybe she was just being kind.

We strolled in Fort, window shopping.

I lost all track of time.

The day had passed in a haze of delight – for the first time in my life I had experienced the joy the company of a girl can bring in a man’s life.

We passed a shop selling clocks.

Sheetal looked at the clocks and said, “Hey it is already 4:45 – you have to catch the Deccan Queen, isn’t it – I think we better head to the station.”

“Okay, bye…” I said.

“What do you mean, bye – I am coming to see you off,” she said.

I did not refuse.

I longed for a few more moments of her delightful company.


Part 6 – THE CLIMAX OF THE STORY
(Mumbai – Thursday Evening, 14 October 1976)

It was 5 o’clock in the evening.

The blue-and-cream Deccan Queen stood beside the platform waiting to start its evening journey from Mumbai to Pune.

We, Sheetal and me, stood on platform outside my coach.

“You are the first boy I have met who did not try to impress me,” Sheetal said.

“I know. But what can I do? I told you that I have no experience of dating girls. But I should have tried and treated you better. I am sorry,” I said.

“Hey, why are you sorry? You are really nice decent guy. I really enjoyed your company.”

“You are just saying that to console me. I am such a bore, and such a cheapie. I am sure I ruined your day.”

“No. No. I really enjoyed your company. I have never gone a date like this before. It was real fun.”

“Thank you, Sheetal. I am feeling so good that you said that.”

“It is true, Shekhar. You make me feel good. No one has made me feel so good before. I really enjoy your company. You are one person with whom I can be myself – yes with you I can be my own self. I don’t have to fake it. I don’t have to put on an act. I don’t have to wear a mask. I don’t have to be someone else. I can just be myself and forget about all those social graces.”

“Me too…” I said.

“Maybe we should see more of each other. I think I will come down to Pune next weekend.”

“What? You want to come to Pune?”

“Why? Don’t you like my company?”

“No. No. Of course I like you. But Avinash will be there in Pune. It will be very awkward.”

“Avinash? To hell with him! In any case, I am not getting married to Avinash now. In fact, by tomorrow he would have told his parents that he has rejected me. That is what he told you, isn’t it?”

“Yes. In fact, Avinash told me that he would call up his parents tonight only, the moment I reach Pune.”

“Shekhar, you make sure Avinash calls up his parents tonight. Because I am going to call up my parents from the STD booth over there the moment the Deccan Queen leaves and tell them that I don’t want to marry such a dope.”

“Dope? But Avinash is not a dope. He is not like me,” I said.

“And suppose I told you that Sheetal is not like me,” she said, looking at me directly in the eye.

“Sheetal is not like you? What do you mean? You are Sheetal aren’t you?”

“You still think I am Sheetal, don’t you?” she looked at me mischievously.

“Yes,” I said, a bit bewildered.

“You know, Shekhar – I like you so much – you make me feel so good – and you were so frank and honest with me – I can’t cheat you any longer,” she said.

“Cheat me…?”

“Yes. I have been deceiving you and making a fool of you. But you are such a good guy that I have to be honest with you. I am going to come clean.”

“Come clean?”

“Shekhar, in the morning you told me the truth that you are not Avinash – now it is my turn to tell you the truth. I want to confess…”

“Confess …?”

“I am not Sheetal …” she said.

“What? You are not Sheetal? You are not the girl Avinash was supposed to see?” I asked – I was totally taken aback, feeling puzzled and perplexed.

“Yes, Shekhar – I am not Sheetal,” she repeated.

Then who are you…?” I asked her, trying to recover my wits.

“Shweta – my name is Shweta. I am the girl Avinash he was supposed to meet in Lonavala,” she said.

“Lonavala? Don’t tell me that you are that hot-chick who Avinash was so crazy about. He was desperate to patao you…!” I blurted out, instantly regretting my words.

She laughed.

She really gave a hearty laugh.

I looked at her dumbstruck, feeling embarrassed.

Then she said, “Yes, I am the hot-chick your friend Avinash met last week at the management seminar.”

“Why have you not gone to Lonavala to meet him as planned? Poor Avinash. He must have waited for you all day. Why did you ditch him?”

“Don’t worry. I have sent Sheetal to Lonavala to meet Avinash.”

“What? Sheetal? You have sent Sheetal to Lonavala to meet Avinash?”

“Yes, the same Sheetal – well, she happens to be my best friend.”

“Oh?”

“Sheetal told me that her mother was forcing her to see a boy called Avinash who was coming down from Pune. She told me that she did not want to see any boy – in fact, Sheetal is not that interested in getting married so fast.”

“So?”

“When she told me details of the boy I got a bit suspicious – could it be the same Avinash who had called me to Lonavala? How could he be in Lonavala and Mumbai at the same time? Was he two-timing me? Or was he going to stand her up? I was curious, very curious.”

“So you decided to swap dates?”

“And we wanted to get to the bottom of things – to find out who is who and what is what – doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani – as they say in Hindi.”

“So you came to meet me masquerading as Sheetal,” I said.

“Yes, and the actual Sheetal has gone to Lonavala by the same morning train on which I was supposed to travel. Sheetal must have been there on time at the rendezvous point where Avinash was going to meet me. I am sure they have met each other.”

“Oh, My God…”

“Why? How do you know that they won’t like each other? We liked each other didn’t we? I am sure they are spending some quality time together. You never know – they may even decide to get married,” Shweta said, with a mischievous smile and twinkle in her eyes.

Suddenly I heard the guard blow his whistle.

It was almost 5:10 – time for the Deccan Queen to leave.

“The train is going to start. I have to go now…” I said to Shweta.

“Let the train go,” she said.

“What?”

“I want to spend some more time with you. Let’s walk on Marine Drive. Watch sunset. Then we’ll go to Chowpatty. Let’s walk on the sand by the sea, having some yummy bhel. And then you can treat me to that green chilly ice cream you were telling me so much about…” she said.

Suddenly the train jerked and started moving.

“Hey, the train is leaving.”

“Let it go,” Shweta said, and she pressed my hand.

I pressed her hand back as I watched the Deccan Queen leave without me.

The evening passed in a haze of delight.

Never before had I enjoyed the company of someone so much.

For the first time in my life I experienced a new emotion – a kind of thrilling happiness and blissful joy that the right girl can bring in your life.

And Shweta was certainly the right girl for me.

I realized the meaning of love – I knew what it was like to be in love.

We sat on the parapet enjoying the cool night sea breeze on Marine Drive opposite the working women’s hostel where Shweta lived.

Time flew.

I looked at my watch – it was 11:15.

The last train for Pune, the overnight Passenger, left at 11:45.

It was time to say good bye, at least for now.

I called a Taxi.

“Bye,” I said to Shweta.

“Bye,” she said.

“I want to ask you something,” I said.

“I know what you want to ask me and my answer is YES,” she said.

My heart ached as the taxi moved and the distance between us kept on increasing till she disappeared into the distance.

But I knew that this was the beginning of a long and lovely relationship.


EPILOGUE

Shweta and I got married.

And, by the way, Sheetal and Avinash got married too.

Two best friends married two best friends.

What an irony of life – the conservative me, I got married to the mod-chick Shweta – and the mod-guy Shekhar got married to the “back-home-typebehenji” Sheetal.

We got married in 1977 and it has been a long time since, more than 36 years, and till this day, we all live happily ever after.

All is well that that ends well.

We always taunt them, Avinash and Sheetal, that ours is a “Love” Marriage and theirs is an “Arranged” Marriage.

We have all relocated to Mumbai.                                                                    

Do you want to meet us?

Okay, try your luck on Sunday evenings at Bachellor’s opposite Chowpatty and you may chance upon us enjoying Green Chilly Ice Cream.

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)



First Posted by me Vikram Karve in my blog at 10/14/2013 08:19:00 PM at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

STORY OF ARMY BATTLE HONOURS MESS – WAR OF THE MESSES – Humor in Uniform

May 8, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: Humor in Uniform – BATTLE HONOURS – WAR OF THE MESSES.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal: 
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

HUMOR IN UNIFORM

Last week I met an Army Officer currently posted to New Delhi.

He said that he lived in Battle Honours Mess.

“Oh – the one on SP Marg?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“I have lived there almost 35 years ago, in 1981-1982,” I said.

“How is that possible? The Army Battle Honours Mess is for Army Officers only,” he said.

“Those days it was a combined inter-service officers mess,” I told him.

Then – I told him the story of the “War of the Messes” where “Battle Honours” were won.

So – Dear Reader – let me delve into my “Humor in Uniform” archives and tell you the story of the “War of the Messes”… 

THE WAR OF THE MESSES
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Various Wars have been documented, studied, discussed and analyzed – and relevant literature is readily available online and offline for all those interested in the subject.

But have you heard of the “War of the Messes”?

Do you know that this “War of the Messes” took place in 1982 on the “battlefield” of New Delhi?

This was a unique “war”.

In conventional wars – junior officers and men do the fighting – while Generals and Admirals watch on.

The “War of the Messes” was “fought” by Generals and Admirals – while junior officers watched on.

This is what happened.

Till 1981, Army and Navy had two common Officers’ Messes in New Delhi – a brand new mess at SP Marg and a rather antediluvian mess at Kota House.

Young Army and Navy Bachelor Officers lived together in these Officers’ Messes in great harmony with a spirit of camaraderie.

Of course, the Air Force, which always believes in keeping a safe distance from the “pongos” and the “sea dogs”, had its iconic Central Vista (CV) Air Force Officers’ Mess on Janpath.

If you were a young bachelor – you could choose your mess.

The ageing Kota House Mess was conveniently located in the heart of New Delhi and was preferred by the slightly “elder” bachelors.

The younger officers preferred the modern SP Marg Mess located at faraway Dhaula Kuan.

(35 years ago Dhaula Kuan was considered a “distant” place on the “outskirts” of New Delhi).

SP Marg Officers’ Mess was a lively place with a laissez faire atmosphere.

I spent some of the best days of my life in SP Marg Officers’ Mess – and even today – as I hark back to my Navy Days – I fondly cherish my glorious days at SP Marg Officers’ Mess.

Relations between us Naval Officers and our Army Messmates were excellent.

We made a lot of Army friends.

In fact, it was at SP Marg Officers Mess that I first made close friendships with fellow Army Officers – lasting friendships which endure even till today.

We young bachelor officers lived happily together in SP Marg Officers Mess and there was an atmosphere of bonhomie in the evenings when we all sat together on the lawns or in the bar enjoying our drinks.

If you wanted to see an example of authentic “jointmanship” and genuine “inter-service camaraderie” – SP Marg Officers” Mess was a shining example.

I am sure it was the same happy spirit at Kota House too.

Everyone was living happily – but, sadly, it was not going to be a case of “happily ever after” – because suddenly the “War of the Messes” erupted.

Most of us junior officers did not even know that a “war” had broken out.

As I said earlier – this was a unique “war”.

This “war of the messes” was not fought on the “battlefield” of SP Marg and Kota House Messes.

Conventional military tactics and weapons were not used in this “war”.

This “war” was “fought” in air-conditioned offices by Generals and Admirals using the far more potent bureaucratic weapon – paper.

The “war of the messes” was not a physical war – it was a “paper war”.

By the time “cease fire” was declared, the Generals seemed to be on the brink of victory – and the Admirals appeared to be on the verge of defeat.

The “spoils of war” were divided.

The “victorious” Army won the coveted modern SP Marg Officers’ Mess.

The “vanquished” Navy was banished to the ancient decrepit Kota House Officers’ Mess.

To commemorate their “victory” over the Admirals in the “war of the messes” – the Generals renamed the SP Marg Officers Mess as the Army “Battle Honours” Mess.

It was a well-deserved coveted “Battle Honour” won exclusively by the Generals (without the help of their “Troops”).

In order to further “celebrate” their “victory” in the “war of the messes” – and in the true spirit of “jointmanship” – the Generals evicted all Naval Officers from the SP Marg Officers’ Mess.

In a retaliatory gesture of “jointmanship” – the Admirals evicted Army Officers from the Kota House Officers’ Mess.

It was quite sad to see friendly messmates who were living together as buddies being wrenched apart and separated as per the colour of their uniform just to suit the whims and fancies of a few Generals and Admirals.

The scene was reminiscent of partition days – when friends who were living amicably together had to leave their homes and go to another land just because of the decisions of a few politicians.

Metaphorically, junior officers were like happy children who had to separate due to the “divorce” of their parents – one parent getting “custody” of one child, and the other parent of the other child.

While the senior officers fought the “war of the messes” with each other – it was the junior officers who suffered as a result of these internecine turf wars, ego battles and personality clashes.

The biggest irony was that none of the Generals or Admirals actually lived in these two Officers’ Messes which were primarily a home for young bachelor officers.

Another amusing paradox was that many of the officers involved in “fighting” this “war of the messes” with each other were products of the famous “joint training institution” – the National Defence Academy (NDA).

Of course, now – each service has its own separate Officers’ Mess in New Delhi – so that the Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals can have their own separate fiefdoms.

On many occasions, I have heard Senior Officers lecturing and pontificating about the need for “jointmanship” in the Indian Armed Forces.

But tell me one thing.

What so-called “jointmanship” are you talking about when you can’t even have a “Joint Officers’ Mess” where Officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force can live together, drink together and eat together with camaraderie and build lifelong friendships?

I think the first step towards achieving genuine jointmanship is to convert all Officers’ Messes in New Delhi into tri-service combined officers’ messes for officers of all three services.

Then, this “tri-service officers’ mess” concept can be implemented in other stations where the services co-exist.

On the one hand – we talk of “integrating” our three defence services.

On the other hand – each service wants to build its own separate “empire”.

I feel that the first step in “fighting together” is learning to “live together”.

And only after the 3 Services have learnt to “live together” in a combined mess, should they talk of grandiose highfalutin concepts like having a combined Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

Do you agree?

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 spoof, 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 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)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.



This story written by me in the year 2014 and posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve Blog on 23 Jan 2015 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/201…

Now Re-Posted by Vikram Karve at 

blogspot.in

5/08/2015 10:27:00 PM

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